Letters to the Editor

MARGARET SCOTT / newsart.com
MARGARET SCOTT / newsart.com
Posted: November 27, 2011

Take Kennedy approach to cancer

October has come and gone and, for the 26th year, National Breast Cancer Awareness Month has been observed with stories in the media, pink ribbons on lapels, and fund-raising walks. It is a month of celebration, of comfortable messages about raising awareness and early detection. Based on all of that activity, you might think that we have made significant progress toward ending breast cancer. In reality, we have not. This year, 500,000 women around the world will die of breast cancer. Almost 40,000 in this country alone.

Even though our nation has invested billions of dollars in breast-cancer research, breast-cancer mortality in this country has not been declining at a pace commensurate with those investments. There has been some progress. Our investments have resulted in the knowledge, technology, and tools required to make a difference. It's time to leverage those investments to end this disease. To put aside comfortable messages and bring back a sense of urgency to breast cancer.

I suppose we could celebrate 26 years of awareness months. I prefer that we emulate the actions of President Kennedy 50 years ago, when he challenged this country to put a man on the moon in 10 years. And the nation responded with focus, collaboration, and commitment. Something to truly celebrate. It is time for an Apollo project for breast cancer. The National Breast Cancer Coalition has set Jan. 1, 2020, as the deadline for ending breast cancer, and we have a plan to get there. We are collaborating with researchers, advocates, regulators, industry, and policymakers to help reach our goal.

We all need to understand the enemy, face the truth about the lack of sufficient progress, and then become part of the movement to end breast cancer. It is time to move beyond awareness to action, to come together with a higher purpose.

Fran Visco, president, National Breast Cancer Coalition and Fund, Washington, fran@BreastCancerDeadline2020.org

Obama criticism warranted

I was pleasantly surprised by your editorial concerning the failure of the supercommittee ("Nothing 'super' about failure," Tuesday). It is one the rare times The Inquirer's editors have provided the readers with balanced opinion that included criticism of President Obama. Providing facts about what the president isn't doing and his failures is what you need to do more often. Thanks.

Rick Wozniak, Collegeville

Wrong to point finger at Obama

Your editorial describing the failure of the supercommittee as "the latest example of Obama's inability to make a deal with Republicans" was astonishing. Then you quoted a Wall Street Journal commentary that suggested the president should consider canceling his reelection plans?

For three years, President Obama has bent over in every which way to try to compromise and work with Republicans. In response, they have rejected every effort. They are unwilling to consider any real compromise to move tax rates back to what they were under President Bill Clinton, even if combined with large spending cuts. Do you seriously believe that Obama is responsible for their intransigence? Would Republicans be more willing to compromise if Hillary Rodham Clinton were president, or Chris Dodd, or Tom Daschle?

When one party goes off the deep end of the political spectrum and refuses to be budged back to the center, it is your responsibility to point this out. That is not liberal bias, it is objective truth-telling. Compared to Republicans today, George H. W. Bush and Richard Nixon seem like moderate Democrats.

Philip Maneval, Swarthmore

Real problem is whom we elect

The supercommittee did its job: It did not reach an agreement. Now, they can all go home and say we did our best and the mandatory cuts will go into effect in 2013.

But guess what will happen to those cuts when the new Congress takes over. It will be: "We cannot cut Sen. Blowhard's pet project or Congressman Gasbag's pork-barrel boondoggle." As long as we keep electing the same drones, this will keep repeating itself.

Ron Costello, Warminster

Strident conservatives at fault

In response to your editorial Tuesday, "Nothing 'super' about failure," President Obama is not the enemy. The enemy is the rigidity and myopic vision of our legislators, who take no responsibility for their own behavior and blame it on the other, as well as those raising millions of dollars to maintain a status quo that is keeping our economy stagnant.

We applaud those who are fighting for freedom in other countries while our own country is being imperiled by the tyranny of extreme conservatism. Why is doing away with a cap on Social Security deductions so controversial? Why shouldn't the most affluent of our society contribute more for the betterment of the entire country? Why do we have to give special favors to huge corporations that pay less of a percentage of their profits in taxes than most citizens? Why do we need to despoil our planet for future generations for short-term benefits? Aren't there ways to reduce waste and fraud in government programs while also raising more revenue to support new American businesses?

I understand the pendulum swings in politics, but what happens when the pendulum is locked in place? How did open-mindedness, intelligence, and fairness come to be treasonous?

Helene Dow, Philadelphia

No one really cutting budgets

When discussing the actions needed to address the budget deficit, you and others keep referring wrongly to cuts in programs. Please, please stop it. What is being talked about are reductions in the growth of spending for defense, entitlement, and other programs - not cuts. For example, under the Budget Control Act, defense spending's increase would be reduced from plus 10 percent to about 8.5 percent.

Malcolm L. Watts, Kennett Square

Occupy movement deserves support

I have been disappointed to see the negative coverage of the Occupy movement. That is why I was heartened to see Annette John-Hall's evenhanded commentary ("Occupy Phila. offers a peace sign," Tuesday). I appreciated her reminder that Occupy's supporters include working people, loan-burdened students, principled Quakers, and teachers and professors from across the United States.

John-Hall reminds us that the aggressors in this peaceful Occupy movement have been most often the police. Her article should have appeared on the front page, because it is a salient reminder that radical economic inequality exists today in a way that it hasn't before in American history.

It affects not only the increasing numbers of homeless people, but the vast majority of the population, and it is time that the American people demand accountability, or as John-Hall put it, they should be "pitching a fit."

Kavita Daiya, Philadelphia

Jobs wasn't good for America

Last Sunday's article in Currents, "Apple's American job disaster," was pretty revealing. At his recent passing, Apple Inc. founder Steve Jobs was portrayed as a combination of saint and genius. In reality, Jobs was nothing more than a modern Benedict Arnold, who moved American jobs to China where they could be done in virtual slave-labor conditions.

China declared economic war on the United States years ago, but our government pretends that everything is normal and gives the premier of China a state dinner at the White House. It is long past time that fair-trade laws were enforced on Chinese products and its currency, and an embargo declared on any Chinese products produced under the sort of labor conditions that exist in Apple's facilities in China.

Joe Bowers, Phoenixville

Not so hard to figure this out

It is imperative that we raise revenue in addition to cutting waste in existing federal programs.

The following three actions would wipe out our debt over a period of only a few years without having to cut Social Security, Medicare, or Medicaid:

Raise federal income tax rates on those earning $500,000 or more per year.

Levy a small tax on every stock-market transaction.

Deduct Social Security payments from everyone's payroll for the entire year with no limit on how much could be deducted.

If we're not willing to take the foregoing steps, I have to assume we're not interested in solving the federal debt crisis.

Andrew Mills, Lower Gwynedd, helenandymills@comcast.net

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