Meghan Daum on Larry King; John Boehner's tears; and the healthcare individual mandate

King deserved better

Re "The last of 'Larry King Live,' " Opinion, Dec. 16

Obviously, Meghan Daum is not, nor has she ever been, a fan of Larry King. And it is also quite possible that she doesn't like hosted talk shows. No problem.

But the manner in which Daum infers that King hadn't a clue as to what he was talking about is over the top. King always was prepared, and he had the backup cards and salient material to prove it.

As one of television's leading personalities for years, King did not need the few inches that The Times and Daum deigned to give him — nor did The Times' readers need Daum's particular brand of sarcasm — in wishing him farewell.

Elinor Lynch

Palm Desert

Daum could not be more incorrect in repeatedly equating Rachel Maddow to Sean Hannity.

One is an animated truth teller, while the other is an angry principal in the Faux News scam.

Robin Doyno

Los Angeles

Tears: cheers and jeers for Boehner

Re "A crying shame," Opinion, Dec. 15

I had to laugh when Tom Lutz painted Rep. John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) as anti-children's health insurance, anti-student aid, anti-equal pay, anti-food safety, anti-pollution control, anti-mine safety and so on.

Are you kidding me?

If someone votes against your good idea, sometimes it's simply because they don't think that your fellow taxpayers should have to pay for your good idea.

Can a person care deeply and passionately about the children of this country and at the same time believe that the future of those children is best assured by a vibrant and sound economy that doesn't put undo burdens on small business and on the individual taxpayer? Of course!

We're not lying, Professor Lutz. We also believe in health, safety and well-being, same as you. We just have a different way of getting there.

Anne Kemp Hummel

Woodland Hills

As I watched Lesley Stahl's "60 Minutes" interview with Boehner, I didn't know if I was confounded, astounded or just outraged by his tears.

Thanks to Lutz's Op-Ed piece, I have a better understanding of the

sociological-psychological implications of Boehner's tears and the conflict that Lutz identifies.

Although Boehner has consistently voted against government programs to assist children, students, consumers, wage earners and the middle class, he has forgotten and abandoned the programs (circa John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson) that helped him reach his dreams and current status.

Lutz attributes Boehner's weeping to this conflict; let me add hypocrisy and elitism.

Dan Pellow


With the unemployment rate and the number of home foreclosures remaining high, and the GOP's role in defeating legislation that would have helped those in need, it is difficult to have compassion for Boehner's deprived childhood.

If Boehner expects to fill outgoing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's shoes, he should stop shedding "poor me" tears and start initiating legislation that will help Americans as they once helped him.

Phyllis Landis


"So what can the tears tell us about our new House speaker?" That he's an excellent student. They worked for Glenn Beck.

Rebecca Hertsgaard

Palm Desert

Perspective on Afghanistan

Re "Grim reports cast doubt on war progress," Dec. 15, and "Afghanistan can be won," Opinion, Dec. 16

Of course Max Boot, Peter Mansoor and other supporters of the war in Afghanistan can point to some minuscule progress there. After all, we have spent hundreds of billions of dollars on the war.

What they fail to take into account is exactly that: the prohibitive cost of our limited success, a success everyone knows will disappear as soon as we leave.

Why? This undeveloped country supplies 90% of the world's heroin, generating systemic, mind-boggling corruption.

Unless that changes, any progress is not only tenuous, but it comes with a price tag the United States just cannot afford.

Jennifer Horsman

Laguna Beach

The dichotomy between these articles is simple to explain. Winning is politically necessary because Americans demand victory. However, because winning is apparently not possible, the best that President Obama can do is to show good effort before declaring victory and pulling out.

Armies beat only other armies. Insurgents shoot from behind trees and then run. When the country supporting the army gets tired of paying the cost, the army leaves.

We owe our independence to that fact.

Larry Severson

Fountain Valley

Healthcare's mandate

Re "Healthcare for all requires mandate," Business, Dec. 17

Regarding opponents of the new government mandate requiring citizens to buy policies, David Lazarus asks what part of the insurance business critics don't understand.

The answer is simple: We don't understand enriching private corporations whose only function is to serve as middlemen, and whose profits are based on restricting or denying care.

We don't understand the need to perpetuate an industry that is the problem, not the solution, to America's healthcare crisis.

We are disgusted that Washington refuses to implement the only kind of healthcare reform that makes sense: single-payer, Medicare-for-all coverage that would replace the current pay-or-die system.

James Dawson

Woodland Hills

If, as Lazarus writes, mandates are essential for healthcare reform, then he might agree it is essential that the government mandate health through mandated healthful habits: healthful eating, healthy weight ranges and mandated levels of physical activity.

These are just a sampling of things that are already within individual control and would have a profound, long-term effect on healthcare costs.

Mandates? Where would/should they end?

Kristin R. Stilton

Huntington Beach

Strange justice

Re "One life gone, and one in limbo," Column One, Dec. 16

What a strange world we have created, where "the law" trumps justice.

Are our laws being written by Orwell, and has the calendar been moved back to 1984? Will the Supreme Court uphold "the law" or justice? What earthly good is an appellate court system if it can't correct juries that are so obviously wrong?

I have long suspected that the American justice system has no justice. This is a trial that one would expect in 1920s Alabama or Mississippi, but not in 1990s California.

Lawrence Green


Pay, quietly

Re "L.A. Unified to seek revenue from corporate sponsors," Dec. 16

If California corporations want a skilled and educated workforce in the future, they should contribute no-strings-attached funding to our cash-strapped schools — without splashing their logos on our walls.

Diane Lefer

Los Angeles


Re "DriveMeCrazy app can rat out a bad driver," Business, Dec. 14

OK, that's it. We are now just an app away from Big Brother being in total control. Next we will have an app to report a person jaywalking. Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, instant messaging, traffic cameras: junk them all.

Chuck Rinaldi

Huntington Beach

New at the zoo

Re "Elephants finally unpack trunks," Dec. 17

The new elephant exhibit at the L.A. Zoo could serve a higher purpose as a sanctuary for abused elephants, such as the recently acquired ex-circus females Tina and Jewel.

Bill Dyer


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