Who purchases mass-produced fake Gullah sweetgrass baskets?

When a community with a strong historic character — such as Charleston — goes cheap this is what happens. It’s like the free-wheeling, low-end cruise ships.

Even if the Charleston cruise business were a great financial boon to Charleston — and that is more whimsical fantasy than economic truth — it may well cheapen our Charleston brand beyond repair.

David Batchelder Seagrass Lane

Isle of Palms

I am not an atheist. I was raised in the Episcopal Church. And I respect every person’s right to his own religious (or non-religious) beliefs. Perhaps we should make a deal with anyone who complains about the presence of billboards touting atheism.

If atheists take down their billboards, which maybe number in the 10s around the Lowcountry, would all people of faith agree to dismantle their marketing materials in support of their beliefs, which number in the thousands around the Lowcountry?

The same argument can be made for billboards focused on slamming abortion and gay rights.

It offends me to read close-minded, religious-based declarations about how all homosexuals are doomed to an eternity in Hell. But I respect that they have a right to declare that anywhere they want.

I would defend that right to my dying breath. I would never declare that they be silenced because it offends me.

Live and let live. A. Thomas Price

Sully Street Goose Creek

How ludicrous is it that anyone has even considered doing hip replacement surgery on a prisoner on death row?

Your article of May 18 described Kentucky government officials debating whether a convicted murderer (of six people in 1989 and 1991) should be given hip replacement surgery.

Their biggest problem was finding a hospital or a surgeon who had enough security to accept this extremely dangerous patient.

Their biggest issue should have been thinking with their heads, not their hearts.

Yes, prisoners have a constitutional right to receive medical care, but this borders on ridiculous.

Medicare, Medicaid, even Obamacare are not free services. Your tax dollars fund these, and with health care costs rising we can expect all of our hard-earned wages to be taxed accordingly.

Who wants to be paying for a death row prisoner to have a new hip, which could cost $60,000 or more? Give him medication for the pain — just like many honest, upright, yet uninsured American citizens must do every day.

We also should be asking why our tax dollars and/or Kentucky’s state tax dollars should be paying to house this prisoner for 21 years.

C.V. Sade Palm Boulevard Isle of Palms

Every time I hear that corporate America is buying back its own shares with the $2 trillion to $3 trillion it has sitting on the sidelines, I am reminded of the Parable of the Talents in the Bible. It was the third servant who did not invest his money who was rebuked.

Corporate America is just full of excuses as to why it has not invested this money. But the real reason is that the leaders find it easier to buy back shares and not take risks while they draw their multi-million dollar salaries.

Life is a risk. Recently an asteroid passed between the moon and the Earth large enough to devastate a large portion of this planet. So does this mean we shouldn’t invest in the future until we have removed the asteroid risk?

The Bible’s prescription is to “throw out the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” But I would be happy with a simple tax on share buy backs, so as to make them less attractive.

Our corporations are creations of the state, and they should help the general welfare by creating employment opportunities with the capital they have.

They need to use their talents rather than hoard them. This creates no economic increase in wealth or income.

I was taught in my MBA program the concept of “enlightened self-interest.” It seems our corporate executives have forgotten the “enlightened” part.

William A. Johnson Serotina Court

Mount Pleasant

A recent write-up in The Wall Street Journal touted Charleston and its many hot spots. Just in time for Spoleto, millions of readers were introduced to the delightful coastal heaven that is Charleston, pitched as an ideal long weekend getaway.

This means first-time visitors will descend upon the Holy City. They will buy airline seats, rent cars and boats, fill hotel rooms, attend events, dine out, reserve tee times and engage profit- and tax-generating businesses in the area.

Most first-time visitors won’t know their way around. They won’t understand the unwritten norms that some locals fume over yet refuse to solve.

Visitor orientation and directions need to be improved.

Consider recent automobile, bicycle and motor scooter accidents and fatalities involving pedestrians.

Beautiful views can be as distracting to drivers as are cell phones.

If everyone could imagine being in a foreign city or new vacation destination for the first time, perhaps a renewed spirit of Charleston patience, welcome and understanding would emerge.

Further signage, wayfinding design and public information improvements are needed.

Baron Hanson Market Street Charleson