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THE TALIBAN'S WESTERN CHAPTER: Not all fanatics come from the Mideast. Case in point: Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson. Speaking on Robertson's television show, "The 700 Club," Falwell said the World Trade Center bombing was just retribution, and partly blamed gays, lesbians, the American Civil Liberties Union and others for contributing to the attack. Robertson agreed with his guest's litany of hate, for which even Falwell later apologized, although not very convincingly.

We don't have anything to say about their comments. Their words speak for themselves.

YOU DID US PROUD: This community owes a debt of gratitude to our neighbors, friends and co-workers who actually did what most of us only wished we could do last week: Go to Manhattan, and help.

To all the local Rural/Metro Medical Services, Red Cross, Salvation Army, fire and police department volunteers, paramedics, ironworkers and so many others who gave of their time, expertise and emotions on the streets of New York, we have only one comment: Thanks.

OVERWHELMED BY HISTORY -- AGAIN: There is irony in the fact that Buffalo's own observation of the centennial of one American tragedy was overwhelmed by a new one. A century ago, a nation was mourning an avowed anarchist's assassination of President William McKinley at the Pan-American Exposition here. The date of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon fell between the anniversary of the shooting and the date of McKinley's death.

Events marking the historic happenings here a century ago were canceled, appropriately, by history in the making. Among the cancellations was a gathering here of many of the nation's top historians for a seminar on the inauguration of President Theodore Roosevelt, and a black-tie Buffalo Convention Center affair commemorating that historic event in what is now the Theodore Roosevelt National Historic Site on Delaware Avenue.

AIR BALL: Western New York's basketball fans have suffered their first loss even before the college season begins. St. Bonaventure and Canisius won't play each other for the first time in 56 years because the athletic departments of each school couldn't come up with an acceptable date.

Scheduling can be tough, but it's not like finding a cure for cancer. If the sports guys weren't up to it, the presidents of both schools should have gotten involved and made sure that students and fans weren't deprived of the game that is always a highlight of the season.

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