It's too easy faking 'green'

I am all for more parkland and green space, provided that space has trees and natural shrubs and welcomes the critters that call these places home ("A bit of green is golden," Wednesday). Unfortunately,

green

is just the latest word to be hijacked by the marketing community and now means ... well, almost nothing. Look at The Inquirer's rendering of how one schoolyard would look following its "transformation." The only green I saw was the color painted on some of the AstroTurf.

Philly is not the only culprit. In suburban Baltimore, I recently passed a woodland of old-growth trees being razed for, you guessed it, a "green" housing development. And along Chicago's meandering riverfront, the dense greenery harboring a multitude of birds and other small animals is being chopped down to make room for "green development."

Please, in the name of preserving nature, enough with the green.

Art Bousel

Philadelphia

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Disadvantages to using coal

Thank you for your glowing article on the benefits of home heating with coal ("Coal is still hot," Tuesday). However, there are disadvantages to using coal.

While it is the least expensive fossil fuel, coal is nearly all carbon, and therefore produces the maximum amount of carbon dioxide per BTU of heat output. Moreover, even anthracite coal contains some sulfur and traces of mercury, which causes air and water pollution. Of course, even those who heat with electricity are effectively using coal, since 50 percent of our nation's electrical energy is generated from coal as well.

The bottom line is that we need to move away from fossil fuels rather than nostalgically re-embrace them.

Stephen Loughin

Bala Cynwyd

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Camden forever seeking bailouts

The Inquirer has printed several articles on the budget situation in Camden, including its horrendous layoff plans for police and fire protection. Community groups have petitioned cash-strapped New Jersey for yet more bailouts ("Clergy target Camden layoffs," Dec. 5).

But Camden has been getting endless extra help from the state for more than 50 solid years now. Is it ever going to be the right time to make Camden begin to get itself in order? How much more should be taken from the taxpayers in the rest of New Jersey? What else should be required in return?

John D. Froelich

Upper Darby

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Amish offer quality and hard work

I have to agree with the Amish who were quoted in the article "A culture clash in roofing" (Nov. 29). I witnessed a group of Amish contractors building my neighbor's garage a few years ago. The Amish were efficient workers who put in a full day's work. They took, at most, one break during their workday, and often were seen catching a bite to eat as they still worked. Contractor Keith McLean's comment that the Amish don't work any faster, suggesting that their lower costs were due to lifestyle (no cable bills), is inaccurate.

The Amish do work hard and build a high-quality product. And those are things worth paying extra for.

Bob Mitchell

King of Prussia

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Abuse of power in Pa. judiciary

The article "Ex-justice sought project fee for her son" (Dec. 6) shows the arrogance and total disregard for ethics among some members of the legal community:

"The state Ethics Act makes it illegal for public officials to use their offices to benefit relatives. But the Supreme Court has ruled that the law does not apply to its justices or to any other Pennsylvania judges."

While we work hard, trying to feed and raise our families, send sons and daughters off to war to protect us, we assume our government is also being diligent and responsible.

This is yet another blatant example of people in power abusing the system at the expense of their countrymen and women.

Jim McGinty

Phoenixville

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Little risk to China in Korean crisis

I disagree with the headline "China in risky game coddling N. Korea" (Dec. 5). From China's viewpoint there is very little risk. China's goals are to secure mineral rights in nearby areas (witness disputes with Vietnam and Japan); demonstrate that the United States can't or won't defend East Asia; and turn other Asian nations into vassal states.

In the event of a new Korean war, nobody would attack China, and the only downside to China would be the disruption of its trade with South Korea.

It is vital that the United States make North Korea suffer a significant penalty for its action.

Albert McGlynn

Philadelphia

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Why not just simplify tax code?

I found it interesting to read that the IRS will require paid tax preparers to pay a fee, pass a test, and take continuing education courses. It seems like it would make more sense to simplify the tax code so that 60 percent of taxpayers didn't have to pay someone to prepare their taxes. Maybe if members of Congress were required to prepare their own tax returns, they would simplify the laws.

Jerry Grover

Audubon