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Everybody's Column

>Hold all candidates to the same standard

The News editorial bashing Sarah Palin's debate was no surprise. Under the guise of vetting, it has pursued Palin with a level of scrutiny that it has refused to apply to the many legitimate controversies that still surround the first-term senator from Illinois.

Likewise, The News portrays Joe Biden's debate as all-knowing, while giving him a complete pass on his numerous errors, if not lies. For example, he cited the wrong Article of the Constitution as defining the role of the vice president and he falsely claimed that the United States and France had kicked Hezbollah out of Lebanon. He also falsely denied that Barack Obama had pledged to unconditionally meet with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran even though Biden himself had criticized Obama's pledge at the time.

The News has already ignored perhaps the most revealing lack of knowledge. In the first debate, Obama tried to invoke the memory of a particular dead U.S. soldier. Obama did not even know the name of that soldier; instead, Obama had to look down and read the name of the soldier off the bracelet that he claims to wear in memory and honor of that soldier. To some, that particular lack of knowledge sums up everything we already knew about the man who wants to be our next commander in chief.

Randall D. White
Grand Island


>For some patients, drugs are essential

As a reader and psychotherapist, I read the article "Look ma, no drugs" in the Oct. 7 News. It is true that there are a number of situations where drugs can be avoided, especially with children. Self-help techniques like relaxation, meditation and a calm, non-threatening, positive environment can sometimes be all that a particular child needs.

On the other hand, there are individuals who would commit suicide or homicide without their essential prescriptions. We know this to be true with severely psychotic patients who have little or no control over their actions and who are likely to carry out their destructive impulses if not regularly medicated. In cases of severe clinical depression, life-saving prescribed drugs have prevented self-harm, the worst of which is suicide.

Ursula A. Falk


>'Maverick' McCain is true-blue Republican

Presidential candidate John McCain made it emphatically clear in Tuesday night's debate that as president he would continue the Bush tax breaks for the very people they were most designed for, the super wealthy. It doesn't seem to bother McCain that the investment and banking CEOs who plunged the country and world into economic chaos will reap a windfall in bonus and retirement packages and, to further insult the American people, will receive a massive tax break on top of it. Already awash in money, they will now be drowning in it. McCain the maverick is McCain the Republican, make no mistake about that.

At the time of his departure, Stanley O'Neal of Merrill Lynch received a package valued at $161 million after $8 billion in losses; Charles Prince of Citigroup, $100 million; Franklin Raines of Fannie Mae, $240 million; Angelo Mozilo of Countrywide, $56 million, and the list goes on. These people need a tax break for what? Like Ken Lay of Enron, they knew the house of cards would eventually crash, but why should they care? As Warren Buffett said in his recent TV interview, it's hard to stop when the money just keeps pouring in.

The McCain thinking is that by the government rewarding what's, at best, mismanagement and, at worse, willful corruption, we will all benefit from it. This may make sense to Rush Limbaugh and his ultraconservative ditto-brain followers, but it doesn't pass the common sense test for me and I hope most others.

Louis J. Brehm
Lake View


>Corps needs to listen to residents' concerns

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has recently asked for comments and opinions about its Lake Ontario Ordnance Works Outreach Program to involve the community. What I find missing in the current community relations plan is any opportunity for the residents to have technical representation in the actual decision-making process that impacts plans, protocols, objectives and decisions.

The Corps of Engineers' communications have been really one way -- i.e., telling the public and not wanting to be impacted by public input. This has become government actions decided without public representation.

What good is it for any citizen to be interviewed; and then again, for a citizen to speak at a public meeting? Currently, the only subsequent action is for the Corps of Engineers to be the sole decision-maker to listen, consider and decide action on what is said. Since public comment reflects citizens' concerns and awareness -- and it could impact corps' staffing, funding and time lines -- obviously the corps can be considered biased.

The local residents are edgy and very distrustful of the corps. That goes hand in hand with not being integrated or represented in the decision-making process. Apparently, its only major consideration is the scope of the mission.

Walter D. Garrow
LOOW RAB Steering Committee
Vice Chairman and Past Chairman
Niagara Falls


>Politicians have failed the American people

The American government was established by the founding fathers with a system of checks and balances. It is a tool that allows citizens to keep the government and its policies in check. Through a process of greed and corruption, this system of checks and balances has turned into exactly what it reads.

Politicians are more focused on the checks in their pockets and balances in their accounts. The American people have elected these politicians to power on a promise of fair representation in our nation's affairs. But through lust for power, politicians no longer have the American citizen in their focus. They are out for themselves and not the working class, whom they promised to represent.

Had Americans been in the best interest of the government officials, the problems and challenges facing this great country would not exist. This all could have been avoided so easily had the politicians done their job.

But the obvious truth is they have not. We the people, who put them into power, reserve the right to remove them. Thomas Jefferson wrote, "Every generation needs a new revolution." It is time that multiple generations unite and take a closer look at the government and bring it back "down" to reality. Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote, "Every revolution was first a thought in one man's mind."

Paul Holst
West Seneca

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