Thank you, Leonard Pitts Jr., for your excellent commentary on Fox News and for having the guts to speak the truth about this despicable excuse for a news organization. I hope the tabloid scandal brings the entire Murdoch empire crashing down, taking the "bovine excreta machine" with it. — Marti Hawes, Eagle Point

Two pieces on Monday's opinion page deserve comment from this curmudgeonly retired editor.

First, Chamise Kramer's complaint about the MT's photo coverage of the "10th Street Tragedy" is baseless. To describe the photos as "completely distasteful" ignores the reality of murder and mayhem, which are never pleasing to see or contemplate. Though Bob Pennell's pictures were gut-wrenching, they were superb photojournalism. Indeed, the reporting, editing and presentation of this ongoing story have been consistently excellent.

Second, Leonard Pitts' tirade against Fox News for what he perceives as its inadequate coverage of the scandal involving Rupert Murdoch's now-defunct News of the World omitted a fact that would have made his own reporting more credible: The Wall Street Journal, also a part of the Murdoch empire and also a conservative editorial voice, has reported the scandal thoroughly and prominently. No sign of a corporate conspiracy there.

Underlying all this is some good news: We still have a free press and the unfettered opportunity to hold it accountable. — Todd Merriman, Medford

On Sunday at Emigrant Lake, I stood and watched a near-drowning. And so did 30 to 40 others (some of whom laughed) who couldn't believe that the young, fit man's pleas for help just a few yards out were real. If you think someone's struggling, go first and ask questions later. And swimmers, know your limits. Don't venture away from the shore without knowing how to tread water or do a survival float. — Scott Cole, Ashland

These people (whiners) who are complaining about the Mount Ashland expansion remind me of the crybabies back when I was in grade school. We called them brats. They would gripe and complain when they didn't get their way, and have tantrums, rolling on the floor. They created all kinds of problems for the other 95 percent.

They keep trying to stop the progress with every possible excuse. They already have cost the Mt. Ashland Ski Area more than $1 million in legal fees. In letters, one person said the ski area should have all the money for the improvements. Did that person pay cash for his home, his car and not have credit cards? Yet another person said the Mount Ashland expansion would cause floods in the valley. Another person said to refine the expansion plan.

Mount Ashland has downsized its expansion plan three times and it has been approved by several official agencies. Only 71 acres will be partially logged, not 70 football fields. A person didn't get the expansion stopped so he is now inciting people to write letters and protest in the streets. I guess these people are smarter than the officials.

Whiners are still moaning. Get real. What next? Green stamps? — C. Brown, Medford

It's odd how people look at the same facts and come to very different conclusions.

I agree wholeheartedly with Michael Framson's July 9 letter about how disappointing our president's performance has been. "Breathtaking" is an apt description. On the other hand, few presidencies in my lifetime rate higher in my opinion than his (a grim acknowledgment), and I've seen repeatedly how astonishingly bad things become when the other party holds the presidency, so, barring a third-party miracle, I will vote again for Obama. Things are, after all, better with him as president than they were with the previous president or are likely to be with any of the opposition candidates.

I also agree with Frank Sobotka in his July 10 letter. I, too, am moved by the national anthem that is, and by the Pledge of Allegiance, though I prefer its pre-1955 version. I feel that every public school classroom should prominently display the U.S. flag, and I still proudly stand for the national anthem. I find it strange, however, that Mr. Sobotka doesn't see that turning our pledge into a compulsory loyalty oath flies against the spirit of freedom our nation stands for. — Scott McKay, Medford

Regarding the debt ceiling, why haven't we heard one proposal put forth by the Democrats or Obama? All you hear is how the Republicans are the party of "no." They actually passed a proposal in the House that was immediately and profoundly laughed off by the administration without one counter-proposal, except ... raise taxes.

Why won't they even discuss the fact that 49 percent of Americans pay no income taxes? That's 49 percent!

The "millionaires and billionaires" pay 70 percent of the taxes and are being asked to pay 100 percent. It makes me angry every quarter when I write my check for taxes knowing that I'm supporting lazy, do-nothings, tax cheats and the children and families of deceased drug addicts that collect Social Security benefits after contributing nothing. I only wish I were one of the very rich. Unfortunately, I'm one of those who worked hard all their lives to save, on my own — no PERS, a pittance for retirement.

I have received no cost-of-living adjustment on my Social Security for the past two years and apparently will not be getting one in the near future. But, thank heavens, the 49 percent will be receiving more and more from my generous tax payments. — P. Moran, Medford

We senior citizens of Jackson County have long supported the local food banks, charities and churches.

So during Jackson County Fair week, did they give us a day for seniors? No. Why? No fair! — Marilyn Wirshup, Gold Hill

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