Space station symbiosis

I was struck by the photo, "In space, U.S. and Russia are in a comradely orbit" (Friday), which captured the beaming countenances of American and Russian astronauts as they prepared for a flight to the International Space Station. There, high above the carnage in Syria, unrelenting cyber-attacks, and rhetorical one-upmanship by their leaders, they will operate in harmony and trust, two dedicated individuals representing the titans of the world's stage. They will apply their talents and resources to achieve the scientific goals of the space station, which could be of benefit to all.

If only we could shake this planet like a snow globe and create a landscape where its two great adversaries, Russia and the United States, applied their formidable talents and resources in a joint quest for world peace and prosperity, rather than ideological domination and destruction.

Kathleen Hagerty Jepsen, Kennett Square

Giving history a future

If the city is serious about giving its unique and irreplaceable history a future, it would be helpful to redefine what is "historic" ("Giving history a future," Thursday). Iconic buildings such as Independence Hall and the Powel House, for example, are important to show us where we once were, where we are now, and where we are going. Historic details in the neighborhoods can also provide a lesson and a sense of place.

The craftsmanship and materials that helped our old buildings survive for hundreds of years might not be readily available, but this could change. "The trades" might be worth a look by young people. As they learn how to flat plaster, which takes about four hours to learn but can take a lifetime to master, the wasteful and expensive "gut and drywall" ethos can change, and buildings built before 1939 can be rehabbed at modest cost.

Wooden windows, which are eyes into the soul of a house, can be refurbished instead of being replaced. Conservation can extend the useful life of a building in ways that are compatible with its legacy — and keep the indoor plumbing.

John Haigis, codirector, Academy of Building Conservation, Darby, johnghd@yahoo.com

Hands off consumer agency

It's bad enough that Republicans kept Sen. Elizabeth Warren from heading the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau; now they want to cripple the agency ("Consumer-protection agency must be held accountable," Tuesday).

U.S. Rep Keith Rothfus' commentary supporting the Financial CHOICE Act rings hollow.

Choice is not the issue; integrity is. The CFPB has successfully exposed the shameful practices of Wells Fargo Bank. If it does nothing else, the CFPB has earned the respect and admiration of millions of hardworking Americans who were exploited by Wells Fargo.

As for the CFPB's high salaries, those employees have been more productive than Congress, which spent eight years voting to obstruct President Obama.

The Republican agenda to appease corporate America under the guise of regulatory overload and consumer "choice" won't fly.

Sharon A. Bembery, Philadelphia

‘Title X saved my life’

In December 2011, at age 25, my life changed forever.

During an annual breast exam, my ob-gyn noticed bruising on my chest and body. Concerned, she encouraged me to contact my primary-care physician immediately. One week later, I was hospitalized with a platelet count of 18,000. Over the next 11 months, I went to seven doctors and underwent blood infusions and transfusions.

I am one of the millions of women who go to family-planning facilities for yearly breast exams, Pap tests, and birth control ("Agency funds unaffected," Friday). If it were not for my ob-gyn and facilities supported by federal Title X funds, I might not be alive today.

Eliminating Title X is more than defunding facilities that provide abortions. It would diminish the opportunity for women like me to get affordable health care and a second chance at life.

Yashira Marie Rivera, Cheltenham, yaya@m0ntage.com

Pa. on right track with marijuana

The legalization of medical marijuana is proactive and forward-thinking by the state ("Pa. awards $10.4M contract to track medical marijuana," Philly.com, Thursday). It can benefit patients suffering from multiple illnesses. The possibility of improving quality of life is too important to ignore. I am proud that Pennsylvania has decided to offer medical marijuana as a treatment option. Other states could benefit from following in the footsteps of our state and others.

Helen Sdao, Philadelphia