Every week, The Post runs a collection of letters of readers’ grievances — pointing out grammatical mistakes, missing coverage and inconsistencies. These letters tell us what we did wrong and, occasionally, offer praise. Here, we present this week’s Free for All letters.

A shot above the rest

The photograph of Simone Biles that accompanied Robin Givhan’s Aug. 4 front-page column, “By de-prioritizing sport, Biles redefines balance,” captured Biles “setting” for her double pike dismount from the balance beam, her body almost completely laid out, toes pointed, head back and chest open. That fraction of a second illustrated the technical mastery that enables Biles to amaze us with gymnastics skills that no other woman, and few men, can do.

During this year’s Olympic Games, Biles’s physical and mental struggles played out as the whole world watched. But this photograph captured her last piece of gymnastics in the Tokyo Olympics, with the shot angled so she appeared to soar high enough to reach out and touch the ceiling lights of the Ariake Gymnastics Center. 

Kudos to the photographer, Toni L. Sandys, and thanks to The Post for sharing this wonderful photograph with readers. 

Julie Finegan, Takoma Park

Those were the days

Norman Lear’s July 28 Wednesday Opinion essay, “My first 100 years,” brought tears to my eyes but also gave me hope.

It is difficult to believe Lear is entering his 100th year. More amazing was reflecting on his body of work and how much it changed the discourse on American life, especially how it changed the prevailing images of Black Americans. I can remember watching “All in the Family,” listening to Archie Bunker’s rants, based primarily on ignorance and prejudice. We watched him change and grow; some of us grew and changed right along with him. “Good Times,” “Maude” and “The Jeffersons” gave us a peek into the lives of families who did not live as we may have.

What a sad turn of events we are experiencing today. As he wrote: “Frankly, I am baffled and disturbed that 21st century Americans must struggle to protect their right to vote.” Yes, Mr. Lear, so am I. We, as a nation, have taken giant strides backward and have landed splat in the murk and mire of civil injustice and discord. 

Lear’s essay gave me hope because it reminded me that there will always be those who find creative ways to overcome the venomous elements in our society. Thank you, Mr. Lear, for your long, brilliant and faithful service.

Claire Tieder, Charlottesville

Medical improvement isn't shocking

To her initial dismay and later surprise, electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) lifted Danielle Huggins out of her severe, treatment-resistant bipolar depression, which she wrote about in her heartfelt Aug. 3 Health & Science essay, “I’ve been shocked back to life.” Huggins noted that the treatment has advanced from its difficult early days of broken bones and severe memory loss, progress that helps explain the longevity of this powerful, if often needlessly feared, intervention. 

Huggins described the “gooey gel” and electrodes placed on one side of her head (I think she meant the right side, not the left); this unilateral electrode placement, in contrast to older bilateral ECT, enables the initial brain stimulation to spare the left-sided learning and memory centers, reducing treatment-related confusion and memory problems. Shifting from older sine-wave electrical stimulation (as from the wall socket) to newer devices that deliver a series of brief (and increasingly, ultrabrief) pulses of stimulation, which can induce the desired result with a much lower dose of electrical stimulation, further reduces cognitive adverse effects. 

But the “active ingredient” of modern ECT seems to be the seizure activity in the brain (with little actual physical movement because of muscle relaxant medication), not the electricity. “Shock treatment” is not only unnecessarily scary, it also is a misnomer. Bottom line: Treatment for any serious condition can be personalized only by understanding the benefits and risks of all options; for some individuals, even an unpopular approach — which no longer needs to be reserved as a “last resort” — could be best and even lifesaving.

Matthew V. Rudorfer, Potomac

The writer, a psychiatrist, is a Distinguished Life Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association and a member of the editorial board of the peer-reviewed Journal of ECT.

Some things wrong, some right

In his Aug. 1 Outlook essay, “Ending a boon for the rich,” part of the “What Trump got right” feature, William Gale chose the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act signed by then-President Donald Trump in 2017. The point that Gale chose to discuss, mortgage interest with regard to wealth transfer, was a relatively minor one. All the other things the act included resulted in one of the single largest wealth transfers to the top one percenters. Not surprising, some of the biggest beneficiaries were real estate developers.

