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Art is certainly in the eye of the beholder. Bob Pennell's photograph of Ms. Parsons viewing the Maplethorpe at SOU's Schneider Museum tells a more compelling story than the Maplethorpe itself. It is a beautiful picture.

The Mail Tribune has photographers of the highest quality. Mr. Pennell's work is tops, as is the work of the other artists who appear regularly in your pages. Thanks, MT. — Gail Beason, Talent

The idea in the May 5 letter "Stop wicked agenda" that the majority of the elected Democrats in the House are members of the Communist Party is ridiculous. This idea belongs in the same manure bin as the ideas that any ethnic group or major religion is plotting to take over the United States.

Where our real danger lies is in the growing influence that the corporations and the very wealthy have over our lives, and even our thoughts. While the Democrats tend to be a little more for the common person, in reality both parties are too much under the influence of lobbyists.

The idea that our elected officials answer to lobbyists and their sponsors rather than to us the people who elected them should have us up in arms, but it seems we are little concerned.

What really is conspiring against us is our apathy, materialistic self-interest and a lack of concern for our fellow persons. — Bill McWhorter, Medford

I wrote a few months ago about the poor condition of the signs in Shady Cove on Highway 62 that welcome folks into our little town.

I am pleased to say that we now have freshly painted signs that look great! Thank you to whomever arranged the refurbishing! Job well done! — Christine Allwardt, Shady Cove

You know what ticks me off? When I'm driving my car, all the other people driving right by me, with their heads pointing straight down checking their text or phone messages or whatever.

This isn't just rude, it's a blatant disregard for my safety and my passengers' safety. So you know what I do? I give 'em the big finger. They probably don't see me, because they still have their little heads pointing down, but it still feels good anyway. — Gary Pendergast, Talent

As the November election rapidly approaches, the letters from a few of President Obama's supporters seem focused on trying to generate support for the president's policies that have largely been a failure.

Taxes set to increase by half a trillion dollars in January 2013, a health care package that was not supported by most Americans, a failed stimulus package, gas prices that have nearly doubled, the debt being raised to $16 trillion, a veto of the Keystone project, unemployment over 8 percent, the Solyndra debacle, and Fast and Furious are just a few examples from an administration that has been heavy-handed and incompetent.

This is underscored by the recent Mail Tribune op-eds by Barney Frank who admitted the Democrats worry that Obamacare may hurt them, and George Will's "How Obamacare is taxing jobs out of existence."

The comment by Kathleen Heritage in the letters (May 12) that admonishes Americans to "support and continue the present course; please remember this when you vote," appears to be prophetic as Obama's job performance is markedly down in national polls and Romney currently leads Obama by 7 percent. It is currently obvious that most Americans are remembering. — John Mittendorf, Medford