Letters to the editor: Oct. 19, 2009

Here are letters to the editor from Daily News editions of Oct. 19, 2009:

Letter of the Day: What’s new is old

Editor, Daily News:

Jessica Mintz’s comprehensive Associated Press reportage on student reactions to Amazon.com’s technological incursion into academe again points up the age-old question: How much technology is too much?

Balancing the obvious advantages that this “new-fangled reading machine” has over laborious note taking and margin scribbling does not tip the scale squarely in favor of Kindle.

Given the exponential climb in the cost of printed books each year, even the hefty price of the Kindle can be justified — if its academic application can satisfy The diverse needs of its users.

The example of the “location markers” which Kindle uses instead of page numbers often requires teachers to assist students in locating the marker words and eventually relying on the redundancy of referring to both textbook page numbers and Kindle markers.

And, while the Pace University student in the article utilized his Kindle to “listen” to his homework during a gridlock-traffic situation, I would have the same concern about his attention to the road as I do for drivers with cell phones imbedded in their ears.

— M.E. Stebner



Editor, Daily News:

The other morning when I opened the Daily News and looked at the front page I had to say to myself, “There’s a great deal of irony in this ... .”

The lead story about the stock market reaching the 10,000 mark was covered by a stick-on ad about a company buying gold, coins and jewelry for three days.

So, while many celebrate on Wall Street and receive large bonuses once again, people are forced to sell family heirlooms and personal possessions so they can pay their bills.

My heart goes out to all who are going through these difficult times and to the organizations trying to help, but not to the many who are taking advantage of many people’s misfortune.

I’d like to see the Daily News place put a stick-on ad supporting the worthy charities that are trying to fill the gap of food, rent, utilities and medical needs of this community.

— Jeffrey Ryan


Red-light relief seems ready

Editor, Daily News:

I find it hard to believe, in all good conscience, that Collier County commissioners would change the law and reduce the fines for a right turn on a red light and not make it retroactive.

Obviously I am one of those unlucky many who have already paid the $125 fine.

I read two reasons in the newspaper for not giving refunds. One was there was no mechanism or method for doing so. The other, expressed at the latest board meeting, was that it would be too difficult.

Please note: There is a form available on the Web site of the company that provided the cameras. This form provides the mechanism for the refund and puts no stress or effort on any governing body.

The party that paid the fine simply goes to www.violationinfo.com and prints the form and applies for the refund from the clerk of courts. Or they call the clerk of courts to have a form mailed to them.

I am sure the Daily News would help promulgate this option and help many in our midst who are struggling in this down economy. I worked for 24 years for McFarland’s of Marco men’s store; it has closed and now I am struggling trying to make ends meet on unemployment.

That $125 is my electric bill this month. It would go a long way if I had half of that back.

— Frank J. Cutolo


The last straw

Editor, Daily News:

When I read the story about Marine Lance Cpl. John Doody, and how he was injured in Fallujah, Iraq, while on foot patrol, it made me really angry.

This young man went to war for his country and came home a broken man. His mother will have to take care of him for the rest of her life.

Our government should provide care for this young man and the thousands of others who have been injured.

End this war in Afghanistan now and bring our men and women home. President Barack Obama needs to face the fact that we cannot win this war.

We did not win in Iraq (former President George W. Bush’s war). People are still getting killed every day. And we will not win in Afghanistan, as they outnumber our men by the thousands.

— Mary L. Griffith


P.S. — Obama is a lousy president, and I’m happy to say “I told you so” to all who voted for him.

Hack writers and Vietnam

Editor, Daily News:

The most impressive thing about the Republican Party in Naples is its ability to mobilize a letter-writing flurry.

President Barack Obama got the Nobel Peace Prize and the next day the letters to the editor were mostly about what a bad decision it was.

To think, this is the party of Abraham Lincoln.

I’ve seen this behavior: Stay in the background, throw rocks and talk tough.

I was at Fort Meade, Md., when our company got orders for Vietnam. A tough-talking conservative friend was on the list.

The next night he went into D.C. for dinner with his father, who just happened to be in town.

A new list was posted without his name.

When I asked who else was at dinner, he said Sen. Everett Dirkson, the Illinois Republican.

To this day I like to listen to Credence Clearwater Revival’s “Fortunate Son.” It is very real to me.

The letters also remind me of years of coaching soccer. We’d get a lead and have to take out the good players because they would start getting hacked. Losers sometimes try to hurt the other team’s stars. These letters look like they’re from the losing team, hacking away at a winner.

But I also noticed that the good players on the other team never hacked. They had respect for a good player because they knew the work it took to become good.

Let’s all assume we’re good players and support even the people who are ahead of us.

— Bernie Kennedy


‘Just to see what comes out?’

Editor, Daily News:

This is about the recent crashing of a probe into the surface of the moon.

I heard about it the day before and was out there at 7:30 that morning, peering at the moon, waiting for a plume. I saw nothing.

Later, I heard the crash had taken place on the dark side. Hmm, something not right about that whole thing, I’m thinking.

