This week’s “Free for All” letters.


Democratic congressional candidate Jesse Colvin, 34, cradles his newborn baby, Coleman. (Arelis Hernandez/The Washington Post)

Rep. Andy Harris (R-Md.) is seen during a meeting on Capitol Hill. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call via AP Images)
Side-by-side but not equal treatment

Regarding the Oct. 16 Metro article “Democrat on a mission for the middle”:

I love the totally unbiased side-by-side photographs of the two candidates: one tenderly bottle-feeding a baby, the other confrontationally sticking his finger in someone’s face.

John Skowronski, Fairfax

Give Washingtonians a break on the NFL team name

After the divisiveness of the recent Brett M. Kavanaugh hearings, The Post jumped immediately onto another, perhaps even more divisive, issue — the name of our hometown football team — by printing a Redskins-bashing Free for All letter [“Time for a substitution,” Oct. 6] that referenced no recent Sports article, as well as Matt Hoyer’s Local Opinions essay [“The psychological toll of that name,” Oct. 7] relating an unfortunate apparently Redskins-related event that took place 35 years ago.

Could The Post give Washingtonians a break and let us catch our breath from divisive issues for, say, a week? A weekend?

Stephen Frank, Fulton

Nobel Prizes should be front-page news

I was dismayed to find “Yale, NYU professors win Nobel in economics,” an article about the winners of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences, relegated to the last page of the front section on Oct. 9, while the top half of the front page consisted of political articles.

The Nobel Prizes are prestigious, once-a-year events, all of which deserve prominent placement as welcome respites from the daily dose of contentious politics. 

Alice Markham, Reston


Ax host Omar Cooper sharpens a blade at Bad Axe Throwing in Washington on Oct. 4. (Bonnie Jo Mount/The Washington Post)
The real safety hazard in this ax-throwing bar

A photograph accompanying the Oct. 10 Metro article “Alcohol and axes: Do they mix?” showed an “ax” employee grinding a hatchet blade (including live sparks) without any evidence of safety glasses. This renders ludicrous the idea advanced in the article that the proprietor has any notion of how to manage the issues of safely maintaining and throwing axes — much less in an alcohol-friendly environment.

G.T. Bowman, Falls Church

So, being known for Krispy Kreme is a bad thing?

I am not from North Carolina, and other than pleasant memories of a few summers my family spent there when I was a child in the mid-1960s and a trip to the Outer Banks in the late 1980s, I have no personal or professional connection to the state. However, I was still appalled to read Geoff Edgers describe it in the Oct. 7 Arts & Style article “Final act for a museum rebel” as a “state once known mainly for college basketball, Krispy Kreme and Andy Griffith.” I’m quite sure he could have celebrated Larry Wheeler’s work at the North Carolina Museum of Art without suggesting the entire state previously was a cultural wasteland.

Rachel A. Bernhardt, Silver Spring


Sen. Joseph Tydings (D-Md.), huddles with New York City Mayor John V. Lindsay, left, in the hearing room during a meeting of the Senate Judiciary Committee to discuss gun control legislation, June 26, 1968. (Bob Daugherty/AP)
The many accomplishments of Joseph Tydings

The Oct. 10 obituary for former senator Joseph D. Tydings (D-Md.), “Progressive one-term Md. senator,” failed to include some notable accomplishments from Tydings’s tenure, including his book “Born to Starve,” which was published in 1970. Tydings was also the chief sponsor of part of Title X of the Public Health Service Act, which was passed by Congress and signed by President Richard M. Nixon. The Senate bill, S. 2108, with bipartisan co-sponsorship, was titled the Family Planning Services and Population Research Act.

Tydings’s interests ranged widely: gun control, family-planning services and research, and poverty and hunger in the United States and developing countries. He spoke eloquently and timelessly about the urgency of the need for attention to the poverty, hunger and despair facing the United States and throughout the world in the introduction to his book.

Tydings’s views and dedication will be cherished and missed.

Gerald Fill, Alexandria

The writer was a research assistant for former senator Joseph D. Tydings.

I have long thought it was particularly ironic that the National Rifle Association tried so hard to defeat then-Sen. Joseph D. Tydings in 1970. In the early 1990s, I worked with Tydings on a case seeking insurance coverage for hearing-loss claims. Our expert witness, Joseph Sataloff, insisted that he give the senator an audiogram to show him how he tested for hearing loss. With his practice in Philadelphia, Sataloff knew nothing about Tydings. I was there when Sataloff examined the audiogram and told Tydings his diagnosis: “You’re a hunter, you’re right-handed, and you have trouble hearing in a crowded room.”

