Vote pro-choice candidates
Forty-nine years after Roe v. Wade, the single most important issue on the ballot is reproductive freedom.
Women will face unintended pregnancy. We will have abortions, safe or unsafe, legal or illegal.
This is not just an issue of state's rights. Women will never experience economic equality without control of our own bodies.
Shame on five Supreme Court justices. Our daughters and sisters deserve the same constitutional protection and access we have.
Abortion is not a dirty word. Abortion is health care. Vote for pro-choice candidates.
Linda Monahan, Tigard
Loans are meant to be repaid
Just a couple of questions on loan forgiveness, President Biden.
Why stop at student loans? How about home mortgage loans and car loans and best yet, credit card loans. Same rationale for all — maybe that will buy many more votes in 2022 midterms. And people that were dumb enough to save for their children's education, or work their way through college, or join the military for tuition help, deserve to be stuck with paying for "forgiven loans."
Someone will have to repay those funds, if not the recipient. They might be forgiven, but taxpayers will be responsible.
It is a very slick method to transfer wealth from the "haves" to the dumb ones that paid their own way or chose not to go to college. Too bad neither Congress nor voters ever approved this idea, but fortunately, you can use executive orders.
Should you want to reform the student loan program, the only practical method would be to get the federal government out of the student loan program. Twelve years ago, when the federal government took over the student loan program, Nancy Pelosi famously said, "This is great! Now we will make money on this program because our administrative costs will be so much lower." (Editor's note: This is not a direct quote from Pelosi.)
So why have you, Joe, canceled over $2 billion in student loans since you were inaugurated? Is that your definition of "making money"?
My last question is, what part of the definition of the word "loan" is not understood by college and postgraduate students?
L.F. Sitter, Rock Creek
Why do we overspend on military budget?
Year after year, America spends close to half of its discretionary budget on military budgeting; more than the total of the next 11 countries combined, including China and Russia. It is 12 times higher than the military budget of Russia. It is said that this is the price of security but still it did not stop Russia's invasion of Ukraine. It appears to be a false security.
Biden's budget request for the Pentagon is $813 billion dollars, a $31 billion increase over last year's budget. Congress will likely increase that by another $25 billion or more.
Yet our national and local media doesn't ask questions of candidates about this ever-increasing military budget. No questions about how this budget reflects the priorities of America, even as the needs of the people cannot be provided for — housing, health care or relief from student and medical debt, for instance. Congress even seems to be having a difficult time approving a new expenditure for fighting the COVID pandemic!
It seems that the world's greatest democracy and "freest" press cannot find its voice to ask important questions. One wonders if we have a democracy at all, or, if we do, who our democracy represents.
Let's have a national discussion of priorities: war v. human needs. That discussion could begin if the press did its job and asked some hard questions. But we don't have to wait on the "freest press." We can start asking the questions ourselves. Let's do that now.
David Delk, Southeast Portland
Congress shouldn't set prescription meds' prices
When my dad had throat cancer, it wasn't the prescription benefit managers (PBMs) we were so grateful for. It was the hard-working doctors and nurses who administered his care and the pharmaceutical companies who worked overtime to develop the treatments and medications he needed.
So, when I heard that Congress was yet again considering measures that would allow politicians to set the prices of certain prescription medications, I felt a pang of frustration. It's been well documented that this sort of legislation could make it harder for pharmaceutical researchers and scientists to create the new cures and treatments that cancer patients need. Ultimately this legislation could limit innovation, reducing the number of new treatments available to patients and preventing our medical professionals from doing the best work possible.
Instead of placing undue regulations on pharmaceutical makers and making the jobs of doctors and nurses harder, I urge you to tell your representative to regulate middlemen like pharmacy benefit managers instead. These go-betweens offer little value to patients and seem to simply exist to drive up costs. Enforcing common-sense regulations on PBMs would allow patients to afford the medications they need while still preserving crucial medical advancements.
Thomas Ragan, Happy Valley
Supreme Court now like ancient Rome
I am in favor of overturning Roe v. Wade because it has such fragile legal underpinnings. However, in general I can understand the protests.
I do not like the idea of 330 million people waiting breathlessly for five individuals, who may or may not have attended law school and learned anything useful, to decide the future course of the country. It feels too much like the imperial decrees found throughout Edward Gibbon's "The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire."
Our republic should not have arrived at this place.
Nolan Nelson, Redmond
Grateful for support of Medicare Advantage
It's not often that we, the public, take time to express our gratitude to our members of Congress when they continue their support for a cost-effective and needed program like Medicare Advantage that millions of seniors like me depend on for their health care.
Although I personally enjoy good health today and take care of myself by staying active through regular yoga practice and walking, I have access to testing and services that allow me to stay ahead of any health issues before they become serious. Medicare Advantage encourages me to keep an active lifestyle as prevention against health problems that come with sedentary living. I appreciate the reminder.
Medicare Advantage offers added benefits at an affordable price to traditional Medicare like coverage for dental, hearing, vision and mental health services. Most every senior could use help with at least one of these services.
So, a sincere thank you to Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley and all Oregon's members of Congress who supported this program's renewal. It gives me peace of mind knowing it's there when I need it.
Nancy Murray, Southwest Portland
Mural at Bridlemile inspires neighborhood
On May 15, 2021, after nearly a year of planning and a lengthy approval process by Portland Public Schools, a group of 160 students, parents and teachers from Southwest Portland's Bridlemile School painted a vibrant 300-foot long mural to inspire hope in the community and invigorate an empty school site during a time when children needed it most.
One year later, the Bridlemile Mural — one of the longest in Portland — has impacted this close-knit community in numerous ways — joyful first day of school photos are taken here, a fifth grade graduation ceremony will happen in front of this mural this June, community members enjoy bathing in the color as they walk to Hamilton Park and more murals are now planned for the school.
Local paint company Miller Paint generously donated the paint and supplies for this project that has served to inspire joy and connection in a community.
Heather Keeling, Bridlemile School parent, Southwest Portland