Unnecessary Incivility

I disagree with Sen. Bob Smith on just about everything (though he is strangely a big animal-rights advocate), but I don't think there's any excuse to call the guy names [Style, June 10]. Tell me his position on abortion, but calling the candidate "a duckpin with legs" and adding snide comments about his "comb-over" is simply mean. Is your paper now so hip that it has risen above simple civility?

-- Paul Singer

`Token' Coverage

Rosa Parks still sits in the back of the bus at your paper.

On June 15, Parks, the mother of our nation, was finally awarded the Congressional Gold Medal. How in the world could you have relegated this monumental event to a spot below the fold in the Style section [June 16]?

Your headline, "Token of Gratitude" was accurate -- unintentionally -- in more ways than one.

This was the hardest of hard news. It was entertaining, but it was not entertainment.

The paper wasn't that crowded. Your lead story on Page A1, "Big Boost Voted for Air Travel Facilities," will be forgotten tomorrow. Rosa Parks's memory will last as long as the Republic.

-- David Earl Honig

The writer is executive director of the Minority Media and Telecommunications Council.

On the Mideast Team

Morton Klein, president of the Zionist Organization of America, is understandably upset that the State Department Middle East team's sole Arab American, Joseph Zogby, might refer to Israel in its occupation of the West Bank as an "alien oppressor" and "abuser" [letters, June 12]. Klein is particularly offended because Zogby was once affiliated with a pro-Palestinian "anti-Israel propaganda group." That Klein himself represents a leading pro-Israeli propaganda group is apparently a matter of no concern, nor does he find it disconcerting that two chief U.S. policymakers on the Middle East, Dennis Ross and Martin Indyk, are both Jews with strong ties to Israel. The latter was also at one time a pro-Israel lobbyist.

Klein's view is that no one who is hostile to Israel should be involved in the formulation of America's Middle East policy, making loyalty to Israel almost equivalent to loyalty to the United States.

Klein and his like have effectively silenced most critics of Israel, making any objective discussion of genuine American interests in the region impossible.

-- Philip M. Giraldi

Glory to the Jocks

Regarding your article on the problems stemming from the glorification of athletes at Columbine High [front page, June 12]: I've often wondered why your paper does exactly the same thing -- i.e., glorify high school athletes and give minimal attention to the high school academic all-stars. Twice a year you print four-color, eight-page, multiple-picture "All-Met" sports sections and also have special banquets for these athletic achievers. During the same time period, you merely print black-and-white lists of National Merit Scholars -- no pictures, no color, no banquets for the academic achievers.

-- Gene Schmiel

CDs for Parrot-Heads

Richard Harrington ought to have done some research before he decided to trash Jimmy Buffett's latest album. As of May 31, "Beach House on the Moon" was No. 4 on the Billboard album chart for Internet sales and No. 8 on its Top Catalog Sales chart. Pretty good for a CD by a man whose fans, according to Harrington, "just can't seem to find their way to record stores the way they do to the concert venues."

-- Donna Hagen

Turned Around

I enjoyed the June 14 news story "La Nina Changes the Climate for Research."

One small criticism: The author states that "the jet stream is key. Moving west to east as Earth rotates in the opposite direction. . . . " But the earth rotates west to east. That's why the sun, moon and stars appear to come up in the east.

-- Mitchel B. Sosis