Glenn Hubbard and Tim Kane were wrong to say in their Op-Ed article Wednesday that the IRS' targeting of unorthodox political groups chills free speech, wrote reader Harrison Stephenson in a letter to the editor. He said:
"The dismal task of the IRS was to determine if groups applying for tax exemption as 'social welfare' organizations were really political groups, which do not qualify under the fuzzy wording of the tax code. Certainly the words 'tea party' and 'patriot' would suggest a group applying for tax-exempt status under these names are likely to be principally political. So would 'civil rights' and 'union power' on the other end of the political spectrum.
"The question is not the one posed by Hubbard and Kane: 'Should you need a license from the government to exercise free speech?' The question before the IRS was whether groups pretending to be...
Responding to Seth Rosenfeld's May 10 Op-Ed article linking then-California Gov. Ronald Reagan's harsh condemnation of student protests in the 1960s to the eventual decline of the University of California system, reader Bruce Bates wrote in a letter published Tuesday that Rosenfeld "overlooks that this very radicalization has diminished the value of a UC education."
Bates continued: "In the 1950s, when the UC system was at its peak, students were 'well groomed and complacent' (to use Rosenfeld's words). They were in college to learn, not to protest. The radicalization Reagan opposed continues to worsen, and the UC system continues to lose prestige. Maybe there's a connection."
Seth Rosenfeld responds:
My point was not to criticize the fact that Reagan opposed the events during the 1960s on the UC campuses, where many young people were becoming more involved in political activity, both left and right. The 1964 Free Speech Movement at UC Berkeley included students from across the...
Some politicians wanted Boston bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev declared an enemy combatant; many warned against reading him his Miranda rights. Discussing these calls in his Op-Ed article Tuesday, UC Irvine School of Law Dean Erwin Chemerinsky offered a spirited defense of protections for criminal defendants. "The Constitution is not like a deck chair, to be brought out in good weather and then put away and ignored when the seas get rough," he wrote. "Tsarnaev is entitled to the same constitutional protections as any other criminal defendant."
Three letters published Thursday raised different objections: Garland Allen argued for a "public safety exception"; David H. Goodwin said the idea of a "living, breathing" Constitution makes Miranda subject to change; and Arthur Armstrong said there was enough evidence to convict Tsarnaev with or without Miranda.
Erwin Chemerinsky responds:
All who are accused of a crime in the United States, including an act of terrorism, are entitled to...
Responding to Rafael Medoff's Op-Ed article Sunday detailing FDR's reaction to Jews facing persecution in Nazi Germany, reader Robert Ouriel wrote in a letter published Friday that "as an American and a Jew, I found [Medoff's] criticism of Franklin D. Roosevelt for his private comments about Jews most unfair."
He continued: "In singling out FDR, Medoff also ignores the squeamishness of America's modern presidents in dealing with genocide. Jimmy Carter, a human rights crusader, did nothing to prevent Pol Pot from exterminating as much as 20% of Cambodia's population. Bill Clinton took several years to respond militarily to the ethnic cleansing of Muslims in Bosnia and also never confronted the mass killings in Rwanda. George W. Bush and Barack Obama employed little more than empty words to condemn the atrocities in Darfur."
Rafael Medoff responds:
There were many ways the Roosevelt administration could have interrupted the Holocaust while also defeating Hitler. For example, thousands of...
Responding to Harvard Law School professor Michael Klarman's Op-Ed article Sunday — comparing public backlashes to past Supreme Court cases such as Roe vs. Wade to what might happen if the justices rule in favor of same-sex marriage — reader Gwendolyn Wyne of Los Angeles wrote in a letter published Wednesday:
"It is incredible to suggest that the effect of legalizing same-sex marriage is only 'abstract and long term.' A normal response to someone who says 'I grew up without a mother' or 'I grew up without a father' is to say, 'I'm so sorry.' Legalizing same-sex marriage would celebrate motherlessness and fatherlessness.
"If the Supreme Court redefines marriage, we will tell ourselves and every child that women are replaceable and men don't matter. There is nothing more fundamentally equal than marriage as it always has been: You must have a man, and you must have a woman."
Michael Klarman responds:
I would like to say three things in response to the points Wyne raised in...
In their Op-Ed article Sunday, economists Kevin A. Hassett and Michael R. Strain said President Obama's proposal to boost the federal minimum wage to $9 an hour would do little to blunt poverty in the United States and would make it more difficult for businesses to hire workers. They said other ways to aid the poor, including expanding the earned income tax credit, would be more effective. In response, reader Ralph Mitchell wrote:
"By opposing the president's proposed minimum-wage increase to $9 an hour, Hassett and Strain are suggesting the government underwrite the cost of doing business by providing necessary life supports to families — through welfare systems, emergency healthcare, the earned income tax credit and so on — so that businesses can pay lower wages.
"If working wages provided enough income to raise families out of poverty, then we taxpayers wouldn't have to foot the tax bill for family necessities. In other words, lower wages mean more government support for...
In his March 1 Op-Ed article UC Irvine historian Jon Wiener criticized the Nixon Library's "Patriot, President, Peacemaker" exhibit for glossing over Watergate, which prompted former library docent Paul Carter to write in a letter published Wednesday:
"Wiener is apparently upset that the Watergate exhibit is not the only display at the Nixon Library. All he sees about Nixon's life is Watergate. Of Nixon's 81 years, Watergate took up 26 months. There was much more to Nixon's life and presidency than Watergate.
"Wiener fails to mention that the grand opening of the Nixon Library's 'Patriot, President, Peacemaker' exhibit was presided over by U.S. National Archivist David S. Ferriero, a President Obama appointee. If Ferriero or the Obama administration had any issue with the Nixon Library, I have no doubt they would've handled it however they saw fit. That they chose to embrace 'Patriot, President, Peacemaker' flies in the face of Wiener's allegations.
"I suspect that what really bothers...
Reader P.J. Gendell of Beverly Hills, in a letter published Thursday posed a question to journalist and climate-change activist Bill McKibben in response to his Jan. 6 Op-Ed article, "Climate change won't wait":
"McKibben is very adamant that 'if we're to slow the pace of climate change, we need to cut emissions globally at a sensational rate, by something like 5% a year.' Considering what a huge amount that is, it would be helpful for the professor to explain what the result would be if we somehow managed to do it.
"How much would that slow the pace of climate change? Would it make a significant difference, or would it simply be destroying modern economies for the sake of doing something? What will be the result if we don't do it?"
Bill McKibben responds:
What a good and useful question. The figure of a 5% annual reduction in "carbon intensity" of our planet comes from a source most Angelenos will recognize: the accounting firm PriceWaterhouseCoopers. Turns out that it does more than...