Fellow citizens but not neighbors Reply

washington_post_logoThe Washington Post has a way of printing absolutely preposterous statements as if they were unquestionably true. A good example was in the paper March 27, 2013. The article contrasted attitudes towards the federal budget sequester in two Virginia jurisdictions — Hanover County and the City of Portsmouth. The article noted that these units are 90 miles apart but nonetheless treated them as if they were close neighbors, heightening the supposed contrasts in public opinion. But why “neighbors?” Because, by a miracle of gerrymandering, they are in adjacent Congressional districts. The paper printed my letter of protest on April 6 (online April 5):

Letter to the Editor

Fellow-citizens of Virginia, yes; neighbors, no

Published: April 5, 2013 (in the Washington Post dated April 6, 2013, page A11)

Regarding The Post’s attempt to contrast two Virginia communities in the March 27 front-page headline, “2 Va. districts miles apart on budget fight; Sequester shakes a military town, while rural neighbors believe it’s just lies and hype”:


“‘Old’ Matters to Virginia” 2

One of the little hobbies is trying to get letters to the editor, over my own name, into the Washington Post.  I’ve been pretty successful.  Here’s the one the Post published on Dec. 31, 2011, under the headline “‘Old’ Matters to Virginia:”

Virginia’s nickname is “The Old Dominion,” not the “Dominion State,” as Michael Leahy wrote in reporting on Newt Gingrich’s failure to get on the state’s Republican primary ballot [“Gingrich faces long odds to compete in Va. primary,” Dec. 26, news story]. Since Virginia is not actually a “dominion” (it is confusing enough that the state is, in fact, a “commonwealth”), the key is the adjective “old,” because the name is rooted in the 17th century. So is much of the state’s political culture.

It reminds me of the joke: How many Virginians does it take to change a light bulb? Three – one to change the bulb and two to talk about how good the old bulb was.

Richard L. Lobb, Fairfax

“Considerations in voting, and endorsing” Reply

The Washington Post ran my letter about its proclivity for endorsing nearly all the Democrats on the ballot.  Good for them to allow a dissent, however droll:

After reading your endorsements in the Virginia General Assembly races, I suggest that The Post could save space in the newspaper, and the time and energy of editors and readers, by running a single editorial that begins, “With the following exceptions, we endorse all the Democrats,” and then lists those few Republicans and independents upon whom your favor has fallen.

It would not be a long editorial.

Richard L. Lobb, Fairfax

“What Would Lincoln Say?” Reply

Misuse of the indefinite noun “scores” prompted me to write this letter to the Washington Post, which was published July 23, 2011.  The headline above was in the paper while the one below was on the website:

‘Scores’ of tickets unsold? Try ‘thousands’

Published: July 22, 2011

“Big deal,” I thought, when I saw the July 15 Sports headline “Redskins unable to sell scores of tickets.” After all, a “score” is only 20, and “scores” usually means “we’re not sure, but maybe a hundred,” as in, “Scores of brides-to-be waited outside Filene’s,” something like that. But it never means “10,000,” which is the Washington Redskins’ rather amazing predicament.

If you need a short, indefinite noun, “scads” would be a better pick, or “hordes” or “a ton” (which would go well with “tickets”). But not mere “scores,” which is closer to the number of coaches Dan Snyder has hired than to his legion of disgruntled fans.

Richard L. Lobb, Fairfax