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Free speech under fire in the Western world; the GOP's attempt to push the Keystone XL pipeline; and the Joseph Kony viral video

March 14, 2012
  • Andrew Almazan, 17, at his office at the Center for the Attention to Talent in Mexico City in February.
Andrew Almazan, 17, at his office at the Center for the Attention to Talent… (Daniel Hernandez / Los Angeles…)

No place like home

Re "A prodigy works to aid others in Mexico," March 8

Kudos to Andrew Almazan. He is quoted as saying: "There are many opportunities here in Mexico, in work and in education; we just have to go out and find them."

Almazan just told the world that things aren't as dire in Mexico as many illegal immigrants who are now college-educated in the U.S. would have us believe.

You read about the graduates who mow lawns as landscapers because they can't legally get a job in the U.S. doing what they went to college for. Enter Almazan, 17, a director of child psychology, saying that there is plenty of opportunity in Mexico.

What's an illegal alien to do? How about taking that field of study that you graduated from in the U.S. and putting it to use in Mexico, where you are already a citizen? You can apply for U.S. citizenship while you're there. It's a win-win.

Kimberlyn Hearns

San Bernardino

Only as free as we make it

Re "Speech under fire," Opinion, March 9

Jonathan Turley opines that as free speech recedes, silence follows in its wake.

Certainly this is an important point given the incessant effort by liberals to silence those — such as Bill O'Reilly, Fox News and Rush Limbaugh — who are not accepting of their worldview.

Similarly, redistribution of speech would allow the government to restrict speech that it deems harmful. Therefore, if the will of millions of voters were tossed aside by an activist judge, the government could prevent outraged voters from airing their discontent on talk radio by perversely asserting that these unhappy voters were fomenting hatred.

How would our Founding Fathers have felt about those who seek to silence conservatives or anyone else with whom one disagrees? To liberals, the 1st Amendment is just something else that needs to be silenced.

Edward Murphy

Palo Alto

Turley writes: "Where governments once punished to achieve obedience, they now punish to achieve tolerance." He might have added that they also punish to maintain order, which is not an altogether nefarious goal.

It's no longer just the soap-box orator stirring up passions among a few listeners in the city park. Today, offensive speech and actions quickly go viral with the aid of social media and the voracious 24-hour news cycle, eliciting dangers similar to those of shouting "Fire!" in a crowded theater.

The intemperate and the overly sensitive alike need to realize that when we fail to exercise responsibility with our freedom, we invite a backlash from the forces of law and order that can prove very intolerant indeed.

Bob Carlson

Garden Grove

Turley does not go far enough in his Op-Ed article on the dangers of the government bending over backward to achieve tolerance at the cost of the rights guaranteed by the 1st Amendment.

Free speech is not the only right being threatened today. What about the rights of a woman to purchase a legally prescribed medication — Plan B — from a state-licensed pharmacy tended by a state-licensed pharmacist?

A Washington appeals court has ruled that women's right to the healthcare — to which they are entitled and for which they are willing to pay — can be trampled on at the whim of a pharmacist's belief that this form of contraception violates his or her religious convictions.

Pharmacists should be free to refuse to take Plan B, but they should not be free to deny someone else the freedom to hold different values and make other choices.

Janet Weaver

Huntington Beach

The real keys to Keystone XL

"GOP's latest push for oil pipeline fails," March 9

Thanks to Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) for telling the truth: They can't drill their way out of this.

The GOP, or Greedy Oil Party, is representing only the oil industry; it doesn't care about the people, the economy or the country.

Republicans sacrifice all for political reasons.

Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) and their Big Oil bosses are purposely hurting the country and the economy by raising gasoline prices to try to hoodwink folks into voting for them.

People want green energy jobs so that our children can breathe.

The GOP's ideas won't create many jobs and they won't lower gasoline prices.

Nikki Nafziger

Vallejo

Thank you for the article about the Republican push to advance the Keystone XL pipeline.

Along the route of the pipeline, wolves, whooping cranes and countless other wild animals would be driven out.

If we allow this pipeline, imagine the pollution caused by the infrastructure that would be needed to build it, and the dangers of spills and leaks along its route.

The creation of jobs has been exaggerated, as has been the amount of oil to be extracted.

We need to be looking at alternatives to fossil fuels, not continuing to cling to gasoline as our fuel of choice. We need to move on as a country — to stop damaging our environment and our wildlife.

Thank goodness Boxer is willing to speak out against these destructive projects.

Eleanor Thomas

El Dorado Hills

I want to thank the Democrats for voting against the Keystone XL pipeline and further oil exploration and drilling.

The Republicans' job-creation numbers are muddled, and they don't want to support proposals that would keep Keystone oil in the United States; this shows that they have hidden agendas.

Laura Sneddon

Los Gatos

Listen to the wisdom of trees

Re "City folk take on local water war," March 11

If they could speak, the ancient bristlecone pine trees described in this article would urge us to view life on this planet as a long-term continuum.

Sadly, the opposite is true.

We worship the here and now. History is what happened last week. Our politics erase the most valuable lessons of history after a few short months.

Rather than listen to the bristlecone pines, we allow our short-term memories to lead us down the path that countless empires before us have followed into the abyss of time.

Dennis M. Clausen

Escondido

It's not exactly a charity case

Re "Video puts spotlight on Uganda militia leader, social media," March 9

The video on warlord Joseph Kony solicits donations for Invisible Children. But according to Invisible Children's own data, it spends a limited amount of every dollar donated toward its charitable purpose. Much of the budget is consumed by salaries and travel.

Charity Navigator, an independent charity evaluator, awards Invisible Children two stars out of four in its accountability and transparency measure. Donors should be aware that despite a slick, compelling video, much of their donation to Invisible Children may not end up helping the people of

Uganda.

Roy Forbes

Los Angeles

Kony 2012 is a brilliant campaign, and it is manipulating the media just as intended.

Yes, Invisible Children is focused on Kony and not other issues, but because of it, the problems are garnering media attention.

Yes, the organization became popular through bracelets and T-shirts, but it has moved an entire generation to care and to demand change about an issue.

Yes, it's simplifying a complex issue, but that's the way they caught our attention in the first place: We think in terms of 140 characters or less.

Heather Manes

Malibu

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