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 boy rides his bicycle past a mural being painted on July 29 in Baltimore. (Julio Cortez/AP)

There's so much more to Baltimore

The July 28 Metro article “In Md., Trump sparks outrage” included a photograph of a decaying, boarded-up building. Was the goal to echo the president’s attacks?

There is so much of Baltimore that is never shown to the public by the media: Little League games, pink flamingos in Hampden yards, neighborhood restaurants that electrify the local food scene, everyday Americans living, thriving and loving their city.

The president will never understand Baltimore, nor will he try, but certainly The Post should.

Lisa Bianco, Washington

Flouting proper word usage

In his July 28 Book World review of William D. Cohan’s book “Four Friends: Promising Lives Cut Short,” “An unsettling portrait of four privileged classmates and their untimely deaths,” Evan Thomas quoted the book: “[John F. Kennedy Jr.] didn’t intentionally flaunt the rules as much as sort of pretend they never really existed.”

“Flaunt” means to show off. The correct word is “flout,” meaning to openly disregard. The quote could have been included with inclusion of the note “[sic]” following the erroneous word. This is an increasingly common error, but The Post need not encourage it.

Dalal Musa, Falls Church

Throwing big numbers around

The July 27 headline “Harris pledges more than $70 million for HBCUs, minority small businesses” contradicted the article, which said Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.), if elected president, would pledge to invest more than $70 billion in historically black colleges and universities and minority small businesses. A minor typo, no doubt, but even in this confused Washington world, millions and billions are different things.

George H. Spencer, McLean

Don't just dismiss the spiritual side

I read with disappointment Christof Koch’s comments regarding near-death “visions” in his July 28 Outlook essay, “Five myths: Consciousness.” Koch dismissed the spiritual relevance of near-death experiences using the well-trod dying-brain explanation, which has been vigorously refuted by respected researchers such as Bruce Greyson of the University of Virginia Health System’s Division of Perceptual Studies and Sam Parnia of NYU Langone Health.

The expanding body of research around near-death experiences and their biological and spiritual implications cannot be easily brushed into the mythological waste bin by a researcher such as Koch, who seems to hold a naturalistic bias.

Jim Fowler, Brambleton


Washington quarterback Dwayne Haskins during day 1 of summer training camp in Richmond on July 25. (John McDonnell/The Washington Post)

Lucky No. 7s

Kevin B. Blackistone’s July 28 Sports column, “Dunbar star Green set standard for No. 7 in D.C. — and for Haskins,” was a commendable reminder of one of the area’s greatest athletes, Cornelius Green, who had an exemplary career quarterbacking the Buckeyes of Ohio State University under Woody Hayes in the 1970s.

Often overlooked by sports historians, Green is an OSU legend. His connection to No. 7 of the Redskins, the dynamic Dwayne Haskins (also of Ohio State), is welcome news for Redskins fans and for the area. The connection will benefit Haskins and the Redskins organization, as they will always have access to a wise and supportive person who will be devoted to ensuring the success of No. 7 of the Redskins.

Leonard L. Haynes III, Silver Spring

Show leadership. Stop using the name.

Regarding the July 30 Sports article “Redskins’ Allen plans to tackle esports, too” and others:

When is The Post going to stop using the racially derogatory name of the Washington football team?

Now would be a good time for The Post to show leadership (or not, depending on The Post’s integrity and courage).

As a D.C. resident, I truly hope the Washington football team’s owner won’t be allowed to build a stadium in my city for players referred to with a derogatory nickname.

Tom Martella, Washington

Take a lesson from Gerald Ford

The July 31 front-page article “President’s visit roils Jamestown commemoration” said President Trump was the “first sitting president to address a joint session of Virginia’s General Assembly in its 400-year history.” That statement is not true. On Jan. 31, 1976, as a part of America’s bicentennial celebration of independence, then-President Gerald Ford addressed the General Assembly in the old capitol at Williamsburg.

As a member of the House of Delegates at the time, a Democrat representing Fairfax County, I was there. The bicentennial session was a stately affair with no protests and the attendance of nearly all members of the General Assembly. The meeting left the participants with a bipartisan sense of unity as Americans. Although I differed with Ford politically, he was a man of good character. Trump is not. Ford never used racial rhetoric to divide Americans for his own benefit. Trump would do well to follow his example.

I had the honor of being invited to the 400th anniversary session of the Virginia General Assembly. I am glad I did not go.

Raymond E. Vickery Jr., Vienna


(Stacy Zarin Goldberg for The Washington Post/Food styling by Lisa Cherkasky for The Washington Post)

A feast for the eyes

The photograph accompanying the July 31 Food article “Is it unsafe or just unsightly? There’s an art to assessing produce.” captured the effect that classic Dutch painters tried to create. It is a wonderful photograph.

