Recent White House contortions explaining what President Trump meant by "wiretap," combined with statements by the FBI director and the House and Senate Intelligence Committee chairs that there is "no wiretap evidence," reaffirms what Democrats and Republicans have known for months: Richard Nixon notwithstanding, for the first time in modern history - perhaps ever - we have a president whose words mean anything and, therefore, absolutely nothing ("FBI confirms probe of Trump, Russia," Tuesday).
Trump has little credibility. He cannot be trusted to speak truthfully, accurately, and consistently. He seems totally unaccountable for his discourse. This is an extremely dangerous state of affairs. If we cannot take the commander-in-chief's words literally, and if Trump and his surrogates interpret and reinterpret his words after the fact to mean anything they desire, where does that leave our ability to communicate and govern? At this point, why would or should anyone, whether foreign leaders, members of Congress, or citizens believe or count on him?
The only question remaining is: How long will we ignore, excuse, and permit Trump's irresponsible and unethical rhetoric to persist?
|Richard Cherwitz, communications professor,
University of Texas at Austin, firstname.lastname@example.org
One consistent theme tying together the Trump administration's actions is a low regard for science. The administration has singled out climate science as particularly unworthy of federal funds, even as public concern grows. A new Gallup poll shows that 42 percent of Americans think global warming will pose a serious threat in their lifetime.
Rather than addressing the causes of climate change, an issue that is settled, much research focuses on how we can adapt to its consequences. Climate change adaptation ranges from securing crops in a warmer future to using coastal plants to protect our homes against storms.
Perhaps more than any other factor, consistent support for scientific research has made America great, driving innovation and economic growth over the past century. We appreciate the recent support for climate adaptation shown by Rep. Pat Meehan (R., Pa.) in the Republican Climate Resolution. Continued support for science and climate adaptation will strengthen America.
|Samantha K. Chapman and J. Adam Langley, professors, Villanova University, email@example.com
After listening to Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch's opening statement before the Senate Judiciary Committee and his responses to questions, I think I'd rather he wait and run for president next time. It would be nice to have someone like him in charge of this country. And, for the record, I did vote for President Trump.
|B. Paul Pillion Jr., Villanova, firstname.lastname@example.org
District Attorney Seth Williams is yet another alleged corrupt elected official who betrayed Philadelphians for a fistful of dollars ("U.S.: Williams sold influence," Wednesday). What an absolute disgrace.
|Anthony Johnson, Philadelphia, email@example.com
The Inquirer is right that Philadelphia needs to develop rules for handling human remains and other historical artifacts discovered at construction sites, such as the old First Baptist Church in Old City, where more than 100 bodies were found during excavation for an apartment complex ("Show respect for history," Monday).
The city Historical Commission definitely should be designating historic cemeteries and placing conditions on developers to protect archaeological resources. The commission should change its legal interpretation and be willing to start the designation process even after a permit application has been filed.
The city Department of Licenses and Inspections should stop work when bodies are found and direct the case to Orphans Court.
And the Pennsylvania Historical Commission should interpret its authority more broadly to enable it to step up. But we can't hold our breath for that.
|Mark Zecca, former legal counsel, Philadelphia Historical Commission and L&I, Philadelphia
Although I had read his powerful words from almost the time I was able to read, I first met former Philadelphia Bulletin and Inquirer columnist Claude Lewis when we became co-panelists on 6ABC's Inside Story political roundtable almost
20 years ago ("A guiding light for black journalists," Friday). The show's secret sauce - a group of commentators willing to engage in spirited debate on the issues of the day, while quite clearly enjoying and admiring one another immensely on a personal level - made Claude a perfect fit.
Claude was both a gentleman and a gentle man. His keen intellect earned him a leading role in a generation of impactful African American journalists like Chuck Stone and Acel Moore, who shaped the life of the city I love. While each had his own style (and the times required all of them), no voice was more human, more infused with empathy and an ability to listen for the faint cries of common ground, than was Claude's.
One can hardly think of a more inopportune time for his passing.
Perhaps God could just send him right back down from heaven to take Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan by the hand and work on a few pieces together.
Journalism, Philadelphia, and our country need voices like Claude's more than ever.