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IT SEEMS TO US . . . <br> THE POWER OF A SIGNATURE BRIDGE IS REVEALED, AND ONE CANDIDATE LOSES THE MONKEY VOTE

CHRISTIAN'S CURSE REMOVER: Finally, we have proof. Rock solid, incontrovertible, undeniable and indisputable evidence. No, not about Saddam's weapons of mass destruction or his links to al-Qaida. We know they don't exist. We're talking about the value of building a signature bridge across the Niagara River.

Consider this: Internationally renowned bridge architect Christian Menn devised the cable-stayed design for the Leonard P. Zakim Bunker Hill Bridge, which opened in 2003 as part of the Big Dig project in Boston. Many have called the two-tower span Boston's newest landmark. Ever since both lanes of the bridge have been opened to traffic, the Patriots haven't lost and the Red Sox won their first World Series in 86 years.

The same Christian Menn has come up with a two-tower, cable-stayed design for a new bridge as part of the Peace Bridge expansion project. In fact, it was the top choice of 42 percent of those casting ballots in weeklong voting conducted by the Peace Bridge Authority.

So what are the folks at the authority waiting for? Don't they want to see the Bills win again, the Sabres start playing again, our state legislators get some backbone and other assorted miracles? Build this bridge, people.

NO OFFENSE INTENDED: We got a rather unusual submission for our My View column the other day. The column came from a Mr. Jingo, who claimed to be a monkey. At first we had doubts about the authenticity of the letter, but the author included a picture of himself. It seems Mr. Jingo was upset by a quote from Assemblyman Robin Schimminger, who was commenting about the effects of reapportionment on his campaign for re-election. "Reapportionment didn't help me," Schimminger said. "It hurt me. I lost Democrats who would vote for a monkey."

That didn't sit well with this local monkey. "I speak for my species," wrote Mr. Jingo, "in asserting that we have no desire to be associated with politicians like Robin Schimminger."

We have decided not to print the column in its entirety because Mr. Jingo did not provide his Social Security number.

CONGRESSIONAL FEEDING FRENZY: In case you're wondering why the federal deficit is going through the roof, consider the tax breaks Congress gave to various special interests -- $137 billion's worth -- in order to repeal an export subsidy that had brought on European trade sanctions. Restaurants, $494 million; shopping malls, $231 million; NASCAR, $101 million; fishermen, $61 million; ceiling fan importers, $44 million; certain film and television shows, $42 million; horse and dog racing, $27 million; and native Alaskan whaling, $4 million. Groups that study the congressional budget estimate these early Christmas presents will increase the deficit by $80 billion.

Goldman Sachs called the legislation the "No Lobbyist Left Behind" act. Seems like a good name to us.

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