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The issue of jobs

Re “Talk at 10: Leno to get new NBC show,” Dec. 9

It is great that Jay Leno gets to save his job by moving to 10 p.m. while hundreds of good-paying union jobs -- acting, writing and otherwise -- will be lost as more scripted television shows are eliminated. NBC executives are shortsighted on this job issue also.

Greed is good ... if you are Leno or top brass at a network. As a Screen Actors Guild member, I hope the 10 p.m. Leno show falls fast in the ratings because of a lack of quality guests.

William C. Mitchell

Sun Valley

Sleepy-time TV

Re “Talk at 10: Leno to get new NBC show,” Dec. 9

With his new starting time, Jay Leno will have the potential to pick up millions of older fans (like myself) who cannot stay awake until 11:30 p.m. What a huge new market for Jay and NBC.

I'm looking forward to watching nighttime talk while going to sleep again, like I used to when I was younger.

Bob Larkin

Westlake Village

Bush's record speaks for itself

Re “A few words about Bush,” Dec. 9

I sincerely doubt that the Bush administration officials who provide talking points to high-ranking Republicans truly believe their own spin. Sadly, though, I suspect that President Bush does.

Indeed, I get the impression that he thinks he has done a fine job as president. The heartbreaking truth is that both his foreign and domestic policies have left in their wake death and destruction, human suffering and severe economic hardship for countless people. No amount of memo guides or official-sounding documents that have absolutely no basis in reality will change that irrefutable fact.

Ramona Saenz

Alhambra

Political corruption

Re “It’s the Democrats’ turn in the glare,” Dec. 10

The Times reviews the charges against Illinois Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich, then mentions an ethics investigation of Rep. Charles B. Rangel of New York, briefly summarizes the serious legal problems of Rep. William J. Jefferson of Louisiana and mentions former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer's resignation.

All of these individuals are members of the Democratic Party. What else links them? Their offenses, proved or alleged, occurred far apart in time and distance. What does being a Democrat have to do with it?

Your implication is misleading. There is plenty of information available about corruption in the Bush administration -- corruption that can properly be called "Republican" because the individuals are linked.

Jon Eddison

Los Angeles

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Re “Illinois gov. arrested in scandal,” Dec. 10

In a political era that produced Sens. Larry Craig and John Edwards; Govs. Spitzer and Blagojevich; and Reps. Vito Fossella and Tim Mahoney, it's difficult to imagine which of the seven deadly sins has not been violated by our elected officials.

For such an industrious group, sloth must be the only sin left untouched. Clearly lust, gluttony, greed, wrath, envy and pride are covered.

Allan Margolin

New York

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The governor of Illinois may have the answer to our budget deficit. The Republican Party would pay millions -- maybe billions -- if it could buy the Illinois Senate seat.

Just think of the money the government could make if it put all 100 Senate seats up for sale.

James T. Phillips

Torrance

A harsh cure for the UAW

Re “The Big Three’s real union problem,” Opinion, Dec. 6

The Big Three have a lot of problems to overcome before they can return to profitability -- not the least of which is the United Auto Workers.

For decades, U.S. automakers, terrified by strike threats, knuckled under to the UAW until autoworker wages and benefits far exceeded those of workers in similar unskilled and semi-skilled jobs elsewhere in American industry. Now, facing extinction, one of the keys to survival for the Big Three is to readjust UAW wages and benefits sharply downward to realistic levels.

Jonathan Cutler, however, advocates putting the heat on Honda, Toyota and Nissan to offer the same lofty wages and benefits as their unionized American counterparts, apparently believing that the Japanese competitive advantage would then disappear. His solution is really dandy -- if car buyers don't mind paying a couple of thousand more for their Honda Accord.

Cutler seems to believe that it's better for everyone to be sick rather than to subject several hundred thousand UAW workers to a harsh cure that ultimately may save some of their jobs.

I pray that Congress, with its hands on the bailout spigot, ignores this fallacy.

Jack Bailey

Studio City

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Cutler suggests that the answer to Detroit's noncompetitive, high wage and benefit costs is to foist those costs on currently nonunionized U.S. auto manufacturers. He should know -- but either doesn't or ignores it -- that the auto manufacturing economy is global and that raising costs throughout the U.S. will only result in the jobs going elsewhere.

The real answer to Detroit's problems is to do away with the excesses of the UAW.

Bob Condon

Clyde Hill, Wash.

Healthcare costs for HIV patients

Re “State ignored HIV law, judge says,” Dec. 5

We have worked hard to expand programs that serve people living with HIV/AIDS.

The waiver authorized by AB 2197 would have allowed people who now receive their care from the AIDS Drug Assistance Program to supplement their care by obtaining coverage from Medi-Cal. This cost would be offset by savings from enrolling Medi-Cal eligible people with AIDS into HMOs.

We have a disagreement with the AIDS Healthcare Foundation about the vigor with which we pursued federal approval for this effort and worked to encourage individuals with HIV to enroll in managed care.

However, the foundation's allegations that we "never had any intention of enforcing" the law or that we undermined "the basic structure of democracy" are baseless. The law was clear that its costs must be offset by savings. Unfortunately, because of the costs of some managed-care plans, we could not demonstrate that. We will continue to work to implement the law in a cost-neutral manner, as the Legislature intended.

Sandra Shewry

Sacramento

The writer is director of the California Department of Health Care Services.

Defend Mexico

Re “The war on our southern border,” Opinion, Dec. 10

David Danelo's Op-Ed article is on target. The mass murder by the drug cartels in Mexico is at least equal to the Mumbai tragedy as a threat to our national security. Yet our leaders fumble their attempts to address this crisis, Mexico's security forces are outgunned, and its people continue to bleed to death.

Why can't the U.S. and the world rally to Mexico's defense and put together a strike force that would send the cartels packing?

Mexico's leaders have no problem when it comes to sacrificing their people's economic welfare -- why not permit an international strike force to save Mexican lives?

Mark Day

Vista

Blackwater case

Re “Guards defied orders, U.S. says,” Dec. 9

The defense attorneys for the Blackwater guards accused of killing unarmed civilians in Baghdad contend that the Justice Department does not have the proper jurisdiction to try them. They're probably right.

The five men should be sent back to Iraq, where the incident took place, to be tried. I'm sure they'll be able to get the fair trial they want and deserve there.

Tom Ogden

Hollywood

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