Next time,

take the train

The next time President Obama decides to treat his lady love to an evening in New York, he should follow Vice President Biden's excellent example and go by train.

He can ride an Amtrak Acela from Union Station to Penn Station in three hours of air-conditioned comfort, avoiding helicopter rides, airport delays (for himself and others), and excessive costs, while supporting mass transit.

Alison B. Graham


Firefighter ruling

was not about race

Not surprisingly, Charles Krauthammer trots out the already-discredited talking points about Sonia Sotomayor ("Teach Democrats a lesson," Monday).

Certainly he knows that her vote in the Connecticut firefighters case had nothing at all to do with race, but he's happy to paint it that way. The court had to determine whether the municipality had the legal right to throw out the test results, not whether it was discriminating against white men. New Haven did have that legal right, and to rule otherwise would have been to rewrite the law - exactly the kind of "judicial activism" that Krauthammer pretends to dislike.

Neil Greenberg

Melrose Park

Phila. students

need food program

Plans by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to scrap Philadelphia's free breakfast and lunch program are a mistake ("Food for thought," Saturday).

Teachers know which students skip breakfast. Their heads are on their desks by mid-morning - when learning should be at its peak. They are lethargic, inattentive, and grumpy. Studies show that kids who eat breakfast at school retain more of what they learn, are absent less, and eat more nutritiously.

The Universal Feeding program increased participation by kids significantly by ending unnecessary paperwork and stigma. As a teacher, I had students who would rather skip meals than be seen by their peers with a free meal ticket.

It's challenging enough to teach 30 kids with myriad learning styles, interests, and economic, social, and behavioral issues. Why add hunger to the mix?

Jerry T. Jordan


Philadelphia Federation of Teachers


hate and prejudice

I just finished reading Annette John-Hall's Friday column, "Time to stop demonizing 'black men,' " and it rings very true. The idea of using the "bad black man" story to cover one's crimes, mental illness, etc. is truly disgusting.

But Bonnie Sweeten and her ilk are easy targets for John-Hall. The world is filled with incredibly ignorant, mentally delusional individuals, white, black, and other. John-Hall has taken the Sweeten story, and, as many in her profession will do, she's used it to trumpet her own extreme racial perspectives, again.

I couldn't count the number of times in my career I've heard a motorist tell me, "You're only stopping me because I'm black" and to think to myself that thanks to a few racist cops, this individual believes I'm stopping him because of the color of his skin. John-Hall's writings serve only to reinforce the hate and prejudice that the majority of us - white, black, and other - work every day to diminish.

Tim Henry


An easy fix

for the BRT mess

Re: "Get the BRT off school payroll," June 1:

Could there not be an eminently logical and straightforward solution to this impasse? Since the School District pays the salaries of these freeloaders, they are employees of the district. Superintendent Arlene Ackerman, as their employer and supervisor, should reward their fine performance by terminating each and every one.

There, wasn't that easy?

Stephen D. Cohen

Penn Valley

What about

the soldiers?

On Sunday morning, an abortion doctor is shot dead in Kansas. On Monday you put the news story on Page A1, above the fold. On Tuesday you follow up with a second story on Page A2 and an editorial.

On Monday morning, two American Army soldiers are shot, one killed, while standing in front of a recruiting office in Arkansas. They where shot by a ex-convict who had converted to Islam. You couldn't find space in your paper to write one sentence about the soldiers being shot, but you could run 44 paragraphs over two days about the abortionist.

Interestingly, President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder responded similarly. Lots of attention to the killed abortionist; none to the killed and wounded soldiers.

Ronald Volz