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Everybody's Column

Progress being made with adult stem cells

I wish to commend The Buffalo News for exhibiting journalistic ethics in printing the April 11 Associated Press piece highlighting the use of adult stem cells in the treatment of several patients with newly diagnosed Type 1 diabetes mellitus.

This particular medical trial is noteworthy for several reasons. First, it was done in Brazil because most standard American researchers were not interested in the proposal. Second, the patients were treated with their own adult stem cells, thereby not requiring the destruction of any embryos. And third, 14 of the 15 patients became insulin-free (the shortest time was one month), and four patients did not need insulin shots for more than two years.

Presently, adult stem cells are being used in the successful clinical treatment of 73 different diseases in human beings, including Type 1 diabetes. Embryonic stem cells have demonstrated no such use. Credible medical researchers admit that the clinical use of embryonic stem cells for treatment of disease in humans is years, if not decades, away.

Which should a realistic public believe -- careful medical research or the hype from politicians and the media?

Ferdinand D. Yates Jr., M.D.

East Amherst


Some seem to think they're above the law

I am writing in response to an article in the April 18 Police & Courts section of The News. An off-duty cop driving under the influence of alcohol ran his patrol car into a house and then fled the scene. This is the second cop I have heard of recently who was charged with drunken driving. The other one killed someone. Why is it that they think they are above the law?

There is a law saying that we can't talk on our cell phones without a headset while driving because it is distracting, yet the police are allowed to drive and talk without a headset. Isn't it also distracting for them? Also, why are they allowed to turn on their lights and go through red lights when there isn't an emergency? In my eyes, it is wrong for them to do that because it can cause an accident.

There was also the State Supreme Court judge who crashed while driving under the influence of prescription drugs and refused to take a blood test. Yet she is someone who judges what we do. We are all people and we should all have to abide by the laws that are set.

Nicole Vitale Amherst


Ramirez keeps touting Bush's failed policies

Thanks for Michael Ramirez's excellent April 18 editorial cartoon depicting Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi as a pathetic little woman with no objective other than to thwart President Bush. It certainly shows that Ramirez is out of touch with the benefits of diplomacy. His distorted views provide many belly laughs, just thinking that he would want to put his name on such artwork.

While many of his works profess a strong desire to stamp out any liberal democratic initiatives (abundant in the real world), we often see an adherence to failed Bush policies. I can hear it now as the president says, "Great job, Michael!"

Fortunately, if we looked further on that same page, we saw more credible articles such as "Bogged down by Iraq," "Promote contact with Iranians" and "Seeing a story, missing the facts." That last column, written by Leonard Pitts, could aptly describe any collection ofRamirez's political visions.

David Spencer



FAA funding must preserve aviation access for everyone

The News story "Passenger fees fund smaller airports" mischaracterized business aviation, air traffic system funding and the needs of communities nationwide. First, local airports provide aviation access for towns with little or no airline service. The beneficiaries include schools, universities, emergency medical services, postal services and firefighting teams. These airports, and the aircraft that use them, transport people and goods, generating billions of dollars in economic output annually and employing more than 1 million people.

Also overlooked were the mostly small and mid-size businesses in the business aviation community, which uses "general aviation" aircraft to maximize employee efficiency and productivity.

Furthermore, a proposal for funding the Federal Aviation Administration was poorly explained. That proposal is being pushed by the airlines; it would replace our ultra-efficient tax system for funding aviation needs with new user fees that would favor giant hub airports over community airports.

All Americans benefit from the nation's airport system, and proposals for FAA funding must preserve aviation access for everyone. That won't happen with a scheme that saddles business with tax hikes and fees, and disadvantages community airports.

Ed Bolen

President/CEO, National Business Aviation Association


Majority in First Ward opposes ethanol plant

An April 15 letter concerning the proposed RiverWright ethanol plant contained many fallacies. Most First Ward residents are opposed to the plant because it would be located in a neighborhood. We are not a small group; a neighborhood petition can attest to this fact.

We do not participate in fear tactics. All one has to do is report RiverWright's facts. For example, it is zoned for 150,000 gallons of flammable liquid. It has asked the Zoning Board to allow it to store 2.35 million gallons of flammable liquid above ground. Any information that we release is verified.

The once-active industrial companies the writer cited were not located in the First Ward. Not surprisingly, most of the supporters of this project do not live in the neighborhood. They do not want a full environmental study because they think it would delay the project. They would rather place people's lives and quality of life in jeopardy.

We live in a safe, close-knit neighborhood. Developers will agree that it is prime land. We are definitely interested in progress and have always eagerly anticipated the development of the Buffalo River and the waterfront.

Julie M. Cleary

Citizens Against Environmental Injustice, Buffalo


Samuelson misses an important point

Well, at last a sober analysis of the issue. After reviewing for us a good number of facts, Robert Samuelson concludes in his April 19 column that the poor aren't poor because the rich are richer. This conclusion is important enough on its own right, nevertheless he amplifies it with the more significant one that their poverty reflects low skills, poor work habits or bad luck. What Samuelson fails to point out is that he is rich because he has the good luck of having the high skills and the good work habits to regularly write nonsense like this.

Walter Greizerstein


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