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Internet an invaluable tool for all

To the editor:

In response to Geoff Schumacher’s Friday column on the Internet:

I thought it was funny that Mr. Schumacher criticized the Internet for promoting “shallow thinking” and then questioned its utility by using Facebook as an example.

I don’t know why Mr. Schumacher didn’t mention that the Internet is used for a lot more than social networking or churning out tidbits of news.

Every day millions of retail transactions are done online. People can quickly comparison shop for almost anything they want, finding good prices from vendors that offer free return shipping and even post customer opinions of their services in the same place they are selling.

Business-to-business commerce on the Internet is huge, and it allows businesses to reduce costs and pass savings on to customers.

Government agencies post documents online, non-governmental agencies can post critiques of those documents, libraries post catalog listings, weather and traffic information is posted, as is flight information, information on tides, etc., etc., etc.

And this doesn’t even count the ways the Internet acts as infrastructure for businesses and organizations in ways that don’t have a public face to them.

And that’s just scratching the surface. There is a lot more to the Internet than the old tired debate about the Web vs. print. But finding it out requires a little more focus.

Thomas Moore

las Vegas

Food fight

To the editor:

In a legal brief filed on behalf of Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius, the federal government has argued that individuals have no “fundamental right” to obtain what food they choose.

The brief was filed April 26 in support of a motion to dismiss a lawsuit filed by the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund over the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s ban on the interstate sale of raw milk.

The government says its goal is to prevent disease, and that’s why the “ban on the interstate sale of unpasteurized milk” was adopted.

Without passing judgment on the merits of the case, it is disturbing to note that the federal government’s position is that nobody has the right to choose what to eat or drink. It is even more disturbing in light of the fact a section of the recently passed health care legislation gives Secretary Sebelius the power to, among many others, decide what are and what are not “essential health care benefits.”

Under the superficially benign rationale of “protecting us,” our government officials and representatives are rapidly usurping all rights we have with respect to our own bodies. Time is running out. November’s elections may be our last opportunity to remove this insanity.

Bryan J. Dziedziak

Henderson

Arizona visitor

To the editor:

So, the socialist governments of San Francisco and Los Angeles (now bankrupt) have decided to boycott Arizona because of the new law that might inconvenience illegal aliens there.

For my part, I intend to visit the Grand Canyon again. I will also visit a few first-class restaurants in Phoenix, as well, thus helping their economy while offsetting the socialist thrust coming from bankrupt California.

Also, I would recommend Arizona authorities send their illegal aliens to the above “sanctuary” cities, where they can join their existing ranks in applying for all the welfare benefits so generously afforded them by the California taxpayers.

Marc Jeric

Las Vegas

College aid

To the editor:

In a Thursday letter, Charmaine Pennington states that the Millennium Scholarship fund is “in the red and will provide very little for our brightest students, who need funding.” She continues with the question, “What happened?”

What happened is really pretty simple.

Some years ago, when Nevada was flush with money generated by unusually strong growth, and bolstered by a windfall from the cigarette settlement, we decided to honor a governor (known as the “education governor”) with this Millennium Scholarship program. We were told that the cigarette settlement alone would sustain the program indefinitely, and taxpayer funds would never be needed.

Yeah, right.

The program was not needs-based, but it did have a grade-point qualification. As you can imagine, that grade qualification led to pressure from every direction for grade-point inflation, which most certainly occurred. A significant number of scholarship winners took as their first class in college a remedial math or English class. The result of this program was very predictable. The cigarette money has evaporated, the program is overrun with unqualified recipients and recipients who didn’t need the help, and the taxpayer is footing the bill.

Now I have a few questions. The current state of affairs was predicted by a number of people, so why do we continue to allow these well-meaning programs with unintended consequences? Why must we try to force some kids with limited interest and/or qualifications into college?

Don’t we have a lot of entrepreneurs and very successful people in our community who didn’t attend college? Why must the taxpayer foot the college bill for parents who can afford all or part of that bill?

Doesn’t that limit resources that could be better spent elsewhere?

The goals of this program were noble, both in honoring Gov. Kenny Guinn and in helping to educate more of our children and keep them in Nevada after graduation. Like so many other government programs, however, it was utopian, with little thought about unintended consequences and realistic sustainability.

John B. Alvord

Las Vegas

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