Toxic chemicals should be investigated more

Kudos to Bay Area News Group writer Heather Somerville who, in a recent edition, gave a well-written piece on the EPA's proposed rules for hormone-disrupting and cancer-causing anti-bacterial soaps. Speaking personally, such soaps, along with fragrance body care and laundry products, often trigger asthma.

I hope that Somerville, under the auspices of this paper, continues her investigation of poorly regulated toxic chemicals. Perhaps she and the paper will win a prize for journalism.

Sue Oehser

Oakland

Snowden's courage should be rewarded

Although enforcement of his decision is pending appeal, U.S. District Court Judge Richard Leon's order that the NSA stop collecting bulk telephony data on Americans' phone calls indicates that we can be a nation ruled by law, rather than by personal dictates, as is North Korea.

There, a man-child can have anyone executed, and all are afraid to protest. Here, citizens can take their grievance that a government spy agency violated our privacy rights to court, and justice can prevail.

Amassing information about everyone's communication, all the time, through telephone, Internet, and email creates a vast potential for corruption, intimidation and general mischief from even the most stalwart of government stewards.


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If you need an example, consider three words: J. Edgar Hoover. He collected files on everyone in Washington, and nearly everyone was afraid of what he could reveal.

NSA's files are ever so much larger, and its ability to mine databases, more powerful. Responsible oversight has failed; the FISA court does not protect us.

How were challengers, Larry Klayman and Charles Strange, able to verify NSA's abuses? Until recently, all claims of uncontrolled spying were denied. But one brave whistle-blower, Edward Snowden, revealed NSA malpractice.

And how has Snowden been thanked for his courage? Our government indicted him for treason when he should be honored as a national hero. Without courageous individuals, our nation of law could fall victim to man-child dictators.

Bruce Joffe

Piedmont

Oakland Tech should carry Mandela name

Oakland Technical High School should be renamed Nelson Mandela High School.

I remember, as a freshman on the first day at Tech, in English class we had to write what Oakland Technical High meant. The majority wrote it was a school like carpentry, plumbing, electricity, car repair. (Tech did have a repair shop.) I wrote that a technical is a personal foul for unsportsmanlike conduct.

My suggestion is to rename Tech to Nelson Mandela High School.

John P. Kelly

Fremont

Deepest sympathies to McMath family

I just read and heard the story of a beautiful girl by the name of Jahi McMath who, for some unknown reason, is now legally dead by, of all things, a heart attack at the age of 13.

Not only is her situation a tragedy, but her family was blown off by the hospital staff and was told to take her off life support.

I cannot judge being taken off life support, but what I do judge is the blatant indifference. It makes me wonder if the hospital was told that she did not matter.

McMath does matter, because from what I read about her, she was amazing, loving and full of life.

I cannot imagine the grief and anger her family is going through. She was just a child. Who knows what was in store for her and her future, and what she could have contributed to society.

My very deepest condolences to her dear family and friends.

Anita Imazumi

Hayward