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August 18, 2010 at 4:01 PM

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President Obama's visit to Seattle invites criticism

Posted by Letters editor

Put down that croissant, Mr. President

Editor, The Times:

My ire is up. Several articles in Tuesday’s Seattle Times did it.

I hope theGrand Central Bakeryin Pioneer Square served up a spine with the president’s croissant on Tuesday. If he ever pushed for a cause he supported in his presidential campaign, I’d faint from surprise.

Same-sex marriages qualified as front-page news, as did the building of an Islamic center, as if either of those “issues” matters a lick when compared with the real issues concerning our nation.

“Death by stoning returns as Taliban punish elopers” [News, Aug. 17] reveals the true nature of the barely-out-of-the cave culture that is Afghanistan. It’s a story about Sharia law and public executions. A young couple in love were tricked by family members into returning home after eloping. They were stoned to death by the very family that lured them home and “hundreds of the victims’ neighbors.” Immediately juxtaposed is a headline from Afghanistan: “Bomb attacks kill 3 U.S. troops” [News, Aug. 17].

The two stories made me wonder for the umpteenth time why we’re still spending our treasure, both human and monetary, in a part of the world tenaciously gripping centuries-old laws and a culture we’ll never understand. The best of minds outside of the profiting corporate world tell us that, with our now-routine practice of invasion and occupation, we do harm, not good with every passing day. The cost of those practices precludes solving problems in dire need of attention.

Buried on page eight is the story of a homeless and hungry American who was serving a near-life sentence for trying to break into a Los Angeles soup kitchen [“Judge frees hungry thief sentenced in 3-strikes case,” News, Aug. 17].

Hunger, unemployment, health care (not the gift insurance companies received from our president). Please, President Obama, put down that croissant, and stand strong for all you said you would. Now, and at last. Before your coffee gets cold.

— Beatrice Metzelaar, Seattle

Time is money

President Obama whisked through Seattle Tuesday to meet with business owners and political donors [“President to lower profile in visit today,” page one, Aug. 17].

At the Grand Central Bakery, he spoke about tough economic times for small businesses. Grand Central Bakery was closed to the public this morning and during the president’s visit. Retail stores could not open until 1 p.m. Office workers could not enter until 10:30 a.m., though it took until at least 11 a.m. to clear security.

At my small law firm, we each lost four hours of billable time. We’re not complaining, but we will have to work later as needed to make it back. A therapist friend had to cancel four client appointments. Countless other small businesses lost time. We first received notice of this disruption yesterday afternoon, making it almost impossible to make alternate plans.

To be fair, the president’s security staff was courteous and efficient. Still, while the president stood in the Grand Central Arcade and discussed the woes of small-business owners in this challenging economic climate, small businesses in the building were forced to lose working time.

And, as all of those attending the $10,000-per-person fundraiser at Rob Glaser’s home know, time is money — a scarce resource in tough economic times.

— Michael P. Graham, Seattle

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