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.

The very picture of all that's wrong

The photograph that accompanied the Jan. 29 front-page article “Amid doubts, Trump unveils Mideast peace plan” encapsulated the deplorable state of national and international affairs by depicting the impeached U.S. president and the indicted prime minister of Israel preparing to announce the biggest foreign policy “nothingburger” of the new decade. 

William A. McCollam, Fairfax

The Jan. 30 news articleIsrael seizes on annexation proposal” misconstrued an important point about Israel’s settlements in the West Bank. Two individuals quoted in the article properly said Israel may “apply Israeli law to the settlements.” But the reporter repeatedly mischaracterized that possibility as an “annexation.” 

When the 1922 British Mandate for Palestine reserved Palestine for the nation that became Israel, that binding international law included the West Bank. Israel could not take control of the West Bank (and other parts of the disputed territories) because of an illegal Arab invasion. However, the Arab occupation did not diminish Israel’s sovereign rights. Israel remained eligible to govern the embattled land. 

The current U.S. peace proposal makes it politically possible for Israel to apply its long-standing legal authority over the West Bank. If Israel takes advantage of the opportunity, it will be a lawful act of sovereignty, not an illegal annexation.

Joel M. Margolis, Herndon

On the wrong track

The Feb. 2 Spring Arts Preview — Theater included this: “Hair — A tribe of young hippies . . . soundtracked to popular rock songs of the 1960s.” What the heck?

This made it sound like “Mamma Mia.” Certain songs from the wholly original musical score went on to become hits but “soundtracked”? 

Kit Hope, Silver Spring

Grow up

John B. Judis’s Jan. 26 Washington Post Magazine essay, “A warning from the ’60s generation,” brought to mind the teaching of Jesus: “The poor, you will always have with you.” It is certainly true that young leftists we will always have with us. 

The young, as a class, have not yet encountered the discipline of mortgage payments and child-rearing or, in the workplace, making a payroll on time, budget accountability, nonnegotiable project deadlines, etc. Youthful idealizing is exciting and cost-free. Simple maturation is the more fundamental explanation of what happened to the 1960s left. On average, they grew up. 

Of course, we do have some leftist septuagenarians, e.g., Judis and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). Judis’s analysis vividly illustrated this reality. Not once did he consider that the programs of the left have already buried us so deeply in public debt and future obligations that young leftist plans for more taxation, spending and regulation render their dreams fiscally unsustainable. The inevitability of the coming public debt crisis closely resembles the inevitability of the coming climate crisis. These crises will command the attention of all and overwhelm the political, social and cultural preoccupations of the young left.

Robert Tenney, Gaithersburg

Keys to the well-designed castle

In the Jan. 31 “Bathroom trends” package [Real Estate special section], there were all those toilets and not a grab bar in sight. Sing along with me, Someday your knees will ache, someday your hips will hurt, to the tune of “Someday My Prince Will Come.” Grab bars don’t have to be big, ugly and commercial-looking. And you don’t have to be old to appreciate them.

Susan W. Ruff, Washington

“The 100-year evolution of appliances” in the Jan. 31 Real Estate special section neglected to note the steady decline of life expectancy of said appliances. All the bells and whistles, new colors and high-tech features have led to bigger price tags. Sadly, one has to replace these modern appliances almost as often as smartphones. Bring back the boring, almost ugly ever-last models of generations ago.

Paul Bergeron, Herndon

'Mike Du Jour's' very bad day

I suppose I started reading the “Mike Du Jour” comic strip because it replaced another comic I had enjoyed. Having seen the Feb. 1 installment, however, I resolve to stop. Mike Lester has now demonstrated his very deep and vicious misogyny, as well as a depraved disrespect for a revered religious leader that even this atheist finds offensive.

