Gloria Gelman, Philadelphia
GOP plan misfires on care costs
As a registered Republican reading the Republican health-care plan, I was surprised by the lack of thought that went into it. The first goal is to get rid of Obamacare. Only later does it mention that a more competitive health-care market needs to be encouraged. A plan that is defined by the opposition plan is ridiculous. And a Republican plan that does not put price competition first is not a Republican plan at all. Such a plan should force providers to provide up-front prices for services.
It is sad that Obamacare, inadvertently, is providing more transparency in health-care pricing than the Republican non-plan would. High-deductible plans will educate people about just how ridiculous health-care pricing has become.
E. Gunnar Tarnow, Fair Lawn
Buck passer in chief
Watched President Obama's speech the other day about the computer problems surrounding the rollout of the Affordable Care Act. He made himself very clear: Not only does the buck not stop here, but it stops way, way, way over there.
Mike Davis, Wynnewood, firstname.lastname@example.org
Sees the pyramids along the Nile
Recent reports about preservation efforts at the Red Monastery in Egypt should have mentioned the person most responsible for the massive cleaning and conservation project: Elizabeth S. Bolman, associate professor at Temple University ( www.collegeart.org/awards/conservation2008). Without her vision, determination, leadership, and fund-raising, the project would never have happened.
Dale Kinney, Bala Cynwyd
Don't grow firms' electioneering
Citizen groups participating in campaigns are trying to promote the greater good. Corporations largely participate to advance their influence so they can better line their pockets ("Another round: Free speech vs. campaign-finance reform," Oct. 20). In its 2010 decision on corporate campaign spending, the U.S. Supreme Court overreached. Commentator Chip Babcock wrote that free speech shouldn't "be sacrificed at the altar of improving our political system, but to ensure we won't be silenced." I would go further to say that free speech is not meant to be sacrificed at the altar of corporate spending at the expense of the people.
Sally Morrow, Fort Washington
Junk science threatens public
It's disappointing that The Inquirer would allow the Franklin Center - an out-of-state corporate shill funded largely by the ultraconservative Koch brothers - to chime in on liquor privatization in Pennsylvania ("Stand up for consumers," Oct. 11). The center's support of privatization is driven by special interests who want to get their hands on this valuable public asset. The center also cites junk science to make outrageous claims that increasing availability of alcohol will not lead to more social problems. That ignores real science on this issue. The independent U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend against further privatization of alcohol sales due to its effect on public health and safety. Every peer-reviewed scientific study on the topic has found evidence supporting that recommendation. That's why the Franklin Center's counterpart in Pennsylvania, the tea party-funded Commonwealth Foundation, can't get any of its research peer-reviewed: It doesn't pass the academic standards needed for publication.
Wendell W. Young IV, chair, United Food and Commercial Workers of PA Wine & Spirits Council; president, UFCW Local 1776, Philadelphia
Music to many ears
Programming two less-popular works of Beethoven hardly was a demonstration of "the tendency toward safe choices" by the Philadelphia Orchestra. Rather, it was an opportunity for a Philadelphia audience to hear (and, yes, enjoy) the complex inner workings of pieces too often overlooked ("Orchestra's crowd-pleasing lineup thrills - briefly," Oct. 19). Philadelphia would be better served if an Inquirer reviewer helped readers understand and cherish a wide range of classical music, rather than telling them what they enjoy is a diluted version of the real thing.
Ernest Kimmel, Kennett Square
That's not bike-friendly, utilities
My wife commutes on her bicycle, but recently came home with a huge bruise on her throat. I listened in horror as she explained that, while she was coasting down a street, a cable - invisible to her and hanging low - caught her under the chin. Providentially, she was going slowly enough to brake. It could have been much, much worse.
Furious, I drove to the block to look for the cable. While I was unable to pinpoint blame on any one company, this episode is emblematic of a much larger problem in Philadelphia: utility companies cutting corners and inflicting shoddy workmanship on neighborhoods. Work is being performed by company crews and subcontractors with no regard for aesthetics or safety; on my block alone I have cut down more than 50 feet of cable that has been left hanging from poles across the sidewalk and into the street. They need to clean up their act.
Andy Jickling, Philadelphia