No protection from prying eyes of Big Brother Re: "D.C. expanding public surveillance camera net," Jan. 20

The District's plan to establish a vast network of public and private cameras is truly disturbing. I, for one, do not want to live under constant surveillance in a police state.

As I leave the apartment of Girlfriend A, do the authorities have any reason, much less right, to track my movements through a bar, strip club, doctor's office, anarchist bookstore, opposition political party office -- pausing to turn around and look at an attractive woman -- and on to the apartment of Girlfriend B?

Might not any of these behaviors provide the pretext for harassing or intimidating me at some point? Or be used to spy on a political opponent?

Ordinarily, the police need approvals based upon probable cause from commanding officers and perhaps even a judge to be able to track a person's movements for the entire day. Are not warrants required in order to establish a wiretap? What is this interlinked camera network but a visual wiretap?

If we allow this heinous apparatus to be implemented, we will have sacrificed our essential freedoms for what, exactly? "Safety," the authorities assure us. But who's going to protect us from the prying eyes of Big Brother?

John Woodmaska

Kearny, N.J.

Abortion is a constitutionally protected right

Re: "Callousness toward human life starts with abortion," Jan. 20

Cal Thomas is neither a constitutional nor a biblical expert. In Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court majority explained how privacy is a constitutionally protected right.

Biblical scholars are generally agreed that the Bible defines human personhood as beginning at birth, a view that matches the idea that persons are "created in the image of God" -- which is not the materialistic view that persons are mere material, but the view that we share the God-like qualities of consciousness and will. Neurobiology backs this approach.

If anyone is "callous toward human life" it is Cal Thomas, who has a very low regard for religious liberty and the rights of conscience of women.

Brendan O'Casey

Aspen Hill

Comparing GOP to Nazis is indefensible

Re: "Hope & change: Rep. Steve Cohen compares Republicans to Nazis during health care debate," Beltway Confidential, Jan. 19

As a Jewish Republican I have a thick skin. That said, U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen's, D-Tenn., incendiary remarks likening the GOP to Nazis simply for the desire to repeal a poorly conceived health care bill not just crosses the line, but pole vaults it.

As one who is Jewish himself, Cohen should know better than to cavalierly toss around such epithets for shock value and attention. Even the left-leaning Anti-Defamation League took Cohen to task for his remarks on the House floor.

When the left behaves in an uncivil manner, excuses are bandied about like candy on Halloween. Yet if a conservative dares to utter a single syllable the left finds remotely inappropriate, that individual is hunted down with torches and pitchforks.

As a firm believer in the First Amendment, I am not seeking to squelch Rep. Cohen's right of free speech, just reminding him that words have meaning and he should employ his brain prior to putting his mouth in motion. May we now call Rep. Cohen "Alan Grayson-lite?"

Sanford D. Horn