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Letter: Cellphones are essential in cars

A letter writer suggested that we use technology to make cellphones inactive while cars are moving, to reduce accidents caused by drivers who text ["Block cellphone access while driving," Sept. 21]. Someone once said that for every complex problem there is a solution that is simple, obvious . . . and completely wrong. Such is the case here.

Cellphones certainly have their downsides, and texting while driving is one of them, but what this proposal overlooks are the advantages of having a cellphone in the car.

People use cellphones for so much more than texts and phone calls. Smartphones can provide accurate GPS directions and up-to-date traffic information. Many use their devices to stream music on long car rides, avoiding the need to frequently find new stations on the radio -- also a distraction. Neither of these functions would work if cellphones were jammed.

We also need to keep in mind that pulling to the side of the road is not always a safe thing to do. Drunk or sleepy drivers drift onto shoulders of busy highways. And what about emergency calls? What happens when someone is being pursued by an attacker and wants to call for help? Should he or she pull over and stop to call 911?

This is a difficult problem, but jamming cellphones is not the answer.

Michael Melgar, Great Neck

Why is U.S. on hook over Ebola?

Yet another international crisis arises thousands of miles from us, and yet again the United States is called on to take the lead in the fight and bear the brunt of the cost ["Obama: World must stop Ebola," News, Sept. 17].

The $500-million initial outlay from an overseas contingency fund, which is redirected from Pentagon spending in other places, still comes from our taxes.

It's long past time the United States stopped being the world's police force and cash cow. Let's kick the useless United Nations out of our country and start charging other nations a world's police tax in instances like this.

This nation has done more than its fair share in bailing out other countries over the past hundred years, while at the same time seeing a huge erosion of our manufacturing base, and corresponding economic prosperity, to other nations.

It's time to let those other nations bear the cost of dealing with crises in their hemispheres.

Tim Consiglio, Hauppauge

NY Rising fails to cut some checks

I am one of the lucky 8,600 who has received most of the money promised by NY Rising to rebuild my house ["Some Sandy victims frustrated by NY Rising," News, Sept. 14]. I am only waiting on another $1,595 promised.

However, I do know retired victims on fixed incomes who submitted applications in July 2013. They received letters stating that they qualified for assistance and still, all this time later, have not received a penny. This is an absolute disgrace.

Can someone in authority please stop the endless promises that the checks are in the mail?

Geri DiBenedetto, Massapequa

NFL players given passes for years

The recent stories about domestic violence and child abuse among NFL players should come as a surprise to no one ["Stop making athletes role models," Opinion, Sept. 21]. For years we have supported a culture of inaction that has directly contributed to these trends.

Some high schools graduate athletes who are unable to read, write or do arithmetic. Colleges recruit athletes who should have never graduated high school with the hope that the students will improve their athletic standing and ultimately the colleges' financial bottom line.

In addition to not achieving academically, some of these individuals enter college with criminal records that are simply overlooked. They are then placed in academic programs that elementary school students would have very little difficulty passing.

NFL teams then draft these athletes and pay them millions of dollars. What a message. The men committing these atrocious acts have been virtually given a pass since high school.

Ed Quinlan, New Hyde Park

Healthy school lunch deserves support

Nobody is telling parents what to feed their kids ["Parents should decide what kids eat," Opinion, Sept. 14]. The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act applies only to the National School Lunch Program, a taxpayer-supported program.

Since we taxpayers all pay for unhealthy Americans, in the form of Social Security disability, lost productivity and higher health care costs, it makes sense that we pay only for healthy meals. Parents are free to provide a bag lunch of deep-fried Twinkies if they want.

Dr. Daryl Altman, Lynbrook