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Barack Obama has strongly disavowed the racist, anti-American comments of Jeremiah Wright, his pastor for 20 years. If he were truly a uniter, why didn't he work behind the scenes to bring some sanity to Rev Wright's sermons?

As an influential member, he was in a perfect position to create "Change We Can Believe In" within his church. Instead, he has continued to be a member and financially support this divisive organization. — Neal Smith, Jacksonville

I'm writing to recognize the inconsistent bus schedule in Medford and surrounding areas. I am an Ashland High School student. As of now, the buses don't run on weekends. I often find myself needing a way to get across town on those days. After talking with some fellow students, I know I'm not the only one who feels this way. I'm curious how other people in the Rogue Valley feel about the shortage of transportation on certain days.

I understand the RVTD budget is low. How much would it cost to run the buses an extra two days a week? I feel like running the buses seven days a week would benefit our community as a whole. If the buses were more consistent with their times, and days, more people would ride them. I often find myself confused as to why the bus is so late. It's hard to know when exactly they are coming at any particular stop. I know in other cities, they actually have a chart with the posted times on each bus stop. It's steps like this we can take to make our buses seem more consistent and as a result more people will ride them! — Ali Van Olphen, Ashland

Picture yourself the moment you were born: A pink baby breathing your first gust of air. Now move the camera back five minutes. You're that same baby, waiting to take your first breath. What if your mother decided she didn't want you, and hired a doctor to kill you?

If you wouldn't want that done to you, I suggest you follow the Golden Rule — "Do unto others what you'd want done unto you," and oppose Roe v. Wade. That court case allows mothers to order their babies to be killed even just before exiting the womb. (Women need a "health" reason — a loophole for virtually any symptom.) The exit from the womb is purely an arbitrary point to distinguish "abortion" from "murder."

The phrase "pro-choice" egocentrically only counts the choice of the woman. But womb-humans seem to exercise choice, or try to. In the film "The Silent Scream," an eight-week-old gestating human struggles frantically, and opens his mouth in an apparent scream, as the abortionist sticks a knife into the womb. The abortionist appears and says he's done about 10,000 or 20,000 abortions but will never do one again after seeing that ultrasound. — Ambuja Rosen, Ashland

Very disappointed that the Rev. Jeremiah Wright preaches hate, which goes against the teaching of Dr. Martin Luther King. Very disappointed that many black preachers are defending the statements made by the Rev. Jeremiah Wright. Very disappointed that clerics teach racial hate in some mosques.

Unfortunately, thousands of words spoken by Senator Obama will not overcome the videotapes of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright preaching historical lies and hate. The poll numbers will validate my opinion. — Bill Hartley, Medford

I disagree with the letter writer regarding the diminished services at Mount Ashland. Sure we all had to use the port-a-potties when the pipes broke. It was cold, but big deal. There would be a state-of-the art sewage system up there if it wasn't for "environmentalists" blocking progress.

The kids working up there couldn't be more helpful or friendly and their music at the Ariel lift is always great. They work hard aligning old chair lifts so skiers don't get walloped in the back of the knees and are very accommodating whether you want extra tomatoes on your cheeseburgers or need a child found.

My family has always enjoyed skiing at Mount Ashland and are looking forward to the expanded services.

By the way, the parking lot guys really appreciate a protein bar or hot drink while they are directing traffic on freezing days. — Linda Haulk, Ashland

Regarding the March 14 letter "Drivers are responsible," which stated Oregon law provides right-of-way to pedestrians, the other side of this perspective follows:

I have been on sidewalks, not at the curb, not yet even close enough to enter the crosswalk, when a driver stopped. I motioned the driver to continue on through. She stopped for no good reason. To have me go through when I am waiting for the driver to do what she should have done and get down on the road and quit holding up traffic only forced me to get out of my time space as I was in no hurry until she stopped for no good reason!

I then spoke and told her to get out of the road and go. She went, giving the car behind her clearance to do the same. Then I crossed in the crosswalk to get on my way up Foss Road.

Dumb driver — doesn't know common sense. — Robert Burnett, Talent

Having seen a number of articles about mercury in compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs), I looked into some figures.

The EPA states the average coal fired power plant emits 48 tons of mercury a year. The average CFL contains 5 micrograms of mercury (one billionth of a kilogram). At about 2.2 pounds per kilo, and estimating the U.S. population at 300 million, each person in the U.S. would have to dispose of more than 30,000 CFLs each year to equal the mercury output of one coal-fired power plant.

