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Thanks for watching

Regarding the gentleman who thinks that the Fox News Channel is part of the right-wing Bush-Cheney organization, I say thanks for watching. Stay tuned and you might learn something. ' Carl Miller, Jacksonville

Thanks for rescue

I would like to thank all the people who helped my family and friends while rafting down the Rogue River on Wednesday, Aug. 8.

Our raft flipped over after running into a downed tree in the middle of the river near Shady Cove. We were able to cling to the tree and hold on for approximately an hour until about 30 or so good Samaritans who saw what happened were able to retrieve our raft and carry it up river about a quarter mile or so and got us loaded back in.

All the gear we lost (ice chests, flip-flops, oars, etc.) was also retrieved by this same group of people. It's awesome to know that there are still good people in this world! Again, thanks! ' R.Deates, Central Point

Frustrated by editorial

I am writing as an individual, not as board chairman for Rogue Community College. I am frustrated by your It's academic editorial.

Recently, the governor and the state Board of Education stated that priority for state facility funding would be given to joint, community college/university projects. Therefore, RCC and SOU began discussions concerning a joint facility. Legislation approving bonding for facilities is a year out. The Tribune was premature in taking a position on this issue.

— Bond funds for capital expenditures cannot be used for operations. The state should do more to fund education, but it's ludicrous to take the position that Southern Oregon should reject state bond funding because the Legislature has misplaced priorities. Bond funds will go elsewhere.

RCC leases most of its Jackson County facilities. Rent is funded from its operations budget. If RCC could build facilities as a result of state bonding, rent saved would be available for operations.

No Tribune staff person contacted RCC or SOU representatives to discuss the editorial opinion. Just like any other institution or business, RCC strives for good public awareness and relations. Your editorial harms SOU and RCC and misinforms the public, and you should apologize. ' Patrick Huycke, Medford

Gun deaths not accidental

I'm not anti-gun, but I feel compelled to reply to Mr. Ferguson's assertion that guns are safer than doctors. With the exception of the extremely rare assisted suicide, all deaths caused by doctors are accidental. Most gun deaths aren't. ' Michael Hoyt, Jacksonville

The human cost

The words came from a couple being interviewed by Amy Goodman on her program, Democracy Now. Their son had committed suicide after coming home from service as a Marine in Iraq.

The words were the human cost. The father, Kevin Lucey, said he realized now, although he had always been an avid newspaper reader, that statistics about deaths and wounds don't measure the human cost.

We read it day after day. Three hundred killed as Marines start the war for Najaf again. Thirty today. Twenty yesterday. Piles of bodies for the imagination ' reminiscent pictorially of Abu Ghraib. Mainly Iraqi civilians, all ages, babies, school children, you name it; some Iraqi soldiers; a few American or other soldiers.

There were things about the war in Iraq that Jeffrey Lucey could not tell his parents, he said. What he did tell them was that he had killed two unarmed Iraqis ' shot one in the eye from about five feet. He had taken their dog tags and wore them as he hung himself with a garden hose.

The Luceys said their son's fellow Marines at the funeral were not Marines but sobbing men. So, the human cost of U.S. trust, belief in war? ' Hal Jamison, Ashland

Belittling our troops

My heart aches when I read the letters to the editor.

Don't you know that when you condemn the war in Iraq you belittle the lives given for our country ' you belittle our brave men and women fighting for our country?

The real loss would be if we quit the pursuit of freedom for the people striving to come up from the dark ages. Then the lives so bravely given would be in vain.

Our enemies realize Americans are not going to remain docile when a 9/11 happens ' at least most of us. It takes more than a memorial built for those who died in the holocaust of 9/11 here in America ' like the brave man who lost his treasured son. Thank God for men like him.

We are here to serve God to wipe out atrocities. Let's not degrade our minds with Hollywood's obscene movies or their gross attire. Come on, read the scripture ' it's God's promise ' it will purify our minds.

Praise God, we have a praying president. ' Wanda M. Rasor, Eagle Point

Consider Kerry

All who live in freedom understand the nobility of spreading democracy.

However, now that President Bush assertively vows to help spread democracy around the globe, he finds himself in a close presidential race. Why's this so?

The answer may lie with Bush. Lest we forget, he previously polled high because he appeared consistent and trustworthy. This was especially true in the months after 9/11. Back then, due to his dignified handling of the crisis, many liberals revered Bush.

The problem is that Bush, regardless of whether he technically lied about Iraq, has created a perception of deception. This perception was fueled by his shifting focus regarding Iraq.

Spreading democracy is one of his latest Iraq explanations.

