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What have we come to that we believe someone's business should be taken away for what they say in a private conversation?

Get a clue. Our First Amendment is designed for a time such as this, to protect speech no matter how reprehensible. In fact, it is especially designed to protect unpopular, reprehensible speech. Let's all point the finger at NBA Clippers owner Donald Sterling, the current poster child for mob hatred. That is, until the thought police come gunning for our business. Beware. — Laura Cogdell, Medford

The Catholic Church has created two new saints. Neither one of them raised a finger to stop priests from sexually abusing children. All they did was transfer problem priests to another parish and hope they'd change. I guess everyone needs a saint to call their own, and Popes John XXIII and John Paul II are the right candidates for all pedophiles!

I also see that the Vatican is protesting the U.N. for classifying child sexual abuse as being torture. Just ask the victims if it's not torture.

The Catholic Church hasn't changed. They've just changed the color of the sheep's clothing they're wearing! — Dean Leffler, Medford

I see that Republicans are having another Benghazi investigation. Apparently they intend to keep it up until somebody tells them what they want to hear. They should just call Fox "News" as a witness.

Lest anyone forget, Benghazi was President Obama's 9/11, except four Americans were killed in Libya rather than 3,000 in the U.S. The other major difference, of course, is that both parties supported President Bush after 9/11, but Republicans have been harassing Obama about Benghazi for years.

You see, Obama referred to the incident as "an act of terror" rather than a "terrorist attack." Republicans are convinced it was some kind of cover-up that accounts for why they lost the election. They just can't understand why else we would prefer Obama to their vulture capitalist candidate. Isn't it about time they grow up and quit their whining?

Bush also called 9/11 "acts of terror" (I am not making this up). — Michael Steely, Medford

I was surprised to see the front page article entitled "Viruses show alarming strength against traditional antibiotics."

No doubt! Antibiotics have no effect against viruses. While the article was spot on in terms of the increasing resistance of bacteria the headline was very, very wrong. In fact, the use of antibiotics for common viral infections has contributed to the problem.

Make no mistake, bacterial resistance to our tool kit of antibiotics to combat infection is a huge issue. Most clinicians are very aware of this and only prescribe an antibiotic if their patient requires it. Nevertheless, ask your doctor or nurse if you or your child should wait a day or two before filling the prescription. What can be better than the body's own immunity mechanisms to quell an infection? You or your child will now have a built in "tool kit" to fight the next "bug" without antibiotics. — Dale S. Smith, RPh, Ashland

Many in the timber industry apparently fail to understand the implications of climate change. One result of this failure is they pressure politicians to increase logging.

Timber managers in Oregon should appreciate how climate projections are likely to impact forest health and tree performance. The viability of many critically important tree associations and tree species, some of great commercial importance, will be compromised during the coming century. Examples include reduction in the range of Douglas fir and dramatic losses among some high-elevation associations.

However, if we manage our forests for carbon storage, maybe we can avert the worst case scenarios and save our forests. Our western forests are among the greatest carbon storage systems on the planet. If we ignore their carbon storage value, through the century we will likely suffer reduced availability of many of our most prized species and associations. Whether the land is private or public will not matter if we destroy our climate so much that it simply cannot support the trees species we value.

What merit is increased logging if this contributes to climate change that destroys our forests by the end of the century? Timber profits?

See www.socan.info. — Julia Maria Rodriguez Seidler, toxicologist, Ashland