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'Phonehenge' gets demolished; S&P's downgrading of U.S. credit; a Holocaust survivor's story

August 09, 2011
  • Demolished: Alan Kimble Fahey constructed Phonehenge West in Acton out of salvaged materials.
Demolished: Alan Kimble Fahey constructed Phonehenge West in Acton out… (Genaro Molina, Los Angeles…)

A dream destroyed

Re "Number's up for Phonehenge," Aug. 6

In my opinion, Alan Kimble Fahey's creation was not destroyed because he was violating "building codes." It was destroyed because Fahey courageously designed a dream oblivious to the established social "codes" of his neighbors.

I believe most of us live quiet lives of desperation and respond to a man such as Fahey in one of two ways: We either quietly admire his courage to live a life outside the established pattern, or we resent him and not so quietly condemn him for his audacity.

I respect Fahey's spirit. We should have listened to this man clearly saying that he only has a dream and let his house remain standing.

Jo Anne Ryan


Credit rating downgrade

Re "S&P cuts U.S. credit rating," Aug. 6

Seeing the Dow Jones Industrial Average plunge by more than 500 points Thursday and Standard & Poor's credit rating downgrade of U.S. debt on Friday must have felt like "mission accomplished" to "tea party" Republicans. They succeeded in turning a routine bit of housekeeping, raising the U.S. debt ceiling, into a protracted ordeal.

That debacle was supposed to be about returning the federal government to a sound fiscal footing. But when Republicans insisted they would not accept any measures to increase revenues, it became clear that it was really all about scoring political points. Their real objective, as Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has said, is to defeat President Obama in 2012.

Undermining confidence in the markets is collateral damage for those who put politics before country.

Len Gardner

Laguna Woods

S&P is right that the debt ceiling deal doesn't do enough. Here's why: The current debt is more than $14.3 trillion, and this year's deficit is about $1.1 trillion. The debt-ceiling deal decreases deficits by $2.4 trillion over the next 10 years, an average of $240 billion a year. But in 10 years, the U.S. would still add considerably to its debt, probably pushing it to about $20 trillion.

This is the wrong direction. The debt should be reduced, not increased. Washington: Do the math.

Sam McCarver

San Juan Capistrano

I don't think that the concern about the lack of revenue in the S&P downgrade has been stressed enough. The company wrote:

"Compared with previous projections, our revised base case scenario now assumes that the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts, due to expire by the end of 2012, remain in place. We have changed our assumption on this because the majority of Republicans in Congress continue to resist any measure that would raise revenues, a position we believe Congress reinforced by passing the act."

I think it is quite extraordinary that S&P mentioned one party by name. Extraordinary, but apt.

Julie Raffety

Santa Barbara

Aren't these the same geniuses that gave their precious AAA rating to those toxic mortgage-backed securities that caused all these problems to begin with?

And they say their $2 trillion error is no big deal?

Larry Danielson

Seal Beach

Finding balance on deficit panel

Re "Deficit panel faces rough road," Aug. 4

Now that Congress has created a "super committee" charged to decide how to further slash the deficit, you would think that many lawmakers would line up for the honor to be one of the 12 "super members."

Instead, we read that our members of Congress are in essence asking not to be chosen for the task. With this kind of behavior, we have to ask ourselves why these people chose to run for office.

Our American economy is based on the principles of supply and demand. But we elect representatives who publicly state that they are committed only to consider the "demand."

So who wants to serve on a super committee with people who have already announced in absolute terms their positions?

David N. Hartman

Santa Ana

It may be tough to find people to serve on the super committee, but it will be even tougher if those who are chosen do not leave their pledges at the door.

Everything should be on the table, and that can't happen when pledges have been made such as "no new taxes" or "don't touch Medicare or Social Security."

Alan Ungar

Thousand Oaks

Gridlock in the super committee is virtually assured. When my children were young and had a treat to share, we used a simple method to ensure fairness: One child would cut the treat, and the other would choose his half.

If we want centrist problem-solvers rather than extremists on the committee, I think the Republicans should choose the six Democratic members and vice-versa.

Felice Sussman

Los Alamitos

Holocaust survivor's story

Re "Raising a fist to death," Column One, Aug. 5

My heartfelt appreciation for your story about Warsaw Ghetto survivor Leon Weinstein. My family managed to escape what he did not in the terrifyingly late year of 1938.

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