Re "What to do about $4 gas," Editorial, Feb. 23
Who wrote this editorial? Not someone who lives in Upland but works in Irvine. Not someone who is an outside sales representative and needs to visits clients. Not someone who is keeping his old car because he cannot afford a car payment.
How could someone live in Los Angeles and say that if you are not able to afford an expensive electric car, you can ride public transportation? In Los Angeles, what percentage of the workforce lives close to a public transportation line that will take them to work without any transfers? How many live close enough to their workplaces that they can ride a bike?
If this person does live in Los Angeles, then he does not live in the reality that most of us do.
In the many suggestions to ease the pain of expensive gasoline, you neglected carpooling.
I started carpooling six months ago; it cut my gasoline bill in half and greatly decreased my commute time. Better than that is the rush you get when you pop over to the diamond lane and blaze by all of the congested lanes. Yes, carpoolers do sacrifice minor freedoms and conveniences, but it's worth it.
Conservatives: Carpool to reduce dependence on foreign oil. Liberals: Do it to be green.
Every few years, like clockwork, there's a spike in gasoline prices. I smile when the loudest complainers are owners of certain 2012 models (according to government fuel economy reports) that are chugging along at a lowly 14 miles per gallon.
Each decision on the use of the Earth's resources comes with personal and global responsibility. Start looking for cars that say you're smart -- as opposed to those that say you got taken.
Hearing it from Rambler fans
Re "A noisy, boxy clunker," Opinion, Feb. 23
Jeff Danziger not-so-subtly implied that because the quality of the automobiles that the company headed by Mitt Romney's father, George, produced did not meet his expectations, Mitt would probably not make a good president for many Americans.
I cannot imagine a reputable news outlet publishing a similar argument about the fathers of other candidates. Imagine the uproar if a major newspaper published a lengthy article implying that President Obama was unfit for reelection because of his father's resume.
I could not help but comment on Danziger's silly article about a poorly maintained car, which he uses to slander American Motors' Rambler automobiles.
I lived within 50 miles of Ft. Bliss, Texas, in the years Danzinger did, and his clunker was typical of cars of any make in that area, left in the sun and blowing sand and never repaired as long as the engine would start. My friends and I owned Ramblers at the same time, and when properly maintained those cars were excellent automobiles, reliable and economical.
All the generalizations Danziger makes about the corporation based on the mistreated specimen he borrowed are nonsense. Those people at American Motors Corp. made a good car.
Affirmative action options
Re "Don't gut affirmative action," Editorial, Feb. 23
Here is a simple solution to the affirmative action dilemma: Base admissions preferences on socioeconomic class rather than race or ethnicity.
Class distinctions often cut the same way as race and ethnicity, but they will also give a "plus factor" to the sons and daughters of poor and working-class whites.
My way of thinking on affirmative action is more simplistic than that of The Times' editorial board: A chain is only as strong as its weakest link.
If universities provide opportunities for the disadvantaged among us to contribute, we are all stronger for it.
It makes him sick
Re "Calif. health insurers to boost rates," Feb. 23
Once again I will be penalized for having health insurance.
As an individual policyholder, I have what is known in the trade as "catastrophic" insurance, with a $5,800 yearly deductible -- recently raised from $5,000 -- that I have never met (thank goodness) at a monthly premium of $508.
Based on this article, I can expect Anthem Blue Cross to raise my monthly premium 8% to 14%.
I am well aware of just how many lawmakers' pockets are lined with insurance money. I am disgusted by the insurance industry lobbyists, and I am disheartened by the lack of oversight of these jackals.
Who, exactly, protects people like me?
Liars among us
Re "Justices look down on lies about valor," Feb. 23
Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. asks, "What is the 1st Amendment value of a lie, pure lie?"
This is a rhetorical question. There is no satisfactory answer.
And yet liars like Newt Gingrich and other politicians have long since moved past slurs, innuendo, suggestive inferences, inflammatory comparisons and the like to lies, pure lies, outrageous and demonstrably false statements about President Obama. These are then repeated on Fox News, the voice of the right wing. I ask the chief justice, "What is the 1st Amendment value of those pure lies?"
Laws to punish the outrageous falsehoods promulgated almost daily by the political class are long past due.
Marvin J. Wolf
Mar Vista Heights
Re "Raids a 'serious blow' to rhino trade," Feb. 23
When traditional medicine in parts of Asia encourages killing rhinos and other endangered animals, society can't remain politically correct and tolerate it in the name of "respecting" deeply ingrained cultural practices.
Concerned citizens of the world (encouraged by Asian governments) should aggressively ridicule such practices as being ineffectual and primitive. Maybe embarrassment can have more impact than our misplaced fear of offending.
Marina del Rey
Re "Retirement for the forgotten," Column, Feb. 23
Defined-benefit plans for California's public employees are a major contributor to the unfunded liabilities that overshadow this and future budgets. Yet our Legislature seems intent on setting up another such plan for low-wage private workers, according to George Skelton:
"The California Public Employees' Retirement System would manage the funds conservatively. Unlike a 401(k), benefits would be guaranteed -- based on a worker's savings -- but be much smaller than traditional pensions. The idea is to supplement Social Security."
For how long would this plan remain "with virtually no cost to employers or taxpayers"? If the benefits are defined, who makes up the difference when CalPERS' investments don't cover the nut?