shabby legacy

Re: "A national disgrace," Sunday:

After 18 years in office as Philadelphia's district attorney, Lynne M. Abraham leaves us with the infamous reputation as the worst city in the nation for violent crimes: homicides, rapes, robberies, and assaults.

The city is debased, debilitated, denounced, and denied the safety for our citizens that is our right. The justice system under her incumbency is abysmal. Your investigative series "Justice delayed, dismissed, denied" lays that out in all its horror.

Philip Lustig


Obama should focus

on problems here

I have enjoyed Trudy Rubin's articles for years and usually agree with her, but not the one on Wednesday ("Time to speak out on Iran"). With a president overwhelmed with problems and a country overwhelmed with debt, we cannot afford to try to police yet another country in the Middle East, or anywhere else, for that matter.

President Obama must spend whatever time he has available on the economic problems of our own country. Let other governments fend for themselves awhile.

Conrad J. Fowler

Blue Bell

Presidents must

be realistic

Tony Auth's cartoon ("B. Obama, Blacksmith, Swords & Plowshares," Sunday) expressed the essential pragmatism of President Obama's foreign policy as opposed to his alleged philosophy of "engagement."

Under putative tough-guy Ronald Reagan, we traded arms to Iran to secure the release of American hostages, i.e., we abandoned a principle to achieve a humanitarian end.

The theorist Clausewitz recommended pursuing attainable results. Certain enemies can be defeated, others weakened, while a third category has to be simply watched and allowed for. Obama, given our finite resources and unique challenges, shouldn't be pigeonholed as a "softy."

James Miles



Popular films

and stereotypes

Melissa Harris-Lacewell opines that movies like Precious propagate stereotypes about black women in society ("The troubling distortions of black motherhood," Sunday).

My question to Harris-Lacewell is, why then do African American actresses Mo'Nique, Gabourey Sidibe, Paula Patton, Sherri Shepherd, and others agree to star in these movies? Why does African American film director Lee Daniels direct them?

Most important, why does African American Oprah Winfrey produce them?

Hannah Dougherty Campbell


An insult

most elemental

In a commentary ("Quest for 15 minutes has grown dangerous," Dec. 9), author Gary Frisch characterizes much of today's television programming as the "Leaden Age" of television, as contrasted with the "Golden Age" of the 1950s.

That characterization is a profound insult to a hardworking, sincere, and underappreciated element - lead - and to its immediate family in the periodic table. An apology is in order.

Dick Carroll



by school district

Annette John-Hall hit the nail on the head with her column on the weak response of Superintendent Arlene Ackerman to violence at South Philadelphia High School ("Weak response from Ackerman to beatings," Friday). This problem will be impossible to solve as long as the superintendent continues to show favoritism to African American students and teachers.

My wife, a teacher for 28 years, recently resigned from the school district in part because of her perception that Ackerman has displayed many instances of prejudice against white teachers, a perception that is shared by most of her colleagues.

My wife has had chairs thrown at her, has had a student threatened by another who brought in a knife, and has been punched innumerable times by third graders. But, according to Ackerman's policies, the children and their parents rule; thus, nothing is done.

David Friedman

Lafayette Hill