Jonah Goldberg and right-wing attacks; ‘Ave Maria’ in schools; Tom Hayden on the Long War doctrine

Beyond the pale

Re “The hostility follies,” Opinion, March 30

Jonah Goldberg may want to paint the hostility and foolishness of the present violent opposition to President Obama and his policies as the same as the “extremist rhetoric against Republicans for eight years,” but c’mon.

I was strongly opposed to President George W. Bush’s illegal war, torture and roughshod walk over human rights, and his egregious plundering of surpluses. But nowhere did anyone (including me) want to kill him, or take up arms, or threaten him directly.

The right-wing media are using the “only a few incidents” excuse to soften the reality that these nuts are out of control, while Goldberg is using the “it ain’t Kristallnacht” excuse. This stuff just isn’t normal “democracy.” Just ridiculous.

Ralph Mitchell
Monterey Park

Goldberg claims that ranking conservatives “condemned and repudiated” the notion that our president has a socialist agenda. Really?

I have seen absolutely no evidence of the right attempting to steer their party away from the paranoid and xenophobic rhetoric that has been fueling grass-root movements across America.

In fact, there seems to be a silent agreement that the American people have become bulldogs for the politicians who find it too risky to outwardly claim their own, equally fallacious fears.

Susan Shultz
Ridgecrest, Calif.


According to Goldberg, breaking Democrats’ windows by right-wing fanatics was “simply wrong, reprehensible and clownish.” And the name-calling overreaction by the left was “equally” so.

No, throwing bricks through windows is a violent crime. The overreaction by the left, if (hopefully) that’s what it is, was neither violent nor a crime. Big difference.

Perhaps in his unending zeal to minimize the wrongs of the right and exaggerate the wrongs of the left, that old childhood proverb has gotten twisted in his mind. I doubt he learned it as “Sticks and stones will break my bones, but names are just as bad.”

Russell Steven Kussman
Pacific Palisades

Nice song, wrong venue

Re “A discordant ‘Ave Maria,’ ” Editorial, March 30

The Times’ editorial is a flagrant attempt to destroy our constitutional history of separation of church and state.

Our nation has been unique in world affairs for never engaging internally or externally in a religious war, thanks to this wall of separation. Our founders were aware of the evils of power-hungry religious leaders in past centuries and the wars and persecutions they originated or supported. Such power-seeking exists today and will continue as long as people indoctrinate their children from birth in “absolute beliefs” and become a nonthinking constituency of these religious leaders.

“Ave Maria” is a religious song with religious lyrics. It does not belong in any taxpayer-supported function, such as a graduation ceremony of a public school.

Sid Turkish
Beverly Hills

I love to listen to “Ave Maria’s” haunting melody and words; it’s a beautiful song. But it does not belong at a school function.

This is not a misguided reading of the 1st Amendment, as is stated. This is a religious song and should never be played in a public school.

How can “Hail Mary,” the translation of “Ave Maria,” not be an act of worship? This was a disappointing editorial.

Joan Piccioni
Westlake Village

If you build it, then what?

Re “From bucolic bliss to ‘gated ghetto,’ ” March 30

The housing meltdown shattered the economic house of cards that sprawled onto the fringes of Southern California’s cities.

Unfortunately, new cities of tens of thousands of McMansions are being proposed by land speculators and rubber-stamped by local elected officials regardless of the economic and ecological consequences.

This “sprawl on steroids” threatens our most imperiled wildlife, fouls our air with smog from auto emissions and worsens the climate crisis with greenhouse gas pollution.

We must build smarter than this.

Jonathan Evans
Los Angeles

Riverside County supervisors just voted for an 11,000-unit housing project called the Villages of Lakeview. It is in a rural area not far from Hemet. It is also not close to “shops, jobs or other necessities of life,” and I think it probably will become another Willowalk -- even if they delay building it for years. It would be a drain on the county’s budget and would degrade the wonderful nearby San Jacinto wildlife area.

It is time these decision-makers stop catering to developers. They need to realize their job is to protect the health, safety and welfare of existing residents as well as plan responsibly for the future.

George Hague
Moreno Valley, Calif.

Oil and war -- they go together

Re “War never-ending,” Opinion, March 28

A 50- to 80-year-long war? Who would want that? Oh yes, the military industrial complex that President Eisenhower alerted us about. Can someone say “pay dirt!”

Robert Kahn
Pacific Palisades

So we’re in for a 50- to 80-year war against the so-called insurgents?

Funny, isn’t that how long until it’s predicted that all the oil in the world is used up? Could that be a coincidence?

We spend so much on this bloody war for oil. How many more of our precious young people are we going to sacrifice at the rich man’s altar?

Instead of drastically altering the direction of our economy to reflect the reality of diminishing resources, we’re falling off the cliff because of blind greed.

Our politicians are held hostage by the corporate titans whose vision only extends to the next quarterly report. When will enough be enough?

Carole Lutness

Cracking down at LAX

Re “Groups can’t ask for cash at LAX,” March 26

As a frequent business traveler at LAX, I applaud the California Supreme Court’s action on airport solicitation.

Numerous times I have witnessed duplicitous solicitors, mimicking the stance and dress of airport ambassadors, offering their “assistance” to arriving passengers, then aggressively pressuring for cash donations. On a recent shuttle bus to remote airport parking, several “solicitors” were discussing their cash income. I was shocked to hear amounts of hundreds of dollars collected in a single day.

As a Los Angeles native, I find it embarrassing to watch these panhandlers solicit donations from unsuspecting tourists and visitors exiting the terminals. This ruling sides with travelers, freeing them from harassment and intimidation, and creates a brighter first impression to our fine city. Bravo.

Erik Paris
Rolling Hills Estates