Choosing cellphone when short on food

I am very impressed with the work Mariana Chilton is doing at St. Christopher's Hospital for Children (" 'Sesame Street' helps Drexel's Grow Clinic promote hunger awareness," Thursday).

Having taught school, I am well aware that a hungry child will have difficulty focusing on learning, and may even, because of food deprivation in the past, enter school with learning disabilities. However, reading the article brought to mind a concern that has gnawed away at me for sometime.

This past winter, I saw several television broadcasts talking of the need to replenish food banks. Now, undoubtedly, the state of the economy has put a sizable dent in the availability of help for many people.

But here's the rub: On several of these broadcasts, people were shown lining up to receive food or were interviewed about how they were managing. In almost every instance, the person interviewed had a cellphone in hand.

How can someone, especially a parent, indulge in a cellphone and not realize that the monthly cost could certainly provide meals for his or her children?

I just don't understand this.

Bernice Sherman

Philadelphia

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A sound proposal to end unsound rule

Recently, The Inquirer has run a number of stories about Milton Scarborough, the 71-year-old man serving a life sentence for murder despite compelling evidence that he was deprived of a fair trial and may be innocent of the crime. Amazingly, he has been denied any judicial relief and remains in prison because he failed to file his petition for relief within 60 days of discovery of the evidence.

As a practicing lawyer, I can tell you that this 60-day rule is totally unfair and unsound. Even very educated people often fail to act quickly to assert their rights. To keep people in prison for years despite compelling evidence of innocence is truly un-American.

I applaud The Inquirer for endorsing the proposal to expand the 60-day deadline under the Post-Conviction Relief Act to give inmates a fair chance at proving their innocence. Let us hope that this sound proposal to amend the PCRA becomes law very soon.

Stephen G. Harvey

Philadelphia

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U. S. has its own border problems

President Obama is telling Israel how to handle its border problems ("Obama: '67 borders reflect long-standing U.S. policy," Sunday), while basically ignoring the problems along our own borders ("Obama: Fix immigration," May 11).

The president made a speech Thursday that suggested that Israel's 1967 borders be used to negotiate the boundaries of a Palestinian state. But Obama has failed to provide the manpower and materials to properly protect our own borders.

So we have a president who fails to protect our borders giving advice to Israel to accommodate Palestinians whose stated goal is the destruction of Israel.

I suggest that the president take a trip to Arizona, Texas, and California, and check out the daily border wars there firsthand, and that he solve the problems in our own backyard first, before giving other people advice.

David F. Lipton

Beachwood

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Other public housing available for Coney

The ongoing revelations about Asia Coney and her Tenants Support Services Inc. ("Suit says Greene aide took from nonprofit," Thursday) sound like some Orwellian nightmare.

How does Coney manage to be eligible for government-subsidized housing and have use of a PHA-supplied SUV while earning $108,000 a year? There have to be income limits for residents of these homes to qualify for assistance. She should have been asked to vacate the residence so that more deserving tenants could move in.

And why are we still discussing this? Why was action not taken immediately? I don't understand what more has to be said or discovered about Coney to get her to pay for housing somewhere else, at least unless she becomes a resident of a women's correctional institution for her alleged crimes against the housing authority and the people it is supposed to serve. Then I'll have no problem with her residing in tax-supported housing.

Deborah Oliver

Churchville

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Good thing it wasn't an emergency

Last week, I noticed a dead dog lying in Broad Street, and I called the 311 nonemergency number.

First, I was asked if the dog was on private property or in the street. I said it was in the middle of the block on Broad, past Allegheny Avenue going south.

Then I was asked which block of Broad Street. I had no idea. So I was told that the city couldn't do anything about it, but if I found out which block of Broad Street it was, I could call back.

Broad and Allegheny? Was the dispatcher unfamiliar with the city? Would I have gotten the same response if it had been a person lying dead in the street?

Hillary Baker

Glenside

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No need for judge or jury now

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has announced that a study on clergy sex abuse concluded that such behavior can be laid at the feet of society because of its low moral standards. ("Study ties Catholic clergy's sex abuse of children to sexual, social freedom that started in 1960s," Thursday). This is great and welcome news for all law breakers.

After all, how can any right-thinking judge or jury now find bank robbers, carjackers, Ponzi schemers, or rapists guilty of anything? Society made them do what they did. Right, your eminences?

Anthony Marquez

Bear