Thank you for Froma Harrop's column on "free-market death panels." It captures the experiences of too many persons who have suffered a terminal diagnosis alongside the unwanted battle to get benefits from the insurer who for years cashed their premium checks.

If socialism is the dependability of the Social Security checks my grandparents and parents received every month for years after paying into the system since its inception or the Medicare coverage which paid for their final illnesses, then I am an American Socialist. If socialism includes the GI Bill which paid for my two blue-collar Vietnam veteran brothers to earn their education degrees which led to a combined 60 years of teaching underprivileged public school students, I am an American Socialist. If socialism is the source of the money paid my son who as a Veteran's Affairs medical psychologist visits veterans and their caregivers in their homes and provides end-of-life care, then go, socialism. Where's the evil in using our tax dollars to provide the works of mercy such as education, health care and service to vets in "a nation under God?"

Where's the virtue in funneling that money into corporate profits? — Sam Alvord, Lincoln on the Greensprings

It's a sad state of affairs when the bickering and or sniping of our elected officials get more attention than the real issues.

Here's a thought, do what we elected you to do, criticism of your efforts is our constitutional right and the right of every citizen in our country. If you are getting a lot of negative feedback from your constituents then maybe you should listen to what they say and take it into consideration. It's not your job to take things personally it's your job to represent all of us. — George Gregory, Klamath Falls, former Rogue Valley resident

Five years ago I watched my party's convention because a young black man was giving the keynote speech and he was our party's future. I was impressed with what I saw.

I followed his career and was impressed with his speeches but not impressed with his speaking skills when not scripted. I finally concluded that he was just another empty suit making empty promises, just another in a long line of lying politicians. He hired lobbyists and tax cheats to work in his administration and took up with truly despicable people like Pelosi, Reid, Dodd, and worst of all Barney Frank.

So, while you can't condone shouting out "you lie" on the floor of Congress, it is, after all, just one lying politician calling another politician what he is. And when your child is forced to listen to political rhetoric at school, your job is to point out that politicians of both parties are liars (and most are thieves) and consider it a good lesson in political science. In the meantime join the ever-expanding legions of us who do not vote for incumbents of either party. — K. Cockrell, Medford

I was shocked and saddened by the accusations leveled against Brian Brush. I went to high school with Brian and we were fairly close.

The Brian I knew was kind and sensitive. This doesn't mean he didn't have an ego; he did. But in general he was a nice and kind person.

What makes a sensitive kind person become a killer? He had mentioned that he was concerned about his anger, and was worried about hurting someone. He also mentioned he felt alone and depressed.

Why didn't anyone pick up on this? The warning signs were there. The pillar of his life, his mother, had died recently. His business was struggling. All of the signs were there. Could this have been avoided if someone had acted on the warning signs? — Mary Safley Hubbard, Houston

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