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Everybody's Column

>Ending corruption at the top is key to society's well-being

There remains, incredibly, a portion of the population oblivious to the deeper ramifications of political corruption and the resultant political, social and economic crises confronting American society today. The extreme state of the situation requires political activism from all citizens, and the participation of institutions across the country, large and small, regardless of short-term risk of political fallout, or economic loss.

My wife and I are season-ticket holders to the Irish Classical Theatre. We were greatly pleased to see the performance of Richard Nelson's adaptation into the present day of Dario Fo's "Accidental Death of an Anarchist." Artists and their art have historically been among the earliest bellwethers in times of trouble, and the theatre's initiative is precisely the sort of action the country needs from its institutions in order to kick-start a return to nationwide sanity and civility.

I call on The News and all area institutions to put the elimination of corruption at the federal level at the top of their list of priorities. Do the leaders of these institutions really think their bottom lines are going to remain healthy in the wake of the disastrous mismanagement at the federal level? Make noise, folks, or you're going down with the rest of us.

Drew W. Eaton

Amherst

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>Current budget bill harms poor, children

As a person of faith, I believe our nation has a moral responsibility to care for the least among us. I was disappointed that Congress passed the federal budget reconciliation bill, which includes $50 billion in cuts to programs that serve the working poor, children and the elderly. Now members must make compromises in Medicaid, student loans, child support and aid to the disabled. The traumatic events of hurricanes Katrina and Rita showed the nation the faces of poverty in this country.

U.S. Census Bureau statistics indicate 36 million Americans live below the poverty line, many of them children. Congress should not cut these vital and needed programs. I urge readers to join me in calling their members of Congress and telling them the budget bill does not reflect our nation's values.

Judith M. Metzger

Williamsville

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>Authority officials serve no public interest

In response to Tim Carey's Dec. 3 Another Voice, "Power Authority being unfairly criticized," I say the authority is not a private, for-profit business. Citizens are fed up with corporate citizens who feel they are without local concerns. Specifically, the authority types of New York who are not elected, and are well insulated.

Maybe that was the way business was done the last 50 years. The next 50 years will be very different, and more like the style of Rep. Brian Higgins, who is looking out for the public's interest.

Daniel Ratka

Kenmore

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>Nation must free itself from Bush disaster plan

All but a handful of Americans can see the futility of staying the undefined course in Iraq. What has America to gain? How is it in America's national interest to referee the internal battles of a nation that has one unifying agreement -- hatred of oppressors? As Rep. John Murtha asks, "What more can American troops do?"

Our president cannot make an educated decision about a war. He has never been in any kind of combat. He barely showed up as a National Guardsman. Why is the most powerful country in the world so backward? The answer is President Bush.

The European Union isn't in a war on terror with a country that didn't have terrorists, America is. Cuba hasn't let down its countrymen in the aftermath of national disaster, America has.

While everything good about American business is being outsourced because it's too expensive, Bush is bragging about our robust economy. What will come of the trade gap, record debt and deficits?

Who has gained as a result of this leadership's policies? This country will face a much bigger crisis soon. How can we possibly dig ourselves out of the hole Bush has dug?

Bernard Rice

Buffalo

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>Leaders must pay heed to agricultural concerns

The most important issue facing this country is being overlooked. Most congressmen are not giving agriculture the attention needed to sustain U.S. leadership in the world. Farming is the backbone of a nation. A country that can feed itself does not have to depend on others for its "daily bread."

It's certainly a boon to consumers to be able to purchase a variety of produce, meat and dairy products in the supermarket, but the most important question they should ask is: Was it produced in the United States? The reason for this is safety. This country has standards and procedures for inspections that do not exist in other parts of the world. Personally, I can get along without grapes from Chile and beef from Argentina.

Also important are the agribusinesses that make modern farming possible. The factories that supply the machinery and parts, the maintenance and services for food production are overseas. This is a disaster. We want to "buy American," and there are no supplies available.

A self-sufficient nation has to depend on no one. Our farmers used to be able to feed the nation and have a surplus to send to other countries. We must keep it that way. Agriculture must be allowed to prosper.

Kay Dunn

Arcade

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>Church is right refusing induction of gay priests

I have always considered the Catholic Church to be one of the very few bulwarks left in this country against the moral and cultural rot, aided and abetted by an irresponsible media, that permeates our society. As the child abuse scandal in the American Church unfolded, I was and still am filled with disgust. The reports of homosexual influences in Catholic seminaries came as a shock.

That the Church hierarchy is taking strong steps to correct this sad situation is admirable and necessary. There is no prejudgment involved in this. Practicing homosexuals have no place among the clergy of the Catholic Church. The Vatican directive clearly states, however, that a man without open homosexual tendencies who can live a celibate life -- just as is expected of a normal male candidate to the priesthood -- is welcome to this important vocation.

James F. Smeader

Eggertsville

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>Grain elevators hardly merit historic claim

OK, folks, can we please get a grip on what is historic? Historic and old are not the same. That distinction seems to have been lost on the preservationist community and The News. The National Register of Historic Places lists 60 locations in Buffalo. Among them are two grain elevators -- on the Buffalo River and on Goodyear Avenue. Do we really need another? If these structures really are the pyramids of the Great Lakes, why has it taken the preservationists three years to move this one off the eligible list? It could be that there is no additional historic value to this structure.

Leaving aside the merits of a casino and the legal authority of the Senecas to deal with their own property, this long-vacant building complex is nothing more than a well-known oddity. While it does provide a quirky diversion to the scenery while driving on the 190, a new casino will serve that function just as well. Let the gaming begin.

Christopher J. Flynn

Amherst

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