Drug war failed, so legalize pot
The Inquirer hit a bull's eye with the editorial "Sell drugs or go jobless" (Tuesday), and it's not just locally. It's throughout North America and beyond. You say that "there must be consequences for people who violate the law," but "war on drugs" laws are discredited and unaffordable and create contempt for government. It's time for credible drug-law reform, and at the very minimum that means legalizing the relatively safe, extremely popular, God-given plant cannabis (marijuana).
Legalizing and regulating cannabis will create jobs, increase tax revenue, lower crime rates, lower hard-drug addiction rates, add credibility to government drug messages, open the door to hemp farming, and bring dozens of other benefits.
Cannabis should have never been prohibited from the beginning.
Why no tears for the unemployed?
I was initially sympathetic to likely House Speaker John Boehner as he cried during his interview on
. Then I realized he was crying for himself and not for others. OK, he had a miserable childhood. So have many others. He had to work his way through college. So have many others. He struggled to succeed. So have many others.
But where were his tears when he insisted that Democrats give billions of dollars in tax cuts to the super-rich or when Republicans would not vote to extend benefits for the long-term unemployed? Where were his tears when he decided (like a Robin Hood in reverse) to take money from the poor and give it to the rich? Why is he against an equitable distribution of the wealth in our country when his own family was poor and had to struggle hard to survive?
David D. Jones
An episode of Survivor: D.C.
Your naivete is slightly appalling ("A socialist he's not," Sunday). President Obama is no longer pursuing his near-socialistic agenda because of a minor setback: the midterms. Doing otherwise would be political suicide. The flip-flop to midstream is his one and only chance for 2012.
Robert L. Thompson
Worrisome praise from Republicans
I keep hearing from conservative writers such as Charles Krauthammer what an accomplishment the tax deal was ("On left, the agony of victory," Monday). How President Obama even hoodwinked the Republicans. (Of course, those on the left say otherwise.) I just wonder if being so generously praised by conservatives means this deal wasn't as good for the country as they would like us to believe? Why praise Obama's accomplishment if the Republicans' desire for the next two years, as stated by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, is to make Obama a one-term president? Methinks they praise too much.
How long must the war go on?
The saying "One picture is worth ten thousand words" is an apt description of the photo of Sgt. Jay Kenney helping wounded Afghan soldiers ("Afghan bomb kills U.S. troops," Monday). How courageous our troops are in combat, and how clear the guarantee that there will be similar attacks in the future. How long will we send our young men and women into another dead-end war? How can we look at that photo and turn to the Sports section?
Sr. Lil Needham
Merit pay, bonuses are for salespeople
The idea of merit pay improving student performance is erroneous ("Firing bad teachers," Monday). Merit pay or bonuses work great in sales, but in education they would be divisive, inherently unfair, and create a climate of unnecessary competition in schools. To improve student performance, teachers need a supportive administration, involved parents, and smaller class sizes.
Teachers could instill in their students a love of learning that would last a lifetime if school curriculums focused more on innovation, creativity, and on improving students' self-esteem. This approach, not merit pay, could help reduce the high school student dropout rate.
In regards to terminating unproductive teachers, unsatisfactory ratings should lead to measurable improvement plans. If the teacher's performance doesn't meet the plan's goals, then the due process of terminating the teacher takes place. This process may be slow and costly, but it works in relieving poorly performing teachers of their duties.
Church should listen to its young people
Amen to the writer of the letter "Talk to young people about Catholic schools" (Sunday). The church must involve young people not only in declining enrollment issues at schools, but in seeking ways to ensure young people participate in parishes.
Cardinal Justin Rigali and the entire church must heed the words in the book of Jeremiah: "But the Lord said to me, 'Do not say, "I am only a youth"; for to all to whom I send you, you shall go, and whatever I command you, you shall speak.' " Just as all who heard the Lord in the temple at the age of 12 were astonished at his knowledge, the cardinal may be surprised to learn that today's youth are just as capable of developing plans as CEOs or Wharton grads.
John Bates Jr.