Paul Sharpe

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Barbara Boxer Bailout

From: Paul Sharpe []
Sent: Friday, October 03, 2008 6:21 PM
To: ''
Subject: RE: Responding to your message

Thank you for your reply and detailed information on the HR 1424.
I noticed two items missing from your information:

  1.  Safeguard against the forces that allowed unqualified home buyers to take out loans they were not really qualified because of pressures first from Bill Clinton in the 90s, Barney Franks in the last four years, and the ACORN organization – all pressuring banks to make bad loans.
  2. Bailing out California – how can anyone justify giving any aide to California when our budget has grown 40% in 5 years?  Our population hasn’t grown 40%.  Perhaps California should revert back to the 2006 budget to get things in order?


Thank you and have a good day.

From: []
Sent: Friday, October 03, 2008 5:53 PM
Subject: Responding to your message

Dear Mr. Sharpe:
Thank you for contacting me regarding the

financial rescue legislation (H.R.1424).

I appreciate hearing from you on this critical issue.
The fundamentals of our economy have been shaken, and Americans are deeply concerned. When Secretary Paulson and Chairman Bernanke placed an urgent phone call a few weeks ago to Congress to say we needed emergency action to prevent a major financial meltdown, I expected they would come forward with a plan that was targeted and reasonable, with appropriate oversight and taxpayer protections.
Unfortunately, what they brought us was a $700 billion blank check, which they asked us to sign with no questions asked. This plan contained no oversight, no taxpayer equity, and no control over CEO pay. I strongly opposed this proposal - and thanks to your phone calls, e-mails, and letters, Congress stopped it in its tracks.
The Senate made major improvements designed to strengthen our economy and protect our taxpayers. Instead of a blank check, the Senate plan included significant Congressional oversight, equity for taxpayers, curbs on executive compensation, an increase in FDIC insurance protection for bank depositors, middle-class tax relief, and job-creating tax incentives for renewable energy. The bill passed the Senate by an overwhelmingly bipartisan vote of 74-25 and the House by a vote of 263-171.
These were very important changes. But let me be honest: There were still aspects of this package that I didn't like. I preferred the government acquiring more equity instead of toxic assets. I wanted the package to be put forward in smaller installments and to include more checks and balances to make sure it would work.
For me, the deciding factor in my Yes vote was information I received from the State of California. I was told by the Treasurer's office that without access to credit, which is the goal of this legislation, California wouldn't be able to sell voter-approved highway, school, and water bonds that are desperately needed for our economy and the creation of good-paying new jobs. In addition, I was told by the Governor's office, that without action, our state might be forced to withhold funds for law enforcement, schools, and other needed services. This would bring our state to its knees and many middle-class families would be in deep trouble. Small businesses are beginning to tell me they cannot get lines of credit to meet payroll, as well.
Rest assured, I will continue to speak out forcefully about the failures that led us to this place and keep working with my colleagues to strengthen confidence in our markets, protect the American taxpayers, and enact regulatory reform to ensure that we don't end up in this mess again.
Again, thank you for writing to me about this very important matter. Even though you may feel frustrated with the outcome of the legislation that passed, your voice absolutely resulted in the enactment of a better bill. Feel free to contact me again about any issue of importance to you.

Barbara Boxer
United States Senator

Please visit my website at

Assisted Suicide

From: Paul Sharpe []
Sent: Sunday, September 28, 2008 8:36 AM
To: 'Lopez, Steve'

Subject: Nice article "Law Sometimes Leaves Little Room for Compassion"


Thank you for bringing to our attention the problem of assisted suicide. I wish you could have done some statistics on how many people wish they could kill their mates because of their deterioration. I know I certainly would like to be put out of my misery if I was incapacitated. I am 61 years old, healthy, but I also have a living will that says no artificial life supports. I would not like to have my wife watch me be a vegetable. Perhaps someday we can catch up with Oregon and have assisted suicide. Thanks and have a good day.


From the Los Angeles Times

Law sometimes leaves little room for compassion

When an 84-year-old man tries to lie down and die with his wife -- who has severe Alzheimer's and doesn't recognize her loved ones -- he's treated like a common criminal, charged with attempted murder.

