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Quoting the "Our View" opinion of the Mail Tribune on Wednesday, Aug. 10: "Politicians from both parties made spectacles of themselves, especially the new bloc of conservative Republican House members by refusing to do what the majority of the American public knows needs to be done."

First of all, this bloc of Republicans were overwhelmingly voted into office across the nation. Secondly, how can either side make a blanket statement that the "majority" of the American public wants this or that? This is not true and we are a very divided nation. We as individuals must balance our budgets and it's time to quit blaming and cut excess spending. As has been suggested, make a 10 percent cut across the board from all agencies. I am not in your majority! — Debbie Dauenhauer, Ashland

I remember Mark Hatfield very well, he was dean of men while I attended Willamette (1951-55).

I had occasion to visit his office to seek an excuse from attending mandatory chapel/convocation on Tuesday/Thursday because I was working 20 hours per week as a prescription delivery boy for Capital Drug Store (now long defunct). I got the dispensation.

This was before Hatfield moved across State Street to the large white marble edifice which is, arguably, the loveliest capitol building of the 50 states.

Not mentioned in the MT article was the fact that Hatfield was considered, in more than one instance I believe, as a candidate for vice president. Alas, he was too liberal for southern Republicans, so he did not make the ticket. — Jim Verdieck, Medford

Republicans care for little more than wealth and power.

Our country is in dire straits right now. We were put here by the Bush administration and its friends on Wall Street and with help from the Supreme Court. They will never be satisfied until they control the entire government and are spending unlimited amounts of money to convince the American electorate that it's the fault of Democrats and the black (he's half white) president. To that end they are doing everything they can to destroy recovery and job growth.

Wake up, America! What are Republicans good for? Like war, absolutely nothing. — Jack Eagleson, Medford

As a longtime supporter of the expansion of Mount Ashland, I have always welcomed intelligent discourse with those who disagree. But when I read letters such as the recent ones from Lauren Spector and Udo Nies, they only perpetuate the gross misconceptions that continue to obstruct the completion of a project that is long overdue.

The expansion would "decrease the quality of the Ashland drinking water" and the Ashland Watershed would be "polluted?" To "chop down trees would be shameful?" "Where would the animals go?" "Where would the hikers go?"

Really? Isn't it time to stop giving credence to the same baseless, alarmist arguments that have been answered time and time again?

The expansion of Mount Ashland is a prudent, well-thought-out plan that continues to be blocked by those with purely political motives. Our entire community will benefit from the improvements at the mountain, so I urge every citizen to ignore the hype and support the Mount Ashland expansion. — David Spear, Medford

Every time I try to save, something else happens — the water line, the lawn mower, my truck — it's constant.

I can only go to the grocery store a few times a week because I can't afford the gas. I conserve water by not flushing every time I pee, I use dollar-store flashlight batteries to hold down the electric bill. In the winter I bundle up to keep the heat bill down (doubters are welcome to come see).

Social Security is no longer to increase benefits for those who need. The money, your money, is being held in reserve for "private enterprise." For the future!

The elderly are being punished for not being well-to-do, yet we worked hard for so long, and for so little. The only "trickle down" these people get are the tears on their faces.

No matter what you have now, when Social Security goes, so do you!

Next in line is the upper middle class.

This isn't America, it isn't even a democracy any longer. This is a capitalistic state of greed, power and self-interest. It's staggering! (Almost as if Cheney was still the puppet master of the Republican party). — Frank Mequish, Medford

The Monday, Aug. 8, column by Leonard Pitts continues a disturbing series of innuendo-filled articles of his which you have published in our town paper.

This one trots out a not-so-subtle slur of "racism" applied to Obama's "foes."

We look for much better opinions from the Mail Tribune, or are we witnessing a gradual shift into the subtle mudslinging techniques of the eastern liberal press, which oozes out when fear creeps into the Democratic Party ranks?

Look back over other L. Pitts columns you have published and you will see what I mean. — Robert Abler, Medford

Thank you so much for your uplifting, non-bashing editorial in the Sunday, Aug. 6, paper, "State needs to do its homework."

As a teacher, the challenges can seem insurmountable, but all the teachers I know are dedicated, hard-working citizens who pay taxes and want a good life for their children, as well as the children they teach. We want to make a positive difference.

Teachers know the importance and power of education, and want all students to succeed. We rejoice with them when they do, and focus on their growth when they haven't quite met the set standards.

We continue to strive to improve our own teaching methods and techniques by attending classes or summer school. Some tutor, and many give up their lunchtime to help students with their learning. We do care!

Just as children need support and encouragement to succeed, and overcome great odds, so do educators. For that matter, everyone has those same needs.

Your comments were a breath of fresh air, and I feel encouraged to return to this challenging school year with more determination because of your insight. — D. Gilley, Medford

As the tea party and some Republicans and some Democrats have been saying for quite some time, this was going to happen if the government didn't quit the spending! The S&P made the cut after hours on Friday, Aug. 6. This could mean $100 billion in additional borrowing cost to the government, companies and the consumer. We should see our auto loan, school loan, home loan, etc., interest rise.

I say, let's give a big hand to our leaders in Washington for such a grand job on the debt ceiling bill — Rep. Ryan had one the S&P liked, but Sen. Reid tabled it. Hang tight. — Jon Martineau, Talent