Last mission to repair the Hubble telescope Hubble space telescope discoveries have enriched our understanding of the cosmos. In this special report, you will see facts about the Hubble space telescope, discoveries it has made and what the last mission's goals are.
For their own good
Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
Fill out this form to email this article to a friend
Nader candidacy gives a voice to millions of voters
Letters to the Editor
Published July 10, 2004
Re: Mr. Nader, just get out of the way, by John W. Mashek, July 3.
John Mashek feels profoundly that Americans should only have two choices for president. Third party politics, according to Mashek, are delusional and quixotic. Citizens with values that do not conform to the permitted ultra-narrow scope of "legitimate" political debate, need to get out of the way.
If you think that the Iraqi war was a tragic mistake, a violation of international law and human rights, move over. Your choice is either the president who took us to war, or the Democrat who voted for the war and says he will fight it better. If you think that the Patriot Act was an unconscionable attack on American civil liberties, you can vote for the president who signed the act, or the Democrat who voted for it. If you are sick that the U.S globalization policies are destroying American employment and cruelly destroying the economics and independence of other countries, it is just too bad. Both the Democratic and Republican parties have been ordered by their corporate bosses to protect and extend corporate world dominance.
It is incredible that so many commentators are willing to reduce American politics to such a simplistic, shallow, two-choice contest. These same commentators then plaintively ask why so many Americans do not bother to vote. Why vote when the media reduce the important social, international, economic, and environmental issues facing this country to the simple equation of George Bush and John Kerry?
Mr. Mashek, here is a new reality. This is not Ralph Nader's campaign. American citizens who desperately desire to hear their issues debated in this election have steadfastly and earnestly solicited Nader to speak for us in this election. Get used to it. We will not be silenced just because our voices disturb the cozy, narrow, corporate-defined limits of the presidential debate. When you attack Nader's personal integrity and his campaign. When you tell him to "get out of the way," you are attacking several million Americans. We are starved for a political voice that embodies our values and political aspirations. Run, Nader, run.
-- Mark S. Kamleiter, Florida Greens for Nader, St. Petersburg
Stick to public advocacy
Your newspaper published an op-ed piece by Ralph Nader on May 6, 2001 (We need an energy strategy for clean renewable energy and conservation) in which Nader suggested President Bush "could establish the United States as the model for other countries by adopting a sustainable energy policy that includes . . ." He followed with a list of oft-cited requisites for conserving energy, some of which have been partly implemented. In their entirety, these ideas, if put into action, would have started our country if not much of the world on an energy recovery, probably at the least, making us less "desperate," much like the drug addict who must support his/her habit with more and more.
In these three years, the world has changed, but our nation's appetite has increased for more petroleum energy, and we have failed to offset this greed by developing renewable sources and by curbing the consumption of both man and machine. Auto fuel efficiency standards have been lost to a marketplace which in these last years has thrust upon this economy unnecessarily large and gas-hungry vehicles.
The voice of Ralph Nader, who is considered broadly as the voice of fuel conservation, among other consumer choices, has been sadly absent in this fray. If not, I have missed it - sorry. But now he wants to run for president of this country, a job he can't truly want or win. I am asking why he isn't doing what he does best. Wheedle and needle the powers that be to make sane, sensible choices on leading this country. In the past, he has been respected for doing this, calling our nation's remiss leaders to task, and has not been a lonely voice in doing so. With our national spread of media opportunities, a loud angry voice can garner a following these days. Mr. Nader, leave your campaign trail and return to the public forum.
-- Melissa K. Buhler, St. Petersburg
Nader should abandon candidacy
This is an appeal for Ralph Nader to abandon his candidacy for president... and permit John Kerry to go one-on-one with George Bush!
Furthermore, if he strikes up an accord with Kerry, Nader's ideological wishes to have George Bush removed from office will at least have a fighting chance. Joining forces would be a more realistic approach to victory.
So, Ralph, you can help defeat the Bush administration by surrendering your 3 to 6 percent of the vote... to beat the Bush juggernaut in the fall. Give it up, Ralph!
-- Joe Stevens, Spring Hill
Bridge procedures need another look
Re: Sunshine Skyway bridge fiasco.
Trapped for several hours in the sizzling summer heat with no food, no water, no bathroom, and no escape: Are we talking about Iraqi prisoners being treated badly in an American military prison? No, we are talking about thousands of hard-working, law-abiding, tax-paying citizens who had the misfortune of driving their vehicles onto the Sunshine Skyway bridge Tuesday and being forced to stop while do-good officials tried to save the life of a despondent man threatening to jump from the 192-foot span. Yes, they were successful in saving the life of this man (no doubt several hundred angry, stranded, hungry motorists were further angered by this "good" news), but we really need to review our procedures concerning this situation.
