Letters to the editor for Sunday, March 19, 2023
Ask yourself: What's the hurry?
Listen up all you red light runners and you know who you are. What’s the hurry? Are you trying to get to the hospital before the shift change? This has got to stop! I dread even a short drive to Publix and there’s only one traffic light! Years ago the country band, Alabama, had a hit song which included the lyrics, “I’m in a hurry (and I don’t know why”.) Think about it. What is so urgent that you would risk your life and the lives of others, including your loved ones riding with you?
Recently, I was stopped on northbound Metro Parkway waiting at a red left turn arrow to change green so I could turn onto Crystal Drive. The arrow turned green, but turned back to red before I could move without hitting one of the many vehicles that ran the red signal heading west on Crystal! Consequently, I had to wait for another change of the signal before I could safely make my turn.
Unfortunately, traffic signals have become merely a suggestion as have speed limits. I know this is the “free” state of Florida, but you’re not free to kill me and my loved ones. Before you get behind the control panel of your three-ton Death Star, kindly take a few deep breaths and ask yourself, “what’s the hurry?” In fact, research has shown that you won’t arrive at your destination any sooner by driving recklessly. Contrarily, you just may arrive at the morgue long before you’re expected!
Jay Custa, Estero
Nationalistic, authoritarian agenda
In the event that HB 991 becomes law, the following may well land me at the business end of a defamation suit; but hey -- in for a dime, in for a dollar. Ron DeSantis is a scientist, and he's conducting an experiment here in The Sunshine State. With both his rhetoric and legislative proposals, he is betting that we, the people of Florida, will turn our backs on the founders' ideal of democratic Republicanism and embrace a nationalistic, authoritarian agenda reminiscent of Germany in the 1930's. It's a meaningful experiment, and it's being closely watched by aspiring authoritarians everywhere. If we do not stand against him and his policies now, we will send a "go for it" message to bullies of his ilk everywhere. And yes, it can happen here.On a recent visit, a friend put the current state of American democracy into chilling perspective. He wondered if he would recognize the precise moment when he and his family would have to flee the country of their birth. He is a smart, historically aware, patriotic American who also happens to be Jewish. He has heard this song before -- and he knows the tune.
Geremy Spampinato, Naples
Wake up, Florida
I don't know who Ed Wexler is, but I want to meet him and shake his hand. His editorial cartoon in the Sunday March 12 edition about Ron DeSantis is spot on. When the "woke" State of Florida takes notice that their governor is nothing more than what the cartoon makes him out to be. Are we destined to abolish the Bill of Rights? Are we destined to end up a society where books have been personified and outlawed? Are we destined to live in a state that the political party tells us what to do, how to do it? Wake up, Florida, the future is just around the corner, and it doesn't look bright.
Greg Lessig, Lehigh Acres
'Woke' means anything and nothing
As the use of the word "woke" spread and I saw the reaction of some political leaders, I came to believe that they, like bears in hibernation, resented being awakened from their dreams of the ideal life of the 1950's. As more actions became labeled as "woke" I noticed two things; "woke" meant anything the present administration did was wrong, and two, you did not need to identify what "woke" meant, it was the dog whistle of acknowledging you belonged to an elite group. No explanation needed. After the recent failure of several banks I now understand the term "woke." It means everything and ultimately nothing. It's a diversion from a need for policies, plans or accountability on issues facing Americans. And, hopefully before the 2024 elections, will have become exposed for its nothingness and become obsolete.
Patricia Howard, Naples
Supporting Russian aggression immoral
I watched in disbelief Gov. DeSantis' take on the Russian immoral invasion of Ukraine. He stated it to be a regional conflict, with little impact on the United States. Simply put, he's very wrong. Then I remembered that Florida currently holds around $300,000,000, in Russian investments! For more than a year, many people have "demanded" we divest these investments. As supporting Russian aggression is immoral. Like Chamberlain appeasing Hitler.
