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Everybody's Column

>GM is stronger against Toyota in the competition

A writer recently wrote to Everybody's Column denigrating Toyota's vaunted quality. What he said was all true, Toyota's quality has tanked recently, but he didn't go far enough. All I read about is how Toyota is beating General Motors in sales in the United States. Actually GM outsells both Toyota and Honda here in the states.

Toyota's U.S. sales are increasing but that is because it has been adding incentives while GM has been reducing them. As far as Toyota outselling GM worldwide, take away its home country sales, those in Japan (2.25 million), and it is more than 2 million behind GM! And no, GM can't compete against Toyota there. Japan regulates against imports, and the steering wheel is on the wrong side.

In 12 of 14 markets worldwide GM beats Toyota. Where do I get my numbers? From Automotive News, the industry "bible" and its Automotive News Data Center. The writer also didn't mention that because of GM Powertrain's continuing quality it has been able to offer a 5-year 100,000-mile power train warrant on all its cars and trucks. And, by the way, our own Tonawanda Engine plant is one of GM's highest rated. This warrant is almost double that of the Japanese big three.

It's frustrating to know the facts about GM versus Toyota then watch them being "spun" to show GM in a bad light while Toyota is put on an undeserved pedestal.

Fran Preve

Grand Island

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>An Alden Wal-Mart shouldn't need breaks

The proposed Wal-Mart in Alden is controversial to many residents, and political issues are being fought. The ethical question about this is: Why are there tax breaks for a company that wants to come here so badly? It will get millions in profits, and the residents who stand to lose the most will get nothing. Our nice town will get increased traffic and garbage, ruining the atmosphere I moved here for.

If my taxes went down more than the estimated $35, or the impact could effectively be minimized, it might not be as bad. Other Wal-Mart stores I shop at have these problems, but are more appropriate for their locations. God save America and my back yard.

Tyler Weber
Alden

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>Marijuana is no answer for government revenue

In her July 7 column, Kathleen Parker suggests that a great new source of revenue could be found for both the states and the federal government by allowing marijuana to be legalized, regulated and taxed at the same rate now applied to alcohol and tobacco. My concern here is not to argue the merits of that case, but to call attention to one flippant and dismissive remark made by Parker. She writes that marijuana "at worst, makes people boring and hungry."

I'm afraid it can do more harm than that. The decriminalizing of marijuana in the Netherlands is a case in point. Dr. J.A. Wallenberg, director of the Jellenik Clinic, Holland's best-known drug rehab center, observes: "We have indulged ourselves in a kind of blind optimism in Holland concerning cannabis. . . . It can and does produce a chronically passive individual . . . someone who is lazy, who doesn't want to take initiatives, doesn't want to be active -- the kid who'd prefer to lie in bed with a joint in the morning rather than getting up and doing something."

Parker, as well as the professors of economics who also endorse her plan, might give more serious regard to such testimony. The view of marijuana use as a virtually harmless indulgence is an uncritically romantic view.

Dan Mattimore
West Seneca

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>John's reaction to toon is quite hypocritical

I find it ironic and somewhat humorous that Maurice John, president of the Seneca Nation, would take offense to a recent editorial cartoon picturing him alongside a federal judge. It didn't seem to bother him that at their rally for sovereignty held a few months back, that his people, some of them children, were waving posters with pictures of Gov. Spitzer sporting devil horns, being compared to Hitler, and likening their plight to that of the Holocaust. As leader of the Senecas he feels he deserves respect. Where is the respect for an official who was elected by the taxpayers of this state? What a hypocrite.

David Kazmierczak

Blasdell

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>Pope's agreement is a sad commentary

The recent Vatican-approved document concerning salvation could well be the impetus needed for those pondering departure from organized religion and developing a personal system of belief.

How unfortunate that at a time when there appears to be hope for harmony among diverse Christian denominations, the principle figure of the sect based in Rome concurs with a decree implying that the billions who shun his religious traditions will not only be denied eternal bliss but dispatched to eternal torment.

One can only be puzzled as to how a presumed sincere religious leader can constantly emphasize the mercy and forgiveness of the creator, yet find within that divine presence a capacity for exquisite cruelty.

Thanks to the diligence of biblical scholars and the expanding, enlightening field of biblical criticism, the tired, incomprehensible dogmas, doctrines, myths and superstitions are fading into Christendom anxiously awaiting a new theology.

Thomas L. Trabert Sr.

Snyder

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>Bush's numerous flaws will be well documented

I once thought the "W" in George W. Bush stood for War. Now I know the "W" stands for Wrong. That will be how historians regard and catalog this president, who proves the old adage that any boy can grow up to become president. Bush heads an administration that unerringly makes the wrong decisions and the wrong choices at the wrong time. He has the United States mired in an unsolvable enigma known as Iraq.

Iraq is that delightful Middle Eastern paradise, where Sunnis, Kurds, Shiites and insurgents amuse themselves shooting, bombing and beheading each other. When they tire of that they bomb and shoot our soldiers and Marines who are overextended, under-staffed and caught up in the dirtiest duty imaginable.

Unfortunately, Bush is so busy flimflamming and spinning he doesn't realize it's over and he didn't hear the fat lady sing. Oh, he will continue to collect his salary and enjoy the endless perks of the office. He may even playfully peek under the cushions and chairs in the Oval Office looking for the elusive WMDs. But all that remains to be done is find the niche in which this misguided, futile presidency will be slotted. That will be a slot or two below Warren G. Harding's.

George D. Poe

Williamsville

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