Elaine Bloomfield, Bethesda
As I read the 80-plus-word “sentence” in the third paragraph of Hank Stuever’s Jan. 6 TV Review, “Ricky Gervais’s stale shtick is offset by some surprise wins and celebrity seriousness” [Style], I kept waiting to reach the subject and verb. Alas, they never appeared. Consider contacting Guinness World Records; this could very well be the longest published sentence fragment in history.
Kim Baer, Woodbridge
It's no myth: Fat is not the enemy
Heather Ferris gave light to science in her Jan. 5 Outlook essay, “Five myths: Diabetes.” But she forwent science in favor of sarcastic social media comments from TheMighty.com to support the idea that a little sugar may be okay.
Ferris wrote that “fat, not sugar, is what really makes blood sugars hard to control.” Based on my 10-plus years of controlling my Type 2 diabetes with a low-carbohydrate diet, I found that statement misleading. Yes, fat slows the absorption of carbs, but the carbs still must be handled by the pancreas, so fat is not the problem — carbs are. Pizza is a giant piece of bread. If I eat it whole, my glucose goes way up because of the carbs, not the fat. When I eat pizza, I scrape the topping off of the bread and enjoy the fatty cheese and sausage without a spike in glucose. And the notion that a Type 1 diabetic can eat cake and cover it with insulin was dangerous. Any miscalculation of carbs or insulin can put a person in the emergency room.
I have been on a low-carb diet since before keto became popular. Do I fall off the wagon sometimes? Yes, but I always get back on the plan. The diet, with exercise, helps me maintain a decent blood-glucose level. That should be proof enough that fat is not the problem.
Austin Walsh, Schaumburg, Ill.
I recommend headline writers parse their words more carefully. Consider the Jan. 10 front page: “Warren courts vanquished rivals.” The verb could be either “courts” (Elizabeth Warren) or “vanquished” (Earl Warren).
Robert R. Meier, Alexandria
Mr. Jefferson would approve
Regarding the Jan. 4 Metro article “4 million cards. 4,000 drawers. And a whole lot of paper cuts.”:
As an undergraduate at Bryn Mawr College, I thumbed through card catalogues and roamed the open stacks. A person could get happily lost in there. When the digital revolution hit, freshman English classes had assignments that were to be done three ways: through the cards, roaming the stacks with the Dewey Decimal System for guidance and going online. Students got a taste of what different methodologies could — and could not — help them learn.
I was thrilled to read about the graduate students at the University of Virginia who decided to save library card catalogues there and discovered so much in the process. They showed that the Internet can be convenient and even amazing, but there are some things that can be found only the old-fashioned way, hands-on.
I think Thomas Jefferson would be pleased.
Janine D. Harris, Alexandria
Metro through an artist's eyes
Being a people-watcher myself (but honestly not one who would risk the aggravation of riding around on Metro to do so), I found Carol Morgan’s Jan. 5 Local Opinions essay, “What I see when I draw on Metro,” very interesting.
It piqued my curiosity to the point that I wished it had been published in The Washington Post Magazine along with photographs of Morgan’s drawings so I could see them, too.
Elizabeth Brooks-Evans, Silver Spring
'Jew' is not a bad word
The caption for the photograph that accompanied the Jan. 8 front-page article “Wait over, Democrats eager to act in Virginia” depicted Virginia Del. Eileen Filler-Corn (D-Fairfax) being sworn in as the speaker of the Virginia House of Delegates. The caption described Filler-Corn as “the first woman and first Jewish person to be speaker.”
“Jewish person”? Had she been Catholic, she would have been described as the “first Catholic to be speaker.” Or “the first Protestant to be speaker.” Or “first Muslim.” Interestingly, she was described as the first “woman to be speaker,” not the first “female person to be speaker.” So why “Jewish person” and not simply “Jew”? Is there something wrong with calling someone a “Jew”? I am one, and that label seems to describe me and my religion pretty correctly.
Noticeably avoiding using the word “Jew” seems to suggest the word itself is inherently derogatory. Why not just use the word “Jew”? I doubt Filler-Corn would mind. I wouldn’t.
Mark Gross, Falls Church
Fill in the blanks
Maybe I’m a Luddite, but I read the entire Jan. 8 PowerPost article “CES’s invitation to Ivanka Trump sparks backlash” without any idea about what “CES” stood for. I had to Google it to find out (and I’m still not sure what “CTA” stands for — “Chicago Transit Authority” and “Call to Action” were the first two search results Google gave me). Shouldn’t the whole name be mentioned before initials are used?
Joan Reinthaler, Washington
What's 'in' that coffee cup
I just measured my savoir faire score against “The List: 2020” [Style, Jan. 1]. Setting aside who the “Lara 2020” replacing “Ivanka 2020” is and whether she will produce a clothing line or work politically out of the White House, the big question is whether she drinks anaerobic coffee with the rest of the new “ins.”
Kathleen Dennis, Gaithersburg
First a comeback, then a letdown
I opened my Jan. 6 newspaper to the Sports section, expecting to see a photograph of Washington Capitals center Lars Eller making the game-winning goal in overtime after the Capitals had tied the score with two goals in the final 60 seconds of the third period.
What did I get? A photograph of a Minnesota Vikings tight end catching a game-winning pass in a National Football League playoff game [“The silent treatment”].
