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Light shows on skyscrapers; shrinking the federal deficit; the U.S. role in Libya

March 31, 2011

Blinking mad over street ads

Re "Elaborate digital signs OKd," March 30, and "L.A. reignites street ad fight," March 26

This, I must say, is a spectacularly bad idea. The billion-dollar Wilshire Grand project will have 45 and 64 stories of "thousands of tiny lights embedded in the buildings' surface" doing light shows. The first 10 floors of each building will run ads.

Personally, I love colors, and light shows energize me. But the planet cannot afford such a huge misuse of energy. We are all trying to conserve and cut back on energy needs.

This sends the wrong message to the rest of the world, which sees us as using far more than our share of the Earth's depleted energy wealth and endangering the health of our planet and everyone on it.

Elizabeth A. Moore

Claremont

Remember the movie "Blade Runner," in which Los Angeles skyscrapers were lit up by electronic ads while Harrison Ford and Edward James Olmos huddled under a perpetual acid rain eating something with chopsticks served from street vendors?

We said, Nah, couldn't happen. At least the acid rain hasn't come yet.

Jack Shakely

Rancho Mirage

Ideas on the federal deficit

Re "Washington awash in worry over debt," March 28

Courage is what is needed, along with honesty. Here are some ideas:

Stop entitlements for retirees' health insurance paid for by taxpayers. Let them use Social Security to buy coverage.

Immediately stop granting government contracts to companies that use offshore shelters to avoid paying taxes. That is called double dipping.

Establish a flat tax with deductions allowed only for essentials: housing, healthcare, education and charity donations.

Turn IRS agents into Medicare fraud investigators.

These would be steps toward solvency, but alas, this won't happen. True leadership requires courage to look internally. Where are the leaders?

Eileen Elvins

Dana Point

The budget deficit provides the stimulus that prevented the Great Recession from becoming another depression. However, this stimulus is partially counteracted by our trade deficit, which was almost $500 billion in 2010. This deficit sucks money out of our economy.

As long as this trade deficit continues, our country will need offsetting annual federal deficits or else we'll be headed for recession or maybe depression. But a growing national debt will be disastrous in other ways. Either way, we'll be further impoverished.

We have to get the trade deficit under control, whether we counter it with federal deficits or not. Our leaders in Washington need to be talking about this too.

Bob Gereck

Claremont

U.S. incursion into Libya

Re "Does duty call in Libya?," Opinion, March 26

Tim Rutten is one of the great commentators of our time, but I profoundly disagree with his take on Libya.

We are doing exactly the right thing. President Obama has handled it brilliantly. By showing first the people of Egypt, and now Libya, that we do actually stand with them in their desire for democracy, and by helping those brave people, we are making friends of this new generation in the Middle East.

Obama understands that his actions in these matters will do more to end terrorism than all the waste expended in Iraq and Afghanistan. He knows we cannot address all the ills of the world, nor should we try. But Obama also understands that choosing our fights wisely, as in the case of Libya, is in the best interest of the United States and the world.

Johanna Dordick

Los Angeles

How refreshing. Rutten has finally said what needs to be said — namely, that Obama's incursion into Libya prevented Moammar Kadafi's forces from taking Benghazi, yes, but there is no way this incursion can be characterized as preventing another "holocaust" or even a "massacre of innocents."

Carl Moore

Lomita

Re "The president makes his case," Editorial, March 29

Obama cites the protection of civilians as justification for military action in Libya. His statement that he "refused to wait for the images of slaughter and mass graves" sounds eerily like the Bush administration's warning of a looming mushroom cloud from Iraq, or the domino theory that preceded our fiasco in Vietnam.

Do we really know if a majority of Libyans oppose Kadafi? In 1961 we were sure the citizens of Cuba would support our invasion. They didn't.

This looks like another useless and unwarranted intervention.

Don Tonty

Los Angeles

How to use the UCLA library

Re "When students' words go viral, schools react," March 27

Let me get this straight. A college student complains about other students talking loudly on cellphones in the library, and she gets threats, causing her to feel the need to withdraw from UCLA? Have we all gone completely nuts?

A library is a place to go for quiet studying, no matter what your ethnicity or language. If you need to make a phone call, fine, but at least go outside to do it.

When are phone talkers going to be reprimanded for breaking the rules and being discourteous to all the other patrons in the library? How about getting that side of the story?

Charmaine Potter

Mission Viejo

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