The headline,”No time for poem at Haley inauguration,” speaks volumes about a state that ranks near the bottom in its efforts to educate our children.

An appreciation of the arts and an understanding of South Carolina’s history are vital foundations for an enlightened citizenry.

Job opportunities and climate are among the factors that have made South Carolina one of the fastest growing states in the country, but unless we can demonstrate that this is a place that can also offer a strong educational opportunity for our children, people will have second thoughts about moving here.

South Carolina has a lot to offer current and future citizens of this state. Why don’t we show it at every chance we get?

Allowing our poet laureate to recite her poem at Gov. Haley’s inauguration would have sent a positive message to the state and the rest of the country regarding our cultural values.

David and Beth Wolk

Sonja Way

Mount Pleasant

To say that God is a “divine creator pulling the puppet strings of humankind” (Locals echo surveys that find steady growth among the religiously unaffiliated, Jan. 10) is a gross oversimplification of God’s relationship to mankind.

Puppets offer no resistance to their puppeteer. The history of mankind chronicles our resistance to the will of God.

Shelia L. Anderson

Longbranch Drive

Charleston

Sen. Ernest Hollings’ frequent letters to the editor are generally cogent and thoughtful, and I, for one, am glad that he present his thoughts and that The Post and Courier publishes them.

That said, I strongly disagree with his letter written in the aftermath of the terrorist attack on the Paris offices of Charlie Hebdo.

Sen. Hollings concludes that “freedom of the press should be restricted against cartoons making fun of religion.” This is, frankly, a capitulation to the terrorists whose exact purpose is to effect that result.

The cartoons in question would likely be offensive to many, including non-Muslims. Many news organizations declined to publish them in the context of reporting on the topic for this reason. In a sense, these organizations engaged in a form of self-censorship.

But being offensive is not (yet) grounds for censorship, at least in this country. Freedom of speech and of the press is important precisely because it allows for a diversity of (even unpopular) opinion.

The use of cartoons to succinctly make a point, to lampoon the powerful, to call attention to an injustice, or to point out the absurd, is a long-standing and well-established tradition here and around the world.

And, yes, people get offended. That doesn’t give them the right to kill others. And our response to this evil act of terror should not be capitulation, but rather a re-commitment to protecting freedom of the press from such an assault.

Bob LaPorte

Kushiwah Creek Court

Charleston

To paraphrase Daniel Defoe’s 18th century critique of the Lords Proprietors:

Whereas the Laws of God, the Laws of Nature and Reason, the Christian Religion, the Doctrine of the Church of England, the Constitution of this Country, and the electorate are directly against, and do clearly condemn the Law now making, yet in Defiance to them all, in order to carry on their own private Resolutions, for the Enriching of themselves, developers, contractors, Realtors, planners, et al., and the Destruction of this Town of Mount Pleasant, the Town Administrator, the Mayor, and the Town Council and its committees have resolved to push forward with the CRAB (Coleman Revitalization Advisory Board) plan generally unamended.

Bob Wielde

Ann Street

Mount Pleasant

The launching of Uber service in Charleston seems to have created more controversy than elsewhere, although other cities are also struggling with how to regulate this breakthrough, public transportation service. While some regulation is certainly needed, it was amazing to read a quote from a Charleston politician when speaking about regulating Uber: “We must be fair to the taxi industry.”

The taxi industry has not changed in more than half a century, except perhaps that the taxis have become dirtier and less appealing over the decades. Charleston’s taxis are no worse but no better than the taxis in other U.S. cities, but I have had the opportunity to use Uber in multiple places, including New York City, New Jersey, Richmond, Myrtle Beach and Charlotte, and the service has been great.

I have always been picked up in a clean, late model vehicle, and offered a newspaper and a bottle of water by a well-dressed, polite driver. In Richmond, I took a dirty, tired taxi from the airport to my destination, and Uber on my return — in a new SUV — and the Uber trip was cheaper.

In our free market system, the business with the best product or service at the right price survives and prospers (unless the government interferes). When word processors and computers came along, I do not recall any politician claiming we must be “fair” to Royal Typewriter. Or when texts and e-mails came on the scene, who claimed that we must be “fair” to Western Union and the Postal Service? Imagine Henry Ford being stopped because politicians wanted to be “fair” to the horse breeders and carriage manufacturers.

What we are witnessing is a paradigm shift in public transportation; sit at your table in a restaurant and order a car, receive the telephone number and a picture of the driver immediately, and then track the car as it quickly makes its way to your location.

Politicians need to be “fair” to the consumers/customers who use transportation services, and let the free market pick the winners.

Hundreds of companies previously on the Fortune 500 list no longer exist, often because they became complacent and never innovated. The Uber challenge presents the opportunity to the taxi industry to abandon their decades old business plan and enter the 21st century.

Jim Christian

Wallace Pate Drive

Georgetown

I am confused as to how The Post and Courier reports terrorist activities and how they affect residents of our community. The article in the Jan. 9 paper titled, “Locals with French ties express shock, unity in wake of terror,” reported only the reaction by the local French community.

In contrast, the article from the Nov. 19 paper, “Jerusalem attack sends shock waves through Charleston’s Jewish community” reported the effect of this terrorist attack on the local Jewish population and also included the reaction from local Palestinians.

Is this a shift by the paper to report these terrible events and not provide an opportunity to justify them?

Or was this just an oversight by the paper about the French incident? Or was this intentionally not included because the victims in France were fellow journalists?

The local Jewish community can only hope that the paper has shifted the way these heinous crimes are reported and the sensitivity in this current article is the new norm. Those who commit acts of terrorism don’t deserve fair and balanced reporting.

The Jewish community of Charleston sends our collective prayers to our friends, the people of France.

Larry Freudenberg

Co-Chair, Charleston

Jewish Community

Relations Committee

Charleston Jewish Federation

Wallenberg Boulevard

Charleston

I wish to second the wonderful idea of a recent letter writer. Bravo! I have long wondered why giving some break in ticket prices to locals has not been a priority with Spoleto.

Cynthia Hernandez

Coinbow Drive

Mount Pleasant