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Who's to blame'

As a longtime Rogue Valley resident, I am wondering why the Medford City Council hires a dictator to run the city and then blames the city department heads for incompetence? ' Sam Dawson, Medford

Free speech or commodity?

Here's a great term to keep on one's tongue these days: reductionism. This is the tendency in discussion or argument (as in a court ruling) to reduce and explain complex things (such as advertising in a public space) to simpler things (like free speech). The Oregon Supreme Court indulged in reductionism on March 23 when it ruled that roadside billboards were free speech and therefore not subject to regulation.

Perhaps a property owner should be at liberty to put up a billboard to say whatever he or she wants of his or her own opinions, ideas, and points of view. But can that right of speech be sold to a billboard company? Have rights now been reduced to a saleable commodity?

In the face of all this reductionism, I have a suggestion for those of us who want to keep ugly and offensive billboards out of our faces as we drive the public highways: let's be commercial reductionists ourselves. Let's exercise our own free speech, this time with our pocketbooks, by not doing business with those who put up or use a billboard in violation of the 1971 law, and let's publicize that intention by whatever means the courts allow. ' Todd F. Carney, Talent

Misguided support

The recent political cartoon with Einstein's quote Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results really hit the mark. We need to learn from our misguided support of a pre-emptive war. Polls show a vast majority of Americans now realize that was a deadly error in judgment. Let's not be insane by doing it again. ' Carole Prechtel, Phoenix

Support the child

Doug Forsyth wrote about the rights of women to have complete control over their own bodies. Women don't have the right to kill unborn children because the child is not a part of the woman's body. Allow me to illustrate.

— A white embryo artificially implanted in a black woman will grow to term normally. Was your DNA identical to your mother's? The answer is no. If the baby is truly a part of the woman's body, then any woman pregnant with a boy has a penis! How absurd.

Abortion (in the case of consensual sex) is like inviting someone on your property and shooting him for trespassing. A woman (and a man) has invited a life into her body. She already chose what to do with her body when she had sex (protected or not). And now that she is pregnant she is obligated to support the child. Our government, as a matter of human rights, should uphold that obligation by law. ' Jake Layer, Medford

Can't leave now

We still see demonstrations urging America's departure from Iraq. Seems strange that all factions of the war there want America to leave except the Sunni leaders.

Apparently they don't understand that as long as they are killing their own countrymen, America cannot leave. ' Art Jackson, Rogue River

Millionaires raise debt

Fifty-two pseudo-conservative millionaire Republican senators just authorized raising our national debt ceiling to a gross &

36;9 trillion. All these guys are going to be dead in 10 or 20 years, having lived well, and then died well in their silk-lined coffins.

But you can count on a huge number of children and grandchildren forced to live 50 lousy years in increasingly fearful, insecure and poverty-stricken conditions. Then they will die not-so-well in plain pine boxes.

Have a great Republican day! ' Daniel Hanson Heath, Medford

Killing by any name

George Orwell once wrote an essay, Politics and the English Language, which resonates today as much as it did when I was teaching logic in college English classes.

Today, George Bush is on yet another campaign to convince Americans that democracy will soon emerge in Iraq as a result of American intervention in that country, just as Orwell described Britain trying to succeed in Burma through pacification (i.e. bombing of villages).

Whatever it is called, killing of civilians for supposed political ends is wrong and should cease. ' Joan Steele, Ashland

Preemption is foolhardy

If all countries supported pre-emption we would all be fighting constantly. Being prepared is fine, but pre-emption is foolhardy. ' Muriel Williams, Medford