In watching the Democratic National Convention on television, just when I thought the Democrats were going to continue to parade clown after clown up on stage, they threw a curveball. A man named Barack Obama got up and gave a good speech.
I couldn't believe that this well-spoken politician was actually on the same stage as the likes of Teddy Kennedy and Howard Dean. He was the shining star of the convention and the only speaker that I could stand listening to. Many Democrats are crackpot liberals who spew forth lie after lie at any cost. Obama just may be their saving grace.
Edwards' story worthy; welfare abuse not
Regarding the front-page article "Edwards: 'Hope is on the way'" (July 29): John Edwards talked about two Americas Wednesday night. This is the son of a mill worker who has become a multi-millionaire. Nobody gave it to him; he earned it. People all over the world are trying to come to America because opportunity exists here for everyone. This is where the hope is. Unfortunately some Americans don't take advantage of it. They get hooked into becoming welfare-dependent. I hope John Edwards does not think we need more of that.
Informed decisions, not snap judgments
Allison Rasmussen's front-page comments ("American can do better, Kerry says/Still deciding," July 30) frighten me more than dread of another terrorist attack. Her statement, "I'd take the known evil [President Bush] rather than the unknown" highlights the responsibility every American has in defending democracy. Rasmussen's follow-up statement that "Kerry is a spineless, untrustworthy kind of person" right after saying that to her, Sen. John Kerry is "unknown," indicates an opinion formed on 30-second political ads designed to distort facts rather than upon careful consideration of the issues, the candidates, and their records of service.
Not all Americans can serve in the military as my father, my nephews and Kerry have, but every American must do their duty in casting an educated vote. It's said, "Everyone is not entitled to an opinion. Everyone is entitled to an informed opinion." Please investigate before cynically settling for "the evil you know." America deserves better than that.
Candidates need job descriptions
I was watching some of the spectacle that is supposed to result in nominating a candidate for president. As the parade of family, former presidents, and former and future aspirants for the job spoke endlessly about how eminently qualified their candidate is, I was left with a disquieting thought.
The Constitution specifies only two requirements to be president - the candidate must be native-born and at least 35 years old. So far as I know, there is no list of any other qualifications specified. The result is that we end up having to choose from among candidates who are, at best, ill-prepared to take on this awesome job. Looking back over some of the history of the 43 men who have held this office, it's a miracle that we have managed to survive so well.
Perhaps it is time to consider a constitutional amendment that spells out a job description and minimum qualifications to be considered for those seeking this office. It would also be useful to institute a course of training to be mastered before one is allowed to become a candidate.
Irving W. Victor
Computer voting offers new danger
The writer of the editorial "Ohio punch-card argument pointless" (July 28) fails to understand the inherent danger of using a computerized system to count votes.
A team of computer scientists from the Johns Hopkins Information Security Institute, studying the electronic voting system created by Diebold, found that many people would be able to alter the results of an election: voters with forged smart cards; poll workers with access to the voting machines or the network; employees of the hardware and software manufacturers; and employees of the network system across which the voting results were transmitted.
While this study concentrated on voting machines made by Diebold, the vulnerabilities they discovered would apply to any electronic voting system.
With this many opportunities for tampering, the only sure way of preventing fraud is to provide a paper copy of each ballot to the voter. This would add some cost to the process. But that cost is well worth it if it ensures that our most important democratic right will not be compromised.
Teachers shouldn't oppose testing
An organization called Communities for Quality Education has run ads with a teacher complaining about the pitfalls of President Bush's No Child Left Behind education plan and the testing it requires. I am amazed that some teachers are so adamantly against testing our students.
If I simply walked to the doctor and he/she looked at me, asked a few questions and then told me I was fine, I would consider finding another doctor. Before the president's education reform, this is what happened in too many of our schools. Students were suffering and they did not have the option of finding another school.
Under No Child Left Behind, schools and teachers are being held accountable for the education that their students receive. In return for accountability, schools receive more money, $24.8 billion more in 2005, and they are given the flexibility on how to best use the money in their districts.
Bush did not stifle education in America. His plan did not replace academics with standardized tests; it simply ensured accountability for those that are in charge of our nation's future.
Tolls are just more taxation
Regarding the editorial "Pass the transportation bill" (June 26): You might want to dig a little deeper because you have overlooked a couple of very important items in this bill. You must have forgotten Sen. George Voinovich is not a friend of those of us who want lower taxes. There isn't a tax he has seen that he doesn't like.
Inside the transportation bill there is Section 1609. This gives the states the right to put a toll on every interstate highway within its borders. You may think this is good because our highways need to be repaired. Let me ask you: What about all the taxes we currently pay when we fuel up?
Also inside the bill is Section 1603, which gives the states the right to put tolls only on new sections of highways. When that section of the road is paid for, the toll comes off. Can you imagine the cost to a family driving from Cincinnati to Disney World on vacation? Another provision allows Congress can take a portion of our fuel tax money and divert it to other things they deem fit.
I'm sick and tired of my taxes - local, state and federal - constantly going up. And everyone should know that tolls are taxes.
William H. Hellmich
West Chester Township
Three reasons people don't run
Regarding "Wanted: Candidates" (July 25), there are at least three reasons it is difficult to find candidates, part of which is related to an overall lack of citizen participation in voting:
There is an incumbent who is perceived as unbeatable.
Lack of knowledge about the issues. In this day of 30-second sound bites, there are a lack of forums for a real debate or presentation of ideas and issues. The media and candidates resort to catchy phrases. The short attention span of the media does not allow for a meaningful exchange of ideas between good people.
The fact that candidates have to raise in the neighborhood of $50,000 to $100,000 in order to be taken seriously is deterrent to many good candidates. That is why Ohio and Kentucky might take a look at the public financing of candidates by Arizona, which had increased participation in both parties.
Columnist Goldberg wrong on undecideds
Jonah Goldberg claims in "Ill-informed 'undecideds' don't deserve to run country" (July 27) that any voter not affiliated with a political party does not deserve to have a vote.
Our country is a democracy, and not an oligarchy of political junkies. I agree that the voting population needs to be well-informed, but every voter in this country has an equal right to make a decision on our next.
Goldberg criticizes those who "weigh each candidate on the merits rather than vote the party line." But those who weigh the candidates are actually putting much more thought into the election than many of the Democrats or Republicans who vote for their party without even considering the other.
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