Letters to the Editor

Memorial Hall is depicted in a model of the Centennial Exposition at the Please Touch Museum.
Memorial Hall is depicted in a model of the Centennial Exposition at the Please Touch Museum. (Inquirer archive)
Posted: July 14, 2013

Phila. could put on a 250th show

Philadelphians should start thinking about hosting a grand celebration to commemorate the nation's 250th birthday in 2026. The city hosted the successful Centennial Exposition in 1876, and a less successful Sesquicentennial Exposition in 1926. Just think what it could mean to the city and the nation to have a world's fair to work toward now.

There is talk now of extending the Broad Street Subway down to a bustling Navy Yard, which would be a great site. The subway connects to all points, and there's the airport and a cruise terminal nearby. We have three stadiums built in the region over the last decade, and a recently expanded Convention Center. The PATCO High Speed Line could be extended finally on both ends (in Philadelphia, tracks would reach to 19th Street and then up to the Frankford-Market El at Market Street). The best thing of all that we have is Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell.

There's even a potential name for a 250th celebration in the Roman numerals for that number. It would be called a CCLebration or CeCiL for short.

Dave Mellor, Barrington, auburnelec@gmail.com

Downside to fossil-fuel use

U.S. Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick (R., Pa.) makes a strong case for pursuing the long-elusive goal of energy independence ("Seek energy independence," July 4). But his case is incomplete because it focuses only on the benefits of developing oil, natural gas, and coal resources. Missing is the environmental cost of the approach he advocates. While calling for "environmentally safe yet efficient" means of extracting energy resources, Fitzpatrick omits any mention of the impacts of climate change from the massive greenhouse gas emissions associated with fossil fuels. These emissions are associated even with natural gas, which is no better than coal if it is not extracted and transported with far stricter methods than currently in place in our pro-business, regulation-averse commonwealth. Seeking energy independence while casting a blind eye to the costs of fossil fuels is a losing game.

Bradley Flamm, assistant professor, department of community and regional planning, Temple University, Ambler, bflamm@temple.edu

So much more than tobacco

Repeatedly using the cigarette industry's top marketing word - tobacco - pounds home the incorrect idea that cigarettes are just some natural plant-leaf product ("Good to see the FDA take on new tobacco role," July 7). But a cigarette may contain plain, unadulterated (and apparently unstudied) tobacco, or highly adulterated tobacco-waste material contaminated with numerous pesticides, dioxin-creating chlorine, added burn accelerants, carcinogenic radiation from certain fertilizers, and any of more than 1,000 untested, often toxic, non-tobacco additives. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is too kind - dangerously kind - to the tobacco companies. Indeed, the FDA's role seems to be to protect the adulterant and additive suppliers and users, their investors, and the reputations of public officials who, for the sake of larger sin-tax revenues, have for many decades allowed millions of people to be unwittingly exposed to some of the worst industrial toxins and carcinogens on the planet.

John Jonik, Philadelphia

Some record of achievement

Columnist Charles Krauthammer should look in the mirror and reflect on all the substantial contributions made by his Goof-Off Party to our nation's well-being ("A pointless climate agenda," July 8). What have they done other than pass dozens of symbolic repeals of the Affordable Care Act, laws aimed at invading women's privacy (and sometimes their bodies), and laws aimed at preventing various non-Republican groups from voting? At this point, the only real accomplishment they can point to is that they made President Obama a two-term president.

Paul B. Gallagher, Horsham

Put foreign aid spending to a vote

How dare President Obama pledge $7 billion of our taxpayer money in foreign aid to Africa when our country is in critical need of help for our schools, elderly, unemployed, and infrastructure ("In Tanzania, Obama courts Africa business," July 2). It is time the voters have a say in where their money goes before it is promised to another country. Foreign aid has been a runaway train in every administration, and it's time we took care of our own. Voters should be given their say in a ballot referendum at the next election. List country by country requesting non-humanitarian aid, and list the amounts requested. Then we can demand accountability from our leaders and put the money back where it belongs - in our pockets.

Hannah Dougherty Campbell, Havertown