Dallas deserves better: I am a theater lover and can't recall ever reading a more nasty, vicious review of a Southern comedy ("The Silent Treatment," by Elaine Liner, on Unfair Park, July 25). I did a little research and was surprised to learn that The Sugar Bean Sisters has been produced numerous times in the past 11 years—and has received rave reviews from theater critics all over the country. Why is your theater critic so out of touch? I'm going to see the production myself, but I cannot imagine that the WaterTower Theatre would produce anything that would make the audience want to "puke." Sounds like the play must have touched a nerve—or personal bias.
Your critic's venomous review is not only hostile but rather misleading. Contrary to what your critic reported in her review, The Sugar Bean Sisters was not a "bomb" in New York. It was not a commercial production, so how could it bomb? It was presented at the WPA Theatre, a nonprofit off-Broadway theater, and ran for the number of performances that were scheduled. It was not an open-ended run. The reviews were mixed, The New York Times being the most harsh. However, New York Newsday gave it a rave review, and Mr. Sanders was nominated for an Oppenheimer Award for "most impressive debut of a New American playwright." I also read the original New York Times review, and it is clear to anyone who reads both reviews that the Times review was the source of inspiration for your critic's mean-spirited review—right down to the line about The Beverly Hillbillies. Can't you hire a critic who will be a little more original and not feel the need to lift old reviews from now-deceased New York theater critics and apply them to current local productions? I think Dallas deserves better than Ms. Liner. Please know that your critic does a terrible disservice to your readers, and I strongly encourage you to send her packing.
The Death Train
Voices from the migrant trail: Just wanted to congratulate you on "El Tren de la Muerte" (by Megan Feldman, July 26). It is outstanding. If you have an agent, I hope they shop this piece to publishers because I think it would make for a great book. Your treatment was complete, but it is clear that there are other voices between Texas and Tenosique that should be heard.
Also, please congratulate Ms. Jennifer Szymaszek for me. Her pics are wonderful.
Hard cases: I am a single foster parent. I do take teen boys from residential treatment centers, and they have many issues, so if you are not prepared for their behaviors, then the placement will fail ("Orphaned," by Glenna Whitley, July 26). Most of them have been to many other foster homes and RTCs more than once. I tell them that no matter what they do, I will not give up on them. This seems to give them some feeling of being safe, as many of the boys put it. The only way they leave my home is if they are arrested for school behaviors or if they age out and want to leave. I am in the process of adopting a 15-year-old boy who was considered unadoptable, but he has changed so much in the 23 months I have had him. He was in 23 other foster homes and RTC four times before he came to me. At first he was really a handful, but after about a year he told me that he knows I will never ask him to leave, that he knows he will always be safe with me and that he knows I love him. I do love him, and I cannot imagine life without him.
It is true that we need more foster parents who are ready to take on these kinds of children. They are violent, aggressive, use foul language and tear up the house and car sometimes, but when they see that I do not react in a negative way to this, they usually calm down. I have had runners come to live with me but have only had two of them try to run.
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CPS run amok: What a tragedy! "Guilty UNTIL proven innocent." Oh yes, that's what CPS does to innocent families every day. In the eyes of CPS, all families are guilty no matter what, and they fabricate and build their cases based on lies so they can justify the head count of kids to claim all the massive government funding, including those huge federal adoption bonuses for selling the kids into one of their arranged adoptions. If CPS would stop snatching kids that do not need to be taken and leave them with their loving and caring families, they would not have a shortage of fosters. If there truly is abuse and criminal negligence, that is what the specialized cops and police are trained to handle. CPS is not qualified to make those calls! There are more children abused and neglected while in CPS custody and care than in their homes with their families. Stop CPS from illegally kidnapping kids, and the foster shortages will go away. Kids will then lose their anger, rebellion and other problems causing them to lash out and run away from the abusing fosters. I've personally caught fosters abusing and neglecting the foster kids they were keeping—even medically neglecting them with head injuries and untreated strep infections until it turned into scarlet fever on more than one occasion. Oh yeah, poor ol' CPS and their lack of foster h*ll homes. Send the kids home where they belong—then there won't be a shortage for the kids who really need them!