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How soon they forget

A 69-year-old on &

36;455 a month Social Security called Rep. Greg Walden's office to ask whether our representative intended to have a town hall meeting about the proposed Social Security legislation. Walden's representative replied by asking what organization had asked him to call.

Is access to our representative dependent on being associated with a group Walden deems acceptable? Apparently Walden forgot how many baby boomers and entitled elders voted for him in the recent election. ' George McCartin, Jacksonville

Million-dollar industry

I wonder if the person who wrote the letter to the editor praising Planned Parenthood for the performance they sponsored by the teen group has any idea what Planned Parenthood is all about, and the amount of money they make off of abortions, and the babies that never have a chance of becoming a teen because of their barbaric procedures.

They are the nation's largest abortion chain, performing nearly one out of every five U.S. abortions, a million-dollar industry. It certainly isn't a group I would want my granddaughters supporting. ' Paula Houck, Phoenix

A heartwarming act

On Monday, Feb. 14, I took part in a very unusual happening. A local dentist's office offered a very heartwarming act.

Free procedures. One cleaning, one extraction or one filling. The patient had the option to choose one of these. I chose a cleaning, because I could not afford what the dentist asked.

— I arrived about 6:30 a.m. and there were already people standing about. The office opened at 7:30 a.m. It was cold. By the time I left, I walked through a crowd of people.

I personally would like to thank the dentists, hygienists and office personnel who, I understand, volunteered their time. I am certain, very certain, that I speak for each person who took part in this.

Richard C. Schmidt and Julia Fagundes are the dentists. I called the office on Tuesday and was told 103 patients were served. ' Mary E. Paine, Medford

Proposal is absurd

President Bush's proposal to create private accounts is so absurd I cannot fathom anyone participating in the Ponzi scheme.

Based on money borrowed from the sale of treasuries, mostly to China. Money going into the private account isn't really your money. The borrowed funds must be paid back to the government plus interest tied to the rate of U.S. Treasury notes when you retire.

The difference of what you made in your private account and what you have to pay back with interest is somewhere around &

36;300 a month if you are lucky and don't lose it in the stock market.

Administrative costs will reduce your amount by another 5 percent (according to the President's Commission to Strengthen Social Security). Probably more like 15-20 percent.

When the government takes back the money it loaned you, it doesn't come out of the private account it went into. The money will be deducted from the benefit that you receive from the traditional SS program.

Traditional savings accounts, CDs, 40l(k) or 403(b) are all better choices than using borrowed money and will earn a better return without as much risk. Save &

36;1 a day for 30 years and see if you don't become a millionaire. ' D. Kirby, Cave Junction

Will our nation survive?

Audits cite additional sex abuse by priests (Saturday, Feb. 19 Mail Tribune) brings up this question: Why aren't priests allowed to marry?

I'm not Roman Catholic, but this archaic Pauline prohibition against clergy marrying is cruel, oppressive, and harsh! Too, a similar trend in many of our churches today preaches, It's better to remain single than to marry! This deeply offends, disturbs, and bothers me!

Christian singles groups likewise are embracing this same damnable doctrine of don't marry, remain single! They take — Corinthians, chapter 7, out of context and distort the original meaning! Likewise, I despise and hate the abominable bumper sticker Happiness is being single! This should be considered as pro-homosexual and an attack on the institution of marriage and family.

Freedom cannot exist apart from morality. Marriage between a man and woman is the cornerstone of our constitutional republic, and is vital to the preservation of society itself.

Woe to the happy crowd and liberal elitist religious extremists who say, One is a whole number! The former will often shack up and live together unmarried. The latter will embrace singleness and say, It's better to remain single than to marry! Will our nation survive? ' James A. Farmer, Ashland

How can it be classy?

I would like to start by asking, how can nude entertainment be classy?

Reading the article for Private Encounters, owned by Barbara Bransford, troubled me. The fact that no alcohol is served simply means you need only be 18 and in some cases still in high school.

What takes place in the private rooms that could possibly be legal? If that's not enough you can move to the dungeon-theme area for bondage and dominance at a later date.

