The public defender system has deteriorated from the noble cause of providing counsel, to a system of providing employment for incompetent attorneys. The article `“The defense never rests,” Feb. 14` mentioned the high turnover rate at the public defender’s office. This is because some attorneys use the office for entry-level employment. Once they have gained experience and (maybe) competence, they move along to higher-paying practices. The indigent defendants remain trapped. Justice is for those who can afford good lawyers.

Howard Cox, Orlando


Wow! Billy Manes must have been working overtime; three lengthy stories in your Feb. 14 issue `“The defense never rests,” “Back from the dead,” Council Watch`! I even checked the photo captions to make sure he didn’t also take the pics. I didn’t know he could be that serious for so long.

I really enjoyed “The defense never rests.” We should all be very grateful that there are lawyers who will work for low pay and long hours. `Ninth Judicial Circuit Public Defender` Bob Wesley is a great guy. I have heard him speak and he is always very upbeat and humorous. Now let Billy take some time off!

Joanne Howard, Winter Park

I don’t think you can really compare yourselves to other groups that might be discriminated against; the bottom line is that you have a choice, others don’t `“Fat power!,” Jan. 31`. I’ve known people who come from obese families and have overcome the “obese gene.” It’s simply a matter of want; you either want to be healthy and active or you want to take the easy way out and continue to eat whatever you want and not have responsibility for your health.

I don’t care how comfortable you are with how you look, if you’re not comfortable walking up a couple of flights of stairs, then there’s clearly something wrong.

I don’t believe anyone should be discriminated against because of their weight or anything else. But I’m not really sure that it would be healthy for us as a culture and a community to simply accept obesity as normal. Overeating and poor eating habits are serious issues in this country and to collectively say, “This is OK, it’s totally normal and healthy,” would be just as bad as saying that becoming severely thin is normal and healthy.

The day that I meet an obese person who eats appropriate portions of nutritious foods and works out three to five times a week (as recommended by the Center for Disease Control) and is still obese will be the day that I totally accept it as unavoidable. I’m sorry, but I just don’t think it exists.

And just to avoid a barrage of comments, I’m not talking about anyone who’s clearly not obese. I’m not talking about someone who’s pleasantly plump, or even has a bit of a Buddha belly going on. And I’m definitely not talking about someone who’s clearly not overweight, but falls into that obese body mass index category.

I’m aware of the fact that those measurements are sometimes off. But I think you’re fooling yourself if you look like Marianne Kirby and you don’t think your weight is going to affect your overall health.


Dear John Edwards: I’m sorry that you had to bow out of the presidential race. If I had a spare $100 million I would’ve gladly given it to you to stay in the race. I will keep my word: I said that if John Edwards dropped out of the race I would stop calling Barack Obama “the Manchurian candidate” and Hillary Clinton a “fembot.” And I will.

John, now that you’re out are you going to kick Bill O’Reilly’s ass? I would! If I were Elizabeth Edwards I’d kick Ann Coulter’s ass, videotape it and put it on YouTube. Catfights are big on YouTube. Also, both Hillary Clinton and Obama owe George W. Bush a big thank you because if his administration hadn’t done such a lousy job, neither of them would have done as well.

Wes Pierce, Orlando

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