U.S. should be sending even more troops to Iraq
I disagree with President Bush's plan and believe we should send 100,000 additional troops to Iraq and treat this like the war it is. When our representatives voted to go to war, just how many lives did they think we would lose? What was the casualty rate for which support for the invasion would have been withheld? If we leave without finishing, what have 3,000 soldiers already given their lives for?
There were over 40,000 people killed on our highways in 2006. Men, women and children are dying for no cause, no long-term benefit to the country, yet we do not see a daily highway death toll.
The armchair quarterbacks, talking-head politicians and celebrities of all parties in their position of privilege, choose to forget or intentionally ignore the lessons of Desert Storm and the aftermath cat-and-mouse game of Saddam Hussein with U.N. inspectors. Saddam benefited from the world's belief that he had weapons of mass destruction while denying it, in spite of the fact that he had actually used them on his own countrymen.
We need to start acting like the superpower we are supposed to be. A lukewarm response begets a lukewarm result.
Grass-roots lobbying must not be silenced
The first bill the Democrats are trying to pass now that they hold the power in Congress is one that claims to be aimed at cleaning up lobbying scandals, but had buried in it a provision that would unfairly target grass-roots groups that represent citizen voices on a variety of issues.
Obviously, they don't want the public to know what they are doing. The object of this provision is clearly to punish and silence those who try to make ordinary citizens aware of what is going on in Congress. The type of grass-roots lobbying that Democrats want to silence has long been considered separate and distinct from the activities of hired lobbyists like Jack Abramoff.
We like to think that those we send to Washington go there to represent us. Unfortunately, these same people often pass laws that they know the majority of their constituents would not be in favor of, but that simply represent their own personal bias. Congress should never pass a law that it knows a majority of its constituents would vote against, if it were put to a referendum.
Malcolm V. Short Sr.
Universal health care is desperately needed
Hats off to Sen. Edward Kennedy for supporting universal health care by expanding Medicare for all. This plan makes the most sense for Americans because this plan would eliminate the billions spent on insurance bureaucracy and profiteering, allowing every American basic coverage.
As a registered nurse, I know preventative medicine saves money, as well. The government would be able to negotiate for lower pharmaceutical prices like Canada does. This would help businesses that can no longer afford the high cost of health insurance, and it would insure the 46 million Americans who do not have health insurance.
Medicare for all makes sense. The question is: Will we allow a plan that is best for the American people, or will we continue to allow special interests, namely insurance companies and pharmaceuticals, to continue to dictate our health care policy to our own detriment?
Diana J. Butsch, R.N.
New life, not abortion is cause for celebration
A Jan. 11 letter writer informs us of the upcoming 34th anniversary of Roe v. Wade. He states "we need to ensure its promise lasts for many more generations." He uses such words as "celebration," "blessed with," "American freedoms," "personal values" and "beliefs" in reference to the horror of 34 years of the abhorrent act of abortion.
As teenagers of the Roe v. Wade generation, we lived through the apathy of the '70s and '80s regarding abortion. We witnessed much, including one friend being told by a preabortion counselor that the baby she was about to allow them to kill wasn't a baby yet, but a minute clump of cells that could be disposed of quickly and easily. Sadly, she and many others took that "choice." Thankfully, our four children are being raised in a moreinformed generation.
Our precious 3-month-old grandson expresses his "American freedoms" with coos and smiles. His "personal values" are innocence, love and joy. His "beliefs" are that he will be kept safe and warm. We are richly "blessed with" his young parents not having regarded him as a "choice." He, and every other unborn child being given life, is "clearly cause for celebration."
John and Karen Hogan
Living wages benefit individuals, community
The Common Council did right in approving a cost of living increase for those covered by the Living Wage Ordinance. The law is intended to raise the wage floor for our lowest-paid employees, city workers and those employed by businesses contracting with Buffalo. Too many of Buffalo's families are suffering in poverty, relying on taxpayer-funded subsidies to meet basic needs, or simply going without.
Salary increases for Buffalo's lowest-paid workers don't increase costs for taxpayers or burden businesses. Buffalo's Living Wage law is one of over 140 on the books across the country. More than a decade has passed since the living wage movement began and the research is in. Living wages for our workers are a win for business and for our community -- bringing reduced turnover, higher productivity, increased home ownership, reduced reliance on public assistance and more competitive bidding.
I have worked directly with employees who have received wage increases as a result of the Buffalo ordinance. I've heard countless stories of workers moving out of public housing, buying homes, buying a first car or setting up a retirement account. City seasonal workers and others, such as Rural Metro's EMTs, deserve the same opportunity.
Executive Director, Coalition for Economic Justice, Buffalo
Spitzer should leave the Senecas alone
Eliot Spitzer was elected governor of New York State, not the Seneca Nation, which is a sovereign nation within our state. He has no power to enforce tax laws or collect taxes from this great tribe. Why does he feel collecting taxes on cigarettes and gasoline is fair?
If New York State wasn't so high taxed to begin with, this would not even be an issue. I say leave the Indians alone; this is their land. Spitzer should feel indebted to them that he has the right to live here, unless he has Native American blood running through his veins. Let's stick to the issues that are important, such as welfare reform, Medicaid abuse and our schools.