Message received

U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint (R., S.C.) has it backward ("S.C.'s DeMint leaving Senate for a new job," Friday). He is resigning in order to run a conservative think tank because he believes that conservatives didn't do a good job communicating their message in the presidential race. On the contrary, I think they did a very good job communicating their message, and the country resoundingly rejected it.

The Republican Party has gone further and further to the right, dragging those who do not agree with its beliefs along with it, and it would appear that people finally said, "Enough." DeMint can repackage the conservative dogma as much as he likes, but as long as it doesn't represent what the majority of Americans believe, the result will be the same.

Marcy Nadel, Elkins Park, marcy1116@aol.com

Social Security is earned

I get so tired of hearing my Social Security check referred to as an "entitlement" - code for federal government handout. How is it a handout when I and my employers handed over sizeable chunks of my salary over my working career to a supposed trust fund, which was to invest the money prudently and return it to me (plus investment profits) upon my retirement? This has the characteristics of a prepaid benefit, akin to an annuity. Social Security may be an entitlement for those who never paid into the program, but I and the others like me earned this retirement support.

Ira Weinryb, Gwynedd Valley, iweinryb@comcast.net

Attacks on firefighters

I fully agree with former Fire Commissioner William Richmond on why the firefighter transfers are wrong ("Why the firefighter transfers?" Dec. 2) The transfers have nothing to do with training or safety. They have everything to do with getting even with the firemen's local union for not supporting Mayor Nutter in the last election, and the fight the union is waging to receive the contract that was awarded to it.

The mass transfers, the changing of the firemen's shifts, the removal of the paramedics from the local, and refusing to accept the results of the compulsory and binding arbitration are the mayor's way of retaliating against the union.

For years, the Police and Fire Departments enjoyed parity in their negotiations. During these negotiations, the mayor could only find money for the police. I wonder why?

What bothers me most about all of this is Fire Commissioner Lloyd Ayers' approval of these unnecessary transfers and harassment. The officers and firemen put their butts on the line every day to do a good job, which makes the fire commissioner look good. Why doesn't he put his butt on the line for those under his command?

James F. Kenney Sr., retired battalion chief, Philadelphia Fire Department, Sewell, kenney7@comcast.net

End it, don't mend it

The article by Rob Richie and Devin McCarthy, "Making Pa. votes matter" (Tuesday), about the plan of State Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi to tweak the Electoral College system, ignores the 800-pound gorilla in the room: Why should we try to adjust a system that is obviously outdated and, at this point, totally unnecessary? Why not just eliminate it and go with the popular vote?

Alan Bronstein, Elkins Park