Abortion and the government
Re "Attacking abortion rights," Editorial, Feb. 9
The great government takeover of medicine has finally arrived. President Obama's healthcare reform? No. What we have instead are two antiabortion bills by Republican congressmen.
These bills would use the tax code to discourage citizens from purchasing private health insurance policies that cover abortions. Incredibly, even small businesses could not deduct the cost of their employee insurance plans if abortions were covered.
This is the ultimate in right-wing sophistry. They would use federal tax policy to deny private citizens private health insurance purchased with private tax-exempt dollars while proclaiming their devotion to small government and the marketplace.
Men could be next. The right wing may yet make government small enough to get between them and their Viagra. After all, this medication could lead to abortion.
Two things are very clear about abortion. First, just because it is legal does mean it is moral. There are countless examples of "legal" activities in other countries that we abhor as immoral. Abortion is our glaring example.
Second, to say that "the procedure is less expensive than carrying a pregnancy to term" is the very height of hubris. We lose the productivity of 1.2 million Americans a year who are terminated in their preborn stage. Get real.
Gregory E. Polito
Getting real about Israel
Re "The real 'realism' on Israel," Opinion, Feb. 8
Jonah Goldberg seems to imply that Israel should get a pass on some of its policies simply because it is a democratic regime. Authoritarian actions are worse when committed by a democracy because a democracy has higher standards.
Goldberg fails to point out the recent revelations that Israeli negotiators have even refused Palestinians' concessions when it comes to the return of refugees, the status of Jerusalem and the definition of Israel as a Jewish nation.
Finally, Goldberg's statement on France's Muslim population echoes the idea that France is on the brink of an Islamic revolution. The recent unrest in France has its roots in economic difficulties, not Islamist extremism. There has not been an attempted terrorist attack in France by Islamic radicals since 2001. What does that say about a country with a 10% Muslim population?
Goldberg is right: If Israel stops building apartments for Jews in previously "Gentiles only" neighborhoods in Jerusalem, it won't stop the massive, unsettling protests in Egypt one bit.
I have always supported Israel, but not 100%. I think most Americans feel as I do.
Our support of Israel is way down because it is building more settlements in the West Bank. Why are Israelis confiscating Palestinian land? These Jewish settlements are not part of Palestine; they are Jewish and protected by the Israeli government.
I have never seen a good explanation for why Israel thinks this is OK. Perhaps Goldberg has one.
The tarnished Lone Star State
Re "It's gotten messy in Texas," Editorial, Feb. 9
The Lone Star State has a Texas-sized opportunity to demonstrate the wisdom of conservative politics.
Now is the time to embrace "tea party" ideals. Cutting spending and playing nice with business are the only ways to regain prosperity. If the schools, infrastructure and the sick take the biggest hits, it will all be forgotten when big business saves the day.
Hang in there, Texas. Show us what a tea-party state really looks like.
Only in California do we see articles bashing Texas to make California's situation more tolerable. What do we care about any other state's problems?
We are opposed to the current level of public pensions and the cost to educate illegal immigrants because we are being asked to pay additional taxes. Why not focus on these issues?
How to banish L.A.'s boors
Re "Rude awakening," Opinion, Feb. 8
I've lived here most of my adult life. While L.A. is seemingly "cold," undertaking a deeper evaluation provides the opposite realization. Almost everyone is friendly; they just need a nudge. Smiling or initiating a casual conversation can yield positive results. Amy Alkon's practice of criticizing rude behavior provokes defensive reactions.
When I do a good deed for someone and he or she smiles back, I respond with another smile and a parting recommendation: "Pay it forward."
Most understand and nod.
Because my last name is the phonetic version of the word "rude," I am especially sensitive to the courtesy deficit Alkon describes. But when she suggests speaking out to correct offenders, I fear the corner has been turned on that one.
One of hundreds of examples: While attending a marvelous production of "The Color Purple" last fall in Riverside, I was mildly annoyed when a woman marched in 20 minutes late, having missed the advisory to turn off handheld devices, and sat down next to me.
After the sixth time she turned on her flashing iPod during the performance, I said, "Madam, do you mind?" She said, "I do," and proceeded to direct the device at my face for nearly 10 minutes.
There was no point in talking to her after the curtain fell.
Re "Phony solutions, real social ills," Opinion, Feb. 7
It has never been explained better than in David Boaz's Op-Ed article: Social conservatives focus on issues that would do nothing to solve the "breakdown of the basic family structure."
They have no ideas on a fix for teen pregnancy or single-family parenthood other than advocating failed abstinence programs. No concerns about the poverty that contributes so greatly to social problems. All their energies are focused on protecting marriage from being available to committed same-sex couples and keeping them from raising children.
But Boaz does not address the why of it. Since these people have never been able to demonstrate just how someone else's marriage can undermine their marriage, I can only conclude that their motivation is simple hatred.
Where was Boaz during the Proposition 8 campaign? His logic might have made some difference.