I agree with study calling for lab research on cats and dogs

I did not intend to suggest that animals with random genetics or other qualities of random-source animals are not needed for research, but rather that random sources — specifically, Class B dealers — should no longer be used to acquire these dogs and cats. Contrary to what Dr. Yates suggested, I am in complete accord with the conclusions of the National Academy of Sciences study:

“It is desirable to assure continued access to animals with random source qualities. This access can be accomplished with existing alternative mechanisms other than Class B dealers and can be assured with additional effort. The Committee thus determined that Class B dealers are not necessary for supplying dogs and cats for NIH-funded research.”

That’s why the second half of my legislation, the Pet Safety and Protection Act, is dedicated to codifying a better way of providing such animals.

I appreciate the opportunity to clarify my position.


Healthcare reform foe exploits immigration

From Eric Rodriguez, vice president, Office of Research, Advocacy, and Legislation at National Council of La Raza

Rep. Lamar Smith’s (R–Texas) Aug. 4 op-ed “Healthcare scheme would benefit illegal immigrants” provides a prime example of a naysayer who will exploit any issue to stop healthcare reform from reaching American families and workers.

While Rep. Smith essentially issued his “no” vote on the House legislation the day the bill was introduced, he continues to add fuel to the anti-reform fire by mischaracterizing the House legislation, and he falsely blames healthcare woes on immigrants.

The real discussion on healthcare reform should be about lowering Americans’ health insurance costs and reducing barriers to quality healthcare. Instead, Rep. Smith touts a verification proposal that would impose an expensive bureaucracy on everyone, saddling the average American with more paperwork and erecting obstacles to affordable healthcare. His comments also detract the reader from the fact that legal immigrants, those who are on their pathway to citizenship and who pay taxes like any U.S. citizen, could face unfair waiting periods and restrictions to health coverage, while being mandated to purchase insurance.

The National Council of La Raza, the largest national Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization in the U.S., is working to support healthcare reform that preserves core American values of fairness and affordability for all communities. We question whether Rep. Smith wants healthcare reform to reach anyone in the U.S.


The justification for ‘net neutrality’

From Jim Edwards-Hewitt

Your Aug. 25 article “Obama’s FCC to enforce ‘net neutrality’ ” led off with an inaccurate description of what net neutrality is. It stated, “The Obama administration’s Federal Communications Commission (FCC) plans to keep the Internet free of increased user fees based on heavy Web traffic and slow downloads.”

In fact, Internet providers can and do charge different rates for different amounts of bandwidth (Web traffic), and this is not a violation of net neutrality. In fact, such rates for different tiers of traffic are routinely advertised in public. What net neutrality prohibits is assigning different speeds based on the source of the traffic. That is, an Internet provider cannot configure its network so that services provided by the provider’s partners, for example, streams faster than the same type of traffic from other sources, and it cannot block access to websites that are critical of the provider. Neither of these are hypothetical examples; both have been done by Internet providers without their customers’ knowledge.

It is easy to understand why telecom companies are opposed to net neutrality: They are looking for ways to make more money from the networks they operate. But the only “private innovation” net neutrality would stifle is innovation in steering customers to services preferred by their Internet provider. The vitality of the Internet and its central role in our social life, our commerce and our civic realm is a result of individual consumers being able to make their own free choice of the many alternatives connected through many network providers. Net neutrality preserves that ability.

Alexandria, Va.