This week’s “Free for All” letters.

That would buy a lot of dog clothes

The May 19 Business article about retailer price increases, “Dog sweater or yours, tariffs force retailers to raise prices,” had a headline about dog sweaters. Buried in the article was the statement: “The newest tariffs are expected to cost each American family an average of $767 a year.” That statement should have been a  banner front-page headline, not lost on the third page of the Business section. President Trump continues to bleed this country — including his beloved base — for his own selfish goals.

Gary Arnold, Columbia

Say it at the top

Regarding the May 19 front-page article “A dangerous delay”:


The Post can be commended for covering this story of a fatal health risk to students living in University of Maryland housing and the delay in notification on campus and to parents.


However, I strongly object to articles that include the fact of death, of a victim described earlier in detail, only at the end of the article. It violates the who-what-where-when information that is expected in journalism early in the piece. This trend may build suspense and keep readers reading, but it is disrespectful to the victim. I also felt manipulated as a reader. Please cease this type of coverage.

Patricia Dalton Byrne, Middletown

Keep this out of your shower caddy

The May 13 obituary for a former colleague, Dennis Rhoades, referred to the herbicide Agent Orange as an “exfoliant.” In fact, Agent Orange was a defoliant, as were the other 14 herbicides used in the Vietnam War.


W.C. Klemm Jr., Springfield

Rock bottom

For some years, the media has used an expression for those individuals and particularly groups such as sports teams who are falling behind in their endeavors. They hope that the person or group can dig out of the hole that they are in. As the famous “Anonymous” has said, “when in a hole, stop digging.” Recently, The Post has more accurately said they need to claw their way out of the hole. I can vividly picture that one. On May 20, the Sports section again fell into the poor usage trap, er, hole. “Nats fall into hole, can’t dig way out.”


C’mon, let’s get this simple notion right.

Ruth Salinger, Bethesda

An elephant and a donkey

In his May 19 op-ed, “Children are paying for 19th-century bigotry,” George F. Will distorted Republican James G. Blaine’s 1884 presidential campaign by saying Blaine hoped “his anti-Catholicism would propel him to victory.” Although Blaine had nine years earlier proposed an amendment to ban spending public money for sectarian schools to elicit a fair discussion of the question, he had since given it little attention and instead focused on economic issues. In 1884, he campaigned almost exclusively on tariff protectionism, touting that policy’s advantages for American labor. Denouncing the Democrats’ low-tariff notions as “British free trade,” Blaine aimed to woo England-hating Irish Americans (most of whom were Catholic), who formed a potent voting bloc in key swing states such as New York. The last thing he wanted was to offend this group. Hence, he was appalled by Presbyterian preacher Samuel Burchard’s “rum, Romanism and rebellion” dig against Democrats, and Blaine afterward noted publicly that his own mother had been a Catholic. Blaine lost New York by 1,047 votes, which determined the election’s outcome.


The impact of Burchard’s slur is impossible to gauge, but Blaine thought his defeat “flowed directly” from “the Lord [having] sent upon us an ass in the shape of a preacher.”

Charles W. Calhoun, Washington

A gray survey of Silver Spring

While I am grateful my little neck of the woods was recognized in the Real Estate section as having dining and entertainment options that give it an urban flair, the May 18 article “Dining, entertainment options give Silver Spring urban flair” itself was astoundingly remiss in its characterization. I would have expected a nod to the April 26 Weekend article “Silver Spring is the area’s hottest beer destination.” Or perhaps mentioning El Sapo Cuban Social Club, where restaurant critic Tom Sietsema says he likes to eat now [“Spring Dining Guide,” Magazine, May 5]. And given this was the Real Estate section, perhaps the writer could have mentioned that there are so many apartments being built, the county enacted a moratorium on new housing. The places mentioned in the article are all fine establishments, but honestly the article could have been written 10 years ago. Let me know if you need a tour of a really great place.


John Lankenau, Silver Spring

The Bay State leads the way

The May 19 news article “The widening gap in abortion laws in this country” excluded important legislative efforts to expand abortion access in Massachusetts. As the article noted, the Trump administration and politicians across the country are working to dismantle legal abortion by passing legislation that will either gut or overturn Roe v. Wade.

Massachusetts is no stranger to shoring up reproductive health care. In direct response to the Trump administration’s attacks on reproductive freedom in 2017 and 2018, Massachusetts repealed archaic laws criminalizing abortion care and guaranteed co-pay-free contraceptive coverage. Today, Massachusetts pro-choice lawmakers and advocates are supporting legislation that will break down barriers to safe, legal abortion. The Roe Act would improve access to affordable abortion by removing unnecessary, burdensome provisions that delay and deny care. This bold piece of legislation seeks to ensure that anyone, regardless of age, income or insurance status, can access safe, legal abortion. In a state known for high-quality health care and near-universal insurance coverage, no person should be faced with unjust barriers to accessing basic health care, including abortion care. While states such as Alabama, Georgia and Missouri continue to enact bans on abortion rights, residents of Massachusetts are urging their legislators to lead the way in ensuring equitable access to abortion for all.


Rebecca Hart Holder, Boston

The writer is executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts.

