I have the perfect solution to replacing those plastic bags. Buy reusable shopping bags that are made of double-thick duck cloth and trimmed in colorful designs.

The straps are reinforced so you can carry canned goods and the bag won't break. Many stores now give you a nickel back for each bag you use.

These bags can be found at the Eagle Point Saturday Market. The market is open every Saturday through the first week in October. Many other crafts and local produce can be found there. It's located near the Butte Creek Mill on Royal Avenue in Eagle Point. — Suzi Collins, Eagle Point

Karen Schneider's letter July 19 is all too typical, and expected, from the liberals around us.

Ms. Schneider takes issue with Arizona's new immigration law, saying it is based "on hate." This is a typical liberal response based on their love of everyone, no matter how harmful that group is to this country.

This is not the first time they backed a group solely because they were the minority; it's the same reason most of them voted for Barack Obama, although they will never admit it. It makes them feel good to look in the mirror and say," I can vote for a black man!" Or, "I can support an illegal immigrant criminal!" I can only call it reverse racism, and their blatant disregard for this country's needs, and the will of the majority, is exactly why they must be removed from office in this year's elections, and all sound-thinking people must repeat that message again with Obama's removal in 2012.

I can hardly wait for the "it was Bush's fault" letters to begin! — Mark W. Bowen, Sams Valley

It seems that the liberal public employees are all upset because budget cuts are putting their jobs in jeopardy or at least being cut somewhat.

Layoffs, cut hours, some furloughed, etc. Starting to hurt, is it? Well welcome to the world of public entitlements. The so-called wealthy are running out of money to pay for everything. Remember when liberals voted politicians into office that spend more and more tax money on all those illegal immigrants because they want their vote? Well those very immigrants are the ones that are taking our jobs, yes, taking them. Huh! Well, listen up!

When tax dollars pay for all those social programs for people that are in this country illegally then there isn't enough money to pay you! A lot of public employees are helping those lawbreakers take away the very thing that they hold dearly, like ther jobs, taxes for education, health care for legal Americans, etc. When they continue to support politicians that cut our education system, police, firemen, Medicare, etc., and instead pay for entitlements for these illegal immigrants, they become part of the problem. Bush didn't do this, liberal voters did. They voted, didn't they? They should pay attention in November. — Rick Schefers, Shady Cove

As a pro-choice liberal Democrat who favors gun control, porous borders and universal health care, I must take issue with both Kathleen Parker and Kathryn Lopez's unbridled enthusiasm for Sarah Palin.

Obviously Palin doesn't speak for me on any issue large or small, and I wish she would take her grizzly attitude back to Alaska where she can hang from helicopters and shoot defenseless animals. It doesn't matter to me how cute she is. — Catherine Sullivan, Medford

In letters (July 18), Mr. Lindsay Paulk asks a great question: why a voter should ever entertain the thought of voting into power the GOP this November.

Unfortunately, Mr. Paulk then uses his column to parrot his primary agenda as he echoes the tired liberal mantra of "it's the GOP's fault" and let's not forget to throw in "race" and "Limbaugh" for good measure.

Because this letter is limited to 200 words, let's focus on three primary reasons why a voter should not vote for the current administration: Reid, Pelosi, and Obama. Reid and Pelosi have set a new standard for "in-your-face" politics by openly buying votes to pass a health care package that the clear majority of this country still does not want.

In two short years, Obama has increased the national debt to over $13 trillion, initiated a failed stimulus program, watched as unemployment has risen to about 10 percent, supports a selective immigration policy, displayed a lack of leadership during the Gulf tragedy, and the list goes on. In summary, the better question is, why should anyone ever entertain the thought of voting into power the current administration? — John Mittendorf, Medford

I applaud Sens. Hass and Atkinson's efforts to ban plastic bags in Oregon. We all waste and use too much of the world's resources without a thought to the repercussions. Damage that may not rear its ugly head for decades, but it will come back to bite us, and it won't be pleasant.

I understand the sentiments of Carrie Newsom, but disagree. First, I have not seen solid proof that "reusable bags are not healthy." If you wash, as you should, unwrapped fruits and vegetables before eating, and wash your reusable bags, how can they be unhealthy?

To another of Newson's concerns, I find paper no weaker or harder to handle. As for missing plastic for donations — use paper. To line waste cans at home, use paper, or don't use any liners. Prior to the plastic bag days we got by just fine without.

Finally, recycling? Recycling is good; I recycle all glass, plastic and paper items, but is that really the best way? What impact does recycling have on our environment? And what is really "saved" compared what is "used" in recycling?

I will vote for the ban. I use reusable bags and with no ill effect. — Linda Green, Central Point

Again, lessons learned at the 4-H market swine competition:

"I've learned to take in a lot of responsibility and how to manage money. I've learned not to be attached." This from a veteran of the process, namely, raising a pig to optimum size before selling it for slaughter to the highest bidder.

The pig, of course, is a sentient being wanting to live out life to its full; it also understands affection and trust — love, if you will. It knows "attachment" — loyalty is another word for it.

The question is unavoidable: What lessons are learned by youngsters who so raise and then, with steely resolve, send their beloved pig off the slaughterhouse? Empathy for other sentient beings and compassion for all who suffer are the foundation for any society that claims to be "civilized." As we treat our "animals," so we treat our fellow humans.

Cruelty and betrayal cannot be justified on the grounds of sound "money management" nor does "detachment" from the process exculpate those involved. Without empathy or compassion, our militaristic, materialistic society breeds people capable of using drone attacks against defenseless humans thousands of miles away. That capability must be carefully taught, from an early age. — Ragan Cavanaugh, Ashland

Does Jason Atkinson think the liberals up north will elect him as governor if he latches on to phony issues like banning plastic grocery bags?

Does Atkinson haul his garbage to the trash in plastic bags?

I'll bet the senator's family use disposable diapers and feminine napkins, both of which are pollution contributors and biohazards as well. Of course a political panderer and hypocrite wouldn't find those items as alluring as the plastic bag non-issue.

If this wasn't such a desperate time for Oregonians, I might ignore this political grandstanding, roll my eyes and move on.

Atkinson's bag tax and ban exemplifies what's wrong with our political system. Self-serving career politicians with minimal life experience get into politics without being tested by fire.

I suppose Atkinson resorts to such pathetic and obvious pandering, assuming voters are too stupid to see that he's selling us out to placate the far-left Portland crowd. Voters should replace Atkinson and send him into the private sector in search of a real job, just to see if he can live up to his wildly exaggerated resume. — Roger Fredinburg, Medford

As Gene Lyons said in his Sunday column, that crackpot rhetoric coming from the far right is totally divorced from reality. So why is the GOP pandering to such irrational extremists?

They oppose whatever President Obama proposes, even to the point of apologizing to BP! They don't have political opponents, but enemies who hate America.

Their idea of commentary is calling Obama stupid names like "commie," "Nazi" and "socialist." They make up asinine stories — he's a Muslim, a foreigner, etc. — and then believe their own BS. They aren't interested in facts, just ideology. Blatant liars like Beck and Limbaugh are their news source. They presume to speak for God and the Founding Fathers, and think those who disagree with them are unpatriotic and going to hell.

If ignorance is bliss, why aren't they happier? Did I say they're extremists? No, they're the Republican base. Crazy is the new normal.

The president's national debt commission recently described the nation's debt as a cancer destroying it from within. The same could be said about its ignorance. As Thomas Jefferson said, "If a nation expects to be ignorant and free ... it expects what never was and never will be." Wake up, America! — Michael Steely, Medford

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