Aging with grace
In regard to the "Yippie traitor" story ["Confessions of a Yippie spy," March 16]: it's not the missteps we make, but the grace with which we recover from them.

Michael Helsem

Even if I did not personally know George de Merle to be a gentle, compassionate, generous man and a consummate artist, I would have this to say about his "slimeball" past: artists do not begin to swallow, process, and eliminate what society modestly calls the "status quo" without first making a lot of mistakes.

Being so much larger than life, all of [an artist's] blunders are so public and visible. After we have ineptly blundered our way through the mastery of our "native gifts/handicaps," then, like George de Merle, we begin to make mature and universally meaningful art that will be found worthwhile, if not by our society, then by some future one.

I hope George has come to regard himself with even a third of the love and respect I have for him; then he can wear his past like a none-too-attractive but comfortable pair of shoes.

Jill Parr

Respect the law, not the judge
Regarding the update on Betty Brock-Bell in the Buzz column of March 23: first, I am pleased but quite surprised that the State Commission on Judicial Conduct ruled against her. Her actions were not only heavy-handed, they were self-serving and petty. What about the man who had to spend three days in jail and pay a $100 fine as a result of her stupidity? Brock-Bell should have to reimburse him for the fine and his lost income. She should have apologized for keeping him waiting for over an hour.

If Cedrick Loeb was surprised by this, he should be reminded (perhaps by the voters) that the entire concept of the United States justice system is based on respect for the law, not reverence for attorneys and judges.

Brent Everett

Sneaky Southern Baptists
I read Rebecca Sherman's article about the SBC Annuity Board's PC scandal ["Baptist PC Blues," March 23] with interest and dismay.

In 1988 my family had difficulty getting the Annuity Board to pay a claim for my cancer operation. My father is a Baptist minister and has paid annual premiums for insurance to the Board throughout his lifetime. They refused to assist us. We eventually got help thanks to a threat of lawsuit issued by a family friend who happened to be a U.S. attorney. It's ridiculous that it had to come to that point.

Knowing that it's only a microcosm of what's happening to the Southern Baptist Convention as a whole, I am not surprised that they're continuing in their unethical behavior .

Rose Ann Sparks

I would like to thank you and your staff for the story "Baptist PC Blues." It was done with depth, insight, and a personal touch as to what had transpired during the course of events I went through.

It can sometimes be hard to gather the emotions of a person in a story, but Rebecca Sherman was able to convey in words my frustrations while employed and unemployed at the Annuity Board.

Tony Mlakar

Her fault
Molly Ivins' "Stay outta my sex life" [March 23] enraged me enough to put a response in writing.

Wake up, Molly! The ballooning budget deficit will require painful cuts to many of our favorite programs. Through the ballot box, the majority of Americans have said that slashing the budget is a priority. It is time to belly up to the bar and face reality.

Regarding abortion and unwed mothers: a subtle connection is indicated--i.e. make abortions illegal and the rate of illegitimacy will increase. Why then, has the legalization of abortion 20-plus years ago not brought down the number of children born out of wedlock?

The federal government should not subsidize illegitimacy. When a woman makes a series of decisions (to have unprotected sex outside of marriage), she should be responsible for the consequences.

Tom Hutter


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