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Perspective: February 25, 2001
February 25, 2001

Times recommends
For Tuesday's St. Petersburg primary elections, the editorial board has studied the candidates and published detailed recommendations. All city voters can vote for mayor, but only those living in Districts 2, 4 and 6 can vote for City Council. Here are our recommendations:

Vote responsibly
Faced with a two-step election process, St. Petersburg residents should get to the polls and avoid frivolous decisions.

Look beyond the detectives
The collapse of the Aisenberg case has spawned a feeding frenzy focusing on the actions of two detectives. But the cops alone didn't blow this case, and any investigation into misconduct needs to reach higher into the ranks of state and federal law enforcement.

Let's encourage the learning disabled
Re: Standards in schools have less meaning, by Robyn E. Blumner, Feb. 18.

Robyn E. Blumner
Free speech intimidated by harassment charges
For more than a decade, the First Amendment has been nudged aside by the term "harassment."

Bill Maxwell
Residents of St. Petersburg south side want to be recognized
Chicago has its Southside. New York has historical Harlem. Los Angeles has Watts. Fort Lauderdale has the Northwest. Gainesville has its Eastside. Each is a sector that is mostly African-American, where generations of families have lived and died.

Martin Dyckman
Little spared in Bush’s proposed budget cuts
A myth is afoot that Florida has a financial crisis, but the real issue is about ideology, not economics. As most legislators cringe at budget cuts that would not spare even the blind, Gov. Jeb Bush and his allies continue to demand yet another round of tax cuts. Having dug itself into a hole, will the Legislature this year shovel even deeper?

Philip Gailey
Baffled by black America’s love affair with Bill Clinton
African-American voters are the Democratic Party's most loyal constituency -- and for good reason. Black Americans have made their greatest gains under Democratic presidents, from Harry Truman, who integrated the U.S. military, to Lyndon B. Johnson, who, with the support of key Republican congressional leaders, enacted landmark civil rights legislation that outlawed the Jim Crow system of segregation in the South. Besides, how often have Republicans given them a better alternative?

Martin Dyckman
Republicans would redistrict Democrats out of office
TALLAHASSEE -- The political version of the Golden Rule, "Do to them what they would do to you, but do it first," will be in force throughout the nation as state legislatures redistrict themselves and their congressional delegations.

Jon East
Growing out of control
The political debate in Florida over growth management is, much like land development itself, growing out of control. The state needs to improve the way it regulates and supports growth, but too many lawmakers are seeking only to undermine growth laws.

A portrait of our species and genders
Cris Mazza's fiction has been called experimental, and stylistically it is, in the same way that Chekov's prose can be called experimental. Like the Russian author, Mazza uses an impressionistic technique to create characters so unusual, they become emblems for whole orders of social ills. Unfolding with the grim assurance of an autopsy, Girl Beside Him lays bare pathologies of self and society.

Southerners and the downfall of the Confederacy
Neither industrialization above the Mason-Dixon line nor being outnumbered by Union soldiers nor even the utter wronghood of slavery cost the American Confederacy the Civil War.

Southern Jews in the Civil War
Benedict Oppenheimer was always chosen to fire the cannon. The company commander figured that since Oppenheimer was deaf anyway, the result of scarlet fever, the loud booms of the cannon would not hurt his ears. Oppenheimer, proud of his duties, later used sign language to tell his relatives about his exploits.

Children’s books
BLUE RABBIT AND THE RUNAWAY WHEEL by Christopher Wormell (Phyllis Fogelman Books, $15.99)

Book talk
AUTHORS AT THE ISLAND FESTIVAL: The second annual Pass-a-Grille Island Festival showcasing writers, historic walks, mini-plays, crafts shows, book sales and storytelling will be from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at Pass-a-Grille Park at Tenth Ave., St. Pete Beach.

THE LAW AND THE NET: Are parents liable for acts their children do online? What kind of legal protections cover online credit card transactions? Jonathan Bick, a law professor and author, covers these topics and more in 101 Things You Need to Know About Internet Law ($12.95, Three Rivers Press).

Great beginnings
"The dead waitress had beautiful eyes."

History and romance in Burma
Amitav Ghosh's The Glass Palace, lengthy as it is, could easily have been three or four novels its size.

Hindu theology in an apartment house
Manil Suri has a gift for highlighting the hypocrisy of Indian culture. His The Death of Vishnu can be seen to be as much a thoughtful examination of the secular and religious contradictions of Hinduism as it is a work of fiction.  

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