Oil Response Team member Paul Berry bathes an oiled common murre in a dish… (Luis Sinco/Los Angeles…)
For the birds
Re "Seabird rescues up sharply," March 7
So, oil seeping naturally from the ocean floor off Santa Barbara is to blame for all these oil-soaked birds.
I have a hard time believing that's all there is to it. Oil companies have drilled many a hole into the sea floor over the last 60-plus years and have sucked out many millions of barrels of crude. Surely that wouldn't have anything to do with leaks?
Growing up in Long Beach and surfing Bolsa Chica in the early 1960s, I got used to cleaning tar off my feet, but it seemed that Huntington was as far south as the oil drifted back then. Now I live in Encinitas, and the tar makes it to here.
I guess the natural seepage just gets worse the more we drill.
In defense of 'Obamacare'
Re "A checkup of views on health reform," Business, March 2
I appreciated David Lazarus' column on some of the recent healthcare reforms under what critics refer to as "Obamacare."
I would add the following: The new healthcare reform law eliminates the preexisting conditions loophole by insurance companies for children, and it will do the same for adults in a few years; it wiped out insurance caps or lifetime limits for the insured; it gives women expanded breast screenings; it prohibits dropping people who become "too sick;" and it allows young people to stay on their parents' insurance plans until age 26. Seniors also received a rebate to help pay for prescription drug costs until the "doughnut hole" is eliminated.
The new healthcare law needs to be given time to work. President Obama has not been given enough credit in helping to bring about much-needed healthcare reform for Americans.
Mark C. Salvaggio
The Lazarus article hit the nail right on the head.
I constantly hear from my friends about how they "hate Obamacare" and can't wait to get it repealed. I usually tell them about people I know who are positively affected by it. My wife, for example, would be uninsurable without it (she's a breast cancer survivor). I now have a more concise list of benefits that may hit closer to home for the people I interact with. My friends and acquaintances are living proof of the premise of the article: namely that there is an epidemic of ignorance about healthcare reform.
Lazarus' explanation of Obamacare made it so understandable.
It has driven me crazy listening to friends, relatives and politicians elaborate only on portions of healthcare reform but not tell the "whole" truth. Every health plan needs healthy as well as sick people to be insured to average out the costs. For instance, I'm very healthy yet my husband is an organ transplant recipient.
Lazarus failed to mention the rising costs to us all since the reform bill was passed.
How much do you suppose all those calorie counts on restaurant menus have cost? Do you suppose more than a few jobs may have been lost because of that mandate? Do you suppose a single person who has not already learned to push away from the table has paid any attention to those numbers?
I am a very healthy male with no ongoing issues, and I visit the doctor maybe once a year for a checkup, but my premium has nearly doubled since the reform law was passed.
So yes, I have felt an impact already. I can't wait to see what the government tells me I have to buy next.
Jeffrey C. Briggs
This land is our land
Re "Free the American West," Opinion, March 7
Robert Nelson betrays his allegiances with his punctuation: "public" land, "progressive" era — he treats them derisively, barely cloaking his contempt that these are indeed public birthrights of all Americans saved only by the foresight and constant vigilance of the American people and progressive leaders like Teddy Roosevelt.
According to Nelson, some of our land has great commercial value while, apparently, a smaller sub-set has "national importance." An even smaller sliver is "environmentally special."
Nelson tells us that timber-rich forests are primarily useful for commercial uses. Not a peep about the importance of a healthy watershed or the benefits of carbon sequestration, biodiversity and vibrant tourism.
Obviously he is a shill for oil, gas, lumber and mining interests that already get ridiculously cheap access and use of public land and extraction of the wealth within it. I hope he enjoys his public pension well East of the Mississippi.
The ideas outlined by Nelson would not "free" the American West. They would, in fact, have the opposite effect, locking up millions of acres that are currently publicly accessible.
The reason we are allowed to hunt, fish, hike, etc. on these lands is because they are federal land; federal land is public land (except for military and Indian reservations).