Our awareness was raised, but Lance no hero

As a cancer patient, I would never consider Lance Armstrong a hero; a cheat and liar, yes, but a hero -- no way.

Yes, he did bring to light his particular cancer -- testicular -- but as for other cancers, there are so many that never get mentioned or not actively researched. So, where has Armstrong been on shedding light there?

Case in point, the cancer I was diagnosed with in 2007 and which recurred in 2011 -- this time at the base of the skull and pushing into the brain: adenoid cystic carcinoma, a rare and incurable cancer. How rare? Only 1,200 patients per year.

In fact, the first oncologist I saw at John Muir Cancer Center in Concord told me I was his first-ever adenoid cystic carcinoma patient in his 30 years as an oncologist and that he couldn't treat me. And it's been that way with every oncologist I've seen after.

While I lay blame on the medical profession, I also fault the media. And I say this as a former journalist. You write these heartbreaking stories about all the common cancers but avoid the more unknown cancers. Why?

We fight depression, deal with challenges other cancer patients go through, but we're left alone in the battle because it's such an uncommon cancer. And we are ignored by the American Cancer Society because the cancer has a high fatality rate; it's just not in their list to fund research.

So Armstrong a hero? Never.

Les Mahler

Livermore

Let's find out if free energy is real or not

Several inventors profess to be on the cusp of a working Zero Point Energy device prototype, also known somewhat misleadingly as "free energy." These devices are claimed by their inventors to tap into and harvest a minuscule part of the density energy of vacuum space. Generically referred to as "over unity" devices, they theoretically produce more energy than they consume to build and run.

Either these devices exist, or they do not. Either they are merely part of the alternative media energy mythology narrative, or they are real. If they do exist, society needs to enable their proliferation in some palpable manner to carefully phase out our dependence on fossil fuels. Industries can remake themselves. Film was replaced with digital, and we survived. Microchips replaced vacuum tubes, and we survived, and the list goes on and on.

Let's dare to sponsor an international scientific challenge by the likes of NASA, Lawrence Livermore and Sandia national labs, Stanford and UC Berkeley to hold a local public demonstration of such devices in the Bay Area.

Rich Buckley

Livermore

Some just can't tolerate a little opposition

Oh my! Aren't the libs all up in arms ... a comic strip with a conservative point of view. Hoo wee! The world is coming to an end!

I would point out that we who do not have a flaming liberal mindset have put up with Doonesbury and Non Sequitur for years and didn't go off on a tangent to censor those points of view by banning them from the newspaper. That's two outta three with a liberal bent. Recently Non Sequitur inferred any American who owns a gun shouldn't be allowed through the pearly gates. Personally, I found that offensive, but I'm not calling for the strip to be banned from the comics.

So just what is it about a conservative point of view being presented that sends savants from Kensington and Berkeley out of their mushroom patch and into orbit? Could it be a wide swath of intolerance in the liberal mindset for an opposing viewpoint? Egad, here's some advice from a moderate/conservative who tolerates a lot of idiotic liberal claptrap: don't read the comic strip. That's what I learned to do with Doonesbury (one strip above Mallard Fillmore if you need instructions on where to find it). It works. I don't have to put up with Gary Trudeau's socialist tripe. At least Bruce Tinsley and Wiley Miller can draw -- Trudeau can't.

Kathy Chase

Livermore

Obama is not upholding the Constitution

President Obama is ambivalent about our Constitution. His policies, appointments and actions have confirmed my suspicions that he would not sustain our great founding document.

Most recently, his reaction to the Newtown, Conn., tragedy has shown his total disregard for the Second Amendment. Instead of running pell-mell into an attack on the use of firearms, we, as thinking Americans, must proceed carefully in a way consistent with our laws. California already has laws similar to what is being pushed onto all Americans.

That is how it should be. No place in the Constitution gives the federal government the right to make these decisions for the 50 states. The separation of powers and our Bill of Rights are crucial factors in determining the best path to follow. Constitutional principles and constraints, so vital to preserving our cherished liberties, must be observed.

Joan Hamblin

Danville

Contra Costa should also ban plastic bags

Effective Jan. 1 Alameda County has implemented a countywide ban against the plastic bag. Alameda County joins several other Bay Area counties including Marin, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz and even Los Angeles County in Southern California. San Francisco became the first city in the nation in April 2007 to ban the plastic bag.

Most, if not all, of these counties also concurrently impose a price on receiving a paper bag. We all see countless plastic bags littered on the side of the highways and streets in our communities. They also find their way into our storm drains and end up in the Bay and the ocean. The problem is worldwide. It is reported that the United States alone uses 100 billion of these plastic bags annually. It is time for Contra Costa County to follow in the leadership of many other counties and cities throughout the Bay Area and country and ban the plastic bag here as well.

Alan Rosenberg

Danville

If you don't like it, don't look at it

I am responding to a letter that appeared Jan. 16 on the Opinion page of the San Ramon Valley Times.

The writer stated that the Mallard Fillmore comic strip is a political cartoon that doesn't belong on the comics page. He goes on to say that his real objection is that "young, unsophisticated readers" would be subjected to "propaganda ... where they may be unduly influenced by the message of this right-wing political cartoon."

I find it most interesting that, while that writer finds Mallard Fillmore's conservative bent distasteful, he apparently has no problem with the liberal political views espoused daily in the Doonesbury comic strip. I actually find it refreshing to have both sides presented and commend the SRV Times for showing both strips on the same page. There is a very simple solution for those individuals who don't like the Mallard Fillmore strip: don't read it!! But don't impose your politically intolerant views on others.

Linda Thompson

Alamo