Re: "Overhead bins for rent," last Saturday:
Perhaps we will finally deal with the fact that the very free market is not entirely successful for air travel. Flight was always dangerous, complex, and expensive, but it was a wonderfully safe and proficient business years ago.
Terrorism and fuel costs are sea changes from the Reagan-era circumstances that caused deregulation. But even without those changes, aviation's inherent challenges of safety, weather, and routing have made free-market aviation a horrendous customer experience despite cheaper prices. From the hub system to tarmac kidnapping and pricing roulette, we are smacked in the face with its failings, but we are powerless lemmings.
This unique industry, which is a key to our global competitiveness, needs price assurance to give us safety and convenience. Yes, balancing free-market frenzy against zombie-like, fully government-run service is a challenge wherever we set the sliding scale, but this scale is b-r-o-k-e-n.
coal and oil dangers
On April 5, 25 of West Virginia's Upper Big Branch coal miners illuminated the dangers of using coal for energy. Later in the month, British Petroleum's Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico. Eleven are missing and presumed dead.
These two tragic events involving the extraction of fossil fuels must be a wake-up call. For too long, the Western world has refused to face the reality that our current levels of consumption of not only energy, but all man-made and natural resources, are leading to the collapse of industrial civilization.
We must utilize energy from the sun, wind, tides, and the inner Earth. Alternatively, we can prepare to transition away from the failed society experience of cities and toward the sustainable hunter-gather bands of the past.
The real reason
blacks don't tea-party
The writer of a letter suggests that black Americans in the tea-party movement are afraid to speak out against President Obama because they fear being called Uncle Toms ("Blacks afraid to criticize Obama," Monday).
While it is fair to assume that there are black people who disagree with the president's economic policies, it is inaccurate to assume they are barely visible out of fear of being labeled. There is a more accurate reason why they are basically invisible at tea-party rallies. Disagreeing with the president or not, black Americans just don't go around tying tea bags to their heads, arming themselves, and flocking to rallies to praise the supposed capabilities of Sarah Palin.
Garland K. Nelson
tarnished in strike
I've been a fan of Temple University since the late '60s, when I took correspondence courses from Temple at a time when I was flying in combat missions over Vietnam.
Temple's decision to hire a California firm to recruit strikebreakers against Temple's union of nurses and professional staff is shocking. Spending millions of dollars to hire hundreds of scabs from around the country to do the work of local health workers violates the sense of fairness that I always believed Temple represented ("Nurses strike has Temple training 850 new hires," April 1).
What are today's Temple students supposed to learn from their administration's appalling actions? The strike is over, but Temple University of 2010 is no longer a school I can support.
share in cuts
In response to the teacher's letter Monday ("Teachers work too hard to be treated like loafers"), I understand the teacher's initial shock, but your letter speaks volumes itself.
As you pointed out, your administrators took a pay raise without any benefit cuts before asking the teachers to take a wage freeze. Perhaps the teachers have a responsibility to make sure that the administrators are working in the best interest of taxpayers and teachers?
The New Jersey Education Association and teachers would be better off directing their shock and anger at these administrators, rather than the governor, who is only looking out for the majority of the citizens of New Jersey and the welfare of the entire state.
You also state that the median salary of teachers in New Jersey is $60,000, versus the median salary in Cherry Hill of $54,899. You didn't mention that teachers also have excellent benefits and a nice break in the summer months that many in the private sector don't have.
All in all, it sounds as if teachers are doing very well for themselves, and the least they can do is take into consideration the people who allow them to do so by making a small sacrifice, as many in the private sector have already done.
what we fought
Many years ago, before the war, I met a person who was born and raised in Iraq and then moved here and became a U.S. citizen.
I asked him what he thought was the most noticeable difference between the two countries. He said our freedom. He said he could drive from Philadelphia to California and not be stopped. In Iraq, he had to show his papers at checkpoints to travel around.
Wouldn't it be ironic if after we liberate Iraq, we ourselves become a police state?