I'm a crippled-up (partially disabled) U.S. Marine Corps vet, with my disability pending (and you can ask any veteran how long that takes!). In the meantime I am only intermittently employed by the feds with no life insurance.

But since Oregon has Cover Oregon courtesy of the ACA (Obamacare), I have been able to "fast track" and I am signed up for the Oregon variant of Obamacare! So for all the detractors like the rich pundits or the rural conservative with his Social Security and his Medicare, I say "Tell it to the Marine!" Semper Fi! — Mark A. Forrette, Medford

Critics of Brian Comnes' Nov. 8 letter to the editor on chemical-dependent GMO crops and the risk to local vineyards are trying to misrepresent his message. His letter merely stated a true fact.

Dicamba and 2-4D ravaged the large Iowa grape industry in the 1950s. Those chemicals are still a real risk to vineyards today.

Porter Lombard agreed with that fact in his letter (Nov. 15). The point being made was that the next generation of GMO crops soon to be released are all about being resistant to 2-4D and Dicamba because glyphosate (RoundUp) is losing its effectiveness for weed control — new superweeds that glyphosate can't kill. That means more, not less, dangerous chemicals will be sprayed.

Therefore, passing Measure 15-119 reduces the risk to our local vineyards by banning crops genetically engineered that require more and more harsh chemicals to grow effectively. If you have doubts, ask a hay grower what they have to do to get rid of a GMO alfalfa field they no longer want. RoundUp won't kill it. The solution? Dicamba and pre-emergent herbicides. Right to Farm, not to Harm, vote yes on Measure 15-119 in May 2014! — Donna Breedlove, Medford

SOU's proposed house program should provide students with an active approach to learning basic academic skills through engagement with themed projects (water, food, local economic development) of direct benefit to our host communities — Ashland, the Rogue Valley, Southern Oregon, our state, country and world. It deserves a fair trial.

Administrators and many professors hope this program will result in better recruitment and retention of students at SOU. We depend on tuition for nearly nine-tenths of our operating budget; without a stable student population the whole university is in jeopardy. Unfortunately, the house curriculum is too new and innovative to have been tested. There is no guarantee that it will serve students better than the general education curriculum it might replace.

Under less-stressed circumstances, we could pilot the program for a few years, measure its success and proceed deliberately with its expansion or abandonment. As it is, the relentless disinvestment by state and federal governments has put SOU into a position where we are forced to take big risks with scant room for error. — John B. Richards, Ph.D., Ashland

I'm always amazed at the information one can glean from the letters to the editor. For example: On Oct. 19, I learned from W. Story of Central Point (who has some mysterious and unidentified source) that the GOP got together on the evenings when Barack Obama took the oath of office (both times) and they agreed that they would vote against everything Obama wanted. Story didn't say if he meant the House Republicans, the Senate Republicans, the Republican National Committee or all Republicans in general. As a registered Republican, let me tell you that I am highly incensed that I wasn't invited to any such meetings, at any level.

By the way, did Mr. Story happen to notice that during the most recent budget debacle, several (misguided) Republicans actually voted "with" Obama? Personally, I can't even imagine that at any political meeting, be it Republican or Democratic, where the number of those attending exceeded 15, any agreement could be reached on anything, especially on a subject of such magnitude and far-reaching repercussions.

Mr. Story had best check his sources because he has been badly misinformed. — Murray LaHue, Medford

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