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Letters: Streep, Trump go toe-to-Tweet

Streep, Trump go toe-to-Tweet I have not been an advocate of celebrities using award shows to make political statements, but given the threat to the character of our nation due to the nature and behavior of our incoming president, it was gratifying to see someone of the stature of Meryl Streep take him to task for the mimicking of a reporter with a disability ("La La Land, politics mix at Golden Globes," Monday).

Streep, Trump go toe-to-Tweet

I have not been an advocate of celebrities using award shows to make political statements, but given the threat to the character of our nation due to the nature and behavior of our incoming president, it was gratifying to see someone of the stature of Meryl Streep take him to task for the mimicking of a reporter with a disability ("La La Land, politics mix at Golden Globes," Monday).

Never content to let any perceived slight pass without engaging in a nuclear war of words, Trump's response was predictable. He sought to denigrate and diminish the acclaimed performer by characterizing her as "one of the most over-rated actresses in Hollywood," a "Hillary lover." and one of the "liberal movie people." He asserted that he had not and would not mock someone with a disability, despite what we have seen with our own eyes.

I do not imagine we will ever see Tweets from our soon-to-be-leader to address injustices in our country; rather, we can expect his undignified 140-character-or-less means of communication to be engaged in simply settling personal scores.

To use his favorite words, Trump is "a disaster." "Sad."

|Oren Spiegler, Upper St. Clair, Pa.

Electoral College here to stay

I dislike the concept of the Electoral College and its role more than the Inquirer's Editorial Board does, considering what it has most recently wrought, and who ("One person, one vote," Thursday).

Regretfully, I must say, "Get over it." We have had this system, antiquated and unfair as it is, since the country's founding. And we always will. The smaller states will never allow changes that would reduce their political power.

The Senate is one half of Congress. The Electoral College vote is partially determined by each state's representation in the Senate. Wyoming has fewer than 600,000 residents; Pennsylvania has more than 12 million; California, 38 million. Wyoming, Pennsylvania, California each have two votes in the Senate.

Is it fair? Of course not. Is it going to change? Of course not. Ever hear people say, "Abolish the U.S. Senate; it is unfair?"

Too much ink and energy has been spent this electoral cycle talking about the Electoral College. As we approach the inauguration on Jan. 20, there are so many other vital issues that merit our attention.

|Leonard Perlman, Philadelphia,

Popular vote a bad idea

I couldn't disagree more with your editorial about doing away with the Electoral College. Many people are bemoaning how polarized the country has become, and a strictly popular-vote election would make it worse.

Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by more than 2.8 million votes. In just five states - California, Illinois, Massachusetts, Maryland, and New York - her plurality was about

7.3 million. In other words, those states gave her the cushion to win the national plurality.

In such a system, candidates would concentrate on a few states where they could run up the most votes. The two parties would become even more polarized, as they sought only to make sure as many of their partisans voted as possible.

A better change would be to use Maine's and Nebraska's system. The winner in each congressional district gets an electoral vote, and the overall state winner gets two votes. Campaigns would conduct truly national campaigns.

The Founders' idea may need some tweaking, but its still superior to what you have espoused.

|Nicholas Rodia, Drexel Hill

Making hay on beverage tax

The article, "New levy leaves a sour taste for some" (Wednesday) didn't go deep enough to expose the price-gouging that retailers are perpetrating while blaming it on the "soda" tax. At Nicoletti Beverage Center, a can of soda went from 50 cents to $1. The 1.5-cents-per-ounce tax on that 12-ounce can would be 18 cents, so 32 cents was pure price-gouging. The ShopRite increase of $3.04 for the beverage tax on a 10-pack of flavored water could only be justified if the containers were 25 ounces.

