Problematic Pledge

The premise that the Pledge of Allegiance is a non-issue is preposterous [editorial, June 15]. Your editorial states that "people haven't been flooding the courts with complaints that they or their children are unconstitutionally oppressed by the Pledge of Allegiance."

I am the parent of a child who has been continually harassed, belittled and put on the wrong side of her teachers because she chose not to say the pledge. Teachers in my daughter's school have told children to "just do it and get it over with"; to "Do it for me. It's really important to me"; and that "I'd like to see everyone in my class saying the pledge."

Your editorial notes that few parents take such cases to court. Well, the last thing a child wants in such a situation is for her irate parents to make even more of a fuss about her plight. Your editorial is a shameful and oafish underscore to the impossible situation many children are put into because of the pledge in public schools.

-- Linda Rosa

Loveland, Colo.

Whisky 101

The tip sheet on single-malt scotch was a welcome feature in a section of the paper for which I rarely have any use [Sunday Source, June 13]. A tip for your editors, however: Anyone who knows anything about scotch knows that Scotch whisky is spelled without the "e" in whisky, setting it apart from all other varieties.

-- Joseph DiSciullo

Arlington

Disbelief in Bush

Joel Achenbach referred to the president as "the spiritual leader of the nation as well as the head of state" [Style, June 19]. Sorry, but until the theocratic branch of the Republican Party gets an amendment through, I'm going to be looking for my spiritual leaders outside the administration. Especially this administration.

-- Deborah Kilgore

Ankeny, Iowa

A Wall of Protection

Shame on Tom Toles [editorial, June 16] for equating the Berlin Wall and Israel's wall. Yes, they're both walls, but their purposes are diametrically opposite. The Berlin Wall kept people in and prevented them from escaping to a land of freedom. Israel's wall would keep suicide bombers out and prevent them from attacking and destroying a land of freedom. The difference is like night and day, sin and virtue, freedom and tyranny -- which is to say, immense.

The shame is that this kind of message, found all too often in your paper, tends to brainwash readers into believing that Israel, in its attempts at self-defense, is the oppressor. If the Palestinians don't want the wall, all they have to do is stop their attacks.

-- Rodney Brooks

Columbia

Reality Check on Clinton

Your paper's June 23 "Alternate Universe" editorial criticized Bill Clinton and his book, "My Life," for not coming to terms with his failings.

Well, Clinton may not have vanquished the demons he acknowledges having, but your paper's suggestion that Clinton is out of touch with reality because he dealt with the Whitewater prosecution as a matter of politics rather than ethics suggests to me that your editors inhabit an alternate universe of their own imagining.

-- Jamie Baldwin

Redding, Conn.

A Strike Against Baseball

Thomas Boswell's June 11 Sports column calling for the Baltimore Orioles to pitch to Barry Bonds must not go unchallenged. Boswell calls for compromising "the convention-ridden game" of baseball by letting Bonds hit regardless of an opposing manager's estimate of the effect on the number of runs scored.

Let's be frank: Though Boswell weasels a bit by talking about a situation in which the game is not on the line, this proposal would chip away at the integrity of baseball. To maintain that integrity, teams must decide their moves not on "entertainment" values or on an individual's statistics but with an eye toward maximizing runs and minimizing opponents' runs in accordance with the rules of the game. The only alternative would be to change the rules, perhaps by awarding two bases for a walk to any batter who has been walked before in a game. Meanwhile, hands off the integrity of the game.

-- Richard Wich

Washington