ISSUE | JUSTICE

Booker's voice

Cory Booker's eloquent speech in the U.S. Senate about racial disparity has been a long time in coming, since Congress so far has turned a blind eye to our racial problems ("Booker speech hits U.S. justice," Dec. 11). His is the fresh voice that is needed in these trying times.

|Philip Lustig, Downingtown

Other crimes ignored

Instead of protesting over the likes of Michael Brown, why not protest crimes against unarmed black men, women, and children shot as innocent bystanders? Despite these deaths, there's not a word from the CNN-style media or the Rev. Al Sharpton and his ilk, yet our men and women in blue (of every color) have to deal with it, risking their lives for us.

|David Winch, Coatesville, winchwheels@verizon.net

ISSUE | FAN LOYALTY

Diehard 'Boys fan,

calculated high five?

The Eagles lost Sunday night mostly because of their own mistakes, and this was very upsetting. But to watch the governor of New Jersey high-fiving Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and his entourage every time Dallas made a positive move was truly nauseating. And the high-fiving itself was as much out of sync as the Eagles' handling of their initial kickoff return. It was totally comical. Every time the camera shifted to Gov. Christie, I could not help but think, what won't a candidate do for electoral votes?

|Fred Jenkins, Millville

Unified rivals

My buddy and I returned home from Vietnam in 1970 and ever since have made it a point to watch the Army-Navy game together ("For 13th straight year, Midshipmen best the Cadets," Dec. 14). Yes, one of us roots for Army while the other roots for Navy. Regardless of the outcome, we are very proud to know that these young men will be protecting our freedoms in the years to come.

|William D. Markert Jr., Philadelphia

ISSUE | PROMOTION

Above and beyond

Mayor Nutter's posthumous promotion of firefighter Joyce Michelle Craig to lieutenant is an insult to every other firefighter who died in the line of duty ("A sad farewell," Dec. 14). Why does she deserve this promotion? We have people who served in the Armed Forces and did not make the salary she made, who died or returned maimed, and they did not get this honor. What is wrong with this administration?

|Gilda Battista, Philadelphia

ISSUE | TORTURE

Lame excuse for CIA excesses

In light of the well-documented cherry-picking and lies that led us into war with Iraq, former CIA official John McLauglin's accusation of cherry-picking by the Senate Intelligence Committee in the torture report is rich ("CIA program was both necessary and effective," Dec. 14). McLaughlin's defense of torture based on its efficacy is simultaneously laughable and horrifying. Given that the CIA itself had previously determined torture to be a particularly bad way to obtain trustworthy intelligence, McLauglin's defense falls beyond flat.

And if torture is justified because it works, then is it only justified when we do it to them? What about when they do it to us? This is why we have international law and treaties banning torture.

|Joe Magid, Wynnewood

Hypocrisy over drone victims

President Obama, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, and other Democrats may condemn the harsh interrogation of terrorist fighters that ended 10 years ago, and which three previous directors of the CIA (and the current one, John Brennan) say yielded valuable information that saved thousands of lives and led to the execution of Osama bin Laden. However, they appear to have no problem with using drones to kill 4,000 people who certainly won't be able to give us information under any kind of interrogation. And at least 500 of these deaths are of innocent civilians, including women and children.

|Nick O'Dell, Phoenixville, nickodell16@yahoo.com

ISSUE | PENN POLICE PROTESTS

Even prone, school president an ally to police

When University of Pennsylvania president Amy Gutmann welcomed students to her home to enjoy a holiday party, about 50 guests used the occasion as a protest - lying on the ground as a staged die-in. As someone committed to equality, Gutmann spontaneously demonstrated solidarity with the issue, but not as a commentary on law enforcement ("Penn president should have stood up," Dec. 15).

In tense situations, we are forced to make instant decisions, and we hope that our supporters will not make assumptions about the positive intent of this act. I have led the Penn police department for 18 years, and in her 10 years as Penn president, Gutmann has dedicated financial resources and moral support to ensuring the campus police department is a model agency, and she supports each and every member of the department and those officers in the city and state who serve and protect our community.

|Maureen S. Rush, vice president for public safety, University of Pennsylvania, Philadephia

Time and place: the lesson missed

As a University of Pennsylvania alumnus who participated in antiwar activities, I recognize the value of free speech and protest. However, I have also learned to balance that with the understanding that there is an appropriate time and place for everything. I fear that in her snap decision to appear politically correct, Penn president Amy Gutmann missed the opportunity to teach that valuable lesson.

|Howard Levine, Voorhees

ISSUE | DANGEROUS DRIVERS

Better use of police resources for safer roads

With regard to getting dangerous drivers off the streets, the Police Department needs to stop making excuses and start enforcing the law by making changes to better utilize its personnel and our tax dollars ("Chaos on the street," Dec. 14).

First, the department needs to reduce the excessive number of special units and reassign these officers to routine patrol and traffic enforcement. Second, there needs to be specific performance metrics for traffic division officers, whom I've regularly observed sitting in their vans doing nothing for hours on end. Third, we need to put a stop to the excessive spending by Mayor Nutter on junkets and ego trips around the country, and reallocate those resources to the police for more enforcement and police officers.

It's time to show hardworking taxpayers some respect by maintaining an atmosphere of law and order.

|Nikola Sizgorich, Philadelphia

See an insurance agent before you fill up

We insist on proof of identity to purchase alchohol, and tobacco procurement requires an ID. Why should gasoline be sold without verifying insurance (Chaos on the street," Dec. 14)? The database exists, and running a gasoline purchase against a central file of current license tags with associated insurance coverage should not prove to be a great burden. That way, we could make it difficult for unlicensed or uninsured drivers to stay on the road.

|Richard G. Smith, Lansdale