Denies he's a 'climate denier'

Charles Krauthammer, in his recent column, "Pushing 'settled science' myth is simply propaganda," denies that he is a climate denier and tells us that he believes "it cannot be good for humanity to be spewing tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere."

Krauthammer then tells us that, even though more than 95 percent of climate scientists believe the earth is warming due to the rise of the greenhouse gasses produced by our burning of coal and petroleum, there are a few climate scientists who continue to doubt this. Furthermore, the models are occasionally less than perfect, scientific questions remain, and Sandy was no longer technically a hurricane when it devastated the East Coast.

From this, Krauthammer comes to the conclusion that anyone who advocates taking action, based on what most scientists and many economists believe to be the most serious threat to our existence, are either propagandists or whores.

Meanwhile glaciers continue to melt, oceans continue to rise, coral reefs die from ocean acidification, storm damages become worse every year, wildfire seasons lengthen and we continue to spew carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere.

Maybe someday science will finally "settle" to the point that even Krauthammer can see the writing on the wall. But if we wait for that to happen, there may be no chance to take action. We will be like someone who hears the smoke alarm and smells the smoke but decides to wait awhile before calling the fire department. After all, there may be other reasons for the alarm and the smell and we wouldn't want to waste the taxpayers' money on false alarms.

Lee Ballance

Berkeley

Release names of officers

This is regarding the Times editorial, "Officers' names must be released."

I find myself agreeing that the California Supreme Court should release the names of the police officers involved in shootings. We, the people, have the right to know who were responsible after shooting a man they thought was holding a gun.

The American Civil Liberties Union should not be invoking the safety of the officers. What about the safety of the people who died because of their mistakes?

The police should think before they engage. There are many objects that look like a weapon, hence why some police officers make the same mistake.

While I respect the police departments for helping our communities to be safe from harm, it is difficult to continue holding that respect. Shooting people because it looks like they were holding a weapon is an old excuse. It has got to stop.

The public should feel safe, but nowadays some are beginning to disrespect and fear the police.

Lan Tran

El Cerrito

Tran is a student at Contra Costa College.

Hypocritical on use of sanctions

Severe economic sanctions should be imposed against Russia for its unwarranted aggression.

However, I do not support economic sanctions against the United States for aggressive actions and incursions against the following countries: Vietnam, Panama, Grenada, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Iraq, Serbia, Bosnia, Afghanistan, Iran, and numerous other regions throughout the world.

Isn't this inconsistent? Not so fast. In the immortal words of Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, when asked about sanctions resulting in an estimated half million Iraqi children starving to death: "We think the price was worth it."

As a special country, our sanctions are worth the price paid in blood by the citizens of less-enlightened regions, aren't they? Surely, the people of Russia and Ukraine will similarly appreciate the tender mercies of the U.S. government.

Vladimir Putin is offering Ukraine the facade of democracy, along with power and money for his hand-picked lieutenants, not at all like our strategy for countries that we've "assisted." See the difference?

Jim Mellander

El Sobrante

Blatant abuse of power

I have finally lost all patience and any vestigial respect I had for Rep. Darrell Issa, now after his blatant pettiness and his disrespectful, disdainful and condescending treatment of ranking member Rep. Elijah Cummings -- by cutting off his microphone -- in the Internal Revenue Service hearing Kabuki Theater farce he conducted on March 5.

Issa is on a quixotic Quest to try and pin a dubious, false and nonexistent "IRS scandal" upon President Obama.

We now know that neither conservatives nor liberals were ever "singled out" in the conduct of the IRS in investigating abuses of tax-exempt status of politically named 501(c)(4) organizations. As Salon.com explains, "The only known denial of tax-exempt status occurred to a progressive group."

Issa needs to recognize, in his abuse of power, that there's really no "there" there, but there is such a concept of open and fairly run government meetings. What Issa conducted on March 5 wouldn't be tolerated in Russia today, and shouldn't be in America either.

Ed Chainey

Richmond

Birth control coverage

The government should provide birth control and contraceptives as a tax-saving method.

Would you rather pay for a woman's unplanned pregnancy, the cost of prenatal care, birthing, postnatal care, unemployment or welfare, food stamps, child care, and aid to dependent children?

Also, an unwanted child may grow into a life of crime, with its associated costs of investigation, apprehension, judicial system, incarceration, and further costs.

What makes more economic sense?

Roland Mueller

San Pablo

Saw water witching work

Judging from a recent Times article, I understand that "state and federal water scientists disapprove of dowsing" and water witching.

The practice of locating underground water using willow branches or other divining tools does seem like a crock of voodoo. However, I had the opportunity to actually feel and see dowsing in action.

One year, at Wright's Lake, which is west of Lake Tahoe, there were piles of snow on the ground and a friend demonstrated dowsing to our camping group. He bent the ends of two pieces of brazing rod (about the diameter of a metal coat hanger, 18" long) at 90 degrees, for handles.

We took turns holding the rods loosely in our fists, which were slightly tilted forward so that the rods pointed ahead, parallel to each other. When we walked over snow banks, the rods swung in our fists to cross over each other. After passing the snow banks, the rods returned to their parallel positions.

When we walked over a stream, the rods vigorously crossed over each other! I can't explain it, but I saw it work. The "water scientists" should go on a field trip and give it a try.

Julie Ruth Haselden

El Sobrante