Regarding Diane Barnes' letter discounting the humanity of a human embryo: If she can demonstrate where, on the human lifeline, life actually begins — other than at conception — she should share that with us all.

Regarding Diane Barnes' letter discounting the humanity of a human embryo: If she can demonstrate where, on the human lifeline, life actually begins — other than at conception — she should share that with us all.

Biological research has long established that human life begins at conception (search: "when does life begin"). We have crossed a frightening moral line when we can justify creating human life, for the purpose of destroying it, in the name of research. Go back in history to any number of times humanity turned against itself in the name of "research" and became inhuman monsters.

Ethical stem cell research has created over 70 different treatments using adult stem cells (, without having to resort to cloning (killing) for cells or the harvesting of cells from aborted babies. Pro-lifers welcome ethical efforts to improve the quality of life.

"Potential human:" No human mother has ever given birth to anything other than a real human being. The child may have the "potential" to be a star athlete or a mathematician — but she is human from conception. There is no other option. — Bryan Platt, Eagle Point

The story about Aaron Ford's tree house in Medford appeared in the news because of his neighbor Beth Powell's great concern about the presence and size of the structure. Then, L. Decker wrote in and stated that they did not think the tree house would be great for resale value. Not necessarily. What one prospective homebuyer might be turned off by, the next might find appealing or nonthreatening.

Decker also stated that the homeowners were being held hostage by inconsiderate neighbors and that Ford was showing his son to put himself first, and how to be a bully. This is absolutely ridiculous. Ford is within the bounds of the law and just because it does not meet with the approval of a neighbor, certainly that does not make him an inconsiderate bully.

I think it is just wonderful that the Fords built such a stable and architecturally significant tree house for their son. And I think this would be a much better world if there were a few tree houses in every neighborhood in the country.

The Fords, through good parenting, are providing their family with wonderful memories which they shall never forget. Need one say more? — Wayne Reiman, Eagle Point

Two hundred thousand-plus dollars a year for a new disaster manager in case we need one. I thought we needed a new pool.

Two hundred grand a year would go a long way in paying for a pool. You mean our new city manager can't put into place a disaster team and have tentative plans ready in case?

Maybe we need a new city manager instead of the good ol' boy we got.

I don't think the New York mayor was expecting 9/11, but he dove in and did his job.

I guess they are expecting a government grant again. When you take grants, you are beholding to the grant giver. Watch what you ask for.

Nothing in the city charter says anything about how the council is allocating our money. New schools, police drive a better car than I do, new libraries, new airport, adding public park space and staff, and new parking garages as they drive parking away from downtown.

I had hoped the new younger council members would change the status quo, but the good old white boys shall rule on. Maybe more secret executive sessions, that's the ticket! — Brad Martinkovich, Medford

Regarding "Enough dawdling" (April 2): The logic of the Chicago Tribune editorial is impeccable: Build the Keystone XL pipeline and America's oil worries will be over.

Except that, the pipeline itself to one side for the moment, the "bitumen" which contains the desired final product, oil, requires an enormously costly process — which process consumes as well an enormous amount of energy, itself a process which pollutes and poisons air, land, and water while vastly contributing to the greenhouse gases that are destroying our global ecology.

Which last point should remind us all that the entire Keystone XL charade is designed to produce — you guessed it — oil to be burned in various ways but which will of course further pollute our planet and hasten the global ecological collapse.

One definition of insanity: If you find you have dug yourself into a deep and dangerous hole, keep digging.

Humans are usually not so totally stupid, except when they are slaves to an economic theory and practice that desperately insists that they keep on digging. Sad case. — Gerald Cavanaugh, Ashland

Natural selection is all around us and can be witnessed from single-celled organisms to complex organisms such as humans. The evidence that supports it can be repeated producing the same results.

Does it give us a path from elements to single-celled organisms to our current form? We really do not know. That is why we must continue to question it.

Science is about continually questioning theories until absolute evidence turns an evidence-based theory into natural law. The dogma of science is a departure from the very nature of science.

On the other side, to teach creationism in science class and not a religion class entails the teachings of the Bible to be questioned and scrutinized with the same vigor that any scientific theory must go through, because that is how answers are found in science.

There is much that we do not know and if we do not continue to ask questions we will not know. If our need to feel like we do have the answers pushes us to dogma in order to explain our lack of understanding, great, but it is not science. — J. Cole, Jacksonville

Mr. Steely's letters remind me of that old saw: To the man with a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

Every cogent argument against the president's destructive policies triggers accusations of "racist" or "bigot" from him. Since he supplies no concrete examples, I must accept his accusations as myopic opinions.

When I speak of the president's numerous failings, I base my approach on facts and am guided by the statement of Dr. Martin Luther King: "I have a dream that my ... children ... will live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character."

I disagree with the president's desire to "fundamentally transform" a democratic republic to a feudal utopian collective. His desire to redistribute the wealth, i.e., take more money out of the economy to support additional bloated government bureaucracies, will further harm the country. We cannot tax ourselves into prosperity.

The president ignores the laws of economics, but he does so at our peril.

Our First, Second and Fourth Amendment rights are under assault by our government. As government grows our individual rights must diminish.

Tyranny: Subjects without rights and the means of self-defense. — Dennis V. Sinclair, Medford

Democrats in Oregon's seldom-responsible state Legislature are eagerly pushing forward a state pension reform bill with two key features: claimed future pension savings through reduced annual inflation indexing of state pensions, and deferring to some unknown time in the indefinite future the next biennium's $350 million payment toward the state's unfunded pension liability.

This has the odor of being yet another legislative budget scam. Democratic legislators point to the supposed pension savings to justify diverting the $350 million from our pension obligations to fund current payouts to favored constituencies.

But here's the prediction: In two or three years, the courts will throw out the reduced inflation indexing and its supposed savings as an illegal unilateral change to the state's contractual obligations to employees. Meanwhile, the $350 million will have been budgeted, obligated and probably spent, with taxpayers and our children continuing to hold the bag for unfunded pension liabilities and irresponsible legislators. — Steve Wesche, Ashland