Obama isn't

keeping Bush policy

For John Yoo to suggest that President Obama is continuing George W. Bush's policies is flat-out wrong - especially the illegal ones where Yoo provided cover to the former president. ("Platitudes won't guarantee world peace," Sunday).

Obama has maintained about as close to a straight line as possible in implementing the campaign's foreign policy positions. He has forsworn the Bush torture program; renounced the cowboy posturing; continued the Iraq drawdown; and made Afghanistan, for better or worse, our primary overseas military focus.

Joe Magid


Dobrin is wrong about 'Nutcracker'

I take strong exception to Peter Dobrin's assassination of the Pennsylvania Ballet's "Nutcracker." ("Ballet's 'Nutcracker' lacks musical power," Tuesday).

I attended the performance that Dobrin refers to and was deeply moved by the haunting violin solo as Marie slept. I was invigorated by the inspirational rendition of the music that gave the soldiers the courage to fight the mice. Every note from the orchestra reminded me of the power and love of Tchaikovsky.

I fear that Dobrin will get a lump of coal in his stocking this year.

Jeffrey A. Sheehan



Church policy on abortion has shifted

The notion that the Catholic Church has been consistent on abortion for 2,000 years is not true - at least if one gives credence to the research of Carl Sagan in Billions and Billions.

Among his findings: Neither St. Augustine nor St. Thomas Aquinas considered early-term abortion to be homicide. The church's first and long-standing collection of canon law (according to historian John Connery) held that abortion was homicide only after the fetus was already "formed" - roughly, the end of the first trimester.

Al Giacomucci



Story should hedge on angel appearance

An Associated Press article in The Inquirer on Tuesday detailing a dwelling recently unearthed in Nazareth and dating to the time of Jesus included the "fact" that the home was "not far from the spot where the archangel Gabriel revealed to Mary that she would give birth" to Jesus. Really? No "allegedly"; "was said to"; or "tradition has it"?

Perhaps the Associated Press is infested with biblical literalists, but shouldn't The Inquirer exercise some editorial discretion here?

The Annunciation is a beautiful and meaningful story, of course, but to speak with the same reportorial voice about the doings of archangels and archaeologists does a serious disservice to readers.

Terence Gleeson


Regulated utilities were not so hot

In David Hughes' op-ed ("Energy changes will shock," Dec. 16), he suggests that Pennsylvania's electric industry return to the monopoly regime that existed before it was deregulated in the late 1990s.

Having lived through double-digit rate increases during the late 1970s and early 1980s, I am opposed to that idea. Regulated monopolies have no incentive to decrease their costs, increase their efficiency, or improve their service. They get reimbursed on what they spend plus a regulated rate of return.

In fact, they have incentives to overspend, which is why the electric industry was deregulated in the first place. Because of deregulation, we have generation plants that are run more efficiently because they have to make a profit in a competitive market.

Going back to regulated monopolies is not the best choice for consumers.

Jim Farrell




are exempted

As I try to understand the health- care legislation and associated pork that moves through Congress, I have one question: Why is Congress exempt from the provisions of this legislation?

I would really like an answer from Sens. Specter and Casey as to why they voted for legislation that affects all Americans except them.

Andrew Murphy