Democracy is only as good as the voters
Our zeal for democracy as the best form of government has thrown us out of accuracy in judgment to notice the systemic weaknesses.
As the strength of a chain depends on its weakest link, the quality of democracy depends on its voters. In our present system, most voters are ignorant about the political issues and their resolutions. Their collective judgment never rises above their collective ignorance.
Both dogmatic ignorance and scientific knowledge act as compost for their further growth. Scientifically oriented, knowledgeable societies are progressive; dogmatically oriented, ignorant societies are regressive.
The ignorance of voters impairs the roots of democracy. To improve the quality of democracy, the dogma of the citizen's right to vote as the "birthright" needs to be replaced by the empirical learning that voting rights be regarded as privileges to be earned by citizens with equal opportunity.
To earn voting rights, the requirements may include but not necessarily be limited to:
These requirements should protect the voters from the highly exploitive and manipulative modern techniques used by the political parties.
Foundation for Better Government Alamo
Obama a nice guy but hasn't done much
In 1936 President Franklin Roosevelt was running for re-election. In his first four years in office, Mr. Roosevelt's policies did nothing to get the country out of the Great Depression. But Mr. Roosevelt was a nice guy, and people liked him. So he was re-elected, and the country had four more years of depression.
In 2012 President Barack Obama is running for re-election. In his first four years in office, Mr. Obama's policies did nothing to get the country out of the Great Recession. But Mr. Obama is a nice guy and people like him.
Bike fees would provide just a drop in bucket
My son, age 6, was reading the July 5, Times-Herald letter by a reader who wants to know how much could be collected from California bike riders at $10 each.
Arnie has figured it out. There are about 38 million Californians of all ages, but assume 40 million to make the math easier. Assume every person has a bicycle for which he/she pays a license fee of $10. Assume that it doesn't cost anything to manage this licensing program. The answer: $400 million.
Yes, it would put some money in the bank. What effect would that make on the state's deficit?
Arnie says "A minuscule dent."
For president, Obama better than Romney
Others have covered the many reasons to vote for Obama for president--his "smarts," his experience, his support for the middle class.
On the other hand, Romney is far from a supporter of the middle class. His huge financial resources -- onshore and offshore tax dodges and financial and political support from extremely wealthy individuals including right-wing billionaire David Koch should clinch it. Koch is an extremist who is known to support extremist candidates. And what does that say about Mitt Romney? A "man of the people?"
Clearly Obama is the far better choice for president.
Albert J. Rothman
Thanks for making Fourth a big success
I am excited to be able to thank the following people and groups for their help in making the Livermore July Fourth event at Las Positas College a huge success.
First of all I would like to thank the "Amazing Livermore Fireworks Committee" for the many months of tireless hours to make this event come to fruition. I would like to thank the following sponsors. Our presenting sponsor Dean Schenone, president of FloraTech Landscape Management, Al Phillips, Shea Homes and Scott Haggerty. I would like to thank the companies and organizations that provided in-kind donations, Las Positas College and the Knights of Columbus.
We had several groups and individual volunteers whom we could not have done without that evening.
Thank you to the Livermore community for coming out and supporting this event. We hope to see you there next year!
Livermore Chair LARPD Foundation Livermore Fireworks Committee
Dougherty, California should play
You can call it old school versus new school, north versus south or Grizzlies versus the Wildcats, but it's time California High played Dougherty Valley High.
Danville has the Wolfs and Mustangs; Pleasanton has the Falcons and Dons. Livermore has the Cowboys and Matadors. The De La Salle Spartans will soon be independent, so let's include that beautiful school with the high test scores in one of the most competitive leagues in the Bay Area.
That nationally ranked school in Concord can schedule one or two "Tri-Valley" teams a year, keep travel cost down and still have a competitive game. The Grizzlies have played strong games against the Spartans the last few years and drew close to 9,000 fans the last time the men in green and silver came to San Ramon. Let's keep that alive, but it's time the Wildcats got some big-time competition and cut down on Friday night travel. We have a good thing going here in the Valley. Let's make it better. Now about them Gales ....
Presidents offer budgets, not Congress
Charles Whaley's July 11 editorial, "Budgets come from Congress" is wrong: budgets are drafted by the president and approved by Congress.
An article called "Introduction to the Federal Budget Process" spells out that federal law requires the president to submit a budget to Congress no later than the first Monday in February. Congress is not required to accept it. The president budgets, and Congress spends.
Mr. Whaley is also wrong on who created the deficit; It was a joint effort of Republicans and Democrats from before the time of Ronald Reagan. Only once during the past 30 years has the budget been balanced without using Social Security surpluses to offset revenue deficits.
The Obama middle class tax cut is a 2 percent reduction in the employee contribution to Social Security. Depleting funding while outflows are increasing is a recipe for disaster. President Obama's reduction of record annual deficits does nothing to reduce the federal debt.
I suggest Mitt Romney get a budget ready for adoption on Jan. 21.
Jon Barsanti Jr