Keep silver lining
In your editorial "Raise the gas tax" yesterday, you call the lower cost of gasoline the "silver lining in the recession." So why then would you want to take it away by raising the price? The federal government is giving away hundreds of billions of dollars to failed financial institutions - and soon, possibly, to American automakers - while failing to earmark any of that money to companies that are in the business of developing alternative-fuel vehicles. It is clearly not a question of funding, but one of priorities.
Put ballots online
Early voting appears to be a promising way to facilitate broader participation ("Election Days," editorial, Saturday). But how about the Internet? Of course, security would be a major issue, but consider the range of transactions currently conducted online - banking, buying a car, applying for a mortgage, etc. All of these require significant online security.
I don't understand the specific hurdles faced by those attempting to make voting online a reality, but I find it hard to believe they cannot be surmounted.
State Rep. John Perzel's commentary Sunday, "Pa. parole system is broken," failed to disclose that he is a board member of the Geo Group, formerly known as Wackenhut Corp. It is a private prison entity that managed the Delaware County Prison until a recent mutual parting of ways. Geo also runs the Guantanamo facility, which has been accused of torture by several human-rights organizations.
In his capacity with Geo, Perzel received $154,000 during the past year for speaking engagements, director fees and stocks. This is twice what he received for serving as a state representative. While Perzel is entitled to his views, it should be noted that he potentially would profit from more people going to prison, as his article advocates.
Pennsylvania Institutional Law Project
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Congratulations to Vice President-elect Joseph Biden for not caving in to pressure from pro-adoption advocates in selecting his new German shepherd puppy ("Biden chooses to buy puppy," Monday). If he had adopted, I suppose he could have been criticized for being anti-small business.
Organized labor contributed more than $350 million to Democratic candidates in the recent elections. Did unions really expect any support from Republicans in the auto industry's crisis? It's up to the Democrats to find a way to make the bailout work since they reaped the benefit of the union largesse.
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We're glad to hear that the Department of Public Welfare has closed down Willow Crest Manor after the horrific deaths of two of its residents ("Personal-care home closed in Montco," Friday). Willow Crest had a long history of abuse and neglect allegations, and should have been shut down well before lives were lost.
This highlights the need for the state to no longer tolerate deficiencies in care, neglect or deplorable conditions in such homes. It is time the department listened to the many Pennsylvania citizens who want stronger regulations governing these homes.
PA Assisted Living Consumer Alliance
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As a doctor who treats patients in New Jersey, I am disheartened by the decision by Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey to deny subscribers access to medical care at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Presbyterian Hospital, Pennsylvania Hospital, and Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.
It is always a difficult task to tell sick patients and families that they are facing serious medical conditions. It will now be altogether more difficult to tell them that their insurance company is restricting access to the medical care they need. Seamless, stress-free access to medical care is essential.
» READ MORE: Christine.Torigian@uphs.upenn.edu