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Letters to the editor

More clean air tips for DEQ

The tips from the DEQ on improving air quality should have included: driving a vehicle which gets at least 30-35 miles per gallon (if not higher), insisting that Congress mandate these higher standards for all future vehicles, and the banning of all two-cycle engines, which are known to be highly polluting and are found in leaf-blowers, weed-whackers, snowmobiles and jet skis. ' Ginger Rilling, Talent

Put him out to pasture

Don't criticize George W. because he just invited loyal Republicans to say amen to his speech. It is understandable for the president to be careful about an unenthusiastic reaction from the crowd.

After all, he got the job by one Supreme Court vote. I for one look forward to the next presidential election to put the crawfish from Crawford out to pasture on his ranch. ' Don Basey, Eagle Point

Old system worked

The magnitude of numerous recent forest fires reminds me of a time when timber harvesting was considered an honorable and desirable activity.

There were loggers in the woods with experienced manpower, and fire-fighting equipment scattered through out the region. If a fire started in the woods, regardless of the cause ' lightning, campfires, logging, smoker's carelessness, etc. ' no time was lost in jumping on the fire while it was still small.

Individual loggers lost no time day or night to take immediate action. An industry radio system operated by Southern Oregon Timber Industries Association sprang into action to summon additional aid if necessary and to coordinate suppression activities.

There were maintained roads available for access to most fire sites. Trained people traveled them several times a day.

Unfortunately there are very few loggers in the woods these days and many large areas without road access. The price we pay is what we are experiencing now: uncontrolled, large, devastating fires (unprecedented in living memory), smoke evacuations and horrendous cost.

Perhaps it is time to reassess our approach to this problem. The old system worked very well. ' S.V. McQueen, Medford

Accurate information

On Aug. 6, you printed a letter about Social Security in question-and-answer format. I want to give you some facts about the program.

Social Security benefits became taxable in 1983. Congress passed and President Reagan signed the legislation. This legislation caused Social Security benefits to be treated the same way that private pension income was treated.

An immigrant coming into the U.S. at age 65 might be able to get Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits, but that has nothing to do with Social Security benefits. SSI benefits, though administered by Social Security, are paid out of general revenue, not

Social Security trust funds.

The future of Social Security is a question that needs to be debated by the people of this country. However, the people need accurate information on which to base informed decisions.

Please call us at 800-772-1213 or check out our Web site at for more information. ' Greg Skook, Medford

There should be no doubt

In-Case-Washington-Thinks-We're-All-Idiots Department: Is there any doubt why we threaten to invade Iraq this way?

In 1982 an Argentine junta invaded the Falklands for the same reason: to fix a fast-crumbling public approval rating. There's nothing like a war to haul your parishioners into line, and until the junta lost, it worked.

It may work here, but I urge voters to count the cost. I loathe Saddam, but if Iraq, with its millions, has not one sniper able to rid his nation of its top thug, why should we donate the blood of thousands of American youth to their domestic problem?

Our saber-rattling may continue until Bush Minor's next election if that's what it takes to push the poll numbers up after gross financial sleaze among his supporters brought them down. Good thing for the family that Bush Major left Saddam in place ' not that I think the error was deliberate.

What I really think is this: If we must go after Saddam, it should be with maximum ferocity, maximum concern for our troops, and less concern for Iraqis whose bloody work we must do. ' Dean Ing, Ashland