of horrors

So, two male penguins at a zoo in Berlin are living together and, recently, the pair adopted a baby penguin ("Gay penguins raise chick at zoo," June 4). The article goes on to explain that there are three pairs of same-sex penguins at that zoo.

One can only imagine the consternation among right-wing groups here and abroad! Soon, a group called "Repent Penguin Nation" will be formed to keep vigil at the zoo and shout irrelevant biblical passages over loudspeakers. Not to be left behind, an astute U.S. lawmaker will introduce a "Defense of Mating Act" to ensure that gay American penguins don't try that kind of behavior here.

If all else fails, we can put the issue to a vote in California.

Rev. C. Christopher Tobin

The Reformed Catholic Church

St. Mary's Priory



Animal cruelty

includes trapping

Wayne Pacelle's commentary "Taking on cruelty to animals" on Tuesday was timely and accurate, but inexplicably omitted one of the cruelest ways we allow animals to be tortured. Trapping, which might have been excused a couple of centuries ago when people killed wildlife to feed and clothe themselves, is still permitted, in fact encouraged, by Pennsylvania, as a "sport."

Some sport. No tracking of an animal, giving it at least a chance of escape. No quick death by bullet. The trapper's victim is grabbed by the leg or throat and held until the "sportsman" finds it convenient to come by. Many a trapped animal resorts to chewing off its leg to escape. Many die slow, painful, and lingering deaths.

That this cruelty still exists in the 21st century should shame all Pennsylvanians.

Nick O'Dell



Give insurers

a little competition

Tuesday's article "A GOP warning on health plan" says that most Republicans say that once a government insurance program is created, it will eventually drive private insurers out of business.

Well, I say "hooray" to that! Private insurers have continued to soak their customers with ever-increasing premium hikes, often despite millions in reserves. Medicare has much lower administrative costs than private insurance. A government insurance plan doesn't have to make a profit to keep up its stock price and pay its executive staff exorbitant salaries.

Let insurance companies compete with the government program.

Caroline Gardner



GOP's concern is

getting power back

Republican conservatives have lost their collective mind. After trashing the economy by unfettering financial markets and pouring billions into a black hole in a foreign country, they found religion and oppose any attempt to rectify their errors.

They seem to be concerned only about returning to power rather than fixing the problems they helped to create.

It's time for Republicans to realize that they lost the election, and that they need to get on board to help enact solutions, not impede them.

Joe Giannovario

West Chester

Society's rules

conflict with biology

Re: "Male, female, other: Biology rules," Wednesday:

Thomas A. Marino's otherwise thought-provoking article, solidly grounded in his embryological insights, on the futility of sex categorization, is marred by his distinctly nonscientific assertion that America was once the land of the free.

It is the nature of society to rein in scientific uncertainty in order to make it manageable. Societal rules will, therefore, always be in conflict with biological knowledge.

Dilip Ramchandani

Merion Station

Yo, Philly, it's

time to dress up

Walking down Chestnut Street recently, I was struck by how shabbily the pedestrians were dressed.

What an image we present to visitors and to each other. Apparently, we are nearly all slobs who care nothing about how we dress. From dirty T-shirts and wrinkled shorts, to teens with all manner of hardware stabbing their bodies, to ugly tattoos marring limbs and even necks - it was no wonder I began to feel ill.

When you come downtown, put on a clean, pressed shirt or blouse. Color coordinate what you are wearing. Wear pants that fit over your hips, with a belt, and hem or cuff the legs. You might try wearing a hat or shirt that doesn't say anything on it or advertise some so-called designer.

We may not be New York, but that's no reason to look as though we live in a dump. And while you're at it, stop cursing in public, yelling on your cell phone, and riding bicycles through pedestrians, and show some brotherly love.

Saul Davis