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IT SEEMS TO US . . .
COUNCIL MEMBER WANTS SAME SERVICES FROM COUNTY EVEN THOUGH IT'S BROKE

WE'RE WAITING FOR A SUGGESTION: Erie County doesn't have enough money to provide basic services, parks are closed and a routine trip to the Auto Bureau means waiting in line for hours. So here's how Lovejoy Member Richard Fontana reacts to the possible closing of some of the county's 52 library branches -- more than many other larger cities have -- because county funding almost certainly will be cut: "My fear is that next year I'm going to be looking at a (library) closing in my district," Fontana said. "I don't want to see that."

Well, we don't want to see it, either. But perhaps Fontana can actually provide some leadership and either come up with a way to provide the same service for less money, or, better yet, tell us how to get extra money without raising taxes. (Recommending branch closings everywhere else but his district doesn't count.)

IT DEPENDS ON THE MEANING OF DECENCY: When President Bush ran for the presidency in 2000, he said he wanted to return decency to the Oval Office. We're just curious how that squares with his show of support this week for House Majority Leader Tom DeLay.

Numerous reports have documented how DeLay apparently violated the law by letting his lobbyist friend Jack Abramoff and another lobbyist pay for a trip to London and Scotland, even though DeLay said it was paid for by the National Center for Public Policy Research, a conservative, nonprofit organization in Washington.

Oh, well. There's all kinds of "decency," we guess.

GET YOUR STORY STRAIGHT: The Family Research Council, the group that's turning the debate over Senate filibusters into a battle between the infidels and people of faith, apparently doesn't count hypocrisy as a sin. As the council rails against the evils of the filibuster, particularly as it relates to keeping some of President Bush's judicial nominees from coming to the Senate floor for a vote, it conveniently doesn't mention another opinion on filibusters it once pushed.

In 1998, as reported by Media Matters for America on its Web site, a senior council official defended a Senate filibuster against James Hormel, an ambassadorial nominee who had the effrontery to have been born gay. The council's then-senior writer and analyst Steven Schwalm, appearing on National Public Radio's "Talk of the Nation," had this to say about a Republican filibuster against former president Bill Clinton's nominee:

"The Senate is . . . not a majoritarian institution like the House of Representatives is," Schwalm said. "It is a deliberative body and it's got a number of checks and balances. . . . This is one of those checks, in which a majority cannot just sheerly force its will, even if they have a majority of votes in some cases. That's why there are things like filibusters."

What's different between now and then? Apparently, somewhere along the way the Family Research Council saw the light about the evil of filibusters. Hallelujah.