To continue to use 30th Street as the name is to memorialize a street where no great battle or medical discovery or military encampment took place, and to ignore the glorious name of our commonwealth.
The irony of it all is that Amtrak's New York City, Newark and Baltimore stations are all named Pennsylvania Station, while we in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, utilize a name more appropriate for a trolley car stop than for a truly superb building.
Charles J. Wery
THE BOB SIMON CASE
There was widespread joy when Bob Simon and his CBS colleagues were released by the Iraqi government, but it would be a mistake to dismiss the incident of their capture merely with a sigh of relief.
They violated the direct orders of their government and undoubtedly jeopardized the efforts, perhaps lives, of the coalition forces. By their admission, they deceived the military and ignored advice to turn back.
Plainly put, what they did was wrong. They persisted in self-aggrandizement at the risk of others. If one sortie, or one squad patrol, or one helicopter flight was diverted from its strategic plan in order to rescue them, it could have resulted in tragedy. If they gave the enemy one iota of intelligence, however unwittingly, it is a serious matter.
The descriptions of what they were doing (they called it "free-lancing") and why they did it are examples of the self-serving media at their worst.
Were they supposed to be where they were? Should Mr. Simon have impersonated an Army officer? What did they intend to do with the pile of money they had with them?
The media have not come out of this very well. Perhaps it can be best summed up in the incident of Bernard Shaw taking umbrage at being questioned by the military when he returned from Baghdad. How dare they interrogate a member of the media? Perhaps they should have asked for his passport.
Roger E. Egan
Mystic Island, N.J.
THE EVIDENCE IS WEEKLY
In reference to the March 13 article "Mass exodus among Catholics," one can see no reason to question either the numbers or the conclusions cited. However when your writer attempts to find reasons for the phenomenon, he reveals an investigative ineptness that readily discredits that portion of the article.
That he should infer the Rev. Andrew Greeley to be a suitable Roman Catholic authority in such matters is highly questionable. Even more ludicrous is Father Greeley's contention that the cause of this "exodus" is (from a lay point of view) an unread and forgotten papal encyclical.
That reporter could easily have uncovered a far more likely explanation if he had but only attended one of these new Masses and had to endure the superficial liturgy, celebrant antics, painful music and mind-deadening homilies that we Catholics must endure every Sunday.
Anthony F. Gryn
Telford, Bucks County
A CAPITAL IDEA
It is quite difficult for me to understand our judicial system or understand most of the judges who have been appointed to serve the best interests of the citizenry of our society. And, though I try, I cannot understand anyone who is against capital punishment. Personally, I think it is a capital idea. But, from what I have discerned, our judicial system invariably seems to protect the best interests of murderers.
Almost daily I read about miscarriages of justice. For instance, Eric Motis, this poor excuse for a human being, invaded the home of a neighbor, raped and bludgeoned to death a woman and bludgeoned to death her two teenage sons.
Bucks County Common Pleas Court Judge Isaac Garb and others of his ilk nauseate me. His sentence of three consecutive life terms is analogous to a slap on the wrist for Eric Motis and a slap in the face for all law-abiding citizens. Eric Motis, without any doubt, should have been sentenced to death.
George P. Stewart
President Bush has just proposed a new crime package to Congress that would expedite the execution of inmates on death row.
Has Mr. Bush read the Amnesty International reports on the death penalty, as he did, and quoted to the world, the report on atrocities committed by Saddam Hussein's forces on Kuwaitis?
Mr. Bush, who seems to have so much respect for this Nobel Prize-winning organization - when it helps justifying the obliteration of a Third World country, including thousands upon thousands of its women and children - would learn that Amnesty International is totally and unconditionally opposed to capital punishment.
ART IS FOR COSMOPOLITANS
The loss of the Annenberg collection is surely partly due to the belittling review given by one of your staff members when the works were mounted at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
It seems that those who do reviews for The Inquirer know how to criticize but not to critique. William B. Collins (fortunately now gone), Lesley Valdes, Daniel Webster, etc., seems to despise anything that has public appeal. It appears to be a type of parochial snobbery.
I don't blame Walter H. Annenberg for giving his collection to a museum in a cosmopolitan city like New York, but it would be nice if your paper dropped its provincial approach to excellence.
Samuel W. Cook
OIL INDUSTRY'S VIEW ON ENERGY PLAN
Your Feb. 21 editorial "This is a policy?" criticizes the proposed national energy strategy of the Bush administration because, in your view, it is heavy on energy production and light on fuel conservation.
Every independent and serious study which foresees a growing U.S. economy in this decade predicts increased energy use because of that growth. The most recent Department of Energy outlook forecasts a 17 percent rise in energy demand, even with expected improvements and new technology in fuel efficiency and energy conservation.
That tells us that the nation still must find additional energy to meet the demands of a growing economy. And that means principally more domestic oil and natural gas exploration and production. The only other way to fill the predicted void is to increase oil imports, thus sending vast amounts of money overseas.
What would the "conservation only" group have us do? They want government to force consumers and businesses to take actions that will be costly - increasing gasoline taxes 50 cents a gallon or more (an idea overwhelmingly rejected by Americans in poll after poll) - or actions that would impinge on personal freedom, such as limiting the size of one's home or car. Their "all- purpose" answer is to increase fuel efficiency in cars to 40 miles-per- gallon, giving consumers no other choice. Such cars already are available today, but motorists buy few of them.
A balanced approach is the logical solution. We as a nation should continue research to improve energy efficiency and provide information to consumers so they can adopt conservation practices that make economic sense. At the same time we should increase domestic production of oil and natural gas. That can be accomplished by permitting access to government-owned lands, offshore and onshore, where substantial deposits of oil and gas are believed to exist.
S. P. Chamberlain
American Petroleum Institute