David R. Robie, Falls Church

Food writing to savor

I just read JJ Goode’s Jan. 29 Food article, “I’ll eat it all. My kids won’t. That eats at me,” and, let me tell you, I absolutely howled! It was funny, relatable and very entertaining. I laughed out loud and smiled the whole time reading the article. In a time in which more love and laughter are needed, this writer delivered. We all have the best of intentions when it comes to our children’s nutrition, but, in the end, it is usually they who have the last say when it comes to food and what they will or will not eat. I truly loved how the writer told this story. I’m still laughing. 

Dyone Mitchell, Washington

Glaring omissions

Are you kidding me? The Post runs a “Meet the candidates” feature in its Campaign 2020 special section [Jan. 31] with one row of text describing where the candidates stand on economic inequality and — except for the briefest of mentions in Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s (D-Mass.) summary — failed to mention the candidates’ support for policies to make it easier for workers to form and join unions. 

Economic experts have long pointed to the decline in union density as a key reason we have skyrocketing income inequality, and all of the major Democratic candidates have proposed plans to strengthen unions as a key piece of addressing economic inequality. Shame on The Post for this glaring omission.

Lynn Rhinehart, Silver Spring

The writer is a former general counsel of the AFL-CIO and a senior fellow at the Economic Policy Institute.

The Jan. 31 “Candidate issues quiz” [Campaign 2020 special section] was very interesting, but not for the issues it analyzed. It was interesting that climate change did not make the list. This existential threat to the planet receives so little focus that even a paper as sophisticated as The Post doesn’t consider it within the top 10 issues. Maybe climate change was No. 11.

Kenneth Gubin, Herndon

A pizza review that left a bad taste

Imagine my delight to learn that The Post, my go-to newspaper since the 1960s, was publishing an article about the 10 best pizzas in the D.C. area [“Slices of heaven, in D.C.,” Weekend, Jan. 31]. I like pizza, and my wife and I are constantly looking for new dining opportunities. Then imagine my dismay to learn that only one of those establishments was located in Virginia.

Pardon me if I question the extent to which Post writers, editors and ownership have a clue as to who reads their product, understand their habits or know where we live. Just another five pages of useless, wasteful information.

Frank Burtnett, Springfield

It's about respect, not friendship

The Jan. 28 Sports article “Nadal sticks to basics and sends Kyrgios home” indicated that “These two guys don’t like each other.” I would make the point that for Rafael Nadal, one of the all-time greatest tennis players, it is not a matter of disliking Nick Kyrgios but, rather, questioning Kyrgios’s commitment to the game because of his on-court antics and disrespect for himself, the game, his opponent and fans. 

To suggest that the two players don’t like each other was incorrect. After Nadal’s win over Kyrgios at this year’s Australian Open, he said he enjoyed watching Kyrgios play during the tournament and was complimentary of his opponent. Nadal, winner of the Association of Tennis Professionals Sportsmanship Award, is always gracious and demonstrates the highest level of sportsmanship not only in his victories and defeats but also with opponents who are disrespectful and provoke him.

Kathy Wagner, Annapolis

Mars or bust

I was surprised that the Feb. 1 editorial “Lost in space” did not mention SpaceX, Elon Musk’s private rocket and space exploration company. While NASA and Congress dither over whether, when and how to send humans to Mars, SpaceX is already building prototypes of a Mars rocket called Starship. The purpose of this massive new rocket, whose development is being self-funded by SpaceX, is ultimately to transport humans to Mars.

Lest anyone doubt SpaceX’s capabilities, I point out that SpaceX, with its reusable Falcon 9 rocket, has reportedly captured two-thirds of the international commercial launch market. In addition, SpaceX is well on the way to constructing a constellation of thousands of Starlink satellites to provide high-performance Internet access anywhere in the world. SpaceX is also on the verge of ferrying astronauts to the International Space Station using its Crew Dragon capsule atop a Falcon 9 rocket. Remarkably, SpaceX developed the Falcon 9 from scratch for the ridiculously low cost of $300 million. Compare that with NASA’s estimate of $3.6 billion for building a comparable rocket using its traditional contracting processes.

