We are not all in this together
Reading the Times March 20 editorial, "Humility is best lesson we can take from Iraq," I can only conclude that the "we" in your title refers to the Bay Area News Group, the national media and the politicians who took us to war in Iraq.
A large portion of the working class, as well as the minority and intellectual communities, wanted no part of a war predicated on lies disseminated by the national media.
Recently, the all-inclusive word, "we," has been bantered about by the media and politicians as if it reflects reality. It does not! For example, "We are all in this together." Since when do my neighbors and I have anything in common with bankers and Wall Street? How about, "We are all middle class?" Tell that to the millions of unemployed and underemployed throughout this country, including many residents of Richmond.
Stop talking about "us" until you know who and what you are talking about.
I didn't support the war. We are not all in this together and I'm a member of the working class.
Charles T. Smith
What is Israel's strategy?
I found Thomas Friedman's March 17 analysis in the Times, of President Barack Obama's then-forthcoming trip to Israel as a venture having little substance or purpose, quite persuasive.
Friedman pointed out that the changes in petroleum resources, great power relations and Middle Eastern uprisings have made the Israeli/Palestinian conflict a low priority item for the United States, and apparently for Israel also.
He believes Israel's complacency in accepting this situation is detrimental to its long-term interest, a view with which I agree. As a friend of Israel, Friedman concluded his column asking of that government, "What is your long-term strategy? Do you even have one?"
In the past, these questions used to occur to me, but looking at the record over the years of many Israeli governments, conservative and liberal alike, their actions speak louder than their words and indicate they do have a long-term policy: It is that all of Palestine will be Jewish and the Arabs are not welcome.
There are ways to save money
This year brought several notable reports that shed a light on how much is wasted in North America.
Examples: 40 percent of food in the United States goes uneaten and $11.4 billion worth of recyclable packaging was landfilled in 2010.
Doctors Medical Center San Pablo has been facing shortfalls in money for years. I must ask, is the operation of the hospital really aware of ways to save money? For example, $5.4 billion could be saved in the health care industry over five years if hospitals would switch to more sustainable practices, such as better segregating waste and switching to reprocessed devices instead of single-use devices in the operating room.
The urgency of global warming
You may wonder why we hear little about global warming. The mass media, industry and even government fail to educate the public.
Fear of panic seems most lively to motivate obfuscation, negation, and obstruction of vital information the American public needs for it to understand and make crucial decisions about global warming.
Perhaps the ruling class sees itself as the only fit vessel for such information. In the process, democracy weakens, undermined for denied relevance by elitists.
President Barack Obama once suggested the public often lives in a trance. I ask Obama to please help waken the citizenry with the truth about warming in order that democracy can proceed as it must.
U.S. citizens elected Obama and we want to work with him to solve major problems such as warming, caused by high and growing carbon and methane in earth's atmosphere. That problem seems to define our age.
Our progeny will feel gratitude that at least we worked to solve this urgent dilemma.
Must report abuse of kids
I am referring to the Times article, "Special report: School abuse laws neglected."
As a student currently pursuing a master's degree in social work, it saddens me to read articles about abuse of children. What is even more disheartening, the abuse often is coming from the individuals entrusted to protect children.
While the article focused on the lack of training and reporting in the school districts, it failed to highlight the fact that the abuse they refer to is coming from teachers themselves. This is where the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act could be strengthened.
School officials will almost always try to protect their districts and, in many cases, protect the teacher. Look at the example of Cal's swim coach and the two other cases discussed in the article. There should be stronger language in the act and regulations specific toward mandated reporters who fail to report because they're protecting their interests rather than the child.
California's Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Act was established to safeguard our children, yet educators who are mandated reporters have not done their jobs.
Does anyone actually know, or know of, anyone or any time when an upstanding armed citizen, in their own home, got their gun and either used it or threatened to use it, thereby preventing an attack upon themselves and their family?
Evolution is not a 'viewpoint'
Thanks, Times, for printing the hilarious letter from Bob Humphrey, "Schools teach kids what to think." Humphrey is a soul so pure, irony is unknown to him.
Evolution is not a "viewpoint" -- it is a proven theory demonstrated today (see genetic changes in fruit flies). Credible science professors would certainly be impatient being challenged by students with minds mired in the Bronze Age.
Those fortunate enough to attend a university should embrace the adventure of expanding their mind, not closing it. If they have religious interests, they should study comparative religions, archaeology, anthropology, mythology and, above all, logic.
You cannot call yourself a Christian and also claim to be a critical thinker. Some Christians believe in evolution (the Vatican, for one), but still, Christianity is a stumbling journey that leads to one believing in a sky god that impregnates a woman who bears a son who dies and is resurrected.
Anyone who explores the above disciplines recognizes this as just a contemporary version of many ancient myths. Which reminds me, now is the perfect season to revisit Monty Python's brilliant film "The Life of Brian."