Romney violated rule of American politics

It is despicable that Mitt Romney issued a pre-emptive criticism of President Barack Obama even as American Ambassador Chris Stevens was being killed in Libya.

Not only was Romney misinformed and misguided, but he failed to adhere to a basic rule of American politics: Politics stops at the water's edge.

When our country is attacked, we stand behind our president, no matter what political party he belongs to.

Romney's statements demonstrate how corruptly he values partisan politics over uniting around our country. He showed greed for power instead of patriotism. Romney seems to think that he is exempt from our common rules of decency.

Another common convention that Romney thinks he is exempt from is that of candidates releasing past income tax filings during their campaign.

If you want to see a person's character, look at his finances. You'll see what values he really believes in. We voters have come to expect such transparency from our candidates; it gives us one opportunity to objectively see the real person behind the paid advertisements.

Again, candidate Romney fails.

Bruce Joffe

Piedmont

iPhone coverage shows misplaced priorities


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Imagine to my surprise (not really -- nothing surprises me anymore, especially when it comes to the media) to open the Sept. 13 edition of the paper and see that an article on the iPhone 5 had more front-page space and coverage than the U.S. embassy attack in Libya.

This was an act of war on our country. The U.S. Embassy was overrun and the U.S. ambassador was kidnapped and murdered along with three other American embassy workers.

Where are our priorities? What has become of this once great nation when a stupid phone is more important than the lives of our own countrymen?

Even the president didn't seem too upset. All Americans should be enraged.

Rest assured that some of the Islamist extremists who carried out this brutal attack were probably set off after watching the anti-Muslim video on YouTube on their iPhones. The iPhone article should have been in the business section -- where it belongs.

God bless America and heaven help us all.

Donald Pong

Fremont

MLB should require helmets for pitchers

The head injury that felled Oakland A's pitcher Brandon McCarthy, who was hit by a line drive Sept. 6, brings to mind the tragedies of Cleveland Indians star pitcher Herb Score and shortstop Ray Chapman.

Score was hit by a line drive off the bat of Yankees Gil McDougal, which impaired his vision. Chapman was killed by a fastball from Carl Mays.

Helmets may have averted these and McCarthy's injuries. Organized baseball should require pitchers to wear helmets.

Donald Dubin

Oakland

OUSD should stop election activities

At the first meeting of the Montclair Elementary School PTA, almost half the meeting was spent advising parents on how they should vote in the upcoming elections.

Both Principal Nancy Bloom and one of the teachers told the parents they should vote yes on Proposition 30, no on Proposition 32, probably no on Proposition 38 and yes on Measure J.

I value free speech, but do not feel PTA meetings should be used to electioneer by school officials. Indeed, doing so is strictly illegal. I suggest that in the future, school officials abide by the law.

Under California law, including Education Code 7054, school districts are strictly prohibited from engaging in political advocacy using public resources.

No use may be made of school property, funds, personnel, supplies or equipment "for the purpose of urging the support or defeat of any ballot measure."

Violation of this provision can be a misdemeanor or felony and is punishable by fines and/or imprisonment.

It is a serious breach of the public trust when government officials spend public funds to create an advantage for one side of a political campaign.

To avoid litigation or legal discovery over this matter, we demand that the Oakland Unified School District immediately refrain from illegal electioneering practices.

Gary Fanger

Oakland