Re "LAPD to build data on Muslim areas," Nov. 10
I realize that "anti-terrorism" is all the rage now in government-expansion circles, but will someone please explain to me why the L.A. Police Department is involved in anti-terrorism efforts to the extent that it has an expensive, full-time staff out mapping Muslim communities and "helping [weave] these enclaves into the fabric of the larger society"? Until the LAPD eliminates the homicides, burglaries, rapes and other crimes actually within its jurisdiction, shouldn't it leave what sounds suspiciously like intelligence gathering and social work to others?
So, the LAPD will now analyze "the history, demographics, language, culture, ethnic breakdown, socioeconomic status and social interactions" of the L.A. Muslim population. And the LAPD's competence to perform this task comes from where, the Police Academy? The idea is offensive and proves that the LAPD must be closely watched and not be allowed to gallop off in pursuit of absurd and idiotic goals under the pretext of "protection."
I have recently come through open-heart surgery, ably performed by a team of San Fernando Valley cardiac surgeons of Islamic faith. Will the LAPD also "take a deeper look at" such excellent and highly trained professionals? In what manner does the LAPD believe itself to possess the intellectual capacity for any such activity, so different from chasing gang members in Pacoima? The idea is insulting and deserves to be trashed immediately.
Re "Outcry over Muslim mapping," Nov. 10
I find it amusing that your article goes on about how Muslims shouldn't be profiled in the LAPD mapping program because they're not as radical as European Muslims and they're just blending in here. Then, at the end, Mohammed Abdul Aleem says that when President Bush talks about attacking Iran, "we are pushed more toward extremism. Every time our president opens his mouth, there are more people joining Al Qaeda." The president is not attacking Iran. This man sounds like a Muslim making threats to America when they don't like what we're doing to protect ourselves from another attack. How soon can the mapping program start?
In 1982, at the height of Irish Republican Army terrorist bombings in England, I returned to visit my birthplace, London. Raised in L.A., I was oblivious to these events. My red hair and blue eyes were the only reason I was refused service in London's restaurants and pubs, and searched every time I entered a museum. As I was getting on the tube (subway), a man hit me in the back of my head. I was equally stunned by the onlookers' apathy as I lay on the platform. The city's harassment of Americans of Arabic or Persian origin promotes hatred and violence against these innocent citizens.
Ask the IRS
Re "UC Irvine gave Bren a say in dean selection," Nov. 9
Does Orange County billionaire Donald Bren still get a charitable deduction for his $20 million to fund a UC Irvine law school even though he used it to buy influence and have his head enlarged?
Re "Health insurer tied bonuses to dropping sick policyholders," Nov. 9
No surprise that Health Net Inc. gave out bonuses to drop sick insurance policyholders. The for-profit health insurance industry will always be the winner, as it has to be. There's no way to plug that channel except bypassing the for-profit health insurance industry and creating a nonprofit system like Medicare, in which the risk pool is so large -- and the costs are diminished -- that the bottom line is the delivery of care. The for-profits must worry about not assuming the risk.
So why are we wedded to a broken marriage? A single-payer, nonprofit system won't look for ways to deny care to keep its stockholders happy.
Rancho Palos Verdes
It is disgusting how Health Net dropped a patient from her insurance in the midst of her chemotherapy, having its "senior analyst in charge of rescission reviews," Barbara Fowler, profit from it through bonuses. How many years in medical school did Fowler study to make those decisions? Isn't she practicing medicine without a license? In fact, doesn't the entire medical insurance industry practice medicine without a license in making decisions to refuse care? The insurance industry should feel proud about profiting from the cancer and heart disease of people it is contracted to help.
If this is the "best medical system in the world" that is so often boasted about, then mercy help us all.
Bill D. Holder
Re "The gender card," Opinion, Nov. 9
To give Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) credit where it is due, she has not been playing the gender card, the media has. That said, having the right genitalia is not a defining characteristic of a feminist. Clinton's talk of the old-boys network and glass ceilings in the rarefied air of Wellesley College doesn't compare with John Edwards' discussions on poverty and healthcare.
The feminist position has nothing to do with making sure women are rescued -- whether by John Wayne or Sharon Stone -- and everything to do with working to ensure that no one needs rescuing at all.
East Hartford, Conn.
Susan Faludi is that most dangerous of demagogues: a delusional fantasist who is nevertheless articulate and convincing. She sees things that aren't there. The political events she cites to demonstrate her "male rescuer" thesis have nothing to do with gender and do not promote weakness in women. But they do focus on the very real threats of crime and terrorism, which she ridicules as inventions of male politicians. May she never have to learn firsthand how wrong she is.
She sees the American public eagerly swallowing the male-rescuer myth in response to fabricated boogeymen. A more accurate appraisal is that Americans recognize danger and will welcome any leader -- male or female -- who displays the realism and toughness to confront it.
Clinton could yet be such a leader, but commiserating with a coterie of adoring girls at Wellesley is not the way to show it.
Faludi says Clinton did not play the gender card in the Democratic debate or in the aftermath of that debacle, but instead she employed the rescuer card. Yet the debate was followed not merely by a speech at Wellesley but by her campaign's release of a TV ad titled "The Politics of Pile-On." What card would that be?
While we're on the subject, it's hard to imagine Golda Meir, Indira Gandhi, Margaret Thatcher or, truly amid the danger of today's world, Benazir Bhutto adopting the role of victim or responding to a debate moderator, "You know, Tim, this is where everybody plays 'gotcha.' " Those were not words that would rescue anybody, let alone herself.
In defense of animal research
Re "Animal rights group says it flooded home," Oct. 30, and "Why I use animals in my research," Opinion, Nov. 1
The College on Problems of Drug Dependence, the world's longest-standing scientific organization focused on addictions, expresses unqualified support for the outstanding scientific work of our UCLA colleague, Edythe London, and outrage at the vandalism perpetrated against her home.
The research by London and other dedicated scientists working in the addictions field is essential to unraveling the scientific mysteries of these devastating medical disorders and bringing much-needed relief to those afflicted and their families. Criminal acts such as this recent one, apparently done in the name of humanity, only interfere with the scientific quest to find effective methods to treat and prevent addictions.
Stephen T. Higgins
College on Problems
of Drug Dependence
We deplore the terrorism perpetrated against London by animal rights extremists and commend her for her courage in eloquently describing the importance of biomedical research involving animals. We, including the animal rights extremists, are healthier and living longer because of animal research done under careful federal regulations and humane conditions.
Animal research has played a vital role in virtually every major medical advance of the last century. Practically every present-day protocol for the prevention, treatment and cure of disease and relief of pain and suffering among humans and animals is based on knowledge attained through research with laboratory animals. Because of animal research, many diseases that once killed millions of people every year are either preventable, treatable or have been eradicated altogether.
Research scientists like London deserve our highest praise and deepest appreciation for their noble work and do not deserve to be threatened and discouraged by despicable acts of terrorism.
President, Council of the
American College of