The story should have specified the amounts of these price increases that were purely due to the new tax and the amount due to unscrupulous price-gouging.

|Bill Moyer, Wayne,

Fresh Grocer a good neighbor

The University of Pennsylvania should renew its lease with the Fresh Grocer at Walnut Street ("Fresh Grocer fights back at Penn," Dec. 27). This independent, family-owned store has been a leader in Philadelphia's efforts to increase access to healthy, affordable food. Last year, the Food Trust and the Fresh Grocer partnered to launch Philly Food Bucks. The program provides a $2 coupon for fresh produce to food-stamp participants for every $5 spent. The Fresh Grocer is one of only a few supermarkets in the nation participating in this kind of innovative Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

If the Fresh Grocer is forced out of the Walnut Street store, low-income residents will lose this important benefit that promotes health and affordable fresh fruits and vegetables. I hope the university comes to an agreement with the store that allows it to continue its long service to the community.

|Yael Lehmann, executive director, Food Trust, Philadelphia,

City of vegan eateries

I am going to plan a trip to Philadelphia to check out some of those vegan restaurants ("He-man vegan eating," Thursday). It's just terrific that more options are being offered, responding to those of us who are declining animal-based foods (and products generally) and living more-healthy lives. Thank you for putting vegan-cooking chefs and their restaurants in the spotlight. I can't wait to visit.

|Margaret Schulte, Ottawa, Ohio,

Eat healthy and live longer

I grew up on the standard American diet and became a vegan in my late 30s. I was motivated to do so after learning how animals raised for food are mistreated, but the switch was life-changing. I was on the fast-track to a heart attack. As I approach 70, my cholesterol level is 65 points lower than it was 30 years ago, I weigh 20 pounds less, and take no medications.

The preponderance of scientific evidence indicates that the less meat, eggs, and dairy you eat, the healthier you will be. Why not prevent disease now rather than treat it later? By switching to a plant-based diet, you'll also help fight animal cruelty, environmental pollution, and other problems associated with animal agriculture. It's a win-win-win situation.

|Stewart David, Venice, Fla.

Remember the animals

I love reading that more men are opting for animal-free foods and that more restaurants are catering successfully to a trend away from animal products and toward plant-powered food choices. An ethical vegan since 1983, I have long argued for the term animal-free, which puts the animals in mind in a way that "meat," "dairy," and "vegan" do not. The animals who lived and died miserably, only to be parsed into chicken wings, hamburgers, bacon, and cheese, need to be remembered for their own sakes and for the sake of a future in which I hope they are no longer on the menu or the table.

|Karen Davis, president, United Poultry Concerns, Machipongo, Va.,

Health nominee is wrong

With affordable, quality health care proving to be an elusive goal, President-elect Trump's pick for secretary of Health and Human Services, orthopedic surgeon Tom Price, wants to eliminate the bundling of Medicare payments for some cardiac and orthopedic procedures (joint replacements), a program that has demonstrated cost savings without sacrificing quality ("Trump pick is likely to ax lauded program," Thursday). This program sounds like a win-win.

I know the Trump administration is dead set on repealing the Affordable Care Act, but I'd like Price to explain what he doesn't like about this program of bundling services. The good doctor is just wrong.

|Karen M. Kaplan, M.D., Ambler

Philly's Starr shines in N.Y., too

Sometimes, it takes an outsider's perspective to make us appreciate what we have herein Philadelphia. Acclaimed restaurateur Stephen Starr's newest creation with partner and chef Daniel Rose, the French-themed Le Coucou in Manhattan, was just named the best restaurant of 2016 by the New York Times and one of the best "of the century" by the New York Post ("Super Starr," Sunday).

Starr's stellar network of fine restaurants in Philadelphia has elevated our city's dining scene to one of the most acclaimed in the country. My family and I frequent Starr's great restaurants in town as often as we can, and it's always a memorable dining experience.

As a labor leader, I am also grateful to Starr for always using union labor to build his magnificent restaurants. I send sincerest congratulations to him and his outstanding team for setting a new standard of excellence in the highly competitive New York dining scene. Here's hoping this homegrown talent continues to bring new dining delights to Philadelphia.

|John J. Dougherty, business manager, Philadelphia Building and Construction Trades Council, Philadelphia