A rigged slots game
Where was the State Ethics Commission when Thomas "Tad" Decker was appointed to the head of the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board? His former firm, Cozen O'Connor, represents SugarHouse Casino. No conflict of interest? Where were they when Act 71 was crafted to bypass all appellate courts and go straight to the top? Now they are feeling spunky and going after our environmental secretaries. Very brave and very ethical.
And by the way, I'm getting a little tired of reading how anti-casino activists are denying Philadelphia thousands of jobs.
The language of the referendum says it all. Would you want to live 1,500 feet from a mega-slots parlor? The impacted neighborhoods were invited to the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board party - after the sites were chosen - for two to six minutes per person. Very ethical. I've seen more civic input over signage for a sandwich shop. And no disrespect to the sandwich shop.
Done with Komen
As a patient advocate with the Lance Armstrong Foundation and a public-health graduate student, I am active in the field of oncology, but I ran my last Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure on Sunday. I will not give any more money to Komen.
I first became disillusioned with Komen last year, when I could not do its 3-Day event, because I had not raised the minimum of $2,100. I had a little more than $1,100. I said this was money they didn't have before, and wouldn't it be better if people at least tried to raise money instead of being intimidated by the minimum?
This year, I e-mailed Komen, wanting to know if I could share a table with one of its volunteers (who had no problem with it), and put out brochures and info on the Lance Armstrong Foundation and other cancer campaigns. I was told no, because that might "cause confusion" about who was funding the race.
Everyone knows it's Komen's race, but we're all fighting the same thing. Rather than patient outreach and education, Komen seems to be all about the funding.
I read with interest the article indicating the disguised role Mayor Street tried to play in the mayoral primary. While Street is probably not the most personally dishonest mayor or the most incompetent one in the city's history, the damage he has done to the city by his overt racism and tolerance of ethical and possibly legal lapses should not be underestimated.
We will never know with certainty the number of corporations that avoided investments in Philadelphia because of the image that the mayor communicated to the world. His action in the primary was consistent with his past conduct. Philadelphia simply cannot afford another Street-like mayor.
Protect the forest
There should be at least one aspect of paying taxes that all Americans should be able to assume is true - that our hard-earned money is spent on constructive projects that promote the well-being of citizens.
When it comes to taxpayer subsidies put to use in the Tongass National Forest, the story is quite different. Instead of helping protect America's rainforest and the wildlife in it, our money - road-building subsidies of $40 million a year - is actually helping to destroy it. Building new roads throughout the Tongass helps the timber industry gain access to more areas to clear-cut the ancient, majestic trees towering in this southeast Alaska forest.
Since 2004, the U.S. House of Representatives has twice voted in favor of eliminating taxpayer subsidies used for road building and logging in the Tongass. Another House vote is expected soon on this issue, and this year it's possible the provision will become law.
Rather than allowing our tax dollars to be mishandled, our Congress and president should end this fiscal irresponsibility and simultaneously protect this temperate rainforest.
Sen. Arlen Specter tells us (May 4) that President Bush won't fire his attorney general because everyone wants him to. Thanks, Senator, for showing us how to deal with this stubborn adolescent you helped elect and have supported. All the Democrats have to do now is authorize Bush to double the forces in Iraq and he will end the war!
I. Milton Karabell