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Lose that rain barrel or go to jail. The government now owns the rainfall with which God blesses both the good and the bad. What's next? Will they claim ownership of the air and start charging a tax to breathe? Wouldn't surprise me. — Jim Andrews, Medford

With all that has transpired in regard to the flap over Ron Kramer's dual roles with JPR and the JPR Foundation, it seems to me that SOU and their overseers upstate essentially created a problem where one did not exist, and went about telling us that the sky was falling.

I think it is a travesty that a man who dedicated a major portion of his life creating a public radio network that is unrivaled in the country was tossed out on his ear without even so much as a "thank you very much."

So I would like to take this opportunity to publicly do just that: Thank you very much, Ron Kramer, for your long and dedicated service to a large interstate community that exists and is connected because of your tireless efforts. It is amazing what you have accomplished through that connecting of communities, a true "State of Jefferson" via radio waves, theater and music programs and most recently via iJPR's e-connections. Your work is appreciated, and I, along with a host of others, recognize your contributions, and say thank you, thank you, thank you, Mr. Kramer. — Paul Tipton, Applegate

Using my higher order critical thinking skills I analyzed, synthesized and then evaluated Mr. Leonard Pitts Jr.'s column in Monday's newspaper, "Texas GOP declares war on critical thinking." His wild admonishment of the Texas GOP's war on critical teaching methods is lacking the reasons why government schools opt to use methods that cause such a stir.

Parents want schools to teach knowledge and skills, but having students question their values needs to stop at the school door. Parents don't want children to believe everything they read, but use cognitive skills to reasonably make wise decisions. But, as Mr. Pitts states, if a child believes that "Jesus was the first president of the United States or two plus two equals apple trees," I am sure that emphasizing critical thinking skills will not lead a child to believe that Jesus was the son of God.

As for the math example, I ordered one of Oregon's Sustainable Schools math books, "Rethinking Mathematics: Teaching Social Justice By the Numbers." Using this resource and critical thinking skills, students will never know that apple trees are not the sum of two plus two. — Diana Lynn Anderson, Shady Cove

It is with "tree"-mendous joy and gratitude that I see the five newly planted trees on the curbside in front of Roosevelt Grade School on the Queen Anne Avenue side.

Thank you, Medford School District, for fulfilling your promised obligation. — Margaret Brown, Medford

The USDA has just allowed Monsanto to plant another genetically modified vegetable into our food supply while dismissing further investigation of whether it is completely safe. My question is, why haven't the people we pay to represent and protect us not halted Monsanto's malignant army from infiltrating our government agencies?

We are the United States, a powerful country. Monsanto is a cancerous little corporation that kills bugs. This time the "bugs" are the American people. No foreign power, no terrorist group could hope to match the genocide Monsanto is creating by affecting everything that has a heartbeat in our global community. Thanks, USDA. — Linda Zigich, Medford

In Japan the average CEO salary is 23 times that of the average hourly wage worker. In the United States it's 233 times, and was 277 times before the recession.

In Germany, 50 percent of the corporation boards must consist of the workers. Germany rarely outsources work to other countries.

In France, workers are mandated and guaranteed five weeks of paid vacation per year.

My generation (baby boomers, a.k.a. the "weed and greed generation"), through American capitalism, has destroyed the livelihood of our children and children's children by outsourcing jobs to other countries.

To counter this economic treason, immediately these sanctions must be put into place:

In all stores in the United States, the inventories must consist of 80 percent products made in the USA.

Textiles may be imported to the United States, but all clothes and shoes must be assembled in the USA.

Cars built in the USA must be made of 80 percent American-made parts.

American capitalism, the federal government as well as our outdated Constitution have failed us.

We need to look to South Africa to rewrite our constitution, and to France, Germany, Canada and Australia to restructure our repugnant economic system. — Mike E. Miles, Medford

The unemployment rate in Southern Oregon hovers at 12 percent, so we need more from our local leaders than just hopeful words. We should be asking candidates for public office three questions:

1. Southern Oregon youth, ages 16-25, have lost jobs in high numbers since the beginning of the recession. What are you doing to create jobs for youth and young adults?

2. Clean Energy Works Oregon is bringing family-wage home weatherization jobs to our region. Gov. John Kitzhaber's Cool Schools Program is putting people back to work doing energy-saving upgrades on school buildings. Do you support public-private partnerships like these that create green jobs?

3. Green jobs are those that not only focus on renewable, sustainable, energy-saving projects for local communities. Green jobs must also provide permanent, family-wage jobs for local residents that contribute to our local economy. As a candidate, will you commit to creating real green jobs in the Rogue Valley?

We at Oregon Action are doing our part to reach these goals. We are a community organization dedicated to building a healthy jobs economy. We can all help. Buy local and motivate candidates to get behind bringing sustainable green jobs to the Rogue Valley. — Rich Rohde, Ashland

In response to Bill McWhorter's letter regarding "Social justice is justice" and all other letters calling for social changes to fix the evils caused by the existing private enterprise system, the system that is owned by and for only 3 percent of our population.

More than a half century ago, Technocracy Inc. first stated that a time would come when the "price or money system" would become inoperable.

As a result of its 12-year study from 1920 to 1932, Technocracy designed the only "technological social design" in existence. This is the only method available that can replace the "money-price" system, the cause of our social and economic problems.

May we soon demonstrate the intelligence to accept this scientific design. The time for decision has arrived.

Check out www.technocracyinc.org, call 1-800-797-2711 or fax 360-366-1409. — Edmond Dantes Vongehr, Medford

I am a registered nurse who coordinates a controlled substance program for an area family practice. I have worked with Dr. Sills in a prescriber-based organization that is re-examining the overprescribing of opiate pain medicines. He has contributed to this work and is a leader in developing non-opiate methods to manage chronic pain.

I am very disappointed in the Tribune's coverage of Dr. Sills' suspension for abuse of opiates and inappropriate behavior. It went beyond reporting facts to exhibitionism.

Let's consider what's useful to the community and to this physician who, though you wouldn't know it by reading this coverage, has contributed a great deal to other people and is fundamentally capable of doing so again. I have confidence that Dr. Sills and other similarly addicted people can recover. They do every day.

However, the way the information was handled by the paper may make it difficult for him to ever practice in our community again. This would be a loss. Context, such as some simple facts about the prevalence of addiction, would be helpful, as would information about the impaired health professional program. — Sara Smith, Merlin