New Congress should address Internet gambling dangers

We applaud your Jan. 6 editorial "Curbing Internet Gambling." While it is clear that by definition the activities of offshore Internet gambling sites are illegal under US law, more can, and should, be done to halt the spread of this problem.

The Financial Services Committee has had a long-standing interest in combating the scourge of Internet gambling, advancing legislation in each of the last three Congresses to bar Internet gambling sites access to the US financial-services system by preventing the use of credit cards, wire transfers, and other bank instruments to fund gaming transactions. While we have twice succeeded in achieving House passage of this important legislation, the Senate has failed to act. Our Committee's attempts to add anti-Internet gambling provisions to the legislation implementing the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission late last year also fell short.

We agree with your editorial's assessment of the dangers of Internet gambling, and will continue our efforts in the newly convened Congress to deny offshore gambling interests access to the US market.
Michael G. Oxley (R) of Ohio, Spencer Bachus (R) of Alabama, and James A. Leach (R) of Iowa
Members of the House Committee on Financial Services

Online teaching: a unique way to connect

I was just reading Melissa Hart's Jan. 4 essay, "In virtual school, teacher is just an e-mail away," about her virtual teaching experience. I have had similar experiences teaching for the Idaho Digital Learning Academy.

One of my students was a 19-year-old husband and father trying to finish his high school diploma while working on a ranch from dawn to dusk. He wrote to thank me for my patience, explaining all the distractions in his life. I replied, "I wasn't aware it was so difficult for you by the quality of work you were submitting."

Once the students determine that there is a real, interested, dedicated teacher behind that screen, they begin to open up even more than they might in face-to-face classrooms. I find myself doing more mentoring and advising, and learning more about kids than I have in 35 years of regular classroom teaching. My virtual courses are as challenging and rewarding to my students as any of my schoolroom courses. They are an invaluable addition to the arsenal of education.
Greg Cossette
Post Falls, Idaho

Melissa Hart's letter is right on the mark. I am also a teacher at Laurel Springs School and my four years there have been a contrast from the classroom setting. Like Melissa, I have the pleasure to really know and truly help each and every student with his or her education.

The ultimate satisfaction is our graduation ceremony held each spring, and students come from all over the US. Many students and teachers meet for the first time at our graduation, when emotional levels peak with joy and shared excitement. I have seen many of my students move on to top universities or continue in their chosen profession, knowing they have received a solid education with a personal caring touch. And for this, I thank a true visionary, the founder of this school, Marilyn Mosley.
Robert Milota
Ojai, Calif.

Ohio recount doesn't resolve real issues

Regarding your Dec. 20 editorial, "What counts in Ohio recount?" Just because there's been a recount doesn't mean that Ohio has remedied the problem of a shortage of machines in Democratic counties. These problems should be cleared up before the next election. To make this complete, it should be the law that all voting machines should have a paper trail for verification.
Will H. Carney
Lakewood, Wash.

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