What do you do when you're forced to choose between coming to work or caring for a sick or dying loved one? Do you stay home and risk financial disaster? Or show up at your job and ignore the needs of the people closest to you? It's an impossible choice, but at least 30 million Americans have to answer this question every year.

The New Jersey Legislature is considering a self-funded program that would allow workers to receive modest compensation when they must take time off to care for a family member ("Groups push paid family-leave legislation," Nov. 20). It involves only a small weekly contribution from employees, and would be an invaluable safety net for working caregivers.

Providing better support for family caregivers is essential to the well-being of our health-care system, our long-term-care system and our economy. The bill's sponsors have made significant compromises to address businesses' concerns. This is now an issue everyone should get behind.

Marilyn Askin

New Jersey Chief Legislative Advocate



Airport badly run

The city of Philadelphia should be ashamed of what has happened to the airport: The parking garages and elevators smell like urine; concourses B and C (at least) are in dire need of an upgrade; parking enforcement in the garages doesn't exist; people ignore the message boards regarding waiting on the roadway shoulders; gates aren't ready when the planes land (leading to long waits on the tarmac), and simple electronic systems to expedite the whole process are nowhere to be found.

Is this any way to run a big-city international airport? It's an embarrassment!

John Depman

Bel Air, Md.

A park wasted

Why is City Council trying to destroy the city of Philadelphia? I was born and raised in the city and had my business there until I retired in 1994. I moved to Montgomery County and then Bucks County, where I now reside. In both of these counties, whenever there was an election, there was always on the ballot a place where people could vote for a bond issue for preservation of open space. These bond issues were always passed.

By Council's giving the Fox Chase Center access to Burholme Park, a part of Philadelphia is being destroyed ("A move benefiting all," Nov. 30). I used the driving range and took my children to the miniature golf. Now, the residents of that area will not be able to make use of them. Wake up, Philadelphia, and save your greenery. They do not make any more.

Edward J. Fitzgerald

Washington Crossing

Glorious Germantown

Thank you so much for printing that wonderful letter from Eugene G. Stackhouse of the Germantown Historical Society ("La Salle U. is not in North Philadelphia," Nov. 21). It is about time that someone stuck up for Germantown.

I have been taking hits my whole life regarding where I grew up. Statements like "white trash from Germantown" or "you tough girls from Germantown" have been hurled upon my delicate senses. I grew up on Chew Street, attended Immaculate Conception School, swam at Waterview playground, and attended novenas at the Miraculous Medal Shrine on Chelton Avenue.

I skated and rode a bicycle through the long summers in Germantown. I am not trash, nor am I a tough girl. It was a good life in Germantown. It was a pleasure to read a letter in praise of the richness of the community where I thrived during the 1940s and 1950s.

Teresa Vetrone


Pornography research

Re: "Why do men like porn more?," Nov. 26 by Faye Flam:

I am not opposed to learning about studies that correlate to the human condition as a means of education, but last I checked a monkey does not have a superior intellect, reasoning capability and a free will. Is it intellectually honest to draw comparisons based on a study with monkeys when it comes to the neurochemistry of a man or a woman when given an impure trigger such as a pornographic image?

The complexity of this issue cannot be reduced to studies with monkeys or surveys about who is "hot or not." The multibillion-dollar pornography industry did not emerge because men fancy impure images more than women, but precisely because of our fallen nature as humans.

Perhaps Flam would benefit from looking at the work done by Mary Ann Layden at the University of Pennsylvania. Perhaps a piece on the correlation of viewing porn and sexual behavior would make a worthwhile column. Maybe she would benefit from discussing how pornography leads to permission-giving beliefs that claim the action the person is doing is normal. Perhaps then she will conclude that fighting pornography in our society is a noble battle worth writing about.

Mark Houck