TO THE EDITOR: I found the multiple references to Seattle City Council Member Tom Rasmussen's "boyfriend" in the most recent issue curious ["New City Council Member," Erica C. Barnett, Jan 8].

Obviously, he [the boyfriend] and his company seem to have had an effect on Rasmussen's campaign beyond that of other candidates' spouses, and may warrant being called out for that. And in this era of societal changes regarding gay and lesbian relationships, noting that a gay man is in a relationship is probably a good thing.

I'm most curious, though, about the choice of the term "boyfriend." It tends to carry with it a notion of "short-term" (months rather than years), and youth vs. adult, and perhaps a "they don't live together" impermanence. Is "boyfriend" the term the couple use for themselves? Or is it part of The Stranger's editorial style guide when referring to same-sex couples? Preferred to terms like husband, partner, life partner, long-term companion, fuck buddy, sugar daddy, chew toy... the list goes on.

Jim Drew

ERICA C. BARNETT RESPONDS: The issue of what to call a gay partner can be a confusing one. As Rasmussen himself notes, "boy-friend" is often interpreted as "boyfriend du jour," whereas "'partner' tends to convey permanency." Nonetheless, Rasmussen says he uses the terms "boyfriend" and "partner" interchangeably when referring to his significant other (and presumably, chew toy), Clayton Lewis, whom he's been with for 12 years.

IRAQ 2003 = POLAND 1939
STRANGER: Regarding "NO IRAQ WAR" SIGNS ["Tick Tick Tick," The Stranger News Team, Jan 1]: Leave those "NO IRAQ WAR" signs up!

I wore my "NO IRAQ WAR" button for six months because I did not want to forget my anger, disgust, and shame that my country, the greatest military power on earth, illegally attacked (violating the United Nations charter, the Geneva Conventions, the Hague Convention, and the International Criminal Court) a country that was no threat to us.

- Iraq possessed no weapons of mass destruction

- It had no connection with the 9/11 al Qaeda attack on the U.S.

- It is 7,000 miles distant

- It has no air force

- It possessed a military less than one-fifth the size of the U.S. military

- It has a population consisting of over 50 percent children

The U.S. attack against a sovereign nation was the most despicable act of aggression since Nazi Germany invaded Poland in 1939 using the same kinds of lies, deceit, and misinformation. Of course, it was for the same reasons: resources (oil) and strategic military bases.

I vividly remember the time when I wore only black and my "NO IRAQ WAR" button, and an older woman came up to me and put her hand on her heart and said, "I'm with you." She told me her son was in the 1991 Gulf War and when he came home he wouldn't talk for months. When he finally did, all he could do was cry, "This is a terrible thing we have done. Those people are so poor...."

My response to her was, "Think of other Gulf War veterans: the Oklahoma City bomber, Timothy McVeigh, who was awarded a Bronze Star for his military service, and John Allen Mohammed, one of the D.C. snipers. When there is no honor in war, brutality promotes brutality, which, when turned on others, can again turn and tear us apart."

Judith A. Laws

TO THE EDITOR: It is time for the fringe theater community to take its future into its own hands and produce something of a higher quality than the Fringe Festival was ever capable of. Kudos to Bret Fetzer for coming up with a fairly simple plan to revitalize the fringe theater scene in Seattle ["Scorched-Fringe Policy," Jan 1]. Hopefully the artists and community organizations can band together to keep some form of the Fringe Festival alive and potentially make it, for the first time, actually exquisite.

Nathan Levine

TO KATHLEEN WILSON: "In a city that offers an embarrassment of riches when it comes to stellar drummers...." [Up & Coming, Jan 8]

Wow, heard of Matt Cameron? Um, Dave Grohl? Yeah, they suck. Or how 'bout Kevin Sawka? You should go see Siamese or one of Sawka's nights at ToST. I can't believe you, a person who knows music, would say this city has no stellar drummers. Maybe you think Seattle has no good drummers because you only check out shitty ones. I suppose you think the Turn-Ons guy is great. You're missing out.

Albert Fatness

DAN SAVAGE RESPONDS: Kathleen Wilson can defend herself, as everyone knows, but I wanted to weigh in. When someone says there's "an embarrassment of riches," Albert, it means they think there's a great deal of something good. When Kathleen used this relatively common phrase, she was boasting of and praising the many talented ("stellar") drummers that can be found in Seattle--not complaining about a local scarcity of good drummers.

Kathleen Wilson knows from drumming. She also knows from English.