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Campaign funds helping the needy would be noticed

Re: Bush harvests a fast $1.2-million in Tampa, July 1.

Only one word comes to mind when reading that President Bush raised $3-million in one day in the state of Florida: obscene. What is wrong with this country when we have homeless, starving families and people who cannot afford necessary medication and health insurance, and money is being spent on a popularity contest?

Yes, it costs a lot of money for television, radio and newspaper advertising to make a candidate known to the public. Who doesn't know Bush? Do we really need to know more? What would a 50 percent contribution to the state of Florida by the Bush campaign from the $3-million raised do for those who really need it?

What an idea! Here's a challenge for the Democrats: Promise a percentage of campaign funds raised in a state will go to the people who need food, housing, health insurance and medication. Let's not forget our most important commodity, our youth and the need for the best education we can offer. I'll bet the voters would pay attention to this type of exposure.

I'm proud of the $10 I donated recently at work to help buy school clothes for a needy family of four. I sure don't have $2,000 to spend on seeing Bush for any reason.

Katy Melberg, Indian Rocks Beach

Where are the priorities?

Every day the media show school districts that are having to cut expenses and deprive our children of an adequate education. Meanwhile, President Bush is shown traveling the country collecting millions upon millions of dollars for his campaign fund.

Where are the priorities in this country? Is he really interested in the welfare of this country and especially our children or in collecting campaign funds to saturate the news media with propaganda? If he is as interested in the country's future as he says he is, put some of the millions of dollars he's collected where his mouth is and fund some of the programs the schools need. Wouldn't that be good publicity?

Marilyn Bevan, Safety Harbor

Think critically

Re: Bush harvests a fast $1.2-million in Tampa.

What an indictment of the American people! It is simply assumed that the more money a candidate has the more likely he is to win election. Our modern presidents do not engage in anything so crass as bribery (although a good case could be made for that considering how well Bush rewards his big donors). However, we have too many people who simply believe political television ads.

Bush will blanket the media with reports of how well he is doing and how he needs to stay in the White House. He is sure to mention 9/11 in every other sentence and to tell us that the Iraqis and Afghans are free. (But how free are they?) He wants people to forget that our soldiers are dying every day in Iraq with no end in sight, our country is drowning in red ink, pensions have been destroyed, the poorest segment of the population is worse off than ever and civil liberties have been destroyed. Even veterans, whom Bush honors as saving our "precious freedoms," are having their benefits lessened.

Americans, wake up! Think critically! If you must watch television, yell back at it!

And a word to the rich: Watch out! Unless you are very rich, Bush will sell you out, too.

Lucy Fuchs, Brandon

Who will be represented?

At the rate our president is raising money for his re-election campaign, it is quite obvious whose interests will be represented in Washington. It is time for the rest of us to have a wake-up call. To say "leave no child behind" is just meaningless. Services and benefits that have increased the quality of life for the average American will no longer be available for generations to come. If the major policy decisions that were made these past two years are any criteria, heaven help us if we have another four years of the same.

Jack Levine, Palm Harbor

Shades of Marx

Re: The rich owe much to many and Fairness toward working Americans, letters.

While reading a couple of the letters to the editor that appeared June 30, I thought for a moment I was reading excerpts from Das Kapital by Karl Marx. If the writers had used the word "proletariat" instead of "workers" I would have thought that Marx was alive and well.

After reading these letters I was not aware that the millions of owners (stockholders) of American corporations were such bad and unfeeling people, as well as being "rich."

William Nichols, St. Petersburg

Congress works on wrong drug problem

Re: Better than nothing, editorial, June 30.

Nonsense! With my annual medication bill of about $4,000, the House plan saves me 30 percent ($1,200), the Senate plan saves me 40 percent ($1,600), but I can already save at least 50 percent ($2,000) by shopping in Canada without adding to the U.S. tax burden.

Therefore, our politicians are busy trying to take credit for addressing the wrong problem. Do not encourage this wrong thinking! They need to address the profiteering of the drug companies (as does the Florida state board that is advertising against the Canadian sources).

By the way, the Medicaged do not need an extra layer of profit-takers in the health care supply system through implementation of "privatization" in this or any aspect of the Medicare program!

Peter Smith, Palm Harbor

Just do what Canada does

Re: Drug bills pass, and work begins, June 28.

The corporate providers we elected to serve us once again got it wrong. How simple it would have been to take a page from our friends to the north, and used the same club they used on the drug companies.