If NASA had asked me, which I admit they did not, I would have discouraged the $79 million mission. OK, maybe it will be interesting to find out what blasted out of what my husband reassures me is “only a tennis-court-sized hole.”

But really, the moon is more than just a hunk of iron, sulfur and nickel rotating around the Earth, fair game to whoever wants to shoot at it. It is also a powerful archetypal symbol to millions of people on this planet, many of them women, and has been since the dawn of human history.

The moon represents intuition; being deep, subtle and feminine. It is associated with inner illumination, dreaming and the subconscious. The crescent moon is a symbol of new beginnings.

So what does it say that we saw fit to blow a tennis-court-sized hole in it just to see what comes out?

All I have to say is, it better be some special water. And please put the tennis court back.

— Alex Sulecki


A daily show of spite

Editor, Daily News:

I saw a clip on TV the other night of a conservative Republican conference, in which it was announced that Chicago had not been selected as the site of the Olympics, and the group cheered that announcement.

Rush Limbaugh declared that he isn’t a racist but just wanted President Barack Obama’s programs to fail. An American (Obama) received the Nobel Peace Prize and the boo birds came out of the woodwork.

Cal Thomas, in a syndicated column, recently implied that Obama should not have won the award because he hasn’t fixed any of the problems facing our country (but was strangely silent during the last eight years in which former President George W. Bush created or encouraged those problems to exist).

Even our local historical revisionist, Andrew R. Joppa, distorts the accomplishments of Obama in an attempt to diminish the impact of the award.

Glenn Beck and his faithful following of tea-party right-wingers carry derogatory signs denigrating the president (one beauty in the Washington demonstration was a sign stating “Bury ‘Obamacare’ with Kennedy”).

Fox News is constantly ablaze with rhetoric criticizing anything the president is attempting to accomplish. And people listen, and, like sponges, absorb and then parrot this garbage as fact.

Jon Stewart, on “The Daily Show,’’ correctly characterizes these responses when he says: “Republicans hate Obama more than they love America.”

Boy, is he on the money.

— Robert F. Tate


Unity takes time

Editor, Daily News:

Why does it mean nothing to Glenn Beck that the rest of the world admires President Barack Obama?

Obama has reset relations with Moscow by scrapping a missile-defense program that the Kremlin had fervently opposed.

At his United Nations debut, Obama urged global cooperation on nuclear proliferation, climate change and other problems that go beyond the borders of any one country. The speech was well received all over the world, except one place: America’s right-wing netherworld, which quickly began whipping people into a frenzy.

Obama was telling the world the United States is willing to be cooperative, to rejoin international institutions, to adhere to treaties. But, in turn, other countries will have to help solve some of the world’s common problems.

In fact, Obama’s approach has already produced remarkable results. Russia and China, after long opposition, have agreed to a toughening of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. And in a striking shift, Russia signaled that it may support tougher sanctions against Iran.

The Obama administration’s decision to cultivate a relationship with both countries is paying off. America’s success — its security, prosperity — depend on working with others.

Obama deserves our respect! Most American people want instant gratification. Stop the grumbling! Give our president the chance to get his work done. Just wait, he may well turn out to be our best president.

Of course he deserves the Nobel Peace Prize because he is trying to unite the world.

— Mary DeNardis


Rx for balance

Editor, Daily News:

Letter-writer Jack Strom, M.D., supports a strong public option in health care because, according to a Harvard study, 44,000 individuals die each year due to lack of health insurance.

This got me wondering, and within minutes on the Internet I also found several studies.

HealthGrades Quality Study: Third Annual Patient Safety in American Hospitals Study (April 2006) states, “Approximately 1.24 million total patient safety incidents occurred in almost 40 million hospitalizations in the Medicare population. These incidents were associated with 9.3 billion of excess cost during 2002 through 2004.”

In addition, “Of the 304,702 deaths that occurred among patients who developed one or more patient safety incidents, 250,246 were potentially preventable.”

So, Dr. Strom, more people die needlessly every year in hospitals under a doctor’s care than people who are uninsured. Not only are our hospitals and doctors killing our elderly in greater numbers, they earn Medicare money for the safety incidents they created.

What’s going to happen when Medicare cuts billions of dollars in order to pay for a government option? Will these statistics get worse or better? With doctors earning less and seeing more patients, service will decline and safety incidents will increase. Common sense tells me worse.

Having said all that, I’ll take my chances with the doctor and hospital of my choice over government-run health care, because we know how competent Washington is!

Government does have a role, but this isn’t it.

— Debbie Porter


Just maybe, please, try it?

Editor, Daily News:

Re: Eddie Filer’s letter that said “... too much religious propaganda is printed” in the Daily News.

Mr. Filer, over the years I have read and respected your letters, even though we disagree on a few spiritual concepts. You’ve always cared about the environment and about the beauty of Naples, and I appreciate and honor that you are a natural guy who lives with a high set of moral standards.

I know you don’t believe in God, but I don’t mind. I do.

