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The debt-ceiling vote; Boehner's phone etiquette; EPA mileage ratings

August 03, 2011
  • Shooting victim: Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) returned to Congress to vote Monday.
Shooting victim: Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) returned to Congress… (Reuters )

One hero, at least

Re "Tense weekend led to debt deal" and "Gabrielle Giffords returns for debt vote," Aug. 2

Amid the clatter of banging pots, the grandstanding, the song and dance, the railroading and the antics over the debt deal in the House and Senate, here comes Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.).

She is a breath of fresh air, returning to the floor of the House for the first time since her shooting, against all odds, to vote for the debt deal. She could not take the chance, she said, that her absence could crash our economy. She impressed both Democrats and Republicans with her integrity.

Integrity! It has been an alien concept of late on Capitol Hill.

Alba Farfaglia

San Clemente

The massive spending cuts of this debt-ceiling deal will mean jobs lost, not gained. Consumer spending will continue to decline. The poor, elderly and disabled will sink further into poverty. The income gap will widen as the rich get richer.

What is most disheartening, though, is the spinelessness, in the face of right-wing extremism, of supposed Democrats such as President Obama, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco), along with all the Democrats who voted for this package. What do we need Democrats for if the

Republicans always get their way?

Johanna Rubba

Grover Beach, Calif.

Almost everyone in Congress seems to be congratulating themselves, but nothing in this agreement benefits most Americans, nor does it address the most pressing issues of budget control.

I can make this prediction right now: The next Congress will have a lot of new names and faces. And if they're counting on many of the voters to "forget" what they have just dragged us all through, there will be shock and awe in Washington in 2012.

Thomas Walls


Boehner's priorities

Re "Boehner blows smoke," Opinion, July 29

According to Michael Kinsley, President Obama made a telephone call to House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) on July 21. Boehner did not call him back. The next day the president called Boehner again. Boehner again didn't take the call.

Irrespective of what personal animosity Boehner may feel toward Obama, what he did showed incredible disrespect not just to Obama, but also to the presidency itself.

Barack Obama was elected by the people of the United States to the highest office in the land. When the president calls, you drop whatever else you're doing and speak with him out of respect for the office. If Obama were the strong leader I wish he was, he would have immediately dispatched Secret Service agents to bring Boehner to the Oval Office.

Michael Scheff


Kinsley devotes an entire column to Obama's unreturned phone call.

Obama is not king. We have three equal branches of government. Despite this, Obama arrogantly announced that he had "told" Pelosi, Reid and Boehner that he wanted them at the White House the following morning. Chop, chop!

I'm glad Boehner had the moxie to put the president in his place.

Jim Bass

Thousand Oaks

Drug money

Re "Inside the cartel," four-part series, July 24, 26, 28 and 29

The Times' series on the Sinaloa drug cartel gives good insight into the amount of money that was generated and returned to Mexico.

What the articles do not mention is the amount of money spent by the U.S. government and local police agencies to detect and arrest the smugglers. Nor do they mention the cost of prosecuting those arrested.

Despite the arrests and disruptions chronicled in The Times' stories, cocaine is still flowing into the U.S. and is readily available for those who want it. Much of this cost could be eliminated by legalizing or decriminalizing cocaine and similar drugs.

Charles Craig Powers

Oceanside, Calif.

MPG may vary

Re "Auto gas mileage ratings don't add up," Business, July 30

Reporter Jerry Hirsch misunderstands the rationale behind the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's fuel economy ratings and the reason the testing is done the way it is.

Every driver has his or her own driving style, and each car has a number of variables to contend with, such as tire pressure, loads and road conditions. The purpose for the mileage label is to give consumers information on relative fuel consumption, not absolutely accurate information.

Cars must be tested with as little human input as possible to get reasonable numbers for comparison, which is why a special fuel is used and the test is a driving simulation. Possible outside influences need to be minimized to get consistently comparable numbers. To try to test in any real-world driving conditions would yield highly variable numbers.

The test is not perfect, but it is the best mechanism to allow model to model comparisons.

Bill Willen


Not a new focus

Re "NAACP's retooled mission," Column, July 30

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