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Everybody's column

Denying steelworkers benefits is a disgrace

I was a "roll turner," a machinist who machined the rolls used in the production of steel, for five years during the 1960s. I was diagnosed and treated with chemotherapy and radiation for lymphosarcoma and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma from 1982 to today. Though treatable, it is an incurable cancer.

The Nov. 12 News article, "Reassessing the health risk at Bethlehem," asks where the recycled uranium products went. They went into men like me who have suffered with cancer for more than 25 years and have had a terribly painful quality of life, which my family has been compelled to suffer with me.

The arbitrary dates of coverage for workers affected are deliberately inadequate. The shelf life of recycled uranium is more than 500 years! The denial of benefits by the federal government to men like me is yet another shameful example of the treachery and injustice of a huge, uncaring bureaucracy.

Thomas E. Leatherbarrow

West Seneca


Clinton presidency sure looks good now

A radical conservative letter writer gave us a glimpse of a Clinton-led future. His use of the word "liberal" would equate with leprosy. Liberal is a word that should be associated with liberation because, since Franklin Roosevelt, programs to provide a social network for all have been initiated by liberals.

I would love to go back to the future under a Clinton administration. President Bill Clinton left the country with a reputation in high regard all over the world, a balanced budget and a huge surplus. He also left a U.S. dollar that was at a premium. Any police action taken was settled quickly, with responsibility and cost shared by a real coalition.

We don't have to imagine a future under a compassionate conservative -- we are living in it. Budget deficits for years, a war waged under false pretenses and a "let's pretend" coalition costing 3,800 dead Americans and 50,000 wounded.

We are economic deadbeats in the world, with our currency turning into Monopoly money. The dollar is as shabby as our leadership. I can't wait to get back to another Clinton administration. It's got to better than what we have right now.

Dick Czarnecki



Deputy county executive should be a local person

Our county executive-elect said he will have a national search to find a deputy county executive. I am sure this will be done at taxpayers' expense. No one seems to see a problem with this ongoing attitude that we have no great talent living right here to fill these positions. They may even have been educated in one of our excellent universities or colleges.

We have heard our politicians say that they are going to stop the exodus of our children, who now have to find meaningful employment elsewhere. Then we have elected officials who claim they are creating jobs here seeking people from outside our area to serve our needs.

What kind of message does a national search send to the people who live here and are qualified to fill these positions? It is like saying we do not want you, we can find somebody better from someplace else. What a shame on us all.

A national search is just a way to guarantee that the influence, the power and the money remain in the hands of a few. We end up with someone who stays in the job a short time and has been provided so many contract benefits that he leaves richer and we are poorer for the national search. Why not give someone who lives here -- who has the qualifications, the education and the background -- a chance?

Gary A. De Tample



People finally waking up, challenging the status quo

What happened to the usual Democratic machine in last week's election? Where was the usual support from the labor unions, the municipal workers, the minorities, the environmentalists? What happened? Fact is, it's just not there anymore. Perhaps people are finally becoming fed up with the status quo.

Add this to the current approval ratings of the Democratic Congress in Washington, and I'd say there is a message here. Should this be a wake-up call for future elections? I think so. It's time for the government officials to start working for the people, instead of just re-electing themselves. Because we aren't going to let them do that anymore.

Thomas P. Ciano



America can save oil by expanding Amtrak

With oil getting near $100 per barrel and regular gas at the pump approaching $3.50, we are getting many calls to do something to save oil. I have one simple suggestion that seems to be eluding our governmental wise men. Here it is. Make Amtrak free or very low cost. That may sound silly, but it is really not too far fetched.

First, if we could get thousands of people to take the train instead of driving, there is no question that the country would use a lot less gas. Second, the cost of doubling or tripling the number of people on each train would add almost nothing to the amount of oil used by the railroad system each day. It takes no more oil to pull a full passenger train than it does an empty one. Third, Congress picks up most of the cost of Amtrak, so whatever the subsidy increase that would be required to cover the cost should be worth the extra funding, considering the savings in oil and the reduction in gas prices.

Philip J. Kintner



Country music accepts artists of all genres

Why did Jeff Simon have to taint his review of Keith Urban's Buffalo show by being so hung up on labels? I can't really see his point in insisting that Urban is not a country musician.

Country music has something that he is definitely lacking -- acceptance. It's a place where artists who don't necessarily "fit" into another genre can come and be welcomed with open arms. And that leads to great talents like Urban gaining an outlet where their music can actually be heard and appreciated. To me, that's one of the best things about the country music industry and its fans.

Rock music started in the '50s with a combination of different genres such as blues, country, gospel and jazz. So doesn't it make sense that some artists can be country and rock? Or better yet, why not just great music from an awesome talent and leave it at that?

Country music and its fans are the reason Urban has made it this far, and for that I'm sure he would gladly profess, "I'm a country artist," just as sure as I would profess, "I'm a country fan."

Katie DelMonte


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