JUST WHEN we think we have heard it all, along comes the recent Associated Press story of a New Jersey couple who were turned down by their local ShopRite grocery store when they attempted to obtain a birthday cake with the inscription of the name of their son, "Adolf Hitler Campbell." Regrettably, a Wal-Mart outlet acquiesced to the couple's demands.

The news report indicates that the "loving" parents do not understand what all the fuss is about. How detached must a person be from civilized society to name their child after one of the most evil, savage men that ever lived?

I shudder to think of the reactions of hatred that the pitiable three-year-old is certain to encounter throughout his life through no fault of his own, but through the actions of his unhinged parents. The lack of acceptance that he endures is bound to cause deep psychological trauma.

When one considers the myriad innocent children that are being raised by simpletons, it becomes easy to conclude that the future is bleak.

Oren M. Spiegler, Upper Saint Clair, Pa.

We want to pay more taxes?

Dan Ackelsberg's opinion, "Philly Will Pay for Services," caused me to fall out of my chair. What "planet" did this national polling firm sample?

On planet Earth where the economy is in free fall; where people struggle to pay for food, utilities and basic necessities; where people are losing jobs, have no health care and saw their nest eggs disappear? Maybe you, your blog and pollsters live on Fantasy Island, but this is reality.

An unscientific poll conducted at work asked one simple incisive non-sugar-coated question: Would you agree to give away more of your hard-earned wages in the form of increased taxes for city services, instead of closing libraries and firehouses? An overwhelming majority, laughed hysterically. The highest response was, "What, lose more of my paycheck to pay for services that we already pay for and don't get?"

The second highest response was, "Do you realize what is happening with the economy?" The rest of the responses varied with expletives and name calling of our elected officials.

Reality check: Hard-working, barely-making-it taxpayers do not want to fork over more of their hard-earned money to a government that is wasteful, careless, bloated and bordering on elitism.

Ackelsberg's blogosphere world, where real life struggles seem not to exist, is fantasy.

Timothy Dowling, Philadelphia

Christmas firing of Cheeks

I was very upset when I found out that Maurice Cheeks was fired by the Sixers after a 9-14 start and the timing couldn't have been any worse. Why fire him before the Christmas holiday?

They replaced him temporarily with Tony Dileo, a guy who has no previous big-league coaching experience. Now do they really think this will make a difference?

Maurice was not the team's main problem. The Sixers need a good center, a Shaq-type dominant player because nobody fears Samuel Dalembert. He's too weak and soft to be a center.

Carlton R. Manley, Philadelphia