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French leaders have long promoted contempt for America

Re: The French exception, by Antoine Audouard, Jan. 5.

Antoine Audouard, a French citizen, in a plea to Americans "to like us," is quite right to deplore"a general expression of contempt, or even hatred, for a society, its history, its culture and its people."

But hasn't that been the consistent attitude of French political leaders toward the United States for much of the past 50 years, beginning with that exemplar of Gallic arrogance, Charles de Gaulle, and continuing with Jacques Chirac?

If the French people view Americans in the rosy glow of liberty, equality and fraternity, they needed, long ago, to tell their leaders to stop the "proliferation" of America-bashing. It's never too late, M. Audouard.

Joseph H. Francis, St. Petersburg

Don't underestimate the French

Re: The French exception, by Antoine Audouard.

What a thoughtful and interesting contribution to the ongoing debate about our country's relationship with France and the French.

France, its culture, arts, architecture, cooking and even military organization are all part and parcel of our society, whether we want to admit it or not. While their cars may not sell well over here, they're apparently capable of designing airplanes that can effectively compete with Boeing on the world market, and few world travelers would forgo a visit to Paris, perhaps the most beautiful city in the world.

Let's not write off, shortchange or underestimate this great nation with which we have had a positive relationship for so many years.

Walter G. Smyth, St. Petersburg

Rude treatment for a tourist in France

Re: The French exception, by Antoine Audouard.

As a recent tourist in France I was subjected to overt rudeness and crass anti-Americanism from French citizens on the street and from French policemen. Pedestrians on a city street ignored my request for information, walking away without even recognizing my presence. French policemen at a toll booth gave us, purposely, inaccurate directions. A guard in a casino kept speaking French to one of our traveling companions who couldn't understand what he wanted. Finally the guard spoke in English, "In my country you need to speak my language or I will not speak to you."

Little wonder Americans feel unhappy with the French people. I will never go back to France, avoid buying French products and advise anyone I know traveling to Europe to avoid France.

I suggest Antoine Audouard try to educate his countrymen on manners and politeness.

Aristides Miliotes, Dunedin

Nominees deserve full Senate vote

Re: Mandate to renominate, editorial, Dec. 31.

Your very slanted article regarding President Bush's reappointing his previous judicial appointments failed to mention an important fact. Most, if not all, of those he appointed would have been confirmed if they had been allowed to come before the full Senate for a vote.

Another fact you failed to mention is that Tom Daschle, Democrat minority leader in the Senate, used very questionable tactics to keep those nominees from coming to the floor of the Senate for a vote by all senators. That stonewalling cost Daschle his re-election bid.

There is no reason whatsoever that a sitting president should have his nominees blocked by a handful of liberal left-wingers, without allowing the full Senate to vote them up or down. For your paper to take the side of Daschle and his tactics, instead of recommending a full Senate vote, demonstrates your bias toward the radical left-wing portion of the Democratic Party.

Max Risner, Hudson

Democrats need to face the truth

After reading your Dec. 31 editorial Mandate to renominate, it is perfectly clear that liberal Democrats like you did not learn a thing from the November elections. Democrats have been trying to figure out what they have to do in order to win in the next election, and the advice you are giving them will surely sink their boats again.

When morals and values were considered important factors in the election, why would you want to urge another filibuster against President Bush's nominees? Democrats will be following the same path that defeated them before. Democrats are taking up the valuable time of Congress trying to block these judicial nominees, using filibusters, and I would expect Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist to expose them to the American people as he previously did using the TV protest. Religious conservatives have a strong voice in this country and have shown strong support for leaders who value the life of the unborn.

Don't you think it is about time the Democrats face the truth that the majority in this country is leaning toward the GOP and prolife Republicans?

Betty Dobson, Brooksville

A generation that's not so great

Re: Hip-hop generation hardly the "greatest' in black history, Jan. 3.

I found the article by Gregory Kane to be "right on!"

As an employee of the Pinellas County School Board, I have witnessed firsthand the "lack of respect" shown by this generation, not only to each other, but toward everyone in general.

I ask parents of high school students to attend one of the daily lunch sessions and see for themselves the behavior of "tomorrow's leaders" in the lunch line or cafeteria. Yes, you'll be shocked at what you observe!

You might even wonder, "How do they get away with that kind of behavior?" Those of us who work there often wonder the same thing, yet it goes on day after day.

This generation is anything but "the greatest."

Frank Barry, Seminole

Mahaffey is St. Petersburg's problem

Re: Mahaffey's fate in question, Jan. 6.

The first sentence in the second paragraph ("Now the fate of the aging facility is in the hands of the Pinellas Board of County Commissioners") is wrong. The fate of the Mahaffey Theater is in the hands of its owners: the city of St. Petersburg and its residents. Any renovations are the responsibility of its owners and not of the county taxpayers who will have to pick up the lost tax revenue that this theft will generate by paying more.

Second, if the city fathers refuse to pick up the cost of renovation, then let the Mahaffey be torn down. Within 20 miles of the Mahaffey we have the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center in Tampa, Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater and the Asolo Theatre in Sarasota. All are better facilities than the Mahaffey. I know because I attend performances at them frequently.

Commissioner Susan Latvala should let us, the citizens, see what she and the rest of the commission are made of. Will they protect all county citizens or cave into special interest?

Attilio Corbo, Palm Harbor