Story belonged on 1A

I think the story regarding the canceled raft trip should have been on the front page. It helps us understand the impact of the shutdown and sheds light on the ridiculousness of our situation. — Kelly Martin, Medford

If the shoe fits

President Obama was trying to justify why he voted against raising the debt limit when he was a senator, but now he criticizes Republicans when they do the same.

Hear what then-Senator Obama said in a 2006 floor speech against raising the debt limit: "The fact that we are here today to debate raising America's debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. It is a sign that the U.S. government cannot pay its own bills. It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our government's reckless fiscal policies. Increasing America's debt weakens us domestically and internationally. Leadership means that 'the buck stops here.' Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren. America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better."

Yes, Mr. President, it is a failure of leadership, and the Americans do deserve better. When you point one finger at the Republicans, remember, three fingers are pointing back at you — where the buck really stops. — Maxine Curtis, Central Point

Letter distorts facts

Andrew Kubik's letter (Oct. 14) misrepresents the "facts" regarding the GMO ban in Europe and in other countries around the world. It isn't the result of any "findings" — scientific ones, at least — but rather the political scare mongering of well-intentioned but ill-informed environmentalists. (Greenpeace especially.) As is the case in Jackson County.

In 2010, the European Commission Directorate-General for Research and Innovation reported that "The main conclusion to be drawn from the efforts of more than 130 research projects, covering a period of more than 25 years of research, and involving more than 500 independent research groups, is that biotechnology, and in particular GMOs, are not per se more risky than ... conventional plant breeding technologies." A similar conclusion was reached previously, in 2001.

That is the view of our own National Academy of Science. The "fact" is, every scientific society in every country that has looked at this issue has come to the same conclusion: the crops currently in the market are safe to eat.

There is absolutely no scientific basis for ruling out the process of genetic engineering of food crops. There are philosophical arguments, to be sure. But those don't reflect any "findings," only "musings" — at best. — Rob Schläpfer, Medford

What is a chemical weapon?

The Nobel Peace Prize goes to a chemical-weapons watchdog group. Congratulations! But I have a question. Aren't all weapons chemical?

Aren't atomic bombs, napalm, agent orange, cluster bombs, the mines we left behind in Vietnam, mustard and sarin gas, and neurotoxic insecticides — manufactured by Monsanto and Bayer — chemical weapons? From 1983-88, Saddam Hussein used mustard and sarin gas to kill thousands of Kurdish and Iranian civilians during the Iraq-Iran War. The gases were manufactured in Germany; our CIA supplied the Iranian military targets, and the USA looked the other way.

Now suddenly, as a result of gassings in Syria, the world has temporarily rediscovered its conscience. Is there a preferred yet humane chemical method to kill combatants and the innocent alike the world can at last agree on?

Man, in supreme arrogance, evidence to the contrary, named himself homo sapiens, Latin for "wise human." LMAO! — H. Bernard Hartman, Medford

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