Presidents are free to use Bible for oath

This is the season of the year when atheists, in the guise of defenders of the U.S. Constitution, speak out against nativity scenes displayed on public property and the singing of Christmas carols in public schools. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that a letter writer in the Dec. 13 paper lashed out at the use of the Bible at presidential inaugurations.

In truth, the oath of office as stated in Article II, Section 1 of the U.S. Constitution makes no mention of God and makes no requirement that a Bible be used. The words, "So help me God," often recited at the end of the oath, are not part of the official oath of office either. Rather, tradition says that George Washington added those words on his own.

Up until the late 19th century, presidents generally provided their own Bibles. John Quincy Adams in 1825 and Teddy Roosevelt in 1901 didn't use a Bible.

The writer states that the use of a Bible is "clearly unconstitutional." Nothing could be further from the truth. The Bible is not required and passages are not read or otherwise included in the oath. Using the writer's logic, the president should be searched before taking the oath to see if he's carrying a crucifix or a St. Christopher's medal.

Anthony C. Siacotos

Fremont

Fire the lot of them at Port of Oakland

I'm sure I'm not the only person in Oakland saying: Fire everyone and start all over with the Port of Oakland and staff.

No one reported questionable expenses of the board seen by the finance staff. Why are they employed? Port Commissioner Gilda Gonzales was quoted as saying "give people the benefit of the doubt."

Why, when they broke the rules of the California Constitution and federal laws? What am I missing? That alone says fire them.

Then, after Maritime Director James Kwon "retires" (excuse me, he should have been fired for cause), he is kept on as a "replacement adviser." To do what? To advise his replacement and or the board on how to game the system on filling out expense reports? My opinion: Fire the lot.

Susan Elliott

Oakland

Must change our thinking on waste

We produce an astounding amount of waste, yet rarely even give it a passing thought ("A cleaner way to collect waste" by Rebecca Parr).

Waste is a constant environmental issue, but it seldom receives any news coverage. Rather, we're bombarded with articles about global warming or the melting of the Arctic polar ice.

So it was especially refreshing to see how instead of letting waste contribute to other pressing problems, Waste Management is using waste for an environmentally friendly result.

Capturing the methane from the landfills not only allows garbage trucks to emit less carbon, but also represents how we need to think innovatively and responsibly if we want to lessen our environmental impacts.

The article should make readers think twice about the waste process when they chuck something in the trash. After all, awareness is key.

Aliah Al-Khalidi

San Leandro

'Crybaby Congress' is not going away

Thanks for the article on redistricting.

When John Boehner said he has a "mandate" because Republicans were re-elected to the House, he neglected to mention that those re-elections are the result of election districts that were rigged during the latest redistricting.

Nationwide, Democrats running for Congress got 1.1 million more votes than Republican candidates. In places like Virginia and Ohio, although Democrats got nearly half the votes, they ended up with about a quarter of the seats.

So don't let Boehner kid you. The goal of Congress is to subvert the will of the people and do the bidding of their wealthy contributors.

The next redistricting is after the 2020 census, so get used to your "Crybaby Congress" because these whiners aren't going away anytime soon.

Bob Baldwin

Berkeley