Danielle Belardo, Jacksonville, Fla.
The writer is a cardiologist practicing in California and is co-chair of the American Society for Preventive Cardiology’s Nutrition Committee.
The amazing athleticism in endurance sports
Chuck Culpepper’s in-depth and bizarrely comical attempt at depicting the end of a grueling cross-country ski race, “Grueling sport’s finish line is tapestry of gorgeous misery” [Sports, Feb. 11], did not do a service to the amazing athleticism required for this power/endurance sport. Though culturally, we love to glorify the agony of “to complete,” a little explanation about why would have been appropriate and maybe well received. Power/endurance sports such as cross-country, rowing and maybe cycling require the highest level of overall fitness just to participate, let alone succeed in competition.
In fact, none is more strenuous and employs the body more completely than cross-country skiing. Every athlete in this competition has to meter both strength and endurance aspects of the race over a long period of time — too much power (and thus speed) too early, and the athlete might burn out and slow down before the end (fly and die). Starting out too conservatively means the athlete must exert maximum power toward the end to succeed. Both energy-management styles are legitimate approaches to attack a sport of this nature. Unremarkably, they also all result in the same outcome at the end. Skilled athletes (that is, all of these Olympians) know they have to cover the course and time the exhaustion of their resources (power and endurance) perfectly with the end of the race. Athletes who leave anything “in the tank” torture themselves for not trying hard enough. Barring an unfortunate crash, none of these athletes will come up short. All will choose to push to the end. Sprawling on the ground is a natural part of using literally all of your energy at the end. Turning the finish line into a description of art carnage without recognition of how the competitor must perform during the race, resulting in this more or less standard result at the finish, is insulting and a gross disservice to the readers and the sport.
Mike Arnold, University Park
The writer is a competitive masters rower and coach.
Where are the email addresses?
I am a longtime reader of The Post and a frequent pesterer of the many fine journalists who have written for the paper. Over the years, motivated by what they wrote, I have written something like two emails per week to writers. I contact them to thank them, provide them with context I believe they missed, or — less frequently — complain about their piece or an aspect of it. I have been able to do that because The Post, in an admirable gesture of transparency, provided me with their email addresses at the end of each article. Many writers were kind enough to reply, and, without ever meeting any of them in person, I established relationships with some of them based on our exchanges.
The Post has stopped printing journalists’ email addresses at the end of articles. I’m not sure when this policy change took effect, nor have I been able to find any statement, declaration or announcement explaining this abrupt deletion. I am going to assume it was not because your staff feared my name gracing their inbox or worried too much about not having replied to something I sent, so what was the reason?
Both honorably and humbly brought Davis’s background, music career and later years out of obscurity into the light for 21st-century music lovers, young and old. As an elder, I remember back in the 1970s when we gentlemen were polite around our mothers, aunts and grandmothers and lip-synced to safe singers such as Marilyn McCoo of the 5th Dimension, Diana Ross and Dionne Warwick. Then we’d run out the back door, listening and partying with Davis. She wasn’t a nasty gal to us but a free-spirited soul to set the listener’s mind free, unchained.
Anointing her our original funky diva, Richards graciously documented Davis’s three high-volume, scorching solo albums — 1973’s “Betty Davis,” 1974’s “They Say I’m Different” and 1975’s “Nasty Gal” — in an aura of funky amber. Davis still sizzles. The obituary captured Davis as genre-busting and inspirational, diving extensively into how Davis influenced and positively challenged other artists, including Miles Davis (her husband for a year), to be truer to themselves and the times they’re living in. Davis was different yet had style, grace, wit and self-empowerment. It wasn’t easy for her or those who didn’t get it, her art or performances, including, as the obituary noted, the NAACP.
The message is in the music, and Davis delivered in her short career. We still have her music to play and to inspire us to be humbly different and honest in whatever we decide to do for a better life.
In the middle of the otherwise interesting Feb. 14 front-page article about Judge J. Michelle Childs, “Childhood traumas shaped potential high court pick,” was a comment that reinforced a misimpression both generally about what judges do, and especially about Childs. The article reported that, in 2009, Childs had already presided over state court cases involving “hundreds” of people and was so well regarded that the Senate (despite frequent partisan differences over other candidates) approved her nomination for her current position as a U.S. District Court judge for the District of South Carolina on a voice vote, “meaning no roll call was needed.” But then, in the very next moment, the article declared that she “would soon use her position to stake out politically charged decisions.”
Childs did not pick the cases she was assigned. They were assigned randomly to judges on her court. The fact that in 2014 (five years after her appointment) and 2020 (11 years after her appointment) she ruled in two cases the article viewed as politically charged does not suggest that she “soon used her position” in any way. And it was extremely unfair to claim that it “stakes out” some position when a judge decides the case before her. Judges have to decide cases, even when they are “politically charged.”
Judges are human beings. They are shaped by their life experiences and can have different views about how to apply the law to the facts that are presented. But that does not mean every time they decide a case they abandon the oath to uphold the law and instead are pursuing some personal political agenda.
