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Published Sep. 17, 2009

Image is not reality - Sept. 15, PolitiFact

As a journalist most of my adult life, I know sensible and balanced reporting when I see it. This story was anything but. The author spent the first half of the entire expose simply going over and over the fact that some conservative bloggers used a photo from a 1990s rally to show a large crowd and indicated it was from the Saturday gathering in Washington.

The reporter spent more time attempting to marginalize and denigrate the protest rather than tell the full story. It would seem she was simply interested in a "pants on fire" rating for a conservative movement.

There are no official crowd estimates, but as the reporter did mention they vary widely from a low of "thousands" to the guess of more than a million. The simple fact that a large group of ordinary Americans, most of whom have never protested anything, finally said "enough" was lost on this newsperson.

That all these people came together from all over the country, most at their own expense, was not noted. That the protest, unlike so many, was orderly and the crowd well behaved was never mentioned. That the D.C. public works department did not have to spend thousands on cleanup afterward because the participants took their trash with them was never mentioned.

I know the Times has a Washington bureau, so why did you not send a reporter to cover the event and interview some of those taking part? Was it because the Times was afraid of "the angry mob"?

Dennis G. Roper, Clearwater

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Image is not reality - Sept. 15, PolitiFact

People are speaking, and Washington should listen

On Sept. 12, thousands and thousands of American citizens gathered peacefully in Washington, D.C., to voice their displeasure on the direction this country is turning. Likewise, thousands gathered in other major cities throughout the United States for the same reason. These people were described as "radical," "reactionary," "un-American."

No! These people were the "silent majority" so many have heard about. They have found their voice, and Washington needs to listen. What disappoints me is this paper's lack of coverage of the demonstrations and their message to Washington. Instead, you focus on the inaccuracy of the numbers who participated.

Really? You give that front-page coverage. If these had been minorities demonstrating, would you have been as dismissive? One thinks not!

Hugh Palumbo, St. Petersburg

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Votes are what matter

It seems the Times needed to take up front-page space for the fracas as to how many people were at the gathering in Washington, D.C., on Saturday.

Whether it be 12 people or 12 million people, the only number that counts is the number of people showing up at the polls. We will need to wait until after the 2010 election to find out the exact figures.

James Di Piazza, Seffner

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Quickly changing attitudes

I can't believe people's fickleness. At the end of the Bush era everybody got hoarse clamoring for change, chanting "Yes, we can." Now, only eight months later, people let themselves be hoodwinked by a bunch of self-serving party hacks in the Congress, who instead of representing their constituents, side with their real masters - the guys of corporate America - in blocking that very change the majority of the people had demanded.

One can only hope that at the end of the day wisdom will prevail, and people will finally come to realize that public options, like public schools, public transportation, public parks, public television, public safety, and yes, public health (Medicare and Medicaid) don't constitute socialism. Rather, they are what a modern democratic government is supposed to provide its citizens.

Other countries, like the United Kingdom, Canada, France, Argentina and most other developed and even developing nations provide them, and nobody believes they are socialist countries.

Horst Woyde, Seminole

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Boy, oh, boy - Sept. 15, Maureen Dowd column

Racial prejudice

I have to agree with Maureen Dowd's assessment, and unfortunately say that racism is alive and well in our United States. It bothers me deeply that so many people continue perpetuating their racial prejudices, with their current, and most obvious, transgressions being under the guise of political discontent.

In my humble opinion, the recent protests of President Barack Obama's desire to address our schoolchildren and his attempts to reform our health care system are merely the means being used by those individuals angry and unwilling to accept an African-American as president of the United States.

With all the claims of President Obama trying to indoctrinate our children, bring socialism to our country, create health care "death panels" and take away our freedoms, I urge people to use common sense, think for themselves, embrace equality, and dispel any pressures of prejudice.

Jim Ridder, Hudson

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Boy, oh, boy - Sept. 15, Maureen Dowd column

Stop playing the race card

No intelligent thinking person likes over-the-top politics. Most of us want respectful interactions. Are there racists out there? Of course. Is it right to blame every person who disagrees with you as a racist? Absolutely not. Can we ever get over party leanings and get back to what's best for our country?

How much hate was spewed at George Bush? He was blamed for all that ails humankind. Was it people who hated white guys? Were they playing the race card?

I think people are concerned and afraid at the staggering amount of debt. We're afraid of these unknown czars, some of whom are admitted communists and radicals touting redistributing the wealth. ACORN seems to be a nest of crooks. Since when are we not permitted to ask questions without being called astroturf and angry mobs?

Democrats and Republicans need a deep cleansing of power-hungry deviants, law-breakers, tax cheats and those who don't adhere to the Constitution. Put our country first. Please drop the "race card" ploy, because it may turn into just that, and that would be very sad. We do want equality.

Yvonne Mongan, Clearwater

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Off to a poor start

If George LeMieux is an example of what Charlie Crist will take to the Senate, then Marco Rubio should be a shoo-in.

LeMieux's first act as a senator was to side with the left-wing Democrats in the House demanding an apology from Rep. Joe Wilson for calling President Barack Obama a liar. Joe Wilson told it like it is. He owes no one an apology.

William C. Bolin Sr., Largo

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We need leadership

To our new senator, George LeMieux:

Welcome to the U.S. Senate. I know you will be there for a short time but please consider making your tenure notable. I believe the current Republican position of obstruction without alternatives is unworthy of a party with a great history. Please rethink blind loyalty to the party leaders and consider the interests of the American people.

We need comprehensive heath care legislation. If you cannot support the president, then offer workable solutions to our real problems. You are there to work for Florida and the nation.

Mindless slogans are not statesmanship. Be your own man. You can make a difference.

Cheryl Brown, Tampa