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In today's pages: John Wayne, Love and Consequences

March 5, 2008 | 11:51 am

Toon05mar_3 Cartoonist Tom Toles keeps score on the Bush administration's never-ending game of whack-a-mole in the Middle East, and Tim Rutten explores the appeal of made-up memoirs, after revelations that gang-life tell-all "Love and Consequences" was an elaborate hoax. Writer Jonny Steinberg says a human approach is the missing piece needed to solve Africa's AIDS puzzle, and "Ask a Mexican!" author Gustavo Arellano pulls on his cowboy boots to defend John Wayne Airport against an encroaching name change:

Five years ago, I would've been ecstatic about such a change. For myself and many other county residents, John Wayne Airport was an embarrassment ... And the statue! A 9-foot-tall bronze likeness of Wayne -- Stetson, boots, kerchief, vest, holster, bullets missing from his gun belt, next to a massive American flag -- stands near baggage claim, a towering reminder of our hubris and tackiness.

But with maturity, I've come to realize the name's necessity. John Wayne Airport represents much more about Orange County than a cursory glance reveals. It's the epitome of the aphorism from Wayne's 1962 classic, "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance": When the legend becomes fact, print the legend.

The editorial board hails the latest U.N. sanctions on Iran, and wonders what happened to Measure W's promise to build more parks and playing fields. The board also calls on the L.A. fire department to get a handle on workplace discrimination:

The Los Angeles Fire Department is breaking new ground in the landscape of mismanagement: It has so bollixed a case of harassment that it's paying off legal claims to the rank-and-file victim and to managers it claimed were responsible for the investigation....

Still, you can say this for the top brass: The Tohill and Burton case proves that when it comes to race-based mistreatment, they don't discriminate.

Readers react to a March 2 Op-Ed bidding farewell to "Israeli guilt." Arnaud Forestier writes:

Yossi Klein Halevi suggests the existence of Israeli empathy toward Palestinians. To take him seriously, one would have to revisit the definition of empathy as encompassing such things as a brutal 40-year occupation, large-scale bombings, collective punishment tactics and economic strangling ... If that is empathy, and if Israelis no longer have to feel guilty, then God help us.

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