Feb. 6, 2009 12:09 PM PT Facebook Twitter Show more sharing options Share Close extra sharing options Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Email Copy Link URLCopied! Print Blowback is an online forum for full-length responses to our articles, editorials and Op-Eds. Learn more about Blowback and our submission policy here>>.For Blowbacks published before 2009, click here. 1 Opinion Tax hike for California college scholarships: It’s a false hope In its April 23 editorial, “A college bargain for Californians,” The Times ponders what the state might do with “an extra billion dollars a year.” 2 Opinion Healthcare: An emergency care mandate isn’t enough In his April 8 Op-Ed article on the individual mandate, the aspect of the federal healthcare reform law that requires everyone to have coverage, William Voegeli advances a false dichotomy. 3 Opinion Gang programs: L.A.'s anti-gang efforts are working The Times’ April 3 article “Mayor Villaraigosa defends L.A. anti-gang program” mischaracterizes the findings of a study last year by the Urban Institute. 4 Opinion The real cost of healthcare Art Kellermann, a doctor and a vice president at Rand Health, a division of the Rand Corp., responds to Christopher J. 5 Opinion Recycle -- but don’t tax -- plastic bags A bill to tax plastic bags in California could end recycling programs that have seen great success lately. 6 Opinion What must be done before repealing ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ Far more pressing to American servicemen and women are the rhetorical manipulations used by our leaders to justify going to war. 7 Opinion Jane Harman: My voting record isn’t anti-immigration The Southern California congresswoman says a recent Times article mischaracterized her record. 8 Opinion KPFK prospers as it reflects the chaos of American society The progressive radio station is committed to democracy and inclusiveness, both in its programming and management. 9 Opinion Israel glorifies its own murderers The Palestinian Authority canceled a ceremony for Dalal Mughrabi, yet in 2006, Israelis honored the terrorists who killed 92 people in the 1948 King David Hotel bombing. 10 Opinion Charter schools: an antidote to one-size-fits-all education The nontraditional public schools give poor families the educational choices once reserved to wealthier students. 11 Opinion Education magic bullets are often blanks Empowering parents, giving administrators more control over teacher assignments and other reform proposals sound good. But when teachers ask for details, they usually come away empty. 12 Opinion Haven’t found that software glitch, Toyota? Keep trying An electronics problem isn’t to blame for the sudden acceleration, say the carmaker’s engineers. That’s nearly impossible to conclusively determine through laboratory tests. 13 Opinion Cutting California from ‘Race to the Top’ is bad for the country One in eight American children lives in California, where the budget crisis has already hit public schools hard and resulted in teacher layoffs. 14 Opinion Why gun-control activists are targeting Starbucks The Brady Campaign is asking the chain to prioritize customer and employee safety, not take a position in America’s gun debate. 15 Opinion A high-speed rail system that wouldn’t serve Californians The focus should be on developing intra-urban rail networks, not connecting far-flung regions of the state. 16 Opinion The Times gets a wrong number Its recent editorial critical of increasing fines on cellphone scofflaw motorists ignores the gains in safety on California’s roads. 17 Opinion Unfairly throwing the book at the ‘Irvine 11' The disproportionate backlash against students who disrupted a speech by the Israeli ambassador could have a chilling effect on free expression at UC Irvine. 18 Opinion What L.A.'s firefighters have already given up Columnist Tim Rutten implores L.A. firefighters -- and city residents, as a consequence -- to make sacrifices, as if they haven’t already accepted deep cuts. 19 Opinion Desecrating a Muslim cemetery with a Center for Human Dignity Palestinians in Israel have protested the piecemeal destruction of Jerusalem’s Mamilla Cemetery over the decades. It’s just that their complaints have fallen upon deaf ears. 20 Opinion Keep California’s courts open Failure to divert available funds to avoid layoffs and closures would have catastrophic effects on our economy. 21 Opinion Family over foster care is still a priority in L.A. County A recent Times headline misleadingly said that county child welfare officials will abandon their focus on preserving families. 22 Opinion Pasadena’s arts-friendly reputation is undeserved A former theater company director says the city did almost nothing to keep her group afloat before it shut down in 2003. 23 Opinion Stop L.A. Unified’s ‘charterization’ Handing over L.A. schools to outside operators will turn out to be yet another failed attempt at reform. Expanding vocational education holds more promise. 24 Opinion D.A.R.E. generation wants marijuana legalized Taxing and regulating has worked with cigarettes and alcohol. Why not try it with marijuana? 25 Opinion An L.A.-N.Y. unity? Fuggehdaboutit Sorry, Los Angeles, but New York just isn’t that into you. 26 Opinion Give wild horses their land back Interior Secretary Ken Salazar’s plan for managing the American mustang population repeats past failures. 27 Opinion California is free to make its own drug laws Legalizing and taxing marijuana, as a state bill would do, is smart policy -- and there’s little Washington can do to stop us. 28 Opinion Reid flap shows the need for a conversation on race The Senate majority leader’s comments about Obama’s race reflect some truth about white Americans’ relationship with African Americans. 29 Opinion Doctor’s prison sentence isn’t a sea change for cyclists Only after multiple assaults was the motorist in the Mandeville Canyon incident finally punished. It should never have gone that far. 30 Opinion Outrageous pay on Wall Street? Tax ‘em Capping executive pay is impractical. A new ‘excessive compensation’ tax bracket -- with the highest rate around 90% -- is the best solution. 