Re: your Aug. 10 editorial, "Flashing back to the 1960s":
Concerning the disruption of town-hall meetings by opponents of Democratic proposals for healthcare reform, The Star notes, "it is impossible to dismiss the large quotient of manufactured outrage in these disruptions," and adds, "The campaign smacks of what political operatives call 'Astroturf' -- fake grass roots."
That's true enough, but as a "language operative," so to speak, let me note that the Astroturf image is a bit too static for disruptions and throw into the word hopper an expression attributed to President John F. Kennedy: Where there's smoke, there's fire. Sometimes. And sometimes there's a smoke machine.
Fake grass roots are indeed involved here, but more immediately we're seeing in operation very expensive, highly effective smoke machines.
-- Richard D. Erlich, Port Hueneme