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U.S. energy policy; Mitt Romney's presidential ambitions; Charlie Sheen

March 13, 2011

America's (slurp) energy policy

Re "The high cost of oil," Opinion, March 7

It is easy to agree that our domestic policy has failed to stem a growing reliance on foreign oil. But to find a solution, we must first recognize an "800-pound" fact: Americans own about one-fourth of all the world's cars, each one addicting us to its convenience, privacy and sense of power.

Beyond the fact that world oil cannot for long sustain even the current car population (approaching 1 billion), Americans will not abandon their cars even as gasoline prices rise. So we should get serious about alternative power and consider retrofitting some of our existing fleet to operate without gasoline.

Expecting to solve this with some taxing gimmick is no more than a tailpipe dream.

Steven Goodman


Michael J. Graetz cries about America using 25% of the world's oil but ignores the reason: This is the most advanced and productive country. Like it or not, so-called alternative energies can't replace oil. But Graetz wants to force down usage with draconian tax increases that will hurt U.S. consumers and send that oil elsewhere.

The only near-term solution is for America to open up domestic oil drilling and eliminate its dependence on hostile foreign governments.

Pat Murphy

Pacific Palisades

The high cost of gasoline has prompted me to resume some of the habits I incorporated into my driving the last time we saw such prices, including taking my foot off the gas pedal as I approach a red light, slowly accelerating when the light turns green and driving in the slow lane.

I checked my mileage a couple of weeks ago; it was around 23 miles per gallon. I checked it again recently and it was about 25.6 mpg. I'd say it was worth it.

Carol Marshall


Graetz mentions the factors that contribute to the increasingly high oil prices, such as the situation in Libya and the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries' stranglehold on wholesale oil prices. He even addresses America's voracious appetite for oil.

However, he doesn't go far enough. There is an age-old perception in this country that "bigger is better." Last year's top-selling vehicle was the Ford F-150 truck, which gets 17 miles per gallon in the city. I'll stick with my hybrid.

Larry Tamblyn


Romney and the Republicans

Re "See Romney flip," Opinion, March 8

To me, voting Republican is like smoking: Both are equivalent to wearing a sign around your neck saying "I am stupid." Mitt Romney's problem is that he is not stupid, but to get the Republican Party nomination he has to act like he is. Even Republicans can see he is making a mess of it.

Unfortunately for Romney, he chose not to acknowledge that the party he was born into is more like today's Democratic Party. Given his remarkable accomplishments, had he more accurately represented himself as a fiscally conservative, business savvy, socially moderate Democrat, he could be president today.

John Fairborn

Newport Beach

"His convenient and implausibly explained reversals on issues say all we need to know about his character. He will do or say anything to become president."

Is Michael Kinsley writing about Romney or Barack Obama in 2008?

Kathy Bergen

La Cañada Flintridge

Explaining Charlie Sheen

Re "He's Charlie Sheen, and you're not," Opinion, March 9

I'm glad I'm not Charlie Sheen; who would want to be him?

Why the media frenzy over this man? According to LexisNexis, just in the last few weeks his name has been mentioned in more than 3,000 articles around the world. What makes this actor so special? After all, he's no Denzel Washington or Brad Pitt.

In these hard times when many Americans are suffering financially, one wonders why we pay entertainers so much money. Perhaps Hollywood needs to be furloughed.

Pam Hairston


Neal Gabler is right. Sheen, the self-appointed media circus star, has shot himself out of a cannon without setting up a net. He couldn't care less because he believes that his legions of fans will leap from the cheap seats to catch his fall.

But if history is any guide, the fans are set for a quick exit after their cotton candy has been eaten or turned to ick. And when a shocked Sheen stumbles to his feet, he will no doubt catch his reflection in the funhouse mirror — and if he's lucky, he won't like what he sees.

Dan Frischman


Gabler is off the mark. Sheen needs help. The man is sinking in front of our eyes and nobody's throwing him a lifeline.

Barbara Barnett

Laguna Beach

EPA killers

Re "Republican bill slashes spending on environment," March 7

In this disgraceful attempt to wipe away our environmental and health protections via a budget bill, House Republicans are laying down a minefield of funding limitations for the Environmental Protection Agency, most of which don't cut spending.

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