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Thanks to Hubert Smith (Dec. 15) for making clear the true objection to same-sex marriage.

Now that it has been exposed as a religious objection, it can be relegated to the dustbin of history where all the other "blue laws" go. That a particular religious segment of society can force others to its will is un-American. As Mr. Smith likes to say, it's as simple as that.

In another letter (Dec. 12), Nick Nichols called those who are non-religious "the bully on the playground." But, Mr. Nichols and Mr. Smith, it is not your playground. The playground belongs to everyone, whether or not they share your religion.

After reading the letters by Smith and Nichols, it is obvious who the real bullies are. — Jay Therien, Phoenix

Oh please, Jack! Where are we to ride? (Guest opinion, Dec. 14). You bash motor sport enthusiasts like they are Satan himself.

I have been riding John's Peak and the Forest Creek area for over 30 years and have seen many improvements by the association since then. You aren't one of the many houses on Forest Creek with the acres of junk cars and blue tarp roofs, are you? Because that is an eyesore to me, but I'm not up there protesting it!

You speak as if that is the only forest on the planet to enjoy and in reality it is only a pinhead of land in the county. You have so many areas around you in close proximity that are banned from any off-road use — in fact about 99 percent of the land around you. Please consider the riders in your area are not all drunken Mother Earth destroyers, but more like families that enjoy our public lands a little differently than you do. I, too, enjoy going camping and hiking and hearing only the forest. Are we to outlaw everything that bothers a few? Maybe we should all take up golf or wine tasting — hmmm, not for me. Thanks, anyway. — Gene Kitchen, Eagle Point

It's time, Mr. President, to be accountable for your choices to use harsh interrogation techniques. If your administration did no wrong then surely you don't need pardons for anyone in your cabinet for their actions. Why then talk of a pardon for Mr. Rumsfeld?

A pardon implies wrongdoing. I cannot pardon cruel actions without acknowledging their impact. The use of cruelty is a horrible human trait that needs to be admitted and removed from our culture. Guantanamo detainees who have been held without rights for 6-plus years, tortured and permanently injured while in custody under American hands, have been found not guilty and released.

Mr. President, you need to be accountable for those who have been mercilessly treated during your guard. Your administration needs to be accountable. I hold you accountable. — Charlotte Nuessle, Ashland

It has come to my attention that the Memory Care Center of the Ashland Community Hospital may soon have to close due to lack of financial support. This is of great concern to me.

The Center has been providing a very great service to clients with memory-care problems and their families. They have a respite program which gives stimulation, fun and care to clients, and an essential break to caregivers. Without this kind of support for caregivers, clients might require institutionalization, which would be much more costly.

As a caregiver for my husband who has Alzheimer's, I have made use of another very useful program the Memory Care Center operates. That is a program which educates clients and their family caregivers about memory loss. I have gained much helpful information through this program and continue to be involved in a monthly support group for caregivers which I find invaluable to my emotional health.

The center is looking for community support, funding, ideas. It is essential that we find a way to keep the Memory Care Center operating so it can continue to provide these important services to clients with memory loss and their hardworking caregivers. — Juanita Rosene, Ashland

The WOPR EIS abides by all federal laws. Scientific experts from the BLM, OSU and USFW contributed exhaustive research to the 2,000-page Final EIS.

The governor's office actively participated and should support the EIS. Of the 1.2 billion board feet of fiber growing annually on BLM lands, only 502 million are proposed for harvest. Sixty percent of BLM forests would be off limits to harvest.

A Jackson County study showed local federal forests have more density (1,500 per acre) than the soils can support, leaving trees competing for scarce water and nutrients, therefore susceptible to insects and fire. OSU scientific modeling showed that density reduction from 1,500 to 250 trees per acre (which soils can likely sustain) would reduce fire danger, allowing the remaining trees to release and grow.

The WOPR proposes badly needed thinning and regeneration harvest which will also produce income for counties, jobs and wood products. Replanting new stands of young, healthy trees improves diversity, providing a home for species that don't live in old forests.

WOPR reflects an open public process with solutions satisfying a wide range of values. Message to the governor and state BLM director: don't let an extremist element derail the WOPR. — Sue Kupillas, chairwoman, Natural Resource Action Team, The Chamber of Medford/Jackson County

I am sure you will sympathize with and understand my complaint.

This morning I listened to the news as Barack Obama introduced his nominee for secretary of education. During his brief remarks following high praise for his strong interest in educating our children — we should raise expectations was part of his generally excellent message — this nominee spoke of how fortunate it was that (so and so) had "given such opportunities to my sister and I."

A few weeks ago, President-elect Obama spoke of how the president and Mrs. Bush had "invited Michelle and I to the White House."

I find it shocking and upsetting that newscasters, generals — supposedly highly educated professionals — so frequently demonstrate an ignorance of the fundamentals of English grammar. The misuse of the subjective (nominative) and objective forms of the first person is too common. I doubt such folks have any idea of the difference between a transitive and intransitive verb.

It is obvious this new education secretary nominee and President-elect Obama have spent too much time shooting hoops and too little time studying the fundamentals of English grammar. Aaaarrrrgh! — Mike Higgins, Applegate Valley