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Obama’s presidency

EDITOR: Great column by Jonathan Capehart highlighting outstanding moments in President Barack Obama’s remarkable terms of office (“Nine amazing moments of Obama’s presidency,” Sunday). Despite some very deep disagreements with Obama over what I consider substantive issues, I still have respect for his intellect, admiration for his cool, appreciation for his courage not to hide emotions at appropriate times and awe at his grace in extraordinary circumstances.

I predict he will be sorely missed in the coming years and that his stature will increase as time goes on. Twice voted America’s first black president. If that’s not remarkable I don’t know what is. And besides, Michelle married him. QED.

WILL SHONBRUN

Boyes Springs

Milk and dairies

EDITOR: I usually don’t engage in social discourse, but I can’t retreat from comments regarding dairy animal cruelty, environmental impacts and personal food choices. Perhaps naivety is based on exuberance, but the reality is there are 13 percent fewer dairy cows in California today than in 2000 (“Milk labels,” Letters, Tuesday).

During the same period, world population increased from 6 billion to 7.5 billion people. Think of all the excess hot air and human flatulence from a 25 percent increase in people inhabiting the earth. Cattle methane might pale in comparison? Meanwhile, land once dedicated to dairies has gone into nut production.

Regarding cruelty, a doctored YouTube video is the exception rather than the rule. Perhaps visiting a local dairy would open her eyes to the comfort and care given dairy cattle in Sonoma and Marin counties. It’s quite possible the cows have a more nutritious diet and more comfortable surroundings than many residents.

Selecting cow’s milk over plant-based products is a personal choice. Checking, a carton of almond milk has 12 additives to make it nutritionally comparable to cow’s milk. The lactose intolerant have an issue. For those of us old enough to remember the 1950s, it’s butter vs. margarine, Act II.

HANK CORDA

Petaluma

House’s U-turn on ethics

EDITOR: Thanks for the excellent front-page story explaining how the Monday-Tuesday ethics drama unfolded in Washington (“House drops ethics changes,” Wednesday). What’s still a mystery to me is how Rep. Bob Goodlatte and “a chorus of rank-and-file lawmakers” thought that pushing the legislation to the top of their agenda was a good idea. Were they enamored by their newfound power, entirely tone-deaf, or both?

BILL MYERS

Kenwood

Israeli settlements

EDITOR: The American press appears to have little concern for the suffering of the Palestinian people, as the discussion of the U.N.’s censure of Israeli’s building settlements has focused almost exclusively on Israel. Those of us who have seen the roads on Palestinian land, built for the exclusive use of settlers, know how this network isolates villages from one another and from the agricultural lands they had relied on for survival.

Settlements and their roads arise by confiscation of land owned by Palestinians, often by telling families their homes will be demolished.

A contiguous Palestinian state may already be impossible. This is what Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing coalition wants; the newly designated ambassador to Israel also wants Palestinian lands to belong to Israel.

If Israel wants to remain a Jewish state, it cannot permit half of the area’s population (Arabs) to be citizens. It would become an apartheid state, not tolerated by the international community. If Arabs are given citizenship, Israel would cease to be a Jewish state.

Secretary of State John Kerry gave an impassioned plea for a two-state solution, saying the future of Israel’s security, peace and acceptance by the international community as a Jewish state depends upon it. There is only one nation that thinks the settlements aren’t illegal. Donald Trump may make it two.

ROBERT D. McFARLAND

Petaluma

Palestinian conduct

EDITOR: Dan Vrooman’s letter (“A just peace,” Friday) would lead readers to trust that Mahmoud Abbas accepts peace with the Jewish state. But Abbas’ own words say otherwise: “I do not accept a Jewish state, call it what you will.” Even worse, Abbas demands that areas he controls be Judenrein, as he said Friday: “When a Palestinian state is established, it would have no Jewish presence in it.” Just last week, his regime removed six Jews participating in Australian athlete Pat Farmer’s peace run to promote Israeli/Palestinian coexistence.

The Palestinian people deserve leadership who want peace with the Jewish state, not its destruction.

ELI COHEN

Santa Rosa

Try a name change

EDITOR: Why don’t the Republicans just change the name Obamacare to Trumpcare and announce it as the best health plan in the world, the one they always promised and the one America has been waiting for? The public will be happy to believe it, as will Donald Trump, and the problem will be solved.

Then when the Democrats once again take over Congress, they can change the name back to Obamacare. Once more, the American public will never know the difference nor will they care.

JIM ADAMS

Sonoma