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Kansas City Strip

All we are saying is give speech a chance.

Rally the troops: Exercising his duties as commander in chief of the Kansas City-based Veterans of Foreign Wars, James N. Goldsmith recently wrote, "Dissenters who are protesting the government's plan to launch military operations against [Osama] bin Laden ... disgrace the memory" of people killed on September 11.

Hooey, say members of the Justice/Not Revenge Network. "We are Americans and we love America, but we also love our brothers and sisters who walk on foreign soil," Reverend Ester Holzendorf proclaimed at an October 7 demonstration at the J.C. Nichols Fountain. Holzendorf and other speakers dared to suggest that the U.S. bring the terrorists to justice through international law rather than carpet-bomb starving troops. Their rally was well timed, though it had been scheduled three weeks ago: A couple hundred people -- dressed-up churchgoers, raggedy students, gray-haired first-generation anti-war protestors, Plaza dog-walkers and little kids in turbans -- began gathering about an hour after George W. Bush announced that missiles were finally flying in Afghanistan.

"We come today to say, 'Do not kill my brothers and my sisters upon foreign soil in my name,'" the fiery Holzendorf told the polite crowd. "I come today as a black female in this place called America to say I am no stranger to terrorism. We have been terrorized ever since we've been in this country, but yet we walk in love.... War is not the answer."

Sharing those sentiments later at the Boy Scout Memorial at 39th and Gillham was Mayor Pro-Tem Alvin Brooks. Arguing that the warm, sunny Sunday was "too beautiful for war," Brooks joined speakers condemning the youth-paramilitary organization's exclusion of gay people (hey, even the U.S. military has reportedly suspended its limp-wristed don't-ask-don't-tell policy for the current crisis!). This rally's hot ticket was James Dale, the gay scout who took his case to the U.S. Supreme Court. But as gay Eagle Scout Ryan Nistler, his mom, Carol, and Congregation Beth Shalom's Rabbi Alan Cohen testified, the statue behind them grew more distracting.

There, a giant replica of a red, white and blue Boy Scout medal is flanked by two Greek goddesses. The one on the left wears a flowing concrete robe, but the one on the right shows off her ripe young breasts.

Obviously she's there to encourage the boys to "Be Prepared."

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