Letters To The Editor

Posted: November 26, 2009

Profiling Hasan

was the right move

The Pentagon is going to institute additional procedures to ensure the safety of our soldiers on American soil. What additional protocols are contemplated in the wake of Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan's murderous assault on our troops?

Hasan repeatedly urged soldiers that he counseled not to go to Iraq or Afghanistan. He was in contact with radical Muslims. He carried a business card with SOA (soldier of Allah) printed on it, and he openly displayed his angst over U.S. policy in the Middle East.

Does the Pentagon need a brick to fall on its head? If it acts like a rat, smells like a rat, and talks like a rat, then it is a rat. Perhaps political correctness has gone too far. Rather then take Hasan into custody and question him - before he murdered innocent soldiers, one of whom was pregnant - the government did nothing. Profiling in this case would not have been wrong; it would have been lifesaving.

Bill Towey


Thanks, Philly,

for a great race

I would like to thank and congratulate the city for doing a spectacular job at the Philadelphia Marathon on Sunday. After running several marathons in various cities, I can truly say that this was an excellent model of how to organize a successful race. While I was running, I was amazed at the sincere and generous outpouring of community support. The cheering spectators who filled the sidewalks and streets of the course were extremely motivating, and I finished, thanks to their enthusiasm. These citizens truly showed the spirit and pride of their city. Thank you to all the spectators, race organizers, volunteers, and Mayor Nutter for putting together an outstanding race.

Melissa Berndt


Debate real costs

of health care

I am appalled at the poor analysis of the Senate health bill performed by the Wharton health-care management class ("Do the math on health care," letter, Monday). Leaving aside the debate over the numerous problems in this legislation, Thompson has used skewed numbers and uses erroneous assumptions to arrive at a very premature conclusion.

This health-care bill has little to do with 300 million Americans, other than forcing them to pay for it. This bill is about insuring 31 million people who are uninsured. While the initial cost estimates are for a period of 10 years, the actual benefit period appears to be closer to five years. The per-person cost of this coverage is probably closer to $30,000 per individual over this five-year period. No one seems to be discussing these costs, which are based on the proposed $900 billion price tag.

Let's have the debate, but let's at least use costs that approximate reality.

Malcolm E. McGraw

Why stop

at tolling I-80?

In his commentary supporting the proposal to toll Interstate 80 in Pennsylvania (Currents, Sunday), Peter Javsicas stated that the road must be tolled, "Because driving in Pennsylvania is too cheap." That may or may not be true, but his argument does not explain why I-80 should be singled out. Wouldn't it make better sense to toll all limited-access highways in Pennsylvania?

The number of vehicles that use I-95 in Pennsylvania would generate tremendous revenue that could be used to solve the transportation woes he writes about. The same is true of I-81, especially south of Harrisburg, and I-78.

Perhaps the reason that those highways are not included in the tolling proposals is that a much larger portion of the commonwealth's population would be incited to protest those fees. I-80 passes through sparsely populated areas, so tolling there carries less political risk.

In fact, the fairest way to raise the revenue that is supposedly needed would be to uniformly raise gasoline and fuel taxes throughout the state. That way, the burden would be shared equally. Of course, all legislators would equally share their constituents' displeasure on Election Day, so that solution will never see the light of day.

Joseph Kelly




Column on Dad Vail and the mayor is misleading

Buzz Bissinger's Sunday column, "Loss of Dad Vail is proof of Nutter's incompetence," is beyond misleading. It's a disservice to readers who count on The Inquirer for thoughtful opinions, based on fact.

Having written a book on Mayor Edward G. Rendell's administration 17 years ago, Bissinger was left with a legitimate respect for the depth of the challenges that Rendell faced. Unfortunately, Bissinger's experience hasn't transferred from one administration to another.

If Bissinger took time to understand the economic crisis facing this country (including the Nutter administration), he wouldn't be so careless in his remarks. If he would acknowledge the devastating impact of the financial crisis on the city's budget, he would understand why we are not in a position to pay for special events at a time when we're fighting to preserve basic and essential services. If he took the same pride in his work that earned him a Pulitzer for investigative journalism more than two decades ago, he would have been compelled to speak with at least one person in the administration before passing judgment.

Dad Vail organizers notified the city that they had severe financial concerns after losing more than 60 percent of their corporate sponsorships. Within days of sending their letter, they met with city officials, with a check already in their pocket from Rumson, N.J. Their decision had been made without giving the city a chance to compete. Beyond surprising city officials, they blindsided countless colleges and universities and thousands of student-athletes. Nonetheless, we will continue to reach out to Dad Vail organizers and work in partnership with our rowing community in an effort to see the event return to Philadelphia, where it belongs.

Doug Oliver

Press secretary

City of Philadelphia

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