Nov 21, 2012
Our contestant for the day in writing silly letters that ignore facts is one Burton Green of Cocoa Beach who writes the Florida Today newspaper concerning the Obama administration, Susan Rice and pre-Iraq War intelligence.
Mr. Green writes:
Republican ‘hypocrisy’ over Susan Rice
Here it goes again. The hypocrisy wagon is being rolled out.
Republican pundits, Fox News commentators, Republicans Sens. Lindsey Graham and John McCain have already started the drumbeat
against U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice, who is being considered to replace Hillary Clinton as secretary of state.
I am not opposed to fair criticism. But, please! Where were these voices when George Bush, Dick Cheney and others in the Bush administration were knowingly distorting or lying about Saddam Hussein’s alleged weapons of mass destruction. Not a peep. And not surprising.
Mr. Green seems to think that Ambassador Rice, who made statements that were known to be false before she even opened her mouth is the same thing as the long list of people, intelligence communities, and countries who rightfully claimed that Saddam Hussein did possess both the weapons of mass destruction and proscribed delivery systems.
No less than 10 intelligence agencies from other countries claimed Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. In his final report to the UN before the start of the second Iraq War, weapons inspector Dr. Hans Blix says Hussein had the weapons and had not complied with the UN mandate to destroy them.
Perhaps the most damning statements to Mr. Green’s factually challenged thinking process and letter are statements from within the US government itself:
Aug 18, 2012
We would have picked up on this letter to the editor no matter what. While the writer is from Satellite Beach, it is not the area from which the writer hails which caught our eye, but the lack of knowledge.
Ryan wrongly says rights from nature and God
Last Saturday, I watched the installation of Congressman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., as the deputy savior of “America’s Comeback Team” at Norfolk, Va.
When Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell introduced Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, he appeared on the bunting festooned battleship Wisconsin and proceeded
down the steps to the stage, where he introduced the “next president of the United States, Paul Ryan” (small gaffe, corrected later). Ryan then proceeded down the steps from the battleship to the stage.
I thought about the incongruity of these politicians, neither having any time in the military, entering off a World War II ship like returning heroes.
Congressman Ryan gave a stirring speech, declaring the Romney-Ryan team can save the country. Then he sent my head spinning. He said our rights come from nature and God, not the government. Wow. Here I thought our Founding Fathers formed a government that established our rights in the Constitution and further refined these rights in amendments to that document.
If he feels the government is not essential to those rights, why is he making a career out of government service?
Let’s start with the easiest refutation of the point that rights are derived from government – our own Declaration of Independence
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed
Contrary to Mr. Miller’s assertion, rights are derived from nature or God. It is not up to the government to establish those rights, but rather to protect those rights.
Jul 13, 2012
Patrick J. Utecht of Satellite Beach wrote a guest column in the Florida Today newspaper of July 12, 2012.
Mr. Utecht writes:
Much has been written and spoken about the excessive debt owed by the city of Satellite Beach, most of which has been simply wrong.
Persons running for election to the present City Council repeatedly told stories about the debt, to the point where people began to believe them.
The city does have debt, but did anyone tell you what that debt is for and when and how it will be paid off?
Before answering that question, ask yourself if you ever carried a mortgage on a home. Did you consider that as a debt or as an investment in your future?
Is there any real functional difference between carrying a mortgage for your home and the city carrying one that it has found to be in the long-term interest of all residents? During past years, Satellite Beach has borrowed money for projects such as the civic center, the police station and others. Were they worthwhile projects?
For general information, this city does have loans for less than $7 million, none of which is debt on the city’s general fund. That money was dedicated for purposes such as:
• Purchase and renovation of the David. R. Schechter Community Center and other capital assets. It will be retired (paid off) during fiscal year 2013-2014.
• State and federally mandated improvements to the city’s storm-water system, including those at DeSoto Parkway and Cassia Boulevard and along the city’s northern border. That fund will be paid off during FY 2018-2019.
• Community Redevelopment Fund:
A. Purchase of property on Sunrise Avenue (now dedicated as a park to Michael Crotty, former city manager) during a recent council meeting.
B. Purchase of Peg Legs property.
C. Improvements to Pelican Beach Park.
D. Partially fund construction of Hightower Beach Park.
The Redevelopment Fund will be retired during FY 2025-2026.
Are those dates reasonable? I think yes. In my opinion, the projects are/were essential for the future of Satellite Beach; that type of thinking is foresight, similar to why many of you incurred debt in buying a home for your family.
As I see it, the above city projects were undertaken for valid reasons. In my opinion, the funding plans and the uses appear to be reasonable and appropriate.
Mr. Utecht makes the analogy that debt within a city is similar to that of debt or a mortgage on a house. However, like all analogies, there are some differences and in this case, major differences.
Jun 29, 2012
We have a small confession to make. Years ago, when public interest in the internet was fairly new, when modem speeds were much slower, when email accounts had much lower storage, when email filters were not that sophisticated, and when people were getting 50 spam emails for every legitimate email, we secided to do something about it. We became part of a newsgroup and offline group that hated spamming. We were sick of emails for porn, adult products, hair loss products, skin cleaners, and everything in between. We often chuckle at people today who complain the get 5 or 10 pieces of spam in their computer inboxes. “Back in the day,” a mere 10 emails a day of spam would have been welcome.
The group divided the fight against spamming in a couple different ways. First, if there was no profit for the spammers, there was no reason to spam. We took part in contacting the companies that were funding spammers. Most of the legitimate companies looked into and broke off ties with spammers who continued to spam people even after entering “opt out” information. Other companies (such as the porn and adult product companies) could not be reached or did not care. Thousands and thousands of people across the country signed up to tell legitimate companies to stop sponsoring spam.
