Sowell's column is mind-boggling

I never read Thomas Sowell without wondering how he can keep getting space. His Jan. 11 column, "How educators undermine American society," pointed up just how goofy he really is.

In summary, he grieved about anti-nationalistic history curricula in the public schools. As an example of how this undermining of patriotism causes grievous harm, he pointed out how, in 1940, the Nazis, with their national pride and xenophobia undiminished, easily defeated the French, who had not had the parades and mass rallies to fuel their enthusiasm for warfare. This went back to the schools, which like ours, are being misused to undermine our culture and patriotism.

I'm not sure, but it appears Sowell is advocating for the methods of National Socialism in public schools to make sure no child ever hears questioning or criticism of current policy or historical values, and then citing the successful invasion of France as proof that the system really works. It's mind boggling.

Webb Johnson

Walnut Creek

Don't like Sowell, turn the page

In recent weeks, several people have written criticizing Thomas Sowell. I think it is time for a different viewpoint.

It has even been suggested that the Times drop his column. I would be appalled if the Times gave into this pressure. The Times has a right, and even a responsibly, to print divergent viewpoints.

Sowell and others have a right to express opinions and even to criticize President Barack Obama, just as those with opposite viewpoints have their rights.

I believe his Jan. 11 column should be read by every American. Sowell warns us that we are heading in the wrong direction. We are tiptoeing around and sugarcoating some words and phrases for fear we might offend someone; our history books are degrading our history; teachers are no longer teaching students to think for themselves; and we are moving toward a socialistic country.

If some Times readers have "had enough" of Sowell, they should turn the page and move on.

Marlyn M. Kauk

Richmond

High court must settle medical pot issue

The question of medical marijuana needs to be finally settled by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Medical marijuana was legalized in 1996 by the state of California. This law is clearly opposed by federal law, which makes it unconstitutional.

The president and the attorney general are supposed to enforce our federal laws. The U.S. Supreme Court needs to declare medical marijuana is either constitutional or not. This situation is very confusing and it's time for the Supreme Court to make a decision. This is why we have a Supreme Court.

Al Paltin

Orinda

Use traps rather than rodenticides

I am responding to the excellent commentary by Joan Morris about the harmful side effects of using poisoned baits to kill pests.

Municipal and citizen attempts to control rats and ground squirrels with rodenticides frequently result in the secondary poisoning of predators, such as owls, foxes and cats. Research is revealing how poisoned bait and other pesticides travel through the food chain as sickened and dead animals are consumed by carnivores and scavengers, and fed to babies in the nest.

This secondary poisoning is a major problem that is being recognized by wildlife research programs across the country. Local nonprofit groups that support wildlife and conservation values have been urging the Contra Costa County board of supervisors to stop using rodenticides.

Nearby Santa Clara County now uses live traps and other techniques instead of rodenticides to control rodent pests. Uninformed members of the public can currently purchase these deadly products at local hardware and garden stores, unwittingly contributing to sources of poisons within our neighborhoods, and putting our wildlife, pets and children at risk.

Katharine Barrett

Orinda