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Missed Christmas carols

Thanksgiving to Christmas, no carols to be found on radio. Only little snippets on Garth and Rosemary. Christmas day only canned talk radio. Guess I'll buy a needle for my Graphinola, flatten 45 and 78 RPM records for Christmas 2004.

Jesus is the reason for the season; I want to keep Christ in my Christmas and hear some good old-fashioned Christmas carols, at least on Christmas Day. ' Rosalyn R. Rhinehart, Medford

Curious about coverage

I am a Rogue Valley resident and homeowner currently traveling for the Christmas holiday, and I just saw a report on the Independent Media Center's Web site about a large banner being placed 150 feet in the air above the access road to Mount Ashland. This is an amazing story of great local interest, so I was further amazed to learn that though they had been notified, no media covered the event at all.

I am at a loss as to how the media outlets in the valley, newspaper and television, were scooped by such a small operation as the Independent Media Center? I can only guess that there was an intentional choice made not to cover the voices of dissent on this issue and I would greatly appreciate an explanation as to why.

Thank you and Happy New Year. ' Laurel Maccurdy, Ashland

No longer shops Wal-Mart

I appreciated the letter Supports Wal-Mart. What I liked about the letter is that the letter writer admitted to being not entirely aware of all of the issues at hand. This was also true for me.

I used to shop there, appreciating the low prices. I will never shop there now that I am aware of how unpleasant this retailer is. I know that Wal-Mart's predatory buying and selling practices and their pressure on suppliers to lower their costs causes havoc among workers. Wal-Mart pays minimum wage, fires employees if they try to unionize and limits benefits.

In China and elsewhere workers are paid a pittance to meet Wal-Mart's demands on pricing. By supporting Wal-Mart we are doing irreparable harm to workers here and in the rest of the world.

Far from enhancing the communities in which they build their superstores, they destroy competition, do not invest in the community, and pump their profits daily to Arkansas. Read the chapter on Wal-Mart in the book, Thieves in High Places by Jim Hightower to learn more. ' Jack Eagleson, Medford

Called to task

Well, it looks like Shrub and his minions are finally being called to task. Someone forgot to tell them that there are three branches of our government; not just the executive and legislative branches (Republican Congress that rubber stamps executive decisions), but also the judicial. It's called a system of checks and balances! This has been a bad two weeks for the Bushies.

First, Judge Sullivan denied them more lenient rules for snowmobiles in Yellowstone, a major cause of pollution that the Clinton administration acted upon in order to halt the proliferation of same by decreasing the allowable number of snowmobiles, and thereby decreasing pollution.

And last week the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals blocked the administration from gutting the Clean Air Act! Sorry, Gale Norton and Scott Segal!

And how about the administration withdrawing their initiative to destroy the wetlands? A change of heart and an increasing environmental consciousness? I don't think so.

A presidential decision? I don't think so, since I doubt if Shrub knows what a wetland is. No, a pragmatic decision by Carl Rove to not alienate a large constituency of the Republican Party: i.e., hunters and fishermen, as well as environmentally sensitive Republicans. ' Yale Sacks, Central Point

Christmas 2003

Christmas week of the year 2003, six Israeli citizens fell. Three were 19 years old, one was 22, another 23, with the oldest being 24.

Four of the victims were waiting together at a bus stop, homeward bound for the evening meal.

They came from foreign-sounding cities, but they were sons and daughters to people such as we all are. Never again will they sing, dance, make love or bring happiness to their parents, friends or relatives.

They were children in the wrong place at the wrong time in a world gone mad. Christmas, 2003. ' David L. Israel, MedfordClean up after dogs

Like many others, I am disgusted with owners who fail to pick up after their dogs. It is sad that so many allow their pets to soil our parks and sidewalks without a thought to the effect the messes have on other walkers and those who have the job of picking up after their pets.

On Dec. 24, equipped with plastic sandwich bags, I walked my small dog along the path that allows one to enter the west end of Fichtner-Mainwaring Park. On this path, there are two refuse barrels for walkers to use in order to dispose of their pets' waste, but during the walk, I counted 23 piles of excrement. And that was only on the right side of the path!

