Letters to the editor: Oct. 3, 2012 edition

Let the people de­cide on the death pen­alty
With all the sense­less killings in every ma­jor city in the United States, I be­lieve we should have a ref­er­en­dum here in Pennsylvania, like Texas, to reg­u­larly use the death sen­tence.
It costs $100,000 a year to pay for the per­pet­rat­or to live. Are we not al­lowed to pun­ish the per­pet­rat­ors? Must we re­ward them and let them live, when they ex­tin­guish an­oth­er life?
Ed­mund Burke, Eng­lish states­man, said, “All that is ne­ces­sary for the tri­umph of evil, is that good men do noth­ing.”
Mil­dred Koch

Get your free smoke de­tect­ors
Oc­to­ber is Fire Pre­ven­tion Month, and I want to in­form the read­ers about the free smoke de­tect­ors avail­able to them through the Fire De­part­ment. The fire­men come to the house and in­stall the alarms (they’re now screwed in­to the ceil­ing. They pre­vi­ously used ad­hes­ive strips, which didn’t work). The de­tect­ors nev­er need a bat­tery change and are good for 10 years. No one should be without smoke de­tect­ors.
For in­form­a­tion, call 215-686-1176.
Rose­mary Callaghan
Castor Gar­dens

’Tis the sea­son to be help­ing the poor people
The hol­i­day sea­son is a nat­ur­al time to open your hearts and wal­lets for oth­ers, but you don’t have to wait un­til Novem­ber or Decem­ber to be­gin giv­ing. There are many young chil­dren liv­ing in Phil­adelphia County who des­per­ately need our help now.
More than 20 per­cent of chil­dren un­der the age of 6 are cur­rently liv­ing in poverty throughout Pennsylvania. These dis­ad­vant­aged kids are in need of everything from socks and un­der­wear to ba­sic school sup­plies.
By get­ting in­to the giv­ing spir­it early this year, you can help en­sure that a child shows up to school warm and with the tools she needs to learn every day.
My col­leagues and I at Shire Phar­ma­ceut­ic­als en­cour­age every­one in Phil­adelphia County to join us in help­ing out Cradles to Cray­ons, an out­stand­ing non-profit that dis­trib­utes the ne­ces­sit­ies to chil­dren age 12 and young­er through loc­al part­ner agen­cies.
Your dona­tions will dir­ectly be­ne­fit loc­al kids through or­gan­iz­a­tions such as CHOP, Luther­an Chil­dren and Fam­ily Ser­vices, Ma­ter­nity Care Co­ali­tion, People’s Emer­gency Cen­ter and the School Dis­trict of Phil­adelphia.
So sum­mon the good will of the hol­i­day sea­son early by clean­ing out your closet or start­ing a drive at your loc­al school, sports league or com­munity or­gan­iz­a­tion. Then join oth­ers with big hearts at Shire’s Big Give on Oct. 12 and 13 at Wilson Farm Park in the Ches­ter­brook Cor­por­ate Cen­ter in Wayne, Pa., or one of the drop-off sites loc­ated across the Great­er Phil­adelphia re­gion.
To­geth­er we’ll har­ness the re­gion’s gen­er­os­ity and fill a tract­or trail­er full of hope for thou­sands of chil­dren who will re­ceive an early gift when they need it most.
Vis­it www.shire­big­give.com for more in­form­a­tion.
Mike Hayes

Socks & un­der­wear also help the poor
The need for cloth­ing re­mains a very ba­sic hu­man ne­ces­sity. Many fam­il­ies in our com­munity con­tin­ue to struggle to sup­port, provide for, and clothe their fam­il­ies in this chal­len­ging eco­nom­ic cli­mate.
In part­ner­ship with the loc­al branch of the Nee­dle­work Guild of Amer­ica (NGA), dur­ing the month of Oc­to­ber, I am col­lect­ing new socks and un­der­wear to be donated to loc­al fam­il­ies and in­di­vidu­als. Dur­ing this drive, we are only ask­ing for socks and un­der­wear. To make a dona­tion of new socks or un­der­wear, please drop them off at my dis­trict of­fice at 19 South York Road in Hat­boro.
If any­one wants to make an­oth­er type of new cloth­ing dona­tion, NGA has an act­ive loc­al branch that meets weekly at the Hat­boro Baptist Church An­nex loc­ated on North York Road.
If you would like to donate, vo­lun­teer, or par­ti­cip­ate in the NGA, please call them at 267-240-6940 for more in­form­a­tion.
Rep. Thomas P. Murt
152nd Le­gis­lat­ive Dis­trict

