Parents and Plastic

Corporate innocence: I commend Jennifer Fuller for accepting at least some responsibility for her current financial predicament, but her last quote still reeks of "not my fault"-ism, and that's irritating ["College Credit," by Jennifer Mathieu, March 20]. It's unfortunate she's living in credit card hell, and I sympathize (having been there myself), but it didn't happen by magic, and nobody held a gun to her head and commanded her to charge.

If she really insists on someone sharing the blame, why not start with her parents? If anyone should have given her tips on money management, it was they. Parents have a duty to pass on what they know. It is part of what constitutes real parenting, especially on sensitive topics like money, sex and morality. Yet many already have abdicated their duties in two of these areas and thrust them on an overburdened public education system in the forms of sex and character education. Is money management going to be next? (Denise Tidwell apparently thinks it should be.)

People are shamefully quick to point fingers at companies whose "fault" it is for not telling them something about their products. Nobody ever incriminates themselves for not reading the fine print or making sure they know exactly what it is they're buying or signing up for. It's just like that idiot in the Bronx who sued McDonald's for "making him fat." It never even occurred to him to educate himself about proper nutrition, or barring that (albeit ridiculous), to sue his parents for not teaching him the ropes.

It is not the credit card companies' fault that people don't look before they leap. If you want to enjoy the privileges of adulthood, you've got to accept the responsibilities. That's just the breaks, and the real world doesn't have any duty to hold your hand and make sure your best interests are served.

Name withheld by request

Foster Careful

Teamwork: I am lost for words regarding the situation with Gloria and Kenny Rogers ["Fostering Abuse," by Margaret Downing, March 27]. This couple has dedicated their lives to nurturing and caring for children with special needs and are subjected to this type of treatment by the system. Who is hiring and training these CPS employees? In California, CPS works with the foster parents as part of the team that is making decisions and doing what's best for the child. After witnessing the miracles at the Rogers residence over the years, my husband and I decided to become foster parents. They have inspired us to open our home and help children who are in need of a family.

Marie Holland
Vallejo, California

Crude Casualties

Gas war: With his war estimated to cost between $60 billion to $100 billion ["All Duct Up," by Richard Connelly, March 13], I hope Bush finds enough oil in Iraq to justify it.

Edan Milton Hughes
San Francisco

Curious George: We are waging a war to remove from power a mad tyrant, a threat to world peace and security. No one doubts that Saddam Hussein is an evil man, a murderer of both his neighbors and his own people. It is certain that he has oppressed and impoverished the Iraqi people. He may well have weapons of mass destruction, both biological and chemical, and he is probably insane enough to use them.

But we have chosen to act not as the protector of the innocent out of our noblest intentions but as a bully out of our basest fears. Each and every nation has the sovereign right to defend itself from aggressors. The war against the government of Afghanistan was justified and necessary, and the world was with us.

But that does not give us the right to go looking about the world for the next perceived possible danger and to attack without provocation.

Allegations without evidence are all that our president gives us to justify endangering hundreds of thousands of our own soldiers and millions of innocent Iraqi civilians. Our president has not proved his case to the American people, let alone to all the free peoples of the world. We have become a vigilante, a rogue nation.

Other nations of the world now distrust us, with good reason. As the most powerful nation, we must also be the most careful and restrained. As the greatest democracy, we must also be the most enlightened and just. We are waging a war to remove from power a mad tyrant, a threat to world peace and security. There is a safer and saner way to remove another tyrant: Don't re-elect him.

Adam Wagman, a native Houstonian
Framingham, Massachusetts


Thanks for freedom: With regard to any "cockiness" that may have been shown by KHOU for its part in the Josiah Sutton story [News Hostage, by Richard Connelly, March 20], may I be the first to say that they deserve to be cocky. Had it not been for Anna Werner and David Raziq of KHOU, Josiah Sutton would still be in prison today.

Bob Wicoff, attorney for Josiah Sutton

Footloose Fancy

Another dimension: Perhaps Mr. Hamilton is a gifted man, and he might have telepathy, because this Bigfoot creature does not live in our own dimension and cannot be heard or seen ["Wrestling with Bigfoot," by Mary Lee Grant, March 13]. That is a big deal -- that is the reason why nobody is able to catch this being. We are not the only ones living on planet Earth.

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