I believe you might be pleasantly surprised when you pass from this lifetime, find yourself aware you are without body and that your actions were all positive.

I don’t care for organized religions either. Most haven’t shown they have much interest in anything but fear, killing in the name of God, power and greed.

That being said, I do hope you open your mind for a brief moment, just to consider the possibility there is a higher intelligence. You will be considered a brother and I hope pleasantly surprised.

— Patsy Reeves


Money in them thar Swamps

Editor, Daily News:

An interesting question was presented in a recent letter: What is the value in a school like University of Florida playing a school like Charleston Southern in football?

It’s all about money. Building a quality football program requires a lot of money. UF hired one of the most talented young coaches in the country. The school has built one of the finest football facilities in the country. If you take the time to tour the campus, you’ll see beautiful facilities built for tennis, baseball, basketball, track, golf, etc.

On top of that, the university has to grant an equal number of scholarships to women. All of this comes at an enormous expense.

So where does all that money come from? The primary source of income is home football games. A home crowd can spend a lot of money on a Saturday afternoon. If Florida schedules a home game against a big program like Nebraska, then it would have to schedule an away game there the following year.

The loss of revenue is enormous. By playing as many home games as possible each year, the program can compete at the level it takes to win two national championships in three years. There are plenty of quality opponents in the Southeastern Conference (SEC).

What’s in it for the small school? They earn a half-million dollars, they get to play in the national spotlight and one day some young Charleston player gets to tell his grandson that he tackled Tim Tebow in front of 95,000 people.

— William R. Foster


Honest Abe

Editor, Daily News:

In the months ahead, tens of thousands of snowbirds will be descending upon Naples

I predict we will see a “blizzard” of tickets issued in the months ahead to visitors who are excellent, careful drivers but never experienced a “full stop at the line” being enforced while making a right turn on red.

Here’s the problem: It takes four to five weeks to receive a citation. A person who intends to drive responsibly could follow practices (tolerated at home) which are in violation here, and receive dozens of tickets before he knows he is violating the law. His insurance company is not going to like him.

We are creating a “big-brother-is-watching-you” atmosphere which will diminish the ambiance of Naples. Let’s make sure the punishment fits the crime.

Should we follow the law? Of course, but let’s do two things:

1. Give first offenders a warning. It gives them a chance to adjust.

2. All citations should be received within three days so offenders know they are using unacceptable practices. The law requires a speedy trial. How about a speedy citation?

When you are stopped by a traffic officer, you know immediately that what you did is wrong. But wait five weeks to find out? Unacceptable.

To quote Abe Lincoln: “The best way to get a bad law repealed is to enforce it strictly.”

— Jack Merdinger


Go to work for us

Editor, Daily News:

This is some of what big government has provided its citizens in recent history, in spite of determined and ferocious opposition.

A social safety net to prevent the less fortunate from falling into the abyss: unemployment insurance, food stamps, disability, child welfare, Medicaid.

The end to segregation, equal rights, voting rights, civil rights and the inclusion of millions into the mainstream of opportunity. Equality in the workplace.

Social Security and Medicare for our seniors. Automobile safety, seat belts, air bags, crash-protected autos and increased fuel efficiency.

Smoking bans in public places while cajoling the vast majority of us to kick the habit. Clearer air and cleaner water through strict pollution controls.

And, just recently, massive financial aid to private enterprise that surely staved off another Great Depression.

Now we are on the cusp of passing historic health-care reform, dramatically opposed by the same species of special interests and right-wingers who screamed and fought to stop the implementation of all of the above.

Someday, I hope the history books talk about pre-existing conditions and the 50 million uninsured like they now tell us about the evils of segregation and endless poverty.

The only weapon we, the people, have against big greed, big stupidity and big bigotry is big government.

Big government, please ensure health care for all of us.

— Ross Edlund



Editor, Daily News:

My lady and I find lots to like about the Daily News, including the new size with non-smudge ink, clear visuals and attractive layouts.

We applaud your occasional use of photography by local residents. The photos and story about the pelican “feeding frenzy” at Wiggins Pass on Oct. 11, and the pictures and comments this week relating to the photo contest at the Naples Zoo, were genuine treats. Thank you.

Even the occasional wild-eyed, angry belches in the letters section serve a good purpose by reminding all of us that there are, indeed, some real fruitcakes among us.

— Art Rosfeld


Good luck

Editor, Daily News:

As U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan appeals for “great new teachers,” I’m thinking, “Good luck, Arne.”

Have you got a living wage in your pocket? An army of great, new teachers is a grand idea, but so is a good salary for a well-trained professional.

Beyond that, how much longer do teachers have to “teach to the test”? The value of the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT) is a bone of contention for many.

Recruiting teachers in Charlottesville, Va., “in Thomas Jefferson’s hallowed halls,” is terrific public relations, but students who might consider education as a major in college need more than words and Jefferson’s aura. They want a life of meaning and one that supports a family.

Good luck, Arne!

— Nancy K. Webster


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