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In September we urged Congress to stop the president from launching a war on Syria and Congress did the job. Now we must urge Congress to back the president's diplomacy with Iran and to oppose new crippling sanctions.

Secretary of State Kerry says more sanctions now would destroy our chances of achieving a nuclear accord with Iran. The current Geneva talks are the best chance we have had in years to stop the spread of nuclear weapons. Learn more at www.fcnl.org.

Call for diplomacy: Sen. Merkely, 541-608-9102; Sen. Wyden, 541-858-5122; and Rep. Walden, 541-776-4646. — Brenda B. Gould, Ashland

A review of recent history may be enlightening to anyone without a closed mind.

Bush and Cheney inherited a balanced budget left by a Democrat. Then, as in Obama's administration, the self-centered, special interest-oriented Republicans caused the government to shut down, resulting in hardships for millions, including veterans.

The latest Republican administration started two decade-long wars, one totally unnecessary based on concocted fabrications regarding weapons of mass destruction. The wars solved nothing, as evidenced by lasting internal conflict in both arenas. They continue to bleed our country's resources, and they contributed mightily to the deficit.

Several thousand Americans were killed. Fifty-one thousand were injured with many requiring longtime care with dramatically changed lives. Tens of thousands of innocent Iraqi civilians were killed. America must remain politically and economically involved in Iraq for untold years, maintaining a drag on our economy.

That latest Republican administration's wars, reduction of taxes on the most wealthy, and their favoring few financial industry regulations brought about the Great Recession of 2008 wherein multiple thousands lost jobs, homes and retirement funds.

By comparison, the current difficulty implementing The Affordable Care Act, conceived to help and assist rather than destroy, is inconsequential. — Phillip Nickel, Grants Pass

Recently there was a delightful, entertaining, and supportive event — the Dancing with the Rogue Valley Stars presentation in support of the Sparrow Club.

Eleven amazing, courageous, and talented stars partnered up with their pros and danced their hearts out. They also raised more money than ever before.

Holly Roberts, the Shining Star award recipient as well as the People's Choice award winner, raised over $10,000. It's a shame this positive and powerful event didn't get more media coverage. For those in attendance, it was an inspirational event that I hope encourages all to get involved and give to the charity of your choice. — Shawn Roberts, Eagle Point

Clearly, there is a lot of angst over that fact that Black Friday shopping starts earlier each year.

This year, numerous retailers are opening on Thanksgiving. Last year, I noticed by the afternoon of Black Friday the stores were fairly empty.

I would like to propose a solution to this problem that should work for shoppers, retailers and those who want a quiet Thanksgiving. Why not accelerate this natural regression in the start time for Black Friday shopping several days?

The retailers could start their events even earlier. Perhaps they could even move it to the Friday before Thanksgiving, and this day could become Black Friday. With Black Friday starting several days earlier, the retailers and shoppers will have more shopping days. The retailers could then start a new tradition of closing on Thanksgiving and opening at their normal hours on the day after Thanksgiving. I think this would be a win-win for everyone. — Bob Williams, Central Point