{"headlinelight18"/}Obama is taking care of veterans

Democratic Congressman Joe Sestak serves on the House Armed Services Committee. He's a retired three-star naval admiral and the highest-ranking military officer to ever serve in Congress. Sestak pointed out, that in order to cut costs in 2003, the Bush administration kicked out of the Veterans Administration "Priority Eight" veterans, who were making a little more than $29,000.

The Veterans Administration was underfunded and forced to prioritize veterans, who would have been eligible to receive health care benefits, because of limited resources and a mandate to provide quality and timely health care. In 2006, Democrats took back the House of Representatives, and Speaker Nancy Pelosi began pushing to significantly increase the Veterans Administration's budget.

The Obama campaign pledged: "When troops serve, they are not divided by income classes or priority groups. Yet, today the VA is picking and choosing which veterans to serve. Barack Obama is committed to ending the unfair ban on health care enrollment of certain groups of veterans, including Priority 8' veterans who often earn modest incomes. He has voted to end this unfair policy, which has resulted in the VA turning away nearly 1 million veterans since 2003. As president, one of Barack Obama's first acts will be signing an executive order reversing this ban."

According to President Obama's plan, the VA would expand eligibility for health care to nondisabled veterans earning modest incomes. That expansion would bring 550,000 eligible veterans into the VA health care system by 2013. The 2010 budget request provides the resources to achieve that level while maintaining high-quality and timely care for lower-income and service-disabled veterans who currently rely on VA medical care.

National spokesman for Veterans of Foreign Wars Joe Davis confirms: "The president is taking care of veterans. He is following through on this provision."

Jim O'Leary


{"headlinelight18"/}Board must rethink drilling stance

What a sad state of affairs that the Delaware County supervisors couldn't even wait for the comment period on the state Department of Environmental Conservation plan and requirements for natural gas drilling and production to end before they voted to "back gas drilling" (The Daily Star, Dec. 10).

Any serious look at what has been proposed by DEC clearly shows that it is woefully inadequate from an environmental and community-protection perspective. Proceeding with drilling without first ensuring the best possible protections of our water, air, property values and community character is not just an ill-thought revenue generator, it's madness.

I beg to differ with the ridiculous notion that, "Natural-gas drilling is no different than harvesting trees, quarrying bluestone or farming the land." Have any of those practices ever resulted in turning our area into an industrial zone more akin to a west Texas drilling field? Have they produced potentially irreversible pollution and damage to our aquifers, streams, rivers and pure air? Ruined our rural roads? Ruined our community character and quality of life?

Yes, there will be some short-term economic benefits, but at what long-term costs? Do we really want to turn our area into an industrialized zone? Do we want to risk irreversibly fouling and poisoning our aquifers, rivers, streams and air? Do we want to throw away all our efforts to build and promote tourism, second and retirement homeownership, local specialty and organic farming, and the long-standing benefits of our pristine recreational, hunting and fishing assets? Are we to proceed with this, risking all for gas, prior to having fully adequate environmental and community protections, monitoring, enforcement and clear liability, all ensured and in place?

I sure hope not, and that the Delaware supervisors will rethink this. There's still time, but not much.

Steve Dungan


{"headlinelight18"/}Changes needed

These are just a few things that need to be fixed. First is the westerly turning lane on Chestnut Street by Walgreens. There is no need for a right turning lane. It should be changed back to a left turning lane. The traffic is bad at that intersection and if you don't hit the traffic light just right, you have to sit and wait a long time.

The other thing is at the Southside Mall. If you listen to the radio, it says it's always sunny and 72 in the mall. There is no sun in the mall and the heat is way too high. People would spend more time there if they would lower it.

Frank Tavolaro


{"headlinelight18"/}Corrigan supporters vilifying messenger

Before the election, Oneonta's "powers that be" and The Daily Star knew Jason Corrigan left SUNY Plattsburgh under a cloud, with sealed records. During the campaign, no one mentioned his past. Corrigan's behavior toward Dick Miller and Kim Muller, on the other hand, was consistently provocative and can now be seen in the context of his past.

His supporters correctly stress Corrigan was not convicted of anything. But they don't mention that SUNY Plattsburgh officials gave him a break by SEALING his records so he could transfer to SUCO. Online supporters write, "I find it hard to believe, personally, that someone intelligent enough to be the first student seeking office would call and harass his opponent," and "It's a bit hard to believe someone could have been touched' over the course of months and not have a specific day to it." "Intelligence?" No one said Corrigan wasn't intelligent, because it's not a predictor of good or bad behavior. And since when must a newspaper report specific dates to justify a victim's allegations?

Others comment, "Newspapers are no longer an item of education and information, but rather of gossip, propaganda and borderline slander (sic)," and "The Daily Star did the same thing with the Amtrak article, asking Senator Seward, a personal friend of Dick Miller, to comment on Jason's idea." Since when is interviewing a State official familiar with Amtrak's federal funds and route allocation, wrong? What does going to an informed source have to do with whether Miller knew him?

His defenders should reflect on their cynical comments. It's all right to vilify the student, Miller, Muller and The Daily Star, but NO one should criticize Corrigan. His defenders' logic appears to be based on the saying, "if you don't like the message, kill the messenger."

JoAnn Lambros-Pavlostathis

Norcross, Ga.

{"headlinelight18"/}Planned Parenthood in abortion business

In response to Samantha Martin's letter on Dec. 2, I submit the following facts as stated in Planned Parenthood's latest annual report for fiscal year 2007-08. The document shows the nation's largest abortion business getting bigger as it showed an increase of five percent more abortions and increased taxpayer funding.

According to Planned Parenthood's latest report, "Abortions increased to 305,310 abortions, up from 289,750 in 2006."

While her experiences with the agency might have been as she stated, there are irrefutable facts that it is not the benign agency she would like us all to believe it is.

While not performing abortions on premises at Oneonta, I'm quite sure if you want one, they will be happy to refer you to an accommodating clinic to have the abortion done.

Prenatal care and adoption referrals amounted to less than 1 percent of total services provided to women in 2007. Abortions accounted for 3 percent of the services that year, according to Planned Parenthood's own figures. Abortion is their business. Everything else is merely window dressing.

If Ms. Martin wishes to support abortion, that is her right. She would also understand that to some, many more than the government wants to admit, killing an unborn baby is just plain murder.

Each to his/her conscience.

Tim Massey


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