Almost daily, tragic headlines capture our attention and quickly fade away. In 33 days, five Washington police officers were murdered on duty. Annually, almost 200 U.S. police officers are killed doing their jobs.

Police officers accept their calling knowing response to a call, or some type of enforcement action could claim their life. What is not anticipated is that someone would target them like the Seattle police officer shot and killed Halloween night while in his patrol car. Or that they would be executed while drinking coffee like four Lakewood, Wash., police officers. These five men and women were murdered for what they represent, the badge they wore and the career they chose. Police officers walk a fine line between good and evil and are here to keep criminals like those who murdered them away from peaceful citizens.

Nine children lost their mom or dad, and dozens of family and friends lost loved ones. Now, two communities are dealing with the loss of five citizens who had the passion and courage to take an oath to serve and protect. The headlines are gone, but we must never forget the sacrifices our police officers make each day keeping our communities safe. — Joe Henner, Grants Pass

A chicken in every pot and a government snoop in every medical decision. The plagiarism from the socialist and Communist Party USA playbook is not unexpected.

They have accurately predicted we would fall from within, for some two generations.

And, to be fair, their Web sites call for universal health care for the illegal, as well, to end our repression and bring "social justice for all." Obama, with his socialist Democratic Party, tiptoes through the tulips, bringing the nation successive doses of socialism, transcending anything Sam Webb could imagine.

No marvel, Webb, head of the Communist Party USA, has nothing but slobbering praise for Obama, who is seen as "transformational," as "a fresh voice on the political scene." Follow our community organizer's cheering squad, like Communist Party Vice Chairman Jarvis Tyner. At the University of Missouri, Nov. 13, Tyner said, "He's only the beginning," referring to Obama.

Smile, it's "Hope and Change"! — S. Huddlestun, Central Point

Presidents who campaign on an ambitious platform of "change" often disappoint their most ardent supporters once in office. The fault is collective. Candidates offer simple solutions to complex problems and make promises as though winning the election will give them unilateral authority to advance their programs by decree. It doesn't. They depend heavily on buy-in and, to a large extent, they succeed. They shouldn't. Our system imposes limitations on the executive branch and we should expect at least some acknowledgement of reality.

Once in office, every president has to reevaluate, negotiate and compromise. We need to be critically objective. Partial success is not total failure. I'm sure many issues look quite different from behind the Oval Office desk than from a seat in the campaign plane. — Stan Loer, Grants Pass

Has no Democratic senator the courage to proclaim "We have a monster in our midst!?" Not an elephant in the living room, but a mammoth before the Senate:

No one likes the health reform bill. Conservatives detest it; it is not what liberals want, and it is nothing like Independents might have devised. President Obama praises it because he thinks he must get something done quickly, or all reform is dead, and something is better than nothing because failure is a bad show.

That woefully trivializes the importance of a health care system. We need valid reform. This legislation will profoundly affect the entire population for future generations. Would they pass it to protect the reputation of the president?

Any legislator who votes on such a basis scorns the people.

Two thousand pages of details; perhaps thousands of lines with unintended consequences, and they vote without knowing those lines.

How thoughtless!

Instead of utopians in secret, how about a variety of thinking people who can learn from each other, study well and openly devise a plan that most of us can support? It can be done. — Ira Edwards, Medford

President Obama, all Democrats — you've lost one Independent voter.

You had great potential when you won the presidency and both houses of Congress. But you've proven gutless.

Republicans declared from Day 1 they had no intention of helping provide every American with decent, affordable, health care. They called you "Nazis" for even trying. So you quit. You caved on single-payer, you caved on a public option, even on lowering Medicare's entry age.

You want all Americans to buy insurance from private companies — and allow those companies to charge whatever they want for "pre-existing conditions" or age. This is not "reform." It's a sick give-away to the insurance industry.

This is your best effort when you're in charge? Republicans and insurance company executives laugh at you.

Try to enforce mandatory insurance with no public option. Will you imprison 46 million people who can't afford the shakedowns?

When Republicans own Washington, they push you aside and shove their programs down the country's collective throat — "bipartisanship" be damned. But with Democrats in control, you haven't the guts to enact your most important objective. Even Howard Dean says kill this abomination.

Bottom line: You are incapable of governing. — Craig Callaway, Eagle Point

I want to apologize to some people who wanted to get in the line for swine flu shots on Thursday, Dec. 17. My wife and I were standing in a long line when a woman, who looked like a nurse, that I thought was the "authority" figure, came out and said the line was cut off right behind us. She also told us to tell anyone that came up that we were going to be the last ones to get shots. Some people behind us at that time left.

Everything went fine for about 30 minutes. Quite a number of folks came, and when we told them they left, even some in wheelchairs. We finally got up to the corner of the building when two women we told wouldn't leave, and I got into quite a lively discussion with them. I finally quit trying to tell anyone about the cut-off, and the line got longer. Well, the outcome was that they gave shots to all that were behind us.

I sincerely apologize to anyone who left after I told them about the cut-off. If I ever run into this kind of situation again, I will not tell anyone anything! — William C. Carlson, Central Point

Several years ago, I wrote here and predicted then that the cost of the new Interstate 5 interchange would greatly exceed the estimates ODOT has stood by in their efforts to build the interchange at the south end of Medford.

