Letters to the Editor

Posted: June 16, 2012

Creative vision

As a junior at Haddonfield Memorial High School in the 1952, I volunteered in the Ground Observer Corps, spending Sunday mornings in the broadcast booth at the football stadium scanning the skies with binoculars for threatening low-flying aircraft. My supervisor was an avid science-fiction fan, and he brought in boxes full of science fiction to wile away our two-hour shift. The authors included Ray Bradbury, Phillip K. Dick, Kurt Vonnegut, and Isaac Asimov, who were forging a new genre based on the works of the classic writer H.G. Wells. I was hooked ("Bradbury will continue to inspire," Sunday).

When it was time to do my senior thesis for English, I chose Bradbury. Imagine my shock when my choice was denied because he was not "a classic writer." (Instead, I chose Winston Churchill because his birthday was the same as mine. I thought the paper I did was boring and I do not remember the grade.)

Time has given credence to Bradbury's creative abilities, which envisioned exotic worlds where anything was possible, delving into the workings of the subconscious mind, addressing age-old conundrums such as how to live in peace with others not like us. If I were still in high school, the teacher might now allow me to write the thesis I wanted to write almost 60 years ago.

Sandra (Sandy) Gerry Schwartz, Berlin, schwartz148@verizon.net

The inheritance

The Democratic Party, led by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, took control of Congress in January 2007. The Dow was at 12,621. The unemployment rate was 4.6 percent. There had been 52 straight months of job growth. By that time, President George W. Bush had asked Congress 17 times, starting in 2001, to restrain Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The deficit was the lowest in five years and it was the fourth straight year that deficit spending had declined.

Many factors contributed to the current economic mess, but let's dispense with the mantra that it was all inherited from Bush.

Michael J. Clement, Blue Bell

War on drugs

The reason the war on drugs is a failure is that the negative effects which have evolved for our protection are more easily washed away with chemicals than corrected by alteration in our thinking and behavior ("Efforts to decriminalize marijuana growing," Monday). Except for emotional emergencies, psychotropic drugs can be counterproductive. Legalization in the name of personal freedom makes sense and will reduce criminal behavior and save us much money and aggravation — profiteering by drug companies aside — but we should not lose sight of the fact that anxiety, distress, anger, shame, "depression," and the like are warning signals in our lives.

John Brodsky, Swarthmore, johnbrodsky7@verizon.net

Tax delinquents

Mayor Nutter might consider collecting delinquent taxes before increasing taxes on productive small businesses, which, unlike Big Business, do not get subsidies and tax credits ("Property-tax delinquents owe city, schools $515.4 million," Sunday). As the owner of Center City real estate, I wonder if the mayor and City Council are competent to do what is best for Philadelphia.

Bob Guzzardi, Ardmore, bobguzzardi@bobguzzardi.com

Warren ancestry

The Republican attacks on Elizabeth Warren regarding her Native American ancestry are unwarranted and misguided ("Warren's shaky history," Sunday). There are two factors that should be noted.

The critics claim that Warren used her "minority" status to obtain positions at leading universities. This assertion reflects a wide misunderstanding. The goal of affirmative action in the hiring process is to ensure that the candidate pool is diverse, including qualified minority and nonminority candidates. As the pool is winnowed down, there is the expectation that the successful candidate will be the most qualified applicant, minority or not. Warren obviously is highly qualified for the positions she has held.

The second factor relates to how Warren's employing institutions have cited her as a minority faculty member. This is understandable. Universities are held responsible by both accrediting agencies and the government for adhering to affirmative action goals, and for reporting their success in hiring minority faculty members. How can U.S. Sen. Scott Brown (R., Mass.) criticize Warren for understandable actions by her university employers?

Dale Scannell, retired university administrator, Flourtown, dpscan3@verizon.net

Natural gas

What am I missing? Why are we not doing more with natural gas ("Answer is here: Natural gas," June 3). We have high unemployment, low-interest bond returns, high gasoline prices, and our required involvement in oil-rich parts of the world, which costs us militarily and financially, and helps those who not only don't like us but might be actively trying to harm us.

However, we have a boatload of readily available, really cheap natural gas. Why don't we form some private-public partnership company and get this thing moving? Raise money by selling equity and higher-yield bonds (backed by the U.S. government). Have the bonds paid for by a dedicated federal natural gas tax at the wellhead. Have the tax expire when the bonds are paid. Finance the creation of the natural-gas infrastructure (pipelines, distribution, and service stations). Finance the conversion of gas engines to natural gas (tax credits).

Let's see what we have: Natural gas pays for itself; reduces energy dependence (fewer wars and less terrorism); is better for the environment (not perfect, but better); creates jobs; and creates investment opportunities. Like I said, what am I missing?

Craig Gordon, Newtown

Credit to Obama

Have the Republicans given credit to President Obama for the decline in gas prices? It's only appropriate since they said he was responsible for the steep increases earlier this year.

Dale Scannell, Flourtown, dpscan3@verizon.net

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