By Kate Harper
I never expected transportation funding, that most bipartisan of issues, to fall victim to bitter wrangling that has left it on life-support.
Memo to the clueless majority of the Supreme Court after its recent Voting Rights Act ruling: Racism still exists in this country.
Minorities had been protected by the law from the machinations of those determined to quash voting rights, but those protections are erased.
Some justices stated that the country is different than 1965. But in what way? The techniques of voter suppression are no longer poll taxes and literacy tests. Now, concentrated efforts are on moving polling places, gerrymandering, restricting early voting, and ID laws. The techniques may have changed, but the goal has not — to suppress minority votes.
Charles Krauthammer would get many more readers to learn that he favors carbon dioxide emission reduction if he could avoid the pointless hyperbole (“A pointless climate agenda,” July 8).
The economy stagnates. Really? If Krauthammer calls doubling market indexes and a 3 percent reduction in unemployment stagnant, then how can we believe the rest of his argument?
Obama a “flat earther.” That sounds more like a description of a Texas tea-partier. Entire states impoverished … “billions … for new Solyndras.” Solyndra was a better example of a freak event than the Alaskan heat wave.
I was fascinated to hear of Senate President Steve Sweeney's recent Rowan University commencement speech. I was unaware the senator's daughter had Down syndrome, as well as all she has endured since birth. I'm glad to see that Sweeney was able to take something in his life that many would see in a bad way and turn it into something positive.
Often, we view politicians in a negative light; certainly, that is justified sometimes. But I often think we forget that our elected representatives are people just like us. They must deal with personal and family issues just like us. What we have to hope for is that they are able to use those issues to help others. It looks like the senator has done that, especially through his work with people with disabilities. I hope others can follow his example.
Doug Hogate, Elsinboro
My great-great grandfather Samuel G. Boone was a lieutenant in the 88th Pennsylvania Volunteers Regiment, captured at Gettysburg, and later escaped from a prison in Columbia, S.C..
Thirty years after the battle, he wrote, "Weary and tired of the clash of arms, I longed for retirement to the peaceful pursuits of life and the bosom of friends, hoping nevermore to be called upon to take up arms in defense of our glorious banner, under whose folds the oppressed of the earth may find refuge and protection so long as it is honored and respected."
His recollection was published in the book, History of the 88th Pennsylvania Volunteers in the War for the Union, 1861-1865 by John D. Vautier.
President Obama's speech on June 25 about the executive actions he'll be taking to slow climate change was a welcome development.
His plan to set standards for both existing and new coal-fired power plants is what we need to reduce some of the most challenging changes we can expect here in Pennsylvania due to increasing greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Studies by the Union of Concerned Scientists and Penn State University a few years ago showed that the number of days in Pennsylvania over 100 degrees could rise by mid-century from two to 24.
Our weather could resemble Alabama's, or at least southern Virginia's. With higher temperatures, we'll experience worse air pollution, pollen, and insect problems. Asthma among children, already nearly twice as high in Philadelphia as the national average, is likely to rise with the temperature.
As a native of Butler County, I would like to inform my fellow Philadelphians that not everyone from that county or from Western Pennsylvania condones the bigoted, uninformed, and mean-spirited positions taken by State Rep. Daryl Metcalfe (R., Butler), highlighted in recent days by The Inquirer ("The Pa. divide: Philly, take it or leave it," June 30).
Similarly, Metcalfe's irrational, backwards, policy views regarding social issues, public transportation, and public education are not supported by many who once called - or currently call - Butler County their home.
Unfortunately, Metcalfe appears to care more about clinging to an ultra-conservative orthodoxy that ignores the realities of actual data and sound public policy research to know that Southeastern Pennsylvania is the commonwealth's economic engine, and that all Pennsylvanians deserve dignity and respect regardless of their worldview.
The recent report on subsidies of $75 million or more from state and local governments to large corporations to attract or retain jobs and businesses stands in sharp contrast to how our nonprofit organization supports Philadelphia-area small-business owners (“The price of job-creation subsidies,” June 20).
In our view, the outrageous and shocking average of $456,000 spent per job in these so-called megadeals is an ineffective (or questionable, at best) way to create jobs.
According to the Aspen Institute’s FIELD initiative, which serves the microenterprise industry by providing research and resources, it costs our nonprofit between $6,156 and $8,438 to help a client create a job. In addition, we empower clients to create businesses in their neighborhoods — businesses that not only employ neighborhood residents, many of whom are low- to moderate-income, but which also contribute to the local economy by offering much-needed goods and services.