Letters to the Editor

TomQuinlan, of Levittown, and Irish Nobel laureate Seamus Heaney, in 2011.
TomQuinlan, of Levittown, and Irish Nobel laureate Seamus Heaney, in 2011. (Photo courtesy of Joe Quinlan)
Posted: January 10, 2013

Affirming and uplifting article

What an affirming and uplifting article Art Carey presented in his profile of 87-year-old educator Tom Quinlan ("A life in love with verse," Sunday). Society needs more Quinlans in our midst, folks who find not only beauty but inspiration and discovery in the world of poetry.

Quinlan is quoted as saying, "You can live a long, happy life without reading a poem or listening to Beethoven, but your life is diminished. Such works are a door to a higher level of response to the world."

We are in dire need, in our techno-charged lifestyles, to tap all the experiences we can that celebrate and enliven the softer side of being human. Bravo, Mr. Quinlan.

Tom Giacoponello, Warminster, grdgiacopot@verizon.net

Deplorable attack on Quakers

The arson and trashing of a Quaker meetinghouse under construction in Chestnut Hill is deplorable and puts another nail in the coffin of unions' fight against right-to-work legislation ("Un-Friendly act at a Quaker site," Friday).

Negotiation and debate between union interests and employers are the way the unions must operate, but they don't understand that approach. Violence and intimidation are the current methods used by unions and, as a result, public opinion is turning away from supporting the reorganizing efforts of labor.

If unions don't accept that times are changing, and that there is public support for the right-to-work movement, they are doomed to suffer hard times.

Leonard Kornit, Philadelphia, lennpearl@comcast.net

Cost-effective defense

I have long known that the National Guard and Reserve are a bargain for our state and country. It's gratifying to finally see the numbers in black and white.

Last month, the Reserve Forces Policy Board issued the first official report from a Department of Defense entity that makes it clear that the cost of a National Guard or Reserve member is much less than that of an active-component member.

The report, which looked at all costs, including health care, dependent education, housing, and retirement, shows that in fiscal year 2013 the annual cost to the federal government for a reserve-component member will be $123,351, while an active-component member costs $384,622.

I point this out because, as part of the president's 2013 defense budget, the Air Force proposes to reduce the size and capability of its most efficient and cost-effective forces - the reserve component. Specifically, they plan to close the Air Force Reserve's 911th Airlift Wing, based in Pittsburgh, this year.

Gov. Corbett and I continue to work with members of Congress, urging them to support a 2013 budget that honors national security yet promotes fiscal responsibility. Based on the Defense Department's own report, it would make the most sense to take a small cut in the active component in order to maintain or expand capabilities by shifting forces to the reserves. It's a 3-to-1 cost savings that should not be ignored.

Maj. Gen. Wesley E. Craig, adjutant general, Pennsylvania National Guard, Fort Indiantown Gap, Annville, Pa.

Protecting the taxpayers

The Inquirer devoted a lot of space this past weekend to vilifying conservatives who dared to try to protect the taxpayers.

Saturday's paper headlined the passage of the $9.7 billion Sandy package. U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) seemed to be the hero, demanding the full $60 billion. It should have been pointed out that he and his fellow senators loaded the bill with "pork." It took until the jump of the article to mention that the full package includes money for fisheries in Alaska and a museum roof in Washington, D.C.

Sunday's paper highlighted Gov. Christie's criticism of congressional Republicans for not passing the $60 billion package ("Sandy will 'dominate my life'"). The waste of taxpayer money in that package went unmentioned. The governor also failed to note that the conservatives merely wanted two things: "pork" unrelated to Sandy out of the package and offsetting spending cuts.

Removing pork should be a no-brainer, and offsetting spending cuts should be equally simple. Surely we can find the money in the billions wasted every year in handouts to the United Nations, Pakistan, Egypt, and the Palestinians.

Joe Bowers, Phoenixville, joseph.h.bowers@comcast.net

Make Congress work

The fight over the fiscal cliff, and the resulting "solution," are glaring examples of Washington's inability to get anything done. Instead of solving the problem, Congress dealt with part of it - and kicked the rest down the road. We can't let this happen again. The group No Labels is calling for Washington to stop fighting and start fixing.

Millions of Republicans, Democrats, and independents have joined No Labels in order to counter the special-interest groups and billionaires who have hijacked our system of government. The group will begin its "Make Congress Work" campaign on Jan. 14 in New York City. To learn more visit, nolabels.org.

Kenneth D. Kastle, Southampton

Watching GOP moderates

Kudos to the Northeast Republicans for their votes on the "fiscal cliff" and Sandy relief bills. Soon we'll see just how moderate they are when it comes to raising the "debt ceiling." Will Pat Meehan and Mike Fitzpatrick, of Pennsylvania, and New Jersey's Jon Runyan, Frank LoBiondo, and Chris Smith join the Republicans' jihad against Social Security, an insurance program with its own revenue stream that is not allowed to add to the nation's debt, and hold it hostage so that they can pay for the trinkets they've already bought?

We'll be watching as they try to rebrand their party from what has become a protection racket for the rich to a more pragmatic party that will work for the public interest and the common good.

Roy Lehman, Woolwich Township

Parents are the answer

Let's not be naysayers about Superintendent William R. Hite Jr.'s plan for the Philadelphia School District ("School chief's 'call to action,'" Monday).

As a former teacher, I feel strongly that he will make headway if, and only if, parents are genuinely involved. I don't want to see parents protesting only when their child's school is on a "To Be Closed" list. I want to see these parents involved all year. Children will do well when they know that their parents care about their progress in school and are there to offer support and guide them.

I am well aware that many parents work and cannot be active in school activities, but they certainly have many opportunities at home to become involved and help their children succeed. Parents are the answers to many of the school's problems. They need to be accountable. Schools cannot do it all.

Bernice Sherman, Philadelphia

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