Doesn't Figure

In an Aug. 15 article on AIDS, Susan Okie mentioned that "the Centers for Disease Control estimates that about 1 million Americans are infected with the virus." This estimate has seen a remarkable amount of use during the years.

Masters, Johnson and Kolodny in their 1988 book "Crisis" stated "most medical experts continue to claim that there are only 1.5 million people infected with the AIDS virus today, which is the same estimate that was made in mid-1986 by the U.S. Public Health Service in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control."

Are we really supposed to believe that the number of Americans infected with AIDS has not increased in four years?

-- Edward W. Zehr The Right Verdict

I wasn't surprised to learn that Michael Kinsley {op-ed, Aug. 16} is against jury trials when the verdict doesn't please him. Intellectual liberals are often upset when average people are allowed to make decisions for themselves.

Most Washingtonians probably believed that Marion Barry was guilty of the charges facing him, but they did not want him sent to jail. Despite the tremendous efforts of our government officials, they refused to convict him on charges that would lead to a prison sentence. The jury made its decision, and we should respect it.

The great Ronald Reagan had it exactly right when he said that most of us want to "get government off our backs." On matters that affect us, we want to make our own decisions. The best methods available to us for speaking our minds are free elections and jury trials, and we want to keep it that way.

-- Robert S. Jewett Star Treatment?

It is a mystery to me that your reporter missed the Potomac River Jazz Club Marching Band in writing about Leesburg's Court Days {Metro, Aug. 20}.

Both days we marched up and down the streets among the throngs, blasting out "Bourbon St. Parade," "When the Saints Go Marching In," and other grand old favorites of the genre. When the PRJC Marching Band formed a circle and began a noontime marching snake dance at the intersection of Church and Market streets, dozens of people rushed over and joined in, including people with babies in backpacks.

With all due modesty, we were the musical stars of the event. How come we didn't rate even a mention? -- Jack Elder Keep the Faith

A reader of Aug. 17's Religion page might conclude that religion is in a sorry state these days. Out of fewer than six columns of space devoted to religion, half concerned the demise of a one-room church outside the D.C. area (and only about half of that space was devoted to text). Most of the remainder of the page was not about religion but about a "Catholic camp follower."

Is this a reflection of:

The condition of religion these days?

The editors' judgment of the "newsworthiness" of religion?

The failure of churches to communicate relevant events and activities?

Or the lack of competent reporters on the religion beat?

Surely there must be more consequential news about religion than what has been printed recently.

-- William N. Butler Stones and Glass Houses

In Aug. 18's Free for All, David Persuitte criticized your grammar {"The It's-Its Distinction"}. But in that criticism, he made a subject-verb agreement error in his first sentence: "The sad state of our educational system and the illiteracy it has generated is once again apparent on the pages of your newspaper."

Two subjects joined by "and" require the plural verb "are." -- John O. Redmond Old News

Exercise must be the fountain of youth. In "Playing for Longevity" {Style Plus, Aug. 20}, Herbert deVries, author of "Fitness After 50," is 72.

In the sidebar to the story, "Aim of the Game," he turns 71.

-- Hank Wallace More Old News

How is it that in the Aug. 20 Personalities column {Style} Cheeta was said to be 56 years old. "Tarzan the Ape Man" starring Johnny Weissmuller was made in 1932?

Sounds like some monkey business to me. -- James H. Jackson Jr.