Forced to go

elsewhere for relief

Re: "Tighter medical-marijuana bill clears panel," Friday:

I testified before the New Jersey Assembly health committee and was very happy that the members voted with compassion for people and families like mine.

My son Michael, who is 25, is in a wheelchair because of muscular dystrophy, and suffers from severe pain in addition to dangerous side effects from his legally prescribed narcotics. After visiting countless doctors and trying numerous medications in search of relief, Michael tried medical marijuana, which miraculously improved his quality of life so much that he left his family and friends in New Jersey to live in a state where his medicine is legal and accessible.

Why can't my son live the best life possible here?

Christiane Oliveri

Oradell

Ling and Lee

hurt the country

I have no sympathy for Laura Ling and Euna Lee ("Targeting journalists," Wednesday). They have done a great disservice to national security and world peace.

Ling and Lee can in no way be compared to the brave crew of the USS Pueblo, who, though they were captured in international waters, were sent by President Lyndon Johnson into harm's way. What orders did Ling and Lee receive to wander around in that paranoid country?

North Korea is developing long-range missiles and nuclear weapons. And yet, quoting your editorial, "Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has had to go from threatening to put North Korea back on the list of terrorist-sponsoring nations to pleading," because of Ling and Lee.

When Ling and Lee are released, they should be spanked for wandering into a bad neighborhood.

Rosamond Kay

Philadelphia

Health care,

not health insurance

It is disappointing that the news media, including The Inquirer, have chosen to ignore a serious and obvious flaw in the current effort to reform health care.

President Obama takes the correct position of providing affordable health care to all, a belief shared by most, if not all, Americans. Yet the direction of reform being formulated by his congressional colleagues is to provide health-care insurance to all.

This is a huge disconnect. Providing insurance coverage will not bring down the cost of health care. It may shift costs to taxpayers, but it will not decrease those costs.

Health-care reform should be focused upon identifying and lowering the underlying cost drivers in the health-care system.

John Carr

Washington Crossing

Taxing benefits

is not the answer

Universal health care is as hot a topic now as it was in 1994 when Hillary Clinton tried to solve the problem. Widespread opposition to the proposed health-care solution surfaced when taxation of employer health-care benefits came into the picture. It doomed it then, and it will doom it now.

Carol M. Ratko

Elkins Park

Playing the numbers

in Phila. schools

I'm a retired Philadelphia School District teacher. In the district it has always been about "the numbers," especially since the implementation of the underfunded No Child Left Behind program. One of the unique ways the district found to pass students along was to implement a grading system whereby no child could ever receive less than a 50 as a grade - no matter whether the child came to school just two days a report period or failed every test and never turned in homework.

Cheryl Fedyna

Philadelphia

Humane Society

has other goals

Wayne Pacelle's op-ed was a microcosm of his organization's deceptive fund-raising strategy. ("Taking on cruelty to animals," Tuesday).

It's telling that Pacelle chose to talk about puppy mills and pigeon shoots instead of the real reason the Humane Society of the United States is now targeting battleground states like Pennsylvania: to regulate the state's beef, poultry, and egg producers out of existence.

It's no coincidence that the Humane Society is so selective about which of its priorities to present on op-ed pages: Most Americans are far more inclined to reach into their pocketbooks for puppies and wildlife than legislating a diet that only PETA could enjoy.

David Martosko

Director of research

Center for Consumer Freedom

Washington