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Liberals condemn, too

Every liberal I know condemns the driver in the horrific fatal car crash. Dennis Nelson wants us to believe otherwise.

What's next? Are liberals at fault for the floods in California, too? What about the tsunamis? Turning a tragic event into a propaganda platform is inexcusable. ' Hal Wing, Medford

Church's presence enriches

I'm pleased to see the Mail Tribune's editorial concerning Applegate Christian Fellowship's land-use issues. The people I know who attend Applegate are joyful, loving and generous with their time and resources. The Rogue Valley is enriched by the church's presence. ' Melissa Martin Stiles, Medford

Offended by article

I was offended by Tuesday's front-page article headlined Witnesses back chase claim. Why create controversy about whether or not the police were in pursuit and how closely? Is there doubt in your editor's mind that the kid behind the wheel is anything less than 100 percent responsible for the tragedy he caused? ' Wayne Rolle, Ashland

Driver will feel two bumps

First it was roundabouts, now it is bulb-outs. Did they open up the insane asylums for designers of our roads?

I have always liked the if it ain't broke don't fix it philosophy. At least they have decided to fix them, at an additional cost of &

36;1,600 each. Now the driver will feel two bumps: one for the raised curb and one for the pedestrian. ' Mike Sowell, Central Point

Rights are for all

An Oregon FBI agent claims there are Oregonians who've taken oaths to kill Americans and engage in jihad. He goes on to admit there is no proof to substantiate his claims.

An Oregon rabbi asserts that Jews are blamed for the failures of Palestinian leaders.

Forty-four percent of Americans believe that the civil rights of Muslim Americans should be restricted in some way.

Yes, regrettably, we do not learn from our past. The lesson of Auschwitz is not the history of a few individual bigots filled with hate; no, it is the history of a mass population convinced of its individual racial/ethnic/religious superiority to fellow humans.

Prejudice without hate ' prejudice of personal superiority ' is a relentless blight on our national honor. Civil rights are for all Americans, all humans, equally. ' Dane Coefer, Ashland

Chalkboard wants all news

The Chalkboard Project hopes to see more views like those expressed by Michael Hays in his guest opinion piece Feb. 6.

Chalkboard exists because a vast majority of Oregonians want to elevate our schools to among the nation's best and within the context of our current fiscal reality. We don't have the answers yet, but ' armed with balanced information ' people like Mr. Hays can help us get there.

We have spent more than a year collecting public opinion, best practices research and citizen feedback to point toward findings and a strategy that policy-makers might use as a road map for addressing the critical issues of Oregon's K-12 education system

Now is not the time to give up, Mr. Hays. It's the time to raise your voice even higher, as we wrestle with the tough choices and trade-offs required to identify long-term, meaningful solutions. Keep telling us what you think at . Get online. Get involved. Speak out. In short, Mr. Hays, we want the same things. ' William D. Thorndike Jr., immediate past board chairman, Oregon Community Foundation

FDR's intent

A quote by President Bush?

We shall make the most lasting progress if we recognize that Social Security can furnish only a base upon which each one of our citizens may build his individual security through his own individual efforts.

No ' President Franklin Delano Roosevelt to Congress on Jan. 16, 1939. ' Eleanor Torguson, Medford

Dedicated to freedom

Regarding Cynthia Laughery's letter of Jan. 31: She says we should feed, clothe and medically aid people of the world.

Providing help to those who are being tortured, killed, beheaded and suffering all kinds of heinous atrocities at the hand of their tyrannical leader serves as a Band-Aid, a cover-up, a panacea, never getting to those who need the help.

Saddam was a leader who confiscated any and all help given for his own purposes, building massive fortresses, a leader with no compassion, no respect for life except his own, using chemicals against his own people. He came to a just end crawling into a spider hole to become a mass of whimpering, quivering flesh.

No WMD? Why the chemical boots found in Saddam's underground fortress?

Yes, war is hell and no one loves it, not even President Bush, but thank God he stepped up to the plate. And this is everyone's war, not President Bush's. Remember 9/11?

Our country, founded by our Christian forefathers, is dedicated to freedom, equality and liberty for all (not just our nation). ' Peggy Millard, Talent

Thanks for prescriptions

I woke up recently to two familiar faces, Heather and Tony Burns. For the past year, they have made it possible for me to obtain the prescriptions I need through a program they created called Patient Prescription Assistance.

With so many people unable to afford health insurance, Sen. Alan Bates has introduced a bill to give low-income residents greater access to prescription drugs. His inspiration: Heather and Tony Burns.