Michael A. Nardolilli, Arlington

The downside of saying 'upstate'

When will The Post stop using “Upstate” New York to describe a place [“Driver wasn’t licensed for limo involved in deadly crash,” Politics & The Nation, Oct. 9]. It identifies nothing. Specifically, where is Upstate New York? It is comparable to newscasters saying it is “10 ’til the top of the hour.” Which hour?  

Michael J. Runfola, La Plata

The gentle man behind those on-screen tough guys

Regarding the Oct. 9 obituary of Scott Wilson, “Actor starred in ‘Walking Dead,’ ‘Cold Blood’ ”:

Those who knew him saw a very different person from the characters he played.

The “Shiloh” movies, however, gave him a chance to redeem himself, as this bitter, angry man slowly responds to the patience and kindness of a young boy and his family. In the end, the one who had so mistreated the little beagle risks his life to save the dog.

In reality, Wilson was a caring, soft-spoken man. After the opening at one of the “Shiloh” movies, he and I were standing in the lobby, and a small girl, hiding behind her father’s legs, fearfully peeped out and cried, “Why are you so mean?”

I will always remember how he answered her with such gentleness and understanding. For many of us, that’s how we remember him still. 

Phyllis Naylor, Gaithersburg

The writer is the author of “Shiloh.”

A better picture for an article on breast milk

I nearly laughed out loud when I was reading the Oct. 9 Health & Science article about the benefits of breast-feeding, “Why scientists are working to unlock these five puzzles about mother’s milk,” and turned the page to see a photograph of a baby’s bottle. Even if it were breast milk in the bottle, there are untold numbers of beautiful pictures of mothers and their nursing babies.

Mary W. Bell, Springfield

Why not name all the women in Trump's Cabinet?

After all the recent coverage of the Brett M. Kavanaugh hearings and the #MeToo movement, I had hoped The Post was more sensitive and supportive of women. The Oct. 10 news article “Haley’s exit depletes diversity in Cabinet” mentioned that only four racial and ethnic minorities and five women are left in President Trump’s Cabinet-level positions. The article then named the four racial and ethnic minorities, three of whom are men. But it did not name the five women, other than Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, who checks both boxes. Why not name the women?

Deborah Short, Arlington

Winning the most vs. winning most of them

It struck me that the headline on the Oct. 12 John Gagliardi obituary, “Innovative coach won most college football games,” more appropriately should have stated, “Innovative coach won the most college football games.” The published version, as written, implied that Gagliardi won only “most” of his games. Big difference in how the impact of his career could be interpreted.   

Vince Krevinas, Fairfax

An image that recalled unpleasant memories

The Post will not quit. Having attacked Brett M. Kavanaugh throughout his Supreme Court nomination process, it stooped to a new low with an unflattering front-page photograph of him taking the oath of office at the White House [“Trump stokes tensions of court fight with apology,” Oct. 9]. All this has some readers recalling another time in the country’s history when unproven charges were hurled against people, wrecking their lives and careers.

Michael Henry, College Park

The Post ignored the Youth Olympics

Did The Post lack  coverage of the 2018 Youth Olympic Games because editors were unaware they were going on, or because The Post just didn’t care? I had to search for results online. The Sports section is meaningless unless you like football.

Victoria Brombacher, Vienna


Former secretary of state Hillary Clinton talks with Jeffrey Goldberg, editor in chief of the Atlantic, during the Atlantic Festival in Washington on Oct. 2. (Alex Brandon/AP)
This caption did not capture Hillary Clinton

The caption under Hillary and Bill Clinton’s photograph in the Reliable Source item “Clintons’ story is Broadway-bound” [Style, Oct. 5] read: “Former President Bill Clinton and wife Hillary Clinton.” I thought we had gotten beyond defining a woman solely by her relationship to a man, specifically, in this case, where said woman has been a senator, a secretary of state and a major political party’s candidate for president, and where the article itself was about both of them. Apparently I was wrong, and The Post is not as woke as I had thought.

Patricia G. Hanberry, Frederick

The laws of math apply, even in the NFL

Football is math. Sports are math. When it comes down to it, you have to trust the math. I thought the Oct. 11 Sports article “Go for it: NFL coaches are getting smarter with their fourth-down decisions” was spot on.

As the article mentioned, teams have “extensive analytics departments” that run the odds for many scenarios before the season and favor the attempt of a fourth-down conversion. So why not go with the math? Why give up possession for a 40-yard punt? Coaches who follow this logic assume that field position is more valuable than possession, which I believe is incorrect. Some National Football League coaches must think the “safe” decision — the one that will preserve their job — is to punt. The real risk is punting, as they are gambling every time they surrender possession. They need to trust the math.

Tucker Stanley, Arlington