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Letters to the Editor

I am appalled at the attempt by Dunwoody Village to exempt itself from school taxes ("Senior complex, town in tax fight," Saturday).

Seniors have always paid school taxes

I am appalled at the attempt by Dunwoody Village to exempt itself from school taxes ("Senior complex, town in tax fight," Saturday).

I am a senior citizen with no children young enough to attend school. When I and, I suspect, the residents of Dunwoody attended public school, those schools were largely funded by old people like us.

If Dunwoody manages to win this battle, and if the residents manage to claw back their taxes from the school district, then they should have to pay back the share of tax dollars paid by senior citizens in the communities where they were educated.

I'm sure that those school districts could use the money.

Lois Gwirtz


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Blue Cross forgets its social mission

It was chilling to read that Independence Blue Cross chief financial officer Alan Krigstein openly acknowledged that IBC has profited because "when you have a pecking order in your life of financial priorities, all of a sudden, way down low are going to the doctor and getting health care" ("Independence Blue Cross posts 2010 profit," Friday).

This implies that people are choosing freely not to get health care. Actually, they are choosing between that and putting food on the table, driving to work, and keeping a roof over their heads.

IBC appears to have forgotten its mission. IBC is a not-for-profit company, but owns several for-profit entities (Keystone Health Plan East, for example). In 2004, in response to an investigation by the state Insurance Department regarding excessive surpluses, IBC defended its position by stating that it was committed to its social mission to subsidize non-group insurance products and to being the insurer of last resort.

This seems a far cry from the present situation at IBC, which is pleased when members don't use its insurance, and which has laid off workers, reduced the number of people it insures, and increased its surplus yet again - by 12 percent!

Cheryl C. Spaulding

President, Joseph's People Ltd.


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Their leaders oppress Palestinians

A letter on Tuesday ("Israel oppresses the Palestinians") needs some clarification.

The Palestinians are oppressed by their leaders, not by Israel. This has been the case since the Arab leaders urged the Palestinians to leave their homes within Israel's borders, when the modern state of Israel was formed in 1948, so that the Arab nations could push the Jews into the sea. That effort failed.

There have been many opportunities for the Palestinians to agree to peace and borders with Israel. Toward the end of the Clinton administration, Yasir Arafat was offered 98 percent of what the Palestinians were asking for, including part of Jerusalem. But Arafat did not choose peace.

As for the $3.4 billion in U.S. aid to Israel, most of that money is spent in the United States on U.S. goods and services, produced by American workers with American jobs.

Mark Hurwitz

Maple Glen

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Protecting children from infection

Immunization can definitely use some superheroes ("The germinators," Monday).

Though I am currently a pediatrician in Philadelphia, during the early years of my career I practiced in India. Whether in the United States or any other country, children need protection from potentially lethal infections (measles, mumps, rubella, diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, and many others) that are easily preventable through vaccination.

I recall infants succumbing to bronchopneumonia secondary to measles; children suffering painful muscle spasms due to tetanus; and the anguish I felt thinking that just a simple vaccine could have prevented this. I am glad that these infections are rare here, but it requires a tremendous effort on the part of the community to keep these infections at bay.

So be it "Victor Vaccine" or "Bee Diddy," let us all join hands with the superheroes in this battle against infections. Germs beware.

Mala Talekar


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Limited vision of gender roles

John Timpane's Sunday article on men's and women's computer habits ("Not far from stone tablets") quoted Forrester Research as saying "56 percent of computer tablet owners are male, while 55 percent of e-reader owners are female."

He then drew on controversial writings on the male and female brain, conveniently ignoring nearly half the relevant population: the 44 percent of females with tablet computers and the 45 percent of e-reader owners who are male. What he failed to ask was this: "How do the females use their tablets? How do the males use their e-book readers?"

A simple majority may win an election, but it appears that his point was to promote a vision of gender roles that, unfortunately, limits our understanding of people and of technology.

Gayle R. Barton

Chief information technology officer

Swarthmore College

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Some suggestions for the Phillies

Phillies manager Charlie Manuel often leaves his starting pitchers in a game much too long, as he did with Vance Worley in Sunday's rout by the Mets. Eight runs, five earned, in two innings, are far too many even in May. Also, there are plenty of days for Ryan Howard and Chase Utley to take off: rainy days and days when a game is not scheduled.

I also take exception to Jimmy Rollins' comment that "the object is to win the series." The object is to win every game.

Edwin E. Scully