No opportunity

to help Iranians

I've learned to accept that when President Obama says "A," Charles Krauthammer will say "Z." Fine. What I won't accept is his vision of Obama's "Missed opportunity in Iran" (Monday) through the smudges on his revisionist, rose-colored glasses.

Whom does Krauthammer suggest Obama should have emulated to rally the dissidents in Iran? Not the unlamented, unmentioned George W. Bush, of course. Instead, we get the specter of the long-gone Ronald Reagan and his mythical, oratorical brilliance as the key to rallying the oppressed in the Gulag to overthrow the Soviet Union.

Nonsense. Reagan had a rational, thinking, amenable Mikhail Gorbachev as Soviet president. Whom, exactly, does Krauthammer recommend for such an opposition role in Iran?

Kenneth M. Foti


'State stores'

for gun sales

In the last 10 years, nearly 3,400 Philadelphians were murdered on our streets, enough to fill the Kimmel Center well beyond capacity. The majority of these homicides were committed with handguns, many of which were purchased at local gun dealers.

A gun dealer's bottom line for profit can often blur the distinction between right and wrong, resulting in straw purchases and illegal procurement. This has left our current system for gun control utterly broken.

In 2008-09, with many state departments in dire straits, the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board transferred a staggering $125 million in revenue to the state treasury. In addition, the PLCB reported this year that Pennsylvanians have a lower percentage of "binge drinking" in 12- to 17-year-olds than any state in the Northeast.

It is this style of deprivatized "state stores" our elected officials must employ to improve the monitoring of firearm purchases while adding to Pennsylvania's treasury.

George Matysik


Senators are

selling votes

Passage of the health-care reform act by the U.S. Senate is a lesson in how our democracy should not work. If any senator who voted for that bill were to demand payment for his vote, he would be cited for breach of ethics. But apparently it's perfectly OK to demand payment for their constituents as a precondition for their support.

Sen. Harry Reid labels this "bartering." I call it corruption.

John Tucker

Chester Heights



I see The Inquirer is crowing over the Senate's passing of the health-care bill as though it had something to do with its passage - which, come to think of it, the paper certainly tried to do. I wonder, though, if your editorial staff and the rejoicing public have thought through the long-term ramifications and implications of this bill.

Take simply the one provision that requires individuals to purchase a health-care insurance policy. Leave aside for the moment the breathtaking increase in the power of the federal government to coerce its citizens and focus on the penalty for not buying a policy. Probably a hefty fine.

Now, what happens when a large number of citizens either cannot or will not purchase that policy and will not or cannot pay the fine? Will the government jail them? Freeze their bank accounts? Garnish their wages?

I would advise The Inquirer to take a more sober and deliberative approach to this bill before urging its public support and eventual passage by the whole Congress.

Kevin McGonigal



away jobs

In Thursday's Business section, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner is quoted as expecting "positive job growth" in the coming year. But, in another item on the same page, the Senate is reported to have finalized "legislation to extend through 2010 expiring trade preferences that let 132 developing countries send $31 billion worth of products to the United States duty-free."

So, upon what is Geithner's optimism based? Before we ourselves become a Third World country, everyone in Congress who voted for this treasonous America-last policy should be impeached or at least voted out of office. They were hired to represent our interests!

Robert S. Keith


Rendell is

at it again

If there is one thing that Gov. Rendell never seems to run short of, it is chutzpah. He is once again seeking to raise the personal income tax rate on cash-strapped Pennsylvania citizens during a recession. This is the same governor who somehow miraculously found $7 million to give SEPTA employees (what recession?) for signing bonuses after they held the city hostage, and untold millions more into the patronage-laden coffers of Philadelphia.

Until Harrisburg cleans house and the public is assured that tax dollars are not being used for political activity, unnecessary consultants, patronage hires, no-work jobs, or other political payback, then no further tax increases should be considered.

Eric Ketterer