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I like the smoking ban. The ban will help more people stop smoking because they won't want to go into the cold for a smoke. The price of smoking will help, too. Cigarettes are almost $5 a pack. People don't want to pay that much for cigarettes. Over all, I think the percent of people who smoke in the states will decrease, which is a good thing.

- Anthony Sims, Madison East High School

\ Primary process needs reform

I agree with a recent letter writer who argued that changes are needed in the primary process. I commend the young writer for his insight.

The current primary process starts too early, lasts too long, costs too much, is confusing to voters, eliminates some very good candidates too soon, and gives too much power to two fairly small states, Iowa and New Hampshire.

Some people have also voiced objections to the caucus system because relatively few people make the decision for all the voters in those states.

You can see some of the suggestions for change at www.fairvote.org/?page=871 . If you agree that improvements are needed, contact your legislators and party leaders. There is time to change the system before the next presidential primaries in four years.

- Shirley Haidinger, Madison

\ Why not demand better government?

Right-wing guest columnist, Lyle Rossiter Jr. dismisses the wave of optimism and hope surrounding the Democratic campaign as nothing more than childlike selfishness for governmental handouts.

According to Rossiter, the Democrats need to stop being "greedy" and "get real" when dreaming of a new way to approach old problems, presumably a mature, realistic, Republican way that has served us so well these last seven years. Rossiter states that believing the wealthy shouldn't get the bulk of tax cuts or the lion's share of good medical care means we want a "nanny state," which somehow means the end of our individual liberties. Really?

Please explain to the poor just how getting health care for their kids invades your individual liberties. Or did you mean your liberty to get richer while others suffer? Did I miss something or was the cornerstone of the performance of the Republican leadership these last seven years fostering civil or individual liberties?

Rossiter, if wanting an end to rampant lying and deception by our leaders is unrealistic, count me with the "child" voters. If it is greedy to believe that it is in the best interest of our society to provide health insurance to all, I stand accused.

If it is naive to think that we need a form of leadership that can inspire, instead of divide us, which can move us as a nation to find the collective will to deal with the huge environmental and foreign policy mess your party of "realists" left us, then I stand naively with the kids.

The problem with Rossiter's sophomoric psychoanalysis of what he deems his less mature countrymen is that he ignores what caused their pain and why they desperately need to hope for a new way to approach the daunting tasks before us.

We don't believe big government is the answer to all problems. We believe that people, standing united, and demanding a better form of government will ultimately solve our problems.

- Eric Farnsworth, Middleton

\ Hillary, remember 2000 and step aside

Back in 2000 I was appalled when Al Gore clearly won the popular vote in this country but lost the election. He was the person Americans wanted as our president, and he was denied that chance.

Now the American people are clearly speaking again. The majority want Sen. Barack Obama as our candidate. But Sen. Hillary Clinton's campaign seeks a way to beat the popular vote and steal that nomination from the people's choice.

Please, Mrs. Clinton, I beg you not to do this to your party and the American people.

If you do not clearly win both Texas and Ohio and you honestly have America's best interests at heart you will withdraw. You are going to "steal defeat out of the jaws of victory" for the Democratic Party if you split us and make this an ugly fight.

I hope to hear soon that Clinton has stepped out of the race, as the majority of Americans want her to do.

- Doug Wise, Madison

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