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Everybody's column

Budget cuts will hurt poor, working families

It is unconscionable that one day after President Bush's State of the Union address, the House voted to cut services for working families. This budget cuts health care for the poor, student loans, child support and child care by $40 billion to fund billions of dollars in giveaways to wealthy special interests.

Faced with spending cuts, representatives preferred to save money by withholding aid, seriously jeopardizing the health of our most vulnerable population, those children and senior citizens who cannot afford expensive lobbyists, rather than get rid of a $10 billion slush fund to profit preferred provider organizations.

It is a sad day for America when Congress would jeopardize the health care of 28 million children and nursing home care for seniors. And all this is done not to reduce the deficit, but to pay for $70 billion in tax cuts that primarily benefit the wealthy few. Our politicians should invest in things like education, health care, nutrition and job training, which will create a strong and growing economy, and reject tax cuts that help only those who need no help to begin with.

Bruce Davidson

Public Policy Director, Food For All

East Amherst

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Officials need to make Bass Pro store a reality

I am very happy to see the actual Aud will be used for the new Bass Pro store and not just the land. Far too often, we see a building demolished and a new building constructed to take its place, even when the original building could have been used. The Aud has character and a rich history for many of us here in Western New York.

I visited the Cabela's headquarters store in Sidney, Neb., about three years ago. Cabela's is similar to Bass Pro. This store was in the middle of nowhere -- built in the middle of nothing but cornfields. Yet a small town had developed around this store. It all happened because of Cabela's.

The store was packed with people from all over North America. If Cabela's, out in the middle of nowhere, can draw the people it does, then I can't imagine what Bass Pro will do here in our Aud on the shores of Lake Erie and the Niagara River. If our elected officials are truthful about wanting to help the local economy, they will make this happen.

Mac McCulloch

Cheektowaga

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North Jefferson library is spectacular structure

There is much to be enthusiastic about this new year in Buffalo. Several weeks ago, I had the pleasure of touring the new North Jefferson branch library with its architect Robert Traynham Coles.

Coles has long been an important presence in the city as an architect of note. His latest contribution -- in many ways a powerful visual metaphor that recalls an African village -- will be the place where its community comes together for enrichment and education under a spectacular domed skylight.

A project long in the making, it is a triumph of tenacity, vision and hope. Congratulations to Coles and all who persevered to create this village in the midst of our city.

Louis Grachos

Director, Albright-Knox Art Gallery

Buffalo

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Investing in mass transit would cut oil consumption

If President Bush really wants to end America's addiction to oil, as he indicated in his State of the Union address, his administration and Congress should look beyond cheaper alternative fuels. Sooner or later, our government must address alternative forms of transportation. Obviously, Bush wants to perpetuate the dominance of his beloved oil industry. So he pushes alternative fuels because the oil companies would be the logical marketers of same. Alternative forms of transportation would reduce our dependence on Middle Eastern oil, and dramatically reduce air pollution and the need to spend billions annually on highways. High-speed inter-city trains with reasonable fares will take millions of cars off the interstate highways. Electrical-powered mass transit will take millions of cars off city and suburban streets and highways and put them in park-and-ride lots. Add hybrid automobiles to the mix and you have a formula that could put Middle Eastern oil out of business as far as exports to the United States are concerned. It's a no-brainer. Why aren't any of our political leaders talking about it?

Joseph H. Radder

Williamsville

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How can Bush defend Exxon's obscene profits?

Defending Exxon's profits, President Bush stated, "the price is determined by the marketplace, and that's the way it should be." That is indeed true in a competitive marketplace, where the action of no single buyer or seller can affect the market price.

Is it possible that Bush, with an MBA from Yale, is unaware of the manipulation of oil production by OPEC and the concentration ratio of the oil/gas industry in the United States?

Hans G. Reif

Kenmore

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Cheers to all who buy American-made goods

While I find it reassuring and comforting whenever I see a vehicle displaying signs of patriotism -- i.e. flags, ribbons, magnets -- during these troubled times when our country couldn't need it more, I find it exceptionally encouraging when I see these displays on American-made vehicles.

I applaud those who not only choose to wear their patriotism on their sleeve, so to say, but also choose to prove their patriotism by supporting American labor and industry, a disappearing commodity these days.

Sandra A. McCarthy

West Seneca

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President's incompetence has reached new heights

There appears to be no end to President Bush's glaring incompetence. He has accepted "full responsibility" for the federal government's life-costing response to Katrina. He has engaged in a war of choice in Iraq, a war initially and deceptively justified as a war on terror, and a post- 9/1 1 response to what the administration initially claimed was Iraq's "imminent threat" because of its weapons of mass destruction. Bush is noticeably silent about there having been no WMDs, no imminent threat and no serious pre- 9/1 1 terrorist link to Iraq. The war has killed 30,000 Iraqis and more than 2,200 Americans.

The Medicare drug plan is a disaster. In some states, the elderly have to choose from 30 insurance options. The plan still leaves older Americans who have to max out the system paying $3,600 out-of-pocket annually. Bush's continued support of inordinate tax cuts for the wealthy, his underfunding of his reductionist "teach-to-the-test" Leave No Child Behind plan, his refusal to accept the scientific community's warnings about global warming, his own party's corruption scandals and his failures to adequately address the pension and oil dependency crises in America would lead any thinking American to doubt her own sanity.

John T. Marohn

Buffalo

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Our politicians don't have the guts to do what's right

Is anyone else appalled that our politicians are so guarded in an election year that they won't take a stand? How about stating what is best for the American people, and I mean all the American people, especially those families making less than $50,000 per year. I believe it's critical for liberals and conservatives to include all Americans in their proposed programs, and they should say so. Emulate Sen. John McCain -- just say and do what is right, and let the voters discern the legitimate candidates from bogus ones.

Betsy O'Brien

Amherst

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