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EXCUSE HIM FOR LIVING: Just when we thought members of the wing-nut faction of the Republican Party couldn't say anything more outrageous, they give folks like us more material, bless their hearts. Here's a comment from Tony Blankley, editorial page editor of the Washington Times and former press secretary to Newt Gingrich, about wealthy Democratic contributor George Soros:

"He is a self-admitted atheist," Blankley said on the Hannity & Colmes show. "He was a Jew who figured out a way to survive the Holocaust. . . ."

Soros, like any public figure, is open to criticism. But finding fault for escaping the Holocaust with his life seems a bit over the top. What, we wonder, would Blankley have advised Soros to do? (Thanks to the blog Talking Points Memo and Media Matters for America.)

LEADERSHIP, BUFFALO STYLE: Among the reasons that Buffalo has been in a decades-long tailspin is the lack of top-shelf political leadership. What's even more disconcerting is that too few people in the political establishment seem to care a whole lot about that shortcoming.

We wonder if we've seen yet another example of that in the selection of Jeffrey Conrad to succeed Jimmy Griffin as the Common Council's South District representative. We're prepared to give Conrad the benefit of the doubt. Maybe he'll be a shining light. But of all the possible successors to be one of just nine city legislators, is it possible that the best candidate was a 26-year-old recreation aide, even one who worked three years for now-Congressman Brian Higgins, who still has not earned a college degree?

IS IT LIKE A CURE FOR CANCER, TOO?: Just to show you how silly some people are getting over the president's misguided proposal to set up private accounts for Social Security, we give you Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla. "This is like being for the Civil Rights Bill in 1960," Cole was quoted by the Associated Press. "You may not win but it makes you feel good and you're on the right side."

Given that the system will be fully able to fund benefits for another 36 years, and will require relatively minor adjustments to be fully funded after that, it seems a bit over the top to equate personal accounts with the effort to overturn 100 years of Jim Crow.