Congratulations on a balanced presentation of Gov. Sarah Palin ("Northern light," Sept. 20). I watched the speech and was simply captivated by this woman and what she represents for the country and for women in general. I relished how she handled the criticism and outright lies from the "drive-by media." I not only believe that she would make a great vice president, I believe that she would make a great president.
-Joe Gates; Mount Prospect, Ill.
You wrote that the fact that some are questioning Palin's ability to balance work and home life is "an indication that most people inherently recognize gender distinctions" ("Working mom," Sept. 20). With all due respect, I cannot disagree more. "People" are asking only because Sarah Palin is a Republican. Our partisan media would never consider asking the same question of female Democrats. Did Geraldine Ferraro, Nancy Pelosi, or Hillary Clinton ever face this question? On the contrary, the media were too busy breathlessly praising their "historic" campaigns to inquire about any impact on their maternal duties.
-Robert C.W. Birmingham; Toledo, Ohio
I am so angry with liberal female journalists who presume to judge the homes of other women who have a different worldview. Perhaps they would be applauding if Palin and her daughter had aborted the "inconvenient" children in their lives.
-Lynn Lewis; Port Orange, Fla.
The article on Palin was excellent. It was the first I have read that did not run her down.
-Madeleine Frame; Oxford, Pa.
Your article was almost more than I could bear to read ("He who hesitates is saved," Sept. 20). Yes, create barriers that make suicide more difficult to carry out, but do not add a greater burden to those who remain. Two of my friends committed suicide in 2006. It was very painful for me but almost unbearable for their families. To make my friends "the object of intense scorn" would be cruel beyond words. The questions of "Why?" and "What could I have done?" are hard enough without a public display of the gross and messy nature of their deaths.
-Weldon French; Marble Falls, Texas
I recently wondered aloud what people think when they've stepped off the ledge or pulled the trigger. I never thought I would know, but your article answered the question. The fact that some people reconsider their choice to commit suicide set the stage perfectly for Marvin Olasky's arguments in favor of physical and psychological deterrents. Physical barriers may be impractical, but the sterility with which the media treat suicide may be more damaging than many realize.
-Lydia Tschappler; Falcon, Colo.
My son committed suicide a year and a half ago. For a person contemplating suicide, the threat of a detailed newspaper account will hardly overcome the powerful agonies of living. Only the power of God provides the strength to carry on through a shipwrecked life.
-Barbara Bytwerk; Coldwater, Mich.
I've never had a client suicide that I am aware of in 26 years of counseling practice, but I've often had to deal with the aftermath. The terribly painful mix of emotions surviving friends and relatives face underscores the importance of informing prospective self-killers what misery they will wreak. It is particularly troubling when the church abdicates her responsibility to stand against this violation of the sixth commandment.
-Jeffrey C. Danco; Bound Brook, N.J.
Thank you for Janie B. Cheaney's column on the value of college education ("If not college, what?" Sept. 20). Unfortunately, many people in our society feel that if you don't get a college degree you will end up as a pathetic loser. I graduated from high school in 1971. When I told people I planned to join the military so I could learn a skill and see the world, they looked at me like I was out of my mind. I served in the Marines and the Navy for 24 years while many of my classmates never finished college. I think I got the better deal.
-Brian Rafferty; Jacksonville, Fla.
Our foolish world has come to worship the almighty degree. Many young people are not book learners but have incredible abilities in other areas such as the arts, mechanics, animals, plants, or computers. One mom I met was in despair because her son was doing so poorly in math, but he read advanced technical manuals, was building a jet engine in the barn, and did all the family's auto and tractor repair at age 14.
-JulieBeth Lamb; Oakdale, Calif.
In your item on the anniversary of the Model T, you note that Henry Ford wanted to make automobiles that average Americans could afford (Looking Ahead, Sept. 20). These days, because of unions, you need the income of a union worker to afford a new car made in America, and we all know in what direction Michigan is headed. Ford would have fired them all.
-Al Wychers; Jamestown, Mich.
I have read all four books in the Twilight series and find Breaking Dawn (Spotlight, Sept. 20) to be a compelling love story that advocates abstinence and monogamy within marriage. As a nurse in an STD clinic where I minister to many teenagers, it is refreshing to have literature that challenges the younger set to embrace abstinence and marriage between one woman and one man (even if the man is a vampire).
-Shellie Wilson; Annapolis, Md.
I'm just glad Bella and Edward waited for marriage, unlike so many girls. I found those scenes awkward and skipped them altogether.
-Natalie Wolfe; White House, Tenn.
The national media dropped the ball in covering the devastation of Gustav ("Cleaning up the mess," Sept. 20). Ten days later, my elderly parents still didn't have electricity in the 90-degree heat, thousands of people were lining up for food stamps, debris was stacked in piles yards high in many neighborhoods, and our faith-based ministries were running out of funds. The coverage of Katrina alerted the nation's charities to ongoing needs and helped our area tremendously. The corresponding lack of coverage for Gustav here has people crying for help.
-Andrea Richard; Central, La.
Victims for Obama
"Barack to school" (Sept. 6) is well-focused. I believe that John McCain hit the nail on the head recently when he said, "Education is the civil-rights issue of our day." Sadly, though, those who are the most disenfranchised and victimized by our current failed education system are leaning toward Obama.
-Dan Washington; Grand Junction, Colo.
Taxes to death
I read with amazement Democrat Heath Shuler's comment that Republicans are only pro-life "from conception to birth" ("His to win," Sept. 6). I am more than willing to see my tax dollars used to help families raise their children, but I am not happy to see them used to kill unborn children, especially for economic reasons. Shuler should also consider that the president appoints federal judges. I cannot vote for someone who will install pro--abortion judges.
-Dave Dailey; Scott Depot, W.Va.
A big deal
I think the main reason that pornography gets a foothold in peoples' lives is a perception that it's really not a big deal ("Trap doors," Sept. 6). In my younger years I didn't view it as being addictive, but I have heard from Christian male friends who were exposed to pornography as children how hard it is to get away from those images. With pornography, something natural and from God gets messed up and unnatural and turns into something that debases us. Yet there is so little outcry about the fact that this stuff is poison. It undermines our ability to develop healthy attitudes about sex and sexuality, and it is omnipresent.
-Heather Denton; Portland, Ore.
I think Gene Edward Veith was right on regarding Barack Obama ("Messiah complex," Aug. 23). This guy is scary. Why can't Christians wake up and see the handwriting on the wall?
-Mary Ellen Wolfe; Lancaster, Pa.
Brett Favre has played in two Super Bowls but his team at the time, the Green Bay Packers, won only one, beating New England in 1997 and losing to Denver in 1998 ("Comeback kidding," Oct. 4, p. 87).