Thank you Heather and Tony and Sen. Bates for working on behalf of Oregon's poor, of which I am one! Thank you for access to the drugs I need to maintain my health. ' Beth Baker, Central Point

Practicing without a license

Journalism is a profession, and, like most others, is guided by certain well-understood and unique principles and tenets that include a very specific code of ethics. The public's right to know is its Holy Grail.

Practitioners become immersed in this journalistic dogma either through working out of a newsroom or training at one of the nation's reputable journalism schools. Some folks were therefore understandably upset when Armstrong Williams apologized for the &

36;241,000 he took for plugging the White House education bill, then explained that after all he was a pundit and not a journalist.

Webster says a pundit is anyone who forcefully advocates a point of view.

The turf of journalism is the print media plus radio and TV news. It seems to many of us that choosing to operate on journalism's turf also obligates one to follow journalism's rules.

Some pundits have deep journalistic backgrounds, others just an opinion and a microphone (and sometimes a sponsor). They all should be required to state their credentials from time to time or stand accused of practicing journalism without a license. ' Vern Wolthoff, Medford

Eisenhower started it

A letter appeared in your Jan. 30 issue in which Barney Oglesby challenged an earlier letter stating that Eisenhower (Republican) got us into the Vietnam War.

The Oxford Companion to American Military History states thus: ?the administration of President Dwight D. Eisenhower undertook to build a nation from the spurious political entity that was South Vietnam by fabricating a government there, taking over control from the French, dispatching military advisers to train a South Vietnamese army, and unleashing the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to conduct psychological warfare against the North. This information is also available at the Dwight D. Eisenhower presidential library.

The writer's statement that Democrats put us into World War II and Korea is not based on historical fact. He is obviously unaware of events in Europe and Asia in the 10 years leading up to Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor or that Germany declared war against the United States four days later.

Perhaps, too, he is unaware that North Korea invaded South Korea and a resolution passed the United Nations Security Council demanding withdrawal and cessation of hostilities.

North Korea responded by capturing South Korea's capital city. ' John Roque, Grants Pass

Grateful to animal control

I want to extend my gratefulness to Officer Andy with the Jackson County Animal Care and Control.

We recently moved from Grants Pass to Central Point, and our 2-year-old Siberian Husky escaped through an ajar gate in our yard. She managed to wander several miles from our new home and our attempts to locate her were futile.

Officer Andy went above and beyond what is expected in an attempt to capture an animal. He spent several hours pursuing her and ultimately preventing her (and motorists) from getting hurt on Highway 99. In addition, we express gratitude to the two state troopers and to a teenager on a bike named Chris who assisted Officer Andy.

Our family is exceedingly happy for her safe return and we are thankful to be part of a community such as the one here in Jackson County. ' Joni Johnson, Central Point

Thoughts on consistency

Consistency: Logical connection. Agreement with what has already been done; conformity with previous practice. Inconsistent arguments nullify credibility and defy reason.

In the interest of being consistent, how can:

A homeowner petition against homes being built next door?

Homosexuals have children?

The state sell liquor, and be the arresting party to a DUII?

Environmentalists have wood homes, fireplaces and gasoline-powered cars?

The Patriot Act be patriotic?

Alcohol be legal while marijuana is illegal?

Politicians (social architects) have a better retirement program than Social Security?

Laws be drafted to prosecute the murder of an unborn child (Lacy Petersen, Kerry Repp) while abortion is legal?

The left lane be considered the fast lane with everyone in it?

Airplane owners buzz overhead without mufflers or quiet props, while hot-rod enthusiasts and dirt-bikes get noise tickets?

Public lands be public if they're gated?

The state regulate gambling while running the Lottery? (Conflict of interest.)

Drug companies charge more to U.S. citizens for prescription drugs than to other countries?

Patriotism be qualified as submission?

Common sense be common? Look around.

Some observations for your consideration. ' Mark Rasmussen, Shady Cove

A tiger by the tail

Bush revels in something happening in Iraq that he can finally call a success, but now that the election is over he must be beginning to wonder if he has a tiger by the tail.

Two thirds or so voted for Shiite parties dominated by religious groups with strong ties to Iran. Less than 20 percent went to Allawi's pro-America group. This democratic majority is already moving toward putting the Muslim stamp on the Constitution.

It would be the bitterest of ironies if, after the sacrifice of all of these lives and resources, the net result of this first stage in Bush's messianic crusade to save the world from itself and for democracy (and American values) was a democratic Iraq led by Muslim clerics who hate America.

It would be smart for the other Muslim countries, seeing how it turned out in Iraq, to quickly become democratic. Democracy, of course, can take many forms. ' Harry L. Cook, Ashland

Consider the costs

President Bush in his State of the Union address neglected to mention the costs associated with his Social Security plan.

