AS A Philadelphian, I am glad that the New Year's parade will go on without any problems ("Mummers miracle,"

Daily News

, Dec. 12). This happened as a direct result of the men and women of Local 22. Engine 3, around the corner from this fire, got there quickly. They put water on the fire and reduced the heat generated.

The miracle for Fralinger is that the fire happened on Dec. 10. If this fire had broken out just one day later, then Engine 3 would have been "browned out." They would not have been in service for that day. The fire would have grown in intensity.

Fralinger has dodged a bullet. Too bad that other families did not have that opportunity. Brownouts have happened in other neighborhoods. Sparks Street comes to mind. ("2 children die in Olney blaze," Daily News, Feb. 23)

On 12-12-12, a fire happened on Roosevelt Boulevard, in the same area that is protected by the engine that should have protected Sparks Street. But, once again, that fire house was closed due to the Russian-roulette plan of Michael Nutter.

An accidental fire, started in one house, spread to other properties. This is not the first time that families who live in our rowhouse communities have been affected. Ask Mayor Nutter stop the ill-advised brownout policy.

Ray Vozzelli


Fill judicial vacancies

President Obama has nominated three highly qualified sitting jurists - Philadelphia Common Pleas Judge Nitza I. Quiñones Alejandro, Magistrate Judge Luis Felipe Restrepo and Berks County Common Pleas President Judge Jeffrey L. Schmehl - to the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

However, the Senate's slow confirmation pace means that the nominees will not be confirmed until mid-2013, while the Eastern District lacks nominees for three additional current openings in the court's 22 authorized judgeships. Moreover, 67 vacancies exist in 679 district court judgeships nationwide. These openings, which comprise 10 percent systemwide and 27 percent in the Eastern District, erode the delivery of justice.

District judges conduct federal trials and ascertain the facts, while circuits affirm 80 percent of their determinations. The president has chosen 171 nominees of even temperament, who are intelligent, ethical, hard working and independent as well as diverse vis-à-vis ethnicity, gender and ideology. The administration must continue cooperating with Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., the Judiciary Committee chair, who arranges hearings and votes, Senator Harry Reid, D-Nev., the majority leader, who schedules floor debates and votes, and their Republican analogues to facilitate the process.

This spring, Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., said it was "imperative that the state's remaining vacancies filled as quickly as possible to address" the judicial shortfall. Sen. Patrick Toomey, R-Pa., at the time pledged to coordinate with Casey and remarked: "We need people in these seats soon. I certainly hope we don't have to wait until after the election." At a late June hearing, Toomey said he and Casey "continue to work in a truly bipartisan fashion to fill the remaining federal district vacancies in Pennsylvania."

The senators have expressed their support for Obama's three excellent consensus nominees. They must continue working together by persuading their colleagues to promptly consider the three nominees. The senators should also forward recommendations to the White House as expeditiously as possible for the three remaining Eastern District vacancies.

Carl Tobias, Williams Chair in Law

University of Richmond.

Take things seriously

Re: "A reminder: W. was terrible" ("The best of our blogs," Dec. 10)

Will Bunch's column is inexcusably dense for someone paid to be informed!

He should have heard of Iraq's "Dr. Germ" by 12 years ago. Dr. Germ's real name escapes me this second, but she is an MIT-trained scientist who was head of Saddam's chemical-weapons program. Hundreds, if not thousands, of Kurds were murdered when he had them sprayed with lethal gas. Photos of the corpses, infants on up, were in the papers, covered with the chemicals' white residue. "Dr. Germ" is most likely in Syria; if it's not too much trouble, Will could Google her, her name is there.

Most people have forgotten we gave Saddam a couple of months notice "shock and awe" was coming if he didn't go with his family into exile. Gadhafi offered him exile in Libya, but he refused to leave. The U.S. warned Japan a second A-bomb was coming if it didn't surrender - it didn't. During the grace months, Saddam had, satellite surveillance showed, accelerated plane and truck traffic into Syria. No one cried wolf, or lied, about Saddam having WMDs as Will contends. Remember the Wall Street Journal's editorial "Smallpox Winter?"

Will needs to cease reading Stanley Crouch, and that idiot gasbag Michael Eric Dyson, and start taking black conservatives seriously.

Georgia Makiver