Charles Krauthammer would have us believe in his Memorial Day screed on the oil spill that the fault lies with rabid environmentalism and, of course, President Obama ("Many to blame for oil spill," Monday). The word that Krauthammer, the GOP, and their lapdogs in the media forget is
Krauthammer and the media also refuse to ask BP why it didn't drill a relief well at the same time. BP, Transocean, and Halliburton were operating the rig, and saving cash was all that mattered.
This isn't just George W. Bush's fault. It is the fault of the free-market deregulators in government and journalism. To them, profit is all that matters, and "we the people" means socialism. To heck with all other considerations, including safety, the environment, the welfare of our nation, and our economy. Deregulated capitalism is crime, and deregulators in all parties are traitors to our nation, our people, and the world. Teddy Roosevelt said it best: "There is not in the world a more ignoble character than the mere money-getting American, insensitive to every duty, regardless of principle, bent only on amassing a fortune."
Your article on hydrogen-powered Wegmans forklifts failed to mention a crucial point: Hydrogen is no miracle fuel that breaks the laws of thermodynamics ("24/7 power," Monday). It takes more energy to extract hydrogen from water and compress it for use than you get back when you recombine it with oxygen in a fuel cell or other as-yet undiscovered procedure.
So, while it is clean and efficient and environmentally friendly where it is being used, what is the environmental impact of producing it, and who is bearing that burden? Is it being produced from solar, wind, or other clean-power sources? I fully expect that Wegmans handles its hydrogen carefully and responsibly, but I would hate to see it very widely used - remember the Hindenburg?
R. John Stedman
I have served in the Pennsylvania General Assembly for 10 years. I fully support Attorney General Tom Corbett's efforts to root out corrupt legislators. However, I have never seen a debate "on a bill that had already passed for lack of anything better to do," as the grand jury reported ("This is a legislature?", Monday).
We have debated many subjects endlessly (gun-control legislation comes to mind) and have debated bills that passed the House but not the Senate in a previous session and were reintroduced at the start of the next session in the hope that it would become law. Of course, some 4,000 bills are introduced each two-year session, and most do not become law, so there are always bills optimistically reintroduced each new session that are debated again, before a new General Assembly, in January.
It is not surprising that a grand jury of citizens didn't realize that each session constitutes a new legislature that gets a vote on every bill destined to become law. It does, however, point out the shortcoming of looking to such a grand jury for a road map for how to improve Pennsylvania state government.
State Rep. Kate Harper (R., Montgomery)
Pennsylvanians need to take a look at a few statistics that prove the excess of legislators in our state. Texas has a population of 24.7 million and 181 legislators. The legislators meet about six months of the year. Pennsylvania has a population of 12.6 million and 253 legislators, and meets between 10 and 11 months of the year.
Wouldn't it be a good place to begin trimming the budget by reducing the number of bodies sitting in Harrisburg?
Israel is once more being criticized, this time for enforcement of its well-publicized requirement that Israel or Egypt inspect all Gaza- bound cargo, whether by land or sea, to prevent weapons smuggling ("Outcry, crisis after deadly raid by Israel," Tuesday).
Many of these same critics were quick to condemn Israel for the casualties and damage to civilians that resulted from its 2008 incursion into Gaza to neutralize smuggled missiles that had been secreted in and around schools, mosques, hospitals, and private dwellings. Tens of thousands of tons of supplies and millions of liters of fuel are delivered to Gaza each month; and Israel offered to promptly transport this flotilla's nonlethal aid to Gaza after inspection.
Those genuinely concerned with the welfare of innocents in Gaza know noncombatant civilians are far better off if violent terrorists and their armaments are stopped at the border or far out at sea, rather than allowing them to rearm in their neighborhoods.
John R. Cohn