Conceivable Options [by Debra Pickett, November] fails to acknowledge, much less give due diligence to, the many traditional, heterosexual, under-40-years-of-age couples who have conceived precious children via the wonder that is IVF [in vitro fertilization] in our city that is now “a center of the fertility business.” Despite the flip, not-very-funny (to anyone who has been through it!) tone of Lucinda Hahn’s brief article chronicling “Operation Freeze Dried” [Saving Time], IVF and all other ART [assisted reproductive technology] is a very serious, last-resort undertaking for many desperately heartbroken average folks. My husband and I are thankful every single day that, while we were unable to conceive a child the old-fashioned way due to specific, uncorrectable medical reasons, we lived in a state and city that afforded us such fantastic medical choices—outstanding physicians and IVF programs and state-mandated insurance coverage. We are especially thankful nearly beyond words that we hit the IVF jackpot the first time, and I delivered a not-so-small miracle exactly 41 weeks later. While some cases are indeed ethically challenging, many are not. I would have liked to have read about some of those cases, too.

Tracy Lieberman
Merrionette Park


I was disappointed to read your article on wonder babies. Though in general I was in agreement with the article, I thought it forgot to mention that IVF helps traditional, young couples as well. According to [the infertility nonprofit] Resolve, your daughter or son could be one of more than 7.3 million Americans of childbearing age with fertility problems. This includes those who marry young and are heterosexual.

In fact, the miracle of conception would be a wonderful article. It could explain to the general public that the common belief of all our children being able to have children is simply untrue. Society should pause before assuming young couples can conceive a child. My husband and I started fertility treatments when I was 29 years old with no history of infertility in either family. I know now what an absolute blessing conception is, and how unfortunate it is that society takes it for granted.

Kara Smith



I’m sure you received tons of letters from vegetarians decrying your promotion of red meat [Of Prime Interest, by Dennis Ray Wheaton, November], but I’m a reader who appreciated your article on steak houses. Blood-pressure concerns force me to limit my intake, but at least a couple times a month I treat myself to a good piece of beef. Then I follow up with a big, fat cigar (outside, of course, and out of range of sensitive noses). Those are the best of times.

Hosea L. Martin



I enjoyed “Tru Life” by Mark Byrne [Table, November] as he described his unsuccessful attempt to gain employment at Tru. While his audition was quite different than what most job interviews consist of, the ending was very typical. The last paragraph describes exactly what most job searchers unfortunately learn, where he writes, “Paula says . . . ‘I’ll call you back within a couple weeks.’ She never called.”
Why do the majority of companies today lack the common courtesy to make a brief call to the applicants to tell them they did not get the job? Never mind the fact that many companies don’t even acknowledge receipt of a resumé. Yes, it may take some time to make the calls or send an e-mail, but if someone takes the effort to apply for a job, don’t they deserve a brief response at the very least?

Dave Henchman
Boise, Idaho



David Bernstein’s reference that Chicago no longer deserved the nickname of “Second City” since Los Angeles’ population surpassed ours [in Daley vs. Daley, September] is inaccurate. That moniker was originally adopted by the press to identify our city after its rapid and well-planned growth after the Great Fire of 1871. This rebuilt Chicago, the “Second City,” was as vibrant and bustling, energetic and robust as it had always been, only more organized, cleaner, and less chaotic. Later, when Chicago’s population indeed was second in the nation to New York, the nickname’s symbolism morphed to the secondary interpretation that Bernstein referenced and over the years gained acceptance.

Currently, as a tour director, I tell all the passengers wending through the city with me how the term could fit both interpretations, but I give emphasis to first in chronological significance.

Don Bruno
Kenosha, Wisconsin



In March 2006, Chicago published James L. Merriner’s article 2008? which examined the prospects of Barack Obama’s running for president in 2008 and provided what turned out to be a rather prescient analysis of his possible road to the White House. Of course, at the time, Obama denied any plan to throw his hat into the ring, assuring Merriner in late 2005 that he was “not going national but staying focused on being an Illinois senator.”

Other statements in the article proved more accurate. Obama predicted, “If I were to run, the issue would not be my race, I think. People would ask about my inexperience or youth, is he too liberal.” Check. The Democratic strategist Robert Shrum told Merriner, “If he ran, he would raise a substantial amount of money and be a formidable candidate.” Check. Emil Jones Jr. said that “2008 should be a good year” for the Democrats. Check.

Several insiders who became strong backers of the Obama candidacy sounded warnings about running too early in his career. Bill Daley said, “The conventional wisdom would be, Don’t jump too quick—see what happens in ’08.” And Valerie Jarrett told Merriner, “As his friend, I would say, ‘Pace yourself.’ ” Obama formally announced his candidacy in February 2007, a little less than a year after the issue appeared.