Country's mad, Thanksgiving sales show

Our materialistic society has officially gone too far with stores beginning their Black Friday sales on Thanksgiving Day!

You people who are so desperate to get the "early bird" deals that you will go to stores on Thursday are pathetic! And it's unconscionable for stores to require workers to come to work on a national holiday!

We seriously need to start looking at our priorities. For example, the recent protests against Chick-Fil-A on account of its president's beliefs about gay marriage is outrageous, hateful and un-American behavior. Instead, this company should be admired because of its practice of staying closed on Sundays and holidays because they believe that their employees should have a personal life and need rest from their work.

We desperately need to go back to this. May God open our eyes to this as well as to Him.

Christopher Andrus

Dublin

Sowell forgets about Bush, apparently

Thomas Sowell's analysis (Nov. 9) of President Obama's "contempt for American constitutional democracy" is not surprising. Sowell should recall that during the George W. Bush administration:

  • The Patriot Act established erosion of our constitutional protections.

  • Bush failed to ask Congress for a declaration of war against Iraq. Resolutions do not meet the requirements as set forth in the Constitution.

  • The administration ignored the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

  • The administration issued signing statements after signing bills into law that effectively nullified the bills or laws.

  • Referred to Geneva Convention articles as being "quaint."

  • Treated water boarding as if it was a fraternity prank gone wrong.

  • Escalated and expanded use of wire tapping against US citizens.

    One could go on and on. One simply needs to ask where Sowell was during the George W. Bush presidency and his (Vice President Cheney's) war on our constitutional protections.

    Peter Swift

    Pleasanton

    Free speech seems to be only for some

    Freedom of speech is alive and well, except in Livermore.

    I'll explain: some friends and I noticed there were many signs favoring some new taxes, but none against. We made some signs opposing one tax, and placed some in Livermore, Fremont and Pleasanton.

    On the weekend before the election, all our signs on two Livermore thoroughfares were stolen. We replaced them that Monday night, but most were stolen again by noon Tuesday.

    One anti-tax sign at a government site in Livermore was stolen three times, but signs in favor of three proposed taxes were undisturbed.

    Apparently, not all speech is equally free in Livermore.

    Now, the proposed tax in question would have particularly benefited certain bureaucrats and government employees -- so one might assume a government worker or affiliated person did the repeated thefts -- an assumption with evidence but no proof.

    I saw a city truck patrolling along one street, stopping sometimes near signs and an occupant getting out to pick up litter or perhaps nothing at all. I was observed following -- after which no further signs were stolen from that street. A coincidence? Perhaps.

    Regardless, I would ask the thief of anti-tax signs to man up, step forward and identify him- or herself, rather than remaining an anonymous, silent coward like a KGB agent. Let us remove all doubt as to who is in favor of free speech and who is against.

    Will freedom of speech return to Livermore? One can hope.

    Russ Greenlaw

    Livermore

    A modest proposal for high-speed rail

    Like it or not, we are getting high-speed rail. But "blended rail" -- HSR on Caltrain tracks -- is loaded with danger. Forty-three grade crossings and many trackside platforms make that unsafe for high-speed trains.

    Far better, safer, and less costly is HSR along the Mulford line long used by Amtrak from Santa Clara to Oakland and on to Sacramento, with an intermodal station in Oakland where BART crosses over the Union Pacific track by Interstate 880 at Seventh Street. (BART trains run from there throughout BART-land every few minutes.) By staging, that line could be grade-separated, multitracked and fenced at modest cost.

    BART is under construction to Berryessa and planned to Santa Clara. Let's grade separate Caltrain from there to Millbrae and convert it to BART. Ring the Bay with BART!

    Robert Allen

    Livermore

    Comic not funny, never has been

    I find the debate regarding Mallard Fillmore as the funniest thing about the comic strip.

    Some years ago in his strip, the author wryly joked that people like me do not exist. I do my best to return the favor. Every morning I carefully set my cereal bowl over Mallard Fillmore so that it does not exist. I proceed to eat breakfast in peace.

    Tre Luna

    Pleasanton

    Electorate gets the politicians that it deserves

    Let's look at what we have learned from this recent election.

    Twenty-two of 22 incumbent senators were re-elected, and 353 of 373 incumbent members of the House were re-elected. The American people have re-elected 94 percent of the incumbents who were running for re-election to an institution that has an approval rating of about 9 percent.

    That indicates that, as an electorate, we are a nation of idiots! We're now stuck with the useless, dysfunctional government that we deserve. And I'd say nothing about the electorate in California.

    Albert Einstein once commented, "Doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result is the true definition of insanity"

    Edward Janas

    Pleasanton

    Gasoline prices -- why so high?

    Ever wonder what factors make gasoline prices so volatile and high? People come up with different ideas.

    Some understand that spikes in gas prices are due to conversions from "summer blend" to "winter blend" gasoline, or vice versa. Did you ever ask whose idea these different "blends" were, and why California cannot use available gasoline that is perfectly OK for neighboring states? Why, the government, of course -- thanks, EPA and California Air Resources Board!

    Others believe it's a gasoline shortage, especially during heavy driving periods. Why would there be such a shortage? Did you know NO new refineries have been built in the United States in the last 32 years? Think government regulations and restrictions might have anything to do with that?

    More fundamentally, some think high gasoline prices reflect a general shortage of oil. Since Canada has a huge supply of oil and wants to sell it to us, surely that would help -- oh, I forgot, the government won't approve the Keystone pipeline, which would bring the oil here, so it's probably going to be sold to China.

    Apparently, quite a few voters like spending more money on gas due to all these government agency regulations!

    Mike Heller

    Danville

    News judgment seems questionable

    Were readers supposed to feel warm and fuzzy to hear that a 27-year old with four children had a fifth child with her boyfriend? (Nov. 28 Times, page B1) Did this story really deserve the front page of local news? Why glorify single motherhood? Surely there are more newsworthy events to publicize.

    Marilynn Hutchison

    San Ramon