I told you so. Placing this new interchange where it is was a huge mistake. It should have gone where ODOT told the residents of Medford years ago it was supposed to go. At the intersection of South Stage Road and Highway 99. — Kevin C. Foltz, White City,

During the holidays, I find myself sad and upset over how people are treated for the mistakes they have made in the past. I wonder why we can't forgive and move on, life is too short not to be given a second chance.

If, when looking in the mirror at night before you go to bed, you can't find any room in your heart to forgive, then do them a favor and move on. Never forget one thing: No matter who you are, nobody's perfect. God bless, happy holidays. — Joel D. Setzer, Medford

I would like to see "in one place" (not scattered about and possibly buried) the names of our congressmen and senators, where their contributions came from, how they voted on major issues, net worth on being elected and net worth on leaving Congress, and did they then go to work for the very industries that made them rich.

I would like to see this information go back 10 or more years also. If there is a glaring pattern, I think the American people deserve to know. Let the chips fall where they may. Also, our medical professionals know where the fraud and abuse is. Is there a central place where they could pass this information on unanimously so we can get a better understanding of the problems in our system? — Gail Ahrens, Talent

Ted Anthony makes a few salient points about the effect of the cacophony of shouting, both from experts and the general public, regard the issue of climate change. He also takes a poke at the Internet for contributing to the plethora of questionable information and opinions being circulated by the general public.

But the larger issue with respect to the kind of "democracy" we are experiencing is lost in the shuffle of words. The businessmen who are in charge of this planet need to look into their hearts and decide once and for all, are they here for short-term greed, or are they part of the human race? There are options for building sustainable industry that could serve the need for profit, but we cannot continue to allow old business practices to drive our economy and pollute the planet.

The science is overwhelming. Powerful individuals, along with the politicians who benefit from their largess, must put aside short-term thinking and see the bigger picture. If they don't, they will put us all "out of business." — Allen Hicks, Ashland

Just for the record, the real "reason for the season" is the winter solstice.

This celebration probably goes back to the cave dwellers who were thrilled each year when the advancing cold and darkness subsided and the sunlight started to return. Maybe they didn't know what caused the change but they were smart enough to imagine the result if it didn't happen. Hence the celebration.

By what accounts are available, star positions etc., Jesus was born in August. Perhaps they couldn't get anyone to come to the party in August so in AD 273 the birthday was moved to the solstice and it became Christmas.

Since the holiday is older than Christianity, it's difficult to rationalize the complaints. But whether the occasion is called Christmas, solstice, yule, or whatever, it has different meanings and is loved by Christians, atheists and pagans alike. I personally think organized religion is a lot of bunk, but I love Christmas, I have a Christmas tree, and you can say "Merry Christmas" to me. And to all those Grinches who don't want to see a Christmas tree I say "Take a flying leap." Merry Christmas. — Herman Dennington, Gold Hill

ACCESS Inc. would like to thank the Southern Oregon Runners for the Fourth Annual Turkey Trot Run on Thanksgiving Day. The event raised nearly $6,000 to feed the hungry through the ACCESS Food Share Pantry Network of 22 food pantries in Jackson County. It also brought in 623 pounds of food from the 569 runners competing.

Southern Oregon Runners is Oregon's oldest, most active running club, started in 1969. To celebrate its 40th year, the club chose to benefit ACCESS with the Turkey Trot, the area's second largest race and the club's most profitable event. Thank you also to the 2009 Turkey Trot's three major sponsors — Best Tel, LLC, Naumes, Inc. and Rogue Rock Gym.

Each year, over 300 food drives like the Turkey Trot contribute to closing the gap in feeding the hungry. Thanks again to the Southern Oregon Runners and all who participated in this great event. — Gary Miller, executive director, Medford

I just read that the Ashland City Council couldn't decide whether or not to completely ban nudity or just make it against the law here and there within city limits. They did decide to postpone further discussion until January 2010.

How can this even be a sensible discussion? Does this mean that a possible law would be for a nudist to carry a cover up while prancing by a school or other undecided "off limits" area? What? Are you kidding me?

I've been in the Ashland area for over 35 years. Never before have I been ashamed to say such. What is the council thinking? We are a laughing stock on many levels. No, people, not forward-thinking. A laughing stock.

The decision should be a no on nudity — period. I do not want to see someone's genitals in Safeway on Aisle 6. Hello! I do not want to see anyone naked while I'm in public. My rights are being taken away by some PC idiots who are afraid to just say no to nudity. Lack of a law is bringing weirdos in from all over the place. How sad for our beautiful town. — Lizbeth Lee, Ashland

At the Dec. 10 Central Point City Council meeting, Cooper Sherwin, a senior at St. Mary's High School, addressed the council regarding his desire to establish an Arc Angel program in cooperation with the Central Point Police Department.

The Arc Angel program is a charitable initiative in which soccer balls, basketballs, footballs and playground balls are collected and then distributed to the community's youth by members of the police department who identify a need or opportunity to make a difference. From an organizational perspective, the Arc Angel program provides an additional mechanism for establishing a positive relationship between local law enforcement and Central Point's youth; a relationship the city considers essential.

We would like to commend Mr. Sherwin for his community involvement. Developing a sense of civic duty in the next generation of leaders is crucial to the success of any community and it is encouraging to know that this young man will be one of those leaders. The city of Central Point is pleased to be able to assist Mr. Sherwin and foster his enthusiasm as he takes on this project. — Christopher Clayton, assistant city administrator, Central Point

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