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Letters To The Editor 4/23/2019

April 23, 2019 GMT

Biden’s affirming contact

Editor: I am not a trained psychologist nor a psychiatrist but it seems that it is well within the realm of human possibility that former Vice President Joe Biden’s behavior toward others seems rooted in the tragic and profound loss he experienced some 46 years ago.

In December 1972, a few weeks after being elected to the U.S. Senate from Delaware and before being sworn in, his family was involved in a horrific automobile accident, which took the lives of his wife, Neilia, and his 1-year-old daughter, Naomi. His two sons also were seriously injured but survived. At first Biden considered resigning his seat but was persuaded not to by Senate Majority Leader Mike Mansfield. Biden spent the next five years as a single parent who, while juggling the responsibilities of a senator, managed to travel home in the evenings to be with his young sons.


Historians and former first lady Eleanor Roosevelt have written that President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s struggle with the debilitating effects of polio changed him. A person of privilege, he was changed into a person with a more empathetic perception toward others. They also believe his rehabilitation visits to Warm Springs, Georgia, where he interacted with other patients, their families and seeing the way in which those families lived their lives opened his eyes to the reality of how others lived and struggled. Many historians believe these interactions were at the core of his New Deal.

As in FDR’s case, it could be possible that Biden’s behavior toward others is rooted in the long ago, yet still fresh for Biden, profound sense of loss. It could be one reason for his desire to reach out and establish a human connection in the encounters in his professional and personal life.




Positive Earth Day impact

Editor: At the U.S. Department of Agriculture, we celebrated Earth Day on Monday by thanking farmers and ranchers in Pennsylvania.

Every day we see their efforts to conserve natural resources while producing food, fiber and fuel for people in their communities and around the world. They make sure we enjoy the benefits of clean and plentiful water and healthy soils, ecosystems and wildlife habitat.

This year’s Earth Day theme, “Protect Our Species,” highlighted the responsibility we share in supporting wildlife. Two-thirds of the land in the continental United States is privately owned and the decisions that farmers and ranchers make for their land can impact wildlife. We at USDA believe that people and wildlife can thrive together. USDA’s Farm Service Agency and Natural Resources Conservation Service assist agricultural producers with adopting conservation practices that benefit not only farms, ranches and forest lands but wildlife species.


Producers across the nation play important roles in helping wildlife species flourish, rebound or recover. Through better grazing practices, for example, ranchers in the West are part of the public-private effort to support the greater sage-grouse and bi-state sage-grouse. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service determined in 2015 that neither species needed protections under the Endangered Species Act because of successful conservation efforts. Similarly, in New England, forest landowners have helped the New England cottontail rebound.

USDA offers programs to help Pennsylvania producers make wildlife-friendly improvements to croplands, grazing lands and working forests, as well as benefit agricultural operations. Programs include the Conservation Reserve Program, the Environmental Quality Incentives Program and the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program. USDA offers free conservation advice and financial assistance to help implement conservation practices.

We encourage farmers and ranchers to reach out to FSA and NRCS representatives at USDA service centers to see if there is a program right for their operations.







Transplant week marked

Editor: Approximately 2,000 children and young adults under age 18 are waiting for lifesaving organ transplants, including more than 100 in Pennsylvania.

In 2018, 1,895 children received organ transplants and now have the opportunity to live happy and full lives.

Every year to highlight the lifesaving potential of organ donation, the last week of April marks National Pediatric Transplant Week. During this week, transplantation organizations share the stories of pediatric patients who received transplants and of children who are waiting. April is celebrated as National Donate Life Month and provides a time to honor the tremendous generosity of organ, eye, tissue, bone marrow and cord blood donors who make the selfless decision to give the gift of life. This is also an opportunity to honor families and friends of donors who support their choices as well as our hardworking and dedicated health care professionals who serve the transplantation community.

The Health Resources and Services Administration invites people to learn about the amazing power of organ donation and sign up as an organ, eye and tissue donor to let the good in you live on. To learn more and sign up visit www.organdonor.gov or www.donaciondeorganos.gov. To show support, we encourage participants to “like” www.organdonor.gov and www.donaciondeorganos.gov on Facebook. To learn more about pediatric donation visit organdonor.gov/about/donors/child-infant.html.

If you wonder whether transplantation really saves lives, consider that in 2018 alone, more than 1,600 people in Pennsylvania received the gift of life thanks to organ donors. All of the children in need are surrounded by family and friends who hope their son or daughter will receive a transplant and live a full and happy life.






Get Trump’s tax returns

Editor: I urge Sens. Bob Casey and Pat Toomey and my congressman, U.S. Rep. Matt Cartwright, to support efforts to have the Internal Revenue Service release President Donald Trump’s tax returns to Congress.

Trump has not released these on his own as he promised he would during his campaign and he continues to lie about the reason why this is the case, such as him being under audit. There is some evidence that he and the Trump Organization have committed criminal activity that could be evident in his tax returns.

Congress has the right to see these returns. He will not be cleared of suspicion until he releases the tax information. The fact that he has refused to do so creates suspicion in itself.