Charges demand law-school response
A recent Michael Smerconish column ("Vietnam hero cures an old Rutgers wound," May 20) told of David Christian, who just received his degree from Rutgers' law school in Camden, 35 years after having to leave that school because of poor grades. Smerconish quoted Christian as saying he was harassed in the early 1970s by the Rutgers faculty and administration. Among his claims was that administration officials asked him "to disrobe in front of the student body" to prove he was disabled by his war injuries. Those charges, if true, would constitute horrific abuses, but Smerconish provides no evidence and names no names.
Jerry Lembcke of Holy Cross University, a Vietnam veteran himself, wrote a book, Spitting Image, that proves rather conclusively that the tales about peace activists spitting on returning vets is a myth.
The Inquirer should never have allowed Smerconish to repeat such charges against Rutgers' faculty and students without requiring Smerconish to also include the law school's response.
Cartoon critics' misplaced anger
Catholics who were upset with Tony Auth's May 20 cartoon about clergy abuse should realize that their criticism was misplaced. The recent John Jay College report blaming clerical misbehavior on societal ills is not credible.
Most Americans who grew up at the same time as the abusers didn't sinfully "act out," because they knew right from wrong. The critics should direct their anger to where it belongs, at the abusers and the hierarchy that protected them.
Quadrangle residents speak up
We live at the Quadrangle in Haverford ("Delco senior-care facility gets provisional license," Friday). The Quadrangle has three units: independent-living (by far the largest); the Holly Building, including assisted-living and the dementia unit; and the skilled-nursing unit, which has received Medicare's highest rating.
There have been grave problems in the Holly building. Our recently created residents' committee has determined that the Quadrangle administration is working hard to correct them. Meanwhile, our community as a whole is being smeared in the press and by individuals who may benefit financially from legal proceedings against the Quadrangle.
Some of us have lived here for 20 years. We love this community. We live in beautiful surroundings, have terrific facilities, and have many volunteer programs that enrich the entire community. We have a caring staff that is as offended as we are by behavior in no way typical of those who work here. We feel fortunate to live at the Quadrangle and want our good name restored.
Quadrangle Residents Association
More than 140 residents of the independent-living unit signed this letter.
Stores for girls discourage math
An article on May 25 ("Early as 2d grade, U.S. kids consider math a boy thing") reported on research showing that gender stereotypes discourage girls from pursuing a career in mathematics. The lead author of the study, Dario Cvencek, said, "We still don't know where that comes from. It could be through media, through parents, through teachers." One place it comes from is stores catering to girls. One chain, Forever21, sells a "fun" refrigerator magnet with the message: "I'm too pretty to do math."
My experience as a math professor at the University of Pennsylvania is that both men and women can do math, and that we need all the talent in math and science that we can get. Companies such as Forever21 are hurting not only young women but all of us. Forever21 has nine stores in the Philadelphia area. Readers should tell them to stop selling products discouraging girls from pursuing scientific careers.
Stop propping up solar energy
I read with interest the story on May 24 about the overloaded market for solar credits ("Pennsylvania's solar-energy industry suffering from success").
Solar projects fully rely on tax subsidies, and make no sense otherwise, though it is hard to believe that, after so many years of development, photovoltaic cells still aren't efficient enough to stand on their own without subsidy. To respond to the industry's failure to improve the product by further burdening taxpayers is not very different from the federal government's bailing out AIG or Wall Street financial institutions. Force the industry to make a more efficient product that doesn't need my tax dollars!
Max M. Berger
MBA Equities Ltd.
Top wage-earners pay taxes aplenty
Wednesday's editorial cartoon mocking Tim Pawlenty's budget philosophy is either a failed attempt at satire or an outright falsehood.
Tony Auth shows Pawlenty and a bunch of elephants bowing in front of an idol inscribed, "Thou shalt not tax the rich." The rich may not pay taxes in Auth's fantasy world, but in the real world, the top 5 percent of wage-earners pay nearly 60 percent of federal income taxes. Ginned-up class warfare isn't much of a political strategy.