Letter wrong on solar panels
In reading a writer's letter (May 19), I realized how important it is for a newspaper to do a modicum of fact-checking when printing letters that purport to be based on facts.
The writer states that solar panels are not so green, because after "10 or 15 years, they must be disposed of." Now let's check the facts, the first commercially manufactured panels were produced in 1954 by Bell Labs, which sold them as a product called Solar Battery. These were initially used to furnish power to a telephone line in Americus, Ga. Some of these panels have been kept as samples and are still producing power today, some 59 years later, albeit at a diminished output.
Since then, photovoltaic research and development coupled with modern manufacturing have produced better products that now carry a 25-year warranty, and a life expectancy of more than 40 years. In addition, there is a well known recycling stream for solar panels' major components, glass, aluminum and silicon.
It is hard to ignore the hundreds of companies that recycle these materials nationwide. Solar panels are green and part of a sustainable future when installed in homes and businesses because they reduce our dependence on fossil fuels while using the existing electrical infrastructure. Their average life expectancy is longer than a 30-year mortgage.
As Daniel Moynihan said, "You are entitled to your own opinion but not to your own facts."
Newest bridge party theme
B.Y.O.B. Bay Bridge Party. Bring your own bolts.
Identifying ads' funders right call
As the editorial in the May 13 Times asserts, making political advertisers accountable for their claims will eliminate much of the deception and demonizing that saturate the media around election time. It's no wonder that so many voters, especially the young, are turned off and abandon their precious right to vote after having their intelligence insulted over and over in the media.
I am convinced that when political ads are required to clearly identify the true sources of their funding, they will be less offensive and less of a voter turnoff. The California DISCLOSE Act holds the promise of a more informed electorate and a greater voter participation in elections.
Knowledge is power, and the DISCLOSE Act will place more power in the hands of the voters instead of a few veiled wealthy power brokers.
Owning guns not so brave
Beginning with World War II, a writer (May 15 Tri-Valley Times) promoted a vacuous, ludicrous notion of "bravery" and "freedom." He tried to tell us that hiding behind the barrel of a gun constitutes bravery, but I can assure him that there is nothing inherently virtuous about gun ownership and usage.
True courage includes confronting the bullying tactics of the NRA and its gun-loving adherents while working to reduce the senseless loss of life from gunfire. Freedom must include living free of the threat that abundant firearms can void a person's right to live out a normal life span. People of the writer's mentality add to the gun dangers we all face because they don't think logically and are often paranoid about government power. His mindset is what is preventing progress toward better gun control in most states. The life of one innocent shooting victim is worth far more than his right to bear arms. I wonder whether he is brave enough to work actively for a gun-safe society?
Larry H. Thompson
IRS was just doing its job
Political groups of all stripes have filed for 503C tax-exempt status (which allows people to donate anonymously to groups promoting the "general welfare" although, not political) since the Citizens United decision (which allows groups and individuals to donate unlimited amounts of money to election campaigns).
However, it is still illegal for political groups affecting elections to be tax-exempt or to file as a 503C tax-exempt group. It's clear that the IRS was just doing their job; and, it so happens that more conservative groups are guilty of filing under this status (not paying their taxes) than liberal. Although, humorously, the only group that has been punished for this is a liberal group.
This is a tempest in a teapot. The IRS should be commended for doing their job and going after these big tax dodgers. The Tea Party is mostly funded by extremely wealthy people (like the Koch brothers) funneling money through these kinds of groups to anonymously affect elections. When the IRS finally does their job right and targets the big guys, they get chastised and fired. This is the real outrage.
Impeach Obama over scandals
There are currently at least three scandals (Benghazi, the IRS and AP files) involving the Obama administration with the highest levels of government claiming to have been "not present."
It appears that the country is being run by underlings with higher-ups like Obama, Holder and Clinton claiming ignorance of the wrongdoing. Why are we paying them at all if they do not bear any responsibility for what is going on in their organizations? Looks like malfeasance to me.
I maintain that Obama has set the tone for deception in his administration with his lies and constant campaigning and fundraising. It appears that he is to be insulated at all costs from all wrongdoing especially when campaigning. There must be some grounds existing for impeachment such as dishonesty and dereliction of duty resulting in the deaths of four Americans on foreign soil and jeopardizing our national security.
I call for impeachment!
Frank J. Murar
Make full inquiry into IRS scandal
This is absolutely breathtaking. How can we believe President Obama if his senior advisers keep him "out of loop" on serious matters in his own administration (as reported by the AP)? He doesn't know the pertinent facts!
At the very least, I believe the president's repeated demeaning and sarcastic comments against his political opponents and "the one percent" (they didn't build it; make them pay their fair share, etc.) has promoted a culture in his administration that has directly resulted in IRS officials targeting conservative and religious groups and their individual donors. This is unconscionable. It appears, and I hope that I am wrong, that if you disagree with the president you get audited! And the IRS will play an integral part in the Affordable Healthcare Act!
To restore the public's faith in the IRS and its ability to fairly and impartially administer the tax code and the Affordable Healthcare Act, I urge our elected representatives to support a full congressional inquiry into this matter and, if necessary, appoint an independent counsel to take testimony under oath to determine those responsible for these actions and hold them fully accountable. Merely taking administrative action is not sufficient. The IRS' ability to tax, audit, intimidate and obstruct any citizen or group is absolutely stunning. To fight the IRS takes substantial money and time, even if you prove them wrong. As taxpayers, we must be assured of the integrity of the IRS.