The topics of today’s letters include the on again-off again Do Not Call list; the musings of ex-military war analysts; Iraq’s readmission into OPEC; an outside view of California politics; and the potential use of the “brainwashing defense” by attorneys for the teen accused in the D.C.-area sniper shootings.


Re: “FTC to appeal ‘do not call’ ruling”

The Constitution gives the peddler the right to drive his horse and wagon into the center of town and hawk his snake oil; the Constitution gives me the right to walk away and ignore his spiel. The peddler does not have the right to chase me down the street and harass me with a message I don’t want to hear.

My listing my phone number with the ‘Do Not Call Registry’ is the equivalent of my walking away from the peddler, preferring to ignore his/her message. Making the “Do Not Call Registry’ unconstitutional is the same as giving the peddler the right to chase me along the street and assail me with a message I do not want to hear.
Arnold Holtzman
Plainview, NY

As I sit here and read the second blocking of the new “do not call” registry, I am stunned.

Telemarketers and their industry say this will impact them by 50 billion dollars. How? If they continue to call me, I will continue to lay the phone down and walk away — thereby wasting their time — or hang up — or relay my “put me on your do not call list” message. So, this list is simply saving them time and money by allowing those of us who are not interested, too busy or just flat out too tired to listen anyway. Fifty million people signed up for that list — from the estimates of 150 million phones in America and 160 million cell phones, that still eaves a whole LOT of people who do not mind being called. Why would you want to call someone who is going to be unwelcoming? Use the time to call those who may truly be interested.
Kimberly Stevens
Dallas, TX

I pose a question in regards to the ‘do not ‘list. Shouldn’t we, as the consumers, have the right not to be harassed at our homes? If the product that the telemarketers are pushing is “so great,” wouldn’t we as the consumers be after them and not the other way around? I am one consumer who is all for the ‘do not call’ list to be put in. I for one think maybe those that oppose it have never really had the interruptions through helping children do homework, eating dinner, or simply unwinding in their private homes.

The Colorado judge says we are violating the “rights” of telemarketers; I say ours are just as violated by them calling our homes. If you want my business, the companies can find another way to get, just, please do not call me.


Re: “Revenge of the ex-generals":

It is troubling that you label Michael Moran’s column as “Analysis.” It is clearly an editorial. While opinion can be part of analysis, the term implies an extensive evaluation of the facts and a fair representation of them. This column begs the question “Between Rumsfeld, and the ex-generals who disagreed with the force levels committed to the war, who was right?” Moran writes his column as though the only facts needed to decide this question are the comments of aforementioned ex-generals.

Why pretend as though there were and are no military analysts who actually agreed with Rumsfeld? Why perpetuate the myth that Gen. Franks was some kind of puppet for Rumsfeld, one who really wanted more troops and disagreed with the war plan? Both principals in that scenario have unequivocally denied as much; yet, their oft-repeated view do not merit any space in this “analysis.”

As to the question of why our forces “Dismiss(ed) the entire Iraqi Army en masse after the war ... a major mistake,” the lynchpin of Moran’s argument as asserted by Gen. Meigs, why not include some of information from the extensive Pentagon briefing on that very subject which took place last week? (See here). The facts are quite different from those that Moran’s generals claim. There was no Iraqi Army to dismiss. Comprised largely of Shia conscripts who had no love for the regime of Saddam Hussein, they simply went home as soon as circumstances allowed them to.

Moran thinks the generals / commentators are owed an apology. I would prefer to give them a challenge: Identify for us a more successful military campaign that has ever actually happened.
Scott Cuomo


Re: “The oil oligarchy,” by Michael Kinsley:

Anyone that denies this war was for OIL, is a fool. I am baffled as to why we would want to get IRAQ back into OPEC. I always figured that the Bushies would try to keep it out of OPEC so they could control the OIL flow and pricing. Then we could slowly wean ourselves off of OPEC OIL and buy from IRAQ and other Non-OPEC, Non-Middle East countries. Either way, I am happy to continue to pay higher gas prices and line the pockets of the Arabs and Texans. After all, ignorance is bliss.


On “Just how crazy is California?” by Chris Hampson:


I was born in Los Angeles back in 1950 when it was such a wonderful place to live and attend school. Who was to know that over time every wacko would start moving in and begin to change our beautiful state into what it is today. There are NOT a lot of us natives left in this state any longer and for the first time in my life my family and I are considering on leaving because we are tired of all the strange people that have come and made California into a place we no longer love as we once did.

I feel like we have been invaded by tons of immigrants and people out for themselves. You see it everywhere you go. Today these are the people that are trying to take over our state. This is why we need someone to stop it now before it’s too late. Just maybe Arnold can do this without all of that political crap that all the others dish out.

But, please remember that MOST of us are not strange or weird. We are the hard-working middle class paying for the problems this state has created with the lousy politicians that been voted in. You don’t see us in the news because we are too normal for anyone to pay attention to.

I have four of the best children you can imagine. I have never had any problems with them and they make my husband and I proud...every single one of them. I don’t think this would of happened if we were weird. Normal people do live here. Actually I would say the majority of us are normal. Please remember this when you put down our beautiful state.

