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Sunday's letters: Don't write off the 90-year-olds

90 years old: That's enough | Aug. 11, Perspective

Don't write off the 90-year-olds

Wait a minute: You are talking about me, and you are way off base.

I turned 90 last month, and still feel that I am making a contribution. I volunteer at the Clearwater Free Clinic as a pharmacist (15 years); serve on the Salvation Army Advisory Board (10 years); serve as an active flight instructor (50 years); and am still active in several organizations.

A couple of years ago, the United Flying Octogenarians elected me president. The only requirement for UFO membership is that you must have been a pilot in command on or after your 80th birthday. We have 1,400 members nationally and internationally.

Don't write us off.

Don Newman, Belleair

90 years old: That's enough Aug. 11, Perspective

Cost and quality of life

One word was glaringly omitted from William Saletan's otherwise intriguing column. That word is cost.

Many of us may share the dream of decade after decade of healthy and vibrant life. But as we reach the 65-and-older age brackets, we also become aware of the significant costs entailed to make that dream of extended life a reality.

Unfortunately, Saletan does not address that issue directly. He does, however, make one statement I believe to be extremely questionable, stating: "The more you associate medical treatment with higher quality of life, the more you favor life extension."

In my view, the opposite is true. Medical treatment may successfully attack a disease and extend life. But having a higher quality of life does not necessarily follow, as those of us in the upper age brackets well know.

In addition, medical treatments, particularly those intended to extend life, can be extremely costly.

Instead, we should be asking questions regarding the economic feasibility and social impact of slowing aging and extending life. Is this truly beneficial to the economic health and well-being of the nation? Should America be picking up the tab for whatever medical treatments are necessary for individuals to enjoy a long, extended life? Or should the "greater good" take precedence?

Aren't those the questions we ought to be addressing?

Hal Alterman, Clearwater

Fasano's exit may tip balance of power for Senate presidency | Aug. 8

Home-field advantage

I am very disappointed that the state senator who represents my community, Jeff Brandes, is not supporting a fellow Pinellas senator's bid for the Senate presidency.

While the senator lacks the conviction to publicly support his choice, the comments he has made speak volumes. While he and Sen. Jack Latvala may not share the same "philosophical alignment," they do share the same political party and county.

It has been 90 years since Pinellas County has had a Senate president and I am having a hard time understanding how playing political games and supporting a senator on the other side of the state is in the best interest of his district.

Regardless of party affiliation, every member of Pinellas County's legislative delegation, and their constituency, would benefit from having "home-field advantage" in the Senate. I want my elected officials to represent my interests and my interests are in Pinellas County.

Patricia Johnson, Pinellas Park

What a third-grader should be able to read Aug. 11

Confusing question

A scenario is given to third-graders taking the FCAT: A baby bird has fallen from its nest and is struggling to stay afloat in water below. The parent birds watch from above. "They shrieked and screamed and darted about …" The third-graders are then asked: "What mood does the author create by writing that the young bird's parents 'shrieked and screamed?' " The choices are: gloomy, joyful, proud, scary.

My answer is gloomy. The scenario made me "gloomy" at the prospect of the young bird drowning. The "correct" answer is scary. But this makes no sense. I am not "scared" by the scenario, only saddened at the young bird's imminent drowning.

If the question intended to ask what mood the author depicts in the parent birds, then is their mood "scary"? To whom? In that case the answer should be "scared," not "scary."

So apparently the question should have been: "What mood does the author depict by writing that the bird's parents 'shrieked and screamed,' " in which case the intended correct answer (of the four given choices) would be "scared."

I suspect that "create" should be "depict" and "scary" should be "scared." Is this what the question writer meant? I'm still not absolutely sure, but this at least would make sense.

We might get better measures of child literacy if the questions were clearly written.

Harry Ellis, Tampa

Save our schools | Aug. 11, editorial

Education starts at home

It never ceases to amaze me how everyone wants to blame teachers for the low reading skills of our children today. My formal schooling ended after high school, yet my son and I were reading the sports pages together by the time he entered the first grade. Education begins in the home.

John Waitman, Palm Harbor

Sunday's letters: Don't write off the 90-year-olds 08/16/13 [Last modified: Friday, August 16, 2013 5:59pm]
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