Steve Lopez September 28, 2008

Jimmy Wheeler, 84, is out on bail. The charge? Attempting to kill his wife. I stopped by his daughter's house in Carpinteria and he greeted me at the front door, ready to talk about what he intended as an act of mercy. Wheeler shook my hand and led me to the dining room table. A pleasant smile was fixed on his tanned, lined face, but he was dabbing at his eyes. And then he lost it on the first question. I asked how he met his wife, Betty, whom he calls Beckie. He sobbed, his chest heaved and then he began his story. They were students at UCLA, he said, his memories still fresh. He never saw her on campus, though. The first time he laid eyes on her was at the beach in Santa Monica. She was with friends, but they were invisible to Jimmy. "She was cute, she was smart, she was happy," he said. "And she had a nice shape." Wheeler drove a Model A station wagon painted UCLA blue and gold, and Beckie agreed to ride back to campus with this lanky young poli-sci major. He looked a little like Jimmy Stewart, with piercing blue eyes. They were married two years later, at the height of World War II. Soon he was off to fly bombing missions over Europe. After the war, he finished school at Oregon State and got a graduate degree from Stanford. Jimmy then found work as a petroleum engineer, and he and Beckie raised a son and daughter in Carpinteria. This is a love story, of course. The attempted murder notwithstanding. It's a story many of us find familiar in one way or another, particularly we boomers with ailing parents. I couldn't stop thinking about -- and talking about -- my own parents as Mr. Wheeler and I chatted. A hundred times in the last year, my siblings and I have wondered whether we're intruding too much, or not enough, into our parents' lives. Is it time to insist on home care? Should we insist it's time to surrender driver's licenses? We're much better at the questions than the answers. Wheeler and his wife have been married 64 years, and they've enjoyed what he called "a wonderful life." But Beckie, 85, has Alzheimer's. Jimmy Wheeler took good care of his wife, stealing all that he could from what was left of normal. They kept traveling, one of their great joys, until her illness made that impossible. Until quite recently, he and Beckie could be seen walking down the street to the beach, holding hands like young lovers. But Beckie was fading into solitude, the world around her a growing mystery, and then finally Jimmy was a stranger to her. "She wakes up in the morning and doesn't know who the guy in bed with her is," Wheeler told me with wet eyes, capturing perfectly the horror of watching a loved one disappear into a fog. In a way it's crueler than death itself, because there's no moving on for the survivor. There is only this ghost, a constant reflection of love and loss. "Are you OK?" Jimmy's son-in-law, Stan Scrivner, asked him one morning when he came to the door in obvious distress. "No," Wheeler said. "Beckie's gone." Scrivner asked what he meant. "She's gone," Wheeler repeated. "She doesn't recognize me anymore." Wheeler couldn't bear to see her like that, and eventually he came up with a plan. "She said she wanted to be with Jesus," he said. "I just wanted to be with her." Although he has pleaded not guilty, the basic details of what happened next aren't in dispute. One night earlier this month, he turned on the gas burners in the house, according to authorities. "It was Romeo and Juliet," Scrivner said. Except that it didn't work. Plan B, authorities said, was to run a hose through a window and into the house from the exhaust pipe on Wheeler's '99 Olds. Wheeler wrote a suicide note and included instructions for cremation of the bodies. He left a check to cover the cost. He advised loved ones on how to handle his estate, says his attorney Steve Balash, cautioning them to be careful about probate lawyers who charge too much. The exhaust might have done the trick, but a neighbor saw what was up and called police. Jimmy Wheeler ended up behind bars, charged with attempted murder and elder abuse. He slept on a mattress on the floor of the overcrowded Santa Barbara County Jail. A county prosecutor called Wheeler a threat to himself, his wife and the neighborhood. Superior Court Judge George Eskin listened to that argument but at a recent bail hearing he said the case called for "compassion and understanding." "I am aware of the tragedy of Alzheimer's," Eskin told me by phone. He noted that unlike other countries and the state of Oregon, California has not embraced legalized options -- including assisted suicide -- for people nearing the end. Eskin allowed Wheeler's release on $100,000 bail pending a preliminary hearing Oct. 8, and ordered him to be supervised and undergo grief counseling. "He's not going to do her in," Eskin reasoned, so the judge's emphasis was on making sure Wheeler gets help to see if "he can find the strength to go on." Even if California had passed a death with dignity bill (the bill has failed three times, with strong opposition from doctors and organized religion), the Wheeler scenario wouldn't have come into play. The proposed bill, patterned after the one in Oregon, would have required a terminally ill patient to be of sound mind and to self-administer the lethal drug. Alzheimer's is not considered a terminal illness, and Beckie was in no shape to make the decision to end her life. "Somehow they have to figure out how to create a new area of law that's about compassion and mercy," said Jeff Wheeler, Jimmy and Beckie's son. With good reason, he finds it incomprehensible that his father is being treated like a common criminal, prosecuted the same way as, say, a spurned boyfriend who gets a revolver and goes gunning for his girlfriend's new love interest. After three swings and misses, Assembly members Lloyd Levine and Patty Berg have given up on a death with dignity bill in California. But they now have one before the governor that would require doctors to give terminally ill patients information on all their options, including hospice care and sedation. Let's hope Gov. Schwarzenegger signs it. But still, it would be a far cry from what they've got in Oregon, and Californians might go on using bridges, guns, toxic cocktails and underground suicide options. Or they might make botched and bungled attempts like Jimmy Wheeler's. Kathryn Tucker, a lawyer with Compassion & Choices, says that patients in Oregon can sign an "advance directive" stipulating that in cases of progressive dementia, they would want no steps taken to keep them alive. Here in California, we've got the prospect of an 84-year-old grandfather going to jail if a jury finds that he tried to lie down beside his wife and die with her. Sure, you could argue he had no right to decide for his wife whether she should go on living. But prosecuting him aggressively and sending him to prison would be a miscarriage of justice and a waste of tax dollars. "I'm trying not to think about that possibility," Wheeler told me. I asked if he had considered taking his wife to a nursing home -- she's in one now -- instead of trying to die at her side. "My sister is in one of those convalescent homes," Wheeler said. "Those people are just passing the time of day, not knowing what's going on. That's no kind of life." And what would he want to happen to him, I wondered, if he were as sick as his wife? "I'd want to be gone," Jimmy Wheeler said. I understand completely. If I ever get to where I don't recognize the people I care about, I wouldn't want to hang around. And I'd be grateful to any friend or family member who helps me move on. I'd consider it an act of love.

Community Organizers

From: Paul Sharpe []
Sent: Wednesday, September 24, 2008 10:52 AM
To: 'Lopez, Steve'

Subject: RE: Keep up the great slanted articles - Community Organizers

Thank you for your reply – I see your point.  But Rudy and Newt were bashing on the level of qualifications.
Comparing political leaders who compete for their position versus organizers who just show up and start organizing, just doesn’t have the same level of leadership qualifications or accountability.
Thank you again – I enjoy many of your articles and discuss them with my friends and family.
Have a good day.

From: Lopez, Steve []
Sent: Wednesday, September 24, 2008 9:33 AM
To: Paul Sharpe; Readers Rep
Subject: RE: Keep up the great slanted articles - Community Organizers

Palin’s tone was somewhere between contempt and  ridicule.
She was backed by rudy guiliani and newt gingrich, the latter of whom said, “community organizer, whatever that is.”
Clearly there was a memo on the organized bashing of the very idea of community organizing.
I’ve been to Wasilla. I don’t think Palin’s stewardship is anything to boast about.

From: Paul Sharpe []
Sent: Wednesday, September 24, 2008 9:08 AM
To: Readers Rep
Cc: Lopez, Steve
Subject: Keep up the great slanted articles - Community Organizers

Reference today’s “In Alaska, community organizers have real responsibilities”, 9/24/08 by Steve Lopez.

