The other day I passed a group of demonstrators holding signs reading "No Health Care Reform Needed." I wondered how many of those folks are living without health insurance.

Becky, age 27, makes a bit over minimum wage working in a store from 8:30 a.m. until 5 p.m., then waits tables from 5:30 until 11 p.m. She has a pre-existing condition and health insurance would cost more than $500 per month with a $5,000 deductible.

Peter is a manager at a large motel. No car, no health insurance. He slipped on the ice walking two miles to work and broke his ankle.

Ambulance ride, $800 plus, ER and doctor bills more than $1,500. After three years he is about to finish paying off the bills.

Virginia is 61 and lost her health insurance when she lost her job two years ago. She cleans houses and apartments. She prays her car keeps running and she lives long enough to qualify for Medicare.

These are honest, taxpaying, hard-working people and there are millions like them in our country.

I hope you will remember Becky, Peter, and Virginia when you shout at congressmen and when you wave a sign saying "No Health Care Reform Needed." — Diana Thomas, Ashland

We are growing accustomed to stories of torture of individuals in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo from the Bush administration. Unfortunately, under Obama, torture is still occurring (Harpers, July 2009).

We know torture produced false information and did not work and that befriending prisoners was the most effective way to obtain actionable intelligence.

Remember that in 2002 a prisoner in Kabul, Afghanistan, died of hypothermia after being stripped, hosed down and left outside in the cold overnight.

Also recall that in 2003, an Abu Ghraib prisoner died of asphyxiation after Navy SEALS beat him and his arms were chained behind his back in a CIA cell.

Photographs of the prisoner on ice went around the world.

While both President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder claim waterboarding is torture, Holder appears averse to the idea of investigating or prosecuting torture memo authors.

Holder should focus on torture design and orders from Vice President Dick Cheney, John Yoo, Steven Bradbury and 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Jay Bybee.

Rep. Greg Walden, Sen. Ron Wyden and Sen. Jeff Merkley should pressure the Obama administration for justice. We are all culpable if the administration does not investigate the crime of creating illegal and heinous torture directives. — Derek Volkart, Talent

As I read your paper every morning, I get to the editorial page that has the various columnists.

When we elected Obama, I assumed the days of racial feelings were over, and if not at least slowed down. The columnist Leonard Pitts Jr. dispels that idea.

Somehow, every column he writes always has to do with the race issue. I for one am tired of his columns, as I'm sure a lot of others are as well. — Phil Pastere, Medford

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