Krauthammer in denial about Bush's legacy
Charles Krauthammer's assessment that George W. Bush's presidential legacy keeps our country safe from terrorism was unabashed historical denial.
Other than the initial U.S. military response in Afghanistan after the Sept. 11 attack, Bush's national security policies were badly flawed and going to war in Iraq nothing short of military adventurism based on false pretenses. That Krauthammer could not muster enough honesty to acknowledge Bush's transgressions, despite the lives and limbs they cost, is pathetic. And, most egregious was his parsing of the facts in comparing Bush's actions on national security to President Obama's; claiming, for example, that Obama had denounced Guantanamo prison "until he found it indispensable." There are grounds to criticize Obama's policies, but to suggest he has found Guantanamo "indispensable" is patently untrue. Conservatives like Charles Krauthammer may not like it, but George W. Bush's legacy is one of a mostly failed presidency. Bush's own mother got it right when she was asked if Jeb Bush should make a run for the presidency. She responded: "we've had enough Bushes."
Paper's story was promoting homosexuality
Your front-page main headline April 30, was "Collins may be the perfect man to lead this charge."
This refers to NBA star Jason Collins coming out as gay. What is the "charge" your paper thinks he should lead? Collins has a legal right to be gay and to openly say so. But your headline and article imply that it would be good for the country if all professional athletes came out as being gay. And they imply that you think it would be good for the boys and young men who look up to these professional athletes to find out that their role models are gay, and that it would be good for them to be gay also. So Jason Collins tells everyone he is gay. That is a statement of fact, and the Times should report it as a news event. Does the Times also feel a responsibility to glamorize it as a great event for society as a whole?
40 million die in U.S. yearly?
I always thought that one job of an editor was to fact-check everything before publication. But in the April 14 "Other Views" section, writer Neal Linden states that "More than 40 million people die each year in the U.S. for lack of health care."
It doesn't even require a basic fact check to know that the "fact" is a complete fabrication. According to the Centers for Disease Control, in 2010 (the latest reported year) just less than 2.5 million people died in the U.S. from all causes. There is virtually no way to know how many, if any, of these deaths are from "lack of health care." In fact, the CDC report attributes almost 2,500 of the deaths to "complications of medical and surgical care." Mr. Linden's egregious exaggeration makes every other "fact" that he asserts questionable.
Don't approve Keystone XL oil pipeline
The Keystone XL pipeline must not be approved.
Tar sands pipelines spill three to four times more crude per mile of pipeline than those carrying conventional oil, according to a National Resources Defense Council study.
This is dangerous because conventional cleanup methods prove nearly useless on tar sands. That's why there's oil in the Kalamazoo River after a major 2010 spill and a $765 million cleanup. The new pipeline route still threatens the Ogallala aquifer, which supplies Nebraska with 80 percent of its irrigation water.
In return, Americans get a scant 10,000 short-term manufacturing and construction jobs and only 25-35 permanent jobs for operation. As for energy independence: the oil will largely be sold abroad.
TransCanada, the foreign corporation proposing KXL, has taken more than 100 American families to court, securing pipeline land through bogus eminent domain lawsuits and threats. Though President Obama and Secretary Kerry must approve Keystone XL, TransCanada has already begun construction.
Dog owners, please heed city's laws
At the risk of offending some but not all, I must write this letter. Pleasanton is a dog town. Pleasanton also has a leash law (enacted in 1989). While recently shopping at the Safeway on Bernal, I observed a man, woman and full-grown yellow Lab standing in the deli line. The dog was off-leash and really not paying too much attention to its owners. As I walked closer in disbelief, the dog actually moved closer to me so as to be petted. I called upon management, and the situation was rectified.
Dog owners, please, seeing your dogs in stores (of any kind) is neither cute or amusing. I have a friend who own a "service dog" for her diabetes which is badged as an actual SERVICE dog. I know -- if your dog isn't a service dog, it's your therapy dog. But please -- enjoy your therapy dog ... at home and not at Lowes, Home Depot, Safeway, Raleys ....
Evolutionary Theory: What it is and isn't
Several recent letters to the Times have made it clear that there is a fundamental misunderstanding of the theory of Evolution in our society. Let's try and clear up some of the confusion.
Gravity is a fact. Newton's theory of Gravitation is the best model we have to explain the mechanism of gravity, but the mechanism is not the theory; gravity would still exist, regardless of whether or not we had an explanation for it. So it is with the fact of evolution. Had Darwin never come along and described the mechanism -- which is simply an accumulation of small changes over a large time-frame -- reproducing populations of living organisms would continue changing over time.
It's also important to recognize what topics Evolutionary Theory doesn't address. It makes no claims regarding the beginning of the universe, the laws of physics, the development of Earth, the existence of deities or the origin of life. That last bit is important; Evolutionary Theory has nothing to do with biogenesis, it makes no claims regarding how the first organisms came to be, it simply addresses how and why they survived and thrived once they began reproducing.
Hopefully, some readers will, once they begin to understand evolution, share in the awe and wonder I feel when I consider that such an elegantly simple mechanism has resulted in the diversity and beautiful complexity of all life on Earth.