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Central Point affordable

As outrageous and out-of-reach for young families as housing prices in Central Point seem, they are a lot less than in Ashland, which has refused growth.

I am an Ashland-born Oregon native that moved to Central Point for affordable housing. I want my son and his future family to be able to live here as well.

Thank you, Mayor Hank Williams, for looking out for them instead of those that want to shut them out. ' Susan Farber, Central Point

Was Jesus pro-war?

Since when did believing in God and having moral values make you pro-war, pro-rich and solely pro-Republican? And since when did promoting and pursuing a progressive social agenda with a concern for economic security, health care and educational opportunity mean you had to be faithless?

Loud voices are needed to make both our religious communities and our government more accountable to key values of the American traditions ' that is, make them pro-justice, pro-peace, pro-environment, pro-equality and pro-family (without making scapegoats of Democrats, handicapped, seniors, single mothers or gays). Our faiths and religious traditions simply do not allow us as a nation to continue to ignore the poor and marginalized, deny racial justice, tolerate the ravages of war or turn away from human rights.

These are the values of love and justice, reconciliation and community that our parents taught. They are at the core of what many of us believe, religious or not.

— We need to hold our political leaders and policies accountable by integrating our deepest moral convictions into our nation's public life. More people have died in religious wars than for any other reason. Is Iraq another? ' Jodi Yap, Talent

More than missed meals

Here are the torture specifics Raymond Binder asked for (Nov. 21). They are a far cry from missing a few meals.

Commander's report of inquiry (2003) into broken jaw of a high school boy. Evidence suggested that the intelligence personnel and/or translators engaged in physical torture of the detainees.

A 27-year-old Iraqi male died during interrogation. He was hooded, flex-cuffed, sleep deprived, subjected to hot and cold environmental conditions. The autopsy stated hypothermia may have contributed to his death. Secretary Rumsfeld authorized the use of environmental manipulation at Guantanamo Bay. Lt. Gen. Sanchez authorized this technique for use in Iraq.

A detainee was smothered to death during an interrogation in Al Qaim, Iraq. New documents record the circumstances of death as Q by MI, died during interrogation.

Twenty-one of 44 prisoner deaths have been ruled homicides. Eight of these appear to have resulted from abusive techniques. Autopsy reports list deaths by strangulation, asphyxiation and blunt force injuries.

Torture happened. These are just a few examples taken from military reports. The truth is trickling out drop by drop. This administration believes in torture. Denying the truth will not make the reality of this immoral war disappear. ' Eric Kees, Medford

Huss bashes schools

I must respond to the Larry Huss opinion piece published Sunday, Nov. 6, bashing our public schools. Research reflects what every educator knows: the level of funding is

directly tied to student achievement.

While accusing Oregon students of low achievement, Huss fails to point out that our students rank first or second in the nation on SAT (college entrance) scores and all but a few Oregon K-12 schools are nationally rated satisfactory or exceptional.

Huss also fails to point out that Oregon has the second highest elementary school class sizes in the nation, the fourth highest class sizes in the nation overall. With &

36;800 million eliminated from the education budget in just the past four years, this translates to fewer teachers, support personnel, counselors, core programs, elective classes, etc., and still our kids are scoring high, thanks to the great skills of those people who work with them every day.

I'm not sure why the Mail Tribune thinks its readers should give credence to the slanted views of one Wilsonville attorney. If you really want to know what is happening in our schools, ask an educator! ' June Buck, Medford

SMHS production excels

Kudos to the South Medford High School drama department for providing a wonderful evening's entertainment with their production of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum.

With funding for the arts in the schools being cut, it was delightful to see that a lack of financial support did not affect this group of young thespians and musicians as they put their hearts into this play. While the entire ensemble did an incredible job, Ryan Primm and Nick Golden treated those who attended to, quite possibly, the finest comedic duet ever, with their version of Lovely. Thanks again to the South High Arts Department. ' Daniel Sathre, Jacksonville

Design issues secondary

The Mail Tribune ran an editorial about the continuing proposal to let Wal-Mart locate in South Medford. The editorial was looking at the possible design flaws and land-use issues in the plan and some corrections that could be made.

How about the low wages, the no overtime pay, the high cost of medical insurance with no union protections? They drive out local businesses and allow awful conditions to exist in the sweatshops in China and India that produce their products.

I guess people who shop at Wal-Mart don't seem to care about some of these things as long as the prices stay low ' but we have options. We should support our local low-price stores.

The design of the building and the traffic concerns are real, but secondary to the shady business and employment practices of this company. Stand firm against Wal-Mart! ' Arlene Aron, Applegate

Mongolia article misleading

I was quite agitated at the front page of the Nov. 22 Mail Tribune. It featured an article from the Wall Street Journal entitled Mongolia loves Bush.

This article was written with skewed information, and the title is extremely misleading. It should have read, Mongolian government loves Bush.

I say this because the day before this article was published, cnn.com released an article at the site ' ' featuring a picture of the Mongolian Green Party protesting Bush's arrival. The caption beneath this picture is, and I quote, Mongolia's Green Party protest on Sunday. The Mongolian government banned demonstrations on Monday.

