Low Humor

Perhaps the saddest thing about the outrageously offensive "clever" headline "Corpus Christie" [Reliable Source, Dec. 23] is that no person at your paper realized how offensive it is. That in itself is a symbol of both the ignorance about and the low regard for Christian people in general (and Catholics, in particular) at your paper.

With very little imagination, similarly offensive word play involving revered concepts of Jews and Islamic believers is not too hard to think of, and in the same offiensive style, phrases commonly used by Gospel preachers and even Martin Luther King can be adapted for clever headlines when the next "item" involving an attractive, shapely and provocatively clad entertainer is scheduled.

I urge you to reexamine your standards for what is or is not acceptable in the "clever" edge of humor at your paper.

--Alfred J. Giddings

Poor Math

The Dec. 20 news story concerned with poverty in Israel compares that country's poverty level with that of the United States by saying that Israel's poverty line is "about $895 in monthly earnings for a family of four. By contrast, the U.S. poverty level for the same period was defined as an income of $16,530 annually for a family of two adults and two children."

Is this illogical comparison of a monthly income with an annual one a deliberate attempt to make Israel look poor, or is it simply due to the inability of your paper to divide by 12? The comparison should be between Israel's $895 and the United States' $1,378, both per month. Moreover, the comparison does not take account of differences in the cost of living in the two countries.

--Murray Strasberg

Pilgrims' Timing

The Dec. 14 news story "Curbs on Iraqi Travel May Ease" contains an error about the Hajj, one of the pillars of Islam. The article defines the Hajj as making a pilgrimage to Mecca during the month of Ramadan.

The Hajj comes more than two months after Ramadan. It also comes 10 days earlier each year, as Ramadan does. To make a pilgrimage to Mecca other than at that time, including during Ramadan, is Omrah.

--Abdurrahim Ayaz

Armed With State Laws

In his Dec. 29 news story, "In Illinois, Gun Legislation Drives Wedge in GOP," William Claiborne states that 38 states have right-to-carry (concealed firearms) laws. He is mistaken. Forty-three states have such laws, and 31 of them are "shall issue" states in which issuance of concealed-carry permits is not subject to broad and potentially capricious discretion of issuing authorities.

Moreover, 44 states have provisions in their constitutions ensuring a right of individuals to own firearms, reinforcing at the state level what the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution does at the national level.

--Phil Edmunds

Maligning Mali

Al Kamen's Dec. 10 In the Loop column regarding Richard Holbrooke's trip to Africa [Federal Page] is another appalling example of American willingness to paint all of Africa with one brush and to assume that war in one country means war across the continent.

Kamen refers to a number of "decidedly unhappy, impoverished, war-torn or AIDS-ridden places," and goes on to include Mali in his list of such countries. Mali is, of course, neither unhappy nor AIDS-ridden nor war-torn. Its economic indicators may be low, but anyone who has spent any time in this country, as I have, knows that Mali is as far from "impoverished" as can be. It is rich in all but monetary ways.

Those of us who persist in ignorance and dismiss the dignity of our fellow human beings are the impoverished ones.

--Elizabeth Keyes

Home for the Depraved

In his Dec. 10 Business article "Find Some Y2Komfort at Home," did John Breeden II really mean to say "sensory depravation chamber"?

There's a big difference between the depraved and the deprived, and I don't think the former is what Breeden, or your editors, had in mind.

--Michael C. Davis