Letters To The Editor


August 27, 2004

All-day routine denies children time at home

In "Schools gear up for all-day kindergarten" (Aug. 22), reporter Hanah Cho did an excellent job of telling only one side of the story. Quote after quote featured parents and educators touting the benefits of an all-day routine for 5-year-olds.

As the parent of a preschooler, I beg to differ. While all-day kindergarten offers potential benefits for at-risk children who get little stimulation at home, children whose parents are more involved in their lives pay a price. They lose the daily benefit of a half-day spent at home, or out in the world, with a parent.

We as a society are too easily embracing this move to full-day programs. For some it is a matter of convenience - it's a half-day that some parents won't have to find to spend with their kids or pay for day care. For others, it's a matter of fear: They are afraid their child will somehow fall behind and never catch up.

For me, it's a matter of common sense. They're little kids. It's not a race. We should give them time to grow up.

John Patterson


Medicare reform never made sense

I did not renew my AARP membership because of the group's backing of the Medicare reform bill President Bush proposed. And now, after reading "Insurers balk at part of new Medicare law" (Aug. 22), I know I did the right thing.

It was very disingenuous of the Bush administration to let the American people think private insurers would leap at the chance to enroll Medicare clients en masse.

Shirley Thomas

Owings Mills

Palestinian attacks mostly hit civilians

The Sun's editorial "Arafat's mistakes" (Aug. 20) erroneously refers to Arab-Israeli violence that intensified after Yasser Arafat rejected the Israeli-U.S. offer of a West Bank and Gaza Strip state in exchange for peace.

The editorial mentions fighting by "Palestinian militants" who "took on the Israeli military four years ago." In fact, the "Al-Aqsa intifada" has been largely a war by Palestinian terrorists against Israeli civilians.

Statistics gathered by the International Policy Institute for Counter-Terrorism from Israeli and Palestinian sources make this clear: From the start of the second intifada on Sept. 27, 2000, through May 1, 2004, of the 2,806 Palestinian dead, 47 percent were combatants killed by Israel, and another 13 percent were killed by other Palestinians. Thirty-five percent were noncombatants killed by Israelis, usually by accident. Three percent of Palestinian noncombatant deaths were female; 3 percent were people over 45.

But of the 921 Israeli dead, 78 percent were noncombatants killed by Palestinians. Thirty percent were female; 25 percent were people over 45. They were targeted intentionally, in violation of international law. The Sun's inaccurate wording cannot hide this ugly reality.

Eric Rozenman


The writer is Washington director for the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America.

Arafat's goals still his greatest mistake

The Sun's Aug. 20 editorial mentions Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat's "mistakes" ("Arafat's mistakes," Aug. 20).

The biggest mistakes of his life are his inability to recognize Israel and his effort to drive Israel into the sea.

Stanley Janofsky


Bush is practicing politics of distraction

In his column "Kerry and Vietnam: Are we done yet?" (Opinion

Commentary, Aug. 24), Steve Chapman wonders why Republicans would want to keep the spotlight on the Swift boat veterans' ads that have been questioning Sen. John Kerry's military record.

Could it be because these dishonest and dishonorable ads keep the spotlight on Mr. Kerry and off President Bush's abysmal record as commander in chief?

Could it be because using surrogates to savage political opponents is standard procedure for Mr. Bush?

Could it be because driving up Mr. Kerry's negatives is the only way Mr. Bush can hope to win the November election?

My question is: What is it about the politics of personal destruction as practiced by Mr. Bush and his fellow Republicans that Mr. Chapman does not understand?

Joe Wilkins

Ellicott City

Focus on soldiers who do their duty

The Sun's article about Sgt. 1st Class Rolando Rivera being recalled to active duty definitely implies that Sergeant Rivera is somehow being treated unfairly ("After 11 years, Army recalls Howard man," Aug. 24).

Sergeant Rivera has received what The Sun reports to be more than $100,000 to remain a member of the Individual Ready Reserve in case he is needed. But now that he is needed, he does not want to be inconvenienced by doing his service.

I would bet that a large number of the troops now on active duty are being inconvenienced by their service, just as I was when I was drafted. Unfortunately, that happens, but it usually does not result in an article in the newspaper.

The Sun's articles about military personnel always seem to portray the person as somehow needing the sympathy of your readers. But why do the whiners get all the attention?

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