Trudy Rubin seems to be lecturing Israeli leaders and supporters of the Jewish state, in essence threatening Israel with a "one state" formula if it does not make peace with the Palestinians ("Saving the two-state solution," Feb. 11). Of course this "solution" would mean the dissolution of Israel as a Jewish state. She proceeds to take Israel to task for having "fenced and walled off the West Bank and closed off Gaza," and demonizes Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu as an "uber-hawk."
Nowhere in Rubin's column did I read about why Israel was forced to take such self-defensive measures to safeguard its citizens from vicious attacks on innocent civilians. Neither did I see mention of the fact that Israel left Gaza only to have the Palestinians use their millions of dollars in foreign aid to smuggle weapons and manufacture rockets to terrorize Israeli citizens. This money was ostensibly donated so that the Palestinians would build roads and schools and take care of their own people.
The fact is, the Palestinians could have had their own state on many different occasions; unfortunately, their leaders are more interested in seeing Israel destroyed than in building their own country.
Yesterday, I wept.
I wept for Officer John Pawlowski, another brother in blue, slaughtered senselessly by someone with no regard for human life.
And I wept for his wife, who will never again have the pleasure of feeling her husband's arms around her or hearing a whispered "I love you."
And I wept for their unborn child, who will come into this world without a father, and learn early on that the world is, at times, a cruel and hideous place.
And I wept for the officers in the city of Philadelphia, who go to work every day underpaid, understaffed, undertrained, and underequipped and try to put a tourniquet on a city that's bleeding out.
And when there were no more tears to weep, I prayed, for all of the same people whom I had been weeping for.
Cindy E. Newman
Arlen Specter is one of only three Republicans to support the president's recovery bill. Has he seen the light? Or has he seen the calendar and realized that in a little more than a year he will be running again?
I. Milton Karabell
Herbert Hoffman suggests Pennsylvania should "substantially increase taxes on alcoholic beverages, especially beer," and then suggests that it doesn't happen because "politicians are afraid to tackle this issue" (letter, Saturday).
The truth is that excise taxes on specific products like beer, cigarettes, or Internet services are inherently unfair, and are put in place because politicians are "afraid" to tax the entire citizenry. If the programs being paid for are for the good of the whole commonwealth, then the whole commonwealth should be evenly sharing the load. Beer taxes are regressive, and punish people for enjoying a legal beverage.
Push the state income or sales tax up half a percentage point, or cut spending, but don't balance your problematic budget on my beer-drinking back. It's not about being macho. It's about fairness, and not asking beer drinkers to pay your share.
It was especially sickening to watch Barney Frank, one of three men most responsible for the fiascoes at Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the failed Wall Street investment banks, grilling eight CEOs of those financial institutions.
Not one of those spineless CEOs had the backbone to accuse Rep. Frank, Sen. Chris Dodd, and former Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin of their roles in initiating the greatest financial meltdown in the history of the United States. There was also no mention of very substantial campaign contributions and other special financial favors for Frank and Dodd.
If only the Republican members of Congress could have been with Nero during the fire. He'd have had a string section!