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BUFFALO SCHOOL Board member James W. Comerford Jr., who has demonstrated in the past that he tends to be a loose cannon, has misfired again.

Not only is Planned Parenthood "worse than the Nazi death camps," Comerford told an anti-abortion rally over the weekend, but "how they murdered the Jews was more humane than how they murder babies."

Comerford's earlier comments on banning books and teaching creationism had raised doubts about his credentials for School Board membership. He has now strengthened those doubts.

As a statement by the understandably offended Jewish Federation of Greater Buffalo said: "Whether or not one supports the right to abortion, one can surely see the utter inhumanity and depths of evil represented by the Nazi Holocaust."

Though he promised after the criticism not to use the analogy again, Comerford's making the remark at all calls into question his ability to understand critical intellectual distinctions and shadings of judgment.

This is especially alarming because he has emerged as a leading contender for the presidency of the Board of Education, a position for which he is not qualified.

Should board members elevate him to the presidency, they would be approving a man who: (1) believes the schools should teach creationism; (2) supports the censorship of books on teen-age pregnancy and parenthood in school libraries; (3) indulged in blatant cronyism when he suggested a friend for a $65,000 city school post without disclosing their business relationship; and (4) now thinks Planned Parenthood is worse than the Nazi death camps and that the Holocaust was more "humane" than abortions.

Comerford is affable and probably well-intentioned. But the School Board presidency requires knowledge and judgment as well.

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