November 04, 2008

Economic crisis erodes our security

The Baltimore Sun's editorial "Rescuing homeowners" (Oct. 31) is correct: Homeowners should be given at least as much help as the banks and the financial industry are. But what is missing in most discussions of this problem are the national security implications of the damage done to our economy.

Has everyone forgotten so quickly what caused the breakup of the Soviet Union?

By looting our economy and bringing it to its knees, the captains of Wall Street, aided and abetted by the Bushadministration and its ideological cronies, have done to the U.S. economy what no terrorist could have ever dreamed of doing.

The economic destruction could create the worst national security threat we have faced in a generation.

The next occupant of the White House will have no margin for error in dealing with this enormous problem.

Fariborz S. Fatemi, McLean, Va.

The writer is a former staff member for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Revisionist account of world war is wrong

Tucked into the pages of the Sunday Baltimore Sun was an article about a Japanese military official with a revisionist view of World War II ("Japanese military official fired over rightist essay," Nov. 2). It is amazing that such views are still held by some people in power in Japan.

China, Korea and other neighbors of Japan, along with the United States, should clearly and publicly state that this kind of propaganda is unacceptable.

Japan was the aggressor in World War II. Many of its leaders at that time paid no price for the war crimes they committed.

Those who forget the past are condemned to repeat it.

Jimmy Christhilf, Glen Burnie

Finding better ways to teach finance

In her excellent column "Crises help create a teachable moment" (Oct. 26), Eileen Ambrose correctly quotes me as saying that "kids who have taken courses in high school for the most part have rarely retained the information they got."

But while the research shows that we haven't yet found the best way to teach personal finance in a memorable fashion, we have begun to find techniques that appear to work.

When personal finance is taught interactively, in a way that is relevant to a student's life, it can make a difference.

The problem is that all too often, it is taught through rote memorization and other ineffective traditional teaching methods that bore students to death.

Lewis Mandell, Bainbridge Island, Wash.

The writer is a visiting professor of finance and business economics at the University of Washington.

Let parents support schools they choose

I am writing in response to a letter that suggested that Maryland should cut state funding for private schools ("Cut state funding for private schools," letters, Oct. 18).

I went to Catholic schools for 12 years. Never once in all those years did the state of Maryland give any money to my education. My father paid for everything as well as sending his tax money to support Maryland's public schools.

I was sent to Catholic schools because the Baltimore public schools were not safe and were not a haven for education but a joke.

There are a lot of parents who make tremendous sacrifices so that their children have a better start in life.

I believe that the parents who choose to send their child to a Catholic or other private school should have the option of seeing their tax money go to the school of their choice, rather than sending it to a failing public school system.

Laura Michael, Baltimore

Exit polls intrude on sanctity of vote

The argument of the writer of the letter "Just say no to exit polls" (Nov. 2) reminded me of the election in November 1936, when my mother took me along when she went to vote.

After we left the voting booth, I asked her for whom she had voted. She seized this "teachable moment" to say, "This is a secret ballot. I'm not going to tell you how I voted."

Many elections later, I related this story to an obviously untaught and irritated exit poller, who asked me to "move along."

Herbert D. Andrews, Baltimore

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