Letter writer should use the actual facts

In 1838, Ralph Waldo Emerson was quoted as saying, "What do you know of what you speak?" responding to his preacher's sermon.

This quote would fit the description of misinformation that was offered in a letter to the editor on Nov. 22 in which President Barack Obama is accused of rewriting history because he omitted "under God" in his presentation.

Historians know that five handwritten copies of Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address exist. According to Ernest Istook, they are not identical because they show how he edited and improved each draft. The first two of the five drafts do not contain the words "under God." President Obama was asked to read and record Lincoln's original draft showing how he developed his speech. That draft is almost identical with the final version, but Lincoln had not yet added the words, "under God" in that first draft.

So just who is trying to rewrite history? "Know of what you speak."

Linda S. Messick

Oakland

Must stop trying to regulate behaviors

In response to a Nov. 21 My Word regarding the Food and Drug Administration's regulation on menthol cigarettes:

Why stop there? Let's have the FDA ban or regulate refined sugar in sake of raw sugar; white bread in favor of whole wheat; and milk chocolate in benefit of dark chocolate.

I point the authors of the My Word to the U.S. Bill of Rights, Amendment X:

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.


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To the people. In Northern California, we do not regulate what people do in their bedrooms; why invade other areas of behaviors?

D. Keith McElvany

San Leandro

Cite the drivers who aren't using lights

Awful rain is here, and so are the awfully stupid drivers. I refer to those driving with the lights out in the bad weather. State law requires headlights and taillights be on -- not just the really cool European driving lights -- in foul weather. I wish the local police would make that a priority item, for the next rainy day.

Lights are also required in the tunnels we in Alameda call The Tubes. Something is needed to wake these people up to safer driving. A traffic citation might do the trick.

Richard Neveln

Alameda

Nation needs an atheist president

It's imperative that America elect an atheist president because the essence of our country's survival is at stake.

Our nation cannot gamble on any form of religion to guide us through the insurmountable obstacles and problems that we now have. Religion is not rational. Religion implies a mind made up. Religion is based on mythology. Religion is in conflict with science. Religion is self-ingratiating.

Only a foolish and naive president would pray, read tea leaves, or ask advice from clergy. Therefore, his task is to govern, litigate and represent the American people.

Above all, an atheist president is a moral president -- moral to himself and his country.

David M. Mandell

Fremont Atheist Forum Leader

Defacing currency illegal for everyone

On Nov. 19, the paper ran a photo showing Rosie Rios visiting in San Leandro.

Maybe someone should tell the U.S. Treasurer that it's against the law to deface U.S. currency. But since she is just a temp worker, it's all right.

Ray Matta

Hayward

Guns are not toys, regardless of color

Once again, a child is shot by a police officer who mistakes a toy gun for the real thing.

Once again, the public reaction is predictable -- the officer should have known that the gun was a toy, and shouldn't have been so "quick on the trigger."

Once again, legislation is proposed that would require toy guns to be brightly colored.

Once again, the obvious root of the problem is conveniently overlooked -- namely, that guns are not appropriate playthings for children.

Giving a child a toy gun reinforces the concepts that killing is fun, that death is only temporary, that "might makes right," that negotiation, compromise and cooperation are for wimps and sissies.

A gun is no more appropriate as a toy than a box of matches or a can of gasoline. Responsible parents should seriously consider whether toy guns -- even brightly colored ones -- impart positive values to their developing children.

Burt Bogardus

Danville