Government of Gaza is Hamas

Do you like President Barack Obama saying it's OK if Israel kills a few hundred more Palestinians because it complained about the assassinations of its people, theft of its land and water, and for making Gaza the largest penal colony in the world?

Gaza's government is Hamas, fairly elected to govern. The United States, Israel and Europe have shown what we think of people electing whom they want when we don't want them to.

Particularly galling to Israel and the United States is Palestinians' application for a seat in the United Nations, where it will have a platform to complain.

The Palestinians don't understand: Israel wants their land because God promised it to them. Their book says it's their land. So why don't the Palestinians just go? They've been given lots of reasons to leave.

Observing the bully pummel their little neighbor, what is Israel's ultimate goal but the total destruction of Palestine? And Obama's going to cheer it on because Israel is our partner in the Middle East and the U.S. pro-Israel lobby is massive.

Jews and Arabs lived in peace before Zionists came. Maybe if Zionists left Israel, the problem would disappear.

Curtis Manning

Berkeley

Sowell is asset to newspaper

With great puzzlement I've recently read letters to the Times from people blasting Thomas Sowell and suggesting you drop his weekly column.

Sowell, unlike most of your columnists, speaks the hard truth about both Washington politics and the economic and social quagmire this country is immersed in.

He supports his position with fact and historical precedent, not merely rhetoric. Sowell knows a requirement of citizenship is the responsibility to care enough to question and study what we are being told, and to become informed and learn the facts.

The alternative is to simply trot along slurping up the sometimes "inspiring yet implausible" statements the president and others purport. As he advises, it's always critical to read and study those with strong opposite views, who can express their positions clearly, concisely and intelligently.

It stimulates intellectual growth. So far, I have not seen anyone in your paper that does this better than Sowell. Being new to the area, I subscribed to the largest local paper I could find, hoping to get a sense of the attitude and intellectual flavor of those in my community.

If you drop Sowell as a columnist as some of those who trot along suggest, you will make the decision about renewing my subscription an easy one.

H. Ronald May

Concord

Public schools would suffer

I am referring to Alan Bonsteel's opinion piece in the Nov. 25 Times.

Bonsteel's suggestions for President Obama's education agenda are more of the same tired "reforms" from people who think they understand education because they went to school once and have kids.

Charter schools? Look at the data. They don't improve learning, and they game the results by being able to kick out any kids that don't fit their system. Accountability? All teachers and unions worth their salt want accountability. What we don't want is to be held responsible for students' results on tests that do not or cannot measure what value an individual teacher added to a student's learning.

Vouchers? Taking money away from traditional public schools to give to charters or private schools is not the way to make those traditional public schools better.

No thanks to all of these.

Bonsteel's proposals (and Obama's policies) will do nothing but line the pockets of the charter school companies, further impoverish inner-city schools, and train students and schools to take multiple choice tests that don't measure anything particularly useful.

Brad Marchand

Livermore

Marchand has been a high-school teacher for 17 years.

Benjamin Franklin on the republic

In his Nov. 26 rant against Republicans, Ronald Entwistle ends by criticizing an anti-Barack Obama letter, and inviting its author to meet him, "and together we can celebrate America's enduring republican form of government."

Another American, Benjamin Franklin, said this: "When the people find that they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic." Entwistle or Franklin? Difficult call?

Marlane Huffaker

Concord