Obama's Israel proposal unrealistic
While I am aware that much of what President Obama has proposed regarding the Middle East is not new ("Totally committed," Sunday), he surely knows that Israel cannot return to its 1967 borders.
To begin with, Israel cannot surrender East Jerusalem, if for no other reason than the memory of Jordan's prohibition of Jewish access to the Temple Mount during the period of its control from 1948 to 1967. Adding urgency to that is the recent declaration by Muslims that the Temple Mount is not really a Jewish holy site at all.
Were the Golan Heights returned to Syria, how long would it take for the shelling of northern Israel to resume? As for the West Bank, I acknowledge that the continued building of Jewish settlements is problematic. But the area would have been ceded to the Palestinians years ago, before the most recent of those settlements were built, but for the intransigence of Yasir Arafat.
Return to the pre-Six Day War borders? Unlikely, especially if one remembers who started that war.
Recommendations for aging in place
The growing number of elderly in Pennsylvania, ("Aging in place in Pa.," Thursday) highlights why lawmakers charged Pennsylvania's Senior Care and Services Study Commission to project future needs for care and services for the state's seniors through 2025.
The commission found that Pennsylvania leads the nation in one area of community-based, long-term care. Living Independently For Elders (LIFE) programs provide care for those who need nursing-home services, but allow seniors to remain in their homes and neighborhoods, saving Medicaid dollars by reducing hospital visits.
Recommendations from the commission were built on five themes of aging in place: care coordination, improving wellness, preparing a workforce, use of technology, and prioritization of resources.
Putting those solutions in place will require full community engagement across generations.
Eileen M. Sullivan-Marx
Chairwoman, Pennsylvania Senior
Care and Services Study Commission
What's behind health-care waivers?
AARP, which spent millions in support of President Obama's health-care overhaul, is now among those receiving waivers exempting them from the new law. Turns out the most vociferous supporters of the health-care law are those least likely to have to observe its provisions. I wonder: Did they know in advance they would receive favorable treatment?
Imagine the reaction in the media had the previous administration granted waivers from the Patriot Act to the National Rifle Association, private security agencies (e.g., Blackwater), and Big Oil. That is exactly what is happening with the new health-care law. AARP is exempt from the premium caps of its competitors. Surely this raises the question of kickbacks. Shouldn't the attorney general investigate?
Presidential courage and other factors
I'll go along with the letter Monday ("Bush and Obama compared again") describing former President George W. Bush as courageous in ordering the surge. It is unfair to call Obama courageous for deciding to get Osama bin Laden and then deny Bush credit for displaying equal courage earlier.
But I would also point out that the surge owed much of its success to factors outside Bush's control.
Richmond L. Gardner
Time to cut back on military spending
In his Sunday column, "Now's the time for adult conversation on budget," Kevin Ferris quotes Sen. Pat Toomey as saying, "it's not too late to right this ship; it's not too late to get on a sustainable course."
Well, speaking of ships, why doesn't Toomey talk about cutting Navy spending? Does he know that our Navy is as large as the next 13 largest navies in the world combined? Does he know that we're building 30 Virginia-class submarines at $2 billion each? And to do what? Torpedo Somalian pirates' dhows? Does he know that we're building an aircraft carrier, to be named the USS Gerald Ford, that will carry 5,000 sailors, but could be sunk by a missile fired from far over the horizon?
Let's start cutting military spending.
Jobs and profits vs. environment
The Inquirer is to be commended for its excellent coverage of gas drilling in Pennsylvania. Two recent articles ("Gas drilling closer to Delaware Basin" and "Drilling endangers Susquehanna," May 17) brought home to me (again) the real dangers in this type of energy extraction.
What will the real cost to Pennsylvania and neighboring states be when the water supply for 15 million people becomes contaminated?
Who will benefit? Landowners and merchants in communities near the drilling sites; company shareholders and workers; and American consumers, who will once again be able to turn a blind eye to the need to conserve energy. But whatever the benefit to whomever, it will never offset the costs of contaminating the East Coast's supply of clean water.
Our capitalist system is built on treating people and the environment as mere commodities to be exploited for profit, with no attention paid to real costs. The gas-drilling companies obviously don't have a plan for protecting our water supply. Perhaps they're working on a plan to replace it once they've ruined it.
Bottled water, anyone?
Alice Ann Herzon