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Meriwether: "Pleased with the Progress" of His Hedge Fund

I have read and respected your publication for many years. However, I was quite disappointed in your recent article on JWM Partners LLC ("Damaged goods," Finance, June 11).

I was especially dismayed by the opinions expressed about the progress of our firm. Also, while you reported that I declined an invitation to comment, you neglected to mention the reason. As our spokesperson explained to you, compliance with Securities & Exchange Commission restrictions governing private placements of securities leaves us unable to respond publicly to the sort of speculation that was the focus of your article. Given that constraint, the timing of the story was unfair to us. Further, we do not agree with the conclusions presented, and, in fact, are pleased with the progress of JWM Partners.

Equally distressing was your assertion about my motivation for speaking at the Tomorrows Children's Fund. For the record, I agreed to participate solely as a favor to a good friend who thought my presence would help make the event a success. Any suggestion that my appearance at this charity function represented an effort to promote myself or my business is a misstatement of fact.

We are optimistic about our prospects and are working very hard to earn the respect and confidence of our clients.

John W. Meriwether

Principal and CEO

JWM Partners LLC

Greenwich, Conn. "Broadband: What happened?" (News: Analysis & Commentary, June 11) hit the nail on the head. The big guys hyped broadband, chased out the smaller new entrants, and then realized that they couldn't (or wouldn't) deliver. How is the promise of the Internet supposed to be delivered over a 56k dial-up modem?

Michelle Zawrotny

Boulder, Colo.

I use dial-up and I'm lucky to connect above 31,000 bps at any time. When I was 20, I wanted my MTV, and now I want my broadband.

Stephen E. Calderwood

Boring, Ore. After spending 16 years in Nashville combatting the good ol' boys from New York and Los Angeles--producers, label heads, accountants, and marketing execs--I came to realize that the art of musical creativity had almost nothing to do with the music business in Music City USA ("Moanin' the blues in Nashville," Entertainment, June 11). While not wanting to disparage great acts like the Dixie Chicks, who are founded in country tradition and musical education, the pop influence has created a huge sucking sound from Music Row.

Record companies may have spelled their own doom by ignoring the Internet's ability to bypass them altogether. At the annual Country Radio Seminar in Nashville, I asked how the record companies would combat and market to the Internet and was answered with: "It's being looked at at the highest levels." What this really means is: "We don't know."

Millions of country music fans out there long for the traditional twang and angst and can't even find an oldies station to satisfy their craving. There are very few "down home" people marshaling the troops in Nashville. They don't know the history and don't care to learn. It's about the music, stupid!

Debe Fennell

Reno, Nev.

For 10 or more years, artists such as Johnny Cash and George Jones complained that they failed to get air time while the likes of over-hyped Garth Brooks were played again and again ad nauseam. I have listened to country music most of my life. When the new genre showed up, I found the lyrics, tempo, mood--and the exclusion of the artists who actually sang country--so repulsive that I went to tapes and CDs I made myself. Go back to simple country, and I'll come back--but not unless and until.

Richard Vagner

Gatlinburg, Tenn.

The "real" country giants and forefathers of the music are probably spinning so rapidly in their graves that the resultant heat is adding to the global warming problem!

John Stroade Shay

Pensacola, Fla. "The tax cut: Smile now, worry later" (Editorials, June 11) is on target, but that first smile may fade quickly. Even if a population increasingly worried about its jobs actually spends those munificent $300 and $600 checks, the money will largely go for imports. That won't do much for the economy, will it?

John E. Ullmann

Hempstead, N.Y. After just a year, questioning the financial prudence of tobacco divestment decisions [by California state pension funds] is myopic and unfair ("Politicians should butt out of pension funds," Finance, June 11). Tobacco stocks have clawed their way back up the charts, but the industry still faces billions of dollars in litigation, possible Food & Drug Administration regulation, and the first-ever worldwide public health treaty. The social ills of smoking will not go away, and neither will the industry's long-term financial risks.

Mary L. Wells

Council for Responsible Public Investment

Oakland, Calif. Imagine that a Martian on his first visit to Earth has asked you to show him an example of a leader addressing subordinates ("The life of the party,", June 4). Of the following two scenes, which would you show to the Martian as representing the best in human society?

Shakespeare's Henry V to his army at the Battle of Agincourt ("We few, we happy few, we band of brothers; For he to-day that sheds his blood with me Shall be my brother...").

Or's Jeff Taylor to his sales force at its annual meeting ("The roof. The roof. The roof is on fire. We don't need no water. Let the motherf----- burn. Burn, motherf------ burn.")

Alessandra Kingsford

Wayland, Mass. Studies show that 120 million married women in the developing world would choose right now to space or limit the number of children they will have. These women, however, have limited access to the family-planning methods that would enable them to do so ("How rich nations can defuse the population bomb," Economic Viewpoint, May 28). Developed nations such as the U.S. must do more to make population and international family planning programs more widely available.

Sarah C. Clark

Director, Population Program

David & Lucile Packard Foundation

Los Altos, Calif.

What people in poor countries really want are: democratic governments that respect human rights, rules of law enforced through strong legal infrastructures, honest and capable leaders who genuinely represent the people, and fair, free markets where they can develop their natural resources into high-value finished products in cooperation with investors from the high-income countries. Population-related divides will take care of themselves when these issues are properly addressed.

Vincent O'Grady

New Brunswick, N.J.

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