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Letters to the editor

Remembering scientist F. Sherwood Rowland; solutions for Med-Cal; what to do about Afghanistan; red meat's health risks

March 16, 2012
  • F. Sherwood Rowland, shown in his UC Irvine lab, won the Nobel Prize in chemistry in 1995 for research into ozone depletion.
F. Sherwood Rowland, shown in his UC Irvine lab, won the Nobel Prize in chemistry… (Rick Loomis, Los Angeles…)

Science wins out

Re "F. Sherwood Rowland, 1927-2012: Nobel winner tied ozone damage to use of CFCs," Obituary, March 12

Some years ago, at the height of the anti-ozone-depletion-science political cartoon frenzy, Sherwood

and Joan Rowland were attending an event for the conservation group Friends of Harbors, Beaches and Parks. I asked the always approachable, gentlemanly Sherry if the rash of mostly unfriendly cartoons in newspapers and magazines bothered him. He smiled and said he understood the alarm his research caused, adding that he collected the cartoons sent to him by friends around the world.

With no smugness and what sounded like a little sadness, he said that the science was the science. He thought the research that he and others did would be probed and prodded and eventually would be generally accepted as fact. With another smile, he said the research would stand unless, or until, further research proved it wrong.

He was a very nice man.

Mark Davidson

Santa Ana

Medi-Cal's many ills

Re "Healing Medi-Cal," Editorial, March 9

All government programs, at both the state and county levels, are certainly stressed by funding constraints. Medi-Cal, more than most, is ripe for reform.

Huge cost savings are available within Medi-Cal. Its large bureaucracy is strangled by inefficient operation: armies of state employees in jobs because of seniority, not performance; computer systems that never worked right from the day they were installed; regulations that employees don't understand themselves but used as weapons against deserving senior and disabled Californians; millions spent on needless paperwork and outmoded, overlapping procedures.

Current management must be changed for anything meaningful to happen. "Business as usual" is simply unaffordable for California any longer.

Michael J. McGuire


The writer is an attorney with the California Elder Law Center.

Afghanistan solution? Leave

Re "Soldier held in killings is from a troubled base," March 13

Afghanistan has become a deep hole, with supposedly no escape.

But there is one: Just leave. I cannot remember now exactly why we are there. Our men's lives are not worth losing over tribal fights. This has been going on for centuries, and we cannot solve it.

Doris Waterman

Newport Beach

After the questionable Vietnam War, military conscription was eliminated, hence the voluntary military.

That has made it easier for presidents and Congress to wage war without the outcry from draftees.

Now, the military has not been large enough in numbers, and soldiers have been cruelly sent back to the hell of war time and time again.

One must ask whether the numerous tours by the soldier accused in the Afghanistan massacre (he had previously served three tours of duty in Iraq and was on his first posting in Afghanistan) may have caused this.

Ken Johnson

Pinon Hills, Calif.

For far too long, our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have been not against nations but people of the nations we find distasteful, even though the people do not pose any viable threat to our way of life.

Afghans do not want the American presence among them, and Americans do not want to be in Afghanistan. So why is it so hard for Washington to accept it?

We can never root out one or even a few bad apples in our armed forces — who disgrace a proud and distinguished group of men and women serving with valor and honor — but we can end this long nightmare, thus sparing another Afghan village a future rampage by another rogue soldier.

End this war, and end it now.

Dodd M. Sheikh

Redondo Beach

We need to get out of this culture of war that Republicans demand and Democrats refuse to stop.

Trillions of dollars no longer spent on wars with no end could mean affordable healthcare for all Americans, a step toward balancing the federal budget and maybe even resurrecting our space program that we all took so much pride in.

Can't we just bring our troops home now?

Annie C. Schuler

West Hollywood

I read The Times from front to back every day, and it hurts to see the Syrian crisis and the Afghans slain, and the high gasoline prices and rents going higher. But nothing compares to the troubles of our returning troops.

I lost friends in Vietnam. I saw the condition of those who returned and the way the public treated them. It sickens me to read that the Iraq and Afghanistan veterans are not getting the best of treatment.

Let's help them. They put their lives on the line for us. We must put them first now.

Lolly Hellman

Venice Beach

Re "How will it end?," Opinion, March 14

Since your headline asked: "Badly."

Gerald Sutliff


The Op-Ed asks: "Are our troops going to leave too soon to prevent civil war in Afghanistan?"

Afghanistan has been at war for many, many years, and we've been there for about 10 years, so why would that change?

The author goes on: "Is an extremist Islamic state, jeopardizing Western-inspired achievements in education and women's rights, inevitable?"

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