It recently has come to my attention that the creative genius, Renaissance man and all-around wonderful guy behind Tempo and Revels, Richard Moeschl, soon will be retiring. To say that those will be big shoes to fill would be an understatement.

Because I take some of the credit for Richard being at the Tribune (I hired him to edit Revels at the Daily Tidings 100 years ago), I would like to be among the first to publicly wish him the best of all good things to come in a less-stressed future.

Yes, Richard, there is a future after daily newspapers, and it can be pretty darned sweet. May you and Joanne enjoy Guatemala. Liberté, égalité, fraternité. Oh, sorry, that's French. Que viva Richard Moeschl! — John Enders, Ashland

Why is a vocal minority of white people defiantly and angrily against affordable health care for all Americans?

You'd think they'd be happy to share a civil and moral right. Instead they've organized into a shouting mob of fear-mongering operatives for the conscienceless right-wing health insurance industry that's against any kind of reform — as their greedy CEOs are laughing all the way to the bank.

Are they happy? No, they're blindly full of shame because of the incredible profits they've only "Madoff" honest healthy people! It's documented that roughly 14,000 Americans, mostly middle class, are losing their health care daily because they can't afford the increasing costs of private insurance premiums.

Dear honorable U.S. senators and representatives of Oregon, please share this letter with your colleagues. What's honorable about denying 45-plus million people their rights to affordable health care? What's with the "Blue Dog Democrats," where's their honor? It's shameful!

Be statesmen (women)! Don't be confused over what it means to do the right thing or doing the right-wing thing — which is nothing! They had eight years to reform health care! Do the right thing! Do the healthy thing! It'll make you and millions of supporters and newer voters happy! — Richard Altig, Talent

Three weeks ago, I packed a picnic lunch and headed up into the mountains around Butte Falls to have fun with my daughter (Sherri) and grandson (Joseph). This is a fun trip which we try to do throughout the summer and it is one of my favorite things to do with them.

After we had eaten, we washed off our hands and faces and then stood up. That's when my troubles started. I was stung by a hornet on my left forearm. Within a minute or two I knew I was having an allergic reaction. My entire body was solid hives and I had places I didn't know could itch! My lips and tongue swelled along with my left arm/hand.

Sherri and Joseph never missed a beat. Sherri checked for a stinger and Joe grabbed his mom's epi-pen in the truck. Sherri gave me a shot and Joe found his mom's Benadryl. They loaded me into the truck and Joseph had big tears in his eyes when he said, "Mom, you'll have to give grandma this next shot, I can't hurt her."

They saved my life that day, and I wanted to share this story and show how proud I am of them. — Karen Davis, Butte Falls

The people who propagated the myth of government "death panels" might get what they wished for. We are — if projections about H1N1 swine flu are correct — about to experience a reality check on government rationing of life support.

If you develop a severe case of pneumonia from swine flu, the only way to survive it — and even this is no guarantee — is to be placed on a ventilator (breathing machine). We don't have nearly enough ventilators in the state for all the people who may need them.

Last Friday, at the Oregon H1N1 Flu Summit, the Oregon Senior Assistant Attorney General confirmed that in the event of a declared public health emergency the governor may "regulate or restrict ... medical devices," and authorize the public health director to "take control of medical devices, for instance, ventilators."

If two people can't breathe, but there's only one ventilator, who gets it? No criteria were discussed at the Flu Summit, so right now it appears it's up to Gov. Kulongoski. So wash your hands, cover your cough, stay home if you're sick, and be careful what you wish for. — Martin Oliver, Gold Hill

Several local groups are planning a "tolerance forum" to teach us about our lack of civility and citizenship. Of course, Medford and Talent police see no remarkable incidence of hate crimes or growth in them, but the forum will ignore these minor matters and proceed.

The organizers are "recruiting from progressive young people," a sure tactic to weed out any moderate or conservative youngsters who are notorious for their refusal to practice fairness in the community or among their friends.

Let's face it, Jackson County enjoys a traditional American society, largely free from prejudice or discrimination. It needs no tinkering from busybodies nor does it require lectures from folks with an agenda which, in the end, would dismantle that society in favor of yet another fuzzy and doomed utopia. — Hubert Smith, Jacksonville

I heartily disagree with Jack Shaffer's letter of Aug. 23. Dogs should not be free to do as they please — even people don't have that freedom.

My husband and I are the owners of an adorable toy Yorkie. We keep her on a leash in areas that require one or when we take her into any public use area, such as the art show. She is tiny, and we have had huge, unrestrained dogs make snarling runs at her. Unlike many people, we also carry plastic bags to clean up after her when necessary.

You don't have to "relegate your critter to the backyard" if you use a little common sense and courtesy. That's called being a responsible pet owner.

As for me, I think the California and Oregon laws are just fine! If Mr. Shaffer feels his dogs need more freedom than Oregon affords, maybe he should move to yet another state. — Mary Ann Carlson, Central Point

In my high school civics class (is that taught anymore?) I learned that our congress persons and senators "represent the will of the people."

Regardless of your opinion on such issues as the stimulus, bank bailout, auto bailout, health care, cap and trade, gay marriage, Iraq/Afghanistan interrogation policies, Clunker Program, etc., etc., keep in mind the voting record of your state and federal senators and congress persons. In too many of these cases, the overwhelming majority of the population was either in favor of or opposed to these programs.

At the same time, our "representatives" voted exactly the opposite of their constituents' desires. Do they think they know better than their constituents what is best for them?

Keep close track of how our representatives vote for us and remember them the next time we vote for them. As was the case 233 years ago, the power is still in the ballot. — F. Moran, Medford

A 7-year-old New York girl drowned while on vacation in Maine. Hurricane Bill had made for some spectacular waves drawing thousands to an area that local rangers and police had closed off because of obvious potential sneaker waves.

The little girl's family disregarded the warnings and sure enough, a wave swept them and more than 20 others out to sea. The Coast Guard was called and all but the girl survived.

Manslaughter? Murder? Gee, sorry honey, I thought it would be OK.

As parents, you are responsible for the safety of your kids while in your direct care. The mother and father killed their daughter. I hope the waves seen up close were worth it.

When those whose job it is to keep us safe issue warnings, we as parents have to obey. Don't drink and drive, don't do drugs and never lay an angry hand on your kids. Love 'em and enjoy 'em. They grow up too soon and it's over. Look closely at your kids tonight and say something they might be surprised to hear — that you love 'em and wouldn't ever trade 'em in as a clunker! — Rick Boyd, Medford

With one-sixth of our economy at stake, the health-care public option is the biggest threat to our nation's freedom ever to come from within.

It's sad to see so many Americans willing to follow their partisan collectivist leaders without realizing how much they would be giving up. Although Republicans are guilty of having avoided the health-care cost problem, our current Democratic government is wrong to give our personal responsibilities to the government.

It's also disingenuous to say that those who do not support the public option don't see the need for reform. Most Americans support tort reform, yet the current majority in Congress won't even consider it. Competition lowers prices, yet government restricts cross-state insurance competition with no plan for change. And please, don't even try to pretend the government could act as a competitor, when it makes up the rules. If the government gets in the game, it will soon own it.

Among the examples of successful government social programs given in the argument for the public option are: Social Security, the world's largest pyramid scheme; Medicare, billions over-budget, going bankrupt, rife with fraud, one of the reasons for needing reform; the U.S. Post Office; 'nuff said! — Jon L. Hornbeck, Central Point

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