If anybody out there wants to know why our country is so far in debt, then try to get your head around this fact: The United States spends more on its military than the next 15 military powers combined. That's more than Russia, China, Japan, England, France, both Koreas, Iran, and on and on combined.

Our country's military-industrial complex has turned this sleeping giant into an insomniac on steroids. If anybody thinks we are going to eliminate the national debt and cut taxes without reducing the size of our empire's military, then I have an invitation to the mad hatter's tea party for you. — Stephen Armantrout, Phoenix

British Petroleum's reluctance/refusal to release video of the oil leaks in the Gulf is unconscionable. There are many independent scientists able to give at least rough estimates of the size of the spill; they need good video and time to process the data.

I'm prompted to write this while listening to a BP spokesman use the estimate of 3,000 barrels a day for this spill. The actual size could be as high as 70,000 barrels a day. Who knows?

The use of dispersants is very disturbing. Putting the oil into the water column could be far more damaging than dealing with it on the surface; who knows?

The weak response from the federal government is disturbing. BP is the responsible party. That's good, but they should not control the response, especially the data concerning the actual size of the spill. OPA90, the Oil Protection Act of 1990, responded to the Exxon Valdez spill with new regulations on oil tankers. OPA2010, anyone? — Jim Akins, Phoenix

Loved John Darling's article on local dreamers who give their time, energy and "joyful vision" to the community by seeing a need and filling it. Please add my daughter, Shona Stargill, who started the new People's Market at 170 Main St. (South Pacific Highway) in Phoenix, Friday and Saturday, noon to 6 p.m., and Sunday, noon to 3 p.m., with these ideals in mind. I spent last weekend there and had a super time!

"Our mission is to offer a wonderful and diverse market at a time for those people, customers and vendors who otherwise can't make it to the many other great markets in our valley. Please join us in sharing the spirit of community and support. Small and large garden vendors, unique antiques, tasty treats, music-makers, face-painters, crafters, artisans, informational and educational vendors wanted. For information please contact Shona, 541-840-9359 or getngear@yahoo.com. — Cooky Colquhoun, Phoenix

Okay, I think we in Medford and the Rogue Valley finally get the message from the city and Parks and Recreation regarding the water park: "We don't intend to make use of community feedback, we're just required to ask for it before we push through what we want to do. You'll get what we want, not what you as a community want, need, or deserve (a proper aquatic center with regular and therapy pools to respond to the loss of our pools and Providence's programs), because it was our great, big idea, and we know what's best for you."

Wow — Democracy in action! — Cara Davis-Jacobson, Medford

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