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PARTISAN POLITICS RETURNS IN FORCE

Well, it is good to know exactly how long it takes partisan politics to return to Washington in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks. Exactly 32 days. That is how long it took the GOP to put its political agenda of tax cuts for the wealthy and corporate welfare for the airlines above national security. By criticizing the call for federalizing airport security, the Republican Party is thumbing its collective nose at the American people.

Its excuse of "not wanting to create another government bureaucracy" is ridiculous. If that were the real reason, there would be no new Office of Homeland Defense. Please spare me the rhetoric. Obviously, thousands of "ordinary" American lives are not as important as tax cuts.

How many more lives will be lost before it is worth creating "another government bureaucracy"? But then, what should we expect from a party that demands sky marshals be transferred from high-risk flights to protect Cabinet members who are taking joy rides to prove airline safety?

I would feel pretty safe, too, if my boss could guarantee me armed sky marshals on my flight. Maybe I will start taking the train.

JOHN WALCZAK

West Seneca

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