His obvious slanted attack on Sarah Palin is so plain, I am surprised he did it.

Sarah’s ridicule of Barack’s community organizer experience was to compare her experience to his.  A community organizer has a focus on the issue of the day, trying to rally support and bring attention to issues that need to be addressed and then to get action taken.  Certainly this deserves recognition of serving our community.

But, there is no comparison to being a mayor (let alone a governor).  A city or state leader has dozens of decisions to make each day on issues including those brought up by dozens of community organizers.  This was the point Sarah was trying to make – not belittling community organizers for their contribution to their communities.

So, keep up the thinly veiled leftist slanted opinions and watch the LA Times continue to dwindle in circulation.  When the LA Times finally dies, a less biased paper like the DailyNews may prevail.

Have a good day.


From the Los Angeles Times

In Alaska, community organizers have real responsibilities

The volunteer workers have been honored at the highest level of state government for making a difference.

Steve Lopez

September 24, 2008 ANCHORAGE — There's nothing unusual about the kind of work Bonny Sosa did in Alaska. She, like hundreds of people in Southern California and every region in the country, saw a problem in her community and tried to fix it. The diabetes rate among children was disturbingly high, said Sosa's husband, Sam Young. So, in 2003, he and Sosa called everyone they knew, met with school administrators and public officials, and formed a grass-roots group called Healthy Futures to teach nutrition and organize outdoor activities for children. "Bonny changed the way Anchorage thinks and plays in such a positive way," a city official said when Sosa died in August at age 50, just a few days after being diagnosed with a brain tumor. Only a few weeks after her death, Sarah Palin, the governor of Alaska, ridiculed Sen. Barack Obama for his days as a community organizer. She and other GOP operatives belittled the very idea of such work. All I could figure was that one of two things was going on here: Either this was another example of the dishonest and sleazy stuff served up in political campaigns by folks on both sides of the aisle. Or Alaska must not have any community organizers. Judging by what I found in Anchorage, it's the former. Debbie Hinchey, Sosa's sister, is another longtime do-gooder. When I reached her by phone, she told me she had just come home from refurbishing a city rose garden, as a volunteer, when she heard the cracks about community organizers. "It was pretty much of a slap in the face," she said. When I first began asking around town for the names of community organizers, people quickly mentioned Mark Butler. He's the manager of the Anchorage Federation of Community Councils, a nonprofit that is somewhat similar to the neighborhood councils we have in Los Angeles. Butler assists 38 councils made up of volunteers who work on everything from gang-related crime and housing-related issues to business district improvements and park expansion. You need speed bumps to slow down traffic? These are the guys to call. Young toughs with guns hanging out in the local park? These folks can get the cops rolling. Butler's office is in the same building as Big Brothers and Big Sisters, AIDS intervention and senior support agencies. I can't imagine Gov. Palin really meant to disparage all these folks. Butler, who grew up in Cleveland, said Anchorage is a place where power is dispersed and community involvement is encouraged. "The bottom line is we like to get involved," said Butler, who took me on a tour with Matt Johnson, chairman of the North Star Community Council. "You see how that sidewalk slants right there?" asked Butler, pointing to narrow and tilted pavement at the intersection of Fireweed Lane and Spenard Road. In snow and ice, he said, students from a nearby school slide perilously close to traffic. He and Johnson are lobbying to eliminate one lane of traffic and widen the sidewalks, but that involves the hard work of winning compromises from merchants who are opposed to such a change. "We're working with everyone to make it better," Butler said. One of the headaches they're working on now, Johnson said, is "punks in trucks" who go speed-balling through neighborhoods. Speed bumps will help there. Oh, and alcohol. "Public inebriates is one of our biggest problems," Johnson said as we came upon a young couple stumbling down a street, the woman whacking the guy with a rolled-up newspaper. "Everything OK?" Johnson asked, putting them on notice. It seemed like they'd survive the night, so Johnson urged them to move along. If they hadn't, he might have called a volunteer member of the council's Community Patrol to keep an eye on them. At Spenard and 27th, Butler pointed out a cluster of low-income apartments on a street with no sidewalks at all. The North Star council successfully lobbied City Hall to buy a rundown business and clear the way for some improvements that are in the works. "Alaska is a place where, if you're interested, you can really make a difference," Butler said. Seems to fit perfectly with the GOP mantra of smaller government and more personal responsibility, wouldn't you say? Butler, by the way, knew Bonny Sosa. She was active in one of the neighborhood councils, he said, and he was the one who put me in touch with her family. When I called Sam Young, Sosa's husband, he said Healthy Futures has served thousands of children and will go on trying to make a difference. The organization, sponsored in large part by a grant Sosa negotiated from ConocoPhillips, has received numerous honors and recognition. One of the bigger ones came late last year, said Sam Young, when November was designated Healthy Futures month in a proclamation by Alaska's highest-ranking state official. Gov. Sarah Palin.

Slanted LA Times Articles

From: Mehta, Seema []
Sent: Monday, August 25, 2008 3:13 PM
To: Paul Sharpe; Readers Rep

Subject: RE: Seema Mehta's 8/18/08 slanted article

Hi Paul,

Thanks for reading. The reason that there was more Obama in the story than McCain is that Obama held public events that day, while McCain did not. (I believe McCain flew from California to Florida that day and held a private fundraiser in the evening). That also explains why the first paragraph said Obama was slammed McCain (while the two of them have slammed each other back and forth for a while now, on that particular day, because Obama was the only one speaking publicly, he was the only one doing any slamming). I gather from the subject of your message that you think the article was slanted, but for what it's worth, I covered McCain the prior week, (when Obama was on vacation), and if you look at the stories I wrote those days, there were very heavy on McCain coverage, simply because he was holding public events and Obama was not.

