Tough Democrats

The entire field of Democrats running for president represents the past. They seem to believe that because President Bush is in such trouble over Iraq, the party can go back to the way things used to be and fall back on old talking points. If we do that, 10 years from now we'll be where we were in 2002, when two breeds of old Democrats let us down - those against all war, whom nobody listened to, and those who voted

for

the war so they could

appear

tough.

What we need are Democrats who are tough, so they don't have to act tough and don't cave in to national hysteria in order not to be painted as weak. We need Democrats who understand that the world is flat now, and that foreign and domestic policies cannot be separate anymore. We are desperately in need of serious, strong new leadership. I'm waiting for Wesley Clark, Joe Sestak or Jim Webb to lead us out of this mess.

Maria Wells
Garnet Valley

Knox's compassion

Re: Tom Knox's supposed hypocrisy in assisting a felon.

I am left thinking that maybe Knox would be the best choice for our city. He believes in second chances, and so do I. Someone who isn't compassionate should not be mayor of Philadelphia.

This is one city under (insert deity here). All of the major religions talk about being compassionate and forgiving. That other candidates in the race are using Knox's compassion against him is disgraceful. They want to win by any means necessary.

Jesse Taylor
Philadelphia

Oppose intolerance

Kudos to The Inquirer editorial and Tony Auth's cartoon of April 20 on the U.S. Supreme Court's abortion decision. They properly identified what can only be seen as the sectarianizing of our justice system.

In her letter April 25, the spokeswoman for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, Donna Farrell, wore her religion on her sleeve and tried to bully us into submission. Your editorial and cartoon were anything but ignorant about the issue and hardly anti-Catholic or offensive, as they spoke a more inclusive voice to the present. This was hardly "moral relativism," as she charged, but a reasoned pluralism, which is the basis of our diverse population.

We shouldn't be intolerant of Catholicism, but we must oppose attempts in its name to impose a pre-medieval world view on our country - just as we opposed the religious right's attempt to compromise science teaching in our public schools via "intelligent design." No religion can impose its sectarianism on the public, and neither can its taboos, no matter if sincerely held, exist outside reasoned criticism once they emerge into the public sphere.

Arden C. Hander
Meadowbrook

Smerconish's insults

I was ashamed that The Inquirer is the newspaper of record when I saw Michael Smerconish's misogynistic paean to how wonderful he had been in his stint on Don Imus' former show on the front page of the Currents section Sunday. In an editorial page I expect considered opinions of the news of the day.

But in Currents I get human interest stories that belong in the lifestyle section (Jonathan Last) and Smerconish's self-aggrandizing blog. To add insult to injury, Smerconish describes the women he mentions as "hottie," "eye candy" or "naked." (At least he's honest enough to admit he's not as smart as Camille Paglia.)

For the record, Lisa Scottoline is a lawyer and respected mystery writer; Joan Jones is an award-winning newscaster; and MeMe Roth is a national spokeswoman for healthful eating. (I can't speak to Philadelphia Magazine editor Larry Platt's wife's accomplishments - she of Smerconish's prurient fantasies - because she is referred to only as "Platt's wife.") I guess MSNBC has found its replacement for Imus.

Lynne Brown
Philadelphia

Who cares?

Why, pray tell, would anyone want to read about Michael Smerconish's daily itinerary? Someone ought to tell Smerconish, who loves all things Bush, that what we need is a timeline in Iraq, not one on him.

Robert L. Sinclair
Shamong

Food befuddlement

Re: The recall of pet food manufactured by Menu Foods.

Why are rice protein and wheat gluten imported from China - where few environmental regulations are imposed on farming - and used in pet food consumed in North America, where we pay farmers subsidies to not grow crops?

Patricia A. Orlando
Villanova