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Is this a great place to live or what?

What if they build it but nobody wants to come?

What's in the music down there?

And can a candidate run with a bad crowd?

Let's go to the headlines and see why this is such a great place to live:

I can hardly wait to see the new Peace Bridge gateway the Canadians unveiled last week -- to the envy of a governor impatient for a new bridge and plaza here.

But I think I'll take binoculars and view Canada's creation from this side of the river. The less contact with surly, power-tripping border agents, the better.

After crossing a couple of weeks ago to pick up a Canadian fishing license, all I could think of when safely back on the Niagara Thruway was, "Why would anyone put themselves through that if they didn't have to?"

Forget fears of what a passport requirement will do to cross-border travel as we spend another $300 million on the project. Somebody should think about the impact of what appears to be a requirement that inspectors never smile or treat travelers as human beings.

You don't have to get beaten up like that Chinese tourist a few years ago or detained like the Muslim-Americans returning from a religious conference to get turned off by the border-crossing experience. Just dealing with agents who act like Nazi guards in a B-movie leaves a sour taste that will make anyone think twice about crossing to dine, shop or sightsee.

Border authorities held politeness training a few years ago. It's time for a refresher course. It's not impossible, even post- 9/1 1, to be both firm and courteous at the same time.


Imagine a black punk shooting three law enforcement officers -- killing one -- and then eluding capture while roaming the East Side with the tacit or open support of residents. Then imagine someone stealing a memorial honoring the slain officer. There would be heck to pay as condemnation rained down on an entire community for its misguided mores.

Which brings us to the muted reaction and the . . . shall we say "understanding" . . . shown for whoever stole the Southern Tier memorial to the trooper killed by native son Ralph "Bucky" Phillips.

But I think I've figured it out: This is what happens when folks grow up listening to gangsta country music by such self-proclaimed "outlaws" as Waylon Jennings and Johnny Cash.

It's another example of the mass media's corrosive impact on rural culture.

So I'm calling on responsible white leaders to start speaking out. Surely there must be a white Al Sharpton or Jesse Jackson with the courage to take on a country music industry that is filling rural minds with such rot.


Speaking of lawlessness, observers noted that Jimmy Griffin -- that sterling example of ethical rectitude -- had longtime cohort Ron Anthony at his side when filing petitions to reprise "That '70s Show."

If he really wanted to remind voters of what he did as mayor as he now runs for county executive, he should have brought Bob Delano instead.

Or maybe his brother Tommy. Whichever one can campaign without violating terms of their release.

Both parks chiefs during the Griffin years served time, Delano in the Parks Department scandal and Tommy Griffin in Florida for tax fraud. That was after the city was forced to repay the feds for funds the mayoral sibling misused for travel and long-distance calls while running a lunch program for poor kids.

Jimmy Griffin is now promising to do for the county what he did for the city. We can't say we weren't warned.


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