U.S. in the way

I am not surprised that delegates at the U.N. climate change conference in Bali booed and hissed the American delegation. I had exactly the same reaction, with some screaming in anger and frustration thrown in, when I read of the EPA's decision to prevent California and other states from enacting stricter vehicle emission standards ("Pa., N.J. to join suit over EPA rule," Dec. 21).

The federal government's claim that such local initiatives are unnecessary and interfere with the federal government's national efforts is laughable. The Bush administration has done everything in its power over the last seven years to stall and prevent meaningful action to curb climate change. To paraphrase Kevin Conrad, a delegate from Papua New Guinea at the U.N. conference, "If you are not willing to lead, leave it to the rest of us. Get the hell out of the way."

Victor J. Donnay

Bryn Mawr

More diversity

I think it is a great idea to make the construction unions become more diverse in their membership ("Leaders rally for diversity of labor," Dec. 19). As a former union member, however, I would like to know where they are expected to find the people qualified to fill the jobs. They can't just bring in that many apprentices at one time. Will people coming in as journeymen have to pass a test? If enough people can't pass the test, will standards be lowered? It is not fair for public funds to be used for any project where the quality of the work will be compromised simply for the sake of diversity.

Mike Krakovitz

Drexel Hill

» READ MORE: mike@mksremodeling.com

Bias-free column

What a pleasure to read a column that was intelligent, knowledgeable and so free of bias ("Mitt Romney and religion; politics and faith," Dec. 20). Views such as this are the rock on which our democracy was founded. I haven't read an exegesis on religion in America as astute as the column by Rick Santorum since I read

Democracy in America

by Alexis de Tocqueville, who wrote in 1835 about the necessity of a democratic society being based upon the acceptance of a great number of moral truths. Upon these truths, such as love of God and neighbor, our society can go forward, confident that one's personal beliefs will be respected.

I was particularly impressed by Santorum's differentiating between moral and theological tenets. It is the candidate's behavior, not his beliefs, that should be the concern of the citizenry. The Bill of Rights expresses the freedoms we enjoy, and the limits of these freedoms, as well. It does not concern itself with our motivation.

Joan M. Burrichter

West Chester

Model Christian?

In Rick Santorum's column on religion and politics (Inquirer, Dec. 20), he repeatedly boasts about his Catholicism and his commitment to virtue, the Golden Rule, and the teachings of Christ. It makes me wonder how this pious politician can square this with his zealous support for an unprovoked invasion and war in Iraq that has killed and displaced millions of people; the unchecked use of torture on human beings; the aggressive implementation of the death penalty; and the war on radical Islam. Something has gone darkly wrong with the teachings of Christianity if Santorum is one of the standard-bearers.

Peter P. Barnett

Lansdowne

» READ MORE: peterpbarnett@aol.com

Irked boomers

Attention all baby boomers ("Service Gap irks boomers," Dec. 20) who are angered by the rude behavior of twentysomething store clerks: Who raised them?

Anthony Galzarano

Philadelphia

» READ MORE: agalzarano@netzero.com