NASA and Congress may be lost in space, but SpaceX most assuredly is not.

Roy Mariuzza, Chevy Chase

Get over Iowa and New Hampshire

Why did the media, The Post included, put such emphasis on Iowa and New Hampshire? The number of electoral votes these two states have together is less than 2 percent of the electoral college, and the states are not representative of the diversity of Democratic voters. And if a candidate doesn’t do well in these nonrepresentative states, it can sink the candidacy. These states should get little or no media attention. 

Donald Gross, Charlottesville

Always in tune with the audience

The Feb. 4 obituary for Peter Serkin, “Piano prodigy bridged old and new traditions,” provided a deserved and thorough account of the pianist’s wide-ranging repertoire, intellect and — of course — keyboard mastery. I’d add only a fleeting episode that reflects a whimsical bent as well. 

It occurred about 16 or 17 years ago at his Congregation Beth El recital in Bethesda. As he began the second half of his program, the cellphone of someone at the rear of the sanctuary went off — but not with the simple, nondescript tones of your standard default setting. It was an elaborate musical interlude. Serkin, peering at the offending audience member, proceeded to replicate the cellphone passage in note- and pitch-perfect rendition at the piano.

Joel Darmstadter, Chevy Chase

Oh, happy day

I loved the Feb. 1 news article “A rare, cross-cultural palindrome arrives on Sunday.” This was a great topic to address with my kids, and a welcome respite from impeachment and primary coverage.

Nick Szechenyi, Kensington

A web of corruption sustained Moi

The Feb. 5 obituary for former Kenyan president Daniel arap Moi, “Kenyan leader ruled with iron fist,” brought back memories for me. As the World Bank country director in Nairobi, I was closely involved with Moi and his government during his last years in power.

Deeply concerned with Kenya’s poor performance and weak economic management, the World Bank launched a strategy in 1998 focused on governance. This included the highly unusual suspension of our financial assistance until a list of reforms was implemented — tackling corruption, improving budget management, streamlining the civil service and privatization. Moi and his government hated losing the support of their largest external funder, but our tough stand was widely supported by Kenyans and our international partners.

Our position paved the way for the “Dream Team,” led by Richard Leakey, and made up of leading Kenyans from the private sector placed in leadership positions in the government’s key ministries. The team made great progress, and the bank resumed its financial support. 

That progress faded after a couple of years when Moi and his supporters feared the anti-corruption effort would ensnare them. The team left. Again, we cut our support.

Moi wielded power and got rich though his personal strength and ruthlessness, control of a number of businesses while in office, a politicized civil service, cronies in all key government positions, a corrupt judicial system led by an attorney general loyal to the president, control of substantial parts of the media, tribal politics, and a lack of effective checks and balances among the branches of government. 

Hal Wackman, Washington

All mayors are not created equal

Christina Shea’s Feb. 2 Outlook essay, “I’m the mayor of a large college town. I’m not ready to be president,” required closer examination. Shea highlighted her own lack of qualifications for “sitting behind the Resolute Desk” and thus attempted to minimize former South Bend, Ind., mayor Pete Buttigieg’s qualifications as a candidate in the Democratic primary.

Shea overlooked that Buttigieg is not only a graduate of Harvard College and Oxford University, the latter of which he attended on a Rhodes Scholarship, but he also served the nation in the U.S. Navy Reserve and was deployed to Afghanistan as a Navy intelligence officer. He attained the rank of lieutenant and was awarded the Joint Service Commendation Medal.

By comparison and contrast, Shea, a career real estate agent, faces a recall petition for stalling the progression of a veterans’ cemetery because of her connections with a real estate developer — once again an example of a politician putting personal interest over the needs of constituents.

She was correct in that she lacks the qualifications to “sit behind the Resolute Desk,” but she failed in her effort to disqualify Buttigieg, a candidate who has the experience, intelligence and integrity to be president.

Bonnie T. Henn, Woodbridge

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