archives:2003 » Nov 12th



The 'Stache Is Half-Empty

Is it just me or is half of John Street's mustache missing on the cover of last week's issue?

Plainsboro, N.J.


Boy Trouble

On Gwen Shaffer's story last week about discrimination by the Boy Scouts of America:

I just read the piece "Needed: a Badge of Courage." I am an Eagle Scout, and was a local scoutmaster from 1999 until earlier this year. I believe the Scouts' stance on homosexual members and leaders is backward.

While I generally agree with what was written, there were four things I found wrong with the article.

First, the Boy Scouts do act like a corporation. The Scouts issue charters to local councils, which then issue charters to local groups desiring to use the program with local youth. The local groups then become the stakeholders, or voting members of the organization.

It's not just about the money. It's about the membership of the Mormon (LDS) and Roman Catholic churches. If the two largest chartering partners were to give their blessing, the issue of gays in scouting could be resolved. The LDS church has already said that if the Scouts changed their policy they would leave the scouting movement and start something like the Royal Rangers. The Royal Rangers are a Scout-like program run by the Assemblies of God churches.

Second, the unnamed source that spoke about the board being replaced is correct, but why did you have to cite an unnamed source? Bill Dwyer has said as much to Scout volunteers. The current board may have done an about-face, but that is probably better than falling on their swords and having a new, more conservative board named to replace them.

Third, while the Cradle of Liberty Council has suffered, other councils have benefited from the Scouts' stand on their principles.

Finally, in a couple of places Shaffer refers to men as "former Eagle Scouts." One is never a "former" Eagle Scout. Once attained, the rank is a lifetime award. Once an Eagle, always an Eagle.



The mission of the Boy Scouts of America is "to prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes," and Scout law describes a Scout as "friendly," "courteous" and "kind." Noble objectives at face value.

Actions, however, speak louder than words. Consider the lesson our impressionable young scouts are learning as they watch their leaders enforce discriminatory and intolerant policies. What kind of example is this setting for our future generations?

Philadelphia area coordinator
Amnesty International USA


Boob Job

On a recent I Wanna Know item about how it's difficult to buy Amtrak tickets anywhere in Philly but 30th Street Station--and Amtrak's defense of its ticketing system:

The answer you got from Amtrak was typical BS from a loser boobocracy. When the Pennsylvania Railroad still owned Suburban Station, there was a ticket office there. And to drag in the federal funding issue is hilarious. And don't expect me to believe that there is no phone line available from Suburban to 30th Street, all of which may still be Amtrak property leased to INEPTA. We don't really need Woody Allen or Neil Simon around when we have public boobocracies like Amtrak to keep us amused. Pathetic!

Collingswood, N.J.


Mo' Money Blues

On a recent article about Philadelphia's InterAct Theatre Company:

I want to thank J. Cooper Robb for his fair and thoughtful story about me and InterAct Theatre Company. But I have to admit I was dismayed by the article's subheadline, "InterAct Theatre Company, producer of bold political work, is financially troubled. But that doesn't stop it from stirring controversy."

I don't know whether the editor didn't read the article closely, or whether he/she was looking to paint a negative picture for some reason, but InterAct is not financially troubled, nor has it been for several years. In fact, the company is experiencing extraordinary fiscal stability. We have a cash reserve of $100,000, we receive generous support from regional and national foundations, and we are growing in every area of our operations.

J. Cooper Robb asked me if I would talk candidly about the struggles of building InterAct and maintaining a risky mission in difficult economic times. And I feel I did so. But the subheadline asserts that InterAct is still struggling, which is simply not true.

Producing artistic director InterAct Theatre Company

Invisible Ink

A letter to Liz Spikol about a recent column:

I wanted to take a moment to thank you for your article "Spell Check." It really helps all of us with misunderstood and often underrepresented disabilities--especially the ones that people can't see.

I have a form of epilepsy that is accompanied by mood swings (sometimes violent), depression, memory loss and even, at times, an inability to comprehend things like simple math. It is also treated with medications that can be sedating (making you sleep too much and think too slow for the luckier regular folk). As if learning how to behave like a normal person isn't enough fun, there's the occasional seizure. A carnival of laughs for sure.

Other than two family members that also have epilepsy, and my neurologist, I feel that there's no one that understands or even accepts my disability as a valid problem. It complicates my job ("I told you that five minutes ago"), interpersonal relationships ("you're always so miserable ... ") and simple day-to-day activities that most people take for granted.

Even when I try to explain my condition to people (especially those I work with), I get eye-rolls, ignored altogether, or I get to endure constant comments that I am supposed to take as "jokes" ... only they don't seem so funny to me.



Crazy Like a ...

On an item in last week's Pressler's Miscellany about the art of gossiping:

Let's make sure I have this straight: Jessica Pressler suggests that I not check stories out, as that might ruin them?

Perhaps that's how young Ms. Pressler works. Perhaps the inexperienced Ms. Pressler was being facetious, but being as it was published in the Weekly, which in 1996 knowingly published a wholly fictional account of a supposed romance between ancient Philly ballplayer Jimmie Foxx and Judy Holliday, I can't be sure.

Despite Ms. Pressler's excellent advice, I will continue to check everything out, even if it means allowing the truth to get in the way of a "good" story.

I'll leave the fiction, the inaccurate and the half-baked to others, such as ...

Daily News columnist

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