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Attacks by the right on Michelle Obama; Gov. Jerry Brown's budget plan for California; cheating by an L.A. charter school

March 02, 2011

Lifestyle politics

Re "First lady's push against obesity riles the right," Feb. 27

Those on the political right who criticize Michelle Obama's efforts say they have "the right" to serve their children whatever they want. OK. Accordingly, they also have "the right" for their children to be diabetic and to suffer from other obesity-related diseases. Less OK.

A great number of these children will need medical care. However, most of those who oppose Obama's initiative also object to the new healthcare law, claiming that they have "the right" not to obtain insurance. When these children eventually need medical care to treat their chronic illnesses, it will be the taxpayer who pays their bills. Definitely not OK.

This will drastically increase government spending and long-term deficits. This future spending is another in a long line of things that the right is strongly against.

I guess the political right also has "the right" to be ideologically illogical. I just feel sorry for their kids.

Steven Pinsker


Is this a joke? Some conservatives are actually blaming an increase in pedestrian deaths on the first lady's campaign by saying Americans were putting themselves at risk by walking more?

Well, I probably won't think it is so funny when her critics start receiving larger contributions in 2012 from the food and beverage industry.

Foolish me, I thought her campaign was about encouraging us to think about ways to eat healthier, not deriding us in any way.

Maureen Miller


Why do I have the suspicion that if Obama and Laura Bush had switched causes, Bush would be now receiving the gratitude of conservatives for trying to make American youth healthier, while we would now be seeing Obama lambasted by the right for trying to usurp the traditional role of parents and the local schools in educating our children?

Robert S. Henry

San Gabriel

Let me get this straight: Conservatives don't want the first lady encouraging us to eat healthier foods and exercise to be healthy, and they don't want the government to provide healthcare if we eat poorly and have health problems because of obesity.

I think I've figured out their healthcare strategy. They also don't support gun control.

Nina Jackson

Culver City

Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) faults Obama for encouraging breastfeeding, saying it is "consistent with where the hard left is coming from."

When God invented breasts as a means of feeding our young, He (or She) anticipated the current political hyper-polarization and put one on the left and one on the right. Problem solved.

Robert Lovell


Battling over the state budget

Re "Brown: $25 billion in cuts if tax effort fails," Feb. 25

Why don't we realize that cutting spending is the same as putting a greater tax burden on those who can least afford it? Gov. Jerry Brown's proposed spending cuts barely affect the well-off.

When you cut money from healthcare, it simply means that the less fortunate have to pay more to get that service. Isn't that cost-shifting really a tax on those less able to pay?

When K-12 class sizes are increased, forcing some parents to send their kids to private schools, isn't that a tax on them?

If I am rich, the spending cuts barely affect me. But if I am just an average Joe or Jane, the cuts will really hurt.

Gerald Schneir

Santa Monica

Finally, a Brown proposal I can get behind. Cut government spending by $25 billion? Bring it on!

Bobbie Sanocki


Re "Brown's budget gains support," Feb. 26

Brown's budget proposals must be approved. We Californians can endure these various taxes, but we can't tolerate the severe spending cuts in education, infrastructure and social services. The deficit has put us in desperate straits, and Brown has experience in governing and managing budgets.

Give him the reins to take California where it needs to go.

Joan Leslie Caldwell

Los Angeles

Cheating at a charter school

Re "Charter caught cheating may keep contract," Feb. 28, and "2 charters may get shorter pacts," March 1

I was disgusted to read that John Allen, the founder and executive director of Crescendo charter schools, was not fired for his role in orchestrating cheating on standardized tests.

While Crescendo used its ill-gotten test-score gains to siphon students from the public school system, schools such as Belmont High, where I teach, are constantly threatened with restructuring or takeover, despite our not-as-dramatic but honest progress.

Pardon my use of a cliche and an idiom in the same sentence, but it seems the cards are stacked against us.

Simon John Lakkis

La Crescenta

What's a little fraud among friends? Should we taxpayers care when the Los Angeles Board of Education doesn't seem to care about cheating and lying in some charter schools?

In the Crescendo case, one of the main culprits explained, after all, that the cheating was "born out of a desire to be better, better, better, best."

These days high test scores are all important. It doesn't matter whether the gains are legitimate. Right?

Dan Hennessy


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