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Published: Thursday, 1/7/2010

Escort Napolitano to the door

Nigerian national Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab's own father personally alerted the U.S. ambassador to Nigeria in November, 2009, that his son had been expressing extremist Islamic views and had spent the last four months in Yemen.

Despite Mr. Abdulmutallab's name subsequently being added to an intelligence repository of known international terrorists, he was not stripped of his U.S. visa.

On Christmas, he is allowed to board a U.S.-bound airplane with a packet of a deadly chemical explosive sewn into his underwear along with a syringe filled with liquid. He pays cash for his one-way ticket, has his valid U.S. visa in hand, and has no luggage.

On the plane's descent over Detroit, he tries to detonate the explosive, but miraculously, it misfires.

And what did Janet Napolitano, head of Homeland Security, have to say? "The system worked." Unbelievable. No acknowledgment of the missed flags. No sense of urgency to make corrections. No admission that something is terribly wrong with the system.

The only thing that worked is that the bomb didn't. How far out of touch with reality can one be? Incompetence personified.

President Obama's belated statement that a "systemic failure occurred" does not excuse Ms. Napolitano's ineptitude. Al-Qaeda's objectives are clear. More attempted attacks in some form are likely to occur.

How much longer will the President tolerate the secretary's nonchalant and irresponsible attitude when it comes to the safety and security of U.S. citizens?

She must be replaced with someone who understands the gravity of this incident and who will insist that appropriate agencies take immediate and decisive action to tighten up the system before it is too late.

Richard Ketteman


I have sincerely tried for a year to believe in presidential hope and change. However, for the first time in my 71 years, I am getting the uneasy feeling that the President of the United States and our congressional leaders do not really have the best interests of the United States at heart.

I do not like this feeling, but unfortunatelyit grows stronger with each passing day.

Delmer O. Gasche


I have gone to five Walleye games. I am 5-feet, 7-inches tall and weigh about 160 pounds. My wife is shorter than me. The seats at the Lucas County Arena are tight and there is very little leg room. You do not have to be tall or chunky to see how tight it is.

Will this keep me from going back? Probably not. I hate to say this to [arena general manager Steve] Miller, but the complaints are valid and will continue. I would like to see other arenas that HNTB [Architecture] has designed and see how the seats are in those facilities. Blowing this off as just a bunch of people complaining is not the solution. The seating is a big concern and I hope they address it and do the right thing.

Politics as usual won't work this time, it is too high.

Brad Gross


I am an avid reader of The Blade, but was appalled at the Rob Rogers cartoon that appeared on Dec. 30, "The Princess and the Frog, featuring the first African-American princess." It was in very bad taste, and disrespectable to our President and his wife.

Surely, you can do better than print such cartoons.

Shirley Mikesell


I say, "Here, here!" to the sentiment expressed in the Jan. 1 letter to the editor, "Woodward's stellar sincerity."

When I watched the Woodward junior varsity play the St. Francis junior varsity on Dec. 11, I was struck by the remarkable level of mutual respect displayed by the Woodward High School players and coaches.

In addition, while playing with 100 percent effort, they displayed perfect sportsmanship demeanor.While I always enjoy watching the St. Francis Knights play, I particularly enjoyed watching that game, as all the seats on both benches were occupied by excellent representatives from their schools, beautiful athletes and gentlemen.

Beth Bingle

Densmore Drive

I certainly support healthy eating and agree 100 percent with your Dec. 22 editorial that "the solution to the increasing waistline of the state's children begins in the home." But why should the schools be the ones to help?

Schools should do only what they are charged to do and that is to educate. Let parents feed their children breakfast and pack their lunches. Get the schools out of the restaurant business.

Now, for those who say that we have to take care of neglected children, that is society's problem.

I agree that children must be fed and healthy to become well educated but schools are not hospitals or diners. Let authorities take care of the health of children and contract local caterers to feed the students.

Errant parents should be dealt with accordingly.

Although most think the achievement gap is a result of factors unrelated to the quality of schooling, a 2001 poll revealed that more than half thought it was the responsibility of public schools and educators to close the gap.

So again, require the schools to solve society's problems instead of concentrating on education. And people wonder why the National Assessment of Educational Progress showed only minimal improvement in mathematics performance of high school students between 1978 and 2004. Let's get the schools out of the social work business and back to educating.

Raymond A. Heitger

Darlington Road

For years we have heard requests to use Toledo Express Airport for flights, and for years and I have been writing letters to Express urging the airport to create flights that Toledoans can use.

Both Allegiant and Direct Air have flights to Florida, but on days not associated with Saturday-to-Saturday vacation schedules. Most other flights connect to Detroit. Lansing and Flint, Mich., are catering to the vacation traveler and are offering direct flights to popular vacation destinations.

There is a huge time-share owners group in Ohio, Indiana, and Michigan that Toledo should market to and find a charter airline that will fly to popular vacation spots. Toledo is ideally situated with major highway access to these states and many travelers would prefer to fly out of Toledo rather than Detroit.

Toledo Express is in need of an attitude adjustment to change its thinking on marketing.

Many see Toledo as a shuttle service to Detroit, but if that is Toledo's destiny, why not connect to Indianapolis or Atlanta, where there are economical connecting flights to major vacation spots?

Michael Lawrence


In Sunday's “Carty, good and bad” editorial, The Blade stated that ex-Mayor Carleton S. Finkbeiner was “entertaining.”

I agree, since most clowns are entertaining.

Jesse Otto, Jr.

107th Street

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