The Mongolian government banned demonstrations. I guess this is why Mongolia appears to be in full support of President Bush. Public opposition to him within Mongolian borders is illegal.

Oh, also I'd like to thank him for allowing views that don't support his position to be considered patriotic. Thanks, Mr. Bush, your opinion on what is patriotic means a lot to me. ' Seth Caddy, Ashland

Democrats spread lies

The Democratic Party as a whole is basing their future on us losing a war. Does that not fit the definition of treason?

For the Democrats to be a viable party in the future we must lose; they cannot benefit in any way if we win. That is the position that they have placed themselves in, no matter what they have to do.

They have repeated their lies so much that people are beginning to believe that Saddam didn't have WMDs. Bush did not make that up, the U.N. had surveyed those weapons. The British have stood by their reports of Saddam seeking uranium; Joe Wilson's own little scam trip supported those reports. Where were the lies?

Yes it would be nice to live in a peaceful world, but there are realities to face, and those of you who cannot face them should get out of the way of those that will. And do not pretend you speak for military people and families. They overwhelmingly support the president and his administration. ' Laura Banry, Medford

United front preferable

In answer to a recent letter comparing the war in Iraq to a video game compels me to write this.

I do not necessarily agree with all the aspects of the war. However, I do think that it is vitally important that all our armed forces, fighting not only for freedom but for world stability, should have our undivided support. We are in the conflict and the condemnation of the government only abets those seeking to destroy our way of life.

Think about it: Not many countries can condemn their governments freely from the safety of their homes ' and that's what makes our country great ' but use discretion in the use of that freedom. Take time to think what freedom means ' to all people ' and be grateful to those willing to pay the price.

A united front is always preferable to the many soldiers defending it. Honor it! ' Sue Cobun, Medford

Time to restore balance

We all owe Congressman Greg Walden a debt of gratitude for his tireless work in the U.S. Congress. Most recently he introduced the Forest Emergency Recovery and Research Act of 2005. This bill is intended to restore and recover forests throughout the nation following catastrophic events such as fire, disease, and wind storms.

The radical environmental community has already begun their misleading rhetoric campaign against this well-conceived and thoughtful bill. Contrary to what these activists say, this bill does not strip away important environmental protections. In fact, the public will have the opportunity for substantial involvement in the restoration process with a chance to appeal. More importantly, all environmental laws including the National Environmental Policy Act, the Endangered Species Act and the Wilderness Act will be adhered to.

It is time to restore balance to forest management following catastrophic events. Please write Congressman Walden and thank him for his efforts. ' Richard and Dixie Tibbets, Medford

Winters comes through

I've lived in White City for five years. I have seen a drastic change in our town, for the better.

I am writing to applaud Sheriff Mike Winters and his deputies for the outstanding job they have been doing. Before Winters, White City was not a place you admitted to living in.

If your car got broken into, oh, well. If your child's bicycle was stolen off your porch, oh, well. It seemed all the decent hard-working citizens of White City were feeling frustrated and cornered.

In 2003 I was pushed to almost breaking the law myself for slapping a 17-year-old who had slashed &

36;900 of tires on my vehicle. The sheriff responded to what must have looked like a neighborhood riot between the gangsters and the vigilantes.

The incident was followed up and dealt with by Mike. Since then there have been many others: graffiti, senseless vandalism and intimidation, but the crap has been on a steady decline.

It's nice to walk down the street and have your child wave at the many sheriff cars, but even nicer when he looks at me and says, I think I wanna be a sheriff when I grow up, Mom. Thanks, Mike! ' Janet Newcombe, White City

We should learn how to win

Those of you that are getting weak-kneed over the war in Iraq should remember a couple of things. Not long ago the media reported on Hurricane Katrina. We heard that 10,000 to 20,000 body bags were needed, there was a toxic soup that would destroy the environment, the city would be completely closed down for months and months, and there was mass rape and murder at the convention center where people were sheltered.

None of these common media reports were true. So, can we actually believe anything the media says about how horrible things are going in Iraq?

We need to learn how to win a war again in this country. In the past, wars were won not by being politically correct, but by censoring the media. (Sound horrific? That was a Democratic president).

People were also willing to sacrifice for the cause of freedom, gas rationing, years long enlistments. Thousands died, unfortunately in days, not in years.

Do we have the will to win a war anymore? Our Asian and Pacific Island allies do not think so. They have just met and believe that if a war with China happened we would not be able to win. ' Kurt Vanderhoff, Medford

Vote well, America

OK, so if you think Bush lied or not, he's still our president until his term ends. The next administration, likely to be Democrat, will see the end of the involvement in supplying troops to Iraq. That doesn't mean it's over for them.

I hope whomever you pick for the next president, you pick well; that president will have hard decisions to make on a lot of other things that the current administration is going to leave. Iraq will no longer be a terrorist state, yet we will have to address the deficit left by the war and current policies.

American credit, the environment, alternate fuels, the railroads, Internet, religion, Iran, Syria, Africa, South America, immigrants and the death penalty will be huge. Vote well, America, vote.

No matter what those of you might think about the past 20 years, we as Americans should still be proud of supplying the rest of the world with hope to a better future, and like Sinatra sang, I did it my way. ' Mike Hinkes, Medford