Robert Jenkins, Naples
Battle of the bullies
Bullies are basically cowards who quickly fold when confronted. We currently have two bullies leading the Republican primary -- Donald J. Trump and Ron DeSantis. It looks like a checkers match since neither are bright enough to play chess. Ron DeSantis is the weaker of these two bullies so he will not directly confront the chief bully. Trump would “eat him up and spit him out” on the debate stage so we are beginning to see “Reneging Ron” change his game plan as he attempts to ingratiate himself with the bigger bully. “Reneging Ron” is quickly adapting his game plan to look more and more like Trump’s plan which is supportive of Russia. Both Trump and DeSantis are now claiming that Ukraine is simply a territorial dispute and therefore not important to our national interests. It’s a win-win situation for Vladimir Putin who threw a great deal of support to Trump during the 2016 election. He now has both of the leading Republican candidates repeating Russian “talking points” and seeking his support. USA intelligence services and democratic governments worldwide have declared Putin a war criminal, but these two continue to support Putin, not because they really believe him, but because they want his powerful support during the 2024 election. It’s shameful to watch. Watch for Trump to sweet talk DeSantis into becoming his VP running mate. DeSantis would consent to such an arrangement hoping that Trump ultimately is jailed for his previous crimes and DeSantis would inherit Trump’s cult base.
James Stuart Emery, LTC, U.S. Army (Retired), Valrico
Biden a disaster for women
The News-Press propaganda machine recently spun an article about “Woman’s Day” that stated: “The United Nations identified Afghanistan as the most repressive country in the world for women and girls.” Wait a minute, how did that happen? President Trump had 2,500 troops managing the Afghan army and women and girls had more freedom than ever in history! They went to school, protested for civil rights, and moved about freely.
Things were looking up for Afghan women, and they knew it.
Here at home, inflation was not an issue, interest rates were low, pay was up, consumer confidence was through the roof, and women’s unemployment was historically low. Single moms were finally getting ahead. Low wage earners were getting by, and the majority felt we were headed in the right direction. Then, in the biggest mistake in our lifetimes, Joe Biden got more votes than anybody, ever. A laughing stock in previous presidential elections, Joe, who lied about his education, stole speeches, and is a bumbling fool, became president.
First, Joe sabotaged our energy system and printed trillions of dollars, causing massive inflation, impoverishing 80 million Americans, with none being hit harder than poor single mothers. Millions of Americans can’t pay their bills under Biden, a disaster unfolding daily. But no one is suffering more because of Joe Biden than Afghan women.
As the article states: “they have banned girls education beyond 6th grade, and barred women from public places.” Millions of women are essentially slaves now, because of Joe Biden. He handed billions of dollars in U.S. weapons and the entire country to the Taliban, our mortal enemies. Joe Biden has ruined an entire country, now that’s power. He has America in a funk that may take years to dig out of, yet the media completely omits his accomplishments, as the worst president for international women’s rights, ever.
Jeff Naslund, M.Ed., Fort Myers
Good luck, Florida
After reading what your governor has done and what he has planned for us I can only assume that the 60% of Floridians who elected him are happy with his fascist, bigoted, unconstitutional actions. You obviously don’t care about the red tide on the front page he has done nothing about or the fact that our property insurance has doubled in the past two years or that 800,000 Floridians are deprived of Medicaid. Pretty soon any benefit we get from no state taxes will be spent on property insurance. Good luck if we don't get shot by some nut job carrying.
Albert King, Naples
Mean spirit in politics
Everyone should know that all politicians are not totally honest. Republican or Democrat, politicians verbally spin every situation to their own advantage. But as citizens, we have to choose our leaders from politicians. So, unfortunately, the choice is often between “not so good” and “evil.”
“Evil” is the mean spirit which makes policies that attack individual groups of human beings as central to the problems in our society. The human beings attacked by some politicians are immigrants, LGBTQ individuals, people who strive for racial justice, and others. Very strange that these same politicians will claim Jesus is on their side. Of course, anyone who knows anything about Jesus, knows that Jesus clearly told us to love our neighbors. He clearly said that our neighbors include people who are different than we are, and that we should take care of them. “Love one another as I have loved you” was a commandment for us that came directly from Jesus, and it is a command that has love, not evil, at its core.
A good example of pure evil was Nazi Germany prior to and during WW II. Certain groups of people were blamed for the problems of society, and those people were officially dehumanized through law. Adolf Hitler was the leader. And, don’t forget, Germany was a democracy when Adolf Hitler seized his power. Nazi Germany may seem like a long time ago and irrelevant to today, but is it? Think about it when you decide who our leaders in the United States of America should be.
