In the running: GOP hopeful Mitt Romney. (Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images)
Politics and religion
Re "Romney's religious 'test,' " Opinion, June 1
In reading Tim Rutten's Op-Ed column concerning Mitt Romney's Mormonism, I was struck by the quote from Warren Cole Smith: "I believe a candidate who either by intent or effect promotes a false and dangerous religion is unfit to serve."
I understand I am in a minority here, but I believe that anyone who thinks there is an immortal, all-powerful being sitting somewhere listening to their mumblings is not totally sane and almost certain to be dangerous.
Aside from the unconstitutionality of the whole idea, "my fairy tale is true, yours is false" is the stuff of inquisitions, both in the past and what is currently going on in the Middle East.
Our great experiment called the United States seems to always be in question. Are we capable of tolerating our neighbors' race, religion, language, gender and culture? Sure, John F. Kennedy was a Roman Catholic, and President Obama is African American.
It seems that when the media talk about the subject, it arouses those who haven't grasped the meaning of our democracy. Unfortunately we aren't the perfect union yet and probably never will be, thanks to those who dip into the barrel of discrimination.
Pinon Hills, Calif.
'Smart meters' are the future
Re "Outcry over 'smart meters,' " May 29
A smarter grid is crucial to achieving the clean energy revolution we need. Choices that slow that revolution will keep us dependent on fossil fuels, known contributors to various illnesses.
Every meter that must be read manually requires utilities to dispatch trucks that emit tailpipe pollution. While smart meters enable far greater reliance on solar and wind, meters that can't communicate will limit the shift to renewable resources. In short, benefits are significantly diminished if the smart grid is deployed piecemeal.
That doesn't mean utilities should get a pass. Regulators must hold them accountable for delivering environmental and health benefits. That's why Environmental Defense Fund is advocating with state regulators to ensure ratepayers get good health returns on their investment. Next month, we will publish score cards for California's three publicly owned utilities' smart-grid plans.
The writer is a climate change policy analyst and an attorney at Environmental Defense Fund.
Pacific Gas & Electric Co. seems to have missed an opportunity to grease the skids for acceptance of its "smart meters."
We Americans, while overtly suspicious of government and private entities doing things that we perceive as eroding our freedoms, unquestioningly hand over our rights when told it's necessary to do so for national security and the "war on terror."
PG&E should have started its meter campaign with flag-waving public-service announcements about the vulnerability of the old meters to terrorist attacks and perhaps some sly innuendo on Fox News about being suspicious of neighbors who resist the installation of the new patriotic meters.
Must war always be the way?
Re "Military seeks lethal arms in a tiny package," May 31
What I find most unsettling was the statement that "the Pentagon is looking to cheaper, smaller weapons to wage war in the 21st century," as if this is the new paradigm for our future.
I know that it is naive to imagine that our world will someday be free of conflict, but to make active preparations for a future life that will be engulfed in a paroxysm of constant violence is a terrible M.O. for our country.
For the record, the smart bombs have nothing to do with me or with any members of my family. Peace.
Re "Death doesn't halt Verizon bills," Business, May 31
David Lazarus writes in his column about Verizon's billing of a dead customer: "I'd like to think that Verizon has also learned from this episode and will show more respect to its customers in the future."
Does he really think that, after writing several columns on telecom-
munication companies' abhorrent behavior? Each time a wronged customer has the stamina to persist or find an advocate in the media, the companies vomit a half-digested apology and then walk away grinning.
There is nothing to be gained from acting honorably. Better-trained customer service reps with more authority cost more money but bring in less. Changing their practices will reduce revenue because most people who are wronged will just pay up to make the annoyance go away.
David Lazarus, explain to me from where your sunny optimism about a lesson learned comes.
Re "What did you do last Sunday?," Opinion, May 29
At the age of 75, "losing it" is one of my worst nightmares. So I read the article with interest and asked myself what I did on a recent Sunday. To my delight, every detail surged back.