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By Walter SimpsonLet’s call it what it is: a government assassination program that contradicts American values and damages our international interests. I refer to the “secret” U.S. drone program now under scrutiny because of President Obama’s nomination of John Brennan as the next CIA director.Proponents view drones as a way to inflict lethal force in other countries with …

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Plainly, serious political and legal questions surround the effort of New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg to limit the size of sugary drinks that can be sold in the city. On Monday, a State Supreme Court justice struck down the city’s limits on those drinks, calling them “arbitrary and capricious.” Bloomberg says he will appeal.Where there can be no question, though, …

By Michael Quinniey and Brian TrzeciakPublic education is under attack and our children are suffering. In recent years, Buffalo schools have lost 140 teaching positions and made cuts to after-school programs. Statewide, class sizes have spiked, summer school has been cut back and arts, music, college-level courses, libraries and tutoring have all faced cuts. The funding is…

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The vacant former Sheehan Hospital building on Michigan Avenue is about to become Compass East, a community asset that will serve the neighborhood and stand as one more asset within the sphere of the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus and development on the waterfront.McGuire Development Group took title to the eight-acre site at 425 Michigan Ave. for $2 million last year.Comp…

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Front Park has not had an easy existence since it was imagined by Frederick Law Olmsted three years after the end of the Civil War.Designed to provide commanding views of Lake Erie and the Niagara River, the park – originally called “The Front” – suffered at the hands of progress or, if not progress, then change. It has been hacked and mangled so that it is now a shadow of…

By Robert F. BiniszkiewiczI have a question: Since when is a privately held mortgage the taxpayers’ concern?Are taxpayers ever invited to join in private enterprise profits? Of course not! No business decides, upon making more money than anticipated: “Hey, this is more profit than we expected; let’s give the extra to the taxpayer!” We’re not gifted unexpected profits. So w…

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In the broad view, few Americans dispute the need for open government and, with rare exceptions, for public records to be available for public review. At ground level, though, arguments break out over what should and should not be public, the result of which is a gradual chipping away of the people’s right to know what their governments are doing in their name. Sunshine We…

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As the number of cyberattacks against the U.S. government and private companies continues to grow, the president and Congress are struggling to find a way to protect our national interests while also safeguarding individual privacy.President Obama signed an executive order earlier this month to address some concerns. The order promotes increased information sharing about c…

By Peter J. EliopoulosTwo tourists approached Russian violinist Mischa Elman on 57th Street after he left Carnegie Hall one day following a particularly difficult rehearsal, according to New York City folklore.“How do you get to Carnegie Hall?” they asked him.“You practice,” the passionate musician snapped.No doubt the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra has been practicing rec…

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It’s not uncommon or unfair to take note of defensible risk factors when pricing insurance policies. Young men are statistically a greater risk behind the wheel than young women or older men, so their car insurance premiums are higher. Homes in high-crime neighborhoods are more prone to losses, so their premiums are typically higher. Drivers with a DWI on their records wil…

By Hannya BoulosThis week, a union-backed education advocacy group, Alliance for Quality Education, organized parents and students to parade in Albany demanding more money for schools, even while New York State ranks number one in the nation in per-pupil spending.This tired call for more money is losing support, as parents in Buffalo and across the state are pushing for sy…