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Buying and selling college students' notes; GOP candidates and money; more thoughts on the miners' rescue

October 20, 2010

Notes for sale

Re "Stern lecture from CSU," Oct. 15

Cheating and plagiarism have been problems on college and university campuses for years. To me, buying someone else's lecture notes falls into a similar category.

More than 20 years ago, two students in one of my classes turned in nearly identical "research" papers that they bought from an entrepreneur of the time.

I told them what I would tell students today who purchase someone's notes: Doing your own research and taking your own notes are part of your university learning experience.

If you use someone else's, you are only cheating yourself.

Janet Fisher-Hoult

Culver City

The intellectual property of students and faculty should be treated no differently than that of writers and book publishers.

Writers may compose books and have the rights to proceeds from them. Yet there are several companies that research those books, compile notes on them and sell these notes, all quite legally. An intellectual property, such as a lecture, is no different. Anyone wishing to compile notes and offer them for sale should be able to do so.

Milton Rouse

Dana Point

Your article took me back to my college days. I was not a very good student, and within the first year, as I attended study groups, I realized I wasn't good at taking notes.

Within each study group, classmates would share their lecture notes. I realized that I did not understand how to take notes properly and organize the information, but I caught on fast thanks to their examples — and my grades changed dramatically. I think this website is a brilliant idea.

Julia Haberman

Sherman Oaks

A tale of two Billingsleys

Re "Barbara Billingsley, 1915 – 2010: Model '50s TV mom on 'Leave It to Beaver,' " Obituary, Oct. 17

I read the news about the passing of two Billingsleys in your paper.

One, Barbara, was a celebrity who lived to be 94 years old. She had a special role as a mother in a television series. She was by all accounts a wonderful person who worked hard, raised children of her own and lived a long life.

The other Billingsley, Tramaine J., was reported under "Military Deaths. "

The private first class from Portsmouth, Va., was 20 years young. He "was among three soldiers killed Thursday by an improvised explosive device … during fighting … in northwest Afghanistan." His notice was brief.

Thank you for reserving the page that you do honoring those who have fallen, even if it is inside the Sunday paper. Would it that we had no need for that page, but, while we do, let's pay attention to the sacrifice.

I am imagining Billingsley in her "June" voice saying: "Ward, I'm worried about our kids in Afghanistan."

Jay Powell

San Diego

Well educated, but so what?

Re "Keeping hotel rooms clean," Oct. 14

Here's a lesson from the maid's tale: Amelia Acosta takes home about $13.60 an hour plus tips and is "paid extra if she cleans more than 15 rooms a shift."

I have a master's degree. Having recently applied for a local copy editing job that required a master's plus years of experience, I learned that it pays $16 an hour. For a reporting job requiring a bachelor's and two years of experience, the pay is about $10 an hour.

Meanwhile, there is a plethora of jobs for after-school, kindergarten, tutorial and substitute teachers, substance counselors and social workers that all pay similar amounts — with bachelor's degree and license required, of course.

Your article shows that education brings very little value. It's time to talk frankly about this.

Linda Bolard

Brea

Money pours in; now we'll vote

Re "Funding rush buoys GOP candidates: Advocacy groups pour over $50 million into House campaigns. Democrats fear a rout," Oct. 17

When I read that headline, I felt insulted, and my first thought was: Why should it, and does it? Apparently, judging by the morally embarrassing amount of dollars being funneled into these political ads, the operatives of these political parties think so.

I like to think that the average U.S. voter is not so intellectually lazy that he or she will allow their assessment to be determined solely by obviously self-serving political ads.

I like to think that the repetitive airing of political ads, funded by such a financial surge, will not be the lone input to a thinking voter's assessment of where the U.S. is and which political party or persons would best lead us in the direction that voter would want.

I like to think that the average U.S. voter is intelligent, serious and motivated enough to do his or her own fact-finding.

Victor W. Monsura

Garden Grove

It's advocacy groups — not required to list donor identification — that are funneling millions to the GOP, which will once again turn the clock backward on middle-class standards.

The sad situation is this: With a few days to go before the midterm elections, a lot of dissatisfied people will feel frustrated, sit on their hands and finally complete what Ronald Reagan started.

Jack Kenna

Whittier

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