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Letters to the editor

Hunger and the holidays; defending the ACLU; Ft. Hood and political correctness

November 25, 2009

Holiday shame

Re “Holiday feast is in the bag,” Nov. 22

On the front page of my Sunday paper I saw a picture that literally took my breath away. An elderly woman is in a wheelchair, crying and embracing a pastor who was giving away bags of turkeys and groceries.

She had traveled nearly a mile in her chair for free food. Reading the article, I found that others in need had begun standing in line at 2 p.m. the day before the handout.

What kind of country have we become? There is need all around us -- but we who still have jobs complain about paying more in taxes. It is a shameful situation.

Joan Gorger
Westlake Village

This strategy makes sense

Re “Afghan effort to recruit Taliban,” Nov. 23

Finally, a plan that makes sense to a layman like me -- offer jobs and protection to Taliban foot soldiers to lure them away from battle.

I have always wondered whether we were rebuilding roads and repairing the water and electrical systems in Afghanistan. And if we weren't, why not? We never see photos of these kinds of efforts, only soldiers breaking down doors. I know it seems way too simple, but maybe the simple efforts bring the best results.

Susan Harris

Speaking up for the ACLU

Re “Everyone’s ACLU,” Editorial, Nov. 23

As a card-carrying American Civil Liberties Union member for over 50 years, and a member of many a liberal organization (many of which I didn't think were liberal enough), I wonder which such organization your editorial has in mind when it says, "If the ACLU were just another liberal organization, it wouldn't have supported [immigration opponent Jim] Gilchrist's right to speak."

And what, pray tell, is the "liberal orthodoxy" from which you say the ACLU departed in opposing the McCain-Feingold law's restrictions on union and corporate political broadcasts?

There are liberal positions on various issues, but for me a liberal orthodoxy is the product of an anti-liberal more than a reality.

Tom Robischon
Los Angeles

Thanks for your editorial. I've been a proud, card-carrying member of the ACLU for over 20 years. Its defense of the Constitution leads it to advocate not only for those deemed respectable by the majority but also for those whom most detest.

What prompted me to join was its philosophy: Either the Bill of Rights applies to everybody, or to nobody.

Richard Nagle
Los Angeles

Debating political correctness

Re “Ft. Hood and the bugaboo of ‘political correctness,’ ” Opinion, Nov. 23

Gregory Rodriguez writes of political correctness that "the term has become a kind of code for an essentially racial struggle over what it means to be American."

I strongly disagree. As a Mexican American, I believe political correctness goes far beyond race.

For example, it is not politically correct to say "Merry Christmas" for fear of offending those who don't celebrate it. It is not politically correct to stand up for traditional marriage because if one dares, the label of bigot promptly follows. It is not politically correct to say that women are not as physically strong as men without being called a sexist.

I believe political correctness is more accurately defined as the narrowing of acceptable opinions by a group that uses guilt to impose their views. Political correctness is running rampant in this country. If left unchecked, it has the potential to cost human lives in extreme situations -- as was the case at Ft. Hood.

Sam Chaidez
Mission Hills

It's not political correctness that drives people to murder others, it's the radicalization of religion. Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan may be angry, confused and disturbed -- but it was his religion that made him that way.

Extremist Islam and extremist Christianity may have more in common than we are comfortable with. Both hate what America has become and is doing. Political correctness may have a role in propagating their agendas, but blaming it for the murders is like saying the Band-Aid causes the sore.

Larry Shapiro
Rancho Mirage

The business of medicine

Re “The emergency room bill is enough to make you sick,” Column, Nov. 22

Steve Lopez is right; hospital and emergency room fees are exorbitant. Yet hospitals and emergency rooms are closing due to insolvency.

The burdensome costs of government over-regulation and defensive medical practice, losses incurred by non-compensated care and the inefficient payment-for-services dance in which healthcare providers must engage with profit-gorging health insurance companies are the sources of this inane system.

I suggest we lock the politicians, businessmen and attorneys out of the hospitals and doctors' offices and get back to taking care of patients. Think of the savings!

Howard R. Krauss MD
Los Angeles

The testimonial Lopez offers in support of the single-payer solution is naive in many ways.

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