Gale deserves an “other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you enjoy the play” for completely missing the point.  

Joel Purcell, Stevensville, Md.

I congratulate The Post on the Aug. 1 Outlook feature “What Trump got right.” Though most people agree that former president Donald Trump is a terrible human being, it brings all of us down to his level when we can’t acknowledge what he did right. Leading media outlets must tell both sides of the story, or people will have nowhere to go for accurate news.

Russia, China and our other adversaries love to see us fighting with one another and taking our eye off the ball while they forge ahead. I urge The Post to be a leader in this regard and leave the editorials to the op-ed pages. This was a start.

John White, McLean

She's colored blond, not color blind

Props to Dolly Parton for investing in an underserved Black area of Nashville [“Dolly Parton backed Black community with cut from song,” news, Aug. 1]. But I take issue with the assertion at the end that “she’s never cared about race.” 

Parton is the perfect example of why simply being “colorblind” isn’t enough. She saw an opportunity to help her brothers and sisters in Nashville, targeted specifically because of who they are, and took it. It’s the difference between being merely “non-racist” and “anti-racist.”

Jerry Slaff, Rockville

Training should be a given

I applaud Jacqueline Jewell for continuing the much-needed work of her friend Nyome Kamara as discussed in Theresa Vargas’s Aug. 5 Metro column, “Sudden death puts care center at risk.” However, I believe (hope?) this sentence does not mean what it appeared to suggest: “The center accepts Medicaid waivers, which makes the family’s cost significantly less than what they would have to pay someone with training to take care of Imani [Bush].”

That sentence sure made it sound as though the care center being discussed employs untrained individuals. Perhaps Vargas meant to write “would have to pay an individual caregiver to take care of Imani.”

Laura Lawrence, Fairfax

Right rank, wrong metric

A photo caption writer gave an unintended upgrade to Indonesia when referring to it as “the world’s fourth largest country” [“How countries around the world have approached vaccine mandates,” news, Aug. 1].

The United States is the fourth-largest country in the world. Indonesia is 14th (or 15th, if Greenland is included). Indonesia has the fourth-largest population of any country, after China, India and the United States.

David BidermanAlexandria

'Dilbert' isn't that deep

With all due respect to Justine Manning and Bob Loeb, I hope The Post doesn’t cancel “Dilbert” just because some readers disagreed with creator Scott Adams’s beliefs.

I thought the strip that stirred the complaint in their July 31 Free for All letters, “Let’s do away with ‘Dilbert,’ ” was funny, and I respect people’s pronouns. People lose support for their causes when they try to banish everyone who doesn’t walk in lockstep. It’s a comic strip, not a manifesto.

Rick Flowe, Manassas 

No love for local Olympians

Local athlete Taylor Knibb won an Olympic silver medal. Is that not news and a source of extreme pride for our metropolitan region? The Post gave it one sentence in the Aug. 1 Tokyo Olympics roundup article “After temper tantrum in bronze medal loss, Djokovic withdraws with injury.”

I was astonished not to see more coverage of Knibb, a D.C. native, and her four-person triathlon medley team. She was the youngest woman ever to make the U.S. Olympic triathlon team and contributed a phenomenal bike ride. The team’s race was surely newsworthy and of interest to readers.

Leigh Culver, Washington

NBC isn't quite that universal

Richard Zoglin in his Aug. 3 Tuesday Opinion essay, “Is NBC to blame for Simone Biles’s Olympic withdrawal?,” made a tiresome old mistake new again. By blaming NBC for the entire Olympics coverage to the world, he missed the difference between the Olympic host broadcaster and the national broadcaster. NBC owns the rights to the Games only in the United States. The host broadcaster is an entirely separate operation that sends feeds out for every participant in every stage of every sport in the Olympics. The national broadcasters pick and choose, so the Americans see stories about Americans, Brits see stories about Brits, Liechtensteiners see stories about, well, the French probably. Americans want to see stories about Americans — that’s just Ratings 101.

