Lives on the Line

Your paper continues to beat the drum of anti-police bias with its skewed language -- e.g., the July 28 front-page headline "Police Kill Man After Wild Beltway Chase." The police did not kill this man. He killed himself fleeing a justifiable arrest. The officers put their lives in jeopardy to protect us. They don't deserve innuendos that their departments are rife with gun-happy or brutal killers.

-- J. J. Bailey

In Deference to Kasich

Your July 18 editorial "Is the Campaign Over?" said that Rep. John Kasich "delivered a fawning endorsement cum job application" at his recent appearance with Gov. George W. Bush of Texas. I was present at the event, and that was not what I saw. Kasich spoke with pride of his campaign for the Republican nomination and of his determination to try again later before saying he would defer to Bush for now.

As for the job application, when a reporter asked if he might serve in a Bush administration, Kasich only laughed. It was Bush who said, "You bet he will!" -- or words to that effect. As a yellow-dog Democrat, I won't be voting for either man, but Kasich went out with class, and he deserves credit for that rather than the cheap shot in your editorial.

-- Patrick Anderson

Hill Haunt

Weekend's otherwise informative article about Alexandria's 250-year-old history contained a slight historical error. It stated that the Gadsby's Tavern in Alexandria was the setting for Mark Twain's short story "The Man Who Stopped at Gadsby's."

Not so: Gadsby owned a chain of several taverns. The one Mark Twain was thinking of was the Gadsby's that used to stand at Pennsylvania Avenue and Third Street NW. Its closeness to the Capitol was appropriate, as the story involves an unfortunate lobbyist who stays at Gadsby's for 30 years, unsuccessfully pressing a financial claim against the government.

-- John Lockwood

English Everywhere

The July 13 Business article on the United Nations' Human Development Report quotes it to the effect that English is spoken by "fewer than 10 percent of the world's people." This is false. While English may be the native language of only some 10 percent of the world's population, it is much more widely spoken. It is an official language in some countries -- such as India -- in which it is not even a native tongue. There are good reasons why 80 percent of the Web sites on the Internet are in English.

-- Charles J. Jefferson

Ethnic Blur

I was amused to read in Jefferson Morley's story about Jeff Bello's lawsuit ["Waiter's Case Puts Race on Table," Metro, July 20] that Bello is "Italian American maitre d' Jeff Bello." This description of his ethnic background was relevant to nothing in the story; being white is what the story is about. Does the writer imply that Italian Americans are known to be more racist than other whites? Any other explanation?

-- John A. Galotto

Kennedy Clunkers (Cont'd)

Bonita Billman's July 23 letter in Free for All confuses events in the Kennedy drama. The Marquess of Hartington, whom Kathleen Kennedy married in May 1944, was killed in action in Belgium on Sept. 9, 1944, when he was shot by a sniper, not when "his airplane exploded," as Billman wrote. The Kennedy who died in that manner was Joseph P. Kennedy Jr., Kathleen's brother. His plane blew up on Aug. 8, 1944, while he was on a secret bombing mission.

"The Kennedy Saga," the article Billman discussed, stated correctly that "Kathleen Kennedy . . . broke her mother's heart by agreeing to marry a British nobleman, a Protestant who would first require a divorce." This was a reference to her plans to marry Lord Peter Fitzwilliam. The Kennedys are Catholic.

It is true, as Billman said, that Kathleen's parents had objected to her marriage to Hartington, who also was a Protestant. But "The Fitzgeralds and the Kennedys," Doris Kearns Goodwin's splendid history of the family, makes it clear that Rose Kennedy, Kathleen's mother, was becoming reconciled to the union by the time Hartington was killed.

Rose Kennedy's objections to Kathleen's plans to marry Fitzwilliam were much more serious, both on religious grounds and more particularly because Fitzwilliam was married. Goodwin describes Rose Kennedy's feelings in these terms: "Speaking in stronger tones than she had ever used before, Rose told Kathleen that if she went ahead with the marriage she would be disowned by the family and as far as her mother was concerned she would be regarded as dead."

Before a marriage could take place, Kathleen Kennedy and Fitzwilliam were killed when their small plane crashed into a mountain on May 13, 1948.

-- J.Y. Smith