-----Original Message-----
From: Paul Sharpe []
Sent: Tuesday, August 19, 2008 9:10 AM
To: Readers Rep
Cc: Mehta, Seema
Subject: Seema Mehta's 8/18/08 slanted article
I read the article "Week of ease ends for both Obama, McCain", and compiled the following stats by paragraph:

Positive About Obama: 16
Positive Quotes from Obama or Obama's supporters: 7
Positive About McCain: 4
Positive Quotes from McCain or McCain's supporters: 1

The first paragraph leads with how Obama is slamming McCain, but doesn't mention McCain slamming Obama.   Objectively, it should have said each candidate slammed the other.

Keep up this obvious slanted journalism and continue to see your circulation decline.  Why not rename the "The LA Times" to "The Obama Times".
Have a good day.


Seema Mehta, Times Staff Writer


Barack Obama returned to the campaign trail Sunday after a week off in Hawaii and argued that he is the presidential candidate who can fix the nation's economic woes, repeatedly slamming John McCain as a continuation of the Bush administration.
"I've got news for John McCain: My plan's not going to bring about economic disaster. We already have economic disaster from John McCain's president, George W. Bush," the Democratic candidate said as the union-heavy crowd roared its approval.
Obama spoke to about 250 supporters seated in the sunny courtyard of Earl Wooster High School. The event was his first interaction with voters since his vacation, which allowed his Republican opponent to enjoy the spotlight alone when foreign policy issues dominated the news because of the conflict in the Caucasus.
Last week, McCain, a 26-year member of Congress, spoke frequently and forcefully about the Russian incursion into Georgia after that country launched an attack on a breakaway republic.
McCain advisors and supporters, including foreign policy advisor Randy Scheunemann and Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), have accused Obama -- who initially called for restraint from both countries -- of being naive.
Obama did not mention the crisis in his Sunday appearance. He focused instead on the nation's economic woes, saying he hears from voters who worry their children and grandchildren will not have the same opportunities they had.
"They feel as though the American dream might be slipping away," he said. "That's what's at risk, and that's what this election is all about."
Obama pledged to cut taxes for 95% of Americans and reverse the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy; invest $15 billion in research on alternative energy sources; and provide greater access to healthcare.
Brian Rogers, a McCain campaign spokesman, said it was the Las Vegas Review-Journal that concluded Obama's tax plan was a "recipe for economic disaster."
In an editorial, the newspaper knocked the Illinois senator's plan to raise the top tax rate, increase the capital gains tax and end tax breaks for the gas and oil industries and private equity firm managers.
In Reno, Obama criticized his Republican rival, saying the Arizona senator's claims of being a maverick were absurd.
Top McCain campaign officials "represent foreign governments, they represent special interests from every corner of industry, so this notion that he is somehow fighting for the little guy is just nonsense," Obama said. "That's not who he's been fighting for -- he's been fighting for the same folks making out like bandits for years now."
McCain had no public events Sunday. He canceled a fundraiser in Miami and instead visited the Fire Rescue Headquarters near Orlando, Fla., where he was briefed on how local officials were preparing for the approach of Tropical Storm Fay.
Obama ended his day with a fundraiser in San Francisco.
In his appearance at the Fairmont Hotel, he predicted a difficult campaign.
"Change is always tough. And electing me is change," he said. "It means that people are going to hesitate a little bit. Ba-rack O-bama. They're still getting past that name. But it's a testament to the American spirit that I'm even standing before you as the Democratic nominee."
Before he left Reno for San Francisco, Obama took questions from the friendly audience.
When a woman asked what she could do to help him, he urged her to fight rumors that he is a closet Muslim.
"You've just got to tell them that's not true, he's a Christian," Obama said. "There's nothing wrong with being Muslim. We've got wonderful Muslim Americans. But the point is, don't lie about my religion."
Mary Bruns, a 65-year-old precinct captain from Reno, is worried the religion rumors, as well as prejudice against African Americans, could sink Obama's presidential bid.
When she canvasses door to door, she said, older people have made comments such as "I don't mind he's a Muslim, if he would just admit he's a Muslim," and "We can't vote a black person in there; they'll think they rule the world."
If people say that to her face, the retired nurse wonders what they say behind closed doors.
"I think a certain segment of the American population is just ignorant," she said. "I don't give them the time of day."

Removing Kids from YFZ Ranch

From: Paul Sharpe []
Sent: Thursday, April 24, 2008 4:03 PM
To: ''

Subject: Your position on removing kids from their moms in YFZ Ranch - you guys are so wrong

I am devoted listener of yours for years.  I enjoyed your 12/4/05 lecture at the Long Beach JCC.  I am the webmaster for Abba Perelmuter’s

My domestic violence credentials - I volunteer for 6 Domestic Violence organizations in Long Beach, among them:

You and Mike Gallagher today dealt a blow to efforts organizations like mine are trying to achieve.  It comes from experience in dealing with Domestic Violence that both of you lack.  There are so many issues that go into why the Child Protective Services (CPS) removed the kids that your simplistic views of any of it being wrong is out of touch with reality.

I don’t know how to describe how depressed and  are upset by your ill-informed views on the subject today.  I am totally frustrated by you Dennis for the first time in years.

If you got the time, I got the short version of where you missed the mark.  This subject is way complex, but I will give the short of it.

You implied the government has no moral or legal right to take the kids from their mothers.

I really wish you and Mike would cease undermining efforts to help kids by talking like you did on your show today.  Educate yourselves on domestic violence before you do more harm.   My cousin, 1 year older than me, was physically, sexually, and emotionally abused by her father from the time she was 5 until she was able to move out at 18.   She didn’t tell anyone about her father’s abuse.  Someone like you guys may say she should have told someone – it is her fault for staying in an abusive situation for so long.  What you don’t understand is that when you are trained from birth that the world around you is abusive and that is all you know, you don’t tell anyone.  My cousin’s father said “If you tell your mom that I am doing sexual things to you, not only will I beat you up more, I will beat your mom up”.  That kept her quiet.

Or how about the case our Child Abuse Response Team (CART) was on last year.  A 6-year-old girl was at her friend’s house.  She asked if she could have a soda.  Her friend’s dad was there, and he said “sure”.  When he gave it to her, she asked “what would you like?”  After a few more questions and answers, it came out that the 6-year old expected to give the guy (like required of her dad at home) some type of sexual pleasure.  The CPS was called immediately.  The girl was “groomed” early on to think it was “normal” to jack off her dad and do other sexual things for him when she wanted something.  So be the kids at the YFZ ranch.

