What does this say? Our current VP occupant comes into town for a sparsely attended private fundraiser, manages to haul in a "six-figure" take, and then sticks it to the city of Orono by not paying a mere $4,000 for services that city provided (Star Tribune, June 21).

Wow! Not only does this cheap (insert expletive here) not tip, but just skips out the tab all together.

As for some poetic justice, on that same day, U.S. House Rep Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, introduced into congressional record 35 articles of impeachment against George W Bush and Dick Cheney. I urge readers to contact their member of Congress and let him or her know their position on articles of impeachment.

SEAMUS SWENSON FLYNN, MINNEAPOLIS

Jeune Lune was real, and we were there

Regardless of one's social leanings, the loss of a life is tragic.

Theatre de la Jeune Lune has died and this is why we should all mourn:

What you view on the internet is imaginary.

What you watch on television is imaginary.

What you see at the movies is imaginary.

What you experience in a live performance is living, breathing and real.

When you buy a ticket to a live performance, be it theater or music or sport, you purchase a point in place and time that will never be repeated again.

It is real and you are there.

I know live performance will never die (because it obviously cannot be replaced), but it saddens me that a voice in living, breathing performance has died.

TODD HUGHES, MINNEAPOLIS

Flip flop could be sign of courage

Every time a politician changes his mind it's called flip flopping by the opposing political party. Why can't reasonable politicians act according to their beliefs, change their minds, and make a responsible decision based on new criteria or variables that induced the change?

Recently Barack Obama changed his approach to public funding for campaign finance, saving the public from financing his presidential campaign. Now John McCain has changed his mind on offshore oil drilling. You can question the motives of both, but each have good reason based on campaign reform and the need to reduce our needs of foreign oil.

But each party likes to call the other candidate a flip-flop artist. Why, I certainly do not want a president who does not have the guts to change his mind. They do so based on changing conditions. Obama with his appeal to individual donors does not need public monies to finance his campaign, and McCain is merely reacting to our gas prices that are definitely affecting us all. Sure there are good arguments for and against both, but thank goodness they have the gumption to change when they see a change is needed.

May the best man win. But please leave out the mud slinging.

TERRY THOMAS, MINNETONKA

Success ought to breed withdrawal

My question to Charles Krauthammer: If the United States has been so successful in Iraq, as your June 14 column asserts, why isn't it time to start bringing the troops home?

PETER H. SAMMOND, MINNETONKA

Dads not absent by choice

Several recent articles about fathers were appropriate for Fathers Day. It is widely accepted that fathers have a big impact in the lives of their children. It's refreshing to hear that message supported in the media. Coincidently, one place fathers are frightfully unsupported and devalued is the family court system.

Katherine Kerten's June 15 column mentioned that 25 million children have absent fathers. That figure is derived from how many fathers have been labeled noncustodial parents, and are currently forced to pay child support to the government collection system, instead of directly to the mother.

What people forget is that the majority of these fathers are not "absent" by choice. In fact, many are not absent at all. Absent implies they have disappeared. The government child support collection system was designed only for the fathers who had abandoned their children to public assistance. However, now all noncustodial fathers (virtually all unmarried fathers) are entered into the system without due process and treated as absent.

Research shows that in divorce and paternity court actions, judges routinely decide that one parent will be removed, stripped of custody, and artificially labeled a noncustodial parent. Over 90 percent of the time, that parent is the father, no matter how good a parent he is. This court-ordered forced father absence seems to be perpetuated in order to maintain the child support bureaucracy and further the myth that too many dads are willfully abandoning their children.

MOLLY K. OLSON, FOUNDER AND VOLUNTEER EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, CENTER FOR PARENTAL RESPONSIBILITY, ROSEVILLE

A lot of space for superficiality

It saddens me that on June 17, the Star Tribune published an article dealing with how Bonny Belgum felt when she saw Keith Richards' face on a book cover. Not only did it take up a third of the page that could have been used for more important issues, but also reflected America's obsession with looks and celebrities. The article didn't even mention what kind of a person this Richards was. It only talked about how his face looked. I hope that someday we can go beyond what's on the outside and focus more on the inside.

NIC BRINZA, PLYMOUTH