Letters To The Editor

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

April 12, 2004

Overstimulation impedes kids' sleep, learning

The Sun's Medicine and Science section briefly reported on a recent study that concluded that children, from newborns to fifth-graders, are not getting enough sleep ("Children getting less sleep than experts recommend," April 5). But the article did not mention the chief reason for this problem: overstimulation.

Instead of winding down before going to bed, children stay awake with television, video games and other types of brain-accelerating activities that make it difficult to sleep.

A related Sun article the same day reported another study that linked attention deficit problems, which affect growing numbers of children, to television viewing ("Study links TV, attention disorder," April 5). Again, the reason for this linkage is overstimulation. The more television watched, the greater the risk for future attention problems.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, the problem of overstimulation is so severe that children under age 2 should not watch television at all. Yet many of children in this age group have TVs in their own rooms.

Overstimulation of children at this age because of the rapid-fire imagery of television is especially dangerous because their developing brains simply can't absorb and digest the sensory overload. No wonder school becomes boring for them. And when their academic or behavioral problems surface, it's the schools that are held responsible.

Add to all this the junk food, highly caffeinated beverages and lack of exercise that have resulted in American children being more obese than their counterparts in any other nation, and you have a prescription for disaster.

What can parents possibly be thinking?

Howard Bluth

Baltimore

Oust school board for a fresh start

Someone with the desire and means to resolve the Baltimore school system's financial crisis is badly needed ("City school board deadline extended again," April 2).

The school board, like the city government, is limping along without the capacity to make a difference.

The entire school board must volunteer to step down immediately or be summarily dismissed by whoever has the authority to do so. Anyone and everyone employed at North Avenue who had a hand (no matter how small) in financial decision-making must voluntarily step down or be terminated immediately.

The governor, mayor and City Council will need to appoint an interim board and interim bureaucrats to replace the ones who step down or are terminated.

And an investigation to determine how and why the city schools' coffers were mismanaged should run alongside the recovery process.

Those who were elected to lead must do so.

Richard C. Kitson-Walters

Rosedale

Huge nonprofits exploit tax breaks

Taxing nonprofit groups that provide services and are limited in their resources is not a good idea ("City workers, residents speak against budget cuts," April 2). However, private institutions such as the Johns Hopkins University may be nonprofit on paper but have enormous property holdings.

Tax fairness does not exist when the average citizen cannot compete with the clout and buying power that the large institutions have.

Myles Hoenig

Baltimore

Bush isn't treading any `road to peace'

The Sun's headline "On the road to peace: violence" (April 7) astounded me.

We know some things. We know that we invaded Iraq based upon what proved to be a pretext and a lie. We know that we protected the oil, while the museums were looted. We know that the population we were told would welcome us did not.

We know that we continue to lose American lives in a deeply flawed occupation. And we know that the "road" here is violent.

"Peace" has proven to be as hard to find as a weapon of mass destruction.

In contriving headlines such as the one on Wednesday, The Sun is engaging in double-speak and playing into the bloody hands of the Bush administration.

Cathryn Carroll

Annapolis

Bring troops home before it's too late

President Bush's foolish, ill-conceived and unjustified imperialistic military adventure in Iraq has now spawned an indigenous patriotic war against us that in the end we cannot and should not want to win ("U.S. forces battle for Fallujah," April 8).

Mr. Bush has blundered badly and, if he does not change course now, we will shortly find ourselves involved in an Islamic jihad -- a holy war that will unite all the Arab states against us. This must not happen for the good of all people everywhere.

The U.S. troops should be brought home now, and the money projected to be spent on the war in Iraq spent instead on the cities, a tax break for the middle class and the rebuilding of our national water mains, railroads and highways.

Blaine Taylor

Towson

The recent deaths of 12 U.S. Marines is a clear signal to us that we must leave Iraq immediately, before many more families mourn the loss of their sons and daughters ("12 Marines die in fierce fighting," April 7).

Jerome E. Ball

Baltimore

Filmmaker unfair to our governor

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