Whether it's decision on the economy, closing GITMO, or dealing with the Islamic menace, there's something about the Obama presidency that reminds me of the car-chasing dog that one day catches the car and has to ask "Well, now what do I do with it?" Now for the loser:
President Obama's interview with an Islamic television network has filled me with hope. Obama said the United States had made mistakes in the past, but "that the same respect and partnership that America had with the Muslim world as recently as 20 or 30 years ago, there's no reason why we can't restore that." The only question I have is what respect and partnership of the past 20 or 30 years was he referring to?
Was it the respect and partnership the Iranians showed when they stormed the U.S. Embassy in Tehran on Nov. 4, 1979 and took 52 Americans hostage? Was it the bombing of the U.S. Embassy in Beirut on April 18, 1983? Was it the bombing of the Marine barracks in Beirut on Oct. 23, 1983? Perhaps he was referring to the bombing of the U.S. Embassy in Kuwait on Dec. 12, 1983, or maybe the kidnapping of CIA Station Chief William Buckley on March 16, 1984? Was it the bombing of the U.S. Embassy annex northeast of Beirut on Sept. 9, 1984? Was it the hijacking of Kuwait Airways Flight 221 on Dec. 3, 1984, that resulted in two U.S. officials being murdered? Was it the hijacking of TWA Flight 847 on June 14, 1985, that resulted in the murder of a U.S. sailor on board? How about the hijacking of the cruise ship Achille Lauro on Oct. 7, 1985, that resulted in the death of another innocent American? Was it the bombing of the Rome and Vienna airports on Dec. 12, 1985, that resulted in 20 deaths? Was it the bombing of LaBelle Discotheque, a popular club for off-duty U.S. servicemen, on April 5, 1986, in West Berlin that resulted in more than 200 wounded? Perhaps he was referring to the three Americans shot in Beirut on April 17, 1986? Maybe he meant the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 on Dec. 21, 1988, that resulted in 270 people murdered?
Clearly, when you look back at the past 20 to 30 years, it is obvious that the Muslim world has had the utmost respect and partnership for and with the United States, and then George W. Bush went and screwed it all up. Thank God (Christian, Muslim, or other) that President Obama is here to put things back the way they used to be.
J.P. PAWLUK, GOLDEN VALLEY
I wish I had some spare time because it'd fun to stalk George as he moved through life, whatever that might might look like. As soon as I saw George doing anything that resembled leisure, relaxation or enjoyment, I could run up and bust his hypocrisy with a printed copy of his own dour words and ending his fun at that moment.
Super Bowl XLIII could be viewed as a microcosm of 2009 America, where the rich continue to get richer. The NFL, the team owners, the players, the media and TV reap the financial benefits of the event, while America crumbles around it. For a week, the Tampa area's economy will benefit from the game. This is good. But then the "show" departs, and the area and its citizens will continue their day-to-day battles. Despite tough times, the football fans, being who they are, will see the game as almost a religious experience.
But, when the stadium lights go out on Sunday night, will the country be a better place? Will its citizens be in a better place? No! Will the Super Bowl have benefited anything or anyone other than the entities listed above? No! Jobless numbers will continue to rise; 45 million, including 18 million children, will still be without health insurance; schools will continue to hold bake sales to raise funds; much-needed human services will continue to be cut; veterans and the care they need will continue to be ignored; the causes and cures of deadly diseases will still remain a mystery, and government's indifference toward the average American will continue.
America will not be a better place, nor will Americans be better off, because of Super Bowl XLIII. In the big picture, it's not a very significant event at all. It's just a football game.
GEORGE LARSON, MINNEAPOLIS