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Thanks for wheelchair

The day before Christmas, our client was featured in the Light One Candle holiday article series. His story told of how his manual wheelchair was on the verge of collapse and he desperately needed a new unit.

For this working adult, he truly will have a Happy New Year as the generous outpouring from the community began to roll in that morning.. From Central Point to Ashland to Eagle Point, our fellow citizens heard about a need and responded unselfishly.

Here is a personal note from Jerry that went out to all respondents, which I believe says thank you more than I ever could as executive director.

Dear Friend,

Thank you very much for your contribution to my new wheelchair. Independence is a thing I truly value. Your generosity will allow me to pursue my dreams and goals with much greater comfort and stability. For this I cannot thank you enough.

Kind regards, Jerry.

— ' Glory Cooper, executive director, Mobility Unlimited

Dismantling Social Security

If the Social Security system is dismantled by the Bush administration, what is going to happen to the health care and education of the disabled? What percentage of those on Social Security disability are underage or physically and/or mentally-challenged adults vs. disabled former wage earners?

Under the Bush proposal what is going to happen to the widowed spouses, male or female, of the deceased wage earners? Their dependent/disabled children? What percentage of the working will be able to save more than what is now deducted as FICA taxes and matched by the government to invest in the stock market?

What investments in the stock market are guaranteed safe from loss? In reality, isn't investing just a calculated risk? You never know what the long-term status of your investment will be.

The system, as is, won't go broke until 2040 or beyond. With minor tweaks we could save the most dependable social program and safety net in American history. That solution wouldn't make Wall Street happy, though, would it? ' Darlene Kirby, Cave Junction

Tsunami cash cow

With the oil for food-United Nations-Saddam scandal in mind, I hope the Southeast Asia disaster fund does not become the great tsunami cash cow.

I have spent some time in the affected area and know firsthand the general attitude about bribes, payoffs and strong-arm moves. Most local politicians, military authorities, gangs and con artists will make a serious move on all those millions being spent on their turf.

They will care even less than the crooks that ripped off the oil for food dollars. The people who really need the aid will come last.

Don't let the U.N. have anything to do with the distribution of the aid money. Form a dedicated, effective system of control and accountability to really get the aid to the people it was intended for. ' Don Basey, Eagle Point

Their hearts' desire

The political pundits have debated for many weeks now, advancing one explanation or another for George Bush's victory (and Kerry's loss) in the recent election. The best explanation I have read was written 85 years ago by H.L. Mencken, one of America's most distinguished literary figures, in the year 1920.:

As democracy is perfected, the office of president represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their hearts' desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron. ' H.L. Mencken, columnist and editor. ' Clifford I. Lee, Jacksonville

A gift to the developer

In response to Doug Huston's letter to the editor, dated Jan. 2, 2005, regarding the Fordyce Street Co-housing Project.

I feel he tries to cloud the issue by using condescending statements to malign the neighborhood and the Planning Commission. The simple fact is we do not want the Master Zoning Ordinance changed.

This small island parcel of 1.3 acres is zoned for eight units. The developer would like to have the zoning changed so she can squeeze in 13 units. Changing the zoning ordinance would have a negative effect on the large existing neighborhood

Mr. Huston claims this change would be a gift to the city of Ashland. What it would be is a gift of a larger profit to the developer. The self-interest he refers to in his letter is within his group and not the neighborhood. ' I. Erwin Notrica, Ashland

A relief challenge

What an incredible disaster seeming so far from home. It almost feels as though there is nothing much that we can do from here. That is why Christi, Sarah and I from Total Bookkeeping in Yreka and Medford would like to challenge other small businesses to meet or beat our contribution of &

36;500 to tsunami relief efforts. If you could fax to our office proof of your donation we will be happy to send to you a framed Certificate of Appreciation.

