Sowell column is vague

In his May 3 column in the Times, "Consequences of education system run amok," Thomas Sowell offers his typical fare by observing that our political interactions and educational system suffer from a lack of diversity or in his words, "a moral monopoly ... the antithesis of a marketplace of ideas."

My problem with this essay, as usual, is that he sets forth concepts with vague intentions that are undeniably true and then interjects examples suggesting that those who truly exemplify these weaknesses are those people who hold views that oppose his own

Sowell usurps and takes credit for what is progressive critical reasoning regarding the status quo and then uses it to suggest the problem resides with progressive values. Sneaky. This is a sly way of feeding the so-called conservative ego-identity with "stolen food."

These attempts to influence through suggestion rather than direct engagement exacerbates what is a universal challenge that waits to be faced by every person. That challenge is the numerous conflicting values and desires that exist unresolved in our minds and hearts that thwart peace, happiness and harmony.

If we would enhance education, both in school and ongoing, let us inspire one another to question everything (scientific, religious, historic, spiritual concepts) as to what is true and what is false, what is meaningful and valuable and what is not.

Ron Greenstein

El Cerrito

Planned Parenthood

In her letter of May 3, "Lobby for the unborn," Anna Koepke makes an erroneous assumption that if President Barack Obama supports the right of Planned Parenthood to exist, he must be advocating for abortion.

I'm convinced Koepke isn't aware that Planned Parenthood health centers provide a wide range of services to men, women and teens that include tests and treatment to reduce the spread of sexually transmitted infections and screenings for cervical and other cancers, including Pap tests and breast exams.

They also provide doctors and nurses to teach patients about breast care, connect patients to resources to help them get vital biopsies, ultrasounds and mammograms, and follow up to make sure patients are cared for with the attention they need and deserve. There is absolutely no reason for President Obama not to support Planned Parenthood.

Then there's her rhetorical question (I'm not convinced it is), "Is it convenient for a sitting president to involve himself in personal family matters other than his own?" Forget about convenience; it is something he must do.

What does Koepke think Obama is doing when he offers help for distressed areas, and sends relief funds to cities and communities after devastating storms, floods, earthquakes, fires and numerous other plagues? When he allocates funds to education and secures health care for everyone in the nation?

Is Obama demanding she accept services from Planned Parenthood? That is my rhetorical question.

Evie Groch

El Cerrito

Evolutionary theory

On April 26, Peter Hess wrote, "If evidence were discovered that controverted either gravity or evolution, you can bet the theory would be vigorously challenged by scientists eager to claim a Nobel Prize."

The fact is, many scientists are vigorously challenging evolutionary theory. This can be verified by an Internet search on "Dissent from Darwin." There, a list may be found of more than 1,000 distinguished scientists who have signed onto the statement: "We are skeptical of claims for the ability of random mutation and natural selection to account for the complexity of life. Careful examination of the evidence for Darwinian theory should be encouraged." The scientific credentials of each signatory is listed.

This fact will remain unknown to public schooled kids because, as I lamented in my original letter some time ago, public schools teach kids what to think, not how to think. Apparently there's a line that mustn't be crossed.

Hess implies that the line is between science and religion. I know of at least 1,000 scientists who would disagree.

Bob Humphrey

Pleasant Hill

49er stadium costs realistic

The recent Times article about the costs for the new 49ers stadium, "Building a palace?" is very negatively slanted.

The average person knows there are many costs involved in the day-to-day running of ball teams, no matter the sport or location. Your article erroneously added these costs into the estimated cost to build the stadium.

Any new stadium will be grander and cost more than the last. Keep your estimates realistic. Sales, cheerleaders, promotion items and limo services have nothing to do with building costs.

The Times hasn't reported on how much money will be saved by not upgrading or maintaining Candlestick Park. Get real.

Dave Ewing

San Pablo

Not fixing our problems

The profit system forces us to be blind to how to fix our problems. There is a T-shirt that says: The system's not broke; it's fixed.

So our legislators can only propose taxing us more to repair roads, ostensibly to repair transportation, so we slaves can get to our owners' jobs. No one looks at what would in the long-run produce a hugely less costly arrangement: bringing our jobs close to home, even within walking distance!

Some will say it can't be done. But we all know it can.

Forcing people to travel farther from home to get the increasingly fewer jobs there are is more favorable to the 1 percent because local jobs do not create the products that are most profitable for them.

Norma J.K. Harrison

Berkeley

Destructive path to ruin

Socialism ends when there is no more taxpayer money left for the government to give to the non-producing consumers.

We are fortunate right now because there is lots of production both from American companies and our farmers, in addition to imports. When we combine this with all the government payments -- food stamps, welfare, government programs, gigantic government salaries, benefits and pensions -- our retail sector is doing very well.

People will spend all the money they receive. Great! We have a wonderful economy as long as we can collect taxes and print money.

Will our great economy last forever? Maybe, maybe not.

With the Obama administration's heavy attack on our family farms with taxes, permits, regulations and the death tax, we may come to a similar point that destroyed the Roman Empire 1,700 years ago.

That empire was so strong for 400 years because they had plenty of food. Farmers were prosperous because they sold their food to the economy. When taxes and regulations became so tenuous, the family farms finally reached a boiling point and stopped producing food.

It happened 1,700 years ago and it will happen again.

Sidney Steinberg

Berkeley