Did you see the interviews of the three YFZ women on Fox News?  They were robots.  Scared, trained, and prepped to give the party line about “there is not any abuse going on in  the camp”.  That is an obvious lie because of the pregnant girls.   How can you trust anything any of them say after that?

Mike Gallagher – you really showed shallowness today when you said the ACLU is saying the CPS did some illegal things.  Since when would you give credence to ANYTHING the ACLU says?  I am very disappointed in you.  And Dennis, you let it go by without comment.

Before you express opinions again concerning Domestic Violence, please do us a favor and get at least a little bit informed about it  - including the laws covering domestic violence and the CPS.

Have a good day.

Suggish Economy

From: Paul Sharpe []
Sent: Sunday, November 25, 2007 9:40 AM
To: ''
Subject: Sluggish Economy? Tumbling Stocks? Says who?

Re:  "A strange trip into the land of $2,500 sneakers" 11/25/07

Steve, I guess you are going to continue appealing to the uninformed public for your distorted left-wing views.

Sluggish economy?  (Source:
Personal income – Compensation of employees:  up from 2006: 7,400 to 2007: $7,900 – up 6+%.

Real Domestic Gross Domestic Product:  Up from 2006 3rd qtr: 3.6% to 2007 3rd qtr: 3.9% - up 8%.

Tumbling stocks?
Yes, the stocks are down the last two months, but compared to ten years ago the DJIA is up from 8,000 to 12,000 – 50% higher.
Compared to a year ago, it is up from 12,100 to 12, 900 – 6+% higher.

As more people get informed, your left-wing distortions of the truth will erode your readership.
Have a good day.


From the Los Angeles Times

A strange trip into the land of $2,500 sneakers

Steve Lopez

November 25, 2007

If you're wondering what to get for that special someone this holiday season, I'd like to recommend the turquoise, open-toe high heels at Dolce & Gabbana on Rodeo Drive.

In crocodile skin.

"How much are they?" I asked.

One thousand, six hundred, ninety-five dollars, the clerk said.

I think he saw me swallow my tongue.

But today they're 40% off, he said.

Great. Maybe I'll get two pair.

I asked the clerk whether he worried that the sluggish economy and tumbling stocks would keep people from spending this year. He didn't.

"People who have money, have money," he said.

He was speaking the day before Thanksgiving, when I polled Beverly Hills merchants and customers on the shopping season's outlook. The entire American economy is based on the rich buying things they don't need and the rest of us buying things we can't afford. So let's hope everyone steps up, regardless of what Standard & Poor's has to say about it.

"We're pretty much recession-proof," said a sales manager at Harry Winston jewelers, where I peeked at a $70,000 snowflake diamond earring set with matching $55,000 necklace.

I think I might have committed a high-end retail faux pas when I asked if anything would be going on sale. It turns out there are no sales at Harry Winston, which makes sense when you think about it.

No one with a bout of shaky consumer confidence would bother entering an elegant store designed to resemble a jewel box, with satin velvet walls and a recording of Tony Bennett singing "Nancy (With the Laughing Face)." Nancy was laughing because she never clipped coupons and caught the bus to Target.

I did find one clerk, though, at Versace, who said any Beverly Hills merchants who claim they aren't worried about a slow season are either foolish or lying.

"A lot of my customers are real estate investors," he said, and then there's the Hollywood writers' strike to consider. Although he sold a $16,000 wristwatch Tuesday, he said there's been lots of talk among merchants about the need to get creative with promotions, such as a 10% discount day for VIP customers.

When he worked at Fendi, he said, the store gave merchandise away, scot-free, to celebrities so common folk would covet the same items.

"Do you watch TV news?" asked the clerk, showing me a $2,810 white leather purse with enough silvery gewgaws on it to decorate a Clydesdale.

"This is the purse Britney always carries. It was popular before she started using it, but much more popular afterwards," he said.

At Louis Vuitton, a clerk told me people are always "at their happiest" when they buy something at his store, even if it's not a $30,000 crocodile handbag. He described one recent shopper as being in a trance as he bought seven pairs of men's shoes, with prices beginning at $500.

"He was crazed," said the clerk.

Given the number of shoppers like that from around the world who enter the store each day, the clerk had two words for the holiday season:

"No worries."

Come to think of it, I could use a new pair of casual shoes. The clerk kindly pointed to a pair of sporty sneakers.

"Crocodile skin," he said.

Have all the alligators of the world already been harvested?

The sneakers, by the way, are $2,500, which makes for a difficult choice.

Buy the sneakers, or pay the mortgage?

As I strolled the chandeliered boulevard trying to decide, I came upon a couple standing outside a store without a name.

"Do you know what store this is?" I asked.

"No, we thought you might," said Cathy, of Cathy and Charlie Mahor, Chicagoans on vacation.

The front of the store looked like the entrance of an airplane hangar. From the sidewalk, mannequins could be seen below ground in glass-covered shafts, like anorexic miners at a costume party.

"It's 343," the Mahors' daughter said of the store name.

"No, that's the address," said Cathy Mahor.

A store without a name said one thing to Mrs. Mahor:


She was happy to take pictures, but she wasn't setting foot inside.

After a few minutes, the Mahor girl exited the hangar with the news we were all awaiting.

"Prada," she said.

"Oh," said her mother. "I guess we were supposed to know that."

Across the street, a Parisian purveyor called Hermes proudly displayed its name on the building. Inside, a clerk told me that a woman who got a jump on the holiday shopping season had whipped out her Amex to buy a $148,000 bag that was much like the one she was already carrying.

You had to ask?

Crocodile, of course.

I told the clerk I'd just seen some dog collars in a display case and wondered if any of them came in crocodile. As a matter of fact, she said, she did have one. She removed it from the case and handed it to me.

It was $2,225.

