Online Opinion Outpost: July 29

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The Online Opinion Outpost features opinions and commentary on the latest hot topics from national news sources. As much as you love hearing from The Universe, we thought you might like to hear from journalists around the nation.

Americans against Internet ‘fast lane’

The Seattle Times

This spring the Federal Communications Commission proposed Internet rules that would allow broadband access providers to let companies pay for faster delivery of their content.
The first phase of public comment recently ended with the greatest response in FCC history. Millions of Americans made it abundantly clear they want a free and open Internet. No toll booths, no road blocks, no lucrative discrimination.
Thirteen senators urged the FCC to reclassify Internet service providers as common carriers — same as broadly regulated telecommunications.
Their vigilance is essential, along with the attention paid by millions of Americans. Net neutrality is understood and valued. The FCC is headed in the wrong direction.

Affordable Care Act not doomed

Tom Goldstein, The Washington Post

The Affordable Care Act took a potentially serious hit today when the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals struck down a rule that extended the law’s health-care subsidies to residents of the three-dozen states where the federal government runs a health insurance exchange.
But the fact that another court of appeals upheld the same rule on the same day shows that the legal issue is very thorny and will very likely be ultimately resolved by the Supreme Court. And the administration probably will come out ahead in the end.
The controversial part of the law says that the government can provide subsidies for health insurance bought on exchanges “established by [a] State.”
The argument against the administration’s rule is straightforward: if a state refuses to set up an exchange, forcing the federal government to operate it instead, then the subsidies aren’t available. That legal reading of the statute makes some sense, because Congress may have wanted to encourage states to create exchanges with the carrot of promising subsidies for the states’ residents.
We won’t have a final answer for a while. The parties can ask all the judges of both of the courts of appeals that issued today’s rulings to rehear the case.

MH17 Families left behind

Gerard Jacobs, CNN

People sometimes have difficulty understanding why the families of those who die in disasters are so invested in the recovery of their loved ones’ bodies. This painful process has been once again brought into sharp relief by the difficulty of retrieving the bodies of those lost in the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 from Ukrainian rebels who control the crash site.
Grieving families often are eager to perform their traditional rituals for the remains of their loved ones, a process that can bring some level of comfort.

Darkness in Gaza

Mohammed Omer, New York Times

On Monday, the Israeli military fired artillery rounds at Al Aqsa hospital in Deir al-Balah, central Gaza, claiming to target a cache of anti-tank missiles.
Here in Gaza City, the electricity was gone; it was dark everywhere. The water supply was foul, food was rancid, and fear permeated the summer night.
The long siege has bled the Gaza Strip dry. There is no money for public services; the majority of the population lives in abject poverty.
A cease-fire agreement is possible, but all parties need to be at the table. Even peace might be possible — if the international community has the courage to engage in dialogue with Hamas. The terms outlined by Hamas for a cease-fire are the same as those the United Nations has called for repeatedly: open the border crossings; let people work, study and build the economy. A population capable of taking care of its own would enhance Israel’s security. One that cannot leads to desperation.
Without a process that includes all parties at the negotiating table, though, I fear this cycle of violence, punitive and disproportionate as it is, can lead only to an Islamic State in Iraq and Syria-type extremism among the Palestinians.

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