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Since WE Asked: An Inaugural Spectacle

President Bush has been sworn in for his second term, with the usual pageantry and panache Americans have come to expect from the event. But that didn't stop some folks from protesting ' against the president's policies and against the idea of spending around &

36;40 million on the festivities.

With natural disasters both in the United States and elsewhere, we wondered if nine Inaugural galas and the pomp and circumstance were a bit, well, showy.

We asked:

In light of the war in Iraq and disaster relief efforts in the United States and around the world, should the Inauguration festivities for President Bush take on a more subdued manner?

— Your answers follow. After reading through them, please take a moment to answer this week's question.

Absolutely! The millions of dollars that donors have provided added to the millions of dollars of our taxpayer money to fund such a pompous celebration could, and indeed should, go towards educating our youth. They are our future and we are failing them. ' J.P. Kirkpatrick, Jacksonville

Inaugurations without celebrations have happened in the past during times of war or economic crises. Now would be a good time to continue the practice. ' George T., Medford

No. The United States had another fair election. We can all celebrate that our democracy is alive, healthy and working. Freedom of speech is priceless. ' Bill H., Medford

Absolutely! Bush should be quietly inaugurated and the outrageous &

36;40 million should be spent on education, social services and disaster relief. ' C. Elliott, Medford

No. The President campaigned hard and deserves this special night. It's tradition! ' J.B., Central Point

I'm less concerned with the cost than who is picking up the tab: Us taxpayers; and special interest groups who will profit from the administration's policies. ' Matt C., Medford

The 100,000+ individuals killed in this nation's costliest, and most unpopular war since Vietnam should have no impact on Mr. Bush's inaugural ceremonies. After all, it takes money to make money and President Bush and Dick Cheney stand to leave the White House richer as a result of this war than any other U.S. presidency in history. Let's not spoil a good thing for them. ' Tyler R., Talent

There should not even be an inauguration for an incumbent, he's already been installed in office. What a waste of our resources. ' Geo K., Medford

Yes, if you are a condescending, egocentric obstructionist! ' Mark K., Medford

The huge amount of money being spent on President Bush's inauguration is unseemly in these difficult times.' Dolly M., Medford

Could there possibly be a better way to waste millions of dollars on a second-term inauguration without actually setting fire to the money? ' Darryl E., Eagle Point

No. I did not vote for Bush, but our country should continue the tradition of celebrating our democracy with inaugural festivities. If we end the war in Iraq, we save &

36;300 million PER DAY! Why get picky over a measly &

36;40 million? ' Cond? C., Jacksonville

I know that if the Democrats were about to inaugurate their man, this question would not even be asked. Tell me I'm wrong. ' R. W. Havice, Central Point

We didn't cancel the Golden Globes, college bowl games or New Year's festivities. Why bring this up now unless for partisan gain? ' Steven P., Medford

I'll agree to cancel or limit the inauguration festivities as soon as the Oscars, Golden Globes, SAG Awards, Grammys, NBA playoffs and Super Bowl are canceled. ' B. Walters, Medford

Inauguration expenses should be paid for from the National Fund of the victorious party. Wars and tsunamis should not be a consideration. It is a question of which taxpayer should pay the bill. ' Rick S., Medford

This Week's Question

Reports surfaced this week, in the press and from political leaders of both major parties, that there is at least some thought of using American force against Iran, which apparently has been working toward a nuclear weapons program.

Given the issues still surrounding the Iraq war, we wondered whether our local segment of the public was in favor of such a move.

We ask:

How should the United States respond if it's proven that Iran continues to upgrade its nuclear weapons program?

Please keep your answers brief and on the issue at hand. Responses received without your name and town can not be considered for publication. All responses will appear on the Web site a week from today.

You may submit your answer by using the form here on the Web site, or you may respond directly to