Re­port dead birds
Dead birds should not be ig­nored! Any­one spot­ting any can and should re­port the loc­a­tion of the car­cass im­me­di­ately to the Phil­adelphia De­part­ment of Health at 215-685-9005.
By so do­ing, you will help pre­vent the spread of West Nile Vir­us by con­tam­in­ated birds and you will pro­tect your com­munity, chil­dren and oth­er an­im­als. If ne­ces­sary, keep call­ing un­til you get con­firm­a­tion of your re­port.
John D’Aless­andro

If Obama loses, we’ll be stuck with Nut­ter
Dear Mr. May­or, I was un­lucky enough to see you on the 11 o’clock news at the Demo­crat­ic Na­tion­al Con­ven­tion spew­ing your usu­al lib­er­al rhet­or­ic, most not­ably the part where you said, “I know what Philly wants.”
Do me a fa­vor and don’t lump me in with the rest of the mor­ons in this city who fell for the “mes­si­ah.” Don’t pre­sume for one second that you speak for the whole city of Phil­adelphia. I know firsthand your idi­ot­ic policies of “let’s tax ’em to death” that have nev­er worked in the past and cer­tainly won’t work in the fu­ture.
Bil­lions wasted on the fail­ing school dis­trict, in­clud­ing the Ack­er­man de­bacle, soar­ing murder rates, a seem­ingly end­less num­ber of po­lice and fire­fight­ers killed in the line of duty, three out of four mu­ni­cip­al uni­ons work­ing without a con­tract, and the list goes on and on. Let me tell you what I want.
How about a break on the prop­erty tax in­creases — you know, the ones that you think will help bal­ance the school dis­trict budget? With three years in a row, do you see an im­prove­ment be­sides all the free meals the tax­pay­ers are provid­ing for the dead­beats? Didn’t think so.
Of course, if Barry loses, that means we’re stuck with you un­til the lame duck ses­sion ends. God help the city of Phil­adelphia! In the words of some past may­or, “will the last per­son to leave the city please turn off the lights?”
Fran­cis M. Palmer

Does Obama know what the debt is?
Ap­par­ently, Obama does not know how much money we owe, nor does he seem to care.
While try­ing to ap­pear very in­tel­li­gent and worldly on the Dav­id Let­ter­man show re­cently, he said that he in­her­ited a tril­lion-dol­lar debt from the Re­pub­lic­ans, and when Let­ter­man tried to cor­rect him, sug­gest­ing that it may have been $10 tril­lion, he said, “I don’t re­mem­ber what the ac­tu­al fig­ure was,” and con­tin­ued speak­ing.
How in the world are we sup­posed to have faith in a guy who ad­ded $5 tril­lion of our money to the na­tion­al debt, who doesn’t even know what it is? Hell, every free-think­ing tax­pay­er in the coun­try knows how much we owe, and the guy re­spons­ible for one-third of that debt doesn’t know how much it is?
Some­body stop this train, I wanna get off! The really sad part of this whole scen­ario is that the Re­pub­lic­ans would most prob­ably be worse; they cer­tainly aren’t help­ing right now.
Jim O’Keefe

Poor Mitt Rom­ney, he was born in­to wealth
A re­cent let­ter to The Phil­adelphia In­quirer claim­ing that Mitt Rom­ney was not born in­to wealth is not ac­cur­ate. As can be veri­fied by a com­puter search on Google, his fath­er, George Rom­ney, was pres­id­ent of Amer­ic­an Mo­tors when Mitt was 7 years old and gov­ernor of Michigan when Mitt was 16.
In 1968 when he was a can­did­ate for pres­id­ent, George Rom­ney re­leased 12 years of his tax re­turns show­ing that between 1955 and 1966 (when in­come was far lower than today and the dol­lar worth much more) his gross in­come was as high as $661,427 (1960), $566,771 (1963) with a total di­vidends and cap­it­al gains over the 12-year peri­od of more than $1.6 mil­lion.
In 1947, Wil­lard Mitt Rom­ney was named after his fath­er’s friend, J. Wil­lard Mar­ri­ott, bil­lion­aire own­er of the hotel chain and oth­er hold­ings.
Ann Rom­ney’s fath­er was the founder of a com­pany that  made heavy ma­chinery for mar­ine use. Her claim — re­peated at the Re­pub­lic­an Na­tion­al Con­ven­tion — that after their 1969 mar­riage they were forced to live in a $62-a-month base­ment apart­ment with ce­ment floors and in or­der to make ends meet had to eat a lot of pasta and tuna fish, is ab­surd.
Mel Flit­ter
Fox Chase

