State needs rational reform of pensions

Regarding "Pension Padding,": I missed the part of the article in which our politicians who allow this outrage to take place are now calling for something to be done to correct the problem.

Perhaps New York isn't capable of fixing our problems as we slide downhill into financial oblivion. We allow government officials to make up their own pay and pension rules, and then expect us to pay the bill for their excesses. This makes as much sense as putting a pyromaniac in charge of the matches.

Take away the overtime factor in the pension calculations and instead base it on the last 10 years' average salary. Or, better yet, let them fund their retirement with their own money like the majority of us have to.

John Weiss, Merrick


Attorney General Andrew Cuomo's probe finds pension padding is "a common practice," the story says. This couldn't be more accurate.

In fact, Harvey Weisenberg, the Democratic Party's nominee for an 11th term in the 20th Assembly District, is a prime example. Weisenberg retired at the end of 2008 only to be sworn in to office a few days later as our assemblyman. He now collects a pension plus a salary.

So, yes, everyone is doing it.

Jerry Lamonica, Freeport

Concern over noise falls on deaf ears

Regarding "Bill may put end to hybrids' sounds of silence": OK, let me get this straight: We as a nation are overly dependent on foreign oil. Gas-electric hybrid cars (of which I am a proud owner) conserve gas, increase mileage considerably and control emissions, thus resulting in a financial savings at the gas pump for the hybrid owner, not to mention the feeling of doing our part to both help the environment and reduce our dependence on oil.

There aren't enough of us, as there is currently no incentive to purchase a hybrid: the tax credit is being phased out and the cost is considerably higher for such a vehicle. My car shuts off its gas engine so that there is no pollution or waste of gas while it idles, enabling the car to recharge its electric battery while stopped. And now people are complaining that the car doesn't make enough noise? What's wrong with this picture?

Maria Basile-Farash, West Babylon

Pyrotechnics leave viewer to ponder

On the night of July 4, we joined a crowd in a Farmingville parking lot to watch fireworks explode from streets all around us. But while others "oohed and aahed" each Starburst, I thought of the money shelled out by all these residents - probably $500 or more apiece - only to be blown up in 10 minutes.

Then I thought of teachers who might not have jobs in September, and students who might not have books, and I wondered whether these were the same homeowners who throw fits if asked to pay $100 more a year for education.

Richard Posner, Selden

During the fireworks show at Morgan Park on the Fourth of July, I saw a family of three unfurl the American Flag as they arrived for the national celebration of Independence Day.

I was delighted with this display of patriotism until I saw them spread it on the sand and sit on it, using Old Glory as a beach blanket.

I am disgusted by their irreverent, disrespectful and insulting behavior.

Their actions spoke clearly of the utter disregard they have for the nation they call home. They should be ashamed.

Maurine Judge, Glen Cove

Euphemisms don't mask bill's impact

Two Planned Parenthood vice presidents use Orwellian-speak to describe the "positive" impact that the Reproductive Health Act would have on women.

Is it "positive" to repeal present law, which allows abortion on demand for the first 24 weeks, to replace it with abortion on demand throughout nine months of pregnancy?

Johanna Cervellino, Smithtown

Despite suit, they've got it right in Arizona

The president should know better. If you allow illegal immigrants to stay here then you open yourself up to other illegal activities.

How on earth does someone in power shun the citizens of this country and get away with it? Arizona has it right. Illegal is illegal no matter what the president would like you to believe.

Susan Kalberer, East Meadow

I am suspicious of the administration's motives for the suit.

The people of Arizona, and the country in general, are frustrated with what they see as the federal government dragging its feet again and again in regard to immigration reform.

Nancy Macri Kennedy, Huntington Station

Hateful words remind of monstrous act

I fully sympathize with and understand the rabbi's letter in disagreement with the obituary for the Munich terrorist, Mohammed Oudeh.

However, I believe Newsday was correct in publishing this.

Oudeh's words about the hate he passes on to his grandchildren are chilling, and printing them helps to remind the rest of us what a monster he was.

Jim Intravia, Medford

Kids, parents lack knowledge of history

I agree with "Don't Know Much ... ". The teaching of history to children is sadly lacking. As a living-history re-enactor, I am often surprised at the lack of knowledge of American history by the children (and their parents) who attend local history events.

Do children understand why we celebrate July Fourth? Does it have more meaning to them than just a day to have picnics and watch fireworks?

Robert Ambrose, North Merrick

Funeral protest ban, doesn't go far enough

Newsday's editorial board believes that in allowing the members of the Westboro Baptist Church to spew their venom 150 feet from a military funeral, that Suffolk County has done the right thing.

That is patently ridiculous. At a distance of 50 yards, the protesters would almost appear to be part of the service.

When will someone have the guts to say enough is enough? Denigrating our fallen heroes must not stand. Why can't the group's disgusting behavior be defined as illegal hate speech?

Walter McCarthy, Massapequa