ISSUE | CULTURE WARS

Choice, feminism unfairly blamed

Yet again, Robert W. Patterson blames the Supreme Court's decision to legalize abortion for America's seemingly intransigent economic problems ("Too many lack opportunities for success," Dec. 21). He also claims that feminism is a precursor to our economic doldrums.

As in his past writing, Patterson does this without a shred of evidence, data, or viable anecdotes. He makes tired and meritless assertions while turning a blind eye to the positive economic news that is boosting the stock market and putting men and women back to work. Why does The Inquirer continue to publish this dishonest drivel?

|Sarah Grambs, Wayne, grambs@verizon.net

ISSUE | MUMMERS

Off the beaten path

The addition of a Mummers march through Manayunk is not the first march outside of the group's usual New Year's event ("Feathery Feb. strut for Manayunk," Dec. 18). More than 50 years ago, the Mummers marched down Front Street through Fishtown and into Kensington annually. And they included units from all divisions, collecting donations along the way.

|Laura Szatny, King of Prussia

ISSUE | POLICING

Thanks owed

It is impossible to say how many people in a given profession perform their duties responsibly. But it seems safe to say that anyone who becomes a police officer is willing to run toward a source of danger rather than away from it. And he is willing to do that at any time for any person who happens to be in harm's way. And yet this seems to be an occupation that experiences a lot more stress than it does gratitude.

|Joseph Carducci, Pittsburgh

ISSUE | VISITORS

Easy to be taken for a ride in a city taxi

Philadelphia may be the only city in the world where taxi drivers expect you to tell them how to get somewhere. Recently, I stayed for two nights, made six trips by taxi, and was asked the way four times.

On one typical ride, the driver did not know the address. He plugged in a device and claimed to have found the destination. After 30 minutes, 3.6 miles (even though the destination was actually only 1.3 miles from my hotel), and a hefty bill, he assured me there was no such address. That is because it turned out that the address was only accessible by foot from an alley. As a visitor, I felt taken.

Why is such a driver not required to know his city? Or at least carry a detailed map? Does anyone care? Something is wrong when a city allows its visitors to be taken for a ride.

|M.S. Beveridge, Washington

ISSUE | PUBLIC HEALTH

Smokers need less stress, not more taxes

It is not practical to suggest that people will stop smoking because of a $2-a-pack tax ("For struggling smokers, help in quitting," Dec. 10). When people are depressed or withdrawn, nicotine helps them get through the day. If government delivered better jobs and quality of life, then people wouldn't start using harmful products.

|Myles Gordon, Philadelphia, mylesgord@yahoo.com

ISSUE | CHILD SUPPORT

Cementing parental bonds beyond reason

New Jersey has the most vague laws governing the termination of child support. Every other state has age triggers.

State Sen. Shirley Turner (D., Mercer) has for years introduced a bill to reconcile state law with the rest of the country. The bill passed the Senate 36-0 in January, in a lame-duck session, but not the Assembly.

Once the Rachel Canning story broke - the Morris County teen sued her parents for college costs - Turner's bill seemed to get some traction. But it was sidetracked again.

The New Jersey State Bar Association came out against the bill, saying it prefers adversarial litigation to automatic emancipation and claiming it's good public policy. The latest version of the bill contains amendments that ensure it bears almost no resemblance to the original, and sets up extensive loopholes and strings attached to emancipation at 19 or 23 years of age.

These amendments smell rotten. Most ghastly is one that codifies the right of emancipated children to sue their parents for "alternative" forms of support (for example, child support under a different name). Canning will now become a pioneer, parental alienation will be rewarded, and divorce will never end.

|Stuart M. Kurtz, Somerset, smksak@gmail.com