Environmentalists share Gulf blame

An editorial Wednesday, "Oily politics," omits the leading cause of the Gulf oil-spill disaster - political pandering to extreme environmentalists. This has prevented the building of any nuclear power stations for 30 years, as well as drilling in the arctic reserves in Alaska.

Environmental extremists forced oil companies into risky deepwater drilling by preventing virtually all drilling in shallow inshore fields off the Atlantic, Pacific, and Gulf.

Not only that, the recognized first response to an underwater spill is to burn the oil when it comes to the surface, before it mixes with seawater, but the environmentalists said no, this would cause air pollution. Gov. Bobby Jindal wanted to build high sand barriers to protect the Louisiana coast, but the same people demanded an environmental impact study first. Well, these people now have all the pollution they could wish for to study.

Nick O'Dell

Phoenixville

nickodell16@yahoo.com

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Souter's right about the court

E.J. Dionne's account of a speech by David Souter indicates the former Supreme Court justice is a man who can engage in complex legal thought and recognize that valid constitutional principles are often in tension ("A riposte from the court's left," Thursday).

What the originalists, or constitutional fundamentalists, appear not to grasp is that a case that reaches the Supreme Court, by its very nature, is not clear-cut. If the principles involved were not ambiguous in some way, then the case would likely stop in the lower courts.

Souter also seems to understand that following the Constitution literally would, in many ways, take us back to an 18th-century America. Constitutional fundamentalism, like biblical fundamentalism, leads to an antiquated and stratified society.

Although he likely did not intend to appoint someone with this kind of judicial philosophy, the American people should thank former President George H.W. Bush for Souter's 19 years on the Supreme Court.

Bill Fanshel

Bryn Mawr

wfanshel@hotmail.com

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Medical marijuana is needed now

I am writing in regards to the medical-marijuana legislation being stonewalled in New Jersey. I have service-connected multiple sclerosis due to my time in the Marine Corps. I have previously testified before the New Jersey state government regarding the therapeutic benefits of medical marijuana.

I suggest that as an elected public servant, Gov. Christie should visit one of the many multiple-sclerosis or cancer-support groups throughout New Jersey. There, he will see the people and listen to the stories of those he is putting the screws to by delaying the enactment of this legislation.

I feel ashamed that my government is doing something like this to its people. It makes me wonder what I fought and got MS for.

Scott Ward

Trenton

scottdonaldward@gmail.com

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Religion isn't root of the problem

Former Sen. Rick Santorum's column on our relationship to Middle Eastern Muslim countries is again woefully off base ("Islamism and appeasement," Wednesday). Their internal conflicts are about local political control, not religion, and the politics is no more Islamic than American politics is Christian, or Israel's is Jewish.

America's role is often as the symbolic enemy. We are symbolically the enemy, nominally because we support Israel and more so because we support dictatorial governments in Egypt and Saudi Arabia.

In my many trips to the Middle East for research, I have seen that people in the region, from the lowliest worker to the most educated academic, have been politically socialized to distrust the West and to interpret events as reflecting Western conspiracies, currently against Islam itself. What is more worrying to me is the lack of Muslim voices opposing terror against civilians.

The only way to end this threat, which kills far more Muslims than anyone else, is for respected religious leaders, as individuals or within the councils of scholars, to undercut the false religious rationale of the murderers, and to help foster the kind of economic and political progress that makes terrorism irrelevant.

Mitchell S. Rothman

Merion

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Club for Growth gig wasn't a real job

What should count more in making a decision in Pennsylvania's U.S. Senate race: The fact that Joe Sestak refused to be bought off by the Democratic establishment in his primary challenge of Arlen Specter? Or the fact that Pat Toomey, after his failed bid to unseat Specter six years ago, fell onto the welfare rolls for failed politicians by accepting the head job at Wall Street's Club for Growth?

It appears to me that there is one man, Admiral Joe Sestak, who is interested in serving his country and his constituent base, ordinary workaday citizens. It appears Toomey on the other hand might have a different constituency.

Roy Lehman

Woolwich Township

post_rich@yahoo.com