Do the Boy Scouts have rights on public grounds?

Regarding the Jan. 26 article "Scouts must pack their tents": I think the Scouts are learning a valuable lesson about the principles of freedom. Although we Americans have the right to believe that all people are not created equal, it's considered un- American by many to exercise that right.

I agree with the Supreme Court decision. The Boy Scouts of America have the right, as a private organization, to exclude anyone they wish for whatever reason they wish. The right of free association, however, is a two-way street. If the Boy Scouts are going to close their doors to certain members of the community, they have to expect the community will close certain doors to them.
Jim Croman
Centreville, Va.

Trying to force the Boy Scouts to accept homosexuals into their ranks goes against our constitutional right of free association. Gay men and boys should start their own scout program, not force the Boy Scouts to conform to their ideals.

It's certainly within their right to freely assemble. The homosexual lobby needs to move on and leave the Boy Scouts alone. The Supreme Court has spoken.
Martin Hansen
Vacaville, Calif.

Feeding the world's poor

Regarding your Jan. 22 article "If poor get richer, does world see progress?": I believe it's too simplistic to say that "hunger and malnutrition could be eliminated ... for less than is spent on pet food." As I understand it, world hunger is not a financial problem - it's a geopolitical and social problem. It's not that we don't have the ability to feed the world, it's that we can't (or won't) create and maintain systems of food production and distribution that are equitable.
Amanda Bergson-Shilcock

Fed's impact on the election

Regarding David Francis's Jan. 26 financial column "One factor the Fed ignores - we hope": If the Federal Reserve were to keep interest rates low to help Republican fortunes in the fall election, that does not seem tremendously harmful. After all, an improving economy might help the incumbent administration's electoral chances - but it also helps almost everyone else. In fact, raising interest rates now might slow the housing market and serve to strengthen the dollar, harming exports. These two sectors are carrying much of the current recovery.

While spurring the economy just a bit in an election year is probably more or less harmless, applying the brakes too hard or too soon can possibly be devastating. I hope the Fed would not try to "soften" the economy if an incumbent administration was not to its liking, but Mr. Francis's article does raise the question - if they might sweeten the mood for one party, could they sour it just a bit for another?

The consequences of the second scenario are much worse than the first and make the call for more openness and accountability of the Fed all the more critical.
Bill Coady
Wausau, Wis.

Blocking the way to national healthcare

Regarding your Jan. 26 editorial "The Undeniable Uninsured": National healthcare is an issue whose time has come, or will certainly come soon, and trying to write off the Clinton-era effort as a "failed attempt" without critique immediately shows your bias. Let's not forget, the Clinton effort was defeated by the present players in the healthcare industry (insurance carriers, pharmaceutical companies) who panicked at the thought of losing their golden cow, and who will undoubtedly ensure incremental changes until the voters cry out for more immediate and systemic changes.
David Sanders
Argenta, Ill.

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