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Marriage means joint checking

Rather than gender being the critical factor in whether people can marry, the critical factor should be the joint checking account.

A joint checking account speaks to the willingness of the couple to share the wealth or the poverty in an equal manner, and the willingness to struggle with each other over what should and shouldn't be bought, sold, or traded. It is there that true commitment and true trust is found.

If a couple doesn't have a joint checking account they are probably, in my book, just shacking up. I don't have much problem with the idea of shacking up except that, as Dr. Laura tells us endlessly, it has resulted in millions of children who don't know and will never know their fathers.

I suggest that if a couple has a joint checking account they are eligible to be married, be they gay, straight or one of each, provided that they are old enough to know what they are doing, which is usually somewhere around 30 but you can't count on it. They should be able to walk up to the county clerk's office, hand the clerk a voided check from their joint account, and ask for a marriage license. ' Peter Silverman, Ashland

How we value life

Watching the Reagan coverage, I began to contemplate how we value life and choose to celebrate its passing.

As long ago as the Neanderthal period, lives were valued and honored as evidenced by the wide variety of wildflowers scattered in graves. We don't know if this was standard procedure or reserved for special individuals, but it may be interpreted by some as simple honors reflecting a primitive society.

— I prefer to think they used the flowers because, simply, it was enough. We've come a long way since then, haven't we?

Just imagine how the country and the world would have responded if Nancy Reagan and family had dispensed with ceremonies altogether and, instead, requested that the staggering costs of the weeklong spectacle be set aside for Alzheimer's research. What a gesture that would have been.

What a different message that would have sent us. What an acknowledgement of the value of every single life that is fated to be victimized by this disease.

No, I see that this was a state funeral that reflected an attitude that endorses the pursuit of political and personal glory over humanitarian opportunity. Give me wildflowers any day. ' Judith Stevens, Medford

Relay for life says thanks

I would like to thank all of the people who helped to make the 2004 American Cancer Society's Relay For Life of Medford such a success. Because of the support of many individuals, local businesses and volunteers, we had an 86 percent increase over last year, raising over &

36;103,000 that will be used in the fight against cancer!

We'll start planning for our 2005 Relay For Life in January. If you would like to get involved, whether on the planning committee or as a sponsor, all volunteers are welcome.

For more information, please contact Marie Maguire-Cook at 541-855-9754 or 555cook@charter.net

Again, thank you for helping to make the 2004 Relay For Life a success! ' Deanne Tanner, chairwoman, 2004 Relay For Life of Medford

We dare not shrink

Ronald Reagan's passing on the day before D-Day spotlights his leadership alongside FDR and President Bush: Each confronted with courage and clarity a world-threatening tyrannical ideology: fascism, communism and now Islamo-fascist terrorism. The first two were vanquished; we dare not shrink from utterly destroying the third.

Terrorists rejoice in spreading death. If attacking them spawns new recruits, refraining from attacking will be seen as weakness and embolden them even more.

Iraq was a known terrorist state that refused to honor its agreements after being expelled from Kuwait. Our war there is defensive and just.

Nations tempted to support terrorism now understand it will cost them dearly to do so. We have not experienced a single attack since 9-11, an astonishing achievement considering our open society and the near-impossible task of foiling to date every plot hatched against us.

It is a peculiar kind of insanity to think diplomacy can placate such a vicious foe. Terrorists don't want us to change our policy; they want us to die. Neville Chamberlain's naivet? toward the fascists of his day led to the death of millions.

The current Islamo-fascist threat must be wiped out whatever the cost. The alternative is unthinkable. ' Lynn B. Barton, Medford