In our political system, even the most venal politician will characterize himself/herself as "a servant of the people." Vice President Cheney never even paid lip service to the sovereignty of the people. Just as President Bush has brought discredit to his high office, so too has Cheney. Let's hope that the next time a Republican becomes president, "public servants" the likes of Messrs. Cheney, Gonzales, Rumsfeld, et al., will be denied further service.
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New Jersey homeowners, who already pay among the highest property taxes in the nation, face the prospect of even higher tax bills because of the state's deplorable financial situation. With revenues down and debt mounting, Trenton will be transferring more financial obligations to municipalities, not the least of which are pension payments. In addition, funding for education will see less money coming from the state.
If changes are not made, New Jersey residents will continue to be punished with unconscionable and compounding taxes that politicians and other entities impose upon them.
Richard Falk, a former Princeton professor and current U.N. human rights envoy, was recently expelled from Israel because of his views. Falk, who happens to be Jewish, has been critical of Israel's illegal occupation of Palestine.
Americans are led to believe that Israel is a beacon of freedom and democracy in the Middle East. However, Falk's inability to speak freely is indicative of a society whose repressive policies have created insufferable hardship for millions of Palestinians and made Israel less secure.
The issue of increased fuel taxes is a political hot potato, but it is essential if America is going to both maintain its transportation infrastructure and reduce dependence on imported petroleum ("Raise the gas tax," editorial Wednesday). Fuel taxes should be imposed on all forms of transportation: highway, airway, railroad, waterway, pipeline, and even electric transmission. In addition to funding government transportation expenditures, these taxes would encourage the most energy-efficient transportation modes.
Ernest and Elaine Cohen
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Pa. backs addictions
Stacey Burling's article "Slots and Cigs" (Thursday) scratches the surface of the controversy concerning casino exemptions from the Pennsylvania Clean Indoor Air Act. The article does not settle the question of whether smokers gamble more than other people. Perhaps the more appropriate question is: Does the state benefit from people's addictions?
Why are we, the citizens of Pennsylvania, concerned with decreased casino revenue? Is the state's support of casinos an issue of fair business policy, or do state legislators prefer that gamblers continue losing their money rather than ensuring a safer workplace environment and clean air for all casino customers? The state's policy revision puts increased casino tax revenues above the interest of public health.
Sarah Flint Graden
Purpose and scope
A letter yesterday, "Guns and militias," claimed Second Amendment rights are limited to militia service. The author would benefit from reading the majority opinion of the Supreme Court's recent
decision, which is filled with court precedents, the writings of the founders, their contemporaries and their sources; as well as the
dissent, which has few historical citations and generally engages in wishful thinking.
Consider this: "A well-educated workforce being necessary to the prosperity of a free state, the right of the people to keep and read books shall not be infringed." Would this limit book ownership only to those who are employed or only to the context of employment? Clearly not. As Justice Scalia put it in the
decision, the militia clause announces the purpose of the amendment without limiting the scope of the right.