First, the transition costs of moving revenues to private accounts would cost taxpayers &

36;1 trillion the first decade of the program and &

36;3.5 trillion the second ' a total of &

36;4.5 trillion. There are three ways taxpayers (you and I) can pay for this: raise taxes, cut expenditures or borrow. Bush has ruled out the first two options and so the burden falls to your children and grandchildren with higher taxes or cut programs.

There would also be an increase in administrative cost from the present 0.9 percent to 5 percent as government needs to manage two accounts instead of one and pay investment fees. Since establishing private accounts does nothing to deal with the Social Security gap, those under 55 will see over time their benefits cut by more than 40 percent as price replaces the wage index in calculating benefits.

These costs are to be made up in private accounts, assuming a person works steadily to put money into the accounts without losing their job to a recession, out-sourcing or disability and there is no significant stock market bubble. ' Richard Holt, Ashland

Consider the facts

During the next few months we will be presented with media disinformation about the Social Security crisis. Here are a few facts to consider when studying the president's plan.

1. Social Security is not in a crisis and will not go broke in 2042-2054. At this time it will still pay 73-81 percent of benefits.

2. Diverting any amount of money to private accounts ends the benefits as an entitlement. It allows the government to make any changes or cuts in the future.

3. Wall Street has the most to gain from the president's plan. Managing these funds will gain them about &

36;60 billion per year. The working-class taxpayer will have his benefits cut by about 43 percent. At the best of times Wall Street can be volatile. If your investment has not paid off by the time you retire, you could be left with nothing.

4. Disability and survivor benefits will be dropped from the program. These folks will have to turn to private insurance companies.

5. The plan adds &

36;2 trillion to &

36;4 trillion to the national debt. Privatization does not guarantee solvency of the program. Do we really want to gamble with our future? ' Susan Delles, Rogue River

Double hardships

Not only is Pacific Retirement Services/Crest Park Inc. destroying 40 homes of affordable housing, PRS states they have been up-front and honest with Crest Park residents. I think not.

PRS is offering up to &

36;2,000 for relocation cost for some residents. Our kids have lived there six years and were the first ones out. But to our surprise, they have received a 1099. They have to claim this relocation money from PRS on their 2004 taxes. Thanks a lot, PRS ' just another hardship.

Anyone receiving the relocation money will have to pay taxes on it. Is this caring for our fellow mankind? I think not!

Greed has changed the Manor's main mission. What would it hurt a multi-million dollar company to lend a compassionate hand?

Their actions remind me of Enron, only thinking of the almighty dollar. When and where does this stop? How about the judgment seat of God? ' Norma Jean Allen, Eagle Point, chairperson, Residents United

Find the money

The guest opinion by Susan Castillo, Oregon superintendent of public instruction (Jan. 30), caused me to write this letter.

The United States has the highest cost for education in the world. Oregon has close to the highest cost in the United States. We also have one of the most costly PERS programs in the United States. It was cut last year, but more needs to be done.

There shouldn't be a pension program that pays more after retirement then what was earned during their career. The savings need to be in the classroom. I'm all for more money for public education.

The Oregon Department of Revenue has approximately &

36;1.3 billion dollars of uncollected income tax. They admit that.

Why haven't we privatized the collection as other states have? The answer is that some of our legislators and the employees' union will not allow it. What if we collected &

36;600 million and put that into our schools?

What if the motor pool was privatized ' think of the savings there.

There are 89 agencies in the state; what we need are private auditors to do extensive auditing to find the money we have already for education, health and law enforcement. ' Roger P. King, Eagle Point

Crying wolf again

I cringe whenever Bush cries Wolf! He lied two years ago to start a war, and now he's lying to dismantle Social Security. He says that in the year 2018 the system will be paying out more than it takes in, and will only remain solvent through 2042.

This could be scary, were it not for the fact that payroll taxes were raised in 1983 to such a level that a surplus was created specifically for the baby boomer generation which would be retiring in, coincidentally, 2018.

Alan Greenspan understood 20 years ago what the president doesn't understand today, that increasing the payroll tax guaranteed security for the elderly for over a half-century.

What does Bush do? One of his six guiding principles he gave his commission to study the Social Security problem is that the payroll tax cannot be increased.

The only problem with Social Security is that Bush refuses to fund it. That is why he wants to divert up to two-thirds of our future protection and put it into stocks. Sure, most people will probably lose money and their security, but three or four of us might get better returns through privatization. ' Craig Stephens, Ashland