ISSUE | OBAMA
Fait accompli rule
President Obama's strategy to dominate Congress and the courts is to get an agenda item rolling by any means, knowing it will be difficult to stop. Examples include: passing Obamacare by changing Senate rules, after which the threat of extreme medical-insurance disruption influences the Supreme Court to allow it to continue; suspending border enforcement, scattering refugee children, and then arguing that returning them would overwhelm the system; and proposing legal status for illegal aliens, knowing that once it's in effect, it will be increasingly hard for the courts or Republicans to reverse.
Why pursue this disreputable strategy? To add to a dependent class, mostly Democrats - Obama's legacy.
|Anthony P. Schiavo, Lafayette Hill, firstname.lastname@example.org
ISSUE | HATE GROUPS
The GOP presidential candidates struggling last week to cleanse themselves of dirty money accepted from a self-described white supremacist group accepted that money long before the massacre in Charleston, yet decided to reject it only after the media made it too hot ("GOP figures get rid of funds from hate group," June 23). Worse, some want to make charities complicit by sending them the money.
|Presley R. Brown, Langhorne, email@example.com
ISSUE | PETE ROSE
Now that we have learned that Pete Rose laid bets on games as a player - and as often as he laid bats on balls - it would be interesting to know what odds Las Vegas bookmakers have established on his Hall of Fame chances.
|Gordon Lawrence, Blue Bell, firstname.lastname@example.org
ISSUE | GOV. CHRISTIE
Gov. Christie reportedly plans to announce his run for president today at Livingston High School, his alma mater ("Has the ship sailed without Christie?" June 27). What a slap in the face to every educator in New Jersey.
Christie lost the state a $400 million Race to the Top grant for schools because his education secretary did not fill out the forms correctly; he has not fulfilled his pension obligations, although teachers have given more to the pension fund; and Christie has treated teachers at town-hall meetings with bullying and disdain. Do we really want an anti-education candidate for president?
|Patricia B. Underwood, Haddonfield, email@example.com
ISSUE | TALL SHIPS
Crow's nest prices
It was a beautiful day on Penn's Landing on Sunday, but $25 to park was a lot, and then $14 to just walk alongside the ships was outrageous. We had no desire to board these boats, only wanting to view them.
Needless to say, our visit was quite short. Maybe next time the entire fee schedule could be publicized to spare some visitors the trip.
|Jerry Murphy, Philadelphia
ISSUE | GOV. WOLF'S BUDGET
Candy tax will leave industry with sour taste
While we appreciate the creativity needed to address an issue as complex as property tax reform, Gov. Wolf's plan to broaden and increase the sales tax - including extending it to candy and other confectionery products - sends the wrong message to one of Pennsylvania's largest employment sectors.
Taxes on food are among the most regressive, forcing low-income families to spend a larger portion of their hard-earned money than the more affluent do. Creating separate taxing categories for food also causes confusion and compliance problems for businesses. Defining a product as candy is difficult because products that contain flour are generally not considered candy.
In the largest confectionery manufacturing state in the country, home to some of the most iconic candies in the world, Pennsylvania's elected officials should support policies that foster growth and job creation, not single out one sector for discriminatory treatment.
|Jeff Asher, vice president, sales and marketing, Asher's Chocolate Co., Souderton
Let natural gas flow without severance levy
We applaud Rep. Greg Vitali's honesty regarding Gov. Wolf's massive proposed energy tax increase, which would give the state the nation's highest effective tax rate on natural gas production, 17.1 percent, according to the Independent Fiscal Office ("Pa. needs Wolf plan to invest in energy," June 18). While Wolf and other higher energy tax advocates frame this debate with the imperative to fund schools and cut property taxes, Vitali makes it clear that students would not benefit directly from Wolf's tax. In fact, severance revenues would subsidize more expensive and less reliable energy forms.
That's not to suggest that wind, solar, and other alternative energy forms are not important. In fact, according to a recent Harvard Business School study, shale gas development "and mitigating climate change are actually complementary." When government picks winners and losers, we get more losers.
|Erica Clayton Wright, Marcellus Shale Coalition, Pittsburgh
ISSUE | GAY MARRIAGE
Long wait for legislated equality
Utilizing John Yoo's logic that legislators should decide whether to legalize gay marriage, there would still be gerrymandering, segregated schools, and no interracial marriage or freedom of reproductive choice for women ("A short-circuiting of political process," June 28).
The founders could not have anticipated gay marriage, just as they could not have anticipated the need for many court decisions. Americans have had to accept that the court appointed George W. Bush president, its ruling that corporations are people, and a host of other mandates imposed by 5-4 votes. Ours is an imperfect, three-branch democracy, sore losers and all.
|Laura Szatny, King of Prussia
Court fulfilled its role to thwart injustice
Basic human rights should never be allowed to be decided by a vote of the majority ("A short-circuiting of political process," June 28). It is for protection from that miscarriage that the Supreme Court exists. The truly sad outcome of the gay marriage decision is that there are four justices who do not seem to recognize that.
|Steven Barrer, M.D., Huntingdon Valley
Won't be silenced on marriage definition
The motivation for legalizing same-sex marriage is not primarily about legal equality for those with same-sex attractions, but about seeking social and moral equivalency between homosexual behavior and the conjugal relationship between husband and wife ("More perfect," June 27).
Love requires truth. Same-sex marriage supporters have abandoned any claim to love as part of their motivation, because they seek to use governmental power and public ridicule to silence anyone who speaks the truth about the physical and spiritual harms of homosexual behavior and why heterosexuality is essential to marriage. Supporters of traditional marriage can win this debate if we courageously speak the truth with love.
|Michael J. McMonagle, president, Pro-Life Coalition of Pa., Lansdale
Restore honorable discharges for gay soldiers
Now that the Supreme Court has all but ruled that being gay is entirely legal, I wonder what happens to the many former members of our military who were discharged from service with less than an honorable discharge for being homosexual. These individuals should be awarded honorable discharges now.