On the other hand, it is estimated that if each household replaced one standard incandescent bulb with a CFL, an "average" coal-fired power plant could be closed. As recycling at the place of purchase becomes more prevalent, the mercury in CFLs may no longer be a problem. — Matt Morey, Shady Cove

Damian Mann and Sal Esquivel all but patted Lynn Howe on the head and tied an apron around her waist last week. I'm surprised they didn't call her "The little woman" in the MT article announcing her candidacy for the Oregon House.

But people of Jackson County, be aware. Those of us who have had the chance to work with Lynn Howe, and there are many of us in the organizations in which she has been active, know that she's a very smart woman and a doer.

Lynn Howe may be a newcomer, but she's been quickly spotted for her natural leadership qualities. If you chanced to attend one of the recent community-instigated Town Halls designed to shed light on how Jackson County is governed, you already know that Lynn Howe was key to their development and presentation.

So, Messrs. Mann and Esquivel, give us a break, huh? Such patronizing tones are long ago and far away. — Gail Beason, Talent

U.S. captives in Iraq have had their fingers amputated by their abductors — what barbarous acts! Don't they realize that world opinion will decline when they resort to torture and inacceptable treatment of others?

It is proof that those responsible are not suitable leaders in the world today. — Dan Devine, Medford

John McCain claims his war experience makes him more qualified to be president, as if participating in one fiasco makes him more suited to oversee the current one.

His experience consisted of getting shot down. I suppose that's as good a qualification as any for a misadventure as fouled up as the war in Iraq. He also claimed we should never have left Vietnam (as if we had any choice), and that we should remain in Iraq for 100 years (as if we could afford it).

A recent letter to the editor praised McCain for his sense of humor. Now I understand why, but what if he's not kidding? McCain: as if. — Michael Steely, Medford

In lieu of the righteous brigade and its war on equality via rescinding equal rights law, I have two greater questions: First, have we as a nation ever practiced equality? Second, is there something inherent in Christian society that demands a persecuted subclass for its existence?

To the first, I can't find that golden era, and to the second, most persecution has been fostered and perpetuated by the "back-slappin' buddies of Jesus." I'm always amazed how swiftly that forgiveness stuff flies out the window when given the opportunity to step on someone as a display of one's sanctimonious perfection!

Hopefully one of these days we are as excited in this nation about equality as we are witch burning. Maybe then we can eliminate all these pandering political hacks committing legal arson as a cheap substitute for true integrity, character and constitutional respect. — Ryk Tompkins, Central Point

It is a sad state of the nation when we become diverted by impeachment for the lowest, most insignificant nature, i.e., Gov. Eliot Spitzer of New York. While we are enthralled by stories about scandalous acts of sexual perversion, this country is allowing power mongers to take away our constitutional rights.

We have an executive administration, the president and vice president, who have failed in their oath to uphold our Constitution, have lied about why we are in a war which has caused hundreds of thousands of deaths and are about to possibly get us into another war.

We The People of any political side have the duty to uphold our Constitution by impeaching Bush and Cheney immediately, which would bring them to a Senate hearing where they would have to speak the truth about bringing down our country to its present state of decay.

It will also make a statement to the next administration be it Democrat or Republican that we are taking our country back, power of the people by using the power of impeachment that the men who wrote the Constitution gave us. It's time to honor them before our Constitution is permanently defunct. — Elise Thiel, Ashland

I am disgusted with the e-mails I get claiming that Senator Obama is a Muslim. According to the Office of the Senate Chaplain, the religious affiliation of the Senate in 2008 is:

25 Catholic

13 Jewish

13 Presbyterian

10 Episcopalian

10 Methodist

7 Baptist

5 Mormon

5 Nondenominational Protestant/Evangelical

3 Congregational

3 Lutheran

3 Church of Christ

1 each of Church of God, Greek Orthodox and Unitarian

Senator McCain is an Episcopalian. George Bush was baptized Episcopalian but converted to Methodist. Senator Clinton is Methodist, her husband is a Southern Baptist. Senator Obama is Church of Christ and has attended the same church for at least 20 years.

The claim that he does not take the Pledge of Allegiance is false. Taking the pledge is part of the opening ceremony.

Obama has led the Senate in the pledge many times. Let's stop wasting time and get back to the issues! — Jeff Cheek, Medford