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Letters: 'Tweeter-in-chief' must answer questions

Trump must answer questions The temperament and combativeness displayed at President-elect Donald Trump's news conference - more than 100 days since his last one - was deplorable and exactly what people said he was going to be like ("Trump comes out swinging," Thursday). W

Trump must answer questions

The temperament and combativeness displayed at President-elect Donald Trump's news conference - more than 100 days since his last one - was deplorable and exactly what people said he was going to be like ("Trump comes out swinging," Thursday). We are not in China, North Korea, or Russia, where they are not allowed to question their leaders. In America, our Founding Fathers allowed for checks and balances. Trump doesn't have to like the question, or the television network, but he must answer the questions. Someone needs to explain that to the Tweeter-in-Chief.

|Cindy Fogarty, Schwenksville

Fearful of life under Trump

I was at my son's home taking care of my three toddler granddaughters and watching our president's farewell address ("Obama's farewell, 'I still believe,' " Wednesday). As he spoke of his wife, Michelle, and their two daughters, the cameras panned to his family. To see Malia choking back tears almost undid me. Imagine what it would be like to come of age in the spotlight of the White House - to have some sickos on social media compare your mother to an ape. I cannot fathom the talks these parents had with these two sweet girls, and the strength this family had to call upon to deal with such disgusting behavior.

I fear for my little granddaughters growing up under a President Trump, who has no respect for women, minorities, or different faiths. God help us.

|Mary Morrissey Johnson, Springfield

Senators yield to Big Pharma

The Senate voted down an amendment Wednesday that would have allowed the importation of prescription drugs from Canada. Seventy-two percent of Americans think that would be beneficial to them.

The vote failed, 52-46 (it needed 60 to pass), because 13 Democratic senators voted against it. Sen. Cory Booker and Robert Menendez, my senators, were two of them. From July 2010 through June 2016, Booker has received $267,338 and Menendez $191,400 in campaign donations from the pharmaceutical industry. Their votes tell me they aren't working for me.

In his defense, Booker tweeted, "But we believe FDA standards must be met." I haven't heard any news from the Great White North about any massive dying off of Canadians due to faulty drugs. I would hope my senators would recognize from the recent election results that the candidate with the most campaign cash doesn't necessarily win and people are watching closely these days.

|Roy Lehman, Woolwich Township

Scottoline good for a laugh

When I read the response to Lisa Scottoline's column ("Scottoline misses mark on drugs," Thursday), I wanted to scream. Seriously? Give her readers a little credit, please.

I, along with many other woman, experience a great deal of stress during the holidays and found the column satirically hilarious - never giving one second of serious consideration to taking steroids next Christmas. I shared it with many of my friends for a good laugh.

If someone considered it a piece of sound advice, he or she has bigger problems. Sometimes being "politically correct" is just ridiculous. Keep up the great work, Lisa.

|Kathleen Mullen, Royersford

Good police work

As a member of the Third Police District advisory council, I was very happy to see your article regarding the reduction of violent crime in our city ("Police: City crime at lowest level in decades," Thursday).

As your article correctly stated, there are probably many reasons for this very positive trend, including technology and creative, thoughtful strategies and tactics. But we must not overlook the dedicated service and contributions of the men and women police officers who are on the streets every day, working very hard, often in dangerous and unpleasant conditions, keeping our citizens and property safe.

I learned in the military that technology, strategy, and tactics are necessary and useful, but it is the men and women using that technology and executing that strategy who make it effective and ultimately determine its success or failure. Our police officers deserve much credit and the thanks of all Philadelphians for this reduction of crime. I am proud of our police officers. I thank each of them for their selfless service to our city.

|Joe Eastman, Philadelphia,

Better mental-health care

Mental-health stakeholders are excited about the closure of the civil wing of Norristown State Hospital ("DHS to close section of Norristown State," Thursday). Community-based mental-health treatment is more effective and cost-effective than institutional care, as long as there are adequate resources. Successful deinstitutionalization efforts teach us that it is essential to invest in community-based care. Unfortunately, we have seen cuts in these funds year after year.

Recovery and community inclusion are more than possible for people with mental-health conditions who have been shut away in institutions; we have seen it happen over and over.

We hope the number of Pennsylvanians in institutions will continue to fall and that increasing numbers of people with mental-health conditions will be given the opportunity to live successful and meaningful lives in the community.

|Michael Brody, president and CEO, Mental Health Association of Southeastern Pennsylvania, Philadelphia

PennEast Pipeline poses risk

Plans for a natural-gas pipeline in Pennsylvania and central New Jersey raise important questions about water safety that haven't been adequately addressed by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

Arsenic - a toxic and carcinogenic element - could be released into groundwater and surface water. Studies of the arsenic-rich red and black sedimentary rocks along the pipeline's path have shown that naturally occurring bacteria are responsible for arsenic release into the groundwater.

PennEast proposes using a "cathodic shield" to protect its pipeline from bacterial corrosion. But these devices, along with any leakage of natural gas, will feed the bacteria in the arsenic-bearing backfill sediment that surrounds the pipeline, reducing the oxygen and creating the environment in which arsenic-mobilizing bacteria thrive.

Also, horizontal directional drilling (HDD) boreholes, which normally cause less impact on streams and wetlands, could cause arsenic-rich shallow groundwater to move deeper into the aquifer, potentially impacting water supplies. HDD can drive arsenic and bacteria-rich drilling mud deep into preexisting rock fractures, contaminating streams and freshwater aquifers.

PennEast plans to use HDD beneath waterways that drain to the Delaware River, which provides drinking water to millions of people. We must demand more impact studies before starting such a potentially high-risk project.

|T.C. Onstott, professor, geosciences, Princeton University, Delaware Twp., and Julia Barringer, retired research geochemist/hydrologist, U.S. Geological Survey, Stockton, N.J.