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I was impressed by Mr. Stitt's and the Washington Monthly's list of accomplishments of the current administration.

However, let me add some unmentioned accomplishments:

  • Fast and Furious, with a body count of 300 so far. The tip of the corruption iceberg for this administration?
  • The scandal, though not mentioned by the Washington Monthly, that poured hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars, and added debt, down the rat hole of "green energy," e.g. Solyndra and others.
  • The administration's refusal to enforce laws passed by Congress: such as the Defense of Marriage Act, voter intimidation laws, etc.
  • Attack on the free exercise of religion contained in the First Amendment.
  • No plan to solve the terminal problems with Medicare and Social Security, expected to be insolvent within 15 years.
  • Justice for sale for Wall Street bankers/bundlers.
  • ObamaCare that will create 159 new commissions, panels, committees and bureaucracies entrusted with administering a leviathan that will destroy one-sixth of the country's economy while providing fewer services, fewer doctors, fewer and rationed medications, plus add double-digit premium increases for small insurance plans.
  • A $494 million tax increase slated for January 2013.
  • Drastic increase in dependency on the welfare state.

Why were these omitted? — Dennis V. Sinclair, Medford

Responding to Larry Martin and his "black-and-white" opinion on April 29, there are safer alternatives to trapping/killing coyotes to protect your chickens.

I, too, have chickens. They live in an enclosed welded wire area that is predator-safe. I also free-roam them in a fenced area with dogs and goats present to deter hawks and other predators. I never worry about my chickens, and many coyotes abound among other predators. I never confine my goats at night. I would guess that my dogs do a good job at protection. My horse also guards over the flocks. Llamas are often used as protectors.

It seems that you have not exhausted your remedies, but have resorted to the simplest solution, that is to trap, which tortures and kills animals.

Yes, I am one of those compassionate animal rights activists you dread. We also say, "enough is enough with regard to animal cruelty." Shame on you for touting your farm as humane on one hand, and yet killing and torturing wildlife because they interfere with your operations.

It is humans who have invaded nonhuman animal territory with their out-of-control, over-population breeding practices and selfish disregard for the natural environment. — Lisa A. Frost, Ashland

Wells Fargo's guest opinion in the Mail Tribune used cooked statistics to hide the truth.

Go to www.citizensfortaxjustice.org and see the exact figures. For the three years 2008-2010, Wells Fargo paid no net tax and in fact got money back from the rest of us.

It paid a little tax last year, but for the four years 2008-2011 the company paid at a rate of 3.8 percent on profits of $69 billion — a tiny fraction of what any working person pays.

You will also see that among 30 of the largest companies in America, Wells Fargo got the largest total tax subsidy from us taxpayers from 2008 to 2011 — a total of $21 billion (more than twice what the next company on the list got).

Such loopholes created by corporate lobbyists are a main reason why our schools and local governments are cutting back on basic services.

Meanwhile, Internet searches of Wells Fargo's own announcements show that the company eliminated at least 6,385 American jobs in the past three years.

And figures from the Small Business Administration show that small business lending by Wells Fargo and the other big national banks in Oregon dropped by more than half between 2007 and 2010. — Matt Witt, Talent

So I don't smoke, but I worry about my friends and family who do smoke, because it doesn't matter if it's cigarettes or weed, it's still bad for their health. I'm always asking them to quit.

I know it's an addiction and it's hard, but I can't just sit around and watch them slowly kill themselves. I just wish there was a way to make them "kick it into gear" and quit that stuff. — Steve Hinds, Central Point

In response to Carol Horn Davis' letter to the editor (April 26) regarding the Schneider Museum of Art, I am writing to reassure our broad, generous and engaged constituency that Southern Oregon University remains dedicated to keeping the SMA open and vital.

These are very difficult financial times for the university as it celebrates its 140th anniversary in 2012 and makes plans for the next 140 years.

While budget realities necessitate staff changes at the Schneider Museum of Art, SOU has no plans to close the museum.

I am pleased to report that Erika Leppmann, a professor in the Department of Art and Art History, will continue as acting director through the 2012-13 academic year, while we search for a new permanent director for the museum.

Our next exhibition, "The Edge of Vision: Abstraction in Contemporary Photography" (Lyle Rexer, curator), opened on May 10, and continues what has been an interesting and dynamic year at the SMA (www.sou.edu/sma).

SOU is committed to continuing the role of the Schneider Museum of Art as an active and leading venue for the arts in Southern Oregon, and we value greatly the community's continuing dedication to the museum and look forward to our future together. — Alissa Arp, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, Ashland

An attorney's comment on a New York Times article about the Costa Concordia's partial sinking in Giglio harbor, quoted here without added comment:

"This disaster is a perfect example of why robust government regulation of private industry is not just important but indispensable. Private industry's pursuit of ever-greater profit always, always, always tempts it to cut corners, and private industry will yield to that temptation in the absence of strong government oversight.

"There are endless examples, such as the recent toxic mortgage disaster that blew up the world's economy. Yes, there can be too much government, but there can also be too little, often resulting, as in this case, in the avoidable deaths of human beings and a potential environmental disaster.

"Ever since Ronald Reagan's presidency, the right-wing mantra has been 'government is the problem, not the solution.' I hope my right-wing friends will abandon such simple-minded sloganeering and realize that what is needed is a sensible government/industry relationship that works to safeguard good capitalism and simultaneously to undo and avoid the descent into toxic capitalism.

"For capitalism without government oversight is like a pro football game without referees, and the result will always be brutal and cruel." — Hartley Anderson, Medford

Wow! Did you see the sunrise the morning of May 14? It was spectacular. For a minute I thought I was on Kauai, Hawaii.

Nope, I'm right here in beautiful Ashland. It's going to be a great summer! — Stella Cruz, Ashland