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Everybody's Column

Budget bill will hurt poor, lawmakers should reject it

Both the House and Senate have approved budget legislation that will make deep cuts to services for low-income families. The House bill makes $50 billion in cuts, many of which will directly affect the most vulnerable children, elderly, working families and people with disabilities. Food stamp cuts will deny assistance to at least 220,000 people. These cuts will fund $70 billion in new tax breaks that will mostly help the wealthy, and disproportionately hit the poor.

With the foreboding recent news about our local Delphi and General Motors' plants on top of a continuing struggling economy, where will people turn for help to feed their families during hard times? How will the elderly receive the help they deserve and worked for? How will young people who want a college education be able to pay an increase of $5,800 in loan repayments that are a part of the budget reconciliation process that is taking place in Washington?

Catholic Charities responds to the needs of people during hard times. You can help. The budget process is not yet final, but is scheduled to be voted on by Christmas. Call your representatives at 202-224-3121 and tell them you do not support the cuts to food stamps, Medicaid and higher education, and that you do not support tax breaks for those who are financially secure.

Dennis C. Walczyk

Chief Executive Officer

Rev. Joseph J. Sicari

Diocesan Director

Catholic Charities of Buffalo

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How can News praise Clinton, yet bash Bush on same issue?

Thank goodness I read the Dec. 8 editorial about Sen. Hillary Clinton on an empty stomach. The News never fails to amaze me. After two years of reading a sickening array of Bush-bashing editorials over the Iraq war, it praises Clinton for the same consistency of position it demonizes the president about.

Poor Hillary. How did she find the strength to continue her speech in the face of, what was it, four demonstrators? We've all been told that she's the smartest woman in the world, now we know she's also the bravest. The News further opined about the dilemma Clinton may face in 2008 with the left wing of her party, given her rather hawkish stance on Iraq. She may even be forced to maintain her position based on, of all things, principle. Imagine that. Pretty shocking, but somewhat refreshing considering the last two Democratic presidential contenders.

At least she has another 18 months to evolve her position into something that fools main-streamers into believing she means what she says, while at the same time convincing left wingers she doesn't. It shouldn't be too difficult for the smartest woman in the world.

Michael Pukajlo

North Tonawanda

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My View writer reveals wisdom in her heart-warming column

It was a cold and snowy day when I came across the Dec. 11 My View. It warmed my heart to read Gay Baines' column. She is a professed agnostic but is noble enough to appreciate religious art, regardless of what religion it represents. In her article, she brought to light that if the time and energy used to stifle religious images would be turned toward stamping out hunger, disease, war or any of the problems facing our lives today, a more important objective would be attained.

Carson L. Cross

Cheektowaga

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Shooting of air passenger raises additional concerns

If the air marshals and other screeners at Miami International Airport were so sure that passenger Rigoberto Alpizar had a bomb, what then does that say about the screening process at this airport? This man had already been through security and then bolted the still-standing plane.

Donna Duszczak

Cheektowaga

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Power Authority deserves credit for settlement, too

The Power Project settlement between the New York State Power Authority, Erie County and the City of Buffalo represents a milestone for our community. Multiple partners with different perspectives successfully negotiated a fair agreement because, in the end, all parties focused on one primary goal: what's best for our community.

While many individuals can be proud of their contributions to the process, the community at large should not lose sight of the fact that the Power Authority was an ally in this mission, not a detractor. As a public authority, the long-term impact of the authority's actions on waterfront and economic development will be profound. Its funding will permit the acquisition and improvements of property that will lead to waterfront sites that private developers will clamor for.

I commend the authority, and particularly Chairman Joseph Seymour, for the settlement, which will allow our waterfront to at last go from the dream stage to reality.

Anthony H. Gioia

Chairman, Erie Canal

Harbor Development Corp.

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Story about Pearl Harbor belonged on front page

I was surprised that The News would put an article about Pearl Harbor on the bottom of page A4. We should have seen it on page one, even though it happened 64 years ago. Our men gave and are still giving their lives for us. Is The News slowly forgetting this? Shouldn't we all keep remembering? Recognition helps.

Russell Gaiser

Depew

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President must support bill opposing torture

We do not torture, says President Bush. He is backed up by Vice President Cheney, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and various voices speaking with White House approval. Are we supposed to have forgotten those torture photos from Abu Ghraib prison outside Baghdad? Or the torture stories from Guantanamo Bay? What about reports of U.S. officials sending detainees to other countries for torture?

Sen. John McCain has proposed making it clear by law that we do not permit the torture of prisoners. Let's hope he convinces his fellow lawmakers that torture leads to bad intelligence and international scorn. Winking at torture, as the administration seems to be doing, runs counter to this.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has been making the rounds in Europe telling all who would listen we would never torture in any form. Methinks she doth protest too much. What else is there to say? Existing U.S. law requires that we abide by the Geneva Convention, and yet Bush threatens to veto legislation that contains the ban.

Richard A. Kamprath

Town of Tonawanda

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Protesters need to stop impeding development

Many people are against tearing down the H-O Oats grain tower so that the Seneca Nation can build a casino on the site. I hold an architectural degree, and believe that the city should save some of its historical structures and buildings so that future generations can learn about Buffalo's history. But there has to be compromise. Few people looked at the H-O tower as historic until it was slated for destruction.

Buffalo is a joke. People are wondering why this once great city is dying. It's because no one will let anyone build anything new without going through years of lawsuits, studies and protests. The people who want all this historical architecture saved should start purchasing the buildings themselves and restoring them to their original state if that's what they want. Do not waste taxpayer money stopping people from developing this city, hoping to bring back the younger generation, who have left due to the lack of jobs.

Robert K. Carlson Jr.

Blasdell

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