As part of President Obama's 2013 defense budget, the Air Force proposes to reduce the size and capability of its most efficient and cost-effective components — the Air National Guard and the Air Force Reserve.
Gov. Corbett and I are working with members of Congress, urging them to support a 2013 budget that honors the enhanced roles that the guard and reserve play in our national security.
Difficult decisions must be made to address our nation's dire fiscal situation. However, it is counterintuitive to target the guard, which represents 35 percent of the Air Force's air capability at only 6 percent of the cost, to absorb 59 percent of the cuts in total aircraft.
The Air Force's dramatic cuts to the Pennsylvania National Guard's 171st Air Refueling Wing will result in the reduction of 25 percent of its aircraft and associated personnel. The Air Force also intends to shutter the Pittsburgh Air Reserve Station and disband the 911th Airlift Wing. Closure of the 911th would put 1,300 reservists and 300 full-time civilian employees on the unemployment lines.
The governor and I suggest transferring the 911th's mission, equipment, and personnel to the Pennsylvania Air National Guard — a federally funded, dual-mission organization responsible to both a federal and state chain of command.
Conversion to the National Guard will afford gubernatorial oversight and enhance domestic-operations capability for the state, making 911th personnel and equipment available to the governor in times of natural or state emergencies.
Combining the two organizations and eliminating duplicative overhead would also increase homeland security operations and make more efficient use of defense dollars.
Maj. Gen. Wesley E. Craig, adjutant general, Pennsylvania National Guard
I enjoy baseball chiefly because it seems the least violent of sports. The recent mean streak coming from players and fans reflects poorly on Philadelphia and on baseball. Athletic actions with intent to injure have been in the news lately ("Hamels suspended: The lefty admitted he hit a rookie and will pay for it," Tuesday). Is this what we are about, an eye for an eye? Or belittling a player who has been injured (Jayson Werth)?
The players who have acted in overly aggressive ways and with unsportsmanlike conduct have been punished, and rightly so. "Manning up" should not involve injuring other players.
We have a great ballpark, coach, and team. Let's show those things off in more positive ways and stop with the hurtful actions and comments.
Elizabeth Klinger, Broomall,
Charles Krauthammer states, "The entire Obama campaign is a slice-and-dice operation, pandering to one group after another, particularly those that elected Obama in 2008 — blacks, Hispanics, women, young people" ("Once cast as a unifier, Obama emerges as divider in chief," Monday). Not satisfied with that stratifying of the populace, Krauthammer goes on to charge President Obama with currying favor with the "99 percent" and the college kids.
The Republicans, on the other hand, make no such efforts to artificially divide the nation into constituencies. Their message has the uniting theme that we're all in this together. In America, we can all become rich, old, white guys if the government will just get out of the way, let money talk, and impose voting restrictions that allow illegal vote-tallying to proceed unabated.
Wayne Williams, Malvern
Tom DeLay is full of baloney ("Obama misses what exploring space means," Monday). He leaves the false impression that President Obama has abandoned our entire program. All the president has done is decrease funding by a small amount. He wants to retire the space shuttle fleet and encourage private industry to take it over. According to the Inquirer editorial "Mars mission remains the goal," that is already happening. Isn't the GOP gung-ho for private enterprise? Privatize Social Security, privatize Medicare and Medicaid, privatize prison supervision, privatize education.
Obama's budget keeps us on track to explore deep space, with unmanned missions to Mars and other parts of the solar system. If the Republicans are so traumatized about the cuts to the space program, why don't they cut just one loophole in the funding of oil companies and earmark that savings for space programs?
Florence Wallis, Marlton
When I watch the Broad Street Run and the many other long-distance runs that are now so popular, I wonder about the use of all that marvelous energy ("A Kenyan won, and all had a reason to run," Monday). For what purpose? Think of all the time spent training, the cost of running shoes, the sweat and pain involved. What is really achieved? It strikes me not as heroic, but more as self-indulgent.
Wouldn't it be so much better if these thousands of people — instead of running down Broad Street or biking through Manayunk — put the sweat of their brow to work helping the city's neighborhoods? Think of all the elderly and disabled who could use a strong, athletic helping hand on a Sunday: painting, cleaning, and fixing up homes and neighborhoods.
Wouldn't helping thousands of frail citizens directly make each of these competitors feel like a champion?
Richard Iaconelli, Philadelphia, firstname.lastname@example.org
The article about Michael Masch underscores the problems for Philadelphia families when employees of the School District answer to the governor and not the parents ("Budget expert Masch leaving school district," Friday). This is true for the superintendent and administrative staff, and has been going on for years.
It is time for Philadelphians to elect their school board members, who will then be beholden to the parents. The parents will then have a better idea of where the money goes and how the budget is handled.