Indifference to commoners has precedent

There is a little-known story of an incident in the court of Louis XVI.

A court flunky approaches the Queen, Marie Antoinette, and bows deeply, "Your Majesty, the people are being kicked off their health insurance because of the government's new requirements."

With a casual flip of her fan, the Queen retorts, "Oh, very well. Just tell them that they can go shopping at the health care insurance exchange."

Henry D. Shay

Livermore

Boxer's plan on debt limit not Constitutional

Sen. Boxer, your Oct. 24 constituent email extolled your proposed legislation entitled the "USA AAA Credit Restoration Act." By your own description, this bill would automatically raise the debt limit based on a yearly estimate by the secretary of the treasury. This automatic increase could only be modified by a veto-proof majority in the House and Senate.

Senator, your oath of office included the phrases " ... I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States ..." as well as " ... I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office ...."

Article 1, Section 8, Paragraph 2 of the Constitution gives the power to borrow money on the credit of the United States exclusively to Congress.

Abrogating this responsibility by assigning it to an appointee in the executive branch is not only irresponsible, it is in direct conflict with a U.S. senator's oath of office. This proposed legislation seriously degrades the separation of powers at the core of the Constitution. I call on you to withdraw this ill-conceived legislation.

Monte Dalrymple

Livermore

Romney's plan was bipartisan, unlike Obama's

Democrats draw similarities between Romney's health care program and Obamacare, citing similar startup problems. Similarities do exist but are overshadowed by major differences.

The Affordable Care Act is 50 times as comprehensive as Romneycare. But the overwhelming difference is that ACA is strictly a one-party product, rammed through Congress without a single Republican vote. True, it is now the law, but so was Prohibition at one time. Today, thousands are finding their health care programs canceled. Small businessmen find ACA legislation onerous and a disincentive to expansion. Thousands now remain unemployed. More people today disapprove of ACA than approve of it.

Romney, an experienced and astute politician, was careful to achieve bipartisan support for his program (witness Ted Kennedy). President Obama claims to welcome bipartisan participation, but history testifies that he says many things that are simply not true. Working effectively with the opposition is clearly not in this president's Chicago-style political DNA. The ACA, as a result, is largely devoid of Republican buy-in, and it's very unlikely that Republicans will jump in and bail while ACA slowly sinks.

Walter D. Welti

Danville

BART contract coverage was inflammatory

I agree with the Walnut Creek reader who asked, in her Oct. 25 letter to the editor, that the Times provide "more substance and less inflammatory rhetoric" in addressing BART contract-related issues.

The Times' Oct. 23 editorial denounces a proposed-contract settlement under which BART workers "will receive a stunning 16.4 percent raise over the next four years." A front-page headline in the same issue of your newspaper declares that a "sizable" BART pay hike was being offered. However, back on page 7, where the bulk of the article appears, a Times reporter explains that BART "management also won plenty ... including raising the employees' share of medical and pension benefits -- which will keep the net raise for workers relatively small."

So, are BART workers really being offered a "stunning" or even "sizable" raise or is it actually a "relatively small" one? Do the rhetoricians who prepare the Times' editorials and headlines actually read the substance of the news articles that appear in their own newspaper?

John K. Conneely

Danville

On Friday night, see a little place called America

In this time of uncertainty, when the news is not so good and costs more to read, we have Fridays nights.

That's right -- Friday night. You gotta check out a high school football game on Friday night.

You can catch one in any of the Tri-Valley cities. Great atmosphere, well behaved students, young men in helmets and shoulder pads testing one another. Cheerleaders and bands that march on. The smell of caramel corn and flank steak wafting over the stands, talented students singing the national anthem. Moms, dads, grandparents with smiles that don't disappear the whole game. Homecoming with floats, kings and queens, old friends you haven't seen in years telling crazy and wild stories you hope your kids don't hear. I swear I saw Norman Rockwell in the south end zone with a brush and easel at a game in early October.

And so it was, in this setting that the California fighting Grizzlies captured there first undisputed EBAL football championship in the school's history. Grizzlies hugs go to this redoubtable squad of young men and head coach Erick Billeci and his staff for their dedication and leadership that allowed this fine school with it's new campus, high test scores, to stand tall and be counted on the field of thrills, under the lights, on Friday nights.

Friday night lights. Check it out.

Bill Chestnut

San Ramon

Why not add pet insurance to Obamacare?

In response to the Oct. 25 pet insurance piece, gosh, was I surprised to find that animal health insurance is so unaffordable. With all the political support for the creation of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) did the AARP, Sierra Club, PETA and all other animal rights groups miss a golden opportunity? Congress could have easily taken another billion or so dollars from Medicare to cover this expense.

Seems to me it is only fair that I who do not own a pet (can't afford the money or time to take care of one) should have whatever wealth I have left redistributed to insure healthy pet ownership for everyone. Come on, get to work and get this guarantee added to Obamacare, while I still have some money left.

Raymond A. Carlson

Alamo