Why is it that when I pass by 15th and Market streets on Fridays there are men speaking and teaching hate, especially toward white people? I tried listening to them so I can get a clear understanding as to what they are trying to preach (and I say that mildly), but all I hear is hate toward white people. I even tried to ask them a question as to their objective but I got ignored, I guess I am the wrong color because they would not even look my direction.

And why is Civil Affairs not present during their speeches? I have done protests against circuses and Civil Affairs was always present.

Can someone enlighten me?

Kim Lisacek

Philadelphia

Where there's a wheel

Byko's bicycle beef couldn't ring truer with me. I wrote two years ago about almost (really almost!) being plunked by a nonchalant, middle-age (not a hasty messenger) bicyclist right in front of the Ritz Bourse as I exited, when she casually rode up the handicapped dip in front of the box office and, as I recorded then, almost rode right into me, and I almost (instinctively) opened my umbrella right into her due to the "surprise attack."

Well, in another example of a bicyclist's ignoring the rules of the road (did they ever earn the right — as a licensed "driver" must do — to take over major sections of the streets of a major U. S. city?), the same thing happened last summer as I, on foot, turned south at the corner of Pine and 2nd streets.

I've ridden (not "driven") bicycles all my life, so I have nothing against bicycles. The current retraction of the Chinatown bike lane is laudable. In fact, before the city spent countless dollars on the original bike lanes on Pine and other streets, the program should have gone through Council conditionally: bikers should have proven their earning of the special treatment by showing that they can obey the usual rules of the road — signaling, stopping, etc. — during a one- or perhaps two-year trial period. Had that been the stipulation, those bike lanes, in my opinion, would be long gone.

Cletus McBride

Bensalem

She's Pro-Prez

Re: "Obama's No Hero, No Mr. Wonderful" :

Diane McDowell,

President Obama is a hero. he has prevailed. Are you a Republican? I was a Republican for many, many years. It was a good party at one time, but no more. They have done nothing to help our President with one thing. He has had to struggle, and struggle. Mr. Romney is for the rich. President Obama is for the middle class and poor. Enough said.

Barbara Ziccardi

Philadelphia

Of course it's politics

I find it especially galling to hear conservatives dismiss President Obama's endorsement of gay marriage as just politics, or simply pandering for votes. My God, isn't that one of the things political leaders have to do: get votes?

The difference is that President Obama seems to have come around on this issue by honestly confronting any personal prejudice he had, and by considering the issue from the standpoint of basic fairness and justice in an evolving 21st-century American electorate.

Are you telling me that when Palin, Bachman, Newt, Santorum and Mitt Romney were canvassing our country, sucking the moneyed toes of the NRA, kissing the butt of every tea-party fool with a local following, or extremist religious organization that could offer them a vote or two, that this wasn't pandering for votes?

I hope it was, because if those alliances reflected the deeply held beliefs of the candidates, then none is fit to be elected dog catcher, let alone president, and if they had any self-respect as human beings they would all go away to an island flagellating themselves as penance for their meanness and stupidity.

Michael McGonigle

Philadelphia

What the bloop?

It seems like the Phillies are practicing for a new edition of "Sports Bloopers and Practical Jokes."

Come on, guys, wake up! I know it's only May, but you're starting to scare us.

We need our Fightin' Phils back!

Karen Morrissey

Philadelphia