Letters to the Editor for Jan. 16, 2011

Published: Sunday, January 16, 2011 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, January 15, 2011 at 12:48 a.m.

Taking the sports out of U.S. academics

In response to Joe Little's Jan. 11 Speaking Out:

U.S. students continually rank about 45th in the world on a variety of academic tests. One reason why students from China, Korea, Denmark, Sweden and other nations continually beat our students on tests: None of the schools in these countries have high school or college sports programs. They study. They excel.

Little calls on university presidents to stop playing and graduating athletes who probably have not earned academic honors. I ask Little to start with his own university, UF, to expose the “sham and corruption” he cites as rampant.

Are professors directed to give athletes passing grades not earned? Do these athletes actually attend all classes required?

The alumni will probably not like the answers, but the rest of us taxpayers will.

Jerry Jenkins,


This is why the NCAA is such a big joke

Nobody can deny what Auburn (and more specifically, Cam Newton) did on the field during the BCS Championship Game. But when do the warning flags go up, and what does it take to sound the alarm?

Newton already had a questionable past academically and with the law while at UF. Can the NCAA sit back and assume that their magic wand will make this all disappear?

Ultimately, Oregon did not just lose, all of college athletics did. The NCAA continued to prove that it is little more than a quiet joke. And now a new precedent has been set that all recruits should be observing.

Jarod Thompson,


Our ‘best friend'?

On Jan. 3 at a presidential news conference we learned that the United States' “best friend” in Europe and the world is France; no longer the United Kingdom.

Is France our new “best friend” because it has just sold two helicopter aircraft carriers to Russia, with the option to use the French designs and technology to build two more? These French-built helicopter carriers can be used to intimidate our eastern European/Baltic allies.

Or maybe it's because France contributes 4,000 troops to the Afghanistan war, compared to the United Kingdom's 10,000.

Or is it because France has not fully supported the United Nations' sanctions against Iran's nuclear activities?

Fredrick P. Peterkin,


Try a more positive approach to debate

Did The Sun staff feel the editorial cartoon and Penpoints on Jan. 13 would be a constructive expression of ideas? Will The Sun continue to perpetuate the rhetoric that brings out feelings of anger and danger?

Please review the president's speech in Arizona and consider how The Sun may be a positive influence in our discussions and debates.

Sheryl Kirby,

Live Oak

Palin's ‘blood libel' is an abomination

As President Obama is doing his best to bring the country together in the wake of the Tucson massacre, it is especially disturbing to read that Sarah Palin, the high priestess of divisiveness, is accusing the press of a “blood libel.”

This is unmistakably an allusion to the centuries-old anti-Semitic slur that Jews killed Christian children in order to use their blood to make matzos. The clear insinuation here is that the American press is controlled by Jews, who are out to get her.

Such rhetoric was used most notoriously by the Nazis, starting in the early 1920s.

I am not Jewish, but I hope earnestly that Palin is forced to issue a retraction and an apology for this disgraceful remark. We cannot tolerate the promotion of such hate-filled and discriminatory attitudes from political leaders.

Geoffrey Giles,


No more targeting

The shooting in Arizona has many people thinking that too much media “targeting” is, at least, partially to blame. To Sarah Palin: What goes around, comes around.

Richard Coleman,


Politicians, media ignore real heroes

A tragic story unfolded last week. Heroes sprung into action, but could not stop some great Americans from dying and other innocents from suffering injuries that put them under critical care.

Some heroes risked their own lives to prevent further injury by protecting loved ones at the scene and stopping a crazed gunman from further depredation.

In the aftermath, our politicians and media types responded in a manner that would embarrass a miscreant convention. The story was stolen and replaced with a disparate narrative of political convenience.

Many thoughtful Americans reject that commentary, the process and the participants from which it was born with complete disdain.

Ernest Windsor,


Why spend so much to benefit so few?

When you read about the proposed changes to Northwest 16th and Northwest 23rd avenues, one would think that we have no room for all of the cyclists/pedestrians. I would guess that on a very good day there might be 200 bikers, walkers and runners who actually use that particular corridor.

If that is the case, then the powers that be are suggesting to spend 20 percent or more of the budget to please less than 1 percent of the traffic.

Why construct a 3-foot bike shoulder on the road, as well as widen and reconstruct the sidewalk as a 10-foot wide “multi-use” path? That makes almost as much sense as having 100 to 150 tractor trailers a day bringing in wood waste for the biomass plant.

I thought Gainesville is supposed to be a smart city.

Brian Hood,


CHOICES is a good thing, to a point

Just putting in my two cents about CHOICES: I think it is a fine program to provide dental and medical services to those in need.

However, I think the rest of the program is rather frivolous. People can provide their own exercise of walking or whatever. They don't need an exercise program paid for by others. Likewise other CHOICES programs should not be available to people who have funds.

In today's economy I appreciate programs for essential services like medical and dental. Many people can benefit from these. But the rest is not essential and is a waste of money in my view.

Judy Walden,


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