The group then went after the spammers themselves.
We contacted lawyers and authorities to make sure we were not in violation of any laws – especially mail fraud laws.
We won’t tell people what we did (we don’t want to give people ideas) but suffice it to say the spammers eventually cried “uncle” and stopped. The volume of spam dropped, giving spam filters a chance to come online to help protect people from unwanted spam in their inboxes.
We didn’t break any laws and were successful but we have always wondered about the morality of that escapade. Even though it was legal to do what we did, was it moral?
Luckily we don’t have to decide that issue right now, but the act of people sending unsolicited magazine subscriptions to the homes of the members of the City Council here in Satellite Beach brought to memory what we did in the past. We have decried the practice as childish and unproductive. We maintain such actions are morally wrong. There is a cost associated with getting a bill for a magazine one did not order. Postage, time, phone calls, etc are all required to resolve the issue. (We didn’t do anything like this the spammers. We did something similar, but different.) The distinction is there. Sending unsolicited magazines to someone’s home is just wrong.
Jun 3, 2012
On Thursday, we wrote about the inflated kerfuffle happening in Satellite Beach. Near the end of a very long City Council meeting (the meeting was over 6 hours long and ran past midnight) Vice Mayor Scott Rhodes brought up an issue concerning the use of the city’s “Citizens On Patrol.” Rhodes had been given an picture of a city volunteer who in the picture was seen going to his car in the parking lot of a local WalMart. The volunteer was not in uniform. In that the city has budget problems, Rhodes asked if this was policy and emphasized the image that having a volunteer not in uniform gave gave a negative impression of the COP volunteers and the city.
Councilman French and Chief of Police Jeff Pearson said they had seen the picture as well.
After a short discussion, the resolution was to make sure the rules of using the car – specifically the need to be in the city’s uniform – were reinforced to city employees and volunteers.
End of discussion. A minor issue was resolved.
However, as we noted, some people can’t let such issues go. On Memorial Day, we received an email trying to agitate the situation. At the time, we did not identify the person sending the email as they are not a public figure.
That all changed on Saturday when the author of the email managed to have his thoughts published in the Florida Today newspaper.
May 29, 2012
Once in awhile there is a letter to the editor that is so moronic as well as void of facts and understanding, one wonders how the person who wrote it manages to walk without dragging their knuckles.
Such is that case with a letter written to the Florida Today by Tommy Gillis of Port St. John and published by the newspaper on May 24, 2012.
We realize and understand that letters are opinions, but on some level, one would think the newspaper would have some responsibility to make sure the premise of the letter has some – a smattering would be good – of facts before throwing it out to the public to read.
Here’s the letter in its entirety, and after that, we’ll break down the issues with it.
Churches Should Stay Out of Politics or Pay Taxes
I see the Catholic Church is suing the Obama administration for requiring it to provide health care coverage to its employees.
Great place to work, huh? Maybe the administration will hire the same lawyers to defend itself against the church that the church used to defend itself in its unthinkable cover-up of pedophiles and child molesters.
Let’s not forget organized religion pays no taxes. It receives tax-exempt donations and uses them for political gain. Look at the Mormon church and its support of Proposition 8, which banned gay marriage in California last year.
Why should churches get a tax break on political donations and not you or me?
Organized religion should get out of politics or pay taxes on their donations.
Where is the tea party? What would Jesus do?
Let’s start off with the very first line:
Feb 16, 2012
Letters to the editor concerning the contraception / abortion / religious freedom issue seem to still be pouring into the Florida Today newspaper. We commented on one such letter last week, and today another writer has decided to display incredible ignorance and a lack of critical thinking.
The author of this tome is Peter C. Wolff of Melbourne Beach, Florida. In a letter entitled “Contraception mandate not about religious freedom,” he writes:
Catholics and contraception: A media argument about what? Religious freedom?
Catholics can refuse birth control pills. They can choose to have all children possible, but at their expense, not the American taxpayers. This is not religious freedom, this is personal responsibility, the very bedrock of Republican and Democratic philosophy.
Are we to abandon the separation of church and state upon the dictates of the papacy?
President Barack Obama has given the Catholic bishops a way out. Let insurance companies cover women’s contraceptives at no real cost to insurance companies. Sixty-one percent of Americans are for this solution.
Republicans are again putting women at risk for an ideological argument that doesn’t hold water. Come on, ladies, do you really want to sacrifice your choice to the Catholic bishops and their lobbyists, or their Republican representatives?
If Wolff actually believes this is simply a “media argument,” he hasn’t been paying attention. It is not just the Catholic Church that has spoken out about this issue. Leaders of faiths see this issue as an attack on their religious freedoms. Even non-theists see this as an attack on the rights and liberties as guaranteed by the Bill of Rights. In short, this is not a “media argument.”
Dec 28, 2011
The Florida Today newspaper had an opinion piece yesterday asking whether marriage fidelity should be taken into account for a candidate running for President.
The article’s headline blares out the question and the paper’s answer:
Is adultery bad?
Politicians who betray spouses might do same to voters
The question is a fair one. If a person breaks their marriage vows of fidelity to their wife, how will that play out if the person is elected to the office of President?
If a person cannot be trusted with their most loving and intimate relationship, how will they act in the relationship with the American people?
To illustrate, the author writes:
In our not too distant past, a feeling of shame made people go into hiding after an adulterous relationship was exposed. Now they go on television . They either deny it (Herman Cain), admit it and say they’ve asked God for forgiveness (Newt Gingrich), or pay no political price at all (space limitations prevent me from listing the legion of politicians that fall into this last category.)
We may be a little sensitive here, but the only people listed are Conservative Republicans.
It is not until later the writer comes up with an example of a Democrat being accused of adultery: