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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Your readers sent in some really great pictures of our region in the fog, published on page 1C of the Dec. 15 issue. The flower stalks in the left lower photo, in a ghostlike setting, are, however, not thistles but rather another European weed, teasel, probably dipsacus sylvestris, a common species in England and introduced widely in the U.S. It is often to be found near wetlands or roadside swales, and has a biennial blooming cycle, meaning it blooms only every other year in any one location. It is a good nectar source for skipper butterflies and other insects. — Ray Stanford, Medford

The letter in the Dec. 12 issue of the Mail Tribune entitled "Create an atheist holiday" demonstrated a patently obvious miscomprehension of the core issues responsible for the objection to the celebration of Christmas.

Atheists are not, as the author incorrectly asserted, jealous of the fun that Christians enjoy. We are not bullies that use intimidation tactics to spoil other's celebration. We simply value our right, guaranteed by the First Amendment, not to have our government force a religion on us. I would say that rather than being like the schoolyard bully, we are like the founding fathers who understood that the government has gone too far if it has the power to establish or prefer a religion.

When we see a nativity scene on public property, we get a little nervous (just like Christians would if there were a shrine erected to Allah in the lobby of the U.S. Capitol building). We place a placard there to remind everyone that the government cannot exclusively endorse a religion.

Instead of praying, Nick Nichols of Yreka should try doing something useful like reading the Bill of Rights. We don't want a holiday to play make-believe, but he can keep his. — Wayne Andrew Meeds, Central Point

Last night I took a bus tour to the Roseburg Rotary Club's Christmas light display at River Forks Park.

I had never heard of this display until last year when my wife and daughter-in-law went on the tour. We both agree that it is more interesting than the Shore Acres display. There are 80 animated displays including a volcano spitting lava, Statue of Liberty and cow jumping over the moon.

Looking on the Internet today I found that the hours are 5:30 to 9 p.m. except Friday and Saturday till 10 p.m. I didn't know the cost as the bus paid for it, but the Web says it is $7 a carload and this is a driving display so you stay right in the car. They also have Holiday Village where you get out and walk around, but we didn't go there and I understand it is free.

I know this letter sounds like an advertisement for them, but I think it is a great outing for families and is just for your information. — William C. Carlson, Central Point

Unless you're too young to remember, you shouldn't be surprised by the criminal behavior of Chicago Democrats. After all, it was in Cook County that the 1960 presidential election was stolen from Richard Nixon.

When Nixon learned on election night what was happening, he decided not to take a chance on dividing the American people by taking the situation to the U.S. Supreme Court. Instead, he graciously conceded the election to John Kennedy.

If the Democrats had half the class that Nixon had, we wouldn't have spent the last eight years listening to their name-calling and gnashing of teeth. — Ron Smith, Medford