LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Shakespeare column erred

I told my students, when I had students, that Bill Varble thinks he knows Shakespeare better than he actually does, so read him with the same caution you use with Wikipedia.

I won't go into every error in Varble's Feb. 10 "Rogue Viewpoint" column, but let's hit two of the big ones. Varble attributed "all that glisters is not gold" to Shakespeare, who indeed wrote that line. The proverb was already common in Shakespeare's time in different versions, including one by Chaucer. Shakespeare's rendering was one step in the evolution of this proverb.

A more egregious error is Varble's riff on the opening lines of Richard III. He claims that the "son of York" Richard is himself. Hardly. It is the newly crowned King Edward IV, Richard's older brother. It makes little sense that the joy described in the lines that follow would be for the fourth in line to the throne. Reading in context matters.

I think it is great that Varble wants to write about Shakespeare, but maybe he should check his facts first? Similar lapses have bothered me for years. — Michael P. Jensen, contributing editor, Shakespeare Newsletter, Ashland


Say no to GMOs

I just watched a short video that I wanted to share with anyone still sitting on the fence about GMOs (genetically modified organisms). It's a presentation at a conference by a commercial egg farmer about what happened after he switched to non-GMO soy for his layer feed in February 2012. In three days, he saw a huge improvement in the health of his chickens and the quality of the eggs, and therefore the profitability of his farm. (http://bit.ly/YhEhBk)

There are plenty of videos and websites that explain what GMOs are and how GMO soy, GMO corn, GMO sugar and GMO canola oil are in almost all packaged and pre-made foods on our grocery store shelves. A good place to start is the Top Transformational Film of 2012 — out of 30 films, including three on the Academy Award shortlist, "Genetic Roulette" was a clear winner. (www.geneticroulettemovie.com)

GMOs (plants genetically modified at the cellular level, usually by inserting a virus) have been in our food supply for almost 10 years now. They already have, and will continue to, affect our health and our children's health, unless we say no to GMOs! — Kristina Lefever, Ashland


The day after Sandy Hook

On the news the day after the Sandy Hook shooting, a gun store owner said, "The day after Sandy Hook was one of my best days."

If you still believe there should be no restrictions on assault weapons, ponder this: One of the children killed was shot 11 times. Another shocking fact: There are 36 gun stores within a 10-mile radius of Sandy Hook.

Why is the NRA not willing to take any action to make society safer? Is it about rights or money?

I spent years as a marketing consultant. My job was to convince you you wanted what we were selling by repetitive imagery with pictures and words. And it worked. So, when an emotionally troubled person watches violence in any medium repeatedly, it becomes their reality.

They become a player.

What can parents do for young adults who act out violently and refuse help, or who are on meds but refuse to take them? The problem is very complex, but we must stop looking away. One world, one family.

In memory of the victims, and to the survivors, know that you are cradled in the arms of God. May mercy, compassion, and forgiveness blanket our world. — Leslee Freeman, Ashland


Christianity, science meet online

Ms. Nye and Mr. Mittendorf (Feb. 9) should consider spending some time and conscientious effort on www.biologos.org. I'll let the site's creators speak for themselves.

"Who We Are: BL is a community of evangelical Christians committed to exploring and celebrating the compatibility of evolutionary creation and biblical faith, guided by the truth that 'all things hold together in Christ.' (Colossians 1:17) "What We Believe: (1) The Bible is the inspired and authoritative word of God "… (2) God also reveals himself in and through the natural world he created "… (7) The methods of science are an important and reliable means to investigate and to describe the world God has made "… (9) The diversity and interrelation of all life on earth are best explained by the God-ordained process of evolution with common descent. Thus, evolution is not in opposition to God, but a means by which God providentially achieves his purposes.

"What We Do: BL provides "…places where the best Christian minds in the sciences, theology, biblical studies "… meet on the these topics of mutual interest for the good of the church."

It's an interesting site. The science ranges from introductory to complex, and the responses from the audience are instructive. — John Gaffey, Ashland


Stand up for evolution

One reason we educate kids is so they can get good jobs, such as in oil or biotech. Oil companies use the scientific model of earth and life history, not creationism. Biotech develops new products through understanding how evolution works. If we want our kids to prosper in a competitive world, they need to know good science.

Evolution and earth history show their worth everyday in the real world of science and industry. Just ask any oil or biotech company.

Creationism and intelligent design have been repeatedly ruled by state and federal courts to be inherently religious propositions and can't be taught as science. I'm sure most folks do not want some government employee teaching religion to their kids. That is the job of parents, family and church, not government.

Four hundred years ago few people thought so, but now every school kid knows the sun is at the center of our solar system. Evolution will follow the same path, and people will come to see common ancestry with all of life as simply true, and not threatening. We often feel a common bond with animals, especially pets, and evolution shows why; they are our (very) distant relatives. — Len Eisenberg, Ashland


Become a Master Recycler

Abundant kudos to Jackson County Master Recyclers who create positive change by giving time and energy toward waste prevention projects and programs.

Participants in the 2012 class gave 1,089 volunteer hours, while active graduates from prior classes reported 1,112 of service across the county last year. They motivated people in their homes, workplaces, neighborhoods and schools to reduce the waste they make, and joined together to redirect tons of landfill-bound waste.

In the past year, Master Recyclers recycled more than 83,000 pounds of plastic at the annual Plastic Round-up, built awareness at 40 community events, served as Adopt-a-Schools ambassadors, and staffed two successful Jackson County office equipment surplus sales — a few of their more high-profile projects. Behind the scenes, they shared skills including graphic design, construction, painting, research, social networking, equipment maintenance, crafts, event planning and more.

Master Recyclers are an outstanding, local example of how working together toward a common goal makes a tangible, valuable difference, today and for the future. Learn more and join in the upcoming 2013 Master Recycler training course at www.jcmasterrecyclers.org. — Paige Prewett, Jackson County Master Recyclers field coordinator


Barnack should be fired

I'm amazed that Tim Barnack is allowed to continue judging, when his comments at the Taylor trial, as reported in your paper, were so utterly lacking in judgment. It sounds like Barnack would be better suited to an evangelical pulpit. — Julia Sommer, Ashland


Toying with tyranny

It's a shame that the Democrats weren't listening when Fidel Castro admitted that communism had been a failure. Now we're toying with tyranny in the blind hope that it'll be good for us. — Ron Smith, Medford


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