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Community Forum: Obama's not qualified just by being present'
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In her letter Tuesday, Sue Basel makes the assertion that Sarah Palin is not qualified to be vice president. I normally don't get caught up writing on political matters, but this begs a rebuttal.

Palin is not qualified to be vice president, she says? Let's talk about qualifications. Palin is vastly more qualified to be vice president than Barack Obama. And the last time I checked, he wants to be president.

Obama has never been a governor, a mayor, not even a city councilman, as far as I know. He has apparently never run his own business. He is a senator. However, his record is probably the most dismal ever. According to his voting record, he was "present" part of the time, but voted only a couple times.

This is the guy who wants to be president of the most powerful nation in the world. According to his voting record, he either can't make decisions or can't be bothered with trivial matters like legislation that will become law.

He would like to raise taxes on the "evil" rich and shift the wealth to the "middle class." In case nobody noticed, these "evil" rich sign your paychecks. A tax increase on them represents an increase in the cost of doing business. That cost is passed on in the prices of goods and services. It is the poor and middle class that wind up paying higher prices.

Think about what has happened with the price of oil. What happens if the cost of doing business here gets too high? Your employer either goes out of business or moves his operation to another country, and there goes your job.

What happens then to the tax break for the poor and middle class? With the state our economy is in, this could spell disaster.

For president, we need someone who is more than just "present" part of the time. We need someone who can make hard decisions concerning our national security, foreign policy and other important issues. I have to question if Obama would even be "present" when the pressure is really on.

Democrats like to talk about President Bush's "failures" on things like the war in Iraq, the economy and immigration. I would like to point out that the blame for these failures lies at their own doorstep. Last I checked, they have been in control of Congress for quite some time.

The president does not write the laws; Congress does. Congress passes legislation and the president either signs or vetoes it. And when the president vetoes a bill, Congress still has the power to override it.

Everybody wants to blame the president for everything from wars to their abscessed tooth. The fact is that the president can make recommendations and tell Congress what he wants, but it then does what it wants. And in the case of a Republican president and a Democratic Congress, in almost every case they are going to do just the opposite.
Then they will blame him for the failures in their political game-playing.

So think long and hard before you vote because this will probably be the most important election, with the most far-reaching consequences that many of us will ever see.

Jerry Callahan

Helping hand from Good Samaritan welcome
On Sept. 3 while power-walking in downtown Gainesville, I took a nasty spill. Thankfully, my accident occurred right in front of a very kind man, Ray Nix.

Ray got out of his car, gently helped me up when I was ready to move, gave me a clean handkerchief to wipe my bleeding lip and offered to make calls or even take me to the emergency room. Ray was not in a hurry. He patiently waited while I gathered my wits and decided what to do.

As time passed, I realized that I was capable of driving myself to get medical attention for my split lip, badly bruised hand and "dangling" pinky finger. I asked Ray to drive me to my car, and he gladly did. Of course, I thanked Ray many times and then we parted ways.

That was the extent of my meeting with Ray Nix, but not the last time I have thought of him. Over the years, I have read many letters in this newspaper in which someone is thanking an individual for a kindness. Now that I have been the recipient of such a kindness, I understand why those letters are written. It is important to publicly acknowledge the kindness of a perfect stranger.

I hope Ray's friends, colleagues, neighbors and family members all see this letter that reaffirms what I'm sure they already know. Most of all, I hope Ray sees this letter and knows how much I appreciated his calm and kind demeanor during a very trying time.

Now, several weeks later, after the lip was stitched up and the broken finger was surgically repaired, my lingering memory of the whole incident is the kindness of Ray Nix. Thank you, Ray, for being there for me.

Janell Webster

Banker bailout planned to keep fat cats happy
Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson went before a congressional hearing Tuesday and essentially demanded a virtual blank check from the American people. He threatens us with all manner of dire consequences if we taxpayers don't give his friends on Wall Street at least $700 billion.

Keep in mind that this well-dressed panhandler is the retired CEO of Goldman Sachs, an investment bank which has emerged from the melt-down as one of the biggest firms on Wall Street.

Lets remember that the administration which Paulson represents stampeded Congress into supporting the invasion of Iraq on the pretense of eliminating fictitious weapons of mass destruction and imaginary enemies back in 2003.

Keep in mind that this administration was ramrodded by another well-dressed panhandler, Vice President Dick Cheney, the retired CEO of Haliburton, a corporation that has reaped vast wealth from its involvement in Iraq.

Big bankers are kicking millions of families out of homes in record numbers. Peoples' shrinking incomes make it impossible to pay their debts, especially medical costs.

Forty-five million people can no longer afford health care insurance. Yet this administration seriously expects us to bail out big-shot bankers.

Meanwhile, big-time Wall Street CEOs are walking away into retirement with obscenely huge retirement packages, such as Bear-Stearns CEO Jimmy Cayne ($60 million), Lehman Brothers CEO Richard Fuld ($22 million), Merrill-Lynch CEO Stan ONeal ($161 million) and Citibank CEO Chuck Prince ($68 million). These people are heavily involved in the exotic mortgage-backed schemes that have created the present disaster. Before we give one cent to bankers, make them give up their vast personal wealth.

Billions for bankers ... pennies for the people!

Bill Kinsland

Who really is in middle class anyway?
What makes a middle-class American? I hear all the people talk about helping the middle class out. When they run for office, it is all about helping the middle class try and pay the bills of America.

We have the rich and the super rich, then we have the poor. Where is the line made that defines the middle class, how much do the middle class make? Where do you stop being poor and become middle-class Americans? Can you explain the guidelines used to define a middle-class American in our political world?

They use the term all the time in speeches, but no one says what a middle-class American is. They have this much wealth and personal achievements. Please define.

Charles R. Bostedt