First of all, I recall a psychologist once confiding to me that a person who "threatens" suicide rarely follows through at that time; it's the sneaky person who is too distraught to say anything to anybody who usually follows through. Whether this reasoning has any credence, I don't know. So let's consider this: What if one of our tired, stranded motorists had a stroke due to the sweltering heat, and died because of the inability to get prompt emergency attention? Would we be willing to look at things differently? Would common sense prevail?
-- Henry J. Weese, Palm Harbor
Situation was shamefully handled
Re: Troubled man, suffering drivers, July 7.
Shame on the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office for closing down the southbound lanes of the Sunshine Skyway and holding thousands of drivers (including myself) captive in 95-degree heat for four-plus hours without water, bathrooms and pertinent information! Shame on the Florida Highway Patrol for not taking over the case.
I must cross the Skyway bridge every day, and I only hope that when the next senseless individual attempts to commit suicide, the Highway Patrol is called in, the public is notified frequently via radio and television media, and one lane remains open for traffic to proceed.
-- Kim Caminiti, St. Petersburg
Re: Official unapologetic for closing Skyway, July 8.
I empathize with the discomfort experienced by those stuck in traffic for four hours while authorities dealt with a suicide threat on the Sunshine Skyway bridge this week. I understand their anger and frustration, and I don't blame them a bit. I'd be angry in that situation, myself. There is now a debate whether the bridge should've been closed.
Meanwhile, whether it was the right decision or not, may God strike me dead before I ever sink so low into the moral abyss as to call for another person to jump to his death, as reportedly happened while cars were still able to drive past the scene on the bridge. The same uncharitable sentiments were expressed in the sampling of e-mails to the Times published in the paper. All this indicating - to me, anyway - that the fellow human being threatening to take his own life wasn't the only disturbed soul on the bridge that day.
I hope and I pray that those folks never have anyone close to them - or that they themselves - ever fall into such despair that they sit at the edge of the Skyway bridge while people yell, "Go ahead and kill yourself." May it never happen.
-- Louis A. Claudio, Safety Harbor
Look for a better solution
Re: Official unapologetic for closing Skyway.
Surely transportation and public safety officials can find a middle ground between the unbridled apathy of Hillsborough Sheriff's Maj. Gary Terry toward the health and safety of thousands of Pinellas and Manatee County drivers, and those same drivers who in their frustration and anger demand that the poor souls who stand on the edge of the Sunshine Skyway be pushed over the side. (On a related issue, just how wacky is it that Hillsborough County officials control a bridge that joins Pinellas and Manatee Counties?)
The bridge is neatly divided by Jersey barriers into two two-lane sides, one north and the other south. Contingency procedures should be established so that on either side of the bridge, one lane could be used to carry traffic each way.
It's not particularly tough to do so using programmable signs and lane-control lights; local officials could visit the twin Chesapeake Bay Bridges near Annapolis, Md., to see how it's done.
It's both laudable and necessary to try to save the lives of those staring into the abyss. At the same time, the rest of us have lives that must go on as well.
-- Wayne Griffith, St. Petersburg
A self-absorbed society
Re: Official unapologetic for closing Skyway.
I just read some of the angry e-mails that were sent to the Times, and it left me deeply disturbed. This is a human life. True, the man did a horrible thing to his child and his wife, but he will pay for that.
What kind of self-absorbed society do we live in that we would yell "jump" out of the window to someone who is desperately in need of help just because we were late for dinner? I was caught in that traffic jam - hot, hungry, irritated. But I was still better off than the guy standing on the edge of the bridge.
-- Stacey McKee, Palmetto
Try nets and warning signs
As we watched the events unfold on the Sunshine Skyway bridge and as we sympathized with the people who were backed up in traffic for hours, my husband said again, why can't they put up some kind of a net under the high span of that bridge where people want to jump over so these things won't happen.
We just returned from a trip through Atlanta. This is the third time we were held up in traffic because of an accident on I-75. We were in the middle of miles of cars backed up for more than three hours, so I know how those people felt. In Georgia, there is a sign over the roadway that warns people of an accident and possible traffic delays. Those that knew of another route were able to get off and go around.
Wouldn't it be possible to put up a sign that would let people know that there is an accident or incident like the one this week, so they would have a choice of taking another route before they get on the bridge?
We highly commend the Florida Highway Patrol for helping those that did not jump and the sheriff's deputies for coaxing this man off of the bridge.
-- Dennis and Arlene Scott, St. Petersburg
Give cars a place to turn around
Re: Troubled man, suffering drivers, July 7.
It would appear that providing emergency "turnarounds" between the north and south lanes at the Sunshine Skyway approaches would be prudent. Cost would be relatively low and would enable motorists to extricate themselves from an otherwise untenable situation. Additionally, turnarounds could free up emergency vehicles.
-- Ralph Lenberger, St. Pete Beach
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 through our Web site at: http://www.sptimes.com/letters/
They should be brief and must include the writer's name, address and phone number.
Letters may be edited for clarity, taste and length.