Contributions can be made to any existing international relief agency. At our office we are contributing to the United Methodist Committee of Relief (UMCOR), where every cent donated goes directly to relief. However, any established relief agency will do. Please send your fax to: Total Bookkeeping, 530-841-1548, or call 530-841-0452. ' Leigh Schriver, Yreka, Calif.

Handing out medals

What would happen to you if someone died because of your mistakes? At the White House, they hand out medals. William Iraq has WMDs Tenent, Tommy Can't stop the looting Franks, and Paul No go zone Bremer, all received medals. And Alberto Abu-Ghraib Gonzales and Condoleezza Mushroom cloud Rice got promoted.

I expected as much from a president with a master's in business administration. But people are dying as a direct result of these peoples' mistakes. So why is everyone so apathetic? And why is it that any criticism or questioning is called an attack on one's personal beliefs? Sen. Kerry's use of his war record made his patriotism fair game, so why can't we question Bush's use of religion?

Is our faith so shallow it can't stand a little scrutiny? Either way, our complacency makes us complicit in this duplicity. Call me an unenlightened heathen, but I believe in good old-fashioned responsibility! If neither the president nor his party will shoulder the task then we must, and hold them accountable. ' Tom Espinosa, Medford

Review disappointing

Tempo's Phantom review disappointed. The play grossed &

36;3.2 billion, 120 million attended worldwide, the movie cost &

36;70 million. Over 100 auditioned for Phantom, Gerard Butler won, immediately took voice lessons. Emmy Rossum has performed with Luciano Pavarotti. Gaston Leroux's story, written in 1911, became a hit musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber.

Phantom's mother makes a mask since she cannot bear to see his face. Christine's mother died, father takes her to the beach, her scarf is whisked into the sea, Raoul rescues it, moves away. Father, before dying, tells her he will send the angel of music to improve her singing and to listen to the music of the night. Raoul attends the opera, goes backstage, recognizes Christine is underneath the spell of the Phantom. Question: Who wins her heart?

VA Supply employees bought the CD for my retirement. Please see the movie. That's all I ask of you! ' Loya Elbert, White City

Kinkade's version

The last time I looked at my Thomas Kinkade version of Jacksonville, it had an orchard in it. Now it has a stump farm with a bulldozer on it. What a pity. ' Michael Hoyt, Jacksonville

Maybe next year

I would like to thank the many radio stations in the valley that played such beautiful Christmas music during the holidays, especially on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Unfortunately, I cannot ' as they did not! Perhaps next year. ' Bud Bergstrom, Medford

Get a life

If your only voice is to the editor of the paper, you will probably never win an election. Also, if you have a solution to every criticism, you may win an election.

Please quit your whining. No one wants to hear anymore about your disappointment.

Get a life! ' D.E. Swanigan, Phoenix

Appalled by arrogance

As a newcomer to the Rogue Valley (September 2004) and one who I hope respects the residents of this beautiful area, I am appalled at the arrogance of Mr. Shaefer.

To want to so quickly change what they initially liked about the area without apparently becoming a part of the community and getting input is not to be understood. What a shame they didn't just let the orchard be prior to removing the orchard. It certainly would have been prudent to have looked into farming before going into such a demanding venture. ' P.A. Janzen, Medford

Bring them home

The headlines proclaim, 35,000 dead in earthquake/tsunami catastrophe. The pictures in the print media and TV paint a horrifying picture of this human disaster which nature has imposed upon the inhabitants of the coastline of the Indian Ocean.

When one realizes that the death and destruction being described is probably comparable to what has happened in Iraq both in terms of deaths and destruction, it should make us all reflect on what the criminal politicians in Washington have done in the name of our people. No political finger-pointing please; there's enough blame to go around!

Iraq's responsibility for the 9/11 event is nonexistent. What is absolutely incontestable are the lies and misrepresentations that the corporate media whores and our so-called political representatives foisted on the electorate to secure public support for the ongoing atrocity in Iraq.

