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Wall Street's crazy week, bipartisanship on the deficit panel; cutting the House page program

August 15, 2011
  • Wild week: The Dow Jones industrial average was up or down hundreds of points most days. (Stan Honda / AFP/Getty Images)
Wild week: The Dow Jones industrial average was up or down hundreds of points…

Market roller coaster

Re "Whiplash in market may be new norm," Aug. 12

Down 634, up 429, down 519, up 432 and up 125 — and this is on a daily basis. Who's running this show, manic teenagers? Aside from the average Joe investor who may not have the ability to stay calm when facing uncertainty, I imagine there are multibillion-dollar fund managers out there who are much more to blame for this roller coaster ride.

Given that most of what we are witnessing here is emotional and not rational, I cannot understand how these fund managers even have the ability to get emotional. I mean, by the time you get to that level, don't you have years and years of training and experience to produce nerves of steel?

Or might it be what I fear, that these fellows are a bunch of MBAs fresh out of grad school?

Arthur G. Saginian

Santa Clarita

Outlook for the super committee

Re "Picks for deficit panel mirror their leaders," Aug. 12, and "Three named to deficit panel," Aug. 10

Think what political courage it would take for a member of the congressional "super committee" on deficit reduction to vote with the opposite party in upcoming deliberations, thus offering Congress an alternative to across-the-board automatic budget cuts. This person would be accused of apostasy or worse and subjected to disproportionate blame for the inevitable pain that any cuts will impose.

It would be much safer to stick with party dogma and reach a 6-6 deadlock decision. But is a mindless, purely mathematical, across-the-board outcome the best that we can do? I hope not.

I hope at least one committee member can summon the courage of those who risked everything in signing our Declaration of Independence and do what's best for America.

Lewis Bird

Huntington Beach

The Aug. 10 article says, "But neither political party has shown interest in compromising. Republicans have refused to discuss new taxes, and Democrats will not consider major changes to Medicare or Social Security unless more revenue is part of the deal."

Accepting major changes to Medicare and Social Security in exchange for more revenue is a compromise. Trading something you vehemently oppose (cuts in major social programs) in order to gain something you feel is vital (increased revenue) is the very definition of compromise.

The Democrats are offering to compromise, while the Republicans refuse. Yet The Times accuses both of intransigence. This false equivalence refuses to blame the guilty or praise those making the effort.

Randall Gellens

San Diego

Loss of House page program

Re "Save the congressional pages," Opinion, Aug. 11

All my life, my father has expressed the significance of when he became a young congressional page in the 1950s. My father grew up in Washington, the son of a struggling restaurateur and a city cab driver. His father did not have a high school diploma.

The House Page School was his road out. There, he gained a passion for our political and legal system and realized his desire to become an attorney. He eventually graduated from George Washington University's law school.

Today my father is one of the foremost civil trial lawyers here in Los Angeles. If you were to ask him, he would tell you that the House Page School changed his life.

Aaron Greene

Santa Monica

Jonathan Turley's Op-Ed article regarding House pages made me sad. To read about his experience as a congressional page and the impact it had on his life was moving. The few times I have visited Washington I have felt a jolt that is surely only a fraction of what he experienced.

There is so little respect these days — especially among the young — for Washington, our history and politicians, and with good reason. The House has done well in alienating the American voters with its bickering and gridlock. What little hope it had of inspiring the young is further dashed.

Deborah Lopez

Agoura Hills

Trial in shooting of gay student

Re "School's handling of gay student questioned at trial," Aug. 11

The suggestion that the victim's alleged provocative behavior in this case (or the school's mishandling of that behavior) is somehow a defense to a murder charge is appalling to me. I thought we were long past the idea that a victim's provocative dress or conduct was a defense to rape; how could it possibly be a defense to murder?

If the victim were a male student and the defendant a female, I do not think anyone would regard the victim's advances as a defense.

The school has a responsibility to address unwanted sexual advances by students. But the issue of the school's responsibility has no place in a murder trial; and the victim's nonviolent conduct, however abhorrent, is not a defense to the victim's murder.

Marilyn Howard

Hidden Hills

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