Top priority

I would like to commend Maj. Gen. James Livingston and Michael Smith for their well articulated Dec. 21 op-ed piece. I would also like to add a few comments.

The No. 1 concern of any president should be national security. President Obama, however, hit the ground running and focused for two years on health care reform. His attention to national security has been non-existent.

His ability to kill Osama bin Laden was a direct result of the policies of and the war on terrorism declared by President Bush. From the 1980s (with the bombing of the U.S. Marine Corps barracks in Beirut) to the Sept. 11, 2001, World Trade Center destruction, America had battles with terrorism.

President Bush was the one who declared war on terrorism. Obama reaped those benefits and should give credit to his predecessor.

Mike Roderick

Lt. Col., U.S. Marine Corps (Retired)

Highway 17

Mount Pleasant

All in the timing

I knew it would be a good idea to stay here in comfy South Carolina while the world was ending elsewhere as the Mayans predicted.

After all, we are told by people from “off” that most events happen here 10 years after the rest of the world experiences them.

We’ve got 10 more years to enjoy and then we’ll move to Mississippi, where events unfurl years after they do in South Carolina.

Happy Old Year.

Mike West

Ashmont Drive

Wando

Pearlstine legacy

As the year 2012 comes to an end and we look forward to another year beginning, it’s with sadness that the Lowcountry learns Pearlstine Distributors will end a run here in the Lowcountry that began in the 1800s.

Guided by amazing principles and a passion for enjoyment, as well as inspired to share with others and to make a difference, the Pearlstine family has created a legacy of giving in many ways unmatched here in the community.

Those same principles have left an indelible mark.

I, for one, and others at Louie’s Kids have been privileged to be connected with the family and are deeply grateful for the thousands of dollars they have invested in the Louie’s Kids organization.

I know there are many people and organizations throughout the Lowcountry who feel the same way, thanks to the generosity of the Pearlstine family.

The good that was able to be done because of the years of generous contributions to organizations like ours and hundreds of others is astounding. Susan Pearlstine recently said to me, “We’ve gotten to know amazing people doing amazing things.”

That belief in itself is incredibly telling of the scope of this family philanthropy and deep concern and respect for the Charleston community.

Thankfully, we have been one of the hundreds of organizations here who have benefitted from that deep sense of community.

Cheers, Pearlstine Distributors.

Louis H. Yuhasz

Founder/CEO

Louie’s Kids

I’On Avenue

Sullivan’s Island

Gun control

A Dec. 18 letter from a Mount Pleasant resident who had the good fortune to grow up in a “peaceful” Newtown, Conn., correctly stated that the Second Amendment to our country’s Constitution grants all citizens the “right to bear arms.”

Apparently, the writer now believes that right should be rescinded because “today we have the military, national guard troops and state and local police.”

God forbid this person ever experiences the terror of an intruder in her home during the cold, dark, wee hours of the night, because I fear the military, National Guard, state and local police are probably going to be far from her door.

Tom Kemmerer

Washington Town Road

Summerville

Same old story

The annual charade of SCE&G asking for large increases in utility rates and then reducing them to what they really wanted is over.

As usual, the performance ends by the authorities claiming victory in beating back the increases.

Meanwhile, the consumer loses.

Terry Tsurutis

Burningtree Road

Charleston

Health-care toll

Having affordable health care for all citizens is important for America.

However Obamacare has been miscalculated. It will mean a huge tax increase for all Americans.

When the Patient Protection Affordable Care Act (PPACA) was deemed constitutional in June, many saw it as a promise of free health care paid by employers. PPACA requires people to pay for health care or be taxed.

PPACA also provides incentives for employers to reduce the level of health care benefits they already provide to employees. As is the case anytime the government gets involved with something, it will cost more for all parties.

How much does an employee have to pay for health insurance? Employers can charge from $60 a month to over $200 a month.

Being in the restaurant business for many years, I believe most of my employees will not pay this much for health insurance — a huge tax increase for millions of workers.

If workers do buy health insurance from their employers, these employers may either pass this increased cost along to customers as higher prices or reduce employee hours, eliminate staff or perhaps go out of business.

Those employees, or former employees, will then rely more on our already strained entitlement system.

If you are an employee who is receiving health benefits, you will have to pay more. Employers will need to charge employees more to offset the cost of additional employees and fees that are part of the health care bill.

If the employee’s coverage is too generous then the employer will have to pay an excise tax.

Guess what employers will do? They will reduce benefits so they do not have to pay this tax.

What do we get for all these tax increases? Medicaid is expanded in some states, so the federal government has some of the money needed to pay for this expansion. Some employees will be forced to buy health care so they will have coverage. There will still be millions of uninsured and underinsured Americans and health care costs will continue to rise faster than inflation.

Surely we could have come up with a better plan.

John Keener

Charleston Crab House

Wappoo Creek Drive

Charleston

Breast feeding

I noted with interest and concern that the topic of infant feeding was addressed recently in the Moxie section from the perspective of lifestyle choice.

In fact, as the American Academy of Pediatrics and public health organizations worldwide continue to affirm, infant feeding is a serious public health issue.

Babies who do not breastfeed have a higher risk of obesity and SIDS (among other risks). Women who do not breastfeed have a higher risk of breast and ovarian cancer (again, among other risks).

Breastfeeding is not just a nice choice from a list of equivalent alternatives. It is not a “technique.” It is a mammalian survival function. And it certainly does not belong in the same discussion as organic baby food, for which there is no evidence of health benefits.

Our society needs to move beyond mere acceptance and embrace breastfeeding as the normative way to “grow babies.”

I would welcome a feature on this topic in your Tuesday science section where it belongs.