Marilyn Graham, Fort Myers
Replace hate with love, respect
Kudos to Joe Russo for his incisive letter published March 11.
It called to mind the day I was driving north on Livingston Road and had to stop for a red light at the Bonita Beach Road intersection. The car in front of me had a bumper sticker that read: TRUMP 2024 THE REVENGE TOUR.
Revenge Tour? Really? Are we to believe that this will be Trump's platform for his attempt to secure the Republican nomination for president in 2024? I think Haley and DeSantis might have something to say about that. They and several other possible Republican candidates may hold the future of the Republican party in their hands. Trump's ship has sailed. It's time for a younger generation to take over the reins of government whether it be Republican or Democrat.
Mr. Russo's letter clearly highlights the depths we have sunk to with the vulgarities and disrespect of others who are different which is so prevalent in today's world.
I remember many years ago riding a bus in Buffalo, New York where advertisements were visible in the curved ceiling of the bus. The message on one panel has stayed with me for the last 61 years. It featured a little white girl holding five dolls: one White; one Black; one American Indian; one Indian and one Oriental. Beneath the panel was this caption: She hasn't been taught to hate yet. That message has stayed with me all these past years and when my daughters were growing up I tried my best to teach them that message.
Maybe we should all try replacing hate with love and respect for all mankind and God's creatures.
Barbara Geisenburg, Naples
Newspaper so far left
Your description of Governor DeSantis using taxpayer dollars to send 50 migrants out of state makes no mention of Biden using taxpayers' money to support, feed, free phones, housing, clothing for “migrants.” Your newspaper is so far left it’s unbelievable.
Joyce Evanchick, Naples
Praise for abortion bill
Hooray for Gov. DeSantis and Florida lawmakers for filing a bill to ban abortions after six weeks when a heartbeat can be detected. That is a sure sign of life. Therefore, when the heart of an unborn baby is undoubtedly beating, he or she is certainly alive in the mother's womb. And on the subject of life, many thanks to Walgreens for declining to sell the abortion pill in 20 conservative states like Florida. Now it can continue to concentrate on healing people and stopping pain.
It's no wonder that Walgreens is my favorite pharmacy in Southwest Florida.
Diane Corcelli, Bonita Springs
I hope the president has more luck cracking down on fraud than I did. My last Medicare statement had a charge of $4,500 approved and paid that was false. On the reverse side in large print, I read call 800-MEDICARE if you suspect FRAUD. So, I called and a “robot” answered: “In a few words tell me why you called today?” I responded “Fraud.” I am sorry but I did not get that. In a few words tell me why you called today.This went on 10 times before I was transferred to a live person who began with the same question and I told her “FRAUD.” She congratulated me for calling and then proceeded to ask me questions. I answered and added that I don’t know anything more than what is on the statement which I am sure you have. She insisted on asking more questions because it was required. These were interrupted by more compliments for me calling.
I was then transferred to the Fraud department where I was again complimented for calling and asked the same questions interrupted by more compliments for calling. She explained that it takes weeks to investigate but we will get back to you. After another compliment for calling, she wanted to know what would be a convenient time? She broke the day in three-hour blocks, I responded “any time” and ended the call. I sat back bewildered over this experience. An old Russian joke came to mind. A Russian had ordered a car and received a call from the car dealer telling him the car will be available in nine years. The buyer asked, "In the morning or afternoon?” The dealer inquired why and the buyer responded that he was expecting the plumber in the afternoon.Ted Raia, Naples
Make Standard Time permanent
One of the great ideas of our time is to end the switch to DST from Standard Time. Among the dumbest ideas of our time, promoted by the dimwits in Florida government, is make DST permanent.
We should make the healthy alternative, Standard Time, permanent. No more clock changing.
States that tried permanent DST have switched back.
Neville Williams, Naples
Lawsuit death to election lies?
Real freedom for Trump’s supporters but will his followers take advantage of their newly found freedom? Rupert Murdoch (owns Fox News) admitted that Hannity, Tucker Carlson, Giuliani and Lindell promoted the falsehood about Trump’s winning the election.
