Let’s remember how important the American sweetgum tree is to wildlife before we start cutting them all down just because they are “in the way” (a fate the pine tree has also been sadly subjected to).

For example, the sweetgum is a food source for the Luna moth. I have seen the beautiful Luna moth only about five times in my 57 years.

If all sweetgums are cut down within human habitation areas, we are missing out on some beautiful nature scenes. Many birds (goldfinches, sparrows, mourning doves, bobwhites and even wild turkeys) use them for food and shelter, not to mention squirrels, rabbits and deer.

Instead of deciding that these are “junk” trees unworthy of protection, how about using common sense when planting trees?

If a tree can potentially reach a height of 70 feet and will have a massive root system, then it shouldn’t be planted next to your driveway.

Please read up on any plant or tree before you decide to drop the ax on it.

Incidentally, I just read that the “pesky” sweetgum may now be a helpful tool in the making of bird flu vaccines.

Deborah Stokes

Rockland Avenue

Wadmalaw Island

The dignified dowager that once was The Post and Courier has fallen far when the lead headline has to do with the feeding of partially-thawed rat entrails to buzzards.

Bill Major

Wittenberg Court

Mount Pleasant

In a remark made earlier this year, Mitt Romney referred to the 47 percent of the population who don’t pay income taxes as “victims.”

It’s obvious that dependency is a key Democratic strategy. Led by a president who wants to “fundamentally transform America,” the party is making more promises of the same vintage: more trickle-down government driven by more nanny state economics.

This election will be a choice between a freedom-driven society that embraces tenets of capitalism and a government-driven society that embraces tenets of socialism.

The Founding Fathers embraced capitalism as the system capable of creating a prosperous and free society. Our national track record supports their belief.

Socialism has a record of creating poverty and despotism. The foremost reason for this is that only the private sector produces wealth.

Government has no money of its own. Every “investment,” including every road and every bridge, is made with money taken from the private sector.

Every dollar of government spending is a cost to the economy and a burden to society.

Every job government creates by spending is a job nullified by lost private spending.

Government cannot make a nation richer by making the rich poorer.

Government cannot give anything away without first taking it from someone else; every person’s gain is another person’s loss.

A promise of “free” stuff is a scam.

Dependency on government is a form of slavery and therefore evil. The only way to achieve freedom and prosperity is to be self-reliant.

In the words of Winston Churchill: “Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy, its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery.”

Bill Bissette

Short Street

Charleston

Trident Literacy Association mourns the passing of Anne Worsham Richardson, a wonderful and generous lady with a commitment to literacy.

Every year since 1991, at the request of then Gov. Carroll Campbell, Ms. Richardson donated the use of one of her paintings to benefit literacy efforts throughout the state through the creation of the “Ornament of Hope.”

Each year Trident Literacy sells the ornament to raise funds for our adult literacy programs in the tri-county.

Available for sale are the single ornament ($15) or the framed ornament and print ($35). The exclusive interpretation from watercolor to metal is the work of Elizabeth Anne Neiman at the Charleston Mint. Each ornament comes with a description of how the bird came to Ms. Richardson’s sanctuary, how she cared for it and how she selected it for the “Ornament of Hope.”

The 2012 ornament is the oriole. We also have ornaments remaining from previous years.

The ornament is a symbol of hope for all of us, and now a beautiful and meaningful memorial to Ms. Richardson.

Eileen Chepenik

Executive Director

Trident Literacy Association

Rivers Avenue

North Charleston

I’m a news junkie who watches ABC, MSNBC and Fox News along with listening to Rush Limbaugh and NPR. I read The Post and Courier and Times and Democrat of Orangeburg regularly. Of the two papers The Post and Courier is the less liberal. You publish some conservative columns and even a few letters that aren’t from liberals.

I was, therefore, amazed to read a letter that accused you of leaning right and then went on to trash Fox and the movie “2016.”

Many disagree with what Fox commentators say but Fox almost always has a liberal who gives the opposing viewpoint. This is missing from the other networks.

The movie “2016” reveals things about President Obama that the leftist mainstream media should have revealed before the 2008 election. The media condemns “2016” because it shows their bias and shortcomings.

Some of us think President Obama’s world view makes him simply not up to the job. “2016” reinforces this opinion. Others really want to live in a European type socialist country. “2016” will convince these people that Obama is just the man for the job.

Those who condemn the movie voted for President Obama in 2008 because McCain didn’t excite them and besides, they wanted to show the world we weren’t racist.

“2016” shows the world just how foolish we were so we condemn the movie and deny our motives.

L. F. Fralix

Maple Branch Road

Reevesville

President Obama and his administration have lied to the American people and insulted our intelligence once again. U.S. Ambassador to the U. N. Susan Rice stated that the attacks on our embassies around the world were spontaneous and the result of a film trailer that disparaged the prophet Mohammed. This is one of the most ignorant responses that this administration has made to cover its ineptness on the anniversary of 9/11.

As a squad leader in the Marine Corps in Vietnam, I can assure you that civilian protesters never just pick up automatic weapons and grenades and assault something without being led.

Our embassy in Libya and the safe house were both attacked. A roving gang of protesters certainly wouldn’t attack an embassy that is guarded.

As for the film trailer, I viewed part of it, and it was in English, so how did so many non-English-speaking people get that ticked off and go on a rampage?

Word of mouth travels fast, but considering the chaos that has ensued, I doubt the film had anything to do with it. In my opinion, Muslim fanatics spread the word that America has no backbone or integrity and won’t defend itself.

Gregory J. Topliff

Glenwood Drive

Warrenville

Well, I have heard it all now. It seems that Milwaukee and Cleveland have gone to a voucher system to provide parents an opportunity to send their children to the school of their choice.

The problem is that this prevents public school teachers from educating our children about a democratic society, the importance of voting and tolerance for today’s diverse world.

I have a better idea: how about concentrating on reading, writing, and arithmetic? The absence of these three skills is probably why parents are taking their kids out of failing public schools.

Another concern might just be that parents don’t want the National Education Association (teachers union) teaching their children about voting and political issues.

Butch Parker

Brick Landing Court

Mount Pleasant