Letters to the editor December 15

Letters to the editor December 15

Column omitted facts

Thank you for Abby Wisse Schachter’s Dec. 8 piece, “Obama and the do-something Congress.” The current Congress earned a 9 percent approval rating (lower than porn, polygamy, and the BP oil spill). I was curious as to what the 9 percent approved.

The piece omitted reference to the “Ryan Plan” passed by this House of Representatives, which would eliminate Medicare as we know it. Would seniors gladly relinquish current Medicare guarantees in return for the “freedom” to find their own private health care insurance with only a subsidy voucher from the government?  Only President Obama and the Democratic-controlled Senate stand between seniors and that horrible fate.

The congressional achievements lauded in the piece are troublesome. The Iran sanctions, as currently written, could backfire causing alienation from potential allies and further weaken the global economy with higher energy prices.

The Keystone pipeline decision was delayed in order to address the concerns of Nebraska farmers over polluted water systems.  The 20,000 jobs (13,000 construction and 7,000 indirect supply chain) number associated with the project was refuted in November by the pipeline operator when the Trans-Canada CEO admitted that the 13,000 construction jobs component was based on 6,500 jobs per single worker per year for two years.

States that have passed harsh deportation laws, such as Alabama, are having second thoughts as local economies have suffered.

I am confident that President Obama is addressing these serious issues in the same measured, thoughtful manner as he rescued this country from the brink of economic ruin as he took office during the worst recession in 50 years; rescued the auto industry; achieved health care reform; signed a fair pay act; tightened control of the credit card industry; made the world safer by eliminating Bin Laden and Qadafi; and, last but not least, concluded a deal with all the top U.S.-based automakers that will require annual mileage improvements significant enough to save 4 billion barrels of oil and prevent 2 billion metric tons of greenhouse gas pollution between 2012 and 2016.

This is hope and change we should all believe in.

Mindy S. Fleishman

Squirrel Hill

Exaggerated job figure

A correction to Ms. Schachter’s Dec. 8 column, “Obama and the do-something Congress.” In her article she stated that President Obama’s blocking the passage of the Keystone XL Pipeline cost the country 20,000 jobs. I don’t know where she got that number as no source was cited, but the industry that is promoting the pipeline has inflated the number of possible jobs created to make approval of the pipeline more appealing to Americans. An independent study done by Cornell University concluded that the actual number of jobs created would have been between 4,600 and 2,500.

The fact that President Obama has not yet given permission for this pipeline to be built in the way it is proposed is a bold move to protect the health of citizens and the environment over that of profits for the fuel industry. Perhaps Ms. Schachter is willing to sacrifice her own health and that of her family for jobs, but fortunately President Obama, at least in this instance, is not.

The risks to our environment posed by the Keystone XL Pipeline can do extreme and permanent damage to the future of the planet. Even if you don’t care about having a sustainable planet, which I have to admit I truly don’t get, from an economical prospective, people getting sick increases health care costs, which does not help our economy.

The jobs bill and extending the payroll tax would help our economy and actually build infrastructure — something that would increase the health of our nation. If Ms. Schachter is most concerned about job creation, why has she been silent about the Republican’s blocking of the approval of these bills?

Michelle Diamond

Squirrel Hill

Care assailed

This past summer, my father spent 10 weeks undergoing rehabilitation in the Carnegie Unit of Charles Morris, where our experience differed markedly from Russellyn S. Caruth’s account of her family’s experience in the Allderdice Unit (“Great care,” Dec. 6).

Although we felt that our father received excellent rehabilitation from the therapists at Charles Morris, we were dissatisfied with other aspects of his care and treatment while there.  We encountered various quality problems, including a lack of follow-through on certain matters when brought to staff’s attention, as well as the seemingly sudden departure of two professionals assigned with oversight of his care.  There were also losses of a number of personal items, including a sweater, a hearing aid, and his bingo winnings.

Particularly troubling was the careless disregard for his personhood on occasion, and we often felt that certain actions were done on the basis of staff needs and convenience, rather than in his best interests. For example, the mustache that he had worn for more than 40 years was shaved off, and no one seemed to care when his friend reported that he had been dressed in oversized clothing that obviously belonged to another patient.

Overall, it was a very disappointing experience.  We had expected much more from a Jewish Association on Aging facility. 


Kim Smith

Brookline, Mass.