>President is breaking the law by ignoring rules on spying
The 1978 law that regulates spying on Americans requires a judicial warrant to conduct such surveillance. This is because the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution requires a neutral magistrate to evaluate whether there is probable cause to justify invasion of all Americans' rights to privacy.
The law also created a special court that is capable of responding within hours to warrant requests. If that is not fast enough, the attorney general may first authorize wiretaps, and then seek a warrant within 72 hours. It is, therefore, irresponsible and illegal for President Bush and Attorney General Alberto Gonzales to ignore this law.
We now have a government that engages in secret domestic spying by unilateral presidential decree; monitors personal library use; maintains secret prisons for unidentified prisoners held without legal recourse; plants propaganda articles in domestic and foreign media; engages in abusive treatment (if not torture) of prisoners; and formulates its domestic agenda based upon fundamentalist religious principles. It sounds more like governments we seek to reform and not the ideals we purport to represent.
Stephen J. Lacher
>Perhaps Kindel should just keep his mouth shut
I find it mesmerizing that William Kindel, an elected official, somehow found it politically wise to demand an apology from Amherst Supervisor-elect Satish B. Mohan. There are several reasons for my fascination. First, Kindel is demanding an apology for insulting someone, because, he says, it wasn't an insult, but was perceived as an insult, which is insulting. (Did I get that right?)
Second, Kindel is insisting that the good people of Amherst are not racist. Kindel must be reminded that no one has ever accused the good people of Amherst of anything. Any opinions that have been offered regarding the nature of his remarks were addressed to him alone.
As a former longtime Amherst resident, I know for a fact that his actions and opinions do not reflect on the people of Amherst as a whole. The more Kindel says, the worse things get and the worse he looks.
Paula Alcala Rosner
>Denying the Holocaust sets dangerous precedent
The Iranian president was recently quoted as having said the Holocaust never happened. I totally disagree. The Holocaust was a terrible catastrophe that killed many people, and not only Jews. Christians and other groups were also persecuted.
The Iranian president is trying to cover up a catastrophe that really did exist just to gain more power. In a way, we may have another Hitler on our hands. It is up to everyone to take a stand and admit that the Holocaust really did happen. If not, then history may repeat itself.
>How about reporting some positive news from Iraq?
Why are the media so obsessed with reporting every casualty in the Iraq War? I realize the loss of a loved one is a tragic experience, but why don't we hear more about the positive things that are happening in Iraq? Our troops got rid of a ruthless dictator who was responsible for many atrocities and the deaths of innocent people.
For eight years, the Clinton administration did nothing while Americans were being killed around the world. From 1932 to 1941, Franklin Roosevelt did very little while Germany and Japan were building large armies. Germany was already at war in Europe in the late 1930s. In history class in 1940, we studied Japan's plan for world domination. It had already achieved its goals in the Far East and the next move was to attack a protectorate of the United States. How many casualties were there in World War II? On Christmas morning in 1944, outside the U.S. Navy barracks in Cherbourg, France, where I was stationed, more than 600 body bags were piled up like cord wood. On Christmas Eve, the Germans torpedoed the USS Leopoldville, with a loss of 762 lives. Hardly a Christmas goes by that I'm not reminded of that somber sight.
>Let's hope Brown does better job than Masiello
Mayor-elect Byron Brown is sending budget amendments to the Common Council. These amendments call for restructuring departments, eliminating positions and trimming spending by about $10,000 a year.
Brown should be careful. His plan was sent to the Council by outgoing Mayor Anthony Masiello, the same man who signed a contract to do all of the above with the Buffalo Police Department with the exception of one thing -- we would be saving the city millions. This is also the same man who is presently fighting in court the same contract that he himself signed.
There is one encouraging note in all of this for police officers who have had their salaries frozen. Brown spokesman Steven M. Casey, while defending staff salary increases, said, "We believe in paying people a fair buck if they work hard." That should be an encouraging statement to the members of the Buffalo Police Department, who work hard 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
>Seniors could do without writer's condescension
Well, good for the Dec. 20 letter writer from Eden who has a computer. "Shamefully," I do not. In addition, because I have a 1930 Ford in my garage and a Victrola in the basement, I could be described as "living in the past." I do recognize the value of modern technology and at age 78, if I find a need for the Medicare drug program, I think I can arrange it without a computer in my home.
>Bush administration has little concern for the poor
While fighting the "war on terrorism," the Bush administration also has been waging a "war on the poor." Not a "war on poverty" but a "war on the poor." We saw it in New Orleans. Blame the victims, who were cast as immoral. The latest in the "war on the poor" are reductions to Medicare and Medicaid. It was done in a midnight raid on the budget. This lump of coal was a cruel gift to the poor this holiday season.
>Give pedestrians a break, clear snow from sidewalks
I am a pedestrian by choice. I choose not to have a car because of the high cost. I rather enjoy walking and taking the bus. However, things change drastically in the wintertime when the snow begins to fall.
I know that there is an infrequently enforced law about shoveling the sidewalks. Time and again, I am forced to choose between walking through the depths of snow or walking on the edge of the street. This year is even more difficult for me because I have an infant. I don't expect to be able to push the stroller down the sidewalks during winter, so I bought a hip carrier to take him out in. But it's very difficult to plow through six or eight inches of snow with an infant strapped on your hip. And walking down the side of Losson and Union roads makes me very nervous.
The solution seems easy enough. Please shovel sidewalks, regularly. That way, pedestrians won't be forced to choose between walking through the snow and walking on the edge of busy streets.
Tina M. Bacon