RNC spending; Obama’s offshore drilling plan; Poizner’s teacher days

Held to a different standard

Re “RNC fractures amid spending dust-up,” April 6

Claiming that African Americans such as President Obama and himself are being held to a higher standard for success, Michael Steele, chairman of the Republican National Committee, stated that “Barack Obama has a slimmer margin. . . . That’s just the reality of it.”

In essence, Steele is admitting that, under his leadership, the RNC is deliberately holding an African American president to a standard that he himself deplores.

Forrest Gump was right. Stupid is as stupid does.

Bob Cowan
Santa Monica

Two views of offshore drilling

Re “Drilling for support,” Editorial, April 2

The Times wrote, “Offshore drilling merely deepens American dependence on a limited resource and thus perpetuates the nation’s environmental difficulties.” Hurrah!

You understand that oil is a limited resource that once mined and burned is gone forever. The mistaken use of the term “oil production” rather than “pumping” is a major cause of a century of public and tax polices that encourage the premature draining of our nation’s and our planet’s petroleum reserves.

Oil and gas were “produced” over 300 million years ago by decaying plant and animal matter, not by the oil companies. This one dishonest use of a word has made us more, rather than less, dependent on foreign sources.

David Campbell
Los Angeles

I agree that Obama’s plan to expand offshore oil production is as much about politics as energy and that conservation, efficient technologies and cleaner fuels (including nuclear and solar) are the core elements of a sound energy policy.

However, I disagree with The Times’ opposition to offshore drilling. The money that California would collect from offshore drilling is sorely needed.

The so-called blight may be an inconvenience for people living in coastal areas -- but so is the inconvenience for residents and businesses in neighborhoods affected by new freeways and mass transit built for the public good.

People accept low levels of risk everyday (for example, when driving in automobiles). The argument about the risks of offshore drilling would be more convincing if data were presented on the damage from offshore drilling that has occurred during the last 20 years.

Marc Jacobson
Los Angeles

Changing goals in Afghanistan

Re “The Kandahar gambit,” Opinion, April 4

Doyle McManus does a fine job articulating the complexities and difficulties involved with the U.S. military completing its mission in Afghanistan. Yet I could not help but notice the absence of any reference to terrorism, Al Qaeda or Osama bin Laden in his essay.

Unless my grasp of recent history is wrong, we first sent troops into Afghanistan to go after Bin Laden in retaliation for

his role in the Sept. 11 attacks. How did the pursuit of the architect of 9/11 morph in nine years into a massive rebuilding of Afghanistan?

U.S. military goals include the difficult tasks of “reducing corruption, making local government work and . . . providing jobs.” One Army strategist admits “our strategy is a bet” -- which seems an understatement, given that the U.S. military mission must also confront the skeptical Afghan president and his corrupt half-brother, who happens to run Kandahar province.

The odds are long indeed, and one wonders if any “more American lives are worth losing to a project that’s unlikely to succeed.”

Michael Duffy
Simi Valley

Next influx of war refugees

Re “Killings in Iraq revive dread among Sunnis,” April 4

When the U.S. pulled out of Korea, we brought to our country Koreans who were on our side, and they have proved to be a wonderful addition to our nation.

When the U.S. pulled out of Vietnam, we brought in the Vietnamese who were on our side, and they have proved to be a wonderful addition to our nation.

Let’s hope that when the U.S. pulls out of Iraq, and we then bring in all of the Muslim Sunnis who were on our side, that they will also prove to be a wonderful addition to our nation.

Martin A. Brower
Corona del Mar

Poizner’s days as a teacher

Re “Poizner’s book about a school offends subjects,” April 3

As a high school teacher, gubernatorial candidate Steve Poizner failed miserably to inspire his students to excel.

Instead of accepting responsibility, Poizner wrote a book suggesting that his students were incapable of learning. He blamed his students for their low scores and accused them of being more interested in fried chicken than Apple computers.

Steve Poizner is the poster-boy for a failed educational system.

Brian Bard

Welcome to the real world.

Hispanic students will always have to work harder to succeed because no one expects them to. Poizner gave them a valuable lesson and they are too politically correct to realize it.

The teachers have done a great disservice to the kids to not allow Poizner to let them in on this truth.

Robert Price

Polling on a faceless foe

Re “Whitman has edge on Brown in governor bid,” April 5

I noticed your poll was able to compute a match-up between Meg Whitman and Jerry Brown for governor, but had to match Sen. Barbara Boxer against a “generic” Republican -- who of course she beat handily. Boxer’s opponent was a white paper bag, even though there are two real contenders: Carly Fiorina and Tom Campbell. Why the faceless opponent? Could it be that California is a lost cause, so why not throw a potential Republican governor into the driver’s seat (under the bus)?

Could it be that Boxer can affect the nation’s future and is more important, so why not paint her opponents as “generic” or “little known” -- never mind that Fiorina ran Hewlett-Packard and Campbell has been a prominent politician for years?

What liberal newspaper could conduct a fair poll in a Democratic state? The reporter who could answer that question would win the Pulitzer Prize.

Mark Collins

Californians on the health law

Re “State voters largely back health law,” April 4

I would like to take exception to your headline.

The Times’ numbers show that 52% of survey respondents said the country was likely to be better off under the reform bill. And only 41% said their family would see benefits from the bill, whereas 47% said they would not.

How do you take 52% and 41% “yes” responses and conclude that state voters “largely” back this bill? You should have written, “Only a minority of voters see their families benefiting from health reform bill.”

Steve Strickholm
Santa Barbara

Why would anyone be surprised that California voters largely support the health law?

These are the same voters that have largely voted in legislators and for initiatives that have set California on a clear and unobstructed path to the fiscal train wreck we see unfolding daily.

One would hardly expect economic illiterates to vote for federal fiscal policies that were any different.

Kip Dellinger
Santa Monica