"How does that kicker check look now?" asks the Daily Astorian in the "Other Views" feature March 7. Well, it looked good then and looks good still.

The piece's writer doesn't see the benefit of that $1.2 billion kicker being spent in Oregon and I believe the writer also misses the obvious in that instead of giving us the kicker, the Legislature would not have set the money aside and used it to bail us out today. I believe that if they had an extra $1.2 billion back then, they would have spent it on something — anything — back then. — David Ropel, Central Point

An article in Harper's magazine recently opined that the Republican Party is dying.

Recent comments by Rush Limbaugh that he is the head of the party can only mean that prediction of impending party death must be true. Limbaugh has been found a liar and what truth he tells is likely stretched to the limit.

Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham and the like all wish the president to fail, think singing "Barack the Magic Negro" is cute and that Sarah Palin is presidential material. Despite the failed policies and deficits that got us into this recession, most congressional Republicans and especially right-wing-nut conservatives still cling to the fable that lower taxes and trickle-down nonsense will build roads and pay the bills and would apparently prefer disintegration of public safety and education rather than consider tax increases.

Most progressives, me included, have no more love of taxes than do the Republican Limbaugh dittoheads. Dittoheads, though, are fearful of change and, bless their hearts, seem as gullible as a bunch of puppies that will happily follow Limbaugh's plastic bone right over the cliff.

Republican death is not likely to be quiet or peaceful. All we can hope for is soon. Soon! — Don Stone, Ashland

Sen. Alan Bates has been proactive in support of two issues that negatively affect health and safety in the past six months.

He got a ticket running a red light so he co-sponsored a bill to get rid of red-light cameras. Apparently, Dr. Bates ignored he fact that people running red lights has led to severe injuries and death.

In the middle of October last year he wrote a letter to all Ashland residents saying that as a doctor he was against the effort to require restaurants to publicly post the score they received from health department inspections. There is no reason for Bates to take such a position unless it was a concern about campaign contributions. — John Jory, Ashland

On March 8 in the Mail Tribune, the magazine PARADE, one of the most widely read magazines in the U.S., presented the need to repair our roads and bridges because they are in terrible condition and more and more cars and trucks are on the road.

Not one word about trains was mentioned, not light rail as successfully used in Portland, nor passenger and freight trains for longer distances.

The great American automobile industry has tanked. And we the people still have bought into the scam. Not that good roads and sound bridges aren't important. It's that there's a healthy alternative — trains. — Sidney E. Goldberg, Ashland

I drove up South Riverside on March10 and noticed two gas stations on the south end of town had identical fuel prices. I passed a gas station across from the mall and the diesel price was 29 cents cheaper than the previous stations.

Of course I stopped to fill up. I asked the attendant why the price difference and he replied, "The owner of this station doesn't feel it's necessary to gouge." Novel idea. — Mitch Gibson, Medford

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