Henry Romberg, Round Hill

Sophomoric language

Regarding the July 19 front-page article “Trump distances self from chant as GOP sees its strategy muddied”:

I am not even a stickler for political correctness, but I’m in my 70s, and I am startled to read “freshman” referring to a first-term congresswoman. A couple of years ago, I learned from a student at the same college I had attended to say “first year,” not “freshman.” It was an easy adjustment to make.

Susan Planck, Purcellville

Two heartwarming stories on educational achievement

Thanks for two heartwarming articles on educational achievement in the Metro section: Theresa Vargas’s July 25 column, “First generation guides next generation,” and the July 26 article “The Corbins had been homeless and jobless. Now, they’re graduates.” These articles brought smiles to my face and made my day on both days.

Amid political divisiveness, racial injustice, climate change, and shootings and stabbings, the articles provided us all with hope to read about educational achievement by people who have overcome or are trying to overcome many obstacles to become graduates.

Adarsh Trehan, McLean


Then-Vice President Joe Biden, left, in Beijing with Finnegan Biden and Hunter Biden in 2013. (Ng Han Guan/AP via Pool)

Another detail worth mentioning

The July 27 news article “Hunter Biden’s role at Ukrainian gas company comes under GOP scrutiny,” while very informative about a possible conflict of interest in Ukraine, did not mention China’s $1.5 billion investment in a fund that was a collaboration with Hunter Biden’s Rosemont Seneca Partners after Biden traveled to China in 2013 with his father, then-Vice President Joe Biden, on Air Force Two. Readers probably would have found that relevant.

Rick Heald, Potomac

A way to help protect coral

I was very disappointed that the July 23 Science News article, “Climate change isn’t the only culprit killing Florida’s coral reefs. It’s also chemical pollution.,” did not specifically mention the two chemicals in certain sunscreen lotions — oxybenzone and octinoxate — that greatly contribute to killing coral.

The article mentioned “Dutch-controlled regions of the Caribbean.” People who go to the Dutch island Bonaire to scuba dive and snorkel are educated that those chemicals in sunscreen should be avoided before going into the ocean. Yes, lather up when sunbathing by the pool but not by the ocean. Bonaire voted last year to ban the sale of sunscreens that have those chemicals in local stores by 2021. Bonaire has good sewage treatment and uses desalinated water.

With knowledge about these chemicals in certain sunscreens, readers could help protect coral and keep our water clean.

Nanci Link, Washington

The fans have spoken: Stick to sports

The July 28 Sports article “Can ESPN just stick to sports?” left out the data of what fans overwhelmingly told ESPN about mixing politics and sports. This information is public and is at the heart of ESPN President Jimmy Pitaro’s decisions at the network.

• Eighty-five percent of “avid fans” don’t want politics on ESPN.

• Seventy-four percent of fans prefer not to hear about politics on any of ESPN’s platforms.

• Eighty-four percent of Republicans and 69 percent of Democrats do not want to hear about politics on ESPN.

I am part of the 74 percent of fans who don’t want their sports mixed with politics. Being subjected to the political views of Dan Le Batard or Jemele Hill or any other ESPN personality is not what I watch ESPN for. And to the extent that ESPN allows this, I will gladly watch something else. I take this same approach with The Post and its coverage of politics. I read the paper less and less.

Mike Jones, Alexandria

The real fuel issue

I was surprised to see in Catherine Rampell’s July 26 op-ed, “The Grand Old Socialist Party,” a line about “big fat federal government subsidies for corn ethanol.” The last tax credit for ethanol, the Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Credit, expired in 2011, and it’s debatable whether a tax credit afforded to fuel blenders could be considered a subsidy for ethanol.

Rampell also attacked coal subsidies, which — unlike an ethanol tax incentive — do exist. I would suggest she take a broader look at all fossil fuels, including oil. According to a recent International Monetary Fund working paper, the United States spent more than $600 billion subsidizing all fossil fuels in 2015. U.S. fossil-fuel subsidies include myriad hidden tax provisions and write-offs, government-backed loan guarantees, overt subsidy payments and other giveaways.

Policies such as the Renewable Fuel Standard are needed to help newer, cleaner forms of energy compete in a market that would otherwise be closed to competition. Those who would do away with the RFS need to realize that if it were removed, the Environmental Protection Agency would be picking fossil fuels as the winner and solidifying petroleum’s near-monopoly on the U.S. gas tank.

Geoff Cooper, Washington

The writer is president and chief executive of the Renewable Fuels Association.