Mitt Romney wins in Florida; Gov. Jerry Brown's response to changes at an oil regulatory agency; doctors and drug companies

Mitt versus Newt

Re "Florida win won't seal race," Feb. 1

Why is Mitt Romney smiling in your front-page photograph? In order to win Florida, he apparently had to lavishly outspend the thrice-married ex-House speaker whose second wife recently went public with new details of his adultery with the lady who succeeded her.

Romney's may be a victory, but it's pyrrhic at best and does not speak well for his ability to prevail going forward.

Doug Tennant

Dana Point

If Newt Gingrich wants to regain momentum, he must address his vulnerabilities.

Gingrich should discuss his ethics violation as well as his affiliation with Fannie Mae. The statement, "I made many mistakes, which I regret," is effective at diffusing negative issues. He should go into detail about what he did wrong.

He should also stress his love of America and commitment to serve the nation and all its people. Then he should stress his strengths, which do not include needing a debate coach to stand on his own two feet.

Sid Pelston

Marina del Rey

Re " 'Two-person race' now, Gingrich says," Feb. 1

After his drubbing in Florida, Gingrich — using what one assumes is the royal "we" — stated, "We will be in Tampa as the nominee in August."

As a Democrat, I fervently hope that he is right. Gingrich has the moral compass of John Edwards, the electability of Barry Goldwater and the alarmingly unbalanced stage presence of Glenn Beck.

In the words of another notorious political

mountebank, bring it on.

Kevin Smith

Newbury Park

He's governor

Re "Brown stood with oil firms," Jan. 29

Contrary to the impression left by your story, the recent personnel changes at the Department of Conservation did not undermine California's strict environmental laws. Rather, these changes were made to clean up a regulatory bureaucracy that was steadfastly blocking oil production permits even for projects that satisfied our stringent federal and state environmental laws.

California needs a healthy and vibrant oil and gas industry, which brings good jobs and revenue to our state. Before I stepped in, the department was delaying routine permits for months and months for no good reason. People have a right to expect their government to be reasonable. Not every regulatory idea is sound, nor is every regulator sensible.

Managing oil drilling, like everything else in life, requires balance. That was absent at the Department of Conservation, and I took action to fix it. That's what I was elected to do.

Jerry Brown

Sacramento

The writer is governor of California.

Lavish gifts are in the past

Re "Of doctors and drug makers," Editorial, Jan. 27

Your recent editorial about pharmaceutical companies publicly disclosing their payments to physicians accused these research-intensive companies of marketing activities that are now a thing of the past.

Due in part to the industry's Code on Interactions with Healthcare Professionals, biopharmaceutical companies limit their healthcare provider outreach to ethical and educational activities, not gimmicks or entertainment.

Though the editorial rightly acknowledged the value of physician contributions to research, it discounted the value of other relationships, which are just as beneficial as research. For example, expert physicians play an important role in helping to educate their peers about the latest scientific data, including new uses of medicines and emerging safety information, which play a key role in patient care.

Finally, companies do not reward physicians for a prescribing bias. Physicians make treatment decisions based on many factors, but always in the best interest of individual patients.

Matthew Bennett

Washington

The writer is senior vice president of Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America.

It is true that in the past doctors did sometimes receive lavish gifts from pharmaceutical companies as incentives to use their products, but times have changed. We now get free lunches from Boston Market or California Pizza Kitchen, but I cannot even get a ballpoint pen with a drug-product logo anymore.

Besides, most good physicians think with their brains, not their stomachs.

Michael L. Friedman, MD

Torrance

Health battle

Re "Court battle brewing over contraceptives," Jan. 31

Again, this is the wrong debate.

The facts are that the contraceptives are not free and neither insurance companies nor the Roman Catholic Church (nor any other religious institution) will be paying for them. The policyholder will pay through higher premiums, perpetuating the shell game that is our healthcare system.

I have a feeling that because the cost will no longer be transparent, it will be much higher than what people now pay. (The insurance companies will love it.)

It is ridiculous that so much money is spent on Viagra and other "quality of life" remedies while people with serious illnesses such as cancer have a hard time getting the care they need.

Charlie Morgan

San Clemente

The Jesuit way

Re "He's cut from a different cloth," Column One, Jan. 30

I called Loyola Marymount University to find out if the school had a gay-straight alliance on campus. It does.

Whatever the permutations of Roman Catholicism hold as the truth about homosexual relationships, it may be true that LMU keeps to its value of training students to "cultivate wisdom, accountability and fair-mindedness," and is less fearful of free discussions about gay relationships than some other religious colleges.

Those other colleges that have ended their searches for truth preemptively more than 2,000 years ago might take a lesson from the Jesuits.

Jerry Lewis

Los Angeles

Battering hens

Re "Banning 'battery cages,' " Editorial, Jan. 29

The egg industry's federal legislation, HR 3798, also known as the rotten-egg bill, is not a "ban" on battery cages.

Just the opposite; it would codify egg factory cages at the federal level and take away the right of states to do anything about it.

Californians voted overwhelmingly to outlaw battery cages by passing Proposition 2. It's unbelievable that the Humane Society of the U.S. would now flip-flop and push for a law that would nullify Proposition 2.

It's little wonder why the egg industry is so happy. Millions of caged hens, and even more millions of California voters, are being sold out.

My message to the egg industry: Keep your hands off California's anti-cruelty laws and voting rights.

Ben Fordham

Los Angeles

Oh deer!

Re "Deer smuggling backfires," Jan. 29

Leave it to Texas to raise "wild" deer in pens, artificially inseminate them and then allow them to be free in order to be killed by hunters too rich and lazy to travel to the Northeast and bag them in a "fair," sportsmanlike way.

Oh, and by the way, I really do hope that the regulators in Texas are testing for Lyme disease as well as for bovine tuberculosis and chronic wasting disease.

I'll bet those poor bucks crated into Texas from Pennsylvania were just loaded with ticks.

Charlene Richards

Los Angeles

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