Wally Zimolong, Philadelphia
Frequency of 5-4 court rulings
How common are 5-4 Supreme Court decisions ("Free speech allows lies about medals," Thursday)?
While more frequent over the past 20 years, 5-4 decisions are not as typical as you may believe. The Roberts court has had slightly more than 20 percent of its rulings decided by one vote. Compared to Supreme Courts of our past, how high is the current court's 20 percent figure?
One has to go back before World War II to find a Supreme Court that had a percentage of one-vote majorities less than 10 percent. So 20 percent is high, but not significantly.
In my opinion, statistics like this can provide context and perspective. Hopefully, when this detail is missing in commentaries critical of the Supreme Court, it is in good faith. More cynically, it may be left out since it necessarily tempers the rather forceful language of most editorials.
Joseph Taraborrelli, Havertown
Outrage at Abington Memorial
As a lifelong resident of Montgomery County, I am appalled and outraged to learn that a top-notch Level 2 trauma center such as Abington Memorial Hospital will no longer perform safe and legal abortions ("Anger at Abington hospital," Sunday).
This is the direct result of an acquisition of a smaller and inferior hospital, Holy Redeemer.
What I find ironic is that Abington Memorial is a very liberal and open-minded hospital. Currently, it will not save the life of the mother if her fetus is endangering or threatening her life.
Wouldn't that equate to Holy Redeemer's view toward abortion? Murder is murder.
Barry Greenberg, Dresher
Civility in today's society
As a retired teacher, I was always near exhaustion reminding my students — and others in the school population — of their manners ("Without manners, we lose more niceties," Sunday).
It seemed that most teachers did not place a priority on manners, as I did. I concluded that my mom did a fabulous job from my infancy on to stress the importance of manners.
Manners are tantamount to civility in today's shared living space. How many adults do we rub elbows with each day who have horrible manners? Then we wonder why children act so awfully.
Thanks to Debra Nussbaum for calling to mind the dying art of writing a thank-you note, or even an e-thank you. I go nearly crazy hoping that someone to whom I just gave a gift or have taken out to lunch would say, "Thank you" — probably a dying expression in the vocabulary of so many today. But we must keep to the task of reminding all those with whom we come into contact.
Theresa M. Coleman, North Wales
Learn to be aware of others
In order to have good manners, one must first and foremost have an awareness of others. People cannot demonstrate good manners to others unless they are aware of the people around them and how they would interact with them.
It is this core lack of awareness that helps develop bad behavior toward others. This isn't just a matter of holding the door open for someone. This is about knocking people down on the sidewalk, about vandalism of property, and about cutting off other drivers.
This is what happens when you run into people who don't care about anyone but themselves.
It is through the development of good manners at an early age that one's core awareness of others is developed. So when you see someone holding the door for you, or letting you enter into traffic, don't forget to use your core awareness and say, Thank you.
Jeffrey Davis, Media
Children, classical music don't mix
My husband and I have enjoyed many Philadelphia Orchestra concerts at the Mann. It was romantic and peaceful to sit on a blanket with a picnic basket and some wine. Unfortunately, six years ago, we had to stop attending and are part of the reason there is a dwindling crowd.
The rationale? People started bringing their small children to these beautiful classical music concerts. At the Kimmel Center there is dead silence during the performances. It's very difficult, if not impossible, to enjoy the music if you have small children near you talking, rustling around, playing, and whining.
It is not the children's fault; they are just acting their age. I do not know what the parents are thinking. How can they expect children to sit quietly for a two-hour concert?
My suggestion: Have a family section off to the side (although not on the side with the view of the city), where children under 12 can sit. There are rules and regulations regarding children at other outdoor venues, such as Tanglewood.
If the Mann would designate a family section for classical concerts and enforce its use, we would be happy to return.
Carmella Osborn, Cherry Hill
Quality people ready to work
I've been out of work for almost two years, and I have 24 years of commercial underwriting experience in the insurance industry. Yet two companies recently told me there were other factors besides experience that they were looking for in candidates.
It's bad enough to be out of work. It's worse when companies ignore my adult lifetime of experience. Why is that? I was a loyal, top-notch worker at my former place of employment before I was laid off.
Something just isn't right when experience doesn't at least get you in the door for an interview. Quality people are out there, waiting by the phone, ready to help out.
Paul Hanlin Jr., Philadelphia, email@example.com
Obama's tax cuts for the rich
The letter "Too bad if rich pay more in taxes" (July 3) says President Obama is going to let the Bush tax cuts expire. Someone should inform the writer that they were set to expire twice during the Obama administration, and twice the president renewed them to get his other programs through. They are now, and have been for a few years, the Obama tax cuts for the rich.
As for government budgeting, it is a prime example of why the economy is in a poor state. Politicians start programs offset by projected future revenues and the next guy gets blamed when the money doesn't materialize. That's like buying a $2 million yacht and a lottery ticket on the same day and claiming you're living within your means.
John Belzner, West Chester, firstname.lastname@example.org
Clearing the record
A column in Sunday's Currents section misstated the date, Feb. 10, 2001, when Mike McQueary visited Penn State coach Joe Paterno to report seeing Jerry Sandusky assaulting a boy in a university facility.