Sherry Milke, Harleysville
A day after publishing its undying support (again) for President Obama ("Obama will do a better job," Sunday), The Inquirer publishes a despicable cartoon from David Fitzsimmons of the Arizona Star that shows a tea-party member sitting next to a very nasty and sexist image of Mitt Romney. So this is how you see Romney's "base"? A vile depiction of an overweight, illiterate woman holding a sign asking to see Obama's birth certificate? Your editors need to get out of Philadelphia once in a while before making such crude assumptions. Romney's base is nothing like what you are trying to depict.
Patricia A. Perrone, Swarthmore
Help kids read
As a pediatrician, I wanted to thank you for publishing a piece exploring exciting new ways for parents to make the most of reading with their children ("Five smarter ways to nurture reading," Oct. 5). Reading is an important tool to guide the development of children's language skills. While many parents have surely heard about the benefits of reading with their children, they may not realize that reading provides children with so much more than a story to soothe them to sleep before bed at night. It fosters language development, allows social interaction and bonding between parent and child, and, as you elucidate in your article, encourages imaginative and creative thought.
The ideas proposed in your article not only encourage parents to read, but suggest creative ways for parents to stimulate cognitive development through creative thinking and imagination. Thank you.
Deanna Tocco, M.D., Philadelphia
Citizens pay taxes
It is difficult to understand how a political party so unequivocally opposed to taxes can at the same time consider itself patriotic. Weren't we all taught that to be good citizens, we should be informed, vote, serve jury duty when called, serve our country in some capacity, and pay our taxes? Paying the taxes that enable our government to perform its responsibilities is a source of pride for the good citizen. Government in a democratic society is us. What it does is mostly what we ask it to do. It is not our enemy.
If our expenses exceed our revenues, we must make adjustments on both sides of the equation to bring our budget into balance. It is what responsible households, businesses, nonprofit organizations, and governments do. This is obviously one of those times. So, let's stop whining and pandering to the illusion that this can be accomplished by addressing only one side of the equation. Let's act like adults and good citizens, work with our fellow citizens across the political aisle, and do what has to be done for future generations - reduce expenses and pay more taxes. That is the patriotic thing to do.
Donald C. Kelly, Havertown, firstname.lastname@example.org
Egypt like Iran?
Déjà vu? In 1979, the last time a U.S. ambassador was killed, feckless foreign policy helped usher in the Iranian revolution. Started by students, the rebellion was quickly co-opted by religious fanatics. Overnight, a stalwart ally morphed into an implacable foe that may soon be armed with nukes.
Fast-forward to 2012, where once again, naïve, inept policies have facilitated the takeover of Egypt by al-Qaeda's progenitor, the Muslim Brotherhood. Our State Department just got rolled by Salafist thugs and their stealth jihad. These Islamofascists will embrace democracy: One vote; one time. If secular women are ever allowed suffrage again, it will be in burqas a la the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Forward? Really? In what universe? With thousands of crazed religious zealots storming 22 of our embassies, waving black Jihadist flags, screaming "We are all Osamas, Obama," this is not forward. This is backward to at least 1979, if not Neville Chamberlain's gullible 1930s.
Tony Battaglia, Swarthmore, email@example.com
No HPV mandate
As a pediatrician, I would like to applaud the argument for assisting teens to obtain the human papillomavirus vaccine. The HPV vaccine may indeed change how we see this disease, as we have seen with other vaccines in the past. Pediatricians must strive for prevention of disease through many different avenues, and vaccination is one of the most important.
On the other hand, I find that controversial topics are best handled by developing a therapeutic alliance with patients and offering them appropriate education, rather than forcing them into therapy, so that they can make an informed decision. Doing so increases trust between patients and their doctors as well as compliance with the doctors' intended therapy.
As an advocate for my patients, I do not believe that mandating vaccination is the appropriate action, but I will continue to strive for a complete vaccination rate.
Blake Nichols, M.D., Philadelphia
The real Obama
During Tuesday night's presidential debate, we saw the man who spoke to us about hope and change four years ago in Philadelphia.
We saw the man who spoke to 35,000 people, and later waved at me while I quietly waited for a bus.
Oh yes, we saw President Obama - on time and in full.
Carolyn Hopper, Philadelphia