Distorted Divisions in D.C.

Courtland Milloy's column contrasting the closing of a recreation center in the poorest part of the District with groundbreaking for a new recreation center in the wealthiest part is a distortion of the facts ["Guess Which Ward Gets the Rec Center," Metro, Oct. 17].

A quick look at the D.C. Department of Parks and Recreation Web site (www.dpr.dc.gov) shows that the two poorest wards, 7 and 8, have more recreation centers than the other wards. Also, a new multimillion-dollar rec center, the Hillcrest Recreation Center, has just been completed in Ward 7, and Fort Davis Recreation Center has been renovated. The column distorts the facts in attempting to illustrate the "growing gap between the District's rich and poor," and even concludes that there is racial discrimination and "a contempt for less-fortunate blacks displayed by city officials." One can argue that our city as a whole does not have enough recreation centers, but the placement of new recreation centers does not even come close to supporting a conclusion of disparity in treatment of residents by city officials.

-- Kathy Chamberlain

Washington

The writer is a member of Advisory Neighborhood Commission 7B.

Google Glitch

Your Oct. 15 Business article "Google's New Tool Brings Search Home" should have made it clear that this "released free software" is a beta version. Among its significant limitations, fully revealed by Google: It can only be installed into one account on a multi-account computer, and it cannot search on wild cards. These and other deficiencies no doubt will be corrected in subsequent versions, but reporters Leslie Walker and David A. Vise could have informed readers in a word or two that this is pre-release software.

-- Norman Berk

Montgomery Village

Comedy in the Crossfire

TV columnist Lisa de Moraes sadly missed what really happened on CNN's "Crossfire" on Oct. 15 ["Left Hooks and Right Jabs: Stewart Tangles With Carlson," Style, Oct. 16]. By treating Jon Stewart's moral assault on the program as just another comical tiff between ego-inflated pundits (and one ending in a naughty word, oh my!), she inadvertently reinforced the point Stewart was trying to make.

Jon Stewart did something that we never see on scripted, conventional television: He stepped out of character and decided to be truly and intentionally offensive -- to be rude to the very hosts who had just praised him -- in order to tell the truth and to hold these guys accountable. When he said to them, "You're hurting America," he wasn't joking. The criticism that he was trying to levy -- between Tucker Carlson's constant interruptions and Paul Begala's desperate attempts to make it all funny again -- was that real political discourse has been replaced by an echo chamber of spin, manufactured outrage and meaningless theater.

Stewart's attempt to break through the trivial patter was brave and principled. I hope someone at The Post will cover it as a serious story.

-- Susan Asdourian

Catonsville, Md.

A Tremor

In the Force

I had to chuckle at the last part of the Oct. 17 Sunday Source "Sky Watcher" article. I don't know who was responsible for the mistake -- the interview subject, the interviewer or an overzealous copy editor -- but the "Star Wars" character's name is Han, not Hans, Solo.

-- Ruth E. Thaler-Carter

Rochester, N.Y.

Ernestly a Classic

For Jonathan Yardley to declare [Style, Oct. 19] that "The Old Man and the Sea" is one of the "worst" books published in the 20th century puts him in rare company.

William Faulkner declared that "The Old Man and the Sea" was Ernest Hemingway's best. Alone of Hemingway's major works, "The Old Man and the Sea" was cited by the Nobel Committee in Hemingway's citation for the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1954.

A century from now, "The Old Man and the Sea" will continue to enthrall and intrigue readers from all lands and seas with its rich, mysterious tale of Santiago's journey in the Gulf Stream.

-- Mike Tucker

Bangkok