John J. Kirkwood, Haddonfield
I can only hope that State Sen. Joe Kyrillos soundly beats U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez (D., N.J.) on Nov. 6 ("Give Menendez another term," Sunday). In fact, anyone who voted to tax us and try to use bogus interpretations of the Commerce Clause to justify Obamacare should be booted. Menendez and his Democratic colleague Frank Lautenberg are part of the problem. They vote with their party, regardless of whether their votes will put our children and grandchildren into financial ruin.
Having spent most of my life in New Jersey, I know that Kyrillos would make an improvement to the status quo. America cannot survive another term of either Menendez or Obama.
Joseph DuPont, Towanda
It is sad to read about all the major hurdles put in place by Gov. Corbett for the unemployed, who are unsuccessful in just trying to receive temporary checks to stay afloat in their lives ("Helping jobless reach a human," Sunday). It reminds me of the line attributed to Marie Antoinette, "Let them eat cake." Elections are coming in 2014, and we can register our disapproval in the voting booth.
JoAnn Williams, Media, firstname.lastname@example.org
I am one of the lucky ones, having gotten to Pennsylvania unemployment employees after only two days of trying. The woman I spoke with was amazing. She was helpful, compassionate, and empathetic.
I was having trouble with the online application and had a question. To save me time, instead of simply answering the question, she completed my application with me while we were on the phone. My application was processed and approved within a week. On Sept. 25, my first two payments were deposited into my account and all seemed well.
Here's the problem: I have yet to receive the debit card to access my account. Was it not sent? Was it lost? Was it stolen? Since I don't know the account number, I can't check with the bank.
Bills are now coming due. I have a thousand dollars staring at me when I check my "payment record," but no way of using it. The emotional strain of losing your job is hard enough without being jerked around by a system that is not consistent.
Robert Cannon, Philadelphia
The Inquirer ups the ante for its readers when it features an insightful, fearless mind such as Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist Michael Ramirez. His image of a giddy, gullible, and greedy electorate was neither contemptible nor inaccurate, as some complained ("Cartoonist showed contempt," Oct. 2). It is what we have become - a people who support low taxes and even lower expectations. The latest polls reflect a once-proud society more interested in who is appearing on David Letterman than who is assassinated in Libya.
On Nov. 6, don't blame Ramirez.
Kathleen Hagerty Jepsen, Kennett Square
Sale made sense
The story on the sale of Buttonwood Hospital missed the key reason why the freeholders decided to sell the facility: It would have been irresponsible of us to continue running a nursing home that was slated to lose about $50 million over the next 10 years ("Struggling with aftermath of Buttonwood Hospital sale," Sept. 30).
Other counties have, or are considering, the sale of their long-term care facilities as well, because of the same rising taxpayer burdens associated with government-run entities. Burlington County had the good fortune to procure a highly qualified buyer at auction with a plan to expand and upgrade the facility, and add programs and services. They are expeditiously doing just that, including giving raises to the nurses to make sure the facility keeps and attracts the best caregivers.
Had the freeholders elected to ignore taxpayers, and stay the course, you were looking down the road to a situation that occurred in another county: To address rising costs, beds and rooms would gradually be eliminated over time until Buttonwood was virtually no more. We avoided that scenario; we saved Buttonwood by putting it in the hands of qualified professionals with a proven track record in long-term care. In the process we saved Burlington County taxpayers millions of dollars at a time when many of them are struggling to pay their mortgages, send their kids to college, or afford prescription-drug coverage.
Bruce D. Garganio, Burlington County freeholder director
In the United States, hate-crime legislation does not create independent crimes; it only enhances the penalty upon conviction of a crime ("Hate speech and hypocrisy," Monday). Thus in an assault against an African American, if proven to have been motivated by racial hatred, the sentence, upon conviction, may be greater than it would have been for the assault alone.
Hate-crime legislation in Europe and the United States protects groups that do not constitute any threat of violence or criminality, even if their beliefs or conduct are unpopular. The present denigration of Islam, however, occurs because elements in Islam, such as al-Qaeda, have declared war on the West, and in furtherance of that declaration have killed thousands, both Westerners and Muslims. These attacks are either openly supported by Muslim religious leaders, or are tacitly supported by their silence.
When Islamists cease this warfare, and evidence a willingness to abide by Western standards of tolerance, then they can complain about hate-speech restrictions in Europe.
David C. Harrison, Philadelphia