Our addiction to oil is the primary cause of many of our biggest problems, from endless wars to climate change. In light of this fact, appointing ExxonMobil Chairman and CEO Rex Tillerson as secretary of state makes as much sense as having the CEO of Philip Morris head the American Cancer Society. It appears that the incoming presidential administration sees blood for oil as a good deal for America.

Hugh Iglarsh, Skokie

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How to spot a bad president

A number of years ago I read the book “Star Spangled Men: America’s 10 Worst Presidents” by Nathan Miller. He wrote that it is easier to choose the 10 best presidents by their accomplishments than to choose the 10 worst by their failures. He cited one criteria that has stuck with me for identifying a terrible president: damage to the office. He gave the example of Richard Nixon, who abuses his power before, during and especially after the Watergate break-in.

I thought a lot about that book on Wednesday after watching President-elect Donald Trump’s first press conference. The fact that it was televised a mere 13 hours after President Barack Obama’s Farewell Speech made the impact of who is about to become our leader all the more real. How can a nation change so much in four years? Obama’s speech contained an eloquence that we will sorely miss. His list of accomplishments was real. Americans are in a better place than they were eight years ago. His admonishment of Americans who do not take their jobs as citizens seriously also was real. He explained vividly how democracy cannot work without the active participation of all.

Contrast this speech with Trump’s evasive, bombastic and cliche-ridden comments the following morning. His use of expressions such as “give me a break” and “believe me” and “it’s gonna be great” and “it’s a disaster,” as well as his  repeated use of “I won,” reminded me of a high school student unprepared for Speech Class. Trump offered no details on his plans for the Supreme Court, health care or creating jobs. His foreign policy plans remain a mystery to everyone. His lack of intellectual thought or analysis was more than evident.

This was the same Donald Trump we saw throughout the election season. Forty-seven percent of the voters felt that this man was the best choice for this exalted office?

Jan Goldberg, Riverside

Trump is self-centered teen

It is beyond a doubt that our newly elected president is an adolescent in his psychological development, as evidenced by his press conference. For the next four years we will be at the mercy of an autocratic narcissist whose disconnection with the reality will lead to an abrogation of constitutional rights and the curtailment of civil. He is a teenager trapped in a pathology of complete self-centeredness. Thanks again, you angry disaffected voters yearning for a demagogue.

Edward Juillard, West Beverly