SARAH [MIRK]—Killing a baby is a terrible thing, and should not be done easily or taken lightly ["State of Choice," Feature, Sept 2]. Furthermore, do you honestly think that the parent of a teenager does not have the right to know that their child is engaging in sex, getting pregnant, and having an abortion? Understand that I am not a "bible thumper" and could not tell you the last time I went to church. However, I do have a conscience.
DEAR MERCURY—I read the story about the pregnancy resource centers, and I pass the MLK Planned Parenthood twice a day, and my biscuits are officially fucking burned ["State of Choice," Feature, Sept 2]. When I was 19 the PP counselor presented my test results by saying, "Yes, you are pregnant, but you're only a few weeks along so we could schedule something for you right away if you like." I was all up in righteous arms that she'd not only made the assumption that I'd want an abortion, but that she'd offered it up so easily. So I left, and I had a baby. But in hindsight, I appreciate that they presented the option to me, because it would not have occurred to me that I COULD have an abortion. I wouldn't have known how to ask for one or where to even find one. To the counselor from way back when: I'm sorry I snarled at you. I just didn't know.
DEAR MERCURY—"Don't bike on Foster Road." That was Mayor Sam Adams' response at a town hall meeting last night when asked what can be done to lower bike fatalities on that stretch. This came after he and other officials announced they had no plans to put in bike lanes. The reason? It's too expensive to widen the road to keep four traffic lanes AND onstreet parking. They admitted they haven't even considered reducing traffic to two lanes and adding a center turn lane. Why? Aren't the multi-million-dollar proposed stoplights intended to slow traffic anyway? Keeping the traffic whizzing through won't do nearly as much to attract more business to that beleaguered street than making it bike friendly.
DEAR DENIS C. THERIAULT—RE: "This Beer Frame Doesn't Fit," [Hall Monitor, Sept 16]. I lived in Europe for four years, and in no place was public drinking prohibited, and in no place was there the problem with drunkenness and alcoholism we have in the United States. Cause and effect? The fruit of the forbidden tree is always sweeter. Institutions of higher education keep ratcheting up the penalties for underage drinking, and we keep having increasing binge drinking and alcohol poisoning. Stop the insanity. Jews get wine every Friday evening from an early age and have low levels of alcoholism and loutish behavior (State of Israel excepted). Italian kids get wine with their meals from an early age and likewise have low levels of alcoholism and loutish behavior (adolescent boys with tight shorts and moussed hair on scooters excepted). Young German men recently mustered out of their obligatory national service spend their first week of freedom drinking, sleeping outdoors, crying "Ausschreiben wir!" ("We're mustered out") and having passersby sign their shirts. And nobody bats an eye. But we Americans still haven't learned the lessons of Prohibition, some 77 years after its repeal.
-Brian A. Cobb
CHEERS TO THAT, Brian. If the tourism board really wants to sell Portland's "European feel," we're going to need
obligatory national service much more mousse and drunken shirt signing. In the meantime you can catch a European film or two with your two tickets to the Laurelhurst Theater and lunch at No Fish! Go Fish! where you can eat like a citizen of the world.