Preserve equality of access to Web

The column "Don't let Internet bullies stifle reform" (Opinion * Commentary, July 27) was written by a co-chairman of a group called "Hands Off the Internet," an organization with an Orwellian name which in fact represents the interests of large Internet service providers such as AT&T;, Verizon and Comcast.

While posturing as advocates for consumers, the group actually stands for something quite different.

Not content with generating revenue by providing connections to Internet users, some of the corporations behind the group now also want to charge content providers so they can generate revenue from both ends of the process.

Indeed, executives from some of these companies have made it clear that they will charge differential rates and provide higher bandwidth for preferred service and applications.

However, this would violate the principle of net neutrality, which has been the operating principle of the Internet since it began.

It means that every content provider has equal access to the network, whether it is a corporation, a small business providing on-line shopping, a nonprofit group, a political advocacy organization or a personal Web page.

The Internet is the most egalitarian platform in the world because of this neutrality. But if the cable companies have their way, the Internet will become just another utility business.

Let's not let the "Hands off the Internet" corporations become the toll collectors and traffic cops on the information superhighway.

William Brown


The writer is a software designer.

Time to revitalize Fells Point block

Thank you for what I thought was a very balanced article about development plans on South Broadway ("Big plans for Broadway," July 30).

My husband and I moved to Fells Point a year ago. And even we rarely venture up the block where the Broadway Market is.

In fact, I have set foot in Broadway Market only once since we moved here, and found it to be dirty and unpleasant.

The city desperately needs to rehabilitate that block.

I applaud the developer's sensitivity to the historical concerns and hope it can work out the building height issue amicably so this issue doesn't turn into a contentious battle the way the rebuilding of St. Stanislaus Kostka Roman Catholic Church has.

We need more to attract residents and visitors to Fells Point - the bars won't do it.

Susan Fitzgerald


Keep the developers away from markets

As a response to the article "Big plans for Broadway" (July 30), I can only say, "Are they nuts?"

The Broadway Market has a lot of historical value and to declare it "a brick" dragging down Fells Point is absurd.

What's next? Will we tear down the Washington Monument for more high-rises?

I'll take that "brick" of a market any day over another Starbucks or ice cream store.

Leave the market alone.

Tom Krol


Lives of kids matter more than rights

How many children like 11-year-old Irvin J. Harris have to suffer and die at the hands of monsters like his alleged murderer before this society comprehends the seemingly obvious fact that sex offenders are rarely, if ever, rehabilitated ("Probation agents described Jones as 'cooperative'," Aug. 2)?

In this case, the suspect appeared to be fulfilling the inadequate and meager requirements of his parole. Yet he was still, in reality, stalking children.

The life of a bright child like Irvin is infinitely more valuable and worthy of protection than the rights and freedom of any convicted sex offender.

Amy Wheeler

Ocean Pines

No reason to restrict right to choose care

I read with interest Cal Thomas' column on the Cherrix family and its right to choose the treatment they prefer for their teenage son ("The 'right to choose' applies only for some," Opinion * Commentary, July 26).

Mr. Thomas defends Starchild Cherrix's choice to have alternative treatment as an "informed" one. Yet Mr. Thomas does not extend his defense to parents who make informed decisions for their children.

He wrote, "If a young child (say 10 or younger) is unduly influenced by parents who are members of a religion that teaches that faith alone can heal, or prohibits blood transfusions, then the state has an interest in stepping in to protect the child until he or she is old enough to make an informed choice."

As is taught in Christian Science, five generations in my family have chosen prayer to care for ourselves and our children. And, looking back now that I'm an adult, I can say with all honesty that I felt my parents always acted with my best interest at heart.

Rather than feeling that I was "unduly influenced," I feel I was loved and nurtured.

My parents were educated and informed, and they chose prayer, not blindly, but because it was effective.

Mary Alice Rose


The writer is a member of the Christian Science Committee on Publication for Maryland.

Law against helping homeless is absurd

Apparently it's OK to feed the birds in Las Vegas, as well as the ducks, if there are any. But now it's illegal to feed the people ("In Las Vegas, feeding the homeless illegal," July 28).

William Sciarillo


Right place to rally on behalf of Israel

The writer of the letter "Holocaust Memorial is place for peace" (July 28) states her dismay about the Holocaust Memorial being used as a site for a rally to support Israel.

She apparently misses the point: The memorial is exactly the place to make a pro-Israel statement.

If a Jewish state had been in existence during World War II, the Holocaust would not have happened, and therefore it would not have been necessary to erect a memorial to that cataclysmic human tragedy.

Leo Bretholz


Permissive society will forgive Gibson

I read The Sun's article about whether or not Mel Gibson's latest rant will be fatal to his career ("Mel Gibson's rant: Lethal or not?" Aug. 1). And the answer is easy - it will not.

In today's world of non-accountability, Mr. Gibson's problems with alcohol will be blamed and he'll quickly be forgiven - people will even come to feel sorry for him.

New types of syndromes are being invented every day to make people unaccountable for their words or deeds.

Those of us from an older generation can only wish that we had such leniency while we were growing up.

But, alas, we were held completely accountable for everything we said and did. Punishment for improper words and actions was swift and meted out with a heavy hand.

But today all of the Mel Gibsons of this world can do or say anything they wish without fear of retribution.

Ron Parsons

Glen Burnie

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