Your article about the British Broadcasting Corp. misses the point ("BBC row spurs call for reform," Sept. 24). The BBC's problems with respect to reporting on Iraq stem from its chronic inability to ever tell the story as it really is without slanting it in favor of its very peculiar liberal tack. Its present difficulties are a direct result of this proclivity and it was only a matter of time until a situation arose (in this case the justifications for the war against Iraq and the BBC's almost personal aversion to Blair and his government's approach).
The BBC should go back to the ABCs of journalism and simply report the news without slanting or interpreting it. I have written to the BBC editors on numerous occasions, when its reporting from Ramallah or Gaza or the West Bank has been blatantly pro-Palestinian.
The real story is not the reform of the BBC. It's about the falsification of the reasons for going to war. The BBC reporter did, in fact, get the basic story - the government's massive spin. What's happened to investigative journalism, or do you all march to the drumbeat of the White House?
Regarding your Sept. 23 article "In search of the 'anti-drug' ": Teaching children to abstain from using harmful substances is a process that should begin when they are in kindergarten. The message should not be anti-drug; it should be about taking care of the body, and information about relationships, such as how to be a friend. Children should learn to identify their feelings and how to express them appropriately.
Before readers explode with the "that's the parents' job" argument, I agree that the parents are children's first and most influential teachers. The reality is that many children are coming to school without the necessary skills to be healthy and successful. When this happens, all children are affected.
An age-appropriate health curriculum at each grade level would teach how good choices keep the body healthy and how risky behaviors can put the body at risk. It also would teach how to resist societal pressures.
It has been shown again and again that a one-day or three-week program is not effective in changing behavior. In order to accomplish math or language-arts skills, children are not expected to learn everything in a semester or even a year. Health is the most important thing that we possess and yet it is one of the most ignored subjects in school. A physically fit, involved, drug-free student is going to be the most successful learner. It's not a risk to devote class time to these subjects; it's a necessity. Let's produce healthy students who are motivated to learn.
Fort Myers, Fla.
Regarding your Sept. 22 article "Coming clean on mortgage costs": This summer I was caught in a morass of mortgage costs. I found out the day of my signing that there was a $2,000 difference between the good-faith estimate, just one week before and the real costs. I had to borrow to pay these costs, and then almost got turned down for the loan because I was supposed to come up with the down payment on my own, according to the terms of my mortgage. It was a real Catch 22, and a horrible experience. Most of the extra costs were superfluous charges.
These companies indeed should be regulated. They function as despotic tyrants in a market where the one-eyed man is king.
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