A 'full poodle' over Swedish Fish

Regarding the May 17 Weekend article “Appetites for home: How ambassadors eat”:

I’m afraid Swedish Ambassador Karin Olofsdotter has been compromised — gone native even — when she claims that American Swedish Fish are better than our home country’s original. On behalf of fruity, sour and salty fish in the “lösgodis” (pick-and-mix candy) aisles in all of Sweden — plus the time-honored Swedish tradition of fewer artificial colorings in edibles — I demand Olofsdotter do a “full poodle” (yes, she knows what that means) and in the future more wholeheartedly support original Swedish fish and their U.S. export potential.


Anne Friberg, New York

Schlock jock

Is it too much to ask that we readers do not have to hear about incessantly misogynistic people such as Howard Stern [“Howard Stern, killing it with kindness,” Style, May 21]?


Crikey. I could not care less that he interviewed our current president and didn’t get the interview with his preferred candidate — sad! I hope at this point in his life, Stern might get it that the endless shock-jock asininity could possibly have contributed to the way women and people who are not white, old men are viewed. His type of “comedy” or commentary was cruel and not funny. Looking forward to the day we don’t hear of him again.


Mary Blissard, Leesburg

A journalist of many firsts

The May 19 obituary for Georgie Anne Geyer, “Globe-trotting reporter blazed trails,” said, “As a female reporter, she often battled skepticism and sexism as she sought to emulate the dashing foreign correspondents she admired from afar.” Because she had no female role models to emulate, “Gee Gee” became a successful foreign correspondent by doing it her way. Fortunately for the next generation of professional women, she was generous enough to give back, making our professional paths less daunting.


As the producer of the PBS program “Washington Week” in the 1980s and 1990s, I had the privilege of working with Gee Gee, who would share her global reporting with our viewers. She took me under her wing, including me at both professional gatherings and parties in her home. After I left the program, we remained in touch.


“While we journalists spend our time at best rummaging about in other people’s minds, usually those minds are already known to the world — other rummagers have been there,” she wrote in the introduction to her 1994 book about Soviet Central Asia. “This time I could . . . be one of the first to roam and rummage across one of the most fascinating, legendary, and least-known areas of the world.”

Geyer was indeed a journalist of many firsts. She will be missed.

Sue Ducat, Chevy Chase


On the fast track to inappropriateness

When is it okay to yell in combustible, vehement, spraying, palpable anger at anyone in the workplace, much less a subordinate? I’ll wait.

Answer: It is never okay or appropriate. Please retire Bill Holbrook’s tired strip, “On the Fastrack.” There is no place for Ms. Trellis’s abject, hair-trigger and disrespectful displays of anger anywhere in our world right now, especially not our comics pages. 

Linda Mooring, Fairfax

Put the best faces forward

They say a picture says a thousand words. Consider the photographs of Sens. Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) to accompany Jay Newton-Small’s May 19 Outlook essay, “Why some women won’t vote for a woman for president.” One was a rear shot of Harris; the other a foot shot of Warren. Meanwhile, Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) [“Sen. Booker’s misleading claim that toy guns are more regulated than real ones,” Glenn Kessler’s Fact Checker column] and former vice president Joe Biden [“ ‘We’re all in this together,’ Biden tells crowd at rally,” news] got “serious” backdrops and their faces shown.

It is disappointing that nobody thought of the messaging here. It’s challenging enough trying to capture meaningful attention as a female presidential candidate. This doesn’t help.

Rachel McColgan, McLean

He connected East and West

Regarding the May 17 front-page tribute to the late great American I.M. Pei, a Chinese-born modernist architect [“Preeminent architect of civic centers and cultural institutions”]:

Coverage focused on his famous cultural and business structures from Paris (the Louvre Pyramid) to Doha, Qatar (the Museum of Islamic Art), from the Mall in Washington (the East Building of the National Gallery of Art) to Hong Kong (the Bank of China Tower), and from Boston (the JFK Library) to Boulder, Colo. (the National Center for Atmospheric Research).

But could I remind readers that one of Pei’s earliest — and still most stunning and enduring — works was done way out in Hawaii in the early 1960s?

After Congress in May of 1960 established the East-West Center as a nonpartisan educational institution to promote study, training and research between the United States and the Asia-Pacific region, Pei was selected to design the center’s 21-acre campus adjacent to the University of Hawaii in Honolulu’s scenic Manoa Valley. Since then, the more than 66,000 individuals from the United States and many other countries who have participated in center programs have enjoyed the five buildings Pei created to bring Asians, Pacific Islanders and Americans closer today. 

Back in the early 1960s, with the Vietnam War raging and China still isolated, that was no easy task, and Pei deserves credit for using his talent to design practical yet memorable buildings that remain in use to this day to foster dialogue on critical regional issues and bring diverse cultures together. Anyone who has visited the center surely would not forget Pei’s notable buildings, including Jefferson Hall, Kennedy Theatre and Hale Manoa residence hall.

Michael H. Anderson, Arlington

Quit the name-calling

Regarding Colbert I. King’s May 18 op-ed, “The D.C. Council lays bare Bowser’s weakness”:

Much has been said of late about the vital importance of restoring civil discourse. I agree. To that end, I must say to the writer (for whom I have great respect) that it is a blight on the concept of civil discourse when 30 percent or more of the voting population is collectively dismissed as a “rabid political base.” Can we not do, can we not be, better? Can we begin by ending gratuitous Trump-related name-calling in articles or columns that are not even about President Trump?

Anthony H. Vervena, Springfield

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