Support your local Canadian pharmacy agent. The drugs come in factory-packaged units, not something some local pharmacist counted out between taking care of the counter customer and answering the phone.

John Cassiliano, New Port Richey

An erratic drug plan

If I'm not mistaken, the Senate plan has a no-coverage gap between $4,500 and $5,800, and the House between $2,000 and $4,900. Regardless of whose plan is accepted, people with high prescription costs are in trouble, unless they're wealthy. Percentages aside, those costs are awfully high to be totally ignored and not covered at all. Why not just a graduated scale where it all equals out in the end? The whole bill from either side seems to be choosing one group and treating it like the stepchild.

I'm surprised intelligent, educated people can come up with a plan that is so erratic and apparently display their work with pride.

Joe Brickman, Largo

Our culture is evolving

The recent Supreme Court ruling on the issue of same-sex lovers certainly has created quite a lot of talk. As a heterosexual male, this ruling doesn't affect me directly. There has been, however, much comment on the deterioration of values, morality and the changing of our country. Setting aside values and morality (both quite subjective), I would like to offer my thoughts on change as it relates to our country.

There was a time when blacks were enslaved. There was a time, after being freed, when blacks could not eat in certain establishments. There was a time when women couldn't vote. I hear from many about "the good ol' days." I'm not sure if I would have enjoyed living when my grandfather's father did.

What I am sure of is that change and evolution of our culture and country are, in part, what make this the greatest country in the world. One need look no further than the Middle East to see the inherent flaw in no change for the sake of tradition. We are (not just technology-wise) at least 1,000 years ahead of some cultures around the globe.

I can't say that this ruling will better us or not. But if the trend of what change has done for us continues, the answer is obvious.

Tom Ogle, Oldsmar

Bad news for Democrats

Re: The right wrestles with gay marriage, by Maureen Dowd, July 3.

"I don't care who gets married, but the Republicans will use this to divide the Democrats and reduce us to an accumulations of interest groups . . ." says James Carville in Maureen Dowd's column on gay marriage. I have bad news for Mr. Carville. Millions of middle-class Americans, who were Democrats in our parents and grandparents generations, decided long ago that this is in fact what the Democratic Party is all about. When you sell yourself to the far left, then the moderate middle class will not support your party. You cannot have it both ways.

Calvin Elam, Crystal River

On interpreting the Constitution

In light of the hoopla following last week's Supreme Court decisions, I would like to suggest to the citizens and the courts some sound advice. People, read your Constitution and the correspondence of the men who created it. In there you will find the reason for its creation and wording.

I heartily endorse these words of Thomas Jefferson and suggest every citizen and member of the legal profession follow this advice:

"On every question of construction of the Constitution, let us carry ourselves back to the time when the Constitution was adopted, recollect the spirit manifested in the debates, and instead of trying what meaning may be squeezed out of the text, or invented against it, conform to the probable one in which it was passed."

Andrew Nappi, Hudson

Academic freedom has responsibilities

Re: USF deserved condemnation, letter, June 28.

The letter writer should read the American Association of University Professors' 1940 Statement of Principles on Academic Freedom and Tenure more carefully before he takes any future actions pertaining to the University of South Florida's issues with Dr. Sami Al-Arian. Many of my fellow academic professionals seem to forget this paragraph of this "sacred" statement of the AAUP:

"College and university teachers are citizens, members of a learned profession, and officers of an educational institution. When they speak or write as citizens, they should be free from institutional censorship or discipline, but their special position in the community imposes special obligations. As scholars and educational officers, they should remember that the public may judge their profession and their institution by their utterances. Hence they should at all times be accurate, should exercise appropriate restraint, should show respect for the opinions of others, and should make every effort to indicate that they are not speaking for the institution."

Dr. Al-Arian's tenure was granted as a scholar in the field of computer science, not political science or international relations. Did he have this paragraph in mind when he used university resources to host international conferences dealing with political agendas, make political statements and engage in political speeches, all outside his area of academic expertise? Academic freedom and tenure carry heavy responsibilities and are not just open licenses to free speech, a right we all have under the First Amendment.

Dr. Merle F. Allshouse, St. Petersburg

Share your opinions

Letters for publication should be addressed to Letters to the Editor, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731. They can be sent by fax to (727) 893-8675 or by e-mail to letterssptimes.com (no attachments, please).

They should be brief and must include the writer's name, address and phone number.

Letters may be edited for clarity, taste and length.

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