Let me get this straight: Miners at Blue Ledge paid no royalties at all for the minerals they extracted from public lands and were able to "patent" 700 acres of National Forest into private ownership; yet taxpayers are on the hook to shell out $11 million to clean up their toxic mess?

Taxpayers and public lands deserve better than this. It's time to reform the antiquated 1872 mining law. — George Sexton, Ashland

Conservatives who now bash President Obama's every move are the same ones who believed that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction and could annihilate us with a "mushroom cloud." They believed "mission accomplished," al-Qaida was in its "death throes," the "end of major combat operations," and "you're doing a heck of a job Brownie." There's no reason to believe their judgment or power of discernment has improved. — Bill Sherwood, Phoenix

I was very disturbed to read the article about BPA-covered library receipts. Bravo to Eugene libraries for eliminating such toxic paper at extra expense to them. I have come up with a cheap, low-tech solution to the problem: a stamp pad and a date-stamp, which librarians could use to stamp books as they are checked out. Then the patrons would know when the books are due, and we would avoid BPA and save trees by dispensing with those ridiculous receipts altogether. — Carrie Phillips, Jacksonville

By 2009, Republicans had been in the White House for 20 of the previous 28 years. They controlled Congress in every year from 1995 to 2007, and President Bush II vetoed nearly everything sent to him by the Democratic Congress from 2007-09. Since then: (1) affordable health care for millions of Americans; (2) sweeping financial reform and consumer protections; (3) American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (to dig us out of the hole the Republicans dug for us); (4) extension of unemployment benefits for millions of Americans (to dig them out of the hole the Republicans dug for them); (5) landmark treaty with Russia cutting nuclear stockpiles, the most serious threat to the continued existence of humans on this planet. And that's the short list. I know, I know, Republicans could have done it all better, more efficiently and without increasing the deficit or the national debt by a single, solitary cent while cutting taxes for everyone. But they didn't. — Paul Falletta, Grants Pass

After reading the article about Kristy Lee Cook killing the bear, it just makes me sick. How could the Mail Tribune even consider this a front page story? What would it have taken for Ms. Cook to put up a 6 joule hot wire around her property? It's ridiculous that she is given the space in the paper for killing a bear. It's downright shameful that it happened. I have a so-called resident bear, and I wouldn't dream of killing him, and he is probably tipping the scales at 400 pounds. Instead, to protect our property and our dogs, we spent the money to put up a 6 joule hot wire. And it did work. He keeps his distance from the fence now. She could have done the same thing, but oh no, Ms. "Big Game Hunter" had to shoot the bear, and then brag about it in the paper. This is Oregon . . . expect wildlife to be around on your property, especially if you live in a rural area (by your choice). This is just so wrong. — Sharyn "Jinx" Arthur, Timberline Mastiff Rescue, Gold Hill

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