As if that isn't bad enough, in the past, I have often seen large dogs being allowed to use the soccer field and other areas of play in order to relieve themselves while their owners stride blissfully along. Until laws are put into effect so that offenders are forced to clean up the messes, I can only hope that unthinking owners will frequently step in some other dogs' offerings. ' Imogene Kvist, Medford

Editorials contradictory

It seems ludicrous to issue two contradictory editorials within a matter of weeks. The first urged everyone to vote for the tax increase to support schools, the needy, the elderly, etc. The second urged people to contribute to a cultural organization, and then an equal amount to the Oregon Cultural Trust. This would result in a tax credit of this amount, thus reducing support available to schools, the needy and the elderly. ' George Owens, Ashland

Ashlanditis spreading

I thought just the flu was contagious and sickening this time of year. I see that Ashlanditis, a very debilitating form of political correctness, has spread to Medford.

A storefront can't be painted yellow? It must be earth-tones or greens? This is an alleged change to a building in the historic district?

To be sure, the way the downtown has been managed by the city is certainly going to make it history, as everyone is moving out for good reason. Is color a change in the building? Doubt it.

What this constitutes is a continued effort of far out planning people to impose their aesthetics on others. I thought the People's Republic of Ashland had the only socialist planning department in the area. Pretty soon we'll hear about what we can wear in downtown Medford ' Mao jackets? ' Thomas C. Howser, Ashland

Argument hard to buy

According to the commentary on Dec. 28 on why the morning-after pill should not be available over the counter, Plan B pills in a drugstore next to the aspirin and cough drops are a bad symbol, because they give an image of a disposable attitude towards sexual intimacy, and women will probably then stop using preventive birth control measures.

I find it extremely hard to buy this argument, especially considering the fact that the author provides absolutely no evidence to support her claims. Furthermore, I cannot understand why all women should be denied the right of a contraceptive backup plan, simply because of the unwarranted assumption that some may take advantage of its accessibility.

If this author doesn't like the symbol she sees in emergency contraceptive at a drugstore, tough. She can go whine about it to the 247,730 yearly victims of rape. These women deserve a chance at protecting their bodies and reproductive rights, and for many this chance is lost without the availability of over-the-counter emergency birth control.

The morning-after pill works best within the first 24 hours after intercourse. Period. ' Ailee Slater, Ashland

The kindness of strangers

Relying on the kindness of strangers does not come easily for most of us, though their kindness is often the sweetest. I recently savored this sweetness when I picked up the numerous Christmas presents strangers had purchased and left at Valley View Nursery's Christmas Gift Tree set up for Food & Friends' homebound seniors.

These kind strangers took the time to select seniors' special requests such as a subscription to Daily Bread, a loud alarm clock with large numbers, a book, gift certificates for manicures and hairstyles, warm things like blankets, socks, flannel nightgowns; and simple things to help them stay in touch, like stationery and stamps.

Realizing it was indeed strangers who had picked out these gifts made their delivery to our homebound seniors all the better for all of us at Food & Friends. We thank them and the folks at Valley View Nursery. ' Sally Melton, Food & Friends, a program of RVCOG

Carry chains and use them

Three hours after starting over the Siskiyou summit we were in Ashland. We had no warning that a blizzard was going on ahead as we drove up the hill. No police or traffic control were to be seen.

Trucks were sliding all over the hill and they had chains but none of the truckers would put them on until they were stuck. Over half of the cars on the hill had no chains and were sliding all over the hill.

When the trucks and cars could go no further they stopped to put on chains in the fast lane, in the slow lane or just anywhere they got stuck. Cars were sliding into other cars and trucks who were putting on chains. Many had no chains and just kept going.

The problem was not the weather but the inconsiderate and thoughtless people trying to put on chains in the middle of the road or not putting on chains at all. This was an easy, safe drive with chains or four-wheel drive but due to a foolish majority of drivers it took three hours to get over the pass and endangered peoples lives. Carry chains in Oregon. ' Mel Carriere, Medford

Should we bow?

Charle Norman suggests that all other drivers should kindly move over so we can get where we're going when owners of an SUV approach. Perhaps SUV owners like her should equip their vehicles with flashing lights and royal trumpets to make it easier for us peasants to see and hear them coming and clear the road more quickly. Should we bow down as they pass? ' Chris Crawford, Jacksonville

How about a tunnel?

Has anybody ever thought of a tunnel on I-5 going under the Siskiyou Summit? ' Grant Willey, Medford