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The death of Dodgers great Duke Snider; the fight over pensions; the Defense of Marriage Act

March 02, 2011

A boy of summer

Re "Hall of Famer was Dodger star," Obituary, Feb. 28

My love affair with baseball started in 1946, when I was 9 years old. Growing up in Louisville, Ky., I was a fan of the Brooklyn Dodgers and kept up with them through radio, TV, newspapers and sports magazines.

Today, when my boyhood baseball heroes die, I'm touched with a bit of sad nostalgia in remembering the joy they brought me.

For me, baseball's glory days were 1946-60. It was a time when players gave their autographs for free. Duke Snider's autograph is one of many I have from players of that era. I have his autograph on a self-addressed postcard postmarked "BROOKLYN NY — May 26, 1953."

Old-time Dodgers fans all over the country mourn the passing of another "boy of summer."

Paul L. Whiteley

Louisville, Ky.

Fighting over pensions

Re "Pension haves vs. have-nots," column, Feb. 24

George Skelton makes a fine point that private and public employees should not fight with each other regarding pensions and benefits, but should put their mouths where the money is. This is well illustrated by the advertisements that frame his column.

Tiffany & Co., Cartier and Rolex hawk their wares for the wealthy, along with a five-star resort. While working stiffs fight for the luxury of health benefits and retirement as their incomes dwindle, the top tier increases its wealth.

Collective bargaining gives a united voice to those who collect our trash, teach our children, rush us to the hospital, build our homes and bag our groceries. They are

not the ones wearing

Tiffany bracelets and Rolex watches.

Margaret Baker Davis

La Verne

Two wrongs don't make a right. Just because private sector employees have had their jobs and their pensions taken from them doesn't mean that public employees should lose ours too. I took a public sector job in part because of the pension benefits, despite making less than half of what I could make in private business.

Thanks to Skelton for his fine column.

Linda Nelson


Marriage and the law

Re "Out front on gay rights," Editorial, Feb. 25

Did Atty. Gen. Eric H. Holder Jr. and President Obama study case law? In Baker vs. Nelson, the Minnesota Supreme Court held that limiting marriage to opposite-sex couples violated neither due process nor equal protection, which the U.S. Supreme Court agreed with on appeal. The highest court has never held that homosexuality constitutes a "suspect class."

State legislatures or courts legalizing same-sex marriage usurp the people's right to decide for themselves a substantive matter like the nature of marriage, as the majority of California voters did on Proposition 8.

I have no trust in Obama, who told voters as a candidate he opposed same-sex marriage, only to eventually refuse to defend the Defense of Marriage Act.

Dennis Kinney

Santa Ana

Obama's timing is one of the many pages he has stolen from the Republican playbook: throw a sop to the base on social issues to distract them from the economics. His reluctance to speak out on the travesty in Wisconsin violates a campaign pledge he made to win progressive support.

The decision to stop defending the constitutionality of DOMA is a minimal nod in the direction of marriage equality at a time when progressives are challenging him to make good on his promises to working people. But Obama has shown that he is just as beholden to his corporate paymasters as Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is.

Charles Berezin

Los Angeles

Whether you support same-sex marriage or not, this is a dangerous precedent for the president to adopt. It is the function of the judiciary to determine the constitutionality of laws, not the executive branch of the government. Allowing the president to make such determinations could lead to the creation of the "divine right of presidents," something not intended by our Constitution.

I hope that The Times' editorial board rethinks its position in light of the dangerous precedent the president could establish.

Emanuel R. Baker

Los Angeles

Pat-down plea

Re "Legislator just says 'no' to pat-down," Feb. 25

Gray-haired seniors in wheelchairs are also pulled aside and subjected to rough handling by Transportation Security Administration agents.

At the age of 74, with two knee replacements, each time I fly I am patted down by a TSA officer. Because implants are clearly detected by wands and the new scanners, why should further inspection be required? Where are the statistics that show there have been senior citizens with metallic implants who were threats?

The TSA should target those who are most likely to commit acts of terrorism, not senior or disabled citizens who do not deserve to be treated like criminals. Alaska state Rep. Sharon Cissna is right: This is not the way to keep our nation safe.

Janet Fisher-Hoult

Culver City

Dazed by 'tea'

Re " 'Tea party' maps out strategy at summit," Feb. 27

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