Thanksgiving's real meaning being lost

This is regarding the recent article, "Retailers gear up for Black Thursday."

Really? Has everyone forgotten the meaning of Thanksgiving? It means we should be thankful to live in this country, for our freedom, for our health and for our families. To celebrate togetherness.

Now families are lured to leave the dinner table to get to the retailers.

If you or a loved one was fortunate to not be a victim of Sandy Hook, a movie theater, a typhoon, a military base, a school, Twin Towers, a tsunami, etc., stay at the dinner table, bow your head, and really be thankful for what you have. Not for what you can buy on sale. That is Thanksgiving.

Rita Gordon

San Lorenzo

Maybe Batkid can save another day

Can we ask Batkid to save us from the BART board?

John T. Reed

Alamo

BART's family leave raises larger issue

Daniel Borenstein's recent column about the BART paid family leave policy shines light on a pressing issue that needs to be addressed beyond just BART.

A 2011 report by Human Rights Watch found America lags behind 178 countries that do offer paid family leave for new mothers. Beyond caring for a new family member, the need for paid leave to care for a parent or spouse will only increase as 10,000 baby boomers turn 65 every day for the next 16 years.

While California and New Jersey offer paid leave, the "pay" in California is only 55 percent of your regular pay -- not enough for many in the Bay Area to survive on, especially with our high housing costs.

Our elected officials should see this as an opportunity to begin a broader conversation: What if our state supported our families (and led the nation) by requiring paid family leave for three months, with full pay?

Sean and Liz Coffey

Oakland

President Obama didn't dodge draft

This is regarding he Nov. 14 letter, "Those who didn't serve mocking veterans."

Suggesting that President Barack Obama is a draft dodger who thinks "military people and veterans are stupid" doesn't make much sense in view of the fact that Obama was 10 years old in 1973 when the draft ended.

The best thing we could do for veterans is to work harder for peace and reconciliation, and maintenance of our domestic infrastructure so our vets have a better place to live when not on active duty.

Elaine Brooks

Oakland

Coverage of 'skirt day' is much appreciated

Thanks for the coverage of Sasha Skirt Day, when classmates wore skirts to support the badly burned teen.

We have the right to free speech. Shouldn't we also have the right to free dress? Actually, some guys look cute in skirts. Maybe men should ditch the coats and ties.

I am a fairly good drummer. We can start a band, "Sasha Sashay," and after we get a few really good hit songs, not just the guy members of the band but fans everywhere will be wearing skirts to our concerts.

It might sound frivolous. Stranger and more beautiful things have happened.

James Wilson

San Pablo

Has to be a way to get rid of union

Again, a union has managed to hijack the taxpaying public. Its demands are even more unrealistic than the already exorbitant level of its current pay and benefits. Enough is not a word in their vocabulary, but they never tire of trumpeting the worn battle cries: "no contract, no work," "no give-backs" or "unfair to organized labor."

There has to be a way to get rid of those insatiable parasites, presumably by hiring nonunion workers who are willing to spend a full productive shift, with reasonable work rules, and for wages commensurate with the job.

Adolf Scherer

Castro Valley