Either way,

Obama is blamed

The Republicans are faulting President Obama for setting a date to begin exiting Afghanistan, claiming that this makes future planning easy for terrorists. Had the president failed to set a date, the Republicans would have accused him of not putting sufficient pressure on the Afghan government to become self- sufficient.

And they would claim to be right on both counts, because their goal is not to help find a workable strategy for the country, but to make the president look bad.

Peter R. Lantos

Erdenheim

Nutter bucking

special interests

Your article about Mayor Nutter ("Ticking is getting louder for Nutter," Wednesday) reads like a litany of complaints from special interests whining that Nutter refuses to play ball.

The mayor doesn't regularly consult the unions on everyday matters? He doesn't give City Council members' neighbors special treatment in the provision of city services? He's not letting real estate developers run deals out of his office?

Good. That's what we elected him for.

Josh Boyette

Elkins Park

What if battered

students were black?

Where are our self-anointed civil rights activists? Have they no concern about the situation and racial violence at South Philadelphia High School ("Asians boycott high school," Tuesday)?

Let's take it a step further: Suppose the minority being beaten and intimidated were African American, and Caucasian people were inflicting it. Do you think the school district and the media would react differently?

This letter is not meant to be cynical. It's a difficult question of equality we all must face when addressing race-based violence.

Charlie Walker

Phoenixville

The creator

of the zep

My grandfather, Lou Bondi at Lou's, was the first to make and sell zeps ("Norristown's local hero: The zep," Wednesday). The other shops then followed.

I asked my grandfather about the name zep, and he said it was after the word zeppelin, since the large zep roll looked like one. I worked for my grandfather from the age of 5 until I got out of college, but if I try to make a zep at home, it just doesn't taste exactly the same. It's the bread, a specific salami, and cheese, and how it's sliced, the way the onions and tomatoes are cut, and a certain oil - it's just not the same.

I always have to go back to Lou's in Norristown to get a real zep. It brings back such wonderful memories of a time long past.

Marlene T. Falcone

Downingtown

Health care

is pro-life, too

If the Catholic Church and right- to-life advocates get a health-care bill that they don't like, they have only themselves to blame ("Catholics must heed teachings," Dec. 3).

Their lack of advocacy for what they say is a right-to-life issue is disappointing to me as a Catholic and an advocate for health-care reform. All I have seen the church say is that if health-care reform doesn't have antiabortion wording, they can't support it even if they agree that universal health care is a moral and right-to-life issue.

If the Conference of Catholic Bishops actually stepped up and said to Catholic members of Congress that a health-care bill that provides a minimum standard of care to everyone without regard to ability to pay or preexisting conditions - and should be passed with the Stupak amendment, which limits abortions - we would have a bipartisan right-to-life health-care bill.

Bill McLaughlin

Collegeville

Casey's argument

based on religion

The health-care amendment that would have barred insurance plans from covering abortions was defeated ("Deal said to give up a public option," Wednesday), notwithstanding Sen. Bob Casey's vote for the amendment. His objections are largely religious, based on the views of a church that gives the top jobs only to men who can neither marry nor have sex. I wonder if the senator can think of a less-qualified group to dictate rules for women's reproductive health.

Jerry Ratcliffe

Philadelphia