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Letters to the Editor


To the Editor:
I enjoyed your "Last Picture Show" feature (RFT, Dec. 30) and commend you on not elevating the Zoo Train Derailment Disaster of 1998 to the important status assigned to it by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch in its end-of-year feature this week. Your comments on the P-D coverage of Mark McGwire were right on the mark. Not news, not sports -- hey, we're tryin' to sell papers here! If your name is Mark McGwire, or Mark Maguire, or Mack McNulty, we want to talk to you! There are 150 people in the Southwestern Bell White Pages with the last name of Pope, and probably 15,000 named either John or Paul or John-Paul. Should be a fertile field for some really interesting front-page news (?) next month. I can't wait.

Dick Dillon


To the Editor:
After reading the MidAmerica Airport article ("Terminal Illness," RFT, Dec. 16), I was moved to voice my opinion. The St. Clair County residents got what they deserved. This white elephant -- or, as I call it, "Costello's Folly" -- cost the taxpayers $300 million. Yet the voters re-elected him by an overwhelming margin. Let's not mention some of his other questionable dealings.

I was reared in a strong Democratic tradition and support its candidates whenever possible, but wrong is wrong. I am sickened each time I drive by MidAmerica Airport. The residents of Illinois knew the Lambert Airport brass and Missouri politicians would never let such a project fly and allow business to move across the river.

As Illinois taxpayers bear the responsibility for keeping this enterprise going, I would like to know what concrete programs our leadership has for this project. To tell the taxpayers that it may be a booming enterprise by the year 2003 or so doesn't cut it. And all the hoopla over the metro rail system linking the two airports in the future doesn't explain how the taxpayers of Illinois will benefit from MidAmerica until that becomes a reality.

Sharon Mays


To the Editor:
Thanks to Richard Byrne for making your readers aware of the terrific River of Song documentary ("Media," RFT, Dec. 30). It is unfortunate that Channel 9 has decided to show the majority of the episodes at midnight.

RFT readers who are educators may not realize that educators have permission from the makers of River of Song to tape the show and show it in the classroom for a period of one year after the initial broadcast. In addition, the Web page -- accessed either through the Music Educators National Conference ( or PBS ( contains many interesting lesson ideas for teachers of not only music but social studies, history and cultures. There is also an accompanying CD available. I plan to use this show extensively with my fifth-grade music students.

William E. McDade


To the Editor:
In Jake McCarthy's article "Poll Stars" (RFT, Dec. 30), he quotes Richard Gephardt as saying, "We need to stop destroying imperfect people at the altar of an unattainable morality." Is asking the president not to commit adultery in the Oval Office really that unattainable? I don't think expecting the president to show some respect for the Oval Office is setting too high of a standard. He is, after all, sending men to die from that office in his so-called war with Iraq.

Alan Lenny


To the Editor:
The American Psychiatric Association has finally, decisively taken a stand on the so-called ex-gay movement. The APA board of trustees unanimously voted Dec. 11 that "reparative" or "conversion" therapy -- the idea that a gay man or woman can be "cured" and become straight -- is dangerously misguided.

That means that it is now considered unethical to practice that kind of therapy, and that if a psychiatrist does, he can have his license taken away and he can be sued by his patients for unethical behavior. The APA position statement says, "The potential risks of 'reparative therapy' are great, including depression, anxiety and self-destructive behavior, since therapist alignment with societal prejudices against homosexuality may reinforce self-hatred already experienced by the patient."

So the next time the religious extremists want to place full-page ads in major newspapers, claiming they can "cure" gay Americans, I trust the newspapers will politely turn them down. It's not just controversial now -- it's unethical.

Being gay is no more a sickness than being tall is.
Scott Miller


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