Readers Write, 7/26

F-22 RAPTOR

I see that Sen. Saxby Chambliss is still beating the F-22 dead horse. We have over 100 of them in our arsenal as it is, and, if they are as good as Chambliss claims, there is no need for more. Chambliss is grandstanding for votes. He needs to spend his energy and time doing something useful, like getting the energy bill passed and/or getting the health care plan passed as quickly as possible.

Steve Wilkerson, Lilburn

Listen to the Pentagon

I am puzzled by columnist Kyle Wingfield’s apparent belief that the Pentagon either does not know what it needs to carry out our national defense for the 21st century or does not have the capacity for strategic planning that is certainly related to the former (“F-22 still needed to secure skies,” Opinion, July 16). But it is not clear to me what his basis for such a belief is. Perhaps I am also somewhat surprised that there would be a conclusion finding that the Pentagon was simply trying to save money with its proposal for capping F-22s. Although I am certainly not knowledgeable about the workings of the Pentagon, I have never had the impression that they were focused on saving money (I would be satisfied with their getting what they need for reasonable costs.) Of course, where do I get my information about such? Newspapers.

Alida C. Silverman, Atlanta

EMPLOYMENT

FedEx needs same rules

FedEx has recently undertaken a very public lobbying and media campaign to prevent Congress from enacting legislation to bring it under the same labor laws that govern every other delivery company in America. (“Congress shouldn’t tinker with labor law in fragile economy,” Opinion, July 14.) To meet the needs of the modern economy, package delivery businesses such as UPS and FedEx operate integrated networks that utilize both air and ground transportation. Despite the fact that the drivers in those networks do the same work, drive the same kinds of trucks and follow similar schedules, they are governed by different labor laws. Congress is trying to fix this inconsistency but FedEx, which has benefitted from this inequity in labor law for years, is falsely claiming the change would reduce access to global markets, increase its costs and impact its reliability. The law that FedEx is working so hard to prevent would only ensure that employees who perform the same job at competing companies are covered by the same law. Our nation’s commitment to fairness is what protects individuals and businesses large and small. We all lose when certain companies and individuals think they don’t have to play by the same rules as everyone else.

Myron Gray, senior vice president for U.S. operations, UPS

SPACE PROGRAM

Don’t waste money

Re “Moon landing reminds us how far we retreated from space,” Opinion, July 17): It is simply outrageous that Charles Krauthammer would advocate wasting untold billions of dollars on manned space exploration in the face of crushing human needs in America. The moon has already been explored, and Mars has been, and can be cost effectively explored with robots. It would be a moral outrage to spend untold billions on manned space flight when Americans die every year because of a lack of access to health care. And what about the untold thousands of homeless people in America? What would Jesus do? Surely, he would spend the billions on the human needs of the least of thee, and not on going back to the moon, or Mars when it can be explored by robots.

Walter Keith, Atlanta

Debt high enough as it is

Charles Krauthammer argues the U.S. should return to the moon, while flippantly dismissing the economic cost of such an endeavor. What a surprisingly out-of-touch comment. With our federal government straddled with historic debt that threatens the economic stability of our country, funding a multibillion-dollar galactic joy ride for a few astronauts seems a tad irresponsible. It’s like you can’t pay your bills, but you go out and buy a yacht. If it hurts your patriotic pride for China to fill the void of manned space flights, maybe it’s a dose of reality you need — China holds most of our debt.

Jon Becker, Decatur

SUPREME COURT

Impartiality is our goal

As a former newspaper editor, I have often pondered impartiality in news coverage. Total impartiality is an impossible dream. A reporter cannot quote every word a source utters, so he or she must choose. An editor cannot put every story on the front page, or give every story a banner headline, and has to decide which deserve prominence. In decisions that go into newspaper production, a reporter’s or editor’s background and prejudices play a huge part. That’s human nature. The judicial function is somewhat similar. A judge cannot hope to completely separate personal life experience from the law and facts in rendering a decision. However, total impartiality ought to be the goal. A judge who does not strive diligently for that goal should not be a judge. Perhaps Judge Sonia Sotomayor’s comments about “a wise Latina woman” were made in jest. I do not know. I do know that her decisions and statements about her judicial philosophy should be examined carefully, as the senators ponder her nomination to the Supreme Court. If it is shown she has allowed her prejudices to influence her decisions, or seems likely to do so, she ought not be confirmed.

Richard Dowis, Waleska

HOUSING

Lenders’ greed to blame

Once again, conservative letter writers are intent on blaming “greedy borrowers” for the ongoing recession and financial meltdown (Readers write, Opinion, July 20). They prefer to believe lenders were being forced at gunpoint to approve loans to unqualified home buyers. Truth is, the Community Reinvestment Act was passed to discourage discriminatory “redlining” of neighborhoods based primarily on race. The act did not require lenders to give free money to anyone who applied for it. Rather, the act specifically encouraged banks to follow sound business practices. Greed, indeed, was much in evidence by lenders who went after lucrative commissions, knowing their banks would quickly resell the high-risk loans to bigger financial institutions which didn’t seem to care, as long as the good times kept rollin’ along.

Birney A. Montcalm, Douglasville