Four photos on the Democratic race, and all four included Buttigieg.
Adrienne Schmitz, Vienna
The homeless count
The Nov. 21 Fact Checker column, “A closer look at what rang true — and what was false — at Wednesday’s debate,” got it wrong: Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) did not exaggerate the number of people who are experiencing homelessness in the United States. If anything, he understated it. That’s because both he and the fact checker apparently relied on an estimate published by the Department of Housing and Urban Development that vastly underestimates the numbers of people sleeping outside in the absence of indoor shelter, as HUD itself acknowledges and my organization has documented. The estimate is based on “counts” conducted by volunteers who fan out in different communities on a single night, often using different, inconsistent methodologies — or no methodology at all — to determine who on the streets is homeless. The volunteers often make herculean efforts, but this is clearly an impossible task, and large numbers of people are missed. Some are simply not seen, and others are hidden in alleyways, abandoned buildings or caves — where volunteers are instructed not to venture.
In fact, a recent report by the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty suggests that encampments of people living outside without access to housing or even shelter are rising dramatically and are now commonplace in communities across the country. But the most important point is that the terrible economic injustice of homelessness in the United States, and the need for increased investment in affordable housing to address it, was raised in the debate.
Maria Foscarinis, Washington
The writer is founder and executive director of the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty.
Be more inclusive, man
I just read “A thinking man’s guide to thinking men’s thoughts,” Michael Dirda’s Nov. 21 Book World review of A.C. Grayling’s “The History of Philosophy.” Because, by now, The Post should know not to use “men” as generic for every human, does the newspaper intend to be provocative?
Where is the thinking woman to go with her thoughts? We also wake up in the middle of the night suffering from “the terror of cosmic loneliness.” Yes, it is an “ongoing conversation about the same eternal questions,” yet it seems that half of the world is left out of the discussion. Reading The Post every day makes me question how far men have gotten with the ethics part of philosophy or, for that matter, their actual thinking.
Dirda’s one-word characterization of philosophy was “aporia,” which is Greek for “inconclusiveness.” That’s how I feel.
Margaret Davenport, Vienna
. . . Like Cornell
As a proud Cornell University alumna, Class of 1969, I have to correct the implication in the Nov. 24 Outlook essay “The pioneering women who fought to get in, and fit in, at Yale” that Cornell was ever a male-only school. Book reviewer Adrianna Smith wrote that Yale “was late among elite colleges to admit female undergraduates” and then lumped Cornell in with Harvard and Brown, which, by 1968, “had already turned their campuses coed.” In fact, Cornell has been coed since 1870.
Ronnie J. Kweller, Washington
A record of the changing climate
Thanks for the climate change photo essay in the Nov. 28 special section “Lives adrift in a warming world.” More, please. I look forward to the rest of “2°C: Beyond the Limit.” Keep up the good work, on President Trump, the climate, international affairs, local news — all of it. One of the privileges of living in the nation’s capital is reading a great newspaper of record.
Hugh McElrath, Hyattsville
Pour one out for William Ruckelshaus
The Nov. 28 obituary for William D. Ruckelshaus, “At the height of Watergate, he refused to join in ‘Saturday Night Massacre,’ ” was properly laudatory but did not fully capture the impact of his leadership of the Environmental Protection Agency as its first and fifth administrator. From its creation in 1970 through the Carter years, the agency struggled but flourished to implement new laws and policies. With the beginning of the Reagan administration under Anne Gorsuch, the agency suddenly retreated following a “non-adversarial” directive toward the regulated community. Under a team of anti-EPA-minded political appointees, employee morale plummeted and a feeling of hopelessness grew from 1981 to 1983.
Fortunately, career employees ultimately became whistleblowers. The Post and other outlets came through by publicizing the horror stories. Unable to withstand the public-relations disaster, the White House persuaded Ruckelshaus to return as the administrator. On his first day back, headquarters employees were informed that he would address us in the commercial area of Waterside Mall at Fourth and M streets SW. With the news, Harry’s Liquor store in the mall quickly sold out of champagne. Being among the crammed throng of joyful employees felt as though we had just been liberated from prison. It took some years for the agency to get it back together, but we did. Now if the agency could just be fortunate enough to have another leader with the same courage and integrity to protect the nation’s public health and environment.
Jim Elder, Reston
The writer worked for the EPA from 1971 to 1996.
Dandy Don was No. 1
Kent Babb’s excellent review of the obscure position of ousted Baylor University football coach Art Briles and his presence in the Texas town of Mount Vernon, “He’s still just there to coach” [Sports, Nov. 24], neglected to note that this town was the birthplace and high school of Southern Methodist University and Dallas Cowboys quarterback Don Meredith, who later gained fame as a “Monday Night Football” commentator.