But is that really what would make Fido's holiday? For just a little more money, why not get the crocodile sneakers and let Fido chew them to shreds?

Just down the street, a cappuccino-colored Jaguar and a canary yellow Ferrari were parked right in front of Bijan Designer for Men. A sign in the window saluted the "Timeless Good Taste, Style and Power of Men!"

Making the list, their names painted on the window, were Julio Iglesias, Michael Ovitz, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sting, George Clooney and Sheik Hamad ibn Khalifa al Thani emir of the State of Qatar, among many others.

I read all the names twice and didn't see mine. Would it have made a difference if I'd bought the $2,500 sneakers?

A half-block away, I bumped into a man I'd seen going from store to store with his family. But at each shop, he dropped anchor at the door and waited for his brood.

"I don't go for it," Charlie DiGiorno said about over-the-top, name-brand merchandise. The retired salesman, who lives in Chino, was showing the sights to family from Kansas City, but he had no intention of removing his wallet from his pocket.

I told DiGiorno I'd just seen a $2,225 dog collar.

"If I bought it," he said, "it'd have to sleep with me, clean house and do a few other things too."

I'm with Charlie, but as the clerk said, people who have money, have money. We'll know in a few weeks if they had enough to keep the cash registers ringing in Beverly Hills and beyond.

Call me twisted, but as I left, I was fantasizing about a live crocodile release on Rodeo Drive, with shoppers in rabbit and mink running for their lives, but weighed down by 11-carat brooches and reptilian handbags.

But that's just my way of saying, "Happy holidays."

Freedom of Talk Radio

From: Paul Sharpe []
Sent: Sunday, October 07, 2007 11:59 AM
To: ''
Subject: Tim Rutten: Speaking up for freedom of speech 10/7/07

Per Tim Rutten's editorial 10/7/07 "Speaking up for freedom of speech".
Tim's distortion of the facts of why the majority of talk radio shows is conservative should really embarrass him.  The fact is there are more people interested in hearing conservative messages on talk radio than hearing liberal – it is free market forces at work.  If there was an audience for the liberal talk radio, then Air America would be flourishing.  Started in March, 2004, filed for bankruptcy October, 2006, up for sale February, 2007, and not doing all that great today.  Spin it how Tim likes, the bottom line is, after three years the demand for the liberal message is just not as great as conservative.
But, as typical liberals try to force their views on others by using the government to pass a "Fairness Doctrine".  The reason, the only reason the majority of talk radio is conservative in liberal San Francisco is that the majority of people interested in listening to politics are conservatives – liberals just don’t care to listen to talk radio. Ever hear the expression "You can lead a horse to water but you can't make it drink"?  If the majority of San Francisco's liberal populace wanted to listen to liberal stations, there would be more liberal stations.  This is the free market at its best.
Air America or San Francisco is the poster child demonstrating that liberals just don't care much for listening to the liberal message.  So, let the people decide for themselves what they listen to – we don't want the government controlling what we listen to – we want the freedom to choose.
Have a good day.



Speaking up for freedom of speech

By Tim Rutten
Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

October 6, 2007

Every American loves free speech -- for themselves. We think the other guy should shut up and sit down.

We all believe our own views are frank and provocative, things that need to be said. The other guy's ideas are deceitful and offensive, usually the product of mental deficiency, corruption or simply a malevolent nature.

When it comes to speech, winnowing the wheat from the chaff clearly is no task for the timid, so perhaps we all should breathe a collective sigh of relief over the United States Congress' willingness to accept the arduous duty of arbitrating what now constitutes appropriate political speech.

Recently, for example, the House and Senate censured the liberal activist group for taking out a newspaper advertisement that characterized Gen. David H. Petraeus, the U.S. military commander in Iraq, as "General Betray Us." Now congressional Democrats are seeking a similar expression of disapproval for radio talk-show host Rush Limbaugh, who they allege insulted servicemen and women opposed to the Iraq war by calling them "phony soldiers." (Limbaugh has a baroque explanation of what he actually meant by those words, but you probably have to be a regular listener to his show to follow it.)

There's a temptation to dismiss all this as hollow foolishness -- like most of the things Congress does with ease. Beyond all this preposterous posturing, though, there are a couple of things worth considering because both really do involve free speech and your right to hear it.

Now, the ad was patently offensive, a particularly unconscionable slur on any honorable American in uniform, let alone a guy who commanded the 101st Airborne. It was, however, rejected out of hand as an expression of loony narrow-mindedness by most Americans who oppose the war. Nobody, in other words, needed a congressional coalition -- not even a bipartisan one -- to instruct them on how to think. Similarly, it's possible that the Democratic leadership is sufficiently clueless not to have noticed until now that Limbaugh regularly goes on the air and says cruel and offensive things about people of all sorts. Most Americans with a pulse, however, are abundantly clear on the fact that Rush talks a pretty mean game.

Congress, in other words, has no legitimate role to play in the regulation of political speech -- and and Limbaugh were engaged in that constitutionally protected activity. The House and Senate simply make themselves appear more ridiculous than usual when they overreach in this silly fashion.

So what is all this really about?

Partly, it's an attempt to capture and hold the rhetorical high ground in our endless and increasingly sterile non-debate over the debacle in Iraq. The war, however, has congressional attention mostly because of its domestic implications, and the club footed dance over Petraeus and Limbaugh is about free speech only insofar as that speech will have an effect on the next election.

And that brings us to what's really on the congressional mind, which is talk radio and the Fairness Doctrine.

ASK most Americans what the Fairness Doctrine is and they'll correctly tell you it's a regulation that requires broadcasters to air both sides of an issue. Tell them that it hasn't been enforced since 1987, when the Federal Communications Commission essentially deregulated broadcasting and abolished the doctrine, and they'll look at you like you're nuts. That is, however, the situation, and much that is of current consequence flows from it -- including the existence of contemporary talk radio of which Limbaugh is the avatar.

