Boulevard's upgrade is anything but
Recently, I was walking my dog in Shadow Cliffs park, and I got turned around and by mistake ended up on Stanley Boulevard. I can tell you that even with landscaping and benches every 100 feet, it is a most unpleasant walk. I really cannot imagine anybody walking there for pleasure.
It used to be that one could park along a small area of Stanley and walk into the park there, but now the whole street is posted as "no parking" (for no valid reason that I can see). Although the county officials may congratulate themselves on a great project, in my opinion this project has no benefits for the public and is a huge waste of our money.
The rich, not the NRA, are the true villains
The government has already been overthrown. Overthrown by Big Corporate America, pharma-corp, private money and perpetual debt (the biggest part of our deficit and which will never get paid off).
The NRA is anything but subversive, as one writer likes to put it. The NRA is akin to the groups from the beginning of organized societies, the groups that helped the hoi polloi, the people, to keep a grasp on personal freedom without the fear of governmental oppression through tyranny, dictatorship and the removal of any type of tool, whether it be a plowshare, pitchfork, machete, word or even writing implement that would cause the "establishment" to fear the very people it was created to protect and serve. When did it become OK for any one person or group to mandate what is right for the rest of the people? It goes so much deeper than just the NRA or what's blue and what's red. So much has gone wrong with our country. Who will regulate the governmental militia when it mandates laws and rules that only serve the machine and not the people?
What are we really leaving behind for our descendants?
Burning wood, fossil fuels good
Recently, The Contra Costa Times wrote about Livermore "going green" by installing new LED streetlights.
Driving around town, I see no green streetlights. I see yellow-orange lights, plain vanilla lights and a few black streetlights, like the one at Concannon and Vega which has been black about a year, but zero green streetlights in Livermore. That may be good, since the 2 a.m. drunks might see a green streetlight and speed through the intersection.
Seriously, there is nothing "green" about LED streetlights, regardless of color. LEDs promote no photosynthesis, nor do photovoltaic systems (every photon captured is a photon not reaching green leaves).
Reducing electricity consumption is not itself "green" (electricity doesn't harm plants). Electricity sources that are truly green are those that promote photosynthesis by, for example, releasing carbon dioxide -- meaning electricity sources that use combustion of hydrocarbons: coal, oil, gas, oak, pine. But those are the sources which the so-called "greenies" try to kill-off.
Apparently, Livermore needs grants to fund the lights, since they won't pay for themselves. Maybe that makes them "green."
Krauthammer out of his mind
Oh. My. God. Who in the world is Charles Krauthammer, and whose decision was it to give him an entire column to post his drivel about George Bush keeping us safe? I assume I'm not the only reader who almost lost his breakfast onto the Sunday paper.
Bush was a man who told his advisers to quit bringing him information about Bin Laden and al-Qaida and instead make up some dirt on Saddam so he could avenge his father's shortcomings. He then proceeded to make our government even more bloated and inefficient with the Homeland Security and TSA departments and ensured the creation of more anti-America terrorists by bringing us the Iraq War, despite the very clear evidence that Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11.
Krauthammer then has the audacity to suggest that the deaths of American troops under the Bush administration were justifiable, while those who died under Obama's administration were not. If my memory serves me correctly, Bush started these wars, and Obama was merely trying to clean up the mess. A telling statistic: Bush sent 10 times the troops, equipment and money to start a war that had nothing to do with 9/11 (Iraq), compared to what he initially sent to Afghanistan, which had direct connections to 9/11.
Krauthammer's column was not intended as a comment on the opening of Bush's library, as he wanted it to look, but rather a clumsy attempt to tarnish Obama's record with circular, fractured, GOP-spun logic. This guy is worse than Thomas Sowell, and that's saying something.
Gary E. Smith
Lab's budget priorities totally wrong
Looking at the breakdown of funds requested by the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory for 2014, I noticed a few interesting facts. Energy efficiency and renewable energy combined constitute less than 1 percent of the budget. Defense environmental cleanup is a minuscule tenth of 1 percent! On the other hand, nuclear weapons activities constitute a whopping 84 percent of the requested budget.
Are these priorities truly in line with most Americans' feelings? LLNL is a national lab that could be using science to bring about a better future. After six decades of poisoning the environment, can't we take a break and spend some time cleaning it up?
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.