Public Nuisance

We read your Aug. 3 Metro article concerning Rep. James P. Moran Jr. and Mary M. Moran's divorce proceeding. We read the entire article erroneously assuming that it would contain some information of public importance. Because information is of "public record" does not mean that it merits public exposition.

-- Robert S. McDonough

and Jacqueline Coleburn

Island Hopping

In regard to your paper's continuing geographical confusion: In the Aug. 11 Style section, the "Summer Pool Party" article refers to the Canary Islands as being off the coast of Spain. While belonging to that country, they were last found off the Atlantic coast of North Africa. It is the Balearic Islands that are off the coast of Spain in the Mediterranean.

-- Anne France

Color-Struck

Regarding Lonnae O'Neal Parker's article "White Girl?" [Style, Aug. 8]: It's long past time to stop racial stupidity, ignorance and stereotyping. Parker can help this process by dealing more honestly with her family. She can help her cousin Kim understand two facts: (1) Thinking doesn't make it so, and (2) appearances can be deceiving.

In other words, Kim may not think of her dad as a black male, but he is. And though she may look white, she isn't. She is biracial. What's wrong with that? People of "mixed" race shouldn't be required or urged to pick one race over the other -- no matter how they look.

In addition, only dogs get too old to learn new things; humans don't. Relatives can be respectfully told that people should be judged by character, not color, and by their humanity, not their hair length. And Parker shouldn't allow anyone in her family to use the N-word when referring to the man she loves.

I look forward to a follow-up article by Parker -- one that describes how she helped her uncle, his daughter and other relatives finally discard those color-struck chains they inherited from their enslaved forebears.

-- Robin Johnston

A New Low in Labeling

We at Family Research Council were shocked at a letter to the editor that appeared on the Aug. 7 Free for All page ["No `Balance' in Hate"]. The letter was in response to a July 29 news story, in which I was quoted, regarding a meeting President Clinton had with several pro-homosexuality leaders. Our organization has a reputation for speaking out boldly and truthfully against a politically correct culture, often at the risk of attracting unjustified labels and smears. But this letter is a new low.

The representations regarding supposed Family Research Council comments on Matthew Shepard and the shootings at Columbine High School were false. We have checked the references cited by the author of the letter in his attempt to paint Family Research Council as a "hate" group. His distortions signal a motive to disregard our clear message and, instead, malign the messenger.

-- Janet Parshall

The writer is chief spokesperson

for the Family Research Council.

Not Prudish, Just Polite

This letter is regarding the Aug. 10 article titled "Sand in Their Veins." I do not expect to see words like "horny" in front-page articles in a fine newspaper such as yours. I am no prude and would not object to such a word being used in a different context -- perhaps in the Style section as part of a quotation from a movie script -- but to see a word that is not part of the lexicon of polite society on the front page of your paper is disappointing. Or is the use of the word "horny" now acceptable in polite society and no one told me? To let this be printed seems to me to be an egregious editing error.

-- Mitchell Paup

Harding's Admirers

The Aug. 3 Milestones feature ["A Gushing Obituary," Style] about the death of President Harding notes that "The Post's obituary writer . . . laud[ed] Harding as a pillar of the presidency."

In the interest of full disclosure -- and of good history both of the Harding administration and of The Washington Post -- I think it should have been noted as well that that the owner of your paper at that time, Edward McLean, was a close ally of Harding's, so close that he was caught up in the scandals of Harding's "Ohio Gang."

Harding had been elected by the largest majority in American history up to that time, and he was widely mourned -- not just by your paper's obituary writer and its owner.

-- Steve Livengood