Ironically, many moderates and conservatives now claim that Bush's inconsistent policy could foster more terrorists.

This November, consider Kerry. John Kerry's a decorated veteran with aptitude to safely spread democracy in a clear manner. ' Perry Casilio, Talent

Address 'dead zone'

The ocean's dead zone off the central Oregon coast deserves the attention of a national, if not international, crisis. I am requesting that our congressional leaders address this immediately.

If, as scientific evidence suggests, this is a phenomenon of global warming, it is finally in our faces, and time to mend the error of our ways. Now. ' Robin Emmens, Jacksonville

Excitement is gone

Round up the fellow supporters, load the banners into the van, and we're off, amid off-key attempts at support songs, we're off to see the candidate!

Well, not quite ' No signs, no banners, no bags. Uncomfortably close to No input, except credit card, cash, check. We call it security, this concern that's replaced excitement, fun and dialogue.

If we really are in a war with terror, the logical response would be courage. Catchy slogans like Live free or die.

Perhaps one of the candidates will choose to lead, not cower, will invite back the signs and banners, remembering an earlier congressman who said, Be sure you're right, and then go ahead. ' Bob Canape, Ashland

Surprise and disappointment

Surprise, sprinkled with disappointment, highlighted my reaction to the July 23 article, Condom leis irk fairgoers.

I agreed to sit at the fair booth, expectant. I hoped to share my gift ' the ability to talk with parents about the concerns that swirl around the lives of their teenagers.

Within the past 10 years of my career, it has become very clear to me that the sexual beliefs and behavior of a teen's peer group, along with the mass allure of MTV messages, is often the sex educator the parent is not.

While the condom lei took center stage, I want to offer another perspective ' one at the heart of Planned Parenthood philosophy. Parents, talk with your teens. Tell the truth about your feelings and beliefs; be willing to answer whatever questions come. An honest discussion may open the door for your teen to come back to you. If you are experiencing some nervousness, know it is your signal that the discussion is very important. Lives may depend on a discussion that is authentic.

And if you need personal help or access to medically accurate sexual information, the professionals of Planned Parenthood can help. For 30 years, they have been. Call 541-772-5524. ' Jan Janssen, Planned Parenthood board member, Ashland

Mustangs not natural

I read a recent article that said the BLM is paying millions of dollars ' taxpayers' dollars ' to ranchers to provide pasture for wild mustangs. This is outrageous.

Contrary to what the bleeding hearts would have you believe, mustangs ' feral horses ' are not part of our natural environment. They are a destructive, invasive species that was brought here by humans (the root cause of most environmental problems). They are no different than feral cats, opossums and Japanese beetles.

Should we create taxpayer-sponsored sanctuaries for these animals as well? I personally have five former feral cats in my care. I would love to receive government money for taking care of them.

The cold, hard truth is, the American Mustang is not a magical, romantic creature. The only thing it truly represents is man's shameful irresponsibility. It's bad enough working people have to support the human welfare cases in this country.

If the Wild Horse Annies of the world want to preserve these useless animals, then let them pay for it out of their own pockets. Stop bleeding the rest of the American taxpayers with these ridiculous pet projects! ' Carol Putnam, horse owner, Central Point

Don't vote for Nader

I address this letter to those earnest folk who intend to vote for Ralph Nader. If all those who voted for Nader in 2000 had voted instead for Gore, there would have been no invasion of Iraq, 10,000 dead Iraqis would be alive today, 900 dead Americans would be alive today, tens of thousands of maimed people would be hale and &

36;200 billion wasted on a pointless war would have been saved for constructive uses.

The rich would be paying their fair share of taxes. Our environmental laws and enforcement mechanisms would not be in tatters. Our civil rights would still be secure.

I respect your feeling that voting for the lesser of two evils leaves a bad taste in your mouth. But the times are too troubled to afford the nobility of your lofty ideals. People are dying; the Republic is in threat. Please, please, America needs your votes. ' Chris Crawford, Jacksonville

Workers deserve health care

In response to Benefits from the past (Aug. 11), the editorial focuses on a group that had their wages frozen while prices continued to rise, has more workload shifted to them as positions are lost through attrition, are often working two or three jobs to make ends meet due to pay well below the private sector, and then states that somehow state workers do not deserve what other American workers deserve.

All American workers deserve paid health care. This is not an entitlement or a privilege. It is a right. We live in a country of abundance, yet we are the only industrialized nation that does not provide universal health care. This is more than a disservice to the American worker, it is a travesty.

