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An upset victory for a Democrat in New York; California's prison overcrowding; the Roman Catholic Church's explanation for its sexual abuse scandal

May 27, 2011
  • The winner: Kathy Hochul greets supporters after her upset victory Tuesday in New York. (David Duprey / Associated Press)
The winner: Kathy Hochul greets supporters after her upset victory Tuesday…

A New York message

Re "Medicare plan may have cost GOP a seat," May 25

Democrat Kathy Hochul took a House seat away from the Republicans in a very conservative district in New York, and most folks think it was because Republicans want to turn Medicare into a private voucher program.

There were, in fact, many other issues. Polling in the district showed that voters were equally concerned with the lack of jobs created by the newly elected House majority. In addition, voters throughout the country are upset that Republicans refuse to discard the huge tax cut for the very wealthy and their refusal to end big tax breaks for oil companies.

Hochul was elected because voters turned on Republicans for all sorts of reasons.

Ralph S. Brax


I think we all realize that we need to take an objective view of where Medicare stands and work on reducing costs rather than reducing the benefits that most of us will need when no insurance company will insure our aging bodies, which will be needing more and more services as we grow older.

What I find amazing is that no one is even talking about the other part of Rep. Paul D. Ryan's "plan," which is to give the most wealthy among us more tax cuts. What are these guys thinking, and who would want those people making decisions for the good of our country?

Jim Parsons

Santa Barbara

Outside the prison box

Re "No easy fix for state prison crisis," May 25

An easy fix is staring us in the face, but it is largely ignored because most people are paralyzed by irrational fears. Legalize drugs, prostitution and gambling, and crime rates will plummet. Go yet another step and legalize carrying concealed weapons by law-abiding citizens who have passed rigorous background checks and firearm training programs. Crimes will drop even further.

Many of the prisons can then be converted to drug rehabilitation centers and homeless shelters. Only then can we evolve beyond California's current pathetic drug, crime and homelessness situation.

Matt Horns

Los Angeles

So the chickens have come home to roost. Jail overcrowding has one source: our ridiculous "prohibition" of mind-altering substances. They should be regulated, not banned. We learned nothing from the failed experiment of the 1920s.

A host of other evils would disappear if we took this enlightened step.

Morton Winkel

Palm Desert

Not buying this rationale

Re "The '60s made them do it," Editorial, May 22

I agree with your editorial that the 1960s did not make the abusing priests do what they did. The John Jay College researchers should have looked at the centuries-old Catholic hierarchy's attitude toward natural human sexuality and the training of priests.

I am a former priest and witnessed firsthand the indoctrination of young men who are in training to become priests. Masturbation is a serous "sin," artificial birth control is a serious sin, homosexual acts are serious sins, and all abortions are super-serious sins. Even thoughts about sex are serious sins.

An adolescent boy once educated me. After he confessed to having "impure thoughts," I asked him if he entertained those thoughts. He responded, "No, Father, they entertained me."

As the great sex researchers William H. Masters and Virginia E. Johnson taught, sex is procreative, natural and fun. Natural and fun — oh, what sinners.

Don Hanley


The report on priest abuse puts forth one of the most mind-boggling and hilarious institutional arguments of our time.

While many of us thought that the turmoil of the 1960s and '70s arose from the resistance to homophobia, misogyny, poverty, racism and war, we are now asked to believe that this activist era is to blame for the heinous sex abuse of children and youth.

Who knew?

John Marciano

Santa Monica

Taking the fun out of teaching

Re "Teacher evaluation plan meets resistance," May 23

Several years ago my sister-in-law was visiting from out of state. She had just retired from a 30-year-career as a teacher. Her specialty was Indian history, and every year she took her students on a two-day field trip to visit ancient dwellings. She loved doing that, and the children were eager participants.

We asked her if she was upset to leave such a fulfilling career. Her answer was no.

Two years before her retirement, the school system switched its evaluation method and started using test scores to judge teachers' performance. She said she used to be able to stimulate the children's minds, but now the only thing teachers do is teach students to memorize the answers on upcoming tests.

This is sad.

Jo-Anne Collins

Fountain Valley

Good luck to John Deasy. As Los Angeles Unified School District superintendent, he is in charge of a "company" in which it is impossible to fire incompetent employees because of tenure, it is impossible to fairly evaluate employee performance, and the needs of these employees trump those of the "clients" — that is, students.

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