In listing the reasons for national monument protection under the Antiquities Act (March 22), Pat Clason selectively quotes the act's language related to historic and prehistoric structures, but omits the critical concluding phrase —… and other objects of historic or scientific interest."

It was scientific interest that led to the very first use of the Antiquities Act, which established Devil's Tower National Monument in Wyoming in 1906. Just two years later, the act was first used to protect a biological wonder, Muir Woods. This area, President Theodore Roosevelt declared, had "extraordinary scientific interest and importance because of the primeval character of the forest in which it is located and of the character, age, and size of the trees."

Scientific value also led to the protection of Oregon Caves in 1909. And the most recent national monument declarations, by President George Bush in 2006 and 2009, protected an area of the Pacific larger than the state of Texas in recognition of the scientific value of coral reef diversity.

Let's discuss the concept of a Siskiyou Crest National Monument based on the significance of the area's many objects of scientific interest, not on misrepresentation and fear-mongering. — Pepper Trail, Ashland

Amber Layer recently wrote that Planned Parenthood kills 600 babies every business day in the US. Actually, that's a really slow day for Planned Parenthood's death camps. PP's body count is far, far larger.

Let's look at the numbers.

Planned Parenthood commits 24 percent of the U.S. annual 1.2 million prenatal murders. That comes to a yearly kill count of 289,750 innocent human beings. During a typical week, PP churns out 5,572 mutilated baby corpses. With a five-day work week, that's over 1,100 murders each day. So, during each business hour in "clinics" across America, PP kills 139 of our immature brothers and sisters. That's faster than two dead babies every minute.

Al-Qaida only dreams of killing Americans with that kind of efficiency. Planned Parenthood does it day after day, week after week, year after bloody year.

Should our tax dollars go to an organization that murders even one baby? In the time it took to read this letter, Planned Parenthood murdered another two. — Phil Hunkler, Grants Pass

To say that what is happening in Wisconsin and other states is a "harrowing attack on the public employees' ability to make a decent living" is hogwash. They make decent livings now and they will continue to make decent livings.

Public employee unions do not negotiate with the ones who pay their salaries; they negotiate with politicians who want to get re-elected who then turn around and give the unions sweetheart deals for their backing and contributions. Sounds like a kickback to me, with taxpayer money.

I believe all employees deserve a fair wage no matter what or where their job is. What I have not heard or read is one good reason why I, as an employee of a small business, should have to pay the bulk of, if not all, the health care and retirement costs of someone who makes as much or more than me just because they are a public employee. I have not met any public employee or any liberal for that matter who has volunteered to pay my health insurance or donate to my IRA. Maybe it's just because I'm a wascally conservative. — M. Stewart, Central Point

After reading the recent article in the Mail Tribune about the decision by the Ashland City Council to "reluctantly" raise our water rates and seeing that our rates are already double those of Medford's, I can't help but wonder why we are not extending the water pipeline that runs from Medford to Talent another two miles to Ashland. It appears the last time a budget was developed for the extension of this water line was back in 2006 and it was then shelved.

Even with this increase, some council members admit that residents are likely to reduce water usage in response to the increase, negating any financial benefits to the city for this rate hike. There seems to be a lack of creativity and common sense among our city leaders.

These are tough times for everyone, so I ask the City Council to get more creative about its problem-solving, reduce costs and develop some smart, long-term proposals. A bond measure for a few million dollars that may cut our water rates substantially is one of the better options I can think of, especially while labor rates for constructing the pipeline are low and construction jobs remain scarce in our region. — David Thruston, Ashland

It is time for Congress to defund Planned Parenthood. Each year, Planned Parenthood receives over $300 million in taxpayer funding. According to its own reporting, Planned Parenthood performs 340 abortions for every one adoption referral it makes.

Why, you may ask, are so many Americans forced to look to Eastern Europe, South America and China for babies to adopt? Planned Parenthood reported performing 332,278 abortions in the year ending June 2009, or 27 percent of all the abortions in the U.S. In addition, recent undercover videos show Planned Parenthood employees in several states aiding and abetting human trafficking.

With tens of millions in profits each year (much of which comes from its abortion business), Planned Parenthood does not need or deserve our taxpayer dollars. If Congress can't cut off taxpayer dollars to Planned Parenthood, a willing partner in the exploitation of women and young girls, then how can it be serious about cutting spending anywhere else?

I urge all of my representatives in Washington (Senators Merkley and Wyden and Representative Walden) to defund Planned Parenthood of our tax dollars in the continuing resolution. — Nina Leno, Jacksonville

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