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The patriotism of Thomas Paine; immigration reform; art and the Smithsonian

February 05, 2011

Each statement added "interest charges." I sent a note back with a copy of the second statement advising that not only was I not paying but that the debt had been included in our filing for personal bankruptcy. So much for their hassling.

Thanks to David Lazarus for his cogent columns advising people on their rights and what to watch out for.

Don Shulman

Los Angeles

Lazarus' article typifies what is wrong with America today and what is partially to blame for the financial crisis in 2008. He tries to make Capital One out to be the bad guy.

The subject of this article owes Capital One $2,000. Why didn't he pay it originally? Did he enjoy his vacation in Europe or his new living room furniture? Capital One loaned him the money. He should pay it back.

I'm sure some people are working two jobs to pay their debts, and they are not complaining about getting a statement in the mail that says they owe money that they really owe.

Lazarus should spend his time and energy on issues where the people deserve his help.

Gary Pinson

Sylmar

On Al Jazeera

Re "Al Jazeera has an American moment," Feb. 1

Several years ago while traveling in Nepal, my husband and I tuned in to Al Jazeera English. Initially, it was out of curiosity to see why it was virtually banned in America.

We were impressed by its depth, thoroughness and evenhandedness. We found it more engaging than BBC and far more fair and balanced than the most-watched U.S. news channel.

Al Jazeera is serious reporting from a critical part of the world. But it doesn't stop with the Middle East. It reports on science, culture and a full array of topics from around the world.

We would be well served to have it as an optional television news source.

Linda Shahinian

Culver City

Inside the mind

Re "Patt Morrison Asks: Elyn R. Saks," Opinion, Jan. 29

Patt Morrison's graceful interview with Elyn R. Saks struck me as deeply poignant. The need for mental evaluation is often recognizable by lay persons in families and social settings.

We all harbor transient chaotic thoughts and dreams as part of our normal mental process, but in the schizophrenic, the chaos is greatly exaggerated and uncontrolled, owing to instability in the chemical mechanisms that control these thoughts.

There is a need to better educate the public on ways to intervene and engage these people. We all should strive to offer more sympathy and sensitivity toward those struggling with mental illness.

William Solberg

Los Angeles

Big WikiLeaks

Re "WikiLeaks unplugged," Opinion, Jan. 30

The way Doyle McManus tells it, the WikiLeaks revelations were really no big deal.

If so, why is Army Pfc. Bradley Manning locked away in solitary confinement? If so, why did Sweden resurrect previously dropped charges against Julian Assange? If so, why did the U.S. government pressure PayPal and other major Internet service providers to cease doing business with WikiLeaks? If so, why is the New York Times — a reliable voice for the government — opening an "official" leaks depository?

John R. Yates

Los Angeles

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