In America today, talk radio is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Republican Party's conservative wing. GOP partisans will argue that's because deregulation subjected radio to the discipline of the marketplace, and, when that market expressed itself through ratings, it stated an overwhelming preference for conservative talk-show hosts. That's a good, Reagan Era argument, but Democrats and their allies see different forces at work. They point to the fact that deregulation freed big corporations to acquire hundreds of radio stations at about the same time that satellite transmission made syndicated radio programming decisively cheaper than locally produced shows. It was an easy call for the corporate station managers, who quickly filled their airtime with cheap, syndicated programming. Most of the first wave of syndicated programming was talk by conservative commentators, who'd long been shut out -- or felt they were shut out -- of mainstream media.

As the nonpartisan Project for Excellence in Journalism put it in a recent analysis: "The major reason for the rise of national talk personalities like Limbaugh ... was a change in the cost of national satellite distribution. Syndicated programming meant that stations no longer had to develop their own local talent. Instead, they could simply bring in national voices that had already proven themselves in other markets for less money. Those national voices belonged to the most successful talk hosts, many of whom were conservatives."

As a consequence, nine out of every 10 minutes of radio talk broadcast in America on any given day now takes a conservative view. That's true whatever the proclivities of the local market. San Francisco, for example, is probably the most liberal city in America, the only place in the country where Fidel Castro could drop into any corner bar and be assured of finding at least one person who'd buy him a drink. Yet 90 percent of all the talk radio broadcast in the Bay Area has conservative politics.

That's why a conservative talk show host like Hugh Hewitt, writing this week about the congressional move to censure Limbaugh, could post this on his blog: "An attack on Rush is an attack on the GOP base."

If the FCC were to reimpose the Fairness Doctrine, talk radio would no longer be a part of the GOP base. That's why Democratic senators such as California's Dianne Feinstein and Illinois' Richard J. Durbin have been talking about prodding the agency into doing that since last spring. It's also why, late Monday, 200 Republican representatives notified the House Rules Committee that they intended to seek a "petition of discharge" for the "Broadcaster Freedom Act." That bill, written by Rep. Mike Pence, R-Ind., a former radio talk-show host, would prohibit the FCC from ever reimposing the Fairness Doctrine. Under the House rules, if Pence can get 218 signatories to the petition, the Democratic leadership must let it come to the floor for a vote.

That's what's really at stake in all the posturing over and Rush Limbaugh. In the minds of both parties, it's not so much a fight over speech as it is over the right kind of speech. The sad irony is that the only voice that isn't being heard in all this talk over talk is that of the public, which, after all, owns the airwaves over which this struggle is being waged.

Dems Direction

From: Paul Sharpe []
Sent: Sunday, July 09, 2006 8:56 AM
To: ''
Subject: Steve Lopez - AKA Paul Revere


I usually bypass your typically liberal writings, but this one piqued me.  Here you hit the nail on the head.  I wish you could rally the Dems to stand for something to wake up the Republicans.  I am a dissatisfied Republican because of the immigration stand Bush has.  The House has it right, but Bush is slow to get it.

When you come out with an article like this, it gives me the "random reinforcement" to continue to check out your column - whether I agree with your positions or not, you are enjoyable to read.

Keep up the good work.


Democrats' Fundraising Letter Is Bankrupt on Ideas

Steve Lopez
Points West

July 9, 2006

It's not often that I reach into my mailbox at home and find a letter from Ted Kennedy, so I was eager to see what was on the mind of the saber-rattling senator from the great state of Massachusetts.

The letter began "Dear Friend," which is a little impersonal, if you ask me. When my friends at the Republican National Committee wrote to ask me to sign President Bush's birthday card - and send along a few bucks - they began their letter, "Dear Steve."

Kennedy, you'll be shocked to know, was also hitting me up for money, in this case for the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee.

"Yes, Senator Kennedy," said the contribution form I was supposed to check off and return, "I share your concern over the arrogance and incompetence of the Bush Administration."

In anticipation of my generosity, Kennedy enclosed a complimentary bumper sticker:


Vote Democrat in '06

As a matter of fact, I do share Kennedy's concern about the Bush administration, and so I was eager to read the four-page letter and other enclosed materials to find out more about the alternative vision being offered up by the Democratic Party.

Page 1, however, contained no such clues. It just fired more bazooka shots at the president and his "extreme right-wing allies," so I figured the fresh ideas from the Dems had to be on Page 2.

Wrong again. Page 2 was nothing but groveling for money for contested races in Missouri, Montana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Maryland and Minnesota. ("It's urgent for each of us to do as much as possible as soon as possible!")

Page 3 suggested the Republicans will burn in hell for sins against humanity ("They've poisoned our air and water"), and Page 4 warned, "They'll never stop unless we stop them. They're shameless!"

That's quite a cavalry call, but it seems to me the Democrats are once again rushing to the front lines with empty muskets.

I'm not asking for the Democratic equivalent of a 10-point Contract With America, having lowered my expectations while on the campaign trail with Al Gore and bearing witness to his nationally televised identity crisis.

I'd settle for a five-point "Contract With Western Blue States." Heck, I'd be happy with a warmed-over crumb of an idea or two.

Instead all we get from the Democrats is the reminder that they stand for - wait, let's see, where was that platform draft?

Oh, yeah. They're anti-Iraq war, or at least they are now that it's turned out so miserably.

And they're passionately on hold on a second. What else was there?

Anti-Republican. That's it.

Write a check today because "They're shameless!"

Craig Smith, a former speechwriter for Gerald Ford and the first President Bush, said the Kennedy letter is a direct response to polls that show declining support for the war in Iraq and for the president.

But he finds it astounding that the Democratic Party still can't move beyond its attack strategy and figure out how to define and sell itself with a specific, alternative agenda.

Smith, who teaches campaign persuasion at Cal State Long Beach, has a simple piece of advice for his political rivals:

Go back to your roots.

"They have not been the loyal opposition," said Smith, who believes Democrats sold their souls under the influence of the Democratic Leadership Council, which pushed the party toward the center after Walter Mondale was blown out by Ronald Reagan.

