LETTERS - Oct. 30
ISSUE | PHYS-ED Get moving, kids After reading W. Douglas Tynan's column in the Health section, I was struck by how much news is really not news ("Exercise is good for children's brains, too," Oct. 26). In 2008, John J. Ratey, an internationally known psychiatrist, wrote Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain. He discusses the value of exercise in various populations, particularly the effect on cognitive functioning in students. The data is overwhelming.
ISSUE | PHYS-ED
Get moving, kids
After reading W. Douglas Tynan's column in the Health section, I was struck by how much news is really not news ("Exercise is good for children's brains, too," Oct. 26). In 2008, John J. Ratey, an internationally known psychiatrist, wrote Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain. He discusses the value of exercise in various populations, particularly the effect on cognitive functioning in students. The data is overwhelming.
One of the largest studies was done in Titusville, and the other in Naperville, Ill. Every gym teacher and school administrator in the country should read this book, and any attempts to cut physical education should be shut down before they get started.
|Denise LaBonde, Havertown, email@example.com
ISSUE | TRIBUTES
Off-key for Malala
As an American, I too am offended by the jingoistic lyrics of pop singer Ayla Potamkin's "America" and agree that the song was inappropriate for the ceremony honoring Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai ("From a song not heard, disharmonious refrains," Oct. 29). The refrain "where the kids are safe" - written in a state where at least 14 children have been killed in school by gunfire since 1999 - is a misrepresentation. However well-meaning, the song is nationalist propaganda.
|Dale Kinney, Bala Cynwyd
ISSUE | E-MAILING JUDGE
Loser takes all
Judge Seamus P. McCaffery seemingly ran roughshod over ethics rules, treated the judicial system like his sandbox, and allowed his judicial aide to moonlight for huge bucks among the firms coming before the courts, and yet he resigns and walks away with a $155,000- per-year pension. Does anyone really believe that this is the first step in restoring confidence in our state's judiciary ("Now court can move on," Oct. 28)?
|Joseph Gunder, Norristown
Voters or panels can err on judicial picks
Nobody, lawyer or not, finds it acceptable when a judge violates the public trust by doing something illegal or even conducting himself with an appearance of impropriety ("How to put order into Pa.'s courts," Oct. 26). That said, taking away the electoral process in favor of a merit-selection system is not the answer.
You needn't look further than Alabama, where merit-selected U.S. District Judge Mark E. Fuller is under investigation. Or look to Texas, where another federal judge - also a merit pick - is under indictment for prosecutorial misconduct. And the list goes on.
In a position of power, the possibility of an abuse of that power exists whether one is elected or merit-selected in a back room by a chosen few. It is the height of arrogance to think it perfectly acceptable that we vote for president every four years while arguing that we are not smart enough to vote for a judge - and therefore should accept the decision of a nameless, faceless, group handpicked by politicians.
|Richard Golomb, Philadelphia, firstname.lastname@example.org
ISSUE | HEALTH-CARE WORKER SAFETY
Treating ills of Ebola, miscommunication
Why did it take Ebola to recognize what nurses do? Despite denials, spurious allegations of blame, and ignoring nurses' communications, nurses take care of patients - so they are in the most constant and direct contact with them during hospitalization. The two cases of Ebola transmission so far show a dangerous lack of communication among health-care professionals who should have been better at using their professional knowledge. This dismal state of collaborative and respectful behaviors was demonstrated by the doctor in chief, as well as lower levels of physicians, who ignored the notes and verbal reports of the nurse admitting the first Ebola patient in Texas.
I have been actively involved in promoting collaboration between nurses and physicians for decades. Despite some high and positive moments, it has been a discouraging experience. Several foundations and government regulatory and funding agencies are addressing this issue with renewed vigor. Perhaps this current and extremely dangerous situation can serve as a wake-up call to educators and providers to undertake important reforms in institutionalizing appropriate, professional behavior. One-off responses are nice, but will never produce long-lasting, essential changes in health care.
|Claire M. Fagin, R.N., New York
Liberian scion desperately needed at home
Many of us find it troubling that the son of Liberia's president is a physician currently practicing in the United States who has no intention of going to his home country to help through this crisis. One wonders why a guest believes his host country should risk the lives of its medical and health-care workers in Liberia when he refuses to enter the Ebola fracas. Why isn't the Liberia pressuring him to return? Liberians should be outraged.
|Barbara K. Clement, Berwyn
ISSUE | N.J. CONSUMER PROTECTIONS
Scaling back on fraud rules sound business
As consumer reporter Jeff Gelles notes, New Jersey's Consumer Fraud Act is significantly different from similar laws in other states ("N.J. should think hard before a consumer protection change," Oct. 26). Gelles' article suggests the state's sprawling consumer law is a good thing. But from a business growth perspective, quite the opposite is true.
States with predictable legal systems that discourage abuse allow businesses to more accurately project future legal expenses, allowing them to free up capital for expansion and job creation. New Jersey's Consumer Fraud Act is predictable in that it generates litigation that is profitable for attorneys and costly for businesses.
Fortunately, strong consumer protection laws that punish business that defraud customers - without rewarding excessive litigation - do exist. The Legislature must work to put the Consumer Fraud Act's focus back on fraud. Doing so would hardly sound the death knell for consumer protection. Instead, it would ensure that the law roots out fraud rather than serving as a gotcha statute or bootstrap for marginal claims.
|Marcus Rayner, president, New Jersey Civil Justice Institute, Trenton