Constitution, not NRA, lets us have guns
Our Constitution protects the right of individuals to possess and carry weapons. Accordingly, in our nation, laws regulating firearms are liberal, and firearms are common and easily obtainable.
Today, many people believe that permissive firearms laws are no longer the right policy for our nation. They believe that people will be safer and happier if firearms are no longer available for misuse. That is a valid opinion.
However, the Supreme Court has made very clear that if people want to enact new policies according to this opinion, their first step must be to propose an amendment to the Constitution. As long as the highest law of the land protects ownership and carriage of firearms as an individual right, there is very little that the president or Congress can do to outlaw firearms. The Constitution, not the NRA, is the obstacle to changing our nation's firearms policy.
Blame culture, access to guns for the violence
Banning all guns on one side and arming teachers on the other is a superficial choice. There should also be a discussion about our country's culture that makes death easy, common, and even fun.
Look at how Hollywood makes the mega dollars production of films, TV shows and video games a training university for killing.
Look at our fondness for criminal wars like Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan, and how we trivialize the death of "collateral damage."
Look at our annual hunting season rite, where we take our boys and girls to have their first exposure to killing as a fun family affair. Look at drive-by shootings and teenage gangs that have killed so many of our kids in poor urban areas and for which most of us do not grieve but accept as "their problem".
And look at the ready availability of all kinds of weapons, at home and in the stores, as an expression of our liberties, using twisted interpretations of legal words.
Sanctity of life is dead, partly because of assault weapons are not banned, partly because we failed to better protect the innocent at schools. But we also must look at the dark recesses of our American soul and see that some cancers have long been festering there.
Thanks to the Alehouse for troops' support
In the spirit of Christmas and supporting our troops overseas we would like to thank the owners of the First Street Alehouse in Livermore for donating comfort items that our service men and women cannot obtain in these far-off lands.
The Alehouse's donation will be used to help boost the morale and spirits of our local troops. Thank you, Alehouse for your generosity and support. We are gratified and proud to find merchants that will help to support our young men and women spending so much time away from their families over this holiday season.
Thank you, First Street Alehouse!
Accountability on Libya yet to materialize
A mistake used to be stepping into an elevator that is going up when what you actually wanted to do was go down -- your own fault. In Washington, D.C., a mistake is allowing the deaths of four American citizens in Benghazi, Libya, and finding no one at fault. The corruption of the political process added to political correctness and an uninterested press is going to be the ruin of the United States of America.
'Cliff' editorial did a disservice to its readers
Your editorial in the Dec. 27 Times unmasks any pretense that the Valley Times editorial board is an unbiased arbiter of the truth.
Your editorial focuses solely on the issue of tax increases while casting a blind eye to the Republican insistence on spending reductions. Reiterating the Democratic talking points regarding tax increases added neither clarity nor value to the issue of what to do about the fiscal cliff.
The fiscal cliff represented the greatest potential for tax increases and spending reductions. Do you think that President Obama is not willing to pocket the $500 billion in tax increases offered by a return to the Clinton-era tax rates? And do you think that the Republicans are not willing to pocket the $1.2 trillion in spending cuts? Both parties will get the most of what they want. And in the end, average Americans will suffer by keeping less of what they earn in an economy that faces recession as a result of going over the fiscal cliff.
You have missed the real issue and impact of the fiscal cliff.
Schools made wrong call on Cazares' benefits
As a resident of Pleasanton for 45 years with six children who graduated from Pleasanton schools and grandchildren currently attending, I have always been very happy with the school district, especially the teachers who are innovative and dedicated while enduring the pressures of parents and a central office that expects high performance no matter what.
However, lately I am less than enamored of my hometown school district's administration -- namely the school board and superintendent's cabinet. While teachers, classified and custodial staff haven't had a raise in five years, the administration, who not so long ago squandered millions on the hapless planning of a Ruby Hill school, is now showing further lack of foresight.
Last week they granted Luz Cazares an enormous raise, a retirement boost and virtually a lifetime dental-health-and-vision package. Jeff Bowser, Chris Grant, Joan Laurson and the cabinet must live on a different planet than the rest of us. Perhaps they mistook Luz for education's equivalent of Josh Hamilton. The rumor was that San Ramon Unified, a district of equal excellence, might snatch Luz up if we weren't careful! Seriously? If Luz resigned or retired tomorrow, Pleasanton, would have hundreds of applicants to review and select from -- as San Ramon Unified is doing as we speak.
There is no shortage of amazing administrators seeking work in districts like ours. As good as she may be, Luz Cazares is not Warren Buffett. School finance is not rocket science. Thankfully, there are two members of the school board who have sense and integrity -- thank you, Jamie Hintzke and Valerie Arkin for holding your ground. When are the others up for re-election?
Oh, and P.S. -- Pleasanton Unified should have defended Jim Hansen's wise decision to not allow students to have their gratuitously idiotic pictures in the Amador yearbook. Why fear the ACLU? They were wrong. We should have stood our ground and fought back -- being in the yearbook is a privilege for students who actually attend Amador, not a venue for former students to look like imbeciles. They can post that stuff on Twitter or Facebook.