Letters to the Editor

Readers write about Iran's upper hand, teaser-rate mortgages, youth soccer, and bees' health.

Iran-Britain deal on detainees: Not quite a happy ending

In response to the article, "Lessons learned: Iran's release of British prisoners," from April 5: Was the prisoner release a vindication for British diplomats?

Or was it a lesson in the exercise of weakness and appeasement?

Probably only time will tell, but the latter seems more likely. Right now the winner appears to be an emboldened Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

The lesson he learned was the one Osama bin Laden taught: that people prefer the stronger horse.

The British diplomats didn't really deal from strength, did they? Somewhere downstream there will be a price to pay for this shortsighted deal.

Bob Benze
Silverdale, Wash.

How to ensure 'home sweet home'

Regarding your editorial, "Home sweet home, until it isn't," from April 6: The problem isn't that homes are not affordable. The problem is twofold.

First, people want to buy homes that they cannot afford. Trying to buy a reasonably priced home amid lifelong advertising urging us to buy, buy, buy is difficult for many Americans.

Do we need 3,000-square-foot homes, or will 1,800 do? Americans need to settle for and be happy with less.

Second, the problem is a lack of education in the US. Some mortgage applicants are unable to calculate what an affordable mortgage is and instead take the word of someone in the financing business who has a stake in the money outcome.

But mortgage calculation is not rocket science. And teaser rates are not a new phenomenon in this industry. The applicants have to have some small ability to take care of themselves.

The American dream should be to own smaller houses and have better education for the "less fortunate."

It's easy to see how people become "less fortunate" when it is so easy to be swayed by advertising and the American desire for more. People need to look out for themselves, because no one else will do it.

Don Carrera
Irwin, Pa.

Soccer parents don't discriminate

In his Opinion piece, "US soccer: Commend it like Beckham," from April 6, Parnesh Sharma makes this comment: "Is it really that popular with white America or does it represent white exodus from the traditional sports now dominated by African-Americans? For blacks, playing sports may be about gaining access to mainstream America. But for whites, soccer has come to be a sport where their children can play with their 'own kind.' "

In my own experience, admittedly anecdotal, this claim is nonsense. All responsible parents get their kids into youth sports.

The reason kids play soccer is because it's available, healthy, and active. My sons also played baseball, but for young folks soccer is far superior because the kids run throughout the game. I live in San Francisco, and there is no such thing as an exclusively white activity in any sport.

Jim McCormick
San Francisco

A stinger for bees in corn syrup?

In response to the article, "What's happening to the bees?," from April 4: I have heard from local beekeepers that bees are being fed high-fructose corn syrup. I wonder if this substance is being examined as part of the bee die-off. It is not a natural substance and could have consequences in the bees' survival.

Jean Margolis
Grants Pass, Ore.

The Monitor welcomes your letters and opinion articles. Because of the volume of mail we receive, we can neither acknowledge nor return unpublished submissions. All submissions are subject to editing. Letters must be signed and include your mailing address and telephone number. Any letter accepted will appear in print and on our website, www.csmonitor.com.

Mail letters to 'Readers Write' and opinion articles to Opinion Page, One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115, or fax to (617) 450-2317, or e-mail to oped@csps.com.

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