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Everybody's Column

>Column didn't violate standards of journalism

The April 12 News editorial, "Civility crumbles, crudity sells," had several factual errors concerning what I wrote and what my dispute with the Dallas Times Herald consisted of.

I did not use the term "stupid Negroes" in reference to the United Negro College Fund. The controversial 1985 article was a parody of the song "We Are the World" called "We Are the Weird." It was attacked by a Dallas politician as racist. The entire article was fiction, written under my pseudonym Joe Bob Briggs.

The editors canceled the Joe Bob Briggs column but asked me to stay on and continue to write my John Bloom articles and columns. I refused, and resigned. I also refused to apologize to the black community for a piece of fiction, although I went on panels to discuss the issue whenever asked.

Instead of the Don Imus case, the more appropriate parallel is to the Danish Muhammad cartoons, which engendered controversy not because anyone thought them to be real, but because the subject matter was considered "beyond the bounds of satire." In both cases, there was an element of malicious rumor involved as well, which distorted what was originally said. I stood by the piece then and I stand by it now. I did not violate "the normal standards of journalism."

John Bloom
New York City

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>'Anthony's Law' is only first step

The proposed law tentatively called "Anthony's Law" is but a small step in the right direction. In essence, it expedites the civil claims process for people wrongly convicted of a crime and unjustly imprisoned only to later be exonerated by DNA evidence as was Anthony Capozzi.

In reality, we don't have enough money to compensate someone wrongly imprisoned for decades for a crime he did not commit. It is far better for a thousand guilty men to run free than for an innocent man to go to jail. We must right this wrong and all others like it.

Another step that should immediately be enacted is removing the statute of limitations on rape. DNA evidence doesn't go away after seven years, and neither does the terror inflicted upon the victim. It is ludicrous and immoral that a perpetrator of such a heinous crime can walk away free as a bird simply because he eluded arrest for a certain period of time. Both of these egregious wrongs must be righted.

Casey J. Ronas
Eggertsville

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>Give drivers a heads-up regarding E-ZPass lanes

As a frequent user of the New York State Thruway, I have become aware of a problem when entering the Lackawanna toll booths from the west. The problem occurs when the eastbound traffic is backed up from the toll booths to the curve just prior to the booths.

It is impossible for those not familiar with the many lanes to know which lanes to be in for E-ZPass. One often observes drivers with E-ZPass tags trying to cross through lanes of traffic to get into the proper lane. There are also those in the E-ZPass lanes attempting to get out of them.

A simple solution might be to paint "E-ZPass Lane" on the road surface far enough ahead to allow drivers to be in the proper lanes. I understand this is done in the New York City area. Could it not be done here? I've written a letter to E-ZPass and would urge others to do so.

Rollin L. Fancher
Dunkirk

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>Sex education needed to curb teen pregnancy

As a retired teacher, I would love to observe a ProjecTruth class with a teacher detailing to teens "the full meaning of abstinence so the students have the capability and intent to commit to this rewarding lifestyle and abstain from sexual activity until they are married." Just trying to formulate questions for the instructor is mind boggling. Taxpayers in New York State should be asking those questions because they are funding these programs to the tune of $6-plus million a year. On April 13, Mathematic Policy Research released a 10-year government-funded study showing that these programs did not impact teen behavior.

The tragedy is not only the wasted tax dollars but the misinformation we are giving our teens. Western New York has the highest pregnancy rate in the state. Existing research has shown that comprehensive sex education programs that include messages to teens about abstinence, condoms, contraception and responsible personal behavior have proven effective in teen personal decision making. New York taxpayers should contact their legislators and urge the passage of the Healthy Teens Act.

Linda Ulrich-Hagner
East Aurora

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>Casino opponents have nothing better to offer

I'm a resident of Buffalo and support the Seneca Nation for attempting to bring life and employment to a section of the city that has long been neglected by the same people who are trying to stop the Senecas.

Casino opponents have repeatedly claimed the Senecas are not offering a good deal. County Executive Joel Giambra has led Erie County to a steep financial decline. John LaFalce was in Congress during an out-of-control tailspin in Niagara County that resulted in the loss of thousands of jobs, and yet he has the audacity to attempt to stop the Seneca Nation in the creation of 1,000-plus jobs. Citizens for a Better Buffalo has accomplished nothing for the city.

These same people are unwilling to replace the investment and commitment the Seneca Nation has made. Companies looking to relocate to Buffalo see this and count us out because they do not want the legal hassles. Young people leave because they see no future. Some good deal.

Jean M. Dunbar
Buffalo

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>Threats about Thruway won't help the situation

Let me point out that Article 6 of the 1794 Canandaigua Treaty expressly states, in part: "the Six Nations [including the Senecas] will forever allow to the people of the United States a free passage through their lands." I urge all parties to back off from confrontation and rethink their positions. The treaty provides our peace and friendship shall be perpetual. We do not want violence. Legal and political redress is available.

Michael Fitzpatrick
Lake View

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>No silver lining in this dark cloud

I read recently that online sales of licensed Virginia Tech merchandise and apparel are booming. What's that saying: "Every dark cloud has a silver lining"? Well, it doesn't apply in this case. Not even the silver-lined cash drawers of Virginia Tech merchants can undo the bitter pain endured in Blacksburg on April 16.

David G. Crewdson
Hamburg

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