Cherry-picking liquor prices

A story on May 24, "Pa. liquor often cheaper than in neighboring states," was an example of sloppy analysis and virtual propaganda. Of course, you can find instances when Pennsylvania prices might be cheaper on a particular item. With the 18 percent Johnstown tax, though, prices won't be cheaper overall or cheaper all the time.

In Pennsylvania, you aren't allowed to shop around because the Liquor Control Board is a monopoly. If you find a store in New Jersey with a bad price, you can go to another store. Or to Maryland, Delaware, wherever. Not every little private store may be exemplary, but there can be little doubt that, taken together, private stores win on service, selection, and price.

Incidentally, I was able to find online in about 90 seconds a 2010 Yellow Tail Chardonnay in a variety of stores ranging from under $5 to $6.33 in New York, New Jersey, and Washington, while the writer of the aforementioned article merely found that Pennsylvania, at $8, was cheaper than one New Jersey store.

Mark Squires


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School budget cuts' notable omissions

What a travesty. On the list of school budget cuts listed in an article Wednesday ("Philly school panel adopts 'interim' budget - with deep cuts"), there is not one cent of administrative pay cuts, increased health-care payments by employees, or any change to retirement plans.

Just how long do the people running the Philadelphia School District into the ground think the free ride on the backs of taxpayers can continue? In the meantime, they are condemning the kids to substandard education and continuing the city's ride to oblivion.

When will the city's residents wake up?

Tom News

Upper Chichester

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Sex abuse in a society of users

Regarding the sexual-abuse crisis and the John Jay College for Criminal Justice report thereon ("The church blames society," May 24), this psychiatrist offers some thoughts.

From the left, we hear that sexual abuse in the Roman Catholic Church is fundamentally an issue of a flawed clerical culture resting on the faulty foundation of celibacy for both priests and nuns and abetted by their clueless leaders. They think that normalizing same-sex relationships and allowing priests and nuns to marry will solve the problem.

From the right, we hear those who say that the crisis is primarily a homosexual problem that incubates in the hothouse of a permissive seminary culture.

I say, "Yes, but . . ."

Of course, there are homosexuals and heterosexuals among the priests and nuns who have broken their vows in the abuse of others. But the same is true of schoolteachers and scout leaders, coaches, and youth ministers, married and single. Moreover, most sexual abuse of minors takes place within the family circle itself.

What to make of all this?

If the culture of the '60s and '70s has anything to teach us, it is that we are primarily interested in our own personal gratification, sexual or otherwise. Simply put, we are a culture of users, the sexual abuse of others being but the darkest example of this condition.

Robert Hall


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Were thin girls the only flappers?

I don't get the flap about flappers ("Nine fired Resorts waitresses hire high-profile lawyer," Tuesday).

So Resorts Casino fired otherwise talented waitresses because they didn't fit the "look" of Resorts' skimpy new uniforms capitalizing on the Boardwalk Empire, flapper-era theme. I can understand wanting to set a theme, and the flapper era certainly is an entertaining one.

My question is this: Did only 120-pound young women attend the lavish speakeasy parties of that era? I suspect women of all ages did. So I can't see why Resorts couldn't find an alternative uniform typical of what attractive women with thicker builds wore back then. They might even dress as "madams" to add a touch of naughtiness to the "look."

Dan McMenamin

West Deptford

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Vigilance needed for chemical safety

The recent study documenting the presence of flame retardant chemicals in the interior foam of such baby products as car seats, strollers, and portable crib mattresses ("Snuffing one hazard produces another," Monday) is the latest and strongest. Parents should be further alarmed upon reading the clever but empty language of the industry trade group's response to the study.

The industry's safety data are indeed "scrutinized by government agencies in the U.S. and abroad," but the weakness of U.S. chemical-safety regulations leaves it mainly up to harried state legislators to seek curbs on chemical use. Meanwhile, on the premise that "the best defense is a good offense," industry lobbyists in several states are now seeking safety standards for school-bus seats that would substantially expand the demand for their products. Be on the alert, area legislators!

Peter Brigham

Bala Cynwyd

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Those offended have rights, too

So, what we need to do, according to Sister Mary Scullion ("Homeless proposal is inhumane," Thursday), is what Philadelphians have done in the past - conduct yet another study.

How will that solve the problem and get the "aggressive panhandler" off the streets? Do the rights of many ever override the rights of one possibly deranged/dangerous/addicted person? It seems to me that our justice system spends a whole lot of time and effort protecting the rights of each and every "offender," but isn't much interested in the rights of the "offended."

Sharon Breen