Military personnel salute a transfer vehicle containing the remains of…
The price of war
Re "Remembering California's war dead," Nov. 6
You cite figures indicating that there have been 6,204 U.S. military deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan.
As a veteran of World War II, I can still remember the wounds and suffering of that long-ago time. Veterans Day will soon be upon us, and it should bring home the fact that every war really represents a failure of humans to conduct their affairs in a sensible and civilized way. Dead soldiers are victims even more than they are heroes.
Let us stop celebrating war remembrances in terms of heroics and patriotism and instead recognize that every war marks the very lowest level to which humanity sinks. We should honor the fallen, but more so we must be peacemakers who thwart the creation of future generations of wasted young men and women.
A bumpy road to education reform
Re "Shaking up the status quo," Column, Nov. 6
After a 37-year career in education, I understand the need for reform in teacher evaluations. And I agree with Steve Lopez and his "I want" list.
But it seems that whenever teacher evaluation reform includes student testing, there is never any call for student accountability. Districts do not hold students taking these tests accountable.
If reform groups want to base 25% of a teacher's evaluation on student test scores, I suggest that students should have 25% of their grades based on these tests. It just may encourage the students to have greater motivation to succeed, as well as provide more genuine results.
If you want changes made at the Los Angeles Unified School District, you need to understand the way things are now and why they are that way, and then take some responsibility yourselves.
You won't demand that businesses be exempt from Proposition 13 protections, so California can have a decent tax base. You refuse to learn why unions exist and why they are frequently over a barrel when it comes to implementing reforms. You won't even demand investigations into L.A. Unified's most high-profile wasteful expenditures. And God forbid that every parent takes some responsibility for their child.
Keep blaming the teachers and hitting your heads against a brick wall. Now that'll get you change.
Feeding at the public trough
Re "State Senate dines at taxpayer expense," Nov. 6
Why am I not surprised to hear that we pay for state senators' meals while they work diligently to accomplish nothing?
The San Diego Unified School District is looking at closing a number of schools, and our hard-earned tax dollars are going to fill the bellies of useless politicians. Why don't these politicians bring their lunch from home, just as so many
of us do?
I don't understand why they are afforded higher salaries and free meals when they aren't doing the job we elected them to do.
Snacking away tax dollars while withholding money from already struggling nonprofits, the disabled, small businesses and public schools? I'm outraged.
Pack a lunch when you know you're going to be on the floor all day, senators. And while you're at it, why not spring for lunch for your staffers? Peanut butter sandwiches all around? At almost $100,000 a year in salary, I think you can afford it.
Keystone XL, pros and cons
Re "Pipeline decision may be delayed," Nov. 7
The Keystone XL pipeline would carry oil from Canada to refineries in the U.S. Your story says that the president may put off a decision on it until after the election in 2012 to "avoid antagonizing either the unions that support the pipeline or the environmental activists who oppose it."
Does anybody care how the rest of us feel?
Rancho Palos Verdes
Considering that the U.S. Department of Energy reported that the global output of carbon dioxide jumped last year by the biggest amount on record, much of that from the United States, the Obama administration should deny the permit for the Keystone XL project.
They don't care
Re "Corporations need a social conscience," Column, Nov. 6
The whole notion of corporate ethics is naive, and it's unreasonable to expect a corporation to act in the public interest or according to any code of ethics.
Our biggest firms are beholden to stockholders, not the American people, which is why we've had a "jobless recovery." Slashing payroll may do wonders for a firm's stock price, but it does nothing to help the average American.
Our largest banks have proved themselves incapable of acting even to ensure their own survival. This is why regulation is necessary, for if left to their own devices, corporations will run our economy into the ground while doing nothing for the nation.
Write it down
Re "The many excuses for anonymity," Nov. 4
As a freelance journalist and former newspaper reporter, I found part of Michael Kinsley's Op-Ed piece indicative of some muddled thinking.