"There's an intellectual distinction to be made in the essence of what it means to be a Republican or a Democrat," Smith said, "and Democrats ought to embrace the difference."

"For me, it always goes back to this: If you put a gun to a Republican's head and say, 'Choose between individuality or equality,' they'll pick individual freedom. A good liberal will pick equality over individual freedom."

Democrats, he said, need to get back to the social agenda. They ought to put healthcare reform back at the top of their to-do list, and not cut and run the way Bill Clinton did.

They ought to be screaming about wages that keep millions in abject poverty, and they ought to put up or shut up on education, doing something more than attacking Bush's "no child left behind" program.

It's a sad day in America when a Republican can deliver a more coherent agenda in a single paragraph than Ted Kennedy can in a four-page screed.

I guess what I'm trying to say here is that instead of writing a check to Mr. Kennedy, I tossed his letter - along with the bumper sticker - into the can.

My decision was endorsed by Ken Khachigian, the GOP consultant who worked with Reagan. He recalled Kennedy's speech at the 1980 Democratic National Convention, referring to it as the speech "left-wingers" love to quote:

"The work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives and the dream shall never die."

"So," Khachigian said, "regarding this letter, these are my questions for Ted: What work goes on; which cause endures; where does hope live; and, by the way, what IS the dream?"

Reach the columnist at and read previous columns at

ER Overcrowding

From: Paul Sharpe []
Sent: Wednesday, March 29, 2006 10:53 AM
To: ''
Subject: Misleading article "Most ER Patients Are Insured Study Shows"

Your reporting on this study distorted the issue of ER crowding in Southern California's ER hospitals by including the comment "Challenging a common notion that...".  If you did just a little bit of analysis, two facts jump out:

  1. The study was done nation-wide, therefore not addressing the overcrowding of ER rooms in Los Angeles with non-insured patients.  You know the old joke "Did you hear about the statistician who drowned in a lake whose average depth is 1 foot?"
  2. The study was done by patients sending in a response to the survey - not in-hospital on location polling.  How accurate a sampling can this be when indigents (those typically without insurance) are most likely not to respond to any surveys - especially if they can't even read English?

The problem facing our hospitals in Los Angeles is the huge number of uninsured patients.  If you think I am wrong, let's bet $1,000 to go to our favorite charity and let's do an on-site survey of patient visits in a few of our L.A. hospitals.  Or, do what I have done - go to the Emergency Room service of your local hospital and see for yourself who the patients are - a number larger than 15% don't speak English.

Care to go for a walk in a lake that has an average depth of 1 foot?

Have a good day.

Most ER Patients Are Insured, Study Says

The uninsured, long blamed for crowding in the emergency room, account for 15% of visits.

By Daniel Yi
Times Staff Writer

March 29, 2006

Challenging a common notion that uninsured patients are clogging hospital emergency rooms, a new study has found that the vast majority of adults who turn up there frequently have health insurance and regular doctors.

The finding suggests that expanding health coverage will not by itself significantly help emergency rooms cope with demands that include patients seeking care for routine problems such as colds or sinus infections, experts said.

The uninsured account for just 15% of emergency-room visits, according to the study to be published today by the American College of Emergency Physicians. The nonprofit organization advocates for the interests of emergency-room doctors and supports medical research.

Emergency rooms are crowded because they fill up with patients who cannot get in to see their own doctor or are waiting for regular hospital beds, experts said.

"We've cut hospital budgets so much, the only way they can be efficient is by operating as close to capacity as possible, like airlines," said Sandra Schneider, head of the emergency medicine department at the University of Rochester in New York.

The study confirms earlier findings that have begun to change scholarly thinking about the cause of emergency room crowding.

Healthcare providers assumed until recently that uninsured patients were the primary cause of crowding, said Diane Jacobsen, a director at the Institute for Healthcare Improvement in Cambridge, Mass., who did not participate in the study. Most doctors are free to turn away patients who cannot pay, but emergency-room doctors must see everyone.

Over the years, however, research has indicated that the problem is broader and more complex. "We often focus on the ER as the problem, when the ER is a symptom of the problem," Jacobsen said.

The study was conducted by researchers with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and UC San Francisco. They studied survey responses given by 32,669 households across the country in 2001. The researchers estimated that about 45 million American adults made a total of 80 million visits to emergency rooms between July 2000 and June 2001.

Frequent emergency-room users - those who visited emergency departments four or more times a year - represented less than a tenth of all emergency users yet accounted for 28% of all visits, the study found.

About 84% of frequent emergency-room users had health insurance and 81% had a source of primary healthcare either through a doctor or a clinic, the study found. About half had government-subsidized health plans like Medicaid or Medicare, while a third had private plans.

The shortage of hospital beds is only part of the problem causing emergency-room crowding, said Debby Rogers, vice president of quality and emergency services at the California Hospital Assn. A shortage of nurses and on-call physicians also contributes to delays that lead to backups in emergency rooms, she said. "There are a million reasons why ERs are crowded," Rogers said.

As the healthcare system comes under more stress, emergency departments are taking in more of the brunt. Emergency visits increased 26% between 1993 and 2003, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"It is the only door that is open 24 hours," said Brian Johnston, the medical director of the emergency department at White Memorial Medical Center in Boyle Heights. Johnston said as many as 14 of his 18 beds might be occupied by patients waiting to be admitted to White Memorial, an Adventist Health System hospital with 350 beds.

Some hospitals have begun implementing programs to manage patient traffic and to ease emergency-room crowding. At Redlands Community Hospital, an independently owned and operated 172-bed facility east of San Bernardino, surgeons schedule operations to avoid monopolizing intensive-care beds. And in the emergency room, patients with low-priority cases, such as the flu or a dislocated finger, are seen by a physician assistant instead of a doctor.

Schneider said that increasing efficiency would address the problem but not solve it by itself. More funding is needed for emergency departments and hospitals, she argued.

"Right now we are saying, cut, cut, cut, but people are going to have to decide how efficient they want their healthcare to be," she said. "Do they want it to run like the airlines? Where they bump people off when the flight is full?"