There's a plague in Southern Oregon. Are you aware of it? It's heroin addiction. It's the cause of burglaries by desperate people even in the daylight hours.

It sometimes starts with a legitimate injury with a pain pill prescription. When no longer furnished legally, the person finds out they can get heroin fairly cheap. First they smoke it, then they end up shooting it. Oh, what a relief it is! It plays no favorites; it can happen to anyone! The process gets more intense and more needful. Getting it becomes their all.

Now they have no money, no job and nowhere to get help for free. That person is a relative, someone you love. You watch helplessly as they can no longer hide it and no longer be a productive member of society.

The only answer, cruel but true — jail — not just a couple of days and then turned loose. Oh no. Please keep her a while. Please let her go through withdrawals and start building up endorphins. Give her time to come to her senses and hope for a new life. Just got a phone call, she's out — overcrowding again — my hopes are dashed. — Jean Birkby, Jacksonville

I didn't know whether to laugh or cry as I heard Barack Obama giving his victory dance speech on the heads of all conservatives. Emboldened again by his victory over Republicans who caved to his tyranny giving him his funding bill with no compromise on his part. He now will seek more spending, immigration, growth of government.

His speech cites concepts like the "normal democratic process" and "compromise and negotiation." This after and while continuing to claim that the entire actions of the American right were just a "manufactured crisis."

What is "manufactured" about spending borrowed money for nearly half of every dollar we spend. What is "manufactured" about failures of Obamacare and the potential for it to further bankrupt our economy? What is manufactured is a president who appears to have forced the government shutdown and wanted it as a political tool. We know that, because the government had pre-printed closure signs ready and a shutdown plan for the monuments, parks, viewpoints and other costless government functions Barack Obama knew would, if shut down, cause inconvenience and pain to average citizens.

How long will we tolerate his lies and misrepresentations in his every word and deed? — Raymond Smith, Central Point

T.E.A., taxed enough already — that's radical? Advocating for a balanced budget — that's extremist? Understanding that the Constitution was carefully constructed to keep us free and not as a device to redistribute the wealth — that's racism? Believing in the founding principles of limited federal control, with all other powers retained by the states or by the people — that's terrorism? That's hostage-taking? Really?

Which is more radical, wanting government to live within its means, or $17 trillion in debt and counting? Which is the more radical, the tea party fighting for your personal freedom, or the progressives who want to run your life?

What has made America great is the philosophy of Adam Smith. What is bringing America to her knees is the philosophy of Karl Marx. We are allowing the progressives to kill the goose that lays the golden egg. That's what the tea party is trying to tell you. — Doug Dusenberry, Gold Hill

I have often wondered why it is that if our city and county governments want something, there is always money for their projects or to give themselves a raise, but if the public needs something they will have to vote in a tax for themselves. My wife uses the library and the Extension Service quite often; apparently our city and county governments have their own access to these facilities or they don't know what a great value they are to the citizens out here in the real world.

You are public servants here for our needs, not just to sit behind a desk and featherbed your retirement. Try living in the real world for a change. You would probably never make it! — R.W. Golphenee, Medford

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