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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.
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Today's Letters: Rise above partisanship to deal with Iraq war
By LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Published May 6, 2007
We must appreciate that the president is the commander in chief. We also must recognize he is not infallible, even if right-wing pundits seem to think he is. Logic should tell us further that the American people made a determined judgment last November when, with the war in Iraq being the major factor, they gave control of both the Senate and the House to the Democrats.
Since that time the support for the war has crashed even among committed Republicans. They are not stupid and they know that two years from now anyone still actively backing this failed war will be packing his or her bags for a permanent trip home.
Surely there is a commonsense component in both political parties - but especially in the Republican - that can rethink the current legislation and do it in such a way that a veto by the president would be overturned.
In law we talk about the fruit of the poisoned tree, and this war was sold to us, the people, and to the Congress and the United Nations from a very poisoned premise. Maintaining its legitimacy with partisan votes and threats does not serve any purpose save to further destabilize our reputation in the Middle East and the rest of the world. I pray it is not too late to remedy this.
Thomas I. Hayes, St. Petersburg
Full funding for Iraq withdrawal
Our son, John Evans, is a flight medic in Iraq, flying every day on Blackhawk helicopters. Every day our hearts are in our throats.
As members of more than 3, 000 families in the organization Military Families Speak Out, we feel that the American people are missing the point in the debate over the appropriations bill.
President Bush wants funding to continue the escalation of the war, with no accountability to the troops. The administration wants to fund the war, not fund the troops.
We call on members of Congress to use their "power of the purse" to end funding for the war and provide full funding for the safe withdrawal of our troops.
The president has made it clear that he doesn't care what the American people, the Iraqis or the troops say. He is continuing on this path that has taken so many lives and caused so much devastation.
Fund the troops. Defund the war!
Donna and John Evans, Clearwater
Leaving a mess for others to clean up
The state of our government, of the war and the economy, reminds me of the little kid who invited his friends in and they trashed his room leaving his mother to clean it up.
I don't think the Republicans want to elect a president. Everything is in such a mess they want the Democrats to inherit what they've done.
Is it even possible to put the country back in some semblance of balanced order?
Sarah Allen, Dunedin
What about his ideas?
Richie Rich in bib overalls April 29, Philip Gailey column
I read Philip Gailey every week. Sometimes he's right on and sometimes he's not. Last Sunday he was not.
Please name one local newscaster who does not have makeup put on and who doesn't primp his/her hairdo before the camera comes on. The camera goes off and someone immediately runs in and retouches the makeup or hair.
Name one politician who doesn't do the exact same thing that these local anchors do, or John Edwards has done when it comes to "primping" and also spending way too much on a haircut. John Edwards is not perfect, but to spend all that print on criticizing something every politician and news anchor does is preposterous!
Why don't you mention John Edwards' ideas? His message is as good and probably better than the messages other politicians are offering.
None of them are a complete runaway for the nomination of either party, as far as I'm concerned.
Anyway, remember all the wealthy farmers who still wear bib overalls.
Marie Hodge, Spring Hill
Cure the system
I read the paper daily and listen to the news regularly, and it never ceases to amaze me that all we as voters do is complain about our politicians and how they run our city, state and federal governments.
How many times does it take before we all realize that if we keep putting the same people in office, we get the same results? Stupid is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
Too many of these people are owned by the lobbyists, and until we change that situation we will always get the same results. We need to cure the system before we can change the results.
Sandy Miller, Tarpon Springs
I followed the law, didn't trade favors May 3, op-ed by Rep. Tom Feeney
In this article, Rep. Tom Feeney said: "In August 2003, I went on a trip to Scotland based on an invitation to meet governmental dignitaries."
I'd like a little more detail. What is a congressman from Florida doing going to Scotland to meet "dignitaries"? Why not stay in Florida and work on alternate sources of energy, health care, transportation or security for our state?
Several times in his article he states that he did not break any laws. When a politician makes that statement we can be sure he has done something very wrong. Breaking the law by an elected official is not the only measure of his values or worth.
He is supposed to be a statesman, high on principle and long on character. He should have had a gut check that told him this trip was stupid and wrong. His concept of what he is supposed be, a trusted elected official, is so foggy that he should resign or be impeached.
Frank Carman, Sun City Center
Putin and me April 29 by Carl M. Kuttler Jr.
Dr. Kuttler's calm and perceptive description of Russian President Vladimir Putin is a step forward in the understanding of the fledgling democratic nation of new Russia and its future. Russian history never involved anything resembling a democratic government. From dictatorial czars, it was revolutionized into a communist dictatorship.
Since the collapse of communism, it has been struggling to achieve something different, influenced by the democracy of its close neighbor Europe, and, of course, America, which helped bring about communism's defeat.
But like other countries without a democratic tradition today, it is almost impossible to make the transition rapidly, and Russia will probably continue to rely on the strong leadership to which it is accustomed, even though the system may still maintain the visible apparatus of a democracy.
W.H. Riddell, Tampa
I haven't seen this issue addressed, but I'm sure I'm not the only one who has an issue with a PG-13 movie marketing toys to small children. My 6-year-old is absolutely enamored with anything and everything that has to do with Spider-Man. The shelves at Target and Toys R Us are filled with toys aimed at ages 3 and up. Burger King has Spider-Man toys in their Kids Meals.
I have to be "mean mommy" because I won't let my son see the movie, and he just doesn't understand. Honestly, neither do I.
Carol A. Boyce, St. Petersburg
Living in paradise
Joys of life on the water run deep April 29, Bill Maxwell column
I loved Bill Maxwell's column about St. Petersburg. Each time I go to downtown, I feel like I am on vacation. Sitting out at Vinoy Park recently for the Mainsail Art Festival is just an example. The weather, music and art were beautiful. I love walking around the parks and enjoying the beautiful scenery.
A simple night out for dinner in Gulfport is another example, along with the pleasure of living just two miles from the beach. Each time at dusk, as I drive west on Park Boulevard just past the Pinellas Trail, I see the sunset with the palm tree in the foreground and think, as my dear dad always said, "We do live in paradise."