While reading the May 11 story "Justices to hear Pa. beer battle," I was reminded yet again how silly the Pennsylvania "beer laws" are. If you visit other states (Ohio, New York, Virginia, North Carolina, to name a few) like I have, it is blatantly obvious that the purchaser is the one who determines what they want.
You can go to a grocery store, gas station, or drive-through (yes, a drive-through, which is similar to a distributor in Pennsylvania) and get pretty much what you want. The counter argument about that being bad for underage or "problem" drinkers is weak, and (as far as I can tell) has no quantitative, objective evidence to back it up.
Regardless, I want a choice in what I want and how much I want to buy - not whatever someone at the Malt Beverage Distributors Association of Pennsylvania thinks is best ("Keep beer in beer stores," May 19).
No rush to conserve
Recently, driving down the Pennsylvania Turnpike's Northeast Extension, I thought I'd experiment with going the speed limit for a change - 65 or 55 m.p.h. Of course everybody, including giant diesel-guzzling trucks, passed me going 75 or 80, whatever the posted limit.
If everybody is supposed to be so concerned about gas prices, how come nobody is slowing down?
Tests not sole gauge
Columnist Chris Satullo beautifully illustrated the flawed logic of measuring students' academic success based solely on the results of standardized tests ("Look clearly at charter schools," May 17).
We enrolled our daughter in the "Spanish immersion" program at Independence Charter School in Center City when she was in kindergarten. She is now a fluent Spanish speaker at the age of 9. Her reading test scores are slightly lower those of "average" third graders because she learns primarily in Spanish and takes standardized tests in English. On the whole, we think that this trade-off is worth it because of the opportunities that she will experience as a bilingual adult.
How do standardized test scores measure such an enriching academic experience for a child and the future opportunities that await her as an adult?
Make speeders pay
As I drove on the Pennsylvania Turnpike recently, with most every other car blowing by me at 80 miles per hour, it became obvious to me that most American drivers do not understand the relationship between their bad driving habits and the high cost of gasoline.
It's quite simple, really. High speed reduces gas mileage. Poor gas mileage creates higher demand for gas. Higher demand creates higher prices. Therefore, speeders create higher prices for everyone at the pump.
I would like to propose that, since speeding is now an economic crime as well as a traffic violation, the criminals should pay much more dearly than they do now. Speeding fines should be doubled with zero tolerance for violators and tripled for driving more than 20 miles per hour over the limit. Points should also be doubled or tripled. The proceeds could then be used to offset costs at the pump through lower state gas taxes or to pay for the higher fuel costs of the state and municipalities.
Columnist Mike Armstrong's characterization of Select Greater Philadelphia's 2008 regional report on recent successes in regional economic development seemed to fixate on its mention of ENIAC, the first digital computer developed at the University of Pennsylvania ("Promoting Philadelphia," May 19).
The report named ENIAC once - in a sidebar meant to help readers appreciate the continuing evolution of the region's technological strengths. Given Philadelphia's historical heritage, such an allusion is relevant and appropriate. Beyond that one mention, readers will find an abundance of data concerning recent positive advancements in technology, finance, education, health care, real estate, transportation, environmental leadership and more. Clearly, there are many reasons to feel good about this region's future.
As Armstrong notes, it's a tough economy and "what goes up, can come down." But there is also much to say for the power of positive thinking.
Philadelphia's historical heritage is one of glorious possibility - our Founding Fathers settled for nothing less.