Who's in charge?

A recent letter gave the writer's idea of what the president "should have" said in the State of the Union address. The gist of his suggestion was that since members of Congress refuse to do what the president wants done, they should go home and return their paychecks.

I would hope the letter writer would go home and read the Constitution. Maybe a quick glance at the Federalist Papers would give him an idea of what our government is actually about.

What we have is a republic, where the representatives of the people make laws and, just as importantly, don't make laws in accordance with the wishes of their constituents, nor the president. The president's job is to sign the bills into law, administer the laws, which he's not doing, and govern the executive branch.

Congress does not have any obligation to the president other than respecting his veto, unless it has the votes to override it. We elect members of Congress to do what we think is proper for us, and we can un-elect them just as easily.

The president doesn't choose them and he can't fire them. He can suggest laws, he can lobby for laws, but he can't make laws and he can't force Congress to make laws. This is called "separation of powers."

Gloria B. Jenkins

Stonewood Drive

Charleston

Bridge solution

Those whitish cable-stays on the Ravenel bridge seem to be hollow or tubular. If they are hollow, stopping the formation of "ice bombs" during freezes should be easy.

Large engines would be positioned inside the bridge towers at a height where the cable-stays hook up to the tower itself. The engines would power a forced-air system to supply warm (or at least warmer) air through the tubes and melt the ice quickly.

The system need not operate very long - only between the periods when the air turns freezing and the air turns warm enough to melt ice on its own. Of course, it would take money to buy the engines, install them, operate them and perform maintenance.

Still, it's far cheaper than negotiating with people whose cars (and persons) were harmed by the "ice bombs." By operating the forced-air system as soon as freezing starts, the "ice bombs" would never form and the bridge could open sooner.

Alfred Waldrep

Lockwood Drive

Charleston

Tree controversy

I love trees. I have a yard full of them. We all love the aesthetic beauty of the I-26 approach to the Lowcountry.

For months the majority of letters gracing these pages have been against any tree removal on the I-26 corridor.

The common theme is that the trees are innocent. Excessive speed and bad driving are at fault.

Blow a rear tire, or get bumped, and the result can be hitting a solid tree only a few feet from the highway. Whether you hit that tree at 50 mph or 80 mph, the result is likely the same.

Many solutions have been proposed: clear-cutting, partial cutting and guardrails are all expensive. Insulating chosen, limited tree areas with cane or a more forgiving tree species is an option.

There must be a sizable buffer zone between the highway and any potentially large trees. This uncontrolled tree growth is unacceptable.

Whatever the cause, a driver should have a reasonable expectation of survival in these accidents.

The few remaining memorial crosses along I-26 represent real lives. One life is worth more than all the trees in question.

John B. Peace

Parish Parc Drive

Summerville

Lost truth

When is a lie a lie? Or does it only matter who is telling the lie?

This country's morals and values have really changed a lot since 1992. On Presidents Day, I reflected back to Bush 41 and how the Democrats cajoled him into changing his stance on no new taxes. At that time the news media reported for months that he lied.

Now with President Obama everything that comes out of his mouth is a lie or distortion, and there's nothing but deafening silence from the press. (The press acted in the same fashion with President Clinton and the whole Monica Lewinsky affair as well).

As a country, we have really sunk low when we either no longer know the truth or just don't care.

Tim Peyton

Deercreek Road

Mount Pleasant

Pedestrian safety

I love a good contradiction, and "pedestrian friendly" Charleston is a good one. Over a quarter million drivers pass into the city daily. (256,500 according to the S.C, Department of Transportation 2012). The 2010 census counted 31,123 citizens on the city peninsula. That ratio is about 10 cars per citizen.

South Carolina is the sixth most dangerous state in America for walkers. Charleston was built and designed before the automobile with alleys and narrow carriage roads. Sadly, many two-way streets are now one-way streets and thus more dangerous. The intersection of Coming Street and I-26 has 61,800 vehicles pass per day, one way. Innocent pedestrians try to cross. Don't mistakenly step into the road; you will surely die.

Ashley Avenue, formerly two-way, funnels 2,611 cars a day through Hampton Park to join 9,900 drivers on Rutledge Avenue heading to an on-ramp for I-26 through Hampton Park.

Indeed, there are many solutions. One is to change one-way streets back to the original two-way flow. That may seem counter-intuitive to some, but as the city continues to fill former parking lots with buildings the problem is solved.

Further, MUSC has piloted a plan to bus employees from distant lots of Northwoods Mall, Wal-Mart and Citadel Mall to the hospital. It's hugely successful. These free buses are in high demand and filling bus loads.

And South Carolina must raise the 16-cent state gas tax to the national average of 35 cents. Higher fuel costs would "drive" people into carpools and buses.

Lastly, move downtown. The 1980 U.S. census counted 41,000 people downtown. There are lots of empty spaces to live close to work and school.

Most people are walkers at some point in the day; make walking safe.

F.X. Clasby III

Riverside Drive

Charleston

Natural selection

The Post and Courier report on Sen. Mike Fair's argument against teaching natural selection in public schools was alarming and puts into question the phenomenal high school education that I have received.

What Sen. Fair fails to understand is that science classes should teach what current scientific evidence supports. South Carolina schools teach evolution because the case for evolution is very strong. Until there is a better case for creationism than evolution, then evolution should remain what is taught.

This is not a case of "controversy" or teaching students both sides of an issue, as state Education Superintendent Mick Zais put it. Creationism is inevitably grounded in intelligent design. Evolution does not explain the origin of life, but it acts as the simplest means of explanation for the continued existence of it.

There is no scientific controversy regarding evolution, as it does not dictate that life was or was not created by an intelligent being or by the replication of stable molecules. It only states, again, that when life formed, evolution took the reins on how life would progress.

Ultimately, I do not want to see South Carolina, which has historically been rated very high in its scientific education, lower its educational standards to appease a political or religious agenda.

That we are one of the most religious states in the country while retaining one of the highest standards of scientific education is a testament that science and religion can successfully co-exist and a tradition that should be continued long into our future.

Christopher Robinson

Carolinian Drive

Summerville