The focus on Rand Paul's view of the 1964 Civil Rights Act misses the larger point: that none of the proponents of "smaller government" are asked for specific areas in which they feel the federal government has overreached ("Race issue snares Ky. tea party's Paul," Friday).
Paul should be given a list of government activities and asked as a libertarian which of these activities he feels are improper. For example, does he support the Clean Water Act? The EPA? As a surgeon, does he feel the government should have the power to approve the introduction of a legal drug? How about the ban on partial-birth abortions? How about Medicare? Once we know how Paul would reorient government, we will be able to have informed opinions about the movement for smaller government.
The entire letter "Cohabiting college kids cannot resist Eros' call" (Thursday) is absurd. I lived with a (straight) guy and another (straight) girl this past semester, and it worked out fine. None of us was trying to "hook up."
I grew up with two younger brothers, and, in general, I get along better with guys. They're more likely to want to watch SportsCenter with me; they're less likely to take half an hour in the bathroom; and it's less likely that there are shrieks when a spider appears.
Girls and guys can be friends without sexual tension. The idea that they can't be is old-fashioned while also being somewhat juvenile. Some loss of "mystery" between sexes can only be a good thing.
Re: "Advance or horror: The first lab-created organism," Friday:
Penn ethicist Art Caplan and the scientists of the J. Craig Venter Institute claim the creation has multiplied to about a billion cells.
But the really interesting thing isn't the news or the number of cells; it's what it should cause inquisitive folks to wonder. You see, as the article paraphrases Caplan, this comes closer to the wholesale manufacture of life. According to him and others, this breakthrough knocks down the belief that life is animated by some vital force.
What I'm wondering is how many of these ethicists, philosophers, and scientists oppose the right-to-life folks with the argument that a fetus is not a human life until or unless it is born. Seems to me that if you claim you've created life when you have only a bunch of cells, then you can't go around arguing that a bunch of human cells in the womb is not life.
A Page One story on Friday, "Corbett blasted for tweet subpoena," makes the attorney general the heavy, while, in reality, it is the anonymous tweeters and YouTubers who are the real villains.
Forget the rants of the First Amendment and electronic privacy advocates, because all they are saying is that it is OK to hide behind a cloak of anonymity and say anything they darn well please, whether it has any basis in fact or not. They call themselves journalists? They aren't; they're cowards.
The First Amendment suggests that freedom of speech comes with a responsibility to stand behind your words. The Inquirer will not print a letter to the editor without a name, so why is it so hard for people to understand that without the courage to stand behind their own words, these nameless verbal assassins flourish and find protection behind layers of geek-driven Web protection?
Tom Corbett gets my vote this fall and my support in this issue.
Henry R. Taylor
I am aghast at what I read in Sunday's Currents section. Lawrence Rosenthal's column on upholding the Chicago handgun ban is rife with inaccuracies ("Attack on Chicago's handgun ban could undo a winning police tactic").
He claims that repealing the ban would render policies such as New York City's stop-and-search tactic illegal, and that is nothing short of a bald-faced lie. Repealing the law would only allow law-abiding Chicago residents the right to possess a handgun in their homes, not tucked into their waistbands as they roam the streets.
Rosenthal also states that repeal would lead to an increase in crime. If he had bothered to do any research, he would know that every state that has passed right-to-carry laws has seen a reduction in violent crime.
Anthony P. Yovnello
Our president has before him a historic opportunity to model for the residents of Arizona a more humane immigration policy. I therefore call upon him to dismantle every fence, dismiss every guard, unplug every camera, and remove every lock from White House grounds. This, in order to eliminate the possibility of abuse and to remove any and all barriers to those who wish to take up residence at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. in their pursuit of a better life.