As much shame and disgrace deserve to be heaped upon former Rutgers University basketball coach Mike Rice, it goes double for the once-esteemed and presitigous institution which continued to employ him after it learned of the appalling manner in which Rice meted out physical and emotional abuse to the impressionable, young men who were his players.
Rice pocketed a tidy, six figures last year, and remained employed after his actions came to light. Why? Because character counts for little in today's world, particularly in the realm of sports.
Rice, caught by reporters outside his home and compelled to comment on his status and conduct, acknowledged that he was "wrong". He did not say that he is a failed human being.
Revel casino may be the first business to think that its economic salvation lies at the end of a cigarette butt. In its Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing, Revel has revealed plans to allow smoking in its Atlantic City casino when it reopens. Previously, the casino had banned smoking.
Revel is well within its legal rights to add smoking areas, since New Jersey's smoking restrictions were written so that casinos can allow smoking on 25 percent of their gaming floors. But Revel is wrong to think that allowing smoking will bring in more business. If anything, it will drive away customers who care about their health.
For their part, state lawmakers were wrong to allow loopholes and exemptions in the smoking restrictions. None of the state's workers deserve to work in unhealthy, smoke-filled rooms. So elected officials need to be put on notice that the entire workforce deserves to be protected from secondhand smoke.
“Shame on us if we’ve forgotten” the victims of Newtown and other mass shootings, President Obama said last week. But the real shame is failing to face the elephant in the room: mental health.
Severa decades ago, rights activist court challenges narrowed the government’s ability to give a person help with psychological issues without their consent. Today, troubled individuals have to commit a crime before this can happen.
While the 500-plus annual murders in Obama’s adopted hometown of Chicago do not happen because of mental disorders, mass murders like those at Sandy Hook Elementary all have a mental-health component.
The Lenfest Foundation’s plans to spend down its endowment helping disadvantaged youth in Philadelphia is only the latest chapter in Gerry and Marguerite Lenfest’s extraordinary record of philanthropy (“Lenfest Foundation shifts gears,” March 25). The city is a better place to live and visit, thanks to their generosity on countless civic and cultural projects — from supporting the Kimmel Center and the Philadelphia Museum of Art, to helping the Barnes Foundation relocate, to aiding organizations working to improve the welfare of city neighborhoods. The Lenfests have been friends and partners to The Pew Charitable Trusts, our board of directors, and me.
The recent Inquirer report described other shifts in the local philanthropic landscape, including at Pew. While our national and international focus and the strategies for achieving our goals have evolved, we have remained steadfast in our commitment to Philadelphia. Thanks to visionary partners, including the Lenfests, we have achieved many successes locally — and we are seeking to join with new collaborators and long-standing friends in carrying out innovative ideas for the region.
With the Lenfest legacy setting an inspiring example of the power of philanthropy to serve the public interest, we will continue to do our best to improve our hometown’s prospects for a promising future.
On a map, draw a 10-mile radius around Camden (“N.J. to take over Camden schools,” March 25). It will include Haddonfield, Cherry Hill and Moorestown — three communities with excellent school systems, each of which spends far less per pupil than Camden (thanks to massive state aid) and with far different outcomes. Now, why is that?
Well, it’s not the schools. It’s the community the students come from. How many of the Camden students come from homes with bookcases filled with books? How many of their parents will tuck them in at night by reading them stories? How many will sit at the kitchen table helping students with homework? How many Camden parents will meet with their child’s teachers, not to complain about how their children are unfairly treated, but to remediate any behavioral problems and assist their children in becoming productive students?
These are venerable, proven methods for youngsters to come to understand the importance of schooling. These students’ parents expect and insist upon their children being attentive and diligent pupils. Parents in suburban schools, and also in inner-city charter schools, have these same expectations, and their children grow up in an atmosphere of literacy and learning. If New Jersey officials hope for Camden’s students to do better, they might want to try working on parenting skills in the home. Then, the schools will take care of themselves. Otherwise, just archive the recent news reports and republish in 10 years.
It's laughable to hear US Airways chief Doug Parker say that Philadelphia will benefit from the merger with American Airlines ("In Phila., extolling airlines' merger," March 27). I've been flying twice a year for business to Portland, Maine for over 20 years. Tickets for a 52-minute nonstop flight once cost in the $300 range at a time when there was competition on that route. But now it's in the $800 to $1,000 range.
The reason? Southwest Airlines in the last year or so decided they were only flying in a southwest direction from Philadelphia. Once, I could fly Southwest to Manchester, N.H. and then drive the rest of the way to Portland for $200 or so. But Southwest doesn't fly northeast out of Philadelphia, so US Airways has pounced on that financial windfall. Well, I'm not paying $1,000 for such a short flight, especially when overseas flights are in the $1,500 range.
I now have to take the train, and drive from Boston to Portland at a cost of $400 - with one leg a first-class train seat. So whatever the US Airways chief executive is selling, I'm not buying.
In clearing Tahmir Craig of the Chester shooting death of Devon Williams, the prosecutor played fair and square and kept investigating, and technology showed what the naked eye missed: Craig was not the man visible in a murder-scene video ("No longer jailed in Delco," March 21).
But the news isn't all good. After all, Craig was jailed for more than nine months, based primarily on video identification by a neighborhood store owner of a different race. This happened in the absence of any other evidence and in the face of an alibi and some proof that Craig was on Facebook at the time of the crime. Even though the research is clear that problems exist with cross-racial eyewitness identification, Chester police banked on it, and it took prodding to get the video-enhancement done.
In December, the Oregon Supreme Court emphasized that evaluating eyewitness testimony is often guesswork. It said that "while empirical evidence suggests that a certain percentage of eyewitness identifications are incorrect, we often have no way to determine whether or not a particular eyewitness is accurate in identifying a specific individual."
It’s not too difficult to see how we arrived at the point where hard-working city employees felt compelled to publicly demonstrate their outrage at Mayor Nutter’s recent budget address. (“Behind city’s union wars,” March 22). I believe a failure to communicate, coupled with a complete lack of fair employer-employee engagement on the part of the Nutter administration, and downright punitive actions against employees, boiled over.
Even though city unions didn’t endorse me — son of a city firefighter — during the 2011 primary over my vote support for repealing the DROP early-retirement program, I did not hold it against any of these unions or their hard-working members. I continued to oppose unwarranted and forced transfers of senior firefighters. I fought efforts to remove paramedics from firefighters’ Local 22, and supported the on-going filling of budgeted captain vacancies. And I vocally opposed the mayor’s delay in approving line-of-duty burial benefits for two police officers who gave their lives protecting our city.
The smooth and orderly functioning of our city government is too important to let petty politics, personal vendettas, and simmering animosities interfere. A respectful and productive relationship between an organized workforce and management is not only possible, it’s a necessity if we want to improve overall employee productivity. It takes effort, mutual respect and creativity to make that happen. Tough guy stances and phony bravado ring hollow, and only invite similar responses.