"Dirty" words

have their place

B.G. Kelley makes the inexcusable mistake (for a writer) of conflating "dirty" words with the context of their use ("Go ahead and cuss, dummy," Thursday). Cursing at another driver, or an athlete's juvenile venting, can't be compared with the double entendres of Shakespeare, the salty vocabulary of Chaucer, or the anatomical references of the mighty James Joyce.

Journalistic propriety keeps me from citing examples, but Kelley should make it clear to his students that standard unabridged dictionaries include all words, since each word has a role in human expression. In communication, it's not the what, but the how.

James Miles



More about

women than race

Re: "And if a white man had said it?" by John Kass, Tuesday:

For me, this is more about women than race.

I am a white woman, now retired with grown children. However, during most of my working career, as a single parent supporting a family, I quite often had to deal with comments about women not being able to make decisions or run departments as well as men. Many, many times, during interviews for promotion, I was asked point blank if I thought I could do as well as men. My response was, "I feel I will be better than the men who have not had the experiences and responsibilities that I have had."

Sonia Sotomayor's comment about white men came from a long history of women being treated as inferior in the workplace. For black or Hispanic women, it was even worse. And, yes, white men controlled the workplace.

Diane Wolfe Gray



Staffing cuts

make nurses leave

As an organization of direct-care nurses, we appreciate the alarm that the authors sound in their commentary regarding the nursing shortage ("Recession is making nursing shortage worse," Tuesday).

We welcome improvements to nurse education; however, the shortage is caused by problems with nurse retention as much as, if not more than, recruitment. Hospitals often staff too lightly, and during this economic downturn, many have cut staffing to dangerous levels. When patient care gets dangerous, nurses leave.

Fortunately, in Pennsylvania, we have bills in the House and Senate that would protect patients by requiring that a minimum number of nurses are available to patients at all times. California enacted similar legislation, and enough nurses have returned or come into the workforce to fulfill the requirements for safe staffing.

Patricia Eakin, RN


Temple University Hospital Emergency Department

Pennsylvania Association

of Staff Nurses and Allied Professionals


Paying the cost

of GM management

Re: "Not a way to revitalize U.S. auto industry," Wednesday.

There is something fundamentally wrong when a company can receive huge sums from the government as a bailout, but yet be allowed to close plants, lay off thousands of workers, and outsource work once performed in this country. In my opinion, this action could have been taken without a $50 billion investment by the federal government.

As a taxpayer, I am growing weary of having to pay the costs of short-term decision-making by companies that then turn around and stick it to employees.

Alice Ann Herzon




Let there be no mistake that Rick Santorum's advice to Democrats is intended as constructive advice ("Brace yourself for El Specter," Thursday).

Santorum revels in the internal conflicts between moderates - between Democrats Arlen Specter and Joe Sestak for the Senate, and between Republicans Pat Meehan and Joe Gerlach for the governor's race. "Team Santorum" is less interested in the hard decisions facing Pennsylvania than in forwarding his ideological agenda.

His understanding of the El Nino effect is equally deficient. The rising Pacific water temperatures affect local weather in the United States. Global warming is a separate phenomenon, resulting from the heat and waste products of burning fossil fuels.

Ben Burrows

Elkins Park