Why you can blame the Re­pub­lic­ans
Keep these things in mind on Elec­tion Day Nov. 6:
It was the GOP who threw the former slaves un­der the bus when they with­drew the troops end­ing re­con­struc­tion in or­der to en­sure the elec­tion of Pres­id­ent Ruther­ford B. Hayes.
That cre­ated a gap for groups like the KKK to fill. That en­abled the Dixiec­rats to en­act Jim Crow laws.
The GOP de­mon­ized the Demo­crats as the party of rum, Ro­man­ism and re­bel­lion. It was George Wal­lace who was helped by blacks to win his last term as Alabama gov­ernor. LBJ was not forced in­to sign­ing the Civil Rights Act. He could have won the 1964 elec­tion with or without the black vote.
When Al Smith ran for pres­id­ent, so-called Prot­est­ant “cler­gy­men” like Bish­op Can­non pro­mul­gated the big lie that if Smith had won, the pope was go­ing to have a tun­nel built to Wash­ing­ton.
Too many people ac­tu­ally be­lieved it. Not many in the GOP re­pu­di­ated him. Al­though not big­oted them­selves, they be­nefited from it and were afraid of the KKK.
The lat­ter also was strong in north­ern GOP-con­trolled states such as Maine, New Jer­sey, In­di­ana and Ore­gon.
When JFK ran for pres­id­ent, oth­er so-called Prot­est­ant “cler­gy­men” like the “Rev.” Daniel Pol­ing of Phil­adelphia’s Chapel of The Four Chap­lains ques­tioned his de­vo­tion to the Con­sti­tu­tion and his mil­it­ary hero­ism, PT 109 not­with­stand­ing.
He was forced to de­fend his Amer­ic­an­ism in a mas­ter­ful speech which could be sum­mar­ized in these words: “I get my re­li­gion from Rome, and my polit­ics from home.” (Daniel O’Con­nell, the Great Lib­er­at­or, who ob­tained the right to vote for Cath­ol­ics in the en­tire Brit­ish Em­pire.)
Neither party has a mono­poly on vice nor vir­tue.
John Mc­Greevy
Fox Chase

Pay­day lend­ing bill is a big loser
I and oth­er mem­bers of the St. Vin­cent De­Paul So­ci­ety Coun­cil of Phil­adelphia re­cently at­ten­ded a pub­lic hear­ing on HB 2191, a bill that would leg­al­ize pay­day lend­ing at 300 per­cent APR in the com­mon­wealth.
We are so con­cerned about this bill that we traveled to Har­ris­burg, hop­ing to wit­ness mean­ing­ful con­sid­er­a­tion by our le­gis­lat­ors. We were ap­palled at what oc­curred.
First, the only people to testi­fy in fa­vor of these high-cost loans were the out-of-state com­pan­ies that stand to profit from this bill. On the oth­er side were a long list of groups serving Pennsylvani­ans — AARP, Com­munity Leg­al Ser­vices, the Mil­it­ary Of­ficers As­so­ci­ation and the so­cial ser­vices min­istry Luther­an Con­greg­a­tion­al Ser­vices. Cit­izens from across the state were present to wit­ness and ex­press our op­pos­i­tion.
With the line in the sand so clear that Pennsylvani­ans don’t want these pred­at­ory loans, you would think our elec­ted of­fi­cials would not be in­clined to sup­port this bill. In­stead, sev­er­al com­mit­tee mem­bers were hos­tile and dis­respect­ful to these groups who showed up to ex­press the “real world” con­cern for the harm­ful im­pact this bill will have on low-in­come fam­il­ies, seni­ors and vet­er­ans. At the very least, we’d hope our le­gis­lat­ors would feel ac­count­able to us, the voters, when we are right there in the room, rather than be­hold­en to the big-moneyed out-of-state pay­day lenders.
We would like to thank state Sens. Mike Stack and Larry Farnese, who at­ten­ded the hear­ing and asked thought­ful and in­sight­ful ques­tions that re­vealed the long-term debt trap these loans per­petu­ate, and treated their con­stitu­ents present with in­terest and cour­tesy.
While state Sen. An­thony Wil­li­ams was not at the hear­ing, we hope all of these gen­tle­men will make the clear, simple choice to op­pose HB 2191.
Domin­ick F. Buc­ciarelli
Pres­id­ent, NE/South Phila. Dis­trict Coun­cils
St. An­selm SVDP Con­fer­ence

Speak your mind  …
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