Partisan Mischief

Michael Kelly should heed the warnings of George Washington before declaring, "Partisanship is governance. Partisanship is good" [op-ed, Nov. 3].

In his farewell address, our first president stated that "the common and continual mischiefs of the spirit of party are sufficient to make it the interest and duty of a wise people to discourage and restrain it.

"It serves always to distract the public councils and enfeeble the public administration. It agitates the community with ill-founded jealousies and false alarms; kindles the animosity of one part against another; foments occasional riot and insurrection. It opens the door to foreign influence and corruption, which find a facilitated access to the government itself through the channels of party passion. Thus the policy and the will of one country are subjected to the policy and will of another."

Kelly's ideas are hardly the spring of morals and virtues that Washington had in mind to support a popular government.

--Brad Mumbrue

'Hotel' for Royalties

Your Oct. 23 Deaths Elsewhere column included the obituary of Thomas Durden, who co-wrote the lyrics to Elvis Presley's hit "Heart Break Hotel" but noted that "for reasons unknown" Presley was given writing credit.

The reason has been explained in many biographies of Presley.

As Presley became a national phenomenon, any song recorded by him stood an excellent chance of becoming a hit. So his manager, "Colonel" Tom Parker, insisted that Presley be given at least partial writing credit in order to receive the songwriter's fee.

Small-time songwriters faced the decision: Give Presley partial credit and see their song become a hit (and receive some money), or chance that their song would never be recorded.

--Ian K. Miller

Ugly Anglo

In reference to "National Pride Leaves D.C. United Fans Divided" [front page, Oct. 31]:

The term "Anglo" is a racist expression used by Hispanics and is offensive to non-Hispanic Americans.

--Ken Witkin

Monster Gaffe

Tony Auth's Drawing Board cartoon titled "Mr. Starr Departs the Scene" [op-ed, Oct. 23] depicts the Independent Counsel Act in the form of a supine Frankenstein's monster impaled by a stake.

At the risk of being labeled a nit-picker, I must point out that monster-dispatching protocol requires the stake-in-the-heart method be reserved for vampires. Other techniques must be found to bid a definitive goodbye to Frankenstein's monster types.

--James V. Dolson

Persian Poetry

The profile of Coleman Barks ["Rumi Service," Style, Oct. 25] labeled him an "Islamic poet"; that would be like calling Shakespeare a "Christian poet."

In fact, Persian Sufism was an esoteric reaction to the orthodox Islam of that time. Rumi's thoughts and philosophy were a particular mix of Persian Sufism and Islamic beliefs expressed in the Persian language and based in his Persian culture and heritage.

--Robert B. Heyat and

Shahrzad H. Jalinous

Arrogance in Atlanta

I was dismayed to read Len Shapiro's defense of his cloddish sports media colleague, Jim Gray. When Shapiro states that in his World Series broadcast interview with Pete Rose, Gray was "doing his job--asking questions that needed answers," Shapiro betrays the arrogance of the sports media that has pained so many fans for 20 years.

Of course, baseball's on-field celebration in Atlanta was not the occasion or venue for such questions, and no "answers" were needed. What was needed was a modicum of judgment and taste on the part of the interviewer.

The self-important, shrill aggressiveness of Howard Cosell wannabes such as Gray detracts more and more from our pleasure in watching sporting events on television.

--Chris Barbieri