Democracy in action

Demonstrators seeking a ban on gifts to lawmakers are taken away from the office of House State Government Committee Chairman Daryl Metcalfe on Tuesday, a day after 23 other protesters were arrested.

Democracy in action

"Their parents failed miserably in raising them by not teaching them to be respectful of other people," Pennsylvania Rep. Daryl Metcalfe (R., Butler) said about protesters outside his Harrisburg office ("23 arrested in Capitol protests," Tuesday).

They were exercising their constitutional right and frustration, reminding him that he holds the power to ban most gifts to lawmakers. It's called democracy. Hooray for their parents, teaching them to take action and walk nine days from Philadelphia to lobby for their cause - and then get arrested.

Or would we prefer they stay home and only comment on Facebook about gerrymandering, a ban on unlimited gifts to lawmakers, and automatic voter registration?

Congratulations, parents. I am so proud of you and your children, my fellow American citizens. Exercise that right to protest.

|Isabel Melvin, Wynnewood

Follow the money

I found it ironic, though, sadly, not surprising, to see the juxtaposition of two articles regarding citizens taking their concerns to Harrisburg ("23 arrested in Capitol protests," "Gun rights backers rally in Harrisburg," Tuesday).

Protesters chanted outside the office of Rep. Daryl Metcalfe (R., Butler), who reportedly said they were acting "like 2-year-olds" and had not been taught "to be respectful of other people." This because they wanted Metcalfe to allow a vote in his committee on a bill that would ban most gifts to lawmakers.

The gun rights backers, however, found a friend in Rep. Jason Ortitay (R., Allegheny), who rallied them by asking, "Who here thinks they should have to pay a fee to exercise their constitutional rights?" because they don't like the idea of background checks and permits.

So, the folks who don't think it's right that their legislators can get unlimited amounts of money and gifts from people trying to influence their votes are rowdy children, while the people who want to have a gun but don't want to pay to be checked out and licensed are not?

I guess it's all about who is getting the money.

|Lesley Fredericks, Abington

Trump cutting a lifeline

Let's say that you think the poor are lazy rip-offs who are all on welfare (Medicaid); you deplore the disabled, who are fakers and steal Social Security Disability benefits (like my brother, who has schizophrenia and lives in a depressing but safe and caring Medicaid personal-care home); and, you condemn the 1.75 million veterans who rely on Medicaid for health-care coverage.

If so, you must also disapprove of and resent your sick, elderly parents who live in a nursing home. AARP says 65 percent of seniors in nursing homes are supported primarily by Medicaid.

If this is how you feel, then you don't care that President Trump's budget proposal would severely slash Medicaid ("Trump's budget proposal cuts deep," Wednesday). But if his extreme budget passes, and you have parents in a nursing home, you better quit your job, build an addition, go to medical school, and declare bankruptcy, because Mom and Dad are moving in - if the bank lets you keep your house.

But don't be mad at Trump. He is just a patriot who needs that Medicaid money to increase the military budget and build a wall - even if it means kicking your parents out of the home.

|Claire Gawinowicz, Oreland

Don't reduce disability benefits

The Trump administration's proposal to reform the disability program is based on the false assumption that people with disabilities who become beneficiaries of Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) can work. The SSDI program, however, has the strictest criteria for eligibility in the developed world.

We must update SSDI by supporting people through short-term disability programs and vocational rehabilitation programs. The budget proposal will negatively impact minorities and blue-collar workers by cutting $48 billion in benefits over 10 years.

When Congress phased in an increase in the retirement age to 67, it also reduced the percentage of benefits individuals receive who retire at age 62. For those individuals who cannot work because of health issues, instead of receiving lower benefits due to early retirement, they could receive SSDI until their retirement age and then receive full benefits. These individuals are disproportionately minorities and/or blue-collar workers.

We must ask Congress to stop this proposal, which will negatively impact these groups.

|Lowell Arye, president, Aging and Disability Policy and Leadership Consulting, Yardley,

Poisoning animals is illegal

As head of the #justiceforbubba campaign, which has been fighting for animal safety in Philadelphia since more than 20 animals on my block were poisoned in 2015, I want to point out that poisoning raccoons, opossums, birds, colony cats, and other animals with pesticides is a federal offense ("Raccoon trouble sparks today's special hearing," May 15).

There are ways to keep animals out of homes: ensure garbage is bagged and kept in bins and trash cans, fix gaps in walls and roofs, and do not leave cat food out overnight.

Opossums eat thousands of ticks a day and do not contract rabies because of their low body temperature. And, how many rabid raccoons have there been in Philadelphia in the past 10 years?

We don't own this planet, and it is time we started sharing it with the animals.

|Michelle Mucha, Philadelphia

Cosby's lawyers are off base

The Sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution states, in part, that the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy trial by an impartial jury. Nowhere does it say anything about a diverse jury ("Cosby lawyers: Jury picks are racial," Wednesday).

Perhaps Bill Cosby's defense team would feel more comfortable if Cosby cartoon charachters Old Weird Harold, James "Mushmouth" Mush and Dumb Donald occupied some of the seats in the jury box. Fat Albert would be the foreman of that jury.

|William D. Markert Jr., Philadelphia