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Bush agenda is clear

The Bush agenda is clear: permanent war, permanent abridgment of freedom, permanent tax cuts for big campaign contributors, and huge debts for our nation. It doesn't have to be this way. ' Larry Laitner, Ashland

W's diet drug problem

The Texas health commissioner had decided in 1997 to regulate the sales of diet drugs containing ephedrine. This was thought to have caused deaths and many health problems in Texas. This decision changed. Gov. George W. Bush encouraged this decision to not regulate the diet drug. The rise and fall of ephedrine regulation offers a study of politics, policy and money in George W's Texas.

After they decided not to regulate, the money started coming in for GOP races for governor and president. In a short time, approximately &

36;250,000 was gained from the weight loss industry. Ephedra has caused numerous deaths, also linked to many illnesses including heart attacks and strokes. It has been banned by the NFL, NCAA and the International Olympic Committee. Major League Baseball has not yet taken action.

Two years after federal health officials wanted warning labels on ephedra, the Bush administration ordered a start-from-scratch review of the herb. Many doctors were outraged, but ephedra marketers praised the decision.

This is very similar to a situation in Texas when Bush was governor. The health commissioner decided to restrict sales of the diet drug, and then abruptly he changed. ' Mildred M. Furlatte, Rogue River

People first

Thank you for your article on Asperger's syndrome. John Darling presents a realistic and compassionate picture of this disorder on the low end of the autism spectrum. However, I would like to suggest a reduction in the use of words such as suffering and victims to describe the experience of people living with Asperger's. Many people with disabilities or conditions of any kind may not describe their very personal experience in these terms.

— Likewise, terms like stroke survivor, person with cancer, and person with autism are much more empowering to the individual than stroke victim, cancer patient, and autistic. Use of People First language does not judge an individual's experience, but rather identifies a person first as a person, not by their diagnosis. The more we incorporate positive People First language into our daily speech, the sooner we will include people with differences into our daily experience and embrace their differences with respect. ' Amee Turner, Central Point

Don't swallow the dirt

As an environmental professional, I am astonished to hear the DEQ's new PM 10 proposal to allow the significant increase of small particulate emissions from industry in the Rogue Valley. I find it reprehensible that the agency responsible for protecting human and environmental health is advocating increasing air pollution! For industry benefit!

As a scientist I know that interpretation of the facts can lead to misrepresentation of the data. The DEQ is misrepresenting the data. When DEQ states that industry is only contributing 14 percent of the particulate emissions, they use the whole Rogue Valley to obtain this figure. In fact, industrial emissions account for over 90 percent of the pollution in White City. The DEQ is practicing the method, Dilution is the solution to pollution.

This proposal is unjustifiable, irresponsible and would affect the health of all citizens of this valley. I urge you to speak out and oppose this new proposal. Submit your comments to David Collier at collier.david@deq.state.or.us by 5 p.m. Jan. 30. We do not have to swallow this dirt! ' MaryAnn Amann, Medford

The system is still broken

Has anyone noticed that none of the executives of Enron have so far been indicted and it doesn't look like they will be? Texas doesn't have an Elliot Spicer, unfortunately. So stock options and illegal transactions will probably continue.

Companies might have issued fewer stock options if they had been counted as costs rather than free. In 1994, when the Financial Accounting Standards Board tried to issue a rule to that effect, companies that issued lots of stock options mounted a lobbying campaign. And politicians rushed in, in a bipartisan manner, to help them out.

Sen. Joseph Lieberman took the lead: He introduced a resolution opposing the change, and the resolution was approved 88 to 9. Please note this is the same Sen. Lieberman who aspires to become our president, the same one who is so critical of Howard Dean. Sen. Lieberman said on Frontline, Options were not the problem with Enron; it was the way in which executives at Enron sold their options.

As Paul Krugman says, The system is still broken. And I have to agree. ' Marjorie B. Hunsicker, Medford