If you wonder why politicians sometime ask for a recount, consider the following. My wife received an undated letter from the Jackson County Clerk's office on Dec. 29 (postmarked on Dec. 28) advising her that they needed to verify the signature on her ballot envelope. Methinks something is broken down there, since the election was long ago certified. Maybe the wife gets two votes next time. — Ted Krempa, Medford

Years ago, I wandered accidentally into a rally for a political newcomer and was surprised to find he was an acquaintance from my college years. I listened with pure pleasure and amazement as Peter Buckley spoke intelligently and fluidly about every topic thrown at him. I thought to myself: Huh, you never know what's inside a person.

For the past three months, my elderly mother has been trapped in I.D. hell, unable to get a replacement I.D. so she could finalize the refinance that would save her home. After yet another "no, it's the rules," I in desperation sent an e-mail to Peter Buckley on Christmas Eve, hoping he might respond with a possible lead sometime in the following weeks.

Rep. Buckley got back to me within 20 minutes, getting the necessary information and working to put me in touch with the right people. His legislative assistant, Janet Langley, also stepped right in to help. They connected me with the wonderful Alta Dixon of the DMV in Salem, who solved my mother's problem.

On Christmas Eve. They did this for us on Christmas Eve. God bless them. You never know what's inside a person.

Thank you. — Kelly Moore, Jacksonville

The First Amendment guarantees everyone the right to practice the religion of their choice. Why, then, do "religious right" Christians keep insisting that America is a nation "under God?" According to the Bible, "God" makes it abundantly clear that anybody who doesn't worship him exclusively (in other words, practices "religious freedom,") will face a most painful and grisly demise. This is certainly not freedom of religion; this is a tyrannical death threat.

If "God" himself doesn't permit freedom of religion (and the first three of the so-called Ten Commandments certainly confirm this), how can these "believers" claim to support the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution? This is not merely a philosophical oxymoron; this is the very definition of hypocrisy.

What the "religious right" really means is, they want the nation — and all of its diverse inhabitants — forced to live under their god, according to their dogma.

Freedom of religion? Not hardly! This is theocratic totalitarianism, and it's the most dangerous form of government. (Seen the news lately?)

The great American author Sinclair Lewis put it eloquently: "When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross." Well, surprise — it's already here. — Carol Putnam, Central Point

I can't imagine what purpose would be served by your learning the names of the deputies involved in the shooting of that illegal marijuana gardener! Why don't you find something else to do beside harass the sheriff? He is doing an excellent job, so entertain yourself in some other fashion, please. — Mary Engleson, Medford

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