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Where we stand

Over the last week, the editorial board of The Buffalo News met with policy-makers and leaders and researched, analyzed and debated issues affecting this community. Here's a summary of the week's editorials, which can be read in full on our Web pages:

Sunday: The News' editorial board backed Gov. David A. Paterson's approach to enacting much-needed state spending cuts by including parts of his proposed pared-down budget in the weekly "extender bills" that keep government running. That forces a Legislature that can't bring itself to make politically tough choices either to go along with the cuts or shut down the government, triggering chaos that would bring even more political pain. So far, the Legislature has blinked. Paterson deserves credit for continually seeking solutions to the state's fiscal mess.

Monday: The day's top editorial supported efforts to expand the state's DNA evidence databank yet again, this time to include DNA samples from anyone convicted of any crime here. In an earlier expansion in 2006, some 200 crimes were exempted; there's no good reason for that. A second editorial hoped that close attention was being paid to what was working and what wasn't in the response to the gulf oil leak, so that better regulations and better responses can be devised for the future.

Tuesday: The editorial board once again urged state lawmakers to push hard to pass the Public Higher Education Empowerment and Innovation Act, a statewide version of the UB 2020 plan that would give state university campuses more flexibility and more ability to be the economic engines that places such as Western New York need. A second editorial took a look at a California open-primary proposition that will erase party lines in picking top candidates, analyzing some pros and cons but concluding this is worth keeping an eye on.

Wednesday: The national disgrace of mishandled burials at Arlington National Cemetery, America's iconic resting place for fallen warriors, drew the ire of our editorialists, who viewed the replacement of cemetery management as just a first step in making sure the country's obligations to those who sacrificed are met. A second editorial backed New York passage of a gun-tracing measure called microstamping, which leaves tiny marks on the cartridges of semiautomatic pistols.

Thursday: President Obama's first Oval Office address, on the gulf oil disaster, drew a review in the day's top editorial -- which found it mostly rhetoric that would have played better on day three or four of the disaster than it did on day 57, especially in the gulf region; Obama got credit, though, for making BP establish an escrow compensation fund. The second editorial said Rep. James Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin, who owns BP stock, should recuse himself from the House investigation of the disaster, something he didn't plan on doing.

Friday: Celebrating good news, the day's three editorials praised a State Canal Corp. plan to add 100 boat and canoe launch sites along the Erie Canal, capitalizing on a state historic treasure that has become a recreational asset; noted a top-10 national ranking for City Honors High School and said it served as an example of what's possible despite education system challenges; and applauded the spirit of public service in a move that installs a National Fuel executive paid by the utility as top deputy to County Executive Chris Collins, and allows Jeffrey F. Hart to donate his mandatory county salary to charity.

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