Racial and ethnic profiling is morally reprehensible because it seeks to label people based solely on their race or nationality ("Fear of offending is a threat to us all," Nov. 12). It is a policy that promotes fear of anyone who doesn't look or act like "us," and it has been proven to be both costly and ineffective.
I would like to ask Michael Smerconish what, exactly, a terrorist "looks like"? A man of shorter-than- average stature with a somewhat swarthy complexion sporting facial hair? Perhaps Smerconish should shave his goatee, pluck his eyebrows, and avoid the tanning booth before he tries to get on his next flight, lest someone report his suspicious appearance.
Peter A. Friedrichs
Let's clean up
our own house
Re: "Afghan leaders start anticorruption effort," Tuesday:
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has suggested "that future aid to [Hamid] Karzai's government could be tied to his efforts to move decisively against corruption." On Monday, The Inquirer's front page detailed traditional and ongoing corruption here in the commonwealth of Pennsylvania ("In Pa. coal region, a mother lode of corruption").
How can we insist on ending corruption abroad when our own political system is rife with the same? In addition to the blatant, rooted, local bribery exposed by The Inquirer in this and other reports, we need to call the billions spent on lobbying and electioneering around the nation what it really is: legal, and sometimes illegal, bribery.
Rep. Adler did
the expedient thing
Rep. John Adler (D., N.J.) offers lofty excuses for why he voted against the health bill ("Why one Democrat voted no on health bill," Tuesday). He failed, however, to mention his main reason: political expediency. Elected by a small margin in a heavily Republican district, Adler voted with an eye on his next campaign and not in the best interests of his constituents and the American public.
In a recent letter to me, Adler stated his support for a public option that "will increase competition in our health markets and give individuals choice." There's scant mention of this support in his commentary piece. Why? Again it comes down to political expediency.
The bill that the House of Representatives passed was far from perfect, but everyone knows it's not the final word on health-care reform. More work can and must be done to improve it. Democrats who voted for the bill were making a statement in favor of reforming the health-care system. Adler also made a statement: He agrees with the Republican naysayers.
Eagles should have
It is inconceivable that the Eagles allowed Brian Westbrook to play in Sunday's debacle against the Chargers. We have in this city a world- class neurosurgeon doing research on brain trauma, and he clearly stated in The Inquirer before the game that it would basically be malpractice to allow Westbrook to play at any time during the remainder of the season ("He's playing, but should he be?" Sunday).
So the Eagles go ahead and allow Westbrook to start, based on the medical advice of a trainer and their medical staff, paid by the organization. Now we have a young man who has suffered two concussions in three weeks. Traumatic brain injury is a serious disease causing significant disability, and this organization saw fit to go its own way regarding Westbrook's health despite significant evidence to the contrary. What a bad message to all Eagles fans and especially the kids.
Marc J. Horman, M.D.
Just ask the 48-year-old patient I saw recently about how she felt missing her yearly mammogram and finding out that she had breast cancer.
I have been practicing radiology for 45 years, and mammography has been a large part of my interest. The statistics presented by the new government-backed study do not agree with any of our experience. Our practice performs 30,000 mammograms yearly for patients of all ages. In 2008, we found 200 cancers, with 43 of the patients under 50. This equates to 1 cancer in every 150 mammographic studies, not the 1 in 1,500 found by this useless study.
Please, continue self-examination and mammography.
A. Donald Meltzer, M.D.