This is especially true of Childs, who, among many other accomplishments, is the immediate past chair of the Judicial Division of the American Bar Association and was the chair of the ABA’s National Conference of Federal Trial Judges. She has dedicated many hours to pursuing the rule of law — a rule that applies to everyone regardless of political views.
The article presented no reason to believe Childs did anything but decide the cases presented to her based on her honest view of the law. And it did a disservice to Childs and the rule of law she serves to strain so hard to assume otherwise.
The writer is the chair of the ABA Judicial Division Lawyers Conference Special Masters Committee.
I was surprised by the oversight in the Feb. 15 Style appreciation of Ivan Reitman and his “buddy” movies, “ ‘Ghostbusters’ director found his calling with comedy.” The appreciation discussed Reitman’s legacy on comedians who have followed him and mentioned his son’s work. But the work of his daughter Catherine Reitman and her hugely successful Canadian TV show, “Workin’ Moms,” was omitted. Was this because her show focused on women, not men?
Catherine Reitman is a very funny comedian herself and surely was deeply influenced by her father. And female friendships (a female version of the “buddy” relationship) are a significant component of her show. The appreciation did a disservice by excluding mention of Catherine Reitman or her show in discussing her father’s legacy.
Jeanne T. Cohn, Washington
I absolutely disagree with the contention that it is inappropriate to use the term “more-permanent housing,” as put forth in the Feb. 12 Free for All letter “We could stand to be more perfect.” One might say I’m constitutionally opposed to such a notion.
The argument made in the letter was that “permanent” is an absolute, and therefore one cannot call something “more permanent.” Not so fast. Let’s shift our focus from the definition of the word “permanent” to that of the modifier “more.” For the example of Afghan evacuees wanting more-permanent housing than their current hotel rooms, “more” is clearly describing something that aims to be closer to the ideal of permanent.
Ironically, the letter writer provided “perfect” as another absolute that supposedly cannot take a modifier. This points to an excellent example of the use of “more” as indicating a striving for an ideal: “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union . . . ”
Milton J. Axley, Rockville
Simone de Beauvoir’s own chops
What? Doesn’t de Beauvoir qualify for a call-out based on her own reputation rather than Sartre’s?
Martha E. Powers, Lake Frederick, Va.
When I reflect upon Stovall’s work, I turn to his words. Stovall collaborated with Jacob Lawrence for many years. This was long after Lawrence’s entire Migration Series debuted in February 1942 at the Phillips Collection. The series depicts the migration of African Americans from mostly rural sections of Southern states to cities in the North. Post art critic Ada Rainey wrote then that Lawrence “has done a saga in paint that will provide thought for the student of sociology for years to come. Executed in tempera, these paintings are small in size, but big in content.”
It was Lawrence’s intent to educate. It has also been Stovall’s. About his friendship with Lawrence, Stovall wrote: “Jacob and I shared a common feeling that making art was a splendid way to teach tolerance and acceptance through the lessons of history.”
Pamela Carter-Birken, Arlington
The writer is author of “Duncan and Marjorie Phillips and America’s First Museum of Modern Art.”
Don’t forget about Poland, either
The Feb. 12 Free for All letter “Don’t forget about Norway” pointed out that a Feb. 2 Post article omitted Norway from the list of NATO countries that directly border Russia. (The Post article listed Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania as the only NATO members directly bordering Russia.)
But don’t forget NATO member Poland. As with Lithuania, it borders the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad. Indeed, Erika Fatland’s 2020 book, “The Border: A Journey Around Russia Through North Korea, China, Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Ukraine, Belarus, Lithuania, Poland, Latvia, Estonia, Finland, Norway, and the Northeast Passage,” explains: “Kaliningrad is now a Russian exclave, surrounded by Poland and Lithuania, which are both N.A.T.O. countries. It is currently the most militarized area in Europe, and an important naval base for Russia, which lost the greater part of the Baltic coast when the Soviet Union fell apart. The exclave is a constant reminder to its neighbors of Russia’s military muscle.”
Yes, we should follow the science
The article’s balanced approach in researching and reporting on this topic was impressive, and it did an excellent job covering the yin and yang of this whole matter.
As several people in the article said, it would be nice if we could work through the science as it evolves, which is the nature of scientific knowledge, and respect fellow citizens of differing opinions during the process. Of course, in today’s partisan politics, that’s much easier said than done.
Fred W. Apelquist III, Oak Hill
Don’t euphemize the truth
I was disappointed that the Feb. 12 obituary for David Osnos, “Legal adviser to titans of industry in D.C. area,” did not call what happened after Osnos’s law school graduation by its name. Law firms were not “largely segregated along religious and cultural lines,” as the article stated. Rather, many firms, and especially the prestigious “white shoe” ones, refused to hire Jews, period. It was discrimination based on antisemitism, pure and simple, and it continued until the Civil Rights Act of 1964 outlawed it.
Polite euphemisms distort the truth.
Beryl Lieff Benderly, Washington