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As the world seemed ready to combat global warming, the economic slump and lower energy prices are slowing plans to wean consumers from fossil fuels. Around the world the threat of jobs and profit losses has cast doubt on plans to combat global warming.

Economic declines tend to reduce emissions because industrial production slows down. Investment in green technologies will be cut, too.

Recent financial shocks dashed any hopes for a quick recovery in housing. Median prices of new homes sold in October fell by 7 percent from last year. Consumer spending and orders for big-ticket goods plunged.

Americans with 401(k)s have watch their holdings decline. With stocks and bonds down, many of the defined benefit plans don't look so good either. If weakness continues long enough, many plans could end up in the hands of the government agency for failed plans. We may have to bail pensions out.

According to a survey on CFO.com, the credit noose is tightening. Bank-client relationships are fraying and the government program (TARP) has done little to stimulate lending to companies in need. A good book on doing business in China is "All the Tea in China" by Jeremy Haft. See www.allthet.com. — Art Gerds Jr., Yreka, Calif.

The Dec. 8 Mail Tribune article "Run on Guns" was indeed interesting. A Vietnam veteran mentioned called the AK-47 and most of the assault-type rifles "impractical." I see and respect his point. I choose not to own a semi-automatic version of a military assault rifle — Colt AR-15, Soviet AKS, etc. — and have no desire for such.

Nonetheless, the Second Amendment isn't about deer and duck hunting, and I will defend those who do choose to own these. Myself? I embrace the 12-gauge double-barrel stagecoach shotgun with 20-inch barrels. Also, the double-action revolver (.38 Special/.357 Magnum) with six-shot swing-out cylinder. I'll stake my life, protection and homeland security on the shotgun and quintessential sixgun.

The Smith and Wesson (K-Frame) Model 19 .357 Combat Magnum and it's stainless version, the Model 66, along with Smith and Wesson's two heavy N-Frame .357 Magnums, the Model 27 and Model 28 Highway Patrolman respectively, I laud, admire, and embrace as classic handguns. All now discontinued from production.

"Buy A Gun" by Chuck Baldwin for Dec. 14, 2007 at www.chuckbaldwinlive.com remains inspirational. Click on "Chuck's Archived Columns." — James A. Farmer, Ashland

I would just like to say thank you to the West family — the winners of the Powerball. They have done so many wonderful things for the community.

This was again very evident last weekend at the Festival of Trees. There was a sled full of toys donated by the West Foundation and I saw that it was then donated to the Salvation Army.

It is so nice to see that they have blessed the community with their good fortune, and that their foundation has helped many organizations. Merry Christmas, and thank you for helping others in need. — Susie White, Medford

The spirit of Christmas is luminescent on Seckel Court.

Thanks to the cooperation of the neighborhood, Seckel Court is totally decorated (all 11 homes). The generous younger neighbors have assisted in decorating the homes for the elderly.

We invite all to come and visit our joyous and colorful display.

Thank you neighbors, you are very special. You have always been here for us. Happy holidays. — R.M. "Cap" and Ruby Capovilla, Medford