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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: Voters don't really choose the president
Letters to the Editor
Published March 13, 2008
After reading several of the letters on March 8, I must admit that I began to get angry. I find it hard to believe the number of American citizens complaining about the election process.
To understand the American election process, it is important to note that the United States of America is not a democracy! The United States is, instead, a constitutional republic.
Our Founding Fathers very wisely noted that too many cooks spoil the soup. The number of people complaining about the popular vote is incredible. If you read the Constitution, you will note that American citizens do not vote for nor do they elect the president.
In the primary season, we vote for "delegates" to represent our voice at the party conventions. These delegates (and superdelegates) may vote the way "we the people" have indicated that we want. But nowhere in the Constitution is it required that the delegates vote according to the popular vote.
In the general election, we vote for delegates to the Electoral College, which casts official votes for the president. Again, the electors may adhere to the popular vote, but the Constitution does not require it.
There have, in fact, been several elections that went "against' the popular vote. So before we get our noses twisted about our votes not counting, remember, they were only intended to count in selecting delegates! Our votes have never been (nor should they be) responsible for electing presidents!
Duane Rieker, Brooksville
Florida's legislators deserve the blame for this mess March 8, letter
Just take turns
I absolutely agree with the letter writer. The Florida delegate mess is the fault of the Florida Legislature and no one else. This battle by states for primary position should be fought on a children's playground, the only appropriate site. It's really past time for the leaders of both parties to start acting like grown-ups and devise a system fair to both voters and candidates. This is not brain surgery!
How about implementing regional primaries with a rotating placement schedule? The region that was selected to go first after the implementation of such a plan would then move to last and other regions would advance. Every four years a new region would be first and eventually each region would have that opportunity. This would also be easier on candidates who would not have to spend their time rushing from north to south and east to west. It might even reduce the shameful cost of campaigns. What a silly thought.
It would, however, save fuel and reduce air pollution, at least the kind produced by jet engines.
Karen Schuler, Hernando
Simple solution to delegate dilemma March 9, Philip Gailey column
Go with vote we had
There's a simpler solution to Florida's Democratic delegate dilemma than the one proposed by Philip Gailey.
Just validate the results of Florida's Jan. 29 presidential primary, where a record-breaking 1.7-million Democrats voted.
Would that be fair to the Barack Obama campaign, which received only about a third of the vote and therefore would get a third of the delegates?
Well, the campaign mounted a significant grass-roots effort in the state. To quote a March 8 letter writer: "I canvassed a precinct door to door before the vote ... on the day of the primary, I stood at a polling place with my Obama '08 sign."
The Obama campaign finished second. Hillary Clinton won. The simplest and most cost-effective solution to the delegate dilemma is to follow the will of the people. And let their votes count at the Democratic convention in Denver this August!
Hal Alterman, Clearwater
As a Republican, I have watched the voters of Florida agonize about how their votes count or don't.
I say let the Florida delegates be pronounced to be all superdelegates and be seated at the convention that way. Then both nominees can fight over them and give them the status they deserve.
The problems in the Democratic Party may be symptomatic of the country's problems. We have politicians who think they matter way more than they do.
Russell Burr, Tarpon Springs
Dean: Bring me vote plan March 10, story
To Howard Dean: We Floridians did vote. We voted for the candidate we thought would be best for our party's nomination. Who do you think you are, another George W. Bush? I am an American. The first words of our Constitutions are, "We the people of the United States of America." It does not say anything about "according to Howard Dean."
No dictator in the world has been able to take our right to vote in a free election away from us. Now Dean seems to be trying to.
I am a 72-year-old American Democrat. I will in all probability vote for whomever the Democrats run. Anyone would be better than what we have had the past 7 1/2 years.
Dean may be doing to the Democratic Party what George W. Bush has done to the Republican Party.
Weldon L. Comerford, Seminole
Democrats should pay
Howard Dean has it all wrong. It is not the state of Florida that should send him a plan, he should send the state of Florida money. If the Democrats want another election let them pay for it. And don't bill them, get the money up front.
Tom Margraff, St. Petersburg
Let the state pay
I am a Florida taxpayer and I voted in the primary. I believe that we should have a revote and that it should be paid for by the state.
Our legislators, not having enough to do, passed a law to move up the primary date, knowing that there would be problems with this vote. I want my vote counted and since the state screwed this up the state should make it right. And when these politicians come up for re-election they should be removed.
Fred Fredriksen, Hudson
Take another vote
The only fair way to seat the Florida Democratic delegates is to have a do-over election with the candidates campaigning in Florida and the national Democratic Party (headed by Howard Dean) picking up the cost, not the Florida taxpayers.
Some say the party does not have the money for that, but they sure are spending it on campaigning.
Jim Tipps, Clearwater
Many went unheard March 8, letter
Count our votes
There is absolutely no need or justification for a revote here in Florida. The DNC never said you could not vote for your candidate, only that the vote would not count. Most people knew there would be some kind of a challenge to that ruling and went out to vote for their candidate. Those who did not "were not paying attention."
Our votes were counted and reported. Sen. Hillary Clinton won the contest. The people had every right to vote and most did. Howard Dean has no right to take that vote. One contest, one vote! Done!
Bobby McGill, Valrico
Latin leaders rumble, make up March 8
Diplomacy at work
At last some good news! International problems solved by diplomacy. The leaders of these Latin American countries got together, expressed their anger and grievances, "blasted" others, even made some threats. When it was over, they admitted mistakes and put the problems in perspective.
Once again we have underestimated our neighbors to the south. They have more maturity and stability than they are often given credit for.
It would be wonderful if other countries, including the United States, could get together and solve problems without allowing them to escalate into war. Perhaps we could learn that rattling big weapons is no solution to international problems.
Lucy Fuchs, Brandon
Witch ritual March 8, photo
I bet if the "right" or "wrong" people look at this picture it will cause some conversation.
The picture shows a "witch ritual" in Catemaco, Mexico. The problem is the burning star in the background is a star of David, a Jewish symbol. A real witch symbol according to the Wiccan way is a five-pointed star.