Pa. needs system
to fund schools
Your article about the closing of four Catholic churches in Johnstown ("In Johnstown, bell tolls for 4 churches," July 20) is an apt metaphor for the toll on school districts that are confronted by declining community wealth and increasing costs.
In Pennsylvania's economically distressed communities, school leaders face the hard choice of keeping taxes low and starving the schools, or raising taxes to disproportionately high levels.
Moreover, Pennsylvania's overreliance on property taxes to pay for public education may actually be a driving factor for the abandonment of older, tax-base-poor communities.
It's clear that a sound statewide system of education finance is vital not only to help students and schools, but also to sustaining communities, regions - even churches.
Good Schools Pennsylvania
from the left
After reading Katrina vanden Heuvel's rant ("Slamming stimulus package but happy to take its money," Sunday), I cannot help but wonder if there is a bigger buffoon in today's political discourse.
As I waded through her socialist propaganda, one assertion was particularly inane. In quoting a July article from her magazine, The Nation, she promotes "proposals for a job-led recovery" based on "rebuilding the country's manufacturing base." She is apparently unaware that the country's manufacturing base was destroyed by crippling environmental restrictions, the heaviest corporate tax burden in the industrialized world, and labor costs that make it impossible for the United States to compete in the world economy - all positions that she and her political brethren favor.
the F-22 Raptor
Contrary to your editorial stating that the F-22 Raptor is a "Cold War relic," it is a direct response to predictable, emerging threats ("Taking on the F-22 gang," Saturday).
For example, China's new Su-30 is superior to the Japanese F-15J (derived from our F-15), which is the best fighter that we can share with our allies. The July 20 issue of Aviation Week and Space Technology reports that the latest Russian-made air defenses, used by China, Iran, and Syria, cannot be penetrated without the F-22.
Specter has been
consistent on labor
Kevin Ferris' column analyzes my work on labor-law reform legislation ("Card check: Watch the good senator tiptoe," Sunday).
I have no hesitancy in stating my own views. I have voted to have the Senate consider the modification of labor law to reform the way unions are certified and to provide procedures for negotiating first contracts.
Earlier this year, I made a floor statement opposing giving up the secret ballot and suggesting the last-best-offer procedure on arbitration. My views on this subject have been consistent, and suggestions to the contrary by those intending to run against me are incorrect.
Sen. Arlen Specter (D., Pa.)
Crime is not
caused by poverty
I strongly disagree with your suggestion that crime is caused by poverty. There are many poor people who do not commit crimes.
Crime is an issue of morality, ethics, and values. Otherwise, how could we make sense of the actions of: Vince Fumo, Bernie Madoff, Rod Blagojevich, Rabbi Fred Neulander, the Abscam gang, and 44 New Jersey elected officials and rabbis?
from the right
Conservatives have never had a problem with judicial activism that furthers their agenda ("Conservative unease with common law," Friday).
Restriction of abortion is a prime example. Conservatives have forced their view, based on a religious belief that a fertilized egg has more rights that a pregnant woman and especially a young girl. They boast that they are "only one vote away from overturning Roe v. Wade." If that isn't judicial activism, I don't know what is.