Yes, this does sound classy. The fact that a woman is opening this place, making money off these young girls is disgusting. I don't even understand how it can be legal.

I am tired of everyone saying it's freedom of expression, freedom of speech. What about the children's constitutional right not to be discriminated against?

Tell me one positive thing that comes from a place like this. Parents can only do so much outside of keeping their child in a bubble.

The media say it's the parent's responsibility to monitor what their children see. This is true, but when bombarded with sex images in public, then the blame falls elsewhere. I hope Medford doesn't let a place like this open. ' Jenny Hamilton, Medford

When do they come home?

Iraq has had its democratic election, so when do the troops come home?

Perhaps the answer lies in another question. When is Halliburton coming home? Isn't it being paid millions of dollars of our tax money to rebuild Iraq's oil industry?

So where are the revenues that were supposed to finance Bush's war? Will Halliburton turn the industry back to the Iraqis or is it Bush's spoils of war?

Why aren't reporters asking these questions? Here are words of wisdom from the Hightower Lowdown, Austin, Texas: We've been spending &

36;56 billion a year to buy Arabian oil and &

36;25 billion a year to keep the Arabian oil monarchs on their thrones ' and that's before we occupied Iraq. With that money, we could get our economy running on fuel cells, biomass, solar, conservation, wind and geothermal energy ' and save an extra trillion on oil wars we wouldn't wind up fighting.

Use of alternative fuels can slow down global warming.

A bill sponsored by Sens. Lieberman and McCain would help bring the U.S. closer to being in accord with the Kyoto treaty. It would create thousands of jobs. ' Elma L. Beeson, Phoenix

The real issue

The real reason why the election of Phil Long is problematic for many parents is not his qualifications or reasons for home-schooling, but the question is why the School Board would choose a superintendent who decided his children should not be part of the public education system.

By doing so, the school board failed to make a strong stand for public education, teachers and staff. Instead it encouraged parents who can afford it to seek education outside the public school system.

The community is responsible to give all children a quality education. Public schools provide education for all children, no matter what their background. It is not the school board's responsibility to explore ways to offer assistance to home school families (Mail Tribune editorial Feb. 15).

Our children need leadership that supports and not weakens public schools by advocating adequate funding and quality programs. The real question is, therefore: What are the true priorities of the Medford School Board? ' Ruediger Erbrich, Medford

Tourism data wrong

Question: What is wrong with the graph that shows the number of visitors to the Middle East increased 45 percent for the years 2000-2004?

Answer: The data are wrong. Israel (where tourism atrophied in the same period) is not considered to be part of the Middle East. ()

The World Tourism Organization which provided the graph may earn a passing grade in counting people, but it certainly fails geography. It considers Israel to be part of Europe. To the WTO, only Arab states define the Middle East.

Question: How could the WTO make such a glaring error?

Answer: Well, the United Nations doesn't consider Israel to be part of the Middle East either. It is part of WEOG, the Western European and Others Group.

Israel is a member of both organizations, but it is politically incorrect to offend Arab/Muslim sensibilities by stating the obvious: The Jewish state of Israel exists right in their midst and intends to remain there. ' Gerry Mandell, Ashland

Tolerance is a family value

Toward the end of January a group of enlightened young people started a program called No name-calling week. Guess what? Some individuals complained because they see it as being pro-gay.

This is not an isolated case. At about the same time we were shocked to learn Sponge Bob (a cartoon character of all things) may be gay or at least pro-gay. This might be humorous if it were not part of the undercurrent of prejudice marring sincere efforts to promote human understanding and tolerance.

To be tolerant of others does not mean a surrender of one's own values or the acceptance of all ideas. Some are harmful. What tolerance is, is a non-judgmental recognition of the humanity of all persons together with concern for the well-being of all.

Do unto others as you would have others do unto you applies to all people, not just to those who act or think as we do.

Name-calling, which is a manifestation of intolerance, implies a weakness on the part of the name-caller, such as fear of what is different and a need to pick on those weaker than himself to feign strength. ' Bill McWhorter, Medford

A monument?

You have to be kidding ' a monument to a drunk driver? Please tell me they are not going to use public property or tax money for this idiotic endeavor. ' James Davis, Medford