Regarding the undertaking called Regional Problem Solving, the original intent was to perpetually protect the best farmland, something any developed, forward-thinking, sophisticated society would do.

But RPS evolved into a land grab to perpetuate wasteful development practices that yielded our current low densities of 3,000 people per square mile. What we really need is for all communities to fully inventory all undeveloped and underdeveloped lots and land and then promote infill policies. Such an approach would save much farmland.

The problem is that since World War II, municipal decision makers lost sight of how to encourage compact cities where we can move around without driving. They fear two-and-a-half-, three- and four-story buildings as foreign and bad. They cannot imagine land frugality and other resource-saving policies. Thus, they seem incapable of implementing policies that would perpetually save farm and forestland.

Fortunately, the state will likely push cities to infill as part of a statewide energy savings plan. We need that, because what is slated under Regional Problem Solving is just another expensive, 8,000-plus-acre resource-squandering scheme pushed by representatives of landowners wanting to profit from society's wasteful practices. — Brent Thompson, Phoenix, president, Friends of Jackson County

American kids ages 10 to 17 are negatively influenced by rap music's sick messages. The fact that two-thirds of Americans in this age group love this music is both revealing and sad. It Indicates that they not only lack any sort of musical taste, but also a sense of decency.

Where is the fun and entertainment in listening to mindlessly chanted F-words and graphic descriptions of gang rapes and drive-by killings? Equally offensive is hip-hop's blatantly racist portrayal of black people using worn-out, cartoonish stereotypes: black dopers, black pimps, black gang members, black welfare moms, black thugs wearing gold chains. The only one they omitted was the stereotype about eating watermelon. I guess it wasn't violent enough.

More offensive, however, is rap's 25-year history of presenting black women as less than human, defining them as mindless punching bags and sexual playthings. Using obscenity as a punctuation, this music panders to a misogynist — and, frankly, sick — image of women. Rap's message could not have been any more anti-black if it had been scripted by David Duke and Glenn Beck. Parents should care enough to educate their kids about this. — James Snyder, Medford

We have all heard the famous saying from President Lincoln: "You can fool some of the people all off the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can't fool all of the people all of the time." I submit that the president's current sinking in the polls reflects that he has talked his way through the first two parts of that saying, but the last part, he cannot talk his way out of that one. He is going to have to show results, and continually blaming the previous administration does not count. — Lloyd N. Clodfelter, Medford

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