Letters to the Editor

New York Knicks point guard Jeremy Lin handles the ball as he is defended by the New Jersey Nets Deron Williams.
New York Knicks point guard Jeremy Lin handles the ball as he is defended by the New Jersey Nets Deron Williams. (AP Photo / BILL KOSTROUN)
Posted: February 23, 2012

Lin's success not about his race

Daniel Akst's column on Jeremy Lin ("Lin embodies integration by athletics," Monday) misses the larger point. I, too, enjoy this underdog's unexpected, sparkling play, but I wish the element of race could be removed from it.

Lin is not a good basketball player because he is Asian any more than Pol Pot was an evil monster because he was Asian. Attaching a person's race to his conduct is racist, whether the conduct is admirable or detestable.

By now, I hope we reject all such historical stereotypes, including that all Jews are cheap or all blacks are lazy. We should understand the basic idea that underlies racial tolerance: that all races have all types.

If we still need Lin to teach us that some Asians, like some of any race, may be good at sports, then we haven't progressed nearly as far as we should have.

Guy S. Michael, Cherry Hill, guysmichael@aol.com

Villanova isn't homophobic

In "Villanova cancels appearance by a gay performance artist," Tuesday, Tim Miller asserts that Villanova University is "clearly . . . succumbing to homophobia." This is a gross mischaracterization of Villanova and its students.

Coming to Villanova from a secular undergraduate university, I was concerned about how I would be treated as a gay man at a Catholic institution. To date, I have not once encountered any sort of ostracism, derogatory comments, or the like at Villanova.

Villanova is a welcoming academic community for people of all races, religions, and yes, sexual orientations. To draw the conclusion from one singular decision that Villanova is becoming homophobic is to ignore the reality of what is actually occurring here on campus.

Nick Brown, Audubon, nickalexbrown@gmail.com

University showed 'cowardice'

By banning Tim Miller's workshop, which would have involved lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender students telling stories from their lives, and then preventing staff from discussing its decision with the media, Villanova University has shown that it values hypocrisy and censorship over openness and inclusivity.

The university's president must have been terrified that his students were about to talk publicly about their lives on campus. We happily watch gay people sing and dance in Glee, but as soon we have the choice to visit a theater and see people we know stand up and tell the truth about themselves, the whole facade collapses.

This was not about religious values or mission. It was spiritual cowardice.

Paul MacAlindin, Cologne, Germany

Stop favoring gas over solar

House Bill 1580, introduced by State Rep. Chris Ross (R., Montgomery), is being held hostage in the Consumer Affairs Committee by Rep. Robert Godshall, who will not put it to a vote before the committee. We want to know why he wants to see more people in Pennsylvania's unemployment lines.

This bill simply corrects an imbalance in the Solar Renewable Energy Credits market, and its passage would keep thousands of solar installers working on clean-energy projects at good wages. It would also reduce people's energy costs and cut down on the need for new transmission lines.

The more solar there is in Pennsylvania, the less power the utilities will have to buy on the spot market during peak demand. This will save money for everyone on their bills. Godshall and the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry seem to think the solar industry and its jobs are no longer important now that Pennsylvania has become a major source for natural gas.

Charles Reichner, Revere

Land bank would benefit city

I was happy to see Tuesday's editorial on the momentum in support of vacant-land reforms in Philadelphia ("Land bank can keep tabs on vacant properties"). My organization is part of Take Back Vacant Land, a 30-member coalition that supports the creation of a Philadelphia land bank to combat blight.

Your editorial affirms the benefits of a land bank, including a one-stop shop for vacant land. While centralizing land sales makes sense, we must focus on putting this land back to work in ways that support families and build strong neighborhoods. The view from our front porches is more important than the few dollars we can get from the sale of a vacant property.

Gloria Gilman, chairwoman, Philly Neighborhood Networks, co-coordinator MoveOn Philadelphia, Campaign to Take Back Vacant Land, Philadelphia, gmgilman@igc.org

Obama broke promise for a reason

Re: "The president's broken budget promises," Wednesday:

Generally, it's a bad thing when presidents break promises, but it was worse when President Obama attempted to "pivot" from repairing the economy in the wake of the collapse of the housing bubble in early 2010. Getting the stimulus into place was a good thing to have done, but the economy needed, and still needs, much more of the same. He never should have diverted from restoring consumer demand. That's a job that wasn't finished when Obama initiated the "Cat Food Commission," that is, the Simpson-Bowles deficit reduction commission.

Getting the deficit down is something that eventually needs doing, but it can wait until unemployment has fallen to the 3 percent to 4 percent range. To work on the deficit before then is an extremely foolish diversion from what needs doing.

Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) said in 2009, "We're never going to decrease the deficit until we create jobs, bring revenue into the Treasury, stimulate the economy, so we have growth." She was correct then, and that course remains the correct one to follow.

Richmond L Gardner, Horsham, rlg3526@ix.netcom.com

Homeless can be fed safely outside

Thank you for bringing attention to an important issue ("Feeding the homeless better for everyone inside," Saturday). Here are some more considerations: Many of the groups that distribute food have limited resources themselves. The food is often prepared in people's homes, not in buildings that could accommodate feeding them indoors. Where would the feeding occur if they had to be moved indoors? And who would pay for the facilities?

Another aspect is the lack of trust people who are homeless have for city services. The social services that many have experienced have failed them in many ways, from the public schools, to child welfare, to the shelter systems. The city's setting down more regulations sends a message of controlling the homeless, not really caring for them. There have been no reports of illness related to the outdoor feedings.

Debbie Barbieri, Philadelphia, jaydeb.lakeharmony@gmail.com

Make next year truly significant

Now that the Pennsylvania House has unanimously passed a resolution proclaiming 2012 the "Year of the Bible," there's hope for the future. Is it possible that the legislators may proclaim a coming year the Year of Integrity in Government? I won't hold my breath.

Manuel Alfonso, Quakertown

Israel should follow U.S. orders

Why is the United States begging Israel not to launch a destabilizing attack on Iran, which would yield questionable results? Israel exists at the pleasure of the United States. If not for us and our multibillion-dollar defense package, Israel would be just a memory. The United States must demand that Israel either get approval from us before any attack that could have deleterious consequences for the United States or lose all financial and military support.

Greg Horak, Denver

Goal is to improve quality of life

According to Charles Krauthammer, any public-policy initiative that is intended to improve the quality of life and benefits society as whole can be construed as an attack on personal liberty ("Surveying Obamacare's constitutional wreckage," Monday). In the 1960s, clean-water and clean-air standards were thrust upon private industry. As a result we expect longer lives and better living standards.

I am a small-business owner and was shocked when I received a letter from my insurance carrier that, as a result of the health-care reform law, there would no longer be deductibles for preventive care as part of our company's insurance policy. I was shocked because there would be no cost increase in our premiums as a result. My insurance carrier further reported that it would not offer the policy with co-pays, because it knew what Krauthammer doesn't want his readers to know, that preventive care creates health-care savings.

Krauthhammer does not want his readers to consider that contraception coverage is a public-policy issue, which would provide more access to health care and lower its costs. If he did, then some of his readers would start to question the right wing's opposition to a law and policy that provides better care and saves money.

Larry Goodman, Philadelphia

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