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Didn't ring true
Why all the apologetic backpedaling, truth boy? You are the kind of impostor Hunter would have locked in a closet, fired a few rounds through the floor just to make certain you were thoroughly rattled, and then left you there, never looking back. From reading your column (Peter Eichenberger, "Hunter S. Thompson, 1937-2005," March 2), it is painfully evident that you have little life experience, especially for someone who has attempted to adopt Thompson's writing style. But you see, in order for your bullshit to ring true, you need perspective not only from experience but also from careful reflection on it.

Here's an idea: Do something, go somewhere, travel, demand a wide berth, speak loudly and carry a big stick, become part of the story and when writing, leave the backpedaling to the mainstream media and NPR.

Here's an example: Many people who are manic depressive, medicated or not, end their lives. Some have extra rope lying around, some live near railroad tracks, some keep plenty of pills on hand, some occupy the higher floors of tall buildings, and some just keep guns.
Glen Graham

Attack unfair
To discredit a woman's entire argument based on her religion is, indubitably, religious intolerance. Under this same logic, the research of all Jewish scientists should be discredited. Nowhere in Ms. Rider's article (First Person, Feb. 23) does she back her arguments with "the Bible says... ." The Bible does not directly address the issue of abortion. "Thou shalt not kill" is as close as it comes. I would think that those pro-choice Democrats who oppose the death penalty and this violent, unnecessary war in Iraq would agree that intentional killing (i.e., murder) is wrong.

I recently had a conversation with a pro-choice friend in which I mentioned that there is evidence that by 10 weeks gestation, a fetus has developed the necessary mechanisms to feel pain. (The 10-week-old fetus has not, however, developed the mechanisms to suppress pain and therefore may be more susceptible to pain than a second or third trimester fetus.) Her response? "I don't care. It's not a person." She works at a child abuse clinic. This kind of hypocrisy of well-meaning, moral people within our party lost us the election. How can you say that an individual of the species Homo sapiens who feels pain not be a person? And, worse, how can you not care? If pro-choice Democrats continue to plug their ears, close their eyes, and mindlessly repeat to themselves, "It's my body; it's not a person," America will continue to ignore the issues of poverty, education and sexism that plague our country. If you think abortion is the solution to and not a symptom of these problems, I beg you, as a Democrat who cares about our party, to unplug your ears, stop screaming "Catholic" and listen to the research. This is no more an issue of separation of church and state than opposition to the death penalty or, for that matter, poverty.
Christa Carter

Dishing it out
While I realize it's hard to turn down the kind of revenue that must come, for example in your latest issue, from a two-page color spread for Total Wine warehouse, especially so close to St. Patrick's Day, at least some mention of teetotalers besides the one sentence I could find (deeply ensconced in an article on what wine goes best with Mexican food--soft drinks; that's it?) would, I'm sure, have been appreciated by those among your readers who, for a myriad of reasons, don't drink alcohol.

While, again, I understand the financial realities, it seemed, between ads and articles, the entire 136-page issue's theme could have been, "Where (and how) to get blasted this weekend."

This seems especially thoughtless given the high number of specialty sidebars devoted to "Kid Friendly" and "Vegetarian Friendly" restaurants and those that offer brunch or late-night dining, but not even one small listing of places that don't serve alcohol (or, at least, for whom alcohol is not one of the "main events"), which listing might therefore be very important to, for example, those who may be tempted to drink despite being on contraindicated medications and/or having substance abuse issues.

Please consider this in the future; I doubt abstainers (with money to spend on food) are as small an audience as some may believe.
Clifton Toth

Big business
In her Back Talk response (March 9), Mary Rider tells us that the abortion industry "is a business" in what I took as a sarcastic and demeaning tone. It's almost as if she forgets that her Catholic Church is one of the biggest "businesses" on our planet.
Gab Becker

In a March 9 story about the proposed Western Cultures curriculum at UNC-Chapel Hill, we incorrectly said that a "faculty meeting in the fall" that Arts and Sciences Dean Bernadette Gray-Little described as being "open to all faculty, students and the news media" was a Sept. 28 meeting at which the proposal was first unveiled. That meeting was not open to the press. Gray-Little was referring to a second meeting in November that was open to the public.

The restaurant currently operating at 115 S. Elliott Road in Chapel Hill was erroneously listed as Red Hot & Blue in the March 9 DISH section. Red Hot & Blue restaurants are, in fact, at the Raleigh and Cary locations as indicated; the business in Chapel Hill is Jim's Famous BBQ.

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