 I thought the deep coverage by NBC of archery, equestrian events and other unique sports was fascinating.

Terry Irving, Bethesda

Unidentified foreign oddity

I wonder how many people who looked at the July 25 “Lio” comic got the reference to the Soviet-era sci-fi classic “Roadside Picnic” by the Strugatsky brothers.

 “Roadside Picnic” was set in a fictional country resembling Canada (for whatever reason) in an area that had recently (apparently) been visited by aliens who left behind a mishmash of artifacts, some of which were amazingly useful (infinite-life batteries), some of which were extremely dangerous or toxic, and some of which were simply mysterious. A bureaucracy was supposed to control access to the site, but, of course, smugglers always found a way in. What were these things? Who made them? Why did they leave them here? The U.S. military’s recent report asked much the same.

Jacqueline Coolidge, Chevy Chase

We'll learn to live with it

The following quote from vaccine expert Kathleen Neuzil in the July 30 news article, “CDC report warns of delta’s severity, urges new messaging” should be the lead: “We really need to shift toward a goal of preventing serious disease and disability and medical consequences, and not worry about every virus detected in somebody’s nose. It’s hard to do, but I think we have to become comfortable with coronavirus not going away.”

I am committed to following the science, as I have been throughout this pandemic, but the emphasis on the number of positive cases vs. severity of illness and death is messaging in the wrong direction. That vaccinated adults can contract the coronavirus and test positive and show no or almost no symptoms to a greater degree than unvaccinated adults is the key point.

We know that the coronavirus has always presented without symptoms in some people, but very much more so in those who have been fully vaccinated. Rather than seeing “breakthrough” cases as a problem, we should applaud the vaccine’s ability to prevent serious illness.

As a psychoanalyst working throughout this pandemic, I have seen increased awareness and anxiety of one’s vulnerability and proximity to death, which is a highly predictable consequence of having your world upended for 18 months and seeing people you care for die. At the same time, we have always lived with risks for ourselves and our children, including car accidents, which take the lives of more children than the coronavirus, and the seasonal flu, which at this point likely presents a similar risk to vaccinated adults as does testing positive for the coronavirus.

It is sad and shameful that the politicization of the virus has put herd immunity out of reach, but we can and should be supported and guided in learning to live with the coronavirus as a virus that is here to stay, at least for the foreseeable future. It is unfortunate that unvaccinated adults continue to die from this disease, for some as a result of forces outside their control and for others mistrust of science and government, and we should not ignore them in this process, which only increases the need to put as much focus on treatment as we put on prevention. We need to work harder to educate the public about these treatments and to reduce the panic associated with the coronavirus.

Lily Walman Blank, New York

Buyer beware

The July 31 Real Estate column “Home warranty may be good backup if you forgo the inspection” was very misleading because it implied that a home warranty would cover repair or replacement of an appliance or other home system that was defective at the time the home was purchased. In fact, some or most home warranties exclude preexisting conditions. 

Without a home inspection documenting that an appliance or system was in good working order before the home sale closed, the warranty company may deny the new homeowner’s claim — especially if the claim is filed shortly after the purchase of the home.

When I worked as a licensed real estate salesperson, I always advised my buyer clients that a home warranty is not a substitute for an inspection.

Charles M. Carron,


The show did — unofficially — go on

In “An all-Black musical was a Broadway smash — and then was mostly forgotten,” his Aug. 1 Book World review of “Footnotes: The Black Artists Who Rewrote the Rules of the Great White Way,” Laurence Maslon said, “ ‘Shuffle Along’ has never had a proper recording” in the form of a cast album. That is true, but there are many recordings by the original cast. They can be heard on the Harbinger Record of “Shuffle Along.”

I produced the recording, and Richard Carlin and I wrote the liner notes and won a Grammy award for those notes. We also collaborated on the first full biography of the show’s composer, Eubie Blake, titled “Eubie Blake: Rags, Rhythm and Race.”

Ken Bloom, New York

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