Rush Limbaugh’s chest pains; a gang member’s suburban life; who gets the blame for Flight 253

Getting to the heart

Re “Limbaugh says he’s in good health,” Jan. 2

Rush Limbaugh was released from the hospital after his (undiagnosed) chest pains were found to be unrelated to heart disease. He proclaimed: “I don’t think there’s one thing wrong with the United States health system.”

If Limbaugh lost his job (and his health insurance), could this overweight 58-year-old with a history of back problems, drug addiction and now undiagnosed chest pains even buy health insurance?

Nelson Costello
Los Angeles

The report on Limbaugh’s heart episode states that there’s nothing serious.

Of course not. Judging from his statements, he is heartless.

Irving Aptaker

A gang member’s other life

Re “The American dream, with a twist,” Dec. 31

How dare you ruin my morning paper with an article and picture of some guy who is still involved with gangs? I really don’t care if he is “reformed.”

Why didn’t you run an article about the bus driver on the No. 14 route who every morning greets his passengers with a smile?

Why not run a story on one of the many Latino LAPD officers who risk their lives to protect us from the gangs who terrorize their neighborhoods?

Or why not run a story on our firefighters who are on call 24/7 to protect us, regardless of race, color or creed?

I could go on and on. What were you thinking?

Kevin J. Long Knife

As a law-abiding citizen, I was shocked to learn that good-paying jobs are going to people who are still involved in gangs. Now, whenever I pass a construction site, I will wonder whether the construction workers are gang members. It’s a scary thought.

I also wonder how many labor laws have been broken. Based on Roberto “Flaco” Becerra’s comments, I imagine his hiring preferences would be fellow gang members.

Additionally, I imagine it’s a perfect cover for the gang’s drug trade.

Obviously, crime does pay. This should be further investigated. No wonder America can’t win the war on drugs or secure its borders.

Connie Tarvin
Los Angeles

Plenty of blame to go around

Re “Another failure to communicate,” Opinion, Jan. 3

The fact that Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was easily able to pass through airport security is not only deeply disturbing but a sign that despite 9/11, communication between intelligence agencies has not improved.

Was 9/11 not galvanizing enough for fellow intelligence agencies to start working together?

When the Bush administration promised that no such mistake would occur again, I felt reassured. Now, I can only hope the Obama administration will live up to what it promises and that some serious, tangible improvement will be made.

Luckily this terror plot failed, and hopefully it will be the stimulus needed to convince the intelligence agencies that something is seriously wrong and needs to be fixed immediately.

Vivek Manjunath
Mission Viejo

It wasn’t “another failure to communicate,” as Doyle McManus would have us believe, that led to the near-disaster on Christmas. It was the failure to follow the rules.

Letters: A Jan. 6 letter stated that alleged Christmas Day bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab had purchased a one-way airplane ticket to Detroit. He purchased a round-trip ticket. —

The employees of Northwest Airlines, an American-owned carrier, were informed years ago to be suspicious of any individual who purchased a one-way ticket, paid for that ticket with cash and traveled with little or no luggage. These individuals were to be subjected to more thorough screening than other passengers.

Abdulmutallab paid cash for a one-way ticket to Detroit and had no luggage. Using the screening formula, he should not have been allowed to board the plane without further scrutiny.

The rules had been communicated but were ignored.

A.R. George
Los Angeles

It starts with ‘Made in China’

Re “Why Liu Xiaobo matters,” Opinion, Jan. 1

China’s prosperity is built on its control of an enormous pool of cheap labor and its disregard for labor and human rights. American corporations happily went to China to take advantage of this cheap labor, draining Americans of decent-paying jobs while adding to our trade deficit. Essentially, they partnered with the Chinese to suppress rights while weakening American labor.

Washington cannot expect to influence the release of reformer Liu Xiaobo when it continues to allow the importation of cheaply manufactured Chinese products.

The Obama administration must limit the exodus of corporations to countries that do not respect the rights of workers. We can also go back to buying products from democratic countries such as Mexico and Canada. “Hecho en Mexico” is more in our interest than “Made in China.”

If we take these steps, China will have to care about what the U.S. has to say about Liu Xiaobo’s freedom.

Gilbert Varela
Eagle Rock

Saddleback’s woes

Re “Warren’s church reports shortfall,” Dec. 31

Rick Warren’s Saddleback Church poured money into misleading Californians about Proposition 8, the ban on same-sex marriage.

The church is now almost a million dollars in the hole.

It should have saved that money for saving souls instead of promoting prejudice.

Wallace Rhodes
Los Angeles

News costs -- and he’ll pay

Re “For Web news depth, pay up,” Column, Jan. 1

I’m a seven-day-a-week print newspaper subscriber to both The Times and the Ventura County Star. I have online access, and I’m not rich, but I know I must pay for the content of the reporting done by newspapers, whether it’s online or at my doorstep.

Look at all the fees on cellphone provider and cable TV bills. Put a fee somewhere for the newspaper reporting -- impose it on Internet service providers . . . somewhere.

Come on people, it’s not media bias that’s the problem. It’s that we want something for nothing. I fear we are descending into a world of unaccountable news aggregators and “fire hoses” on AM radio. And where do you think they get their content?

Try mailing a letter without a stamp.

Ferdinand A. Pina

Taking issue with Lopez

Re “Edge doesn’t need 5 castles,” Column, Dec. 23

I believe Steve Lopez mischaracterized my involvement in the project in the Santa Monica Mountains proposed by U2’s David Evans (“Edge”).

I do not consider my appearance on a website video to be an endorsement of this development, and I urge Lopez to view the video again.

What I said in the video about Edge’s project is the same thing I have said for many years regarding hundreds of proposed projects in Malibu and the Santa Monica Mountains: More environmental components and features can and should be incorporated and required for all projects.

If only L.A. County and the Coastal Commission would require some of the progressive measures proposed by Edge in the thousands of other projects throughout the mountains, everyone -- and the environment -- would be better off.

I suppose for Lopez, the idea was to conduct a low-brow hatchet job on Edge in order to run him off. But if he succeeds, Lopez is simply a hero for the status quo, and the result is nothing but more of the same old big ugly box mansions that now characterize the Santa Monica Mountains.

Mark Massara
San Francisco
The writer is director of the Sierra Club’s Great Coastal Places Campaign.

A better BCS?

Re “Booting the BCS,” Opinion, Jan. 1

Dave Zirin states his support for the College Football Playoff Act of 2009, claiming this act will make the Bowl Championship Series obsolete and make a fairer world for all.

But it won’t. All it will do is prohibit the BCS from calling its championship game a national championship game. Even if Congress doesn’t recognize the BCS championship, it won’t mean anything. Change won’t come until the conference commissioners get a better offer than the BCS’s, one that will offer them just as much money.

Andy Ross