Meredith’s shining moment in the TV booth was at a boring game at Houston, where the camera zoomed in on a fan in the first row sound asleep. The fan suddenly awoke and flashed his middle finger at the camera. In the TV booth, commentator Howard Cosell gasped, but Meredith saved the moment by stating: “No, Howard, you don’t understand. That fan is saying that we’re No. 1!”
Bob Shvodian, Bethesda
13 o'clock: Time to pay Orwell
George Orwell and his works were referenced not once, not twice, but three times vis-à-vis several political pieces in the Nov. 27 edition: Kathleen Parker’s op-ed, “Trump turns the White House into an animal farm”; David Von Drehle’s Wednesday Opinion essay, “Across China, the clocks are striking thirteen”; and James Hohmann’s Daily 202 excerpt, “Judge’s order for McGahn to testify broadly rejects Trump’s absolutist claims.”
Although each addressed assorted political reasons for the reference, they all circled back to some example of “fearless leader’s” desire for unfettered and total power.
Somewhere, Orwell is smiling. At this rate of accreditation, it is hoped that royalties would continue to be paid to his estate, regardless of the clock striking 13. Anything less would be, well, Orwellian.
Allen Johnson, Columbia
Buy in, tune out
In myth No. 2 of the Nov. 24 Outlook essay “Five Myths: The stock market,” Kristina Hooper posited, “Another potential way to lower [the volatility of your stock portfolio] is to invest in actively managed funds . . . vs. passive funds that track broad market benchmarks.” She offered as evidence that active U.S. equity funds have performed better than passive funds in downturns. However, she ignored that such active funds typically don’t maintain that outperformance for long and that over longer periods the benchmark has beaten active managers.
David A. Raymond, Potomac
Right is wrong
The Nov. 27 obituary for cartoonist Gahan Wilson, “Cartooning’s master of the creepy, macabre,” highlighted Wilson’s sense of the macabre by noting that “Wilson . . . (it goes without saying) was left-handed.” How interesting it is, then, that in the self-portrait that accompanied the obituary, Wilson depicted himself as right-handed.
Jeff Hamilton, Jessup
'Police state' a misstatement
The Nov. 22 Weekend review of “Synonyms,” “A compelling fish-out-of-water tale about an Israeli in Paris,” contained an inappropriate and egregious description of modern Israel. While one can criticize the Israeli government’s position regarding settlements and the boycott movement, to refer to it as a “police state” is inflammatory and a calumny. Comparing Israel to China, North Korea, Iran or a host of other countries is wrong.
Diana Wahl, Arlington
A deficit of information
The trade statistic included in the Nov. 24 editorial “No longer ‘steadfast and strong’ ” included only merchandise goods. When services are added to the equation, the 2018 U.S. trade deficit with South Korea drops by more than half to $7.4 billion (or just 1.2 percent of the United States’ total trade deficit with the world) because the United States enjoys a $10 billion trade surplus in services with the Republic of Korea. Even if one measured trade flow only in goods, the annual U.S. trade deficit with South Korea declined 37 percent since 2015, when President Trump announced his run for office, driven primarily by a nearly 1,500 percent increase in U.S. oil and gas exports to South Korea. As a result, this issue should not be a factor in the defense burden-sharing negotiations.
Philip Eskeland, Vienna
The writer, a retired congressional staffer, worked at the Korea Economic Institute.
Curtain call for Anne Midgette
Anne Midgette’s reviews are always must-read for me. In her Nov. 23 Style review, “In-between spaces and gaps in the NSO’s growth,” she wrote, “Thursday night’s concert was my last as classical music critic of The Washington Post.” It hit me like a blow to the stomach. I reread it to make sure I got it right. I’ve always compared her to the great music critics: Olin Downes of the New York Times, Virgil Thomson of the New York Herald-Tribune, Deems Taylor of the New York World and, of course, The Post’s own Tim Page, among others. She and her reviews will be sorely missed.
Robert G. Scharf, Chevy Chase
I'm gonna pop some tags, only got 20 dollars in my pocket
Now, more than ever, we need The Post’s vigilance and excellent reporting.
In the spirit of “democracy dies in darkness,” I’d like to speak for those of us who maintain a standard of living below the luxury line.
The Nov. 24 Washington Post Magazine dedicated to those with full coffers and wealth management advisers was gorgeous, no doubt. And the gender-bending fashion was cutting-edge. Bravo.
But what about the rest of our democracy who live on a budget? Maybe an edition dedicated to us? Best places to pop tags, local hostels, cheap dates, hidden treasures, etc.
Journalism is critical to represent all the diversity in the area. How about a magazine edition devoted to the 99 percent?
Val Carter, Bethesda