Once again, Planned Parenthood is blaming "abstinence-only" programs for the stunning statistics of teen pregnancy rates and 25 percent of teenage girls diagnosed with "sexually transmitted diseases."

I ask Maggie Sullivan, their education coordinator, where in Jackson County are public schools providing "abstinence-only" curriculum? She quotes Oregon's Administrative Rule on sexuality education as requiring a "comprehensive plan of instruction focusing on human sexuality ... and STD prevention," including "contraception and sexual protection." Does she accept any responsibility for the rise in today's crisis of teen sexuality when this approach has dominated for decades?

The Tribune ran an eye-opening column on this subject by Kathleen Parker, "Dying to date: Casual sex may be losing allure." She quotes Miriam Grossman, author/psychiatrist at UCLA, whose book, "Unprotected," states,"many young women are getting clobbered by STDs with potentially deadly results," even with condom use.

Serious mental/emotional and physical health risks indicate "the old ideology has contaminated the health field at great cost to young lives."

I serve on the RV Pregnancy Center Board, where we see some of the tragic results and hope to facilitate a truly abstinence-based approach to sexuality education in our community. If interested, call Cyndi Bright, director, at 772-1921. — Eileen Ashpole, Medford

Well, guess who made the big mistake while talking about international relations? All of the media has been talking of nothing but slathering over Obama making a mistake while in Iraq. If he had, it would have been on the news every half hour and in the headlines.

But the mistake wasn't made by Obama. McCain spoke that morning of the Iraq/Pakistan border.(?)

Maybe you don't see anything wrong with that. None of you got it when Bush purposely confused Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden.

So, are you going to play McCain's mistake every half an hour or make a big headline? I didn't think so. Has anyone other than Jon Stewart even mentioned it? — Dawn Sinnott, Medford

I have been observing political ads with senatorial candidate Jeff Merkley touting his position on several issues while attacking the current Congress. Being that Mr. Merkley is a challenger running for Congress, everything appeared straightforward about what this ad was about. Except, I have recently read in the Mail Tribune that the sources of funding for these ads have already reached their legal limit.

To make everything appear legal, the ads I have been watching, as Mr. Merkley insists, were never intended to promote his run for the Senate but instead were out of his own benevolent concern for these issues. I'm curious to know if any of his partisans will be able to repeat that lie with a straight face? Judge Judy's famous aphorism has never been more appropriate: "Don't pee on my leg and tell me it's raining." — John Wickre, Medford

Sen. Gordon Smith's choice for the next president of the United States is John McCain, who is running to fulfill a third Bush term.

Smith, born into wealth, grew up in a posh Maryland suburb and graduated from high school in Maryland. Smith has voted with President Bush 90 percent of the time over the past eight years.

One out of eight Americans now believe the United States is on the right track according to a Wall Street Journal poll. Seven out of eight citizens want relief from the failures of the Bush administration that Smith supports.

Smith voted against cutting taxes for farmers, child care, health insurance, small businesses and senior citizens. Gordon Smith is out of sync with the average Oregonian struggling to get by month to month. It is time for a change and Gordon Smith is just more of McSame. — Paulie Brading, Medford, Jackson County Democratic Central Committee chairwoman

Political groups who consider themselves benevolent and progressive, like the National Organization for Women or the Sierra Club, often refuse to take a position on illegal immigration, or they take a position that seems to work against their own stated long-term interests. Recently, however, there is growing sentiment among folks who would normally empathize with these groups, but no longer do because of the hypocrisy of their positions.

Teenage pregnancy rates are rising in the U.S. for the first time in years, while once stable birth rates among native-born American women are on the increase. These developments might be traced to a sense of abandonment young women feel toward civil authorities who have turned their backs on the American population's needs for the sake of obtaining cheap labor.

Now is the time for progressive thinking people to live up to their billing. Illegal immigration is the engine behind American's population explosion. Left-leaning progressives need to stand with their countrymen against runaway population growth for the good of mankind and the survival of the planet. — Robert Bennett, Grants Pass

On behalf of the staff of DHS/Child Welfare of Jackson County, I would like to express my gratitude to the North Medford Rotary and the Jackson County Homebuilders Association.

They sponsored and fully funded a picnic on July 12 for foster and adoptive children. It was a wonderful event and was enjoyed by over 260 people.

I would like the public to know of the positive things that are happening in our valley. These service organizations are making a difference in the lives of abused and neglected children in Jackson County!

If any person or organization is interested in helping our most vulnerable children or interested in becoming a foster parent, call Penny Esser at 776-6120, Ext. 232. — Penny Esser, foster parent recruitment, Department of Human Services/Child Welfare, Medford

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