Fumo sentence deserves appeal

Former State Sen. Vince Fumo was convicted on all 137 criminal counts that he was charged with. Having done the crimes, he should do the time. The question is: How much? That he got away with those crimes for a period that took him into late middle age should not mitigate the length of his prison term.

In arriving at his sentencing decision, Judge Ronald L. Buckwalter reportedly considered more than 300 letters in support of Fumo. Regardless of the number, the sentence Buckwalter imposed was to all appearances so arbitrary and outside the proscribed guidelines that the prosecution felt it had no option but to appeal.

Judges do have a great deal of discretion in criminal cases, but there are situations where their decisions should not go unchallenged. The sentence imposed on Fumo by Buckwalter is a case in point.

Ed McCusker

Lincoln University

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Seniors should make way for young

I was surprised that the otherwise excellent analysis on the drawbacks of raising the retirement age for social security ("Consensus is wrong on Social Security fix," May 26) omitted what to me has always been an important underlying principle for setting a retirement age: making room for the workforce of the next generation.

As a senior well beyond the current age limit, I applaud the fact that there is recognition that not only is there life after 65, but also invaluable experience and wisdom. But those now entering the job market already are having difficulty finding a career path. How much more challenging will it become should older workers remain in their positions for a longer period.

As much as we seniors might want to remain in a productive role, there comes a time when moving aside for younger individuals is the better part of valor. I believe most of us recognize this and would gladly step down, if we could afford to.

Suzanne F. Scott

Lafayette Hill


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Jerusalem should be a city of three faiths

A letter on May 27 ("The history behind Israel's borders") offered a very selective history of the Jews in Jerusalem, and a more detailed account does not bear out its point.

In AD 70, the Roman army captured Jerusalem, destroyed the Temple, and took its treasures to Rome. It became a Christian city when Constantine made Christianity Rome's official religion.

In the seventh century, Jerusalem was taken by an Arab army. But in 1099, crusaders captured it, and it remained Christian until 1187, when the city was conquered by the Sunni Muslim Saladin.

Jerusalem stayed a Muslim city for more than 700 years, until 1917, when modern Palestine was created under British rule.

It may well be that Jews have had a continuous presence in Jerusalem since the time of King David, but for much of that time it was a weak presence as a religious minority. If historic presence is the criterion for determining the status of Jerusalem, it is obvious that it should be an open city equally controlled by people of all three faiths: Jews, Christians, and Muslims.

Dale Kinney

Bala Cynwyd

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About fact-checking and peace activists

A letter on Wednesday ("Charges demand fact-checking") took Michael Smerconish to task for not providing evidence or the names of the Rutgers faculty who allegedly harassed David Christian during his post-Vietnam attendance at Rutgers. It also chastised The Inquirer for not including the law school's response.

Well, Smerconish's column was published on May 20. Rutgers has had nearly two weeks to publicly deny the charges. It has not.

As for peace activists' spitting on returning vets being a myth, my husband stopped wearing his Army uniform on flights into and out of San Francisco because of the harassment he received while walking through airports. Though stationed at the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, he was still called "a baby killer."

Hannah Dougherty Campbell


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Schools need more than just money

Karen Heller is so right ("School district's missteps undercut whole city," Wednesday). I wonder how many people in the Philadelphia School District Administration can properly read, write, and do simple math, let alone take their jobs seriously.

Their $3.2 billion dollar annual budget for about 400,000 K-12 students would be enough were money not wasted through fraud, carelessness, and sheer incompetence. How many of these district bureaucrats are really doing any meaningful work?

Of the 400,000 students, only about 54 percent will graduate from high school. The rest will eventually quit school and be relatively unemployable. In other words, they may well need taxpayer assistance for the rest of their lives.

Juris A. Balodis



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Arnold is a person, not a vegetable

In reference to a letter on May 27 ("Arnold can afford his dalliances"), one must ask: Is Arnold Schwarzenegger a vegetable spreading his seed around, or a human being dealing with other human beings who have feelings? Is a good father just a sperm donor who makes financial contributions?

People are not possessions to be used for one's own pleasure. A good relationship starts with trust and honesty, two traits that Arnold has not displayed in years.

Madeline O'Brien