A recent article said that health-insurance reforms could cost $888 billion in 10 years. That's the cost of 31/3 years of waging war in Iraq (at $720 million a day — American Friends Service Committee).

Congress has approved the latter expense, plus more for Afghanistan, yet claims we can't afford insurance for everyone. This greatly reduces the credibility of Congress. — Ken Deveney, Ashland

In response to Lindsay Paulk's letter of Sept. 14, I would like to remind him he is enjoying our right to freedom of speech and should respect the rights of Republicans to the same.

He tells them to "get over it" regarding their disapproval of Obama's policies. He also said he had difficulty in debate with them as it was like having "a war with an unarmed person."

That's a real insult. I have both Democrats and Republicans in my circle of friends and love them all. Can't we all just get along?

Most of my Republican friends are Christians and strongly disapprove of abortion or euthanasia. As for health reform, it would be wonderful for everyone to have coverage, but bottom line — we taxpayers would have to foot the bill.

Don't be so sure of Obama's tenure for 71/2; more years. His approval rating is now in the 40s range and falling. I hope he can find it in his heart to be more tolerant of differing views — it's the American way. May God give him peace. — Maydene Schwietert, Phoenix

Fact: Extracurricular activities in high school are an enriching and desirable part of student education. Teens that participate in athletics, band, debate, etc., typically are more successful in academics as well.

Fact: Teens (even those who abstain) view the use of alcohol and marijuana as a common social activity rather than abhorrent behavior practiced by outcasts and deviants. The social climate tolerates drug experimentation and occasional use.

Bad idea: Drug test all students in extracurricular activities.

Consequence: Participation in extracurricular activities declines.

Conclusion: Accept reality. Deal with drugs (like other potentially harmful activities such as sex and driving) with a reality-based approach to drug education. (Resource: www.safety1st.org). — Claudia Little, RN, BSN, MPH, Ashland

I oppose Obama's socialist programs. I've been branded by the left!

I'm called a "conservative activist." I embrace the term. I have opinions, express them, and write my congressmen. I plead guilty.

I'm called an "unruly mob." Doesn't it take three to be a mob? If they mean our Founding Fathers were a unruly mob according to the King of England, then I agree. I'm an unruly mob of one.

I'm called a "racist." They are right! I admire the human race! The American race! Those of all hues who fought and died for my liberty that I might be an "unruly mob." Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi implies I'm a "Nazi." I won't dignify her with a response except to say: "To find the truth, seek inward, Nancy."

To the name callers: Thank you! By the law of unintended consequences you've empowered and defined me and the millions who gathered at the Capitol or their states on Sept. 12 to protest the direction this government is taking.

We are millions of individual "unruly mobs." The sleeping giant has awakened! The silent majority is growling! We couldn't have done it without you. — Lloyd Holm, Butte Falls

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