ISSUE | G.I. BENEFITS
All welcome in class
As a host county to Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, we are keenly aware that military personnel must uproot at a moment's notice, and we believe military families should enjoy the privileges of citizenship - no matter how long they live in a location.
Gov. Christie, with unanimous bipartisan support from the Legislature, recently signed the New Jersey Tuition Equality for America's Military Act to grant in-state tuition rates at public colleges to veterans, their spouses, and their children.
For the past two years, Burlington County College - which is consistently rated military-friendly by national publications - has supported soldiers and their eligible dependents with in-county tuition rates. As such, we salute the governor and legislators for implementing a statewide policy.
|Mary Ann O'Brien, director, Burlington County freeholders, and Paul Drayton, president, Burlington County College
ISSUE | BRIEF LIVES
a welcome change
Reading of the mother who learned that one identical twin would die at birth, I realized that some things do change for the better ("Gifts of a short life," March 29).
In 1965, eight months' pregnant with my third child, I experienced what was then called a fetal death. During a grueling labor - my hand held by a kind nurse - my son was delivered as expected but never shown to me. Then I was placed in a hospital ward that contained many mothers who had normal births and babies.
Our baby was buried with no ceremony, and only in my heart does he dwell. How times have changed.
|Dolores Bowlan, Harleysville
ISSUE | ORIGINS
Although there still is a degree of uncertainty, most constitutional experts consider Canadian-born Ted Cruz - the first declared Republican presidential candidate - eligible to run since his mother was born in Delaware. Using birther logic, though, that view might be questioned.
So where are the birthers today, the ones obsessed with delegitimizing President Obama? Why not go after Cruz? Shouldn't Donald Trump be trumpeting his outrage again?
|Lawrence Uniglicht, Galloway, firstname.lastname@example.org
ISSUE | BELOVED COPPERS
Without penny, bargains, small joys missed
I love the ubiquitous penny bearing the face of arguably our greatest president ("Time to retire pesky penny," March 29). I know Lincoln is on the $5 bill, but I have more pennies than bills.
I also love that the penny plays mind games with us: Wouldn't you rather pay $3.53 a gallon for gas than $3.54, and doesn't an item at $4.99 somehow seem cheaper than at $5? Retailers figured this out years ago.
True, one probably cannot buy anything with a penny, but it's not useless. Kids can flip it for decisions or have fun tossing it at a sidewalk crack. Unlike those who don't deign to pick one up, I do, and I use that lucky penny to scratch off lotto cards.
If used properly, a penny makes one anticipate future actions by making sure one has change for cashiers. It finds its way into charity and tip jars. So what if it takes a few extra seconds to make change? No one's time is that important, and, besides, most people use credit cards.
Every once in a while, it is smart not to fix things that are not broken. Ben Franklin would approve.
|Ralph D. Bloch, Warrington, email@example.com
ISSUE | MAYORAL RACE
A political career in the proper perspective
If Tom Ferrick wants to review my candidacy, he should first truly understand my history in politics ("Best not to forget the past of Milton Street," March 30). In short, I have always refused to go along with politics as usual.
But many ideas and legislation I advanced that threatened the establishment and conventional thinking have now been accepted as public policy, including gaming, marijuana legalization, and school funding. My efforts to move homeless families into vacant houses also made national headlines and helped people.
|T. Milton Street Sr., Philadelphia
Another Street run suggests TV possibilities
I'm thoroughly enjoying the comedy that is Milton Street's run for mayor. I find myself looking forward to new articles about him purely as a way to start my day off with a laugh. Perhaps when the mayoral election is all done, HBO will turn the Street campaign story into a new comedy.
|Nick D'Orazio, Philadelphia, firstname.lastname@example.org
ISSUE | POLICE REVIEW
Only reform in the ranks will win over skeptics
Temple University law school dean JoAnne Epps, named chair of the oversight board responsible for implementing Justice Department recommendations for the Police Department, appeared to minimize the problem by describing police relations with city residents as relatively stable and also talked of the need to challenge the "mind-sets" of those who "view the police as adversaries" ("Rising to another challenge," March 27).
The new board's job is not to worry about Philadelphians' mind-sets, but to challenge the training, culture, and actions of the Police Department. As the federal report stated, "It is clear that the black community is disproportionately impacted by extreme violence involving the police." And not surprisingly, the recent Pew Charitable Trusts survey showed that fewer than half of Philadelphia's blacks and Hispanics have "a great deal or fair amount" of confidence that minorities and whites are treated equally by the police.
The actions of the police need to change first, with changed mind-sets to follow.
|Paul Mack, Philadelphia
ISSUE | FOUNDERS
ISIS arose on President Obama's watch
The decision to publish Mike Luckovich's syndicated cartoon showing ISIS terrorists calling Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, and George W. Bush their founding fathers was despicable (March 30).
To fix a deteriorating situation in Iraq, with more than 50 car bombings per day in Baghdad alone, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld recommended, and President George W. Bush implemented, what became known as the surge, deploying 20,000 additional troops to the country in 2007. Al-Qaeda was driven from most of Iraq, and, according to Raymond T. Odierno, the commanding general, civilian deaths soon plummeted.
In 2011, after ordering a withdrawal of American troops and without crediting Bush or Rumsfeld, President Obama announced that we were leaving a "sovereign, stable, and self-reliant" Iraq. As predicted by Obama's top generals, ISIS moved in, and soon almost half of Iraq - including cities like Mosul, Fallujah, and Tikrit, which American and allied soldiers had given their lives to liberate - were in terrorists' hands. So tell me: Whose picture should ISIS be admiring?