Waste's new watchdog
Re "GOP lawmaker has big plans for his new power," Jan. 3
You quote Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Vista) as saying, "They've played fast and loose with the money Congress gave them." Issa is a millionaire whose ability to play fast and loose with his own money ended up giving the state to Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2003, who in turn played fast and loose with his mouth and thought he could run California with low-class theatrics.
Issa spent $1.7 million of his own money to collect the signatures to recall then-Gov. Gray Davis. Now he's going to see how many things he can blow up at the federal level. We'll see how happy folks are when the healthcare law is being dismantled and the benefits people have received are taken away.
Calling President Obama "one of the most corrupt presidents in modern times" puts Issa right down in the mud with Rep. Dan Burton.
So Issa, always a model of restraint, is loudly announcing his plans to find $200 billion in federal waste. His efforts are sure to be a success, because of course no other elected official in history has attempted to address this problem.
Six months from now, after he has discovered that waste isn't just sitting there waiting for posturers to find it, will he once again make the rounds of the talk shows to announce his failure?
Christchurch, New Zealand
I have two suggestions for Issa for cutting the budget. First, all members of Congress should forgo their government-paid healthcare plans and acquire private insurance; "tea party" members should be first in line.
Second, Issa should cancel all unneeded projects in his own district, then follow through with projects located in other states. We don't need Mars explorations or more trips to the moon when this country is in so much debt.
Look to Israel
Re "Mideast's Christian toll rises," Jan. 2
You left out the one country in the Middle East where Christians are not persecuted but are actually thriving: Israel.
You cite the "relatively safe countries, such as Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Iran," where Christian communities may also be shrinking. Maybe Iran and Syria are "relatively safe" compared to the carnage in Iraq and Egypt, but no minorities are protected anywhere in the Middle East like they are in Israel.
The once sizable Christian minority in the Palestinian territories — in the very birthplace of Christianity, Bethlehem — is also enduring systemic discrimination by the Muslim majority.
The Christian population in Israel is increasing. Leaving out this fact created an incomplete description of the reality of the situation.
Re "Charter choices: good food, free food, no food," Jan. 1
So, charter schools are exempt from a state requirement to serve at least one subsidized nutritional meal a day to qualifying children. I wonder what else the schools skimp on.
We learned from your article that at one school, the no-meal approach has driven out almost half of the low-income students. Doesn't anyone understand that all of the at-risk students will attend other schools, while the charter schools will post higher scores because of their cherry-picked students?
Those test results will be more artificial than the ingredients in a Happy Meal.
Re "The pragmatic president," Editorial, Jan. 2
Your editorial was right on target. The president had no choice but to compromise on taxes. He did not have the votes in Congress to get exactly what he wanted. Leftists should not be abandoning this magnificent
The left has a history of ditching more moderate liberals, resulting in right-wing victories. In 1968, supporters of Eugene McCarthy abandoned Hubert Humphrey and Richard Nixon won the White House.
In 1980, those who supported Sen. Edward M. Kennedy abandoned Jimmy Carter, culminating in the victory of Ronald Reagan.
Finally, had the left-wing Ralph Nader not run in 2000, Al Gore, and not George W. Bush, probably would have won the presidency. Just think of how different the Supreme Court would be if Gore had won.
Any left-of-center activist who abandons President Obama in next year's election is simply sentencing liberalism to the death penalty.
Re "Obama wants GOP help with economy," Jan. 2
If Obama wants bipartisan economic recovery solutions, he need look no further than reversing the trend of unfair foreign trade practices. It's high time we held other countries accountable for using illegal subsidies and relying on protectionist policies to take our jobs.
In just the latest example, France-based Airbus is competing with Boeing for a $35-billion Air Force contract while receiving billions of dollars in government subsidies. The World Trade Organization has ruled that these subsidies are illegal, yet the administration has done nothing as it "reviews" the ruling.