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Everybody's Column

FCC needs to reconsider the meaning of indecency

The Federal Communications Commission's and indeed our nation's definition of indecency ought to be re-examined if we think a blurred orgy scene warrants a $3.6 million fine. The FCC also upheld its $550,000 fine for the Janet Jackson Super Bowl incident. What is going through the collective mind of our nation when we complain that these are the most disturbing things seen on network television?

Is an unexpected, half-second glimpse of a woman's breast really more offensive than the extraordinarily graphic depictions of murder that can be seen repeatedly on any night of the week on network television? The FCC would no doubt say that it is simply responding to complaints. How sad that we have become so numb to the sight of a dead body with an oozing bullet hole in the forehead, that a human breast or profane language is somehow more disturbing.

I'm a heck of a lot more concerned about my young children seeing graphic violence on television than I am about them seeing a breast. Maybe the barometer by which we all ought to evaluate content should be what will generate the most nightmares. Besides, who among us would prefer to explain murder to our children than the human body or a bad word? Have we all lost our minds?

Pete Holdsworth

West Seneca

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Too bad 'J-Mac' wasn't given an opportunity to play all year

Although some people found the story of "J-Mac" heartwarming, it is actually quite appalling. Jason McElwain was allowed the privilege of competing in a basketball game the last five minutes in the last game of his senior year. Autistic young adults do not need to be thrown a bone. They need to be guided and find their place in society.

Autism is a disease, like many others, with its many stages of affliction. Employers are starting to realize that some of the innuendos of the disease are actually job skills waiting to happen. One place does that with the inclusion of developmentally challenged young adults blending into a college atmosphere. There they intern and utilize their skills and make excellent math tutors, file clerks, library workers and accountants.

What a shame J-Mac was not given this opportunity at the beginning of the season. If he was allowed to play from the start, perhaps this would not be such a heartwarming story. Instead it would be just your typical teenager who plays basketball the whole season -- perhaps even winning a college scholarship -- instead of the last five minutes of the final game in his senior year.

Susan Jaworski

Buffalo

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Cable restructuring seems suspicious to Sabres fans

I am writing in regard to the March 16 front-page News article, "Sabres fans may face TV shutout." My cable package used to include OLN, the Outdoor Life Channel and a few others that aired college sports. When I noticed these channels had disappeared from my selections, I contacted Adelphia and was informed that all cable packages had been restructured. If I wanted to regain these channels, I'd have to upgrade my package for an additional fee.

A few months later, it was announced that OLN was going to be airing some NFL games. Gee, you don't think Adelphia would restructure and raise rates ahead of time in order to have people pay to watch football without realizing it, do you?

So what's the catch for people who want to watch the Sabres playoff games? How much is it going to cost? Then what? Will Adelphia ban the telecasts from local sports bars and restaurants in order to force people to cough up additional bucks to watch the games? How does the company keep getting away with this?

Michael Kurzdorfer

Lancaster

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Spend a day on the job before criticizing police

This letter is in response to the criticism of the men and women of the Buffalo Police Department. As a Buffalo officer for almost nine years, it is very comforting to know that when I go to work every day, I have a mayor and police commissioner who have a policy for enforcing all types of illegal activity. We have not always enjoyed this type of workplace. We have increased our production in arrests, traffic offenses, parking tickets and DWI arrests, all with reduced manpower levels and an extreme increase in daily calls.

Yet in the last few weeks, The News and local TV news stations have dedicated countless hours to discrediting the officers for doing our jobs. Radio hosts also spent time bashing the mayor, the commissioner, the union president and the rank-and-file members of the department. The media spent all that time on us, yet when two police officers were killed in the line of duty right here in New York State, it was barely mentioned.

So the next time you want to blast us from behind a microphone or computer screen, please feel free to call the department to schedule a ride-along in a one-officer car and see how it is to walk a day in our boots.

Peter Nigrelli

Buffalo

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NFTA should increase airport landing fees, not transit fares

In the March 11 News, Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority Executive Director Lawrence Meckler said the NFTA would likely have to hike transit fares if airport firefighters were granted wage increases. Huh? What am I missing here?

What benefits do public transit riders derive from airport firefighters? None! Therefore, I propose that Meckler raise airport landing fees and not transit fares to pay any increase in firefighters' wages and benefits.

The NFTA receives federal Urban Mass Transportation Grants as well as state Operating Assistance Grants. I do not think the federal or state governments would be happy knowing these funds were being used to pay airport firefighters.

Let's give Meckler the benefit of the doubt and say that he was aware of this and was trying to put some pressure on the firefighters to settle their contract by putting additional pressure on them in the public forum.

Donald R. McIntyre

West Seneca

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Making Wal-Mart pay for health care is a great idea

I don't share The News' concerns, as noted in a March 13 editorial, that making Wal-Mart provide decent health benefits for its well-deserving, hard-working employees will hurt our area's economy. On the contrary, it would be extremely beneficial to our state. It would reduce taxes for Medicaid.

The extra money that the state would not have to dump into a fund to help those who can't afford health insurance could go toward helping the growth of our cities, strengthening our educational system or funding more youth development programs. There are many possibilities, and I can only see good coming from this.

Kasheef Ramar Moore

Cheektowaga

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Non-union shops should put money where their mouth is

I'm tired of hearing all these non-union companies complaining about union companies getting all the work in this area. Why don't they put their money where their mouth is, and provide apprenticeship training themselves?

Unions provide educational and safety training in their fields, and then provide a good wage. Maybe other companies don't do this because it costs money, and this just might dip into their profits? Step up to the plate, and stop blaming everyone else.

Nancy Lee

Hamburg

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