You would have thought the Washington R*ds*ins were playing.
A small photo of the game-winning goal by Eller did appear on Page 2 of the Sports section.
This was only the seventh time in National Hockey League play that a team two goals down with one minute left in regulation time came back to win.
Bob Litman, Washington
How the 0.01 percent cash in
I have little doubt that income inequality is growing in the United States, but neither Robert J. Samuelson’s analysis in his Dec. 30 op-ed, “Our lopsided prosperity,” nor the Congressional Budget Office report he cites convincingly makes that case.
Among many flaws, the CBO report divides the population in quintiles and assesses the growth in mean (not median) income in each quintile over time. Income growth in all but the top quintile is limited by that construction: If a member of a lower quintile has a great year, he or she moves into a higher quintile and the lowest income of the next-highest quintile drops down, with little effect. But a member of the highest quintile who does extraordinarily well always increases the mean of that quintile, sometimes dramatically. That says nothing about the representative member of that quintile, as the mean (averaged) income of that group is often a large multiple of the median income. Is it really the top 1 percent cashing in? Or the top 0.01 percent?
It is more instructive to look at the actual income limits of each of the quintiles to see how the group is doing as a whole. You’d think that the income limits for each quintile would reflect the increase in mean income for that group, but guess what? Using the most recent supplementary data table that breaks down the income limits for each group, one finds that the income threshold for the top 1 percent actually decreased over the 10-year period (2006 to 2016) while that for the lower quintiles increased. If the 1 percent are getting richer, why is the threshold dropping? It’s because the income growth is occurring among a smaller, more select group at the very top.
Of course, the CBO study is a poor proxy for income inequality, because it ignores the vast growth of wealth that hides from income: unrealized capital gains, primarily. Take Amazon founder and chief executive Jeff Bezos, for example — the richest man in the world, worth more than $100 billion. His salary is $81,840, well less than the median household income in Montgomery County. [Bezos also owns The Post.] He may pay less in Social Security and Medicare taxes than most everybody else in this town. But that is common among the super-rich: Larry Page and Sergey Brin of Google each take $1 in salary; Oracle’s Larry Ellison, also $1. If they’re not selling stock, they’re in the lowest quintile, among the much less fortunate.
No wonder some of our presidential candidates are crying to tax wealth as well as income.
Jack Connerney, Annapolis
Shallow treatment of a deep topic
The Jan. 4 Religion article “Twelve major religious newsmakers — and stories — from the past decade” [Metro] was, at best, peculiar. The one Jew mentioned was the “not especially observant” Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, known for many things, but not in the top ranking of Jewish religious newsmakers over the past 10 years. The one Muslim mentioned, Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), is a religious newsmaker largely because of her anti-Semitic remarks for which she has, in her own way, apologized.
What is the purpose of an article about religious newsmakers in which the author doesn’t discuss one Jew who over the past 10 years stood out for truly religious reasons or one Muslim who didn’t make news for tweets such as “It’s all about the Benjamins baby”? Pretty much no purpose, I would suggest. So why publish such a superficial piece on the important topic of religious newsmakers?
Jeffrey Salmon, Alexandria
A fuller picture
What was with the terrible, unrecognizable photograph of Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) that accompanied the Jan. 6 news article “Booker still rolling in Iowa despite missed debates”? More than half of the photo was empty space. Booker, who this week dropped out of the race for the Democratic nomination for president, is as brilliant, articulate, charismatic and experienced as the other candidates.
The Democrats are blessed with many great candidates. Judge them on their merits, not by photos that make them look tired and exasperated.
Rosemary Shaw, Silver Spring
An incomplete picture
To put it mildly, the disclosure with Stephen Hadley’s Jan. 7 Tuesday Opinion essay, “The Soleimani killing could open the door to diplomacy,” left out the most salient information. Not only was Hadley “a national security adviser during the George W. Bush administration,” as noted, but Hadley is a director at Raytheon, which manufactures components of the drone that killed Iranian Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani.
In effect, far from the retired, neutral-observer status that the bio granted him, Hadley has a deeply and obviously vested financial interest in war, as I’m sure drone targeting systems don’t go cheap.
I know this was an opinion piece, but The Post is obliged to disclose conflicts of interest. Democracy dies in broad daylight with the assistance of credulous or complicit editors.
Ethan Bien, Lubec, Maine
Connect the dots all the time
The Jan. 7 editorial “A warning to the world” was a timely reminder of a catastrophe unfolding — here and now, according to scientists. But climate change numbers are headed the wrong way (for example, ever-rising carbon emissions), suggesting that alarms such as the editorial on their own do not go nearly far enough to change people’s minds.
When the house is ablaze, everything we do must help contain the fire. But news reports do not view the world with a climate lens. The most striking lapse is in business news: The applause for Wall Street’s rally in 2019 was not accompanied by a reminder that carbon-intensive growth is still fueling the fire. And weather reporters rarely make on-the-spot links between climate change and the increased frequency of local floods, storms and fires. The media carries excellent self-standing reports on climate change. But when people turn to business news or weather reports, they see little connection between global warming and the way carbon-intensive economies are growing. The dots must be connected in daily events, in real time, to reverse the dangerous climate trend.
Vinod Thomas, Bethesda
The writer is a former World Bank senior vice president.