It's true only 14 percent of states still offer fully-funded health care. But instead of saying those states offering medical benefits should lower their standards to those set by businesses (whose sole purpose is profit), we should be setting the standard of what an American worker is worth.

Rather than saying the state of Oregon should emulate big business, Oregon should be leading by example. State workers deserve wages and health care. The American worker deserves living wages and health care! ' Sophia Smolen, president, SEIU 084, Ashland

Lead by example

Your editorial of Aug. 11 on fully paid health insurance for state workers was timely and important, but two more important points need to be made. This debate is a part of the larger question on how best to pay for health care in our country. We are long overdue for a serious, nonpartisan discussion as Oregonians and Americans as to what role we have as individual citizens, as employers and as employees.

That discussion and debate needs to end with broad reform of public and private health insurance and the state and federal employee benefit law that is intertwined. Nearly every time I hear Sen. Ron Wyden speak, he talks about the exploding cost of health care as the single greatest issue facing our economic future. He's right.

The second point I would make is that members of the Oregon Legislature and the governor enjoy the same benefits as all other state employees. Until they lead by example and change their benefits to ones comparable to most Oregonians with high deductibles and much larger out-of-pocket costs they have absolutely no incentive to help with this reform. They simply do not have a dog in this fight. ' Al Densmore, Medford, Oregon State Representative 1971-1977

Saxton needs facts

Ron Saxton needs to use more facts and fewer GOP-supplied talking points in his columns. He takes Oregon's government to task in an effort to fawn over California's latest actor-turned-politician. He fails to mention that California's governor relies heavily on borrowing to balance the budget.

Sounds like a plan faxed straight from Washington, D.C.

My relatives in California say life is not any better now than it was under the previous governor. Unless, that is, you work for this governor and are now drawing a six-figure salary. Perhaps Saxton should spend some time in California before opening his mouth. I'll gladly tell him where to go. ' M. Conens, Medford

Epitome of cynicism

There ought to be a law. In its brief history the United States has experienced its share of corruption and human rights abuses. However, I do believe the Bush administration is the first to wage an unnecessary war that is so blatantly motivated by corporate greed.

As a result, they are responsible for the unnecessary death and maiming of thousands of our troops, and tens of thousands of innocent civilians. The enormity of the crime may not compare to, say, a sexual indiscretion, but it does seem serious enough that the perpetrators should be on trial instead of running for the highest office.

That they are running as pro-life truly is the epitome of cynicism. ' Michael Steely, Medford

Get the facts first

In reference to Aug 8 ' Liar, thief, criminal ' I see the writer doesn't watch the same news as everyone else. Where are the facts?

The 9/11 Commission cleared Bush and Clinton based on intelligence reports from the different agencies. The Senate voted for the war. If you haven't heard, we are at world war with terrorists.

As for torture at Abu Ghraib prison, it was done by a few service people. There are no war crimes. All the people involved are going to trial for their crimes. Get the facts first. ' John Waldrop, Medford

Look at his record

According to Laurel Vukovic, John Kerry, if elected president, will keep the country safe without wars, build alliances, create jobs, provide affordable health care and education and reduce our dependence on foreign oil. Superman is on the way.

Has he created any legislation in the last 20 years to support these claims? Has he provided any specifics on how he is going to do this? Look at his history, his voting record. ' Lana Endicott, Trail

Who would take the oath?

Last night, like so many others, I watched the Democratic rally for John Kerry. This thought came to mind. Now here is something to really think about. If Mr. Kerry should win the presidency, would Mrs. Kerry take the oath and give the State of the Union address?

Now that, my friend, could be rather scary to say the least. This is how it comes across: John, you may talk when I get through. ' B. Alexander, Central Point

Keep it positive

Taking in all the anger of politics, I have to ask why can't I oppose your opinion? Why get angry with me if I don't agree with you?

The goal of our founding fathers was to make sure there was plenty of debate. Why is it so hateful? Different ways the political hopefuls are covered amazes me.

Cheney: Only 3,000 showed up, invitation only, the chosen few could get tickets. If that were true how did the protesters get in? How did they get tickets?

Kerry: 6,000 people showed (more supporters? Weren't there 7,000 tickets available?) Also, he was in a different building that held more people than Cheney's visit.

I was in a public restroom the day of Kerry's visit. Two ladies came in, talking about what they would say to the news camera. As they practiced, I wondered, why waste the opportunity making hateful comments about Bush? This is their chance to sway my vote; instead I was insulted by their language and hatred.

I ask, can we respect each other's opinion? It's not about keeping score. It's about our future, America's future. We need to respect our fellow citizens, opinions and votes!

Keep it positive, please! ' W. Schamanek, Central Point