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Week of August 29, 2001

Pregnant Pause
My experience with anti-abortion protesters: Your article "Casualties of War" [Jeannette Batz, RFT, Aug. 15] reminded me of an experience I had when I was 13. One of my older brothers took me to pick up my new glasses. [The optical shop] was located in a medical building that also had an abortion clinic. We were nearly stampeded by abortion protesters like Angela Michael. I was very shy back then. The protesters made me feel extremely confused and scared. Besides shoving all types of abortion literature in our faces and hands, these people literally screamed in our faces. The pamphlets and pictures of babies being stabbed with big knives made me feel sick to my stomach. I really did not understand all the facts about abortion back then. I was very embarrassed because the protesters assumed that my brother and I were going to the abortion clinic.

People like Angela Michael should voice their opinions in different ways. Maybe protesters can write books or even make songs about abortion. To harass ordinary citizens who have the right to have abortions is wrong. I believe in freedom of speech, but where do we draw the line? Michael called women who have abortions murderesses. What does she call women who leave their children home alone, women who leave their kids with inadequate caregivers, moms who can barely afford food for their children to eat, moms with mental illnesses? Michael needs to be careful. She stated that she has been assaulted several times while protesting. In this day and age, we have to be careful with what we say to strangers.
Michele Thomas-Carter
University City

A form of child abuse: Was I the only one appalled to read the article about Angela Michael having her children yell out, "Mommy, please don't kill me?" at women going in to have abortions? Am I the only one who thinks this is a form of child abuse? Michael needs to be more concerned with her own children than with the choices made by others. If reading that she and her husband had acquired a patient's medical records and made them accessible on the Internet wasn't shocking enough, the fact that she has involved her young children in her "crusade" is just maddening.
Gina Marie Wake
Kansas City

Artful Dodgers
Laumeier's board should pony up funds: After reading Eddie Silva's "A Woman Scorned" article [RFT, Aug. 15], one can only conclude that former Laumeier Sculpture Park director Beej Nierengarten-Smith found a "money tree" growing in the St. Louis County, ripe for plucking over the years with apparently just a wink of the eye from a disengaged board of directors. In the final analysis, one must ask, where were the county executive, County Council and county audit people while this was occurring? And what guarantees do St. Louis County citizens have against a repeat performance?

Wouldn't it be gentlemanly if all the wealthy elites associated with Laumeier were to pony up funds for all the wrongful expenditures at the park?
Fred Boeneker

And Now We Know
Welcome to our salon: Thank you for your commentary [Ray Hartmann, "Paradise Found?" RFT, Aug. 15]. I read that Salon article and wondered if anyone else in St. Louis felt the same way about it, or even saw it. Now I know! I'm happy to be hosting one of my favorite writers from Salon in our city, even if he doesn't understand our driving habits!
Jennifer Ash
via the Internet

Jesus Must Go!
What the world needs now: I am offended by your "Jesus of the Week" [RFT Web site] feature. For a liberal-minded publication, it doesn't seem right that you still feel you can put down the religious beliefs of millions of people. Maybe it wouldn't be politically correct to diss the Islamic faith or the Jewish faith. Why, then, the Christian faith? What this world needs more than ever is tolerance. Please remove this offensive feature from your Web site.
The Rev. Jim Byrnes
via the Internet

Tangled Webb
Exactly who is trigger-happy here? Lavell Webb, a.k.a. City Spud, agrees to let someone "he knew to be bad news" rip off someone else who wanted to buy marijuana from Webb [Randall Roberts, "Bad Rap," RFT, Aug. 8]. The "bad news" person shoots and maims the potential pot-buyer. And Webb's grandmother is worried about "these trigger-happy cops"?
Robin Hare
St. Louis

Ballpark Frank
If baseball is slipping, why pay for a new stadium? Participation in baseball is down 28 percent since 1987, according to a report in the Aug. 17 issue of USA Today. So why should St. Louis build a new baseball stadium instead of saving the symphony or Wehrenberg Theatres or building a facility capable of attracting the Charlotte Hornets and Sting?
Ed Judson
St. Louis

Performing-arts downtown is worth 10 new ballparks: Planned and marketed correctly, a reopened multievent-capable Kiel Opera complex in downtown St. Louis and a new performing-arts center in downtown Kansas City will render more economic benefits than 10 replacement ballparks or stadiums. These are growth opportunities to attract more people year 'round. Replacement ballparks are not.

Closed-mindedness -- not looking at how other cities have brought their downtowns back -- is a luxury we could never afford, especially now.
Ed Golterman

via the Internet

Crunch Those Numbers
Let's look at school contracts: An excellent article. Methinks Harold Brewster protests too much [D.J. Wilson, "Board Games," RFT, Aug. 22]. What the Board of Education needs is a state audit with a thorough examination of vendor and warehouse contracts.
Jim Irwin
St. Louis

What More Do You Want?
"Pussy-booking" doesn't mean the show will be bad: You've done it again. The blurb about "Women in Rock" [Rene Spencer Saller, "Radar Station," RFT, Aug. 22] was, at best, confusing. In general, this is another example of what has happened to the quality and reliability of your reporting since Ray Hartmann sold out to the corporate types. I consider you the best example of do-nothing whiners St. Louis has to offer. You constantly bitch about the lack of support St. Louis has for local bands and entertainers. Off Broadway, the bar you dissed, is now supporting not only the Nashville Songwriters Association by hosting a monthly "songwriters in the round," sponsoring a weekly jam session, hosting a monthly battle of the bands and booking local bands every week, but also hosting the "Women in Rock" showcase Aug. 29. Talk about supporting local musicians! What more do you want?

Your critic ranged far afield to find a discontented soul in the person of Spitzie Q. West. What does "Sexicolor" connote? So what if Off Broadway is "pussy-booking"? Does that automatically make the show bad? Does that make the musicians less talented?

Who is René Spencer Saller, anyway? What instrument does she play? There is an old saying: "Those who can play do so; those who can't play become critics." What will it take for you to stop whining in general? The bars do not suck. The music scene is alive and well.
David Runde

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