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Everybody's Column

Democrats should follow Republican voting example

I must write to point out an essential difference between Democrats and Republicans, which was evidenced in the confirmation vote on Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito. When Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a liberal judge, was nominated, the Republicans swallowed their dislike for her and the president who nominated her, and she was confirmed 96-3. This was because she was intelligent and highly qualified and deserved confirmation under those circumstances.

Faced with a similar situation, the Democrats did not do the same. Faced with a conservative judge, who is far more moderate than Ginsburg, intelligent and highly qualified, the Democrats could not put aside their dislike for the president who nominated Alito, and he was confirmed 58-42.

The process of "advice and consent" was abused, but we've come to expect this of the Democrats.

Chuck Godfrey



Rienas' comments serve to belabor Peace Bridge

After reading the article in the Feb. 1 News about the Department of Homeland Security approving the site plan for the U.S. and Canadian customs in Canada, I was elated. The comments from Assemblyman Sam Hoyt and Patrick McNichol were heartening, to say the least. It's too bad that the general manager of the Peace Bridge Authority, Ron Rienas, has to dump cold water on the good news after all these years of frustration. All he wants is more meetings. Over the years, we have been studied and delayed to death.

By the time we put a shovel in the ground, Detroit and Windsor will have two more bridges and another tunnel in operation. Just like the water going over the falls, Rienas should be dumped and replaced by a progressive thinker and doer.

Patrick Mangan Jr.



Bush should include aid to fight Darfur genocide

According to Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Jendayi Frazer, the Bush administration no longer considers the situation in Darfur, Sudan, to be genocide. Abhorrently, the rape of hundreds of women and girls, the slaughter of thousands and the displacement of 2 million people is just "a series of small attacks and incidents."

Why can't President Bush include aid the African Union in his $2.77 billion budget proposal to Congress? The inaction of the United States and the developed world is despicable. We cried "never again" after the Holocaust, only to let it occur again in Cambodia, Rwanda and now in Sudan.

It is unbelievable that we call ourselves compassionate while basking in the wealth of our large suburban homes, SUVs and plasma televisions while ignoring the plight of individuals born into Third World nations.

Christopher M. Willett

Orchard Park


School police presence constitutes a sad day

In a Feb. 1 News article, Superintendent James Williams was asked if police presence in school buildings constitutes a "sad day" for Buffalo. His response was: "It's not a sad day. This is America. This is all part of how we have to live now." As a retired Buffalo high school counselor, I strongly disagree. We do not have to live like this. There are other ways to deal with this problem.

Violence is primarily considered to be a learned behavior. Prevention is about changing direction. It can be unlearned and students can choose non-violent alternatives.

If the role of public education in a society is to develop better citizens and imprint individuals with life skills, then the task of school personnel is also to give students tools to deal with each other in non-violent ways. Educational research dictates intervention programs in elementary schools. These early programs are essential for unlearning violence and learning non-violent choices.

Buffalo school administrators, perhaps with outside help, need to develop innovative curriculum dealing with non-violence. In the long run, stationing police officers in and around schools is not going to solve the problem of school violence.

W. John Kozinski

West Seneca


Iran actions may signal intentional isolationism

Imagine that you are among the ruling elite in a highly conservative Islamic nation and have observed a gradual erosion of your power in recent years as your people have become more aware of Western ideas and freedoms. What better way to halt the influx of these potentially harmful ideas than to increase your country's isolation? Could leaders in Iran be deliberately provoking the world community on the issue of atomic energy in order to trigger sanctions that would increase Iran's isolation, and in so doing actually help the elite to retain power?

Mike Santa Maria



Health care industry is a persistent drain

Does anyone understand what is happening in America? How can one industry have so much power, with no threat of foreign intervention? The health care industry has full protection by the government and at the same time is hurting all the other industries that are threatened by cheap labor and low-cost goods coming into this country. The health care industry keeps raising its prices to the point of bankrupting companies and individuals.

If we go to Canada to get prescriptions filled, we're told it's not the same. But it was OK for Uncle Sam to go there for flu vaccine when we ran low. The cost of health care, from insurance to pharmaceuticals to treatment, is out of control.

Every day I go to work and hear how we're going to have to pay our own medical and take a pay cut. When the auto industry falls, the others will fall too. Except for health care -- that will keep going and going.

Joe Pellegrino



Hurricane Katrina dead should be chronicled

On Feb. 2, columnist Rod Watson wrote that one month of African-American history wasn't enough. He explained that the few individual leaders who get recognized during this month-long celebration do not serve African-Americans well enough.

My take on the intent of the column is that we ought to celebrate the contributions that this group has made to our country not just in one month but infuse it into the fabric of our culture. This idea was exemplified in the tragic events of 9/1 1. Following 9/1 1, the New York Times began printing short biographies of all of the approximately 3,000 people who perished. It took months of Sundays to cover the lives of those we lost.

I think we owe the same recognition to the 1,600 people who perished as a direct result of Hurricane Katrina.

These everyday Americans, most of whom were African-Americans, can be honored in much the same way -- printing their biographies and life achievements in this nation's Sunday newspapers. It would take months to cover.

Richard Steinberg



Church fires are crimes against Christianity

Why are the church burnings that are plaguing the South not being reported for what they are? These are clearly hate crimes against Christian believers and ultimately against God.

Walt Simms


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