The cost of the Bush/Kerry election campaign, &

36;400 million; the amount of aid offered by our government to the tsunami victims, &

36;350 milllion. There's an example of obscenity for you. Support our troops in a meaningful way; bring them home now! ' Richard and Janet Crawford, Medford

Why bother with elections?

Last February the Rev. Pat Robertson announced on national TV that God had selected George Bush as the next president. Moreover, God did not care what kind of job Bush did. He can make terrible mistakes and come out of it. It doesn't matter what he does, good or bad, God picks him up.

Later, the Rev. Jerry Falwell said, It is time for all good evangelical Christians to begin to work to re-elect President Bush.

And last week, the Rev. James Dobson took credit for defeating Sen. Tom Daschle and warned any senator who opposes Bush's nominees for federal judgeships they will be in the bull's-eye the next time they seek re-election.

Why bother with elections? Just ask Pat and Jerry and Jim. Unfortunately, that pesky First Amendment keeps getting in the way of being ruled by a religious oligarchy. ' Jeff Cheek, Medford

The lesser of evils

On Dec. 27, Ed Scanlin warns us against privatization of government programs. Our economy is already fascist (National Socialist), where government controls all private businesses. Market forces are greatly distorted, resulting in severe boom and bust periods. Collusion between politicians and businessmen is rampant.

However, it's still the lesser of the two evils, because economic calculation is impossible under a Marxist economy. Taxes fund government services. There is no input of consumer demand, or lack of it, which determines prices. Without market prices, producers cannot know how or where to allocate their resources. Waste is huge and shortages are normal.

Eventually, our fascist economic system will give way to the demands of our indoctrinated people, and we will have a Marxist economy. We will achieve Third World-style equal sharing of poverty.

The only salvation would be to have a constitutional amendment which states, Laws are invalid if they benefit one group at the expense of another. This would make 90 percent of our laws null and void.

Private corporations could no longer lobby Congress to pass laws that eliminate their competition. They would then have to please consumers by providing the best service at the lowest cost. ' Ben Stanos, Ashland

A patriot in black

I am a patriot.

I stand with the Women in Black every Wednesday at noon.

My car bears a yellow ribbon saying Support Our Troops.

I have grandfathers and uncles who were proud veterans. My father is buried in the Eagle Point National Cemetery after serving as a Navy corpsman and landing with the Marines during World War II. My oldest son followed in his grandfather's footsteps and served as a Navy corpsman in the first Gulf War.

My brother-in-law served in the Navy in Vietnam and as a senior chief in the Coast Guard Reserve since leaving the Navy. At 55 he has been activated due to the war in Iraq. Who knows where he will be. We are a family of patriots!

I support my country! I am grateful to and support all the young men and women who are serving in the military wherever they may be, but most particularly those in harm's way. My heart goes out to their loved ones. I do not support George W. Bush's pre-emptive, immoral war in Iraq!

I am a patriot!

I stand with the Women in Black every Wednesday at noon. ' June Buck, Medford

Beyond semantics

In a December letter, Victor Abel protested using the term massacre to describe Israel's military incursion into the Jenin refugee camp (April 2002), saying it never happened and is one of the plethora of lies told by Palestinians.

Semantics aside, the Jenin camp, one square kilometer in size and home to 15,000 refugees, was assaulted for two weeks by dozens of tanks, helicopter gunships, F-16 fighters and armored bulldozers. At least 66 Palestinians were killed, over half civilians. There were summary executions, and Palestinians were used as human shields by Israeli soldiers. Hundreds of buildings were leveled or rendered useless by bulldozers, leaving 450 families homeless. Even Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres used the term massacre in private (Ha'aretz, April 9, 2002).

Israel had something to hide: She barred emergency medical vehicles and personnel, forensics experts and journalists from entering the camp for 11 days, and thwarted an international investigation headed by Finland's former president.

Until Israel vacates all the occupied West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem and the Palestinians are finally granted a sovereign country, the Israeli government and her apologists in the United States will have blood on their hands that no semantics or propaganda can wash off. ' Brad Jones, Ashland