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Wealth and politics in America; Ronald Reagan and the FBI; Israel's conditions for peace

December 18, 2010

The writer is a senior lecturer at Harvard's Graduate School of Education and founder of the Tripod Project.

Insecurity

Re " 'Dumb' passwords blamed for consumer data breaches," Business, Dec. 14

Simple passwords, or the same password used in many places, are a bad idea, but that has nothing to do with the "data breaches" you report.

The fact that data were stolen from several companies is completely the fault of those companies. They have an absolute responsibility to protect the data of their customers.

Consumers should assume their data might get stolen somewhere, and a simple password can worsen the impact of that single exposure. Another problem is that many companies require you to create a user ID and password, even if you are just doing a single transaction with them.

But this "blame the consumer" line is just an attempt to blame consumers for the companies' failures.

Dan Kronstadt

Sunland

Hidden shame

Re "Young, gay, homeless — and largely hidden," Dec. 12

The all-too-familiar sight of a homeless person is America's shame. The huge homeless population in Los Angeles is something we have all become complacent with and readily ignore.

Why should it matter if

a person is gay or straight, black or white, old or young and on and on?

It seems we are not happy in this country unless we slap a label on someone, put them in a box and file them away with a quick dismissal as if they just don't matter at all. They all matter; they all suffer; they all need so much help to get out of this terrible, endless cycle.

This crucial issue is always swept under the bushes, much like the people who are out there hiding in shame.

This important article is an eye-opener and essential to finding a way to end this epidemic or at least finding solutions that actually work.

Frances Terrell Lippman

Sherman Oaks

DWP outage

Re "Mayor picks an outsider for DWP," Dec. 15

You want to know why there's trouble at the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power? Because city politicians handle the DWP as a political football and piggy bank.

Since 2005, the mayor has appointed six general managers. No organization can function effectively with that kind of revolving-door leadership.

In the 25 years I spent there, we had four general managers, three who were career employees and trained engineers and administrators.

Yes, there are problems at the DWP, but show me any ship that could sail straight with six different captains at the helm in five years.

Harvey Lutske

Los Angeles

On Holbrooke

Re "His region splits on Holbrooke," Dec. 15

Afghans may have considered Richard C. Holbrooke out of touch and combative, while Pakistanis praised his efforts to forge understanding between these two countries, as your story relates.

But Holbrooke's overall career as a diplomat is laudable, especially the compassion and courage he displayed helping thousands of refugees during the Vietnam conflict.

Holbrooke's credo when it came to facing down bigotry and indifference matched that of the fictitious British officer's words uttered in a dramatization of the 1947 social upheaval in India: "I don't hate in the plural."

Mike Nally

Westminster

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