Obama is president for all Americans

Did you catch the television coverage of President Barack Obama surveying the aftermath of superstorm Sandy in New Jersey with Gov. Chris Christie?

Did you see the president hugging a distraught woman, trying to console and reassure her? Did you see the expression of concern and compassion on his face?

Through viewers' eyes, it looks like an African-American politician comforting an upset middle-aged, middle-class white woman -- an interracial moment. Through Obama's eyes, this sobbing woman looks like his white mother or his white grandmother -- a deeply moving personal moment.

Obama is not a black president or a white president. He is our president.

Joy Goto-Aaronson

Berkeley

Focus peacetime tech on global warming

Thanks for the Times Nov. 4 pieces by Nicholas D. Kristof on global warming, "Will climate change get some respect now?" and Martha Irvine about cutting back on digital technology dependence (Reboot).

Isn't it time we started dealing with our peacetime technology as a human rights issue? Four times as many U.S. residents have been killed in motor vehicle accidents as there were U.S. military personnel killed in all our nation's wars since the Revolution in 1776.

In 2009, 33,808 persons were killed in traffic accidents and 2.2 million were injured. Where are all the conscientious objectors?

Given the dire prospects for future generations trying to cope with global warming and other unpredictable accidents and disasters, doesn't it seem like bad manners to gamble on the life of another person without first getting that person's permission -- as we do when we conceive and give birth to another human being?

There's nothing in the Ten Commandments or U.S. Constitution that requires us to be fruitful and multiply. Let's give the planet a break and quit generating so many "well-qualified buyers."

Arthur W. Weber

El Cerrito

Papers' endorsements are valuable asset

A letter in the Nov. 6 Times sent by Charles and Mary Whaley said, "Newspapers are for news and are not expected to tell people what to do," and "It should be against the law for newspapers to tell people how to vote."

The role of a newspaper is to report items of social concern to the community, of which "news" is but one.

To make an informed vote, an individual needs more than the information in the official Voters Information Guide, which provides the wording of the ballot issue and very limited pro and con statements that are sometimes little more than a personal viewpoint and inadequate to define all, or even the more important of, the consequences of a yes-or-no vote.

Though most voters read the newspaper, fewer wade through the information guide.

Regarding the recent ballot issues, the editorial endorsements, in-depth analyses in nontechnical language of the effect of single-ballot issues, even for voters who read the information guide, were of truly nonpartisan value.

Richard Holmquist

Richmond

Criticism of Sowell is outrageous, unfair

Sorry Bruce Reeves, but Fred Serafin's letter calling Thomas Sowell an "irrelevant person" whose writings are "insignificant gobbledygook" is deserving of a strong response in defense of Sowell. If you agree with Serafin, then I shudder to think that you are a teacher of young people about free speech and democracy.

It is completely outrageous to say such things about Sowell, who has published more than 30 books and is the Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford, having earned degrees from Harvard, Columbia and a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago. In addition, Sowell is one of the most fair-minded commentators I know of, who has shown equal ability to criticize Republicans and Democrats.

You and Serafin are typical of the brainwashed left today, absolutely convinced that anyone who would dare to criticize your perspective doesn't deserve respect and consideration. But that is simply prejudice and bigotry on your part? People like you and Serafin are the real threats to both free speech and democracy.

Christopher Andrus

Dublin