31 Opinion You can have your gods, and I can have mine In defense of religious and spiritual diversity in America. 32 Opinion Why tarmac delay rules are bad for airline passengers The government’s limit on long taxi times and dismissal of industry concerns show how little it understands about the airline business. 33 Opinion The hypocrisy of American bluster toward Iran A U.S. representative who accused Tehran of sponsoring terrorism has a track record of supporting terrorists herself. 34 Opinion International law is clear: Israeli settlements are illegal A recent Times Op-Ed article got it wrong: The Fourth Geneva convention explicitly prohibits colonizing occupied territories. 35 Opinion Who’s watching charter schools They face multiple layers of accountability that put them on equal footing with normal school districts. 36 Opinion If Ecuador wants free trade with the U.S., it should earn it The South American nation should not be rewarded for demonstrating its hostility to U.S. interests and the rule of law, says a Chevron official. 37 Opinion America’s pointless gun fight Both sides of the debate stifle constructive action on safety by arguing only the extremes, writes a former gun lobbyist. 38 Opinion In defense of monogamy Comparing humans’ sexual behavior to that of animals ignores the fact that we are an extraordinary species. 39 Opinion The ignorance behind anti-nuclear bias A Times editorial perpetuates the myths that nuclear power plants are uniquely dangerous and too cost-prohibitive to build. 40 Opinion No-fishing zones: a draconian conservation measure The Times and state regulators perpetuate the myth that fish populations off Southern California’s coast are dangerously low. 41 Opinion What’s really at issue in the Koreatown-Little Bangladesh dispute The important question is what community stakeholders will do for residents once they claim a neighborhood. 42 Opinion Misrepresenting the ideology of Islamic terrorists A recent Times Op-Ed article wrongly says violent extremism is rooted mostly in a ‘perverted political ideology.’ 43 Opinion Villaraigosa is no Hahn holdover A Times Op-Ed article wrongly characterizes the mayor’s first term as merely upping the ante on his predecessor’s agenda. 44 Opinion A constitutional convention isn’t the only route to reform California may well need one, but two voter initiatives proposed by Repair California raise several legal questions that must be considered. 45 Opinion Call Polanski’s crime what it was: rape A Times story on the victim’s testimony uses the kind of language that absolves the self-exiled film director of his real crime. 46 L.A. County’s challenge: delivering swine flu vaccine effectively The Department of Public Health director defends the county’s H1N1 inoculation program, which The Times criticized for neglecting schools. 47 Opinion Why Armenians cannot ‘get past’ the genocide Allowing Turkey to continue its denial of the 1915-1918 genocide is too high a price for Armenia to pay for normalized relations. 48 Opinion My mother and sister, prisoners of China’s Communist Party The U.S. must put pressure on Beijing to end its brutal persecution of Falun Gong adherents. 49 Opinion So many rail agencies, so little service Metrolink safety is a problem, but the deeper issue is Southern California’s hodgepodge of agencies that do not coordinate with each other. 50 Opinion UC’s Wall Street management style Students and staff are asked to sacrifice more while the university system’s top earners continue to receive pay raises. 51 Opinion What ails L.A County foster care -- and what doesn’t The county’s Department of Children and Family Services has plenty of problems, but removing too many kids from their homes isn’t one of them. 52 Opinion Why 33% renewables by 2020 may be impossible Southern California Edison’s CEO says the proposal has merit but would require a massive investment over too short a period of time. 53 Opinion The racism of marijuana prohibition Enforcement of marijuana laws disproportionately affects young African Americans -- even though their usage rates are lower than whites’. 54 Opinion A one-house Legislature is a recipe for more mischief Merging the state Senate and Assembly would make it easier for legislators to fly under the radar and pass bad bills. 55 Opinion Crazy ‘death panel’ claims? Thank Roe vs. Wade The Supreme Court’s sweeping 1973 decision on abortion turned nonpolitical evangelicals into a powerful anti-government force that could kill healthcare reform. 56 Opinion How not to contribute to the healthcare discussion Focusing on a few gun-toting protesters allows supporters of Obama’s plan to dodge real questions. 57 Opinion Don’t buy Gingrich’s doomsday healthcare prophecies The former House speaker’s arguments against reform shouldn’t distract Americans from the basic truth that our healthcare system is sick. 58 Opinion For public schools, one reform matters above all else All teachers are different, but we must still identify the link between what they do in the classroom and their students’ performance. 59 Opinion Combating a deadly pastime for teens A massive education campaign for parents and children must be launched to fight inhalant abuse. 60 Opinion The sky isn’t falling at L.A. community colleges A Times editorial exaggerates an accreditor’s recommendations on program review. 61 Opinion The ‘problem with nurses’ is a problem with healthcare The mismanagement at the state Board of Registered Nursing is a microcosm of a much broader issue. 62 Opinion Schwarzenegger’s political road show is costing California The governor’s obsession with ‘waste’ in public services distracts lawmakers from dealing with the state’s crippling budget crisis. 63 Opinion S.F. proposal would restore fairness to rental market Landlords who profited from the housing bubble should bear some responsibility for helping tenants who can no longer afford high rents. 64 Opinion The myth of ‘tepid’ support for Villaraigosa Against the backdrop of a recession, the L.A. mayor’s approval ratings should be the envy of leaders across the nation.