Trump’s big lie is now exposed; will his supporters continue their perilous journey? Jim Jones of Guyana and Trump controlled human minds to their death (Jones) and nearly to the death of our democracy Jan. 6, 2021. Jones committed suicide but Trump has continued mind control of millions. Murdoch knew that the hosts on Fox News lied about Trump’s election fraud. Former House Speaker Paul Ryan, a member of Fox’s board of directors, told the Murdochs that “Fox News should not be spreading conspiracy theories."
On Nov. 7, Fox projected that Biden had won the election. Yet Fox News hosts stoked the energy ahead of Trump's Jan. 6, 2021, protests that became a bloody siege of the U.S. Capitol. They gave play to Trump's baseless assertions.
It has been said that mules “must be hit over the head with a 2X4” to change course. Are facts exposed by Dominion’s lawsuit the 2X4 essential for Trump followers to think logically and use common sense. Trump’s big lie and DeSantis as well remain a fundamental threat to our democracy.William Pettinger, Bonita Springs
Acceptance, not adulation
Yesterday, on national TV, I saw Drew Barrymore fall to her knees in trans worship of an individual who had bravely rejected his male identity and become a caricature of a beautiful woman.The president of the United States has offered heartfelt moral support to all the brave young boys who want to endure mutilation and chemical castration to become their true selves -- fake women.Brave trans women are our new national idols. Add in same sex couples who bravely marry each other and underqualified people who are given jobs they are not best qualified for because of their race or queerness and we have cutting edge America today.Males are in trouble, boys and men. The “men are the problem” campaign against them is working. Note the statistics about males in college and medical school.Competence is not as respected. Equity is king. Starting at the top of the government, then to the universities and schools, then to the companies and institutions, we are staffing untold numbers of jobs with people who are not the best qualified to do them.On a national and a personal level, this nation needs strong men and women and should celebrate them. Traditional families where men marry women and raise the children they produce are the glue that holds every society together. We need the most competent person filling every job.I don’t know how our new grand experiments will work over time. The concept of acceptance and respect of differences is a good one but we have moved on to privilege and adulation of those differences.Our traditional values produced the most successful country the world has ever known.Bob Stabile, Bonita Springs
Masks and pseudoscience
A week ago New York Times columnist Bret Stephens suggested that Cochrane, a British institute dedicated to review of science, had declared masking as useless against COVID. So far Florida politicians such as the governor and his surgeon general (with his history of promoting Ivermectin and Chloroquine as preventives and treatment for COVID in spite of overwhelming evidence of their total ineffectiveness and dangers) do not seem to have jumped on the Cochrane report, although it is likely only a matter of time before they do.
What Stephens failed to explain to his readers was that Cochrane, which had reviewed a relatively small number of studies, specifically warned that those studies did not include data on whether supposed maskers actually used their masks and that there was ample reason to suppose that compliance was poor. As a reader of the Stephens column remarked elsewhere "using the Cochrane report to reach conclusions on mask effectiveness would be like concluding that seat belts are useless on the basis of injuries suffered by those not wearing them."
Teasing out the effectiveness of masking is extremely complicated depending on prevailing COVID variants, timing in the epidemic, vaccination rates, etc. Given abundant scientific evidence not reviewed by Cochrane that masks do help to prevent airborne disease when used properly and given the probability of major future epidemics in which cooperation by all will be required to prevent catastrophe, it is critical that pseudoscience not be used to undermine public confidence in tools such as masking which may well be needed in the future.
Alan Keller, Naples
Waiting for contractors
I contacted by telephone seven different contractors about repairing damaged screens in my cage lanai. One called me back five days after I called him, and a young man came to my house and quoted me a price. I waited for any other contractor to call me but that did not happen. I then called the only one to respond to me and told him I wanted to go ahead with the job. He never called me back. Too bad there is so much work out there but there will come a day when there is not so much. I know this will happen as I went through that in the 1980's when I was in business.
Thomas Kiddle, Naples
Bring back 'Get Fuzzy'
Since you have new space, please bring back "Get Fuzzy.“
The drawings are delightful and the logic of Bucky is hilarious to say the least.
The dialogue is always well thought through by the cartoonist and one wonders how Jon can keep his sanity living with his two roommates.
Please bring it back on a daily basis.
Bärbel and Douglas Munson, Naples
This article originally appeared on Fort Myers News-Press: Letters to the editor for Sunday, March 19, 2023