As nation falls, sports now our bread, circuses

Can somebody please explain too me why the front page, above the fold, of the Sunday Tri-Valley Times is completely devoted to a Warriors basketball game?

Is this somehow more important than the peril and clear and present danger that our nation is faced with on a daily basis? The national debt, outrageous spending, political gridlock, health care mandates, terrorist attacks, a devastated economy, an ideologically driven executive branch, a flawed Justice Department and an equally divided Congress. None of whom seem able or even inclined to solve or forthrightly address the issues. I ask, is this just a ploy to divert attention away from more serious issues and lull the public into a false sense of security.

If memory serves me correctly wasn't it Caesar who built the Colosseum and was quoted as saying "Give them bread and circuses?" It worked well in the beginning until Rome fell and the barbarians were at the gates.

William H. Mallery

Pleasanton

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 ....

James Kohl

Pleasanton

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.

Lee Torres

Livermore

Hope pope acts as force for peace in world

My hope, as a member of the Roman Catholic branch of Christendom, is that the new Pope Francis will restore the most salient feature of Jesus' message: nonviolence, in today's violence-prone society.

In particular, I am thinking of the militarism that pervades so much of the international scene. Nations, large and small -- from North Korea to the mighty United States, boast of their power to destroy. Leaders seem to be immune to feelings of compassion for the suffering that war brings to their fellow humans.

To quote my authoritative Oxford Companion to the Bible: "-- the Sermon on the Mount epitomizes Jesus' ethical teachings, which include the Beatitudes (Matt. 5, 3-12)."

It is ironic that many Christian churches join with secular elements in embracing a version of patriotism based upon the notion that it is praiseworthy to rally behind the nation's leadership when a military action is launched, regardless of the legitimacy of the action: "My country, right or wrong." The teachings of Jesus, if considered at all, are regarded as irrelevant, or are twisted into an ethic that supports the violence, even glorifies it.

Donald F. King

Livermore

Cut violence in media that kids consume

The Senate recently rejected several gun-control bills. Now it is time to discuss a topic that would actually reduce social violence -- namely, the problem of nonstop, uncontrolled depiction of violence in media.

Many refuse to admit it, but there is scientific evidence that young children exposed to uncontrolled violence in media (video games, graphic TV shows, etc.) have an increased tendency to commit aggression and violence against other humans. In 2000, the American Medical Association, the American Psychological Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry provided a joint statement to Congress. Their message: media is a causal factor of violence in our society, and violent video games are particularly dangerous.

There is additional evidence from research conducted by Stanford University that removing the source of violence depiction significantly reduces aggression in children. It seems to me that now is the time to consider common-sense legislation that would restrict access to these toxic sources of violence by our young children.

Doug Henson

Livermore

Critic wrong; 'Stuck Elevator' is worth seeing

Those who enjoy music and theater shouldn't miss seeing ACT's "Stuck Elevator." This play deftly treats a universal theme of mankind's ability to cope (or not) with life's unfairness.

Don't be swayed by Karen D'Souza's largely negative April 18 review of this clever, poignant, based-on-truth story of what goes through the mind of a man stuck in an elevator for 81 hours. His thoughts and imaginings and reminiscences are put to song, a bit like Chinese Opera and a lot like Stephen Sondheim.

D'Souza found the play's Atlantic City revue scenes to be off-topic and distracting. On the contrary, those parts of the play give key insights to the trapped man's slipping grasp on reality and are critical to keeping the audience engaged. This show is highly entertaining. It's innovative theater at its best.

Holly Massey

Livermore