Modest bill will benefit some

Although I would have preferred a grand bill addressing other issues in this complicated fiscal debate -- notably, additional stimulus and tax modification -- I want to thank representatives Barbara Lee, Jerry McNerney and George Miller for supporting the fiscal cliff bill.

This modest bill increases income tax for only the wealthiest, while retaining tax cuts and benefits for the rest of us. I appreciate these representatives who are sent to Washington to work for a more fair society for all of us.

Once again, as the debt ceiling debate heats up, Republicans want to talk (and take) hostages. They need some new approaches to legislation, such as formulating serious proposals.

Joan Wilson

Berkeley

Headquarter U.N. elsewhere

Most of the United Nations hate Jews.

They could never make a fair decision about the Palestinians, who are controlled by terrorists who want to kill all Jews. The terrorists hate us and they hate Jews.

Most of this area was the land of the Jews 3,000 years ago. The Jews occupy only a small part of what was originally theirs.

More than 12,000 rockets have been launched at the Jews in the last three years. Palestinian terrorists build their rocket launchers next to schools, residential areas and hospitals. Should they have more Jewish land so they could kill all the Jews much sooner?

Most U.N. members almost always vote against Israel. Why do we allow the United Nations to be headquartered in the United States? We should give them five years to build another headquarters in France. Good riddance!

Sidney Steinberg

Berkeley

Tragic event is remembered

On Jan. 20, Azerbaijani-Americans commemorate the 23rd anniversary of "Black January" event that marked the beginning of the end of Soviet rule in Azerbaijan.

On the night of Jan. 19-20, 1990, Azerbaijan was invaded by 26,000 Soviet troops. A courageous resistance by Azerbaijanis to the Soviet invasion continued into February. Eventually, 170 Azerbaijanis were killed, 321 disappeared, more than 700 wounded, and hundreds more detained.

The Soviet attack against innocent civilians in Azerbaijan followed massacres in other Soviet republics, including Kazakhstan in 1986 and Georgia in 1989. It was tragically replicated one year later in Lithuania, although the brutality of the "Black January" tragedy was the biggest exercise in collective punishment by reactionary forces of the Communist Party.

The terrible event remembered by this commemoration was an atrocity. But it also gave birth to a hope that led eventually to independence and freedom the following year.

My family and I are joining the U.S. Azeris Network in commemorating the tragedy and its victims, and ask for you to also commemorate the victims with a minute of silence and statement for the record, just as the Texas and New York legislatures did last year.

Unal Puka

Berkeley

Spending on health care

As long as each of us, individually, is freely choosing and paying for the health care we want in our final days, then we're spending the right amount.

Unfortunately, Americans keep abdicating their right to choose much of anything, since they prefer, and vote, to have politicians make those choices for them.

So no one knows whether we're spending too much or too little because, individually, we aren't responsible for the costs we incur.

To assure that we're spending the right amount on any kind of health care, we need to revamp ObamaCare so that insurance companies have complete freedom to offer the various types of insurance individuals are willing to pay for, including different levels of end-of-life coverage.

Each of us can then match our priorities and our pocketbooks to the insurance plan and premium that is best for us and that each can afford.

As long as the politicians dictate our health care system to us, we will not be free to make the right choices.

Dick Patterson

El Cerrito

Success and growth of apps

This letter is regarding the recent Times article, "Tech trends to watch in the coming year."

I have owned a smartphone for well over a year and I've been amazed by the variety of mobile apps available and by their success.

With the increasing possession of smartphones, I believe the mobile app business will flourish in 2013. While mobile apps are relatively cheap, the large consumer population assures large profits as long as the app is addicting enough to catch the attention of the consumers.

Although, for every Angry Birds, there are thousands of other apps that go unnoticed, and while Rovio has a pretty strong hold on the market, it won't be long before people get tired of tossing birds at precariously built towers containing pigs and, as happened to MySpace, Rovio is replaced.

Despite the difficulties of achieving success in the world of mobile apps, I strongly believe in the success and growth of apps in 2013.

Juan Hernandez

Richmond

Save lives through unity

The massacre at Newtown, Conn., left me pondering: Why do school rampages and child murders occur in seemingly safe communities such as Newtown?

No rampage has ever occurred in Richmond. Shootings occur, but not on such a large scale and not with victims as young as those in the Sandy Hook school shooting.

I believe this is because of the necessity to have more unity among residents in a potentially dangerous environment. For example, residents who have children in a community where gangs roam the streets feel the need to network with other inner-city parents to ensure their children's safety.

It's likely the suburbs don't seem as dangerous, so perhaps nobody feels the urge for unity among the community, which can lead to negligence.

The Newtown massacre shows us we must be more involved with our neighbors, our neighbors' kids. And our community's kids should be more involved with one another.

It does takes a village to raise a child.

Marco Manriquez

Richmond

Marco is a student at Leadership Public Schools in Richmond.