GOP demands are an act of treason

Like petulant children, congressional Republicans shut down the government because they don't like Obamacare. More to the point, they don't like Obama.

Obamacare is primarily a Republican program, modeled after the Massachusetts program signed into law by Mitt Romney. It provides health insurance to all through private insurance companies. When bringing the Affordable Care Act into law, Obama compromised wholeheartedly with Republicans; he even abandoned the key element, a single-payer public option.

Still, the Republicans who want to destroy Obamacare by shutting down our federal government are saying "Obama needs to compromise." Our democracy cannot yield to terrorists within the halls of Congress who want to destroy our system of government.

If Republicans wanted to fix Obamacare, they could pass a specific bill to fix it. They tried 42 times to kill Obamacare and failed. Now they are attacking our governmental budget and national economy. It's treason.

Bruce Joffe

Piedmont

Commentary author relies on bad data

The author of a recent My Word, "Schools in trouble ...," uses bad data to arrive at an erroneous conclusion.

His primary evidence is the SAT. Using that one flawed test to measure 130,000 schools is like attempting to describe an elephant after measuring its toenail with a broken tape measure. The SAT's usefulness as an indicator of college success is currently in question; 850 colleges and universities no longer require the SAT for admission.


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The author states that only 56 percent of students who meet the SAT's own arbitrary benchmark do not finish college in four years. You could toss a coin and get the same level of predictive accuracy. In his assertion that SAT scores are falling, he fails to account for the increase in the number and types students taking the SAT. The number of low socio-economic status students taking the test almost tripled between 1972 and 1992.

His analysis of the PISA test data also fails to account for socio-economic status, again reducing a diverse nation of 55 million students to one number. Affluent American students do as well or better on these international assessments than the best students from other countries, which suggests that our problem with college readiness is not our schools, but our failure to reduce poverty.

Ted Allen

Oakland

Remove big money from our politics

As the electorate thoughtfully considers the merits of the Affordable Care Act and a government shutdown, Republicans couldn't care less; they're too busy posturing for their next election.

The current battle in Washington has nothing to do with legislating or doing what's best for the American people. It's simply about Republican lawmakers trying to keep their jobs.

Recent news stories detailed how 95 percent of income gains over the last three years have gone to the wealthiest 1 percent. What are they doing with all that money? They're buying elections for men and women who will do their bidding in Congress. In the world of conservative politics, if you don't toe the party line, you're out.

Forget this latest manufactured political crisis; the script will run its course regardless of what the 99 percent say or do. What we really need to do is demand big money be taken out of politics. Until that happens, the top 1 percent will continue to hoard wealth and power through their Republican lap dogs in Congress, and those lap dogs will keep getting re-elected.

Christian D. Taddeo

Danville

Representation in U.S. House is rigged

There are examples throughout history of strife, conflict and dysfunction when a minority group within a society govern or try to impose their will on the majority. Group definitions have usually been characterized by race or religion. In America, we're categorized by our political affiliations (D) liberal or (R) conservative.

The U.S. Senate was designed to balance regional interests by allotting two senators to each state. Some have argued this provides disproportionate representation.

The House of Representatives, or "The People's House," was designed to create proportional representation by providing areas with greater population representation in proportion to the number of people. In theory, this creates a House reflecting the views of a majority of the people.

Our current political problems have resulted from this no longer being the case. The way congressional districts have been rigged to ensure Republican control has resulted in disproportionate representation for conservatives.

Democratic members of the House received more than 500,000 more votes than Republican members in the last election. However, Republicans were provided with 234 voices vs. 210 voices for Democrats, who were the majority of the electorate.

Would we be where we are now if the House of Representatives had proportionate representation?

Barry N. Gardin

Hayward