Over the years I have watched everyone put down California because we have it all.

We are NOT all weird! I am happy about the recall because we are NOT going to continue letting these dumb politicians run down our state. If it has to be Arnold, then so be it. Just maybe he can make some kind of a difference ... it’s a lot better than what we have now which is nothing as far as most of us are concerned.
Sharon Hapai
Grass Valley, CA

1) The worst day in California, any place in California, is likely better than or equal to the nicest day in London. Call me crazy anytime for living here.

2) When it reaches higher than the 90s (that’s a Fahrenheit temperature I might add), we don’t squeal, complain about the heat, or go crazy because it doesn’t make international news. We go about our business; be that work, doing our job, raising our families, paying our bills, or if lucky, by going to the beach or to the mountains. Oh, yeah, I forgot you don’t have Pacific Ocean beaches or the Sierra Nevadas near London, now do you?

3) We have one of the top 5 economies in the world (oops, don’t want to appear to brag about being an offshoot of a former colony that kicked out the ancient tyranny from your “island kingdom”). I don’t want to offend your English sensibilities.

4) Speaking of kingdoms, we do not follow the English example of cherishing the results of royal couplings hundreds of years ago. We are crazy? Most of us see that as a shameful practice — the holding up as anything honorable or sacred because someone was born in a palace. Does that make them more special and suitable for adoration? The wealthy and elite in California are there primarily because they worked harder, worked smarter, and had real qualities for which they were recognized not merely as a result of simply being born. We don’t have hundreds of years of dynasties of these uber-special folks.

5) There are crazy Californians buried in places like Arlington, VA, or South San Francisco, or Punchbowl, HI, and probably gracing the soil of cemeteries in England and Europe in general, who passed through, defended, and died for England in two major wars of the past century. Remember that California was one of those places that grew food, built goods, and made the weapons that helped to preserve your way of life. Wasn’t it an Englishman that thought to appease Hitler? That sounds crazy, but I doubt he was from California.

6) Where else can I eat authentic Chinese, Burmese, Vietnamese, Korean, Indian, Filipino, Thai, Cuban, Mexican, Spanish, French, American BBQ, and yes...’California Cuisine’ on a daily basis, eat some of the freshest salmon and crab in the world, eat a selection of delicious vegetables and fruit, eat San Francisco sourdough bread, and drink among the world’s finest wines (in contrast to a nation where warm beer, roasted beef, bread pudding, and greasy fish and fries are wrapped in newspaper and considered a major staple of your cuisine — yes, there are Indian restaurants in London (from another former colony that wanted you gone).

7) Yes, we are crazy to live here, but I’d choose it above London any time. Yes, you can laugh at our expense, safe and secure in the stuffy tradition, fog and mist of that ancient city. I’d rather enjoy the dining in Sausalito with the SF skyline in the distance, kayak Monterey Bay in October, eat Dungeness crab and sourdough bread in the City by the Golden Gate. You are rooted in the past, we are unlocking the future, and I’ll never forget that Sir Francis Drake, as remarkable as he was, made a fateful decision not to settle in Marin County. It’s lovely, but then I guess you’d think it was simply full of crazies.

Sorry for the treatment of your brother-in-law, Ronnie. However, even in the trendy city of LA, they don’t have much experience with Thalidomide babies driving cars. But in addition to being crazy, we are an adaptable population. They’ll learn from that and move forward — all the better for it. Oh, cherrio old chap.
Bruce Wylie
San Jose, CA


Re: “The brainwash defense,” by Dahlia Lithwick:

Dahlia, Dahlia, what part of what your moral and spiritual ponderings you indulge in in this article would you preserve if Lee Malvo had been less than a year older (i.e. above 18) at the time of the crime he is charged with? Do you really believe that on his 18th birthday a man’s moral faculty is miraculously born? (By the way in some countries one is a minor till 21; so, morally, speaking, that removes almost half of the evil people do in this world?)

Frolic if you wish in legalities (your calling entitles you to that); but please spare the readers your attempt to knowingly gloss over explicit evil. Because that — is evil.
Goran Andrijasevic
Jerusalem, Israel

What an unadulterated, mewling load of psycho-crap. Brainwashed or not, there are only 13 points to remember regarding Malvo and Muhammad, and you’ll notice the word “allegedly” is nowhere to be found among them.

James Martin

Sonny Buchanan

Prem Kumar

Sarah Ramos

Lori Lewis-Rivera

Pascal Charlot

Dean Meyers

Kenneth Bridges

Linda Franklin

Conrad Johnson

wounded 43 year old woman

wounded 13 year old boy

wounded 37 year old man

This trial is not about guilt or innocence — even the defense attorneys know that is a settled conclusion. The only appropriate punishment for this crime would have been if they had given the arresting officers an excuse to mete out justice at that very moment. Wasting any more time on these two bags of garbage is serving no honestly useful purpose. The 13 people above are not illusions, and there is no doubt as to the identity of the killers.

And if either or both avoid the death penalty and receive life in prison? If our system of justice is too weak minded and pathetic to apply justice, I rest assured that much like in the case of Jeffrey Dahmer, prison will apply justice in its own way.
Elvoid Patterson
Richmond, VA


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