Health care politics:
It ain't pretty
Does it surprise anyone that on the day that the Democratic health care bill passed a key hurdle in the Senate, the stocks of the big health insurance and drug companies rose dramatically? These industries have supported Obama's plan from the beginning because it is in their own best interest. It's another example of the people being fleeced by our elected officials and the lobbyists who support them. Hopefully, we will remember this in the next election.
Isn't it ironic: The Senate finally got the votes to pass the health care bill, and nobody likes it - not the left, nor the right, nor the middle.
It's not what anybody originally wanted. We elected this president on a promise that he would change politics as usual, but this bill has become the most classic politics-as-usual piece of legislation in history, being passed solely for the purpose of claiming a partisan victory.
The Democrats have succeeded in passing a health-care plan that they don't even like any more. Nice job!
Why in the world should we pay for the expanded Medicaid people in Nebraska? ["Sen. Nelson gets backlash in Neb.," News, Dec. 21].
What sweetheart deals Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska and Sen. Bill Nelson of Florida got for their constituents ["On track to pass," News, Dec. 22]. Where are the New York senators? How come we can't get deals like these? I want the same deal Nelson of Nebraska got for his people. If it's good enough for Nebraskans, it's good enough for us, too.
Regarding "Which Long Island wishes came true" [News, Dec. 21], featuring what our representatives have brought home to Long Island via federal earmarks. It totaled almost $268 million.
That was sweet of them, but I am really peeved at Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand and Charles Schumer, because they were not shrewd enough to be the last holdout senator on health care reform, and thus we missed out on New York's being awarded freedom from paying for the Medicaid expansion. Now that's aid for the state that would really help.
WestburySign of the times
It was sad to read "LI Donations down" [News, Dec. 19], but it is in line with most charities lately. This is a sign of the times. What makes me angry is that state and local governments are broke, the federal deficit is historic, and the MTA is cutting service. Additionally the Post Office, Social Security, Amtrak, Medicare and Medicaid are on the verge bankruptcy.
While this is going on, in Copenhagen we agreed to give away $100 billion. A spending bill loaded with pork was just enacted, and Congress is contemplating more questionable spending, including the health care bill, which seems to be partially secret.
Most Americans feel the country is heading in the wrong direction. With logic and leadership such as it is, we are worse than in the wrong direction - we are completely derailed and the wheels have fallen off. While we waste trillions, kids went without Christmas presents.
Franklin SquareSpray-paint plants?
Color her appalled
I am appalled to read Newsday's suggestions for adding color to our Long Island winter landscapes ["Coloring winter's landscape," Dec. 20]. Spray-painting perennials? Really? Will this become the latest gardening trend on Long Island?
Although the landscape is barren in winter, it is beautiful just the way it is. The last thing we need is more artificial adornment. I suggest we save the spray-painting projects for furniture and fences, and leave our dormant perennials alone.
Sea CliffWelcome words from education chief
What marvelous news to read Commissioner of Education David Steiner's words to the Board of Regents ["Direction for the schools," Editorials, Dec. 21]. Steiner's conviction that teaching well is a deeply complex professional activity is a welcome change. Even more telling is his declaration that assessment is not the curriculum. For too long, the narrow and ill-considered views of those who promote testing - all the time, at all levels - as the focus of life in classrooms have hurt children and restricted good teaching. The new commissioner's leadership gives hope for the reinvigoration of education in New York and for the future of our children.
Vivian P. Doremus
CenterportEditor's note: The writer is a retired teacher and school administrator.
In these difficult economic times, it is especially important to patronize your local neighborhood businesses. Why drive and waste time? There are so many great local businesses. Leave your car in the driveway, save some gas, say hello to neighbors and take a walk to get some exercise.
We don't mind occasionally paying a little more to help our local businesses survive. Don't forget your cook and server at your favorite local neighborhood restaurant. We try to tip 20 percent against the total bill. If it's an odd amount, round up to the next dollar. If you can afford to eat out, you can afford an extra dollar tip.
Remember, these people are our neighbors. They work long hours, pay taxes and provide local employment. If we don't patronize our local community stores and restaurants to shop and eat, they don't eat either.