Letters to the Editor

Posted: May 26, 2012

Coercive policies

Charles Krauthammer has been so intent on committing the nation to policies that its citizens do not believe in that he cannot conceive of President Obama personally endorsing some form of gay marriage as anything but a coercive national program to overturn laws nationwide ("The missing link in Obama’s same-sex marriage evolution," Monday). This is hardly Obama’s method of operation.

Krauthammer has been more than happy to commit our country to two seemingly endless and exceedingly expensive wars. He has been more than happy to acquiesce in the coercive indenture of our children in order to qualify for decent employment, and to "free" banks to make money-losing gambles with our money. Krauthammer’s free-trade policies have been instrumental in shipping jobs and factories overseas, while Krauthammer’s immigration policy has left Alabama with unharvested crops that Americans were unwilling to harvest at the going rate.

It is Krauthammer, not Obama, who favors coercive national policies that increasingly constrict the freedoms Americans remember as their birthright.

Ben Burrows, Elkins Park

School cuts

It is ironic that Eric Lerum of Michelle Rhee’s StudentsFirst organization didn’t make a peep last year about the devastating cuts Gov. Corbett’s budget imposed on Philadelphia’s schools ("A bold plan to fix city’s schools," May 17). But now Lerum complains about the "arbitrary" reduction in per-pupil funding that the charter schools will suffer under the Philadelphia School District’s stringent budget for next year. There is nothing arbitrary about the cuts.

The per-pupil payments to charters are based on the per-pupil expenditures of the district. The charters enjoyed a respite this year because the funding formula is based on the prior year’s budget. Children in the traditional public schools already had to suffer from the cuts this year, but the charters will have to share that loss going forward.

I guess Lerum and Rhee either paid no attention to the effect that spending cuts would have on all of Philadelphia’s children — or they only care about some of our students.

Susan L. DeJarnatt, Philadelphia

Climate science

The writer of the letter "When beliefs and policy collide" (Monday) is quite logical in separating science from religion, but quite shortsighted in writing that "the evidence for man-made global warming is overwhelming." While the large majority of international "climate scientists" directly involved in the United Nations’ panel for climate change may believe that, there is a significant number of knowledgeable "climate scientists" who accept the idea of a recently warming planet but who cannot name man as the full or primary cause. To them, the evidence is not "overwhelming." Is it all man, as Al Gore exhorts, or is it all nature, as Rush Limbaugh claims, or is it an unknown in between? The answer to that question requires much more study.

Climate science is a very broad, very complex, and very new field. It is not conducive to lab studies. Outstanding scientists believe in healthy skepticism. It is a good trait. And most importantly, a good scientist, and the public at large, might all hold to the wise premise that "science is never done."

With respect to global warming, a more rational solution would be to invest in more research, explore new ways to adapt, seek more innovative and more economic ways to mitigate against future adverse impacts, and seek better ways to prepare for nature’s volatile disasters, which have always been with us and will continue in the future.

Roger Colley, Huntingdon Valley

Prostate test

A blue-ribbon panel has recommended that men forgo taking the prostate-specific antigen, or PSA, blood test as it statistically, over the entire male population, does not pay off and may be harmful ("Cancer test is harmful on balance," Wednesday).

Is this a case of misguided advice that may save the general population money in theory, but may cause any given individual to suffer from a cancer that is extremely curable if caught early? I think, yes, it is.

I personally know three men whose PSA trend line went up noticeably, were biopsied, and were found to have cancer. They all were treated by one means or other and they are all cancer-free today. Would they have been better off if they had not had a PSA test? I don’t think so.

Ken Derow, Wallingford

Barnes freed

Moving the Barnes from Merion to Philadelphia is not the same as moving the Philadelphia Orchestra from the Academy of Music to Verizon Hall, or building skyscrapers above Billy Penn’s hat ("As new Barnes opened, a quirky something lost," Sunday). One cannot lose something that one does not know exists.

I, who received a well-rounded education before moving to Philadelphia in 1969, had never even heard of the Barnes collection until the 1990s, when I saw its traveling exhibit at the Art Museum.

Back then, I thought about visiting its Merion home, but between the limited visiting hours and reports of neighborhood hostility toward parking my car on Merion streets, I waited until last year before venturing to Latches Lane to see the collection.

Thank you, Judge Stanley R. Ott and the clever politicians and philanthropists who liberated the Barnes collection from its oppressors in Merion.

Rosamond Kay, Philadelphia, yakr47@aol.com

GOP agenda

On reading about "the first time in U.S. history that a 12-month snapshot of the newborn population was majority minority," my thought is, it must have struck fear in the hearts of the GOP and primarily the tea partyers ("A telling tale of newborns," May 18). They now only have 15 to 20 years to enact their agenda, which to all is transparent. It began with engaging in ideological absolutes or lack of compromise, up to the latest restriction of democracy, voter-ID laws. I doubt there is room enough for all of them in Idaho.

Richard Cionci, Cherry Hill

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