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Everybody's Column

Ramirez displays ignorance by calling Carter 'stupid'

I am writing in regard to the Michael Ramirez editorial cartoon published on Dec. 22. Former President Jimmy Carter is a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, a world-renowned humanitarian and a trusted guarantor of fair elections. He has been a longtime friend of Israel. Unique among American presidents, he negotiated an enduring peace treaty between Israel and an Arab country (Egypt).

Since then, Carter has traveled extensively throughout the Middle East and conferred with many of its leaders. It is sad now that instead of considering that Carter may have something worthwhile to say on Israel and Palestine, Ramirez closes his mind and tries to close ours by labeling Carter as "stupid" and implying that he hates America. Other commentators also have attacked Carter for his latest book. So much for the thoughtful dialogue that he is trying to stimulate.

In the pursuit of peace, Carter may criticize policies that he considers a threat to peace. Hence, he criticizes some of Israel's policies, such as the network of Israeli settlements and connecting roads that carve up Palestine's West Bank. He criticizes U.S. policies as well. For this he is called stupid and a hater of America? Let us hope that most Americans are more open-minded and fair than that.

Kenneth W. Terhune

Clarence Center

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Art gallery must stay true to its mission

It has been interesting and gratifying to see the passion aroused by the suggestion of selling off antiquity art by theAlbright-Knox. Who knew so many would care? The problem is the gallery has a well-defined mission to which it is trying to adhere, but many in the community don't embrace that mission.

Many Western New Yorkers may not have an appreciation for Pollock, Miro or Warhol, but when they visit the gallery they may enjoy the impressionists or some of the earlier and more traditional pieces on display. To many, the Albright-Knox has become Buffalo's answer to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. That is, a gallery displaying a wide variety of art, but on a much smaller scale than the Met.

Frankly, it is the only gallery of any size in town and many residents expect it to be broader in scope. And the gallery has, to some extent, delivered that variety over the years. Still, the mission devoted to contemporary and abstract work cannot be ignored. The board of directors is responsible for carrying out the mission and therefore has not only the right, but the duty, to do so -- including selling off pieces that don't fit.

Edward G. Wright

Hamburg

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We should never surrender our constitutional rights

America's Founding Fathers would weep. A recent letter writer advocates suspending the Constitution when it comes to sex offenders: "Let [them] incriminate themselves and then lock them up for life." I imagine her concern for kids doesn't extend to paying higher taxes so that poor kids can get insured against crippling and fatal diseases.

Newt Gingrich wants to suspend the First Amendment for suspected terrorists. His concern for protecting our way of life doesn't include conserving our ancient freedoms, just the felonious privileges of his compeers.

Self-righteousness reigns, until personal sacrifice is involved, and then it usually comes too late, doesn't it? Lord, protect us from our protectors.

Robert K. Dentan

Buffalo

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Coalition must not derail excellent Greenway plan

The Niagara Greenway Commission should be commended for the work it has done in a relatively short span of time. The information it gathered has manifested itself into an outline that may finally allow the Niagara River and its unique characteristics to become a world-class destination that we can all be proud of.

While the Greenway Commission has done a banner job, it has no teeth. All the municipalities involved must have the governing body approve the measure. One "no" vote and the plan is scuttled. If approved, and many in power are playing hardball, then the $9 million a year will be controlled by four standing committees. An ecological committee made up of a number of local groups will control $1 million. Buffalo would be part of a second committee that would have say over $2 million. State parks forms a third and has dominion over $3 million. Then we have the rub. The Niagara committee is the Niagara Power Coalition, which wants free domain over where it spends its money with no restrictions. A "blank check," as one of the representatives recently said.

The coalition is threatening to waste a valuable opportunity to improve our quality of life. Make your voice heard before the Jan. 17 deadline.

David Gomlak

ADK-NFC Conservation Chairman

Buffalo

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When will Democrats adopt Kennedy's idea?

After following the debate in this column over presidential speeches, one quote struck me in particular. President John F. Kennedy's "Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country" certainly qualifies as a great speech. I just have one question. After 46 years, when are the Democrats going to put it into practice?

Save for my retirement; pay for my health care; heat my home; protect me from the evil tobacco/trans-fat/corporate monsters; find me a job; pay my tuition -- the list is almost endless. These people have spent their entire adult life asking what their country can do for them, with Kennedy's brother the leader of the pack. To paraphrase Yogi Berra: If President Kennedy were alive today, he'd be spinning in his grave.

Tim Delano

Amherst

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Things are looking up as 2007 approaches

Exciting things are happening in Western New York. We can applaud University at Buffalo President John B. Simpson, Buffalo School Superintendent James A. Williams and Buffalo Mayor Byron W. Brown for partnering in community education. This is critical for the region. Congressman Brian Higgins is bringing a vision to the harbor and making things happen.

Developing best technology for a coal-burning plant in the Town of Tonawanda is a win for Western New York as well as for the communities downwind of us. We are fortunate to have stars in life science research and medicine. Talent from UB and the engine plant could be a conduit for developing alternatives to the combustion engine. The powerful countries will be energy independent in the future.

Now we need leadership at every level of government to proceed with a plan for a bridge to Canada. We also need funding for current publications in the libraries. The libraries are a gem we cannot afford to neglect. The positives are happening. We can look forward to the changes our leaders are working on.

Darryl Maciuba

Orchard Park

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