A life saved

I read the heartwarming story about Julia Parmisciano with great joy ("South Philly girl home for Christmas with a new heart," Sunday). Ann Smeigel, Julia's school nurse, literally saved her life by responding rapidly and professionally when her heart failed while in school.

Ann is a colleague of mine. I was moved by her humble, graceful response as her fellow nurses congratulated her on hearing what happened that day. Ann responded, "It's just what we do."

How ironic that this feel-good story coincides with the layoff of 47 school nurses serving children in schools every day in Philadelphia. Chances of a nurse being available for this heroic act and for countless other less heroic but equally important acts, have been greatly diminished by the recent, shortsighted decision of our School Reform Commission.

Eileen Duffey Bernt, Philadelphia, eduffeybernt@aol.com

Ending Medicare

Brooks Jackson of factcheck.org ("Seeking truth amid hype," Tuesday) does a real disservice to the American people by stating that the Democrats are wrong in claiming the GOP wants to end Medicare. When you want to propose, as Rep. Paul Ryan (R., Wisc.) did last summer, that you change a plan in which the government acts as your insurer (the present Medicare system) to one in which you are given vouchers to buy your own private insurance (Ryan's proposal), that basically ends Medicare as we know it.

I would like to nominate factcheck.org for the Whopper of the Year Award.

Thomas J. Lees, Lafayette Hill, tlees2@aol.com

Orthodox excess

So, some of the more religious Israelis are acting up, eh? ("Ultra-Orthodox's actions against females decried," Wednesday). Orthodox of every stripe, whether Jew, Christian, or Muslim, are cut from the same cloth. They all hide their mistrust and fear of their fellow human beings by clinging to rigid rules. In the particular case, their common misogynistic leanings are rooted in the ancient fear of the power women have always had over men.

John Brodsky, Swarthmore, johnbrodsky7@verizon.net

Havel's example

Thank you for printing the essay by Václav Havel ("World requires enlightened, thoughtful politicians," Sunday). It should be required reading for all politicians in this country. There was a man who spent years in prison for the sake of his country. How many of our leaders would do that? Most couldn't turn down a free lunch on K Street. What a pity that Havel's passing was overshadowed by the death of that psychotic imbecile in North Korea. Václav Havel was truly a thoughtful, idealistic, courageous patriot.

Ron Miller, Milmont Park, ronfish2002@yahoo.com

Voter ID is OK

I must take exception to the recent editorials saying that requiring a photo ID in order to vote is a burden and supporting U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder when he says that doing so is racist. Pure nonsense. As a 70-year-old white man, should I be crying "racism" when I am asked to produce a photo ID for having blood work done at the hospital, visiting my doctor or the post office, or when using a credit card? Stop with all this whining and race-baiting.

Richard A. Kreamer, Wayne papadick58@verizon.net

Money or justice?

The letter "Conlin case reveals systemic flaw" (Wednesday) said the statute of limitations on molesters should be changed so that a suit can be brought many years after the incidents.

I have a problem with people who make no report to the authorities at the time of sexual incidents but want to collect a large sum of money for their molestation many years later. It appears to me that they are seeking not justice, but a large financial settlement.

In no way am I condoning the sexual acts, but I wonder why neither the children nor their parents reported them to the authorities at the time they happened.

Albert Bary, Philadelphia

Keep kids safe

Is it really worth risking our children's health just to keep a few dandelions from poking through on sports playing fields? The Safe Playing Fields Act is legislation that would protect New Jersey children from exposure to toxic lawn pesticides where they play, at schools, including high school athletic fields, and in parks.

Many scientific studies show that children are more exposed and vulnerable to the hazards of pesticides than adults. Sustainable, nontoxic lawn/field care methods cost less over time, are effective, and are healthier for both the landscape and our children.

Jeffrey Deppa, Cherry Hill,


Pay cuts save jobs

American manufacturing jobs are moving offshore because the equivalent products can be made less expensively overseas. With union-scale pay and benefits, American workers have priced themselves out of the market.

Foreign countries are producing cars here in nonunion shops because they can produce their products less expensively here than at home. We are actually importing a large number of jobs this way, though significantly fewer than are being sent offshore.

It would seem that if unions were willing to take lower wages and benefits, we could maintain more jobs in this country.

Alan Robisch, Mount Holly