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EVERYBODY'S COLUMN

Far right's rhetoric is splitting nation apart

Recent developments in this country have upset me to the point of anger, including the threats and vandalism to the offices of Congresswoman Louise Slaughter in New York and the horrible, senseless shooting in Arizona of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, Judge John Roll and eighteen others including a 9-year-old girl.

The sheriff of Tucson was absolutely right when he said the rhetoric of the far right was the cause of the unrest permeating the country today. The lies, bigotry and hatred being spread by Fox News, Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh and the others of their kind is splitting this country apart. Meanwhile, they are getting rich at our expense.

The tactics they are using to split us down the middle are reminiscent of Nazi Germany in the 1930s, where the lies were repeated over and over until the people began to believe them. Meanwhile, the rest of the world stood by and did nothing.

I see greed and dishonesty creeping into the highest levels of our government. If we are to survive as a nation we must stop the present direction we are headed and throw the lobbyists and influence peddlers out of the temple and return to the principles and values that made us the greatest country in the history of the civilized world.

If all of us would do our own due diligence, question those who lie and stand up to the bigots, we might be able to return to our former level of greatness.

John C. Dillenburg

Forestville

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Jobs are indeed available for those who want to work

Yes, I agree, the economy isn't the greatest now. Jobs paying a true living wage may be few and far between, but I believe anyone who has been out of work for two or more years and has zero income really isn't looking for work.

I lost my job in early November and I decided I was going to enjoy the holidays and not even start looking for work until after Christmas. In the time since, I have found a job, which I started working on Jan. 10, I turned down another offer and did not show up for two other interviews. I also have a job lined up for a mid-March start. I will have to decide whether I will take that one or stay with the one I just started. Hopefully, I can work both.

I have no special skills, I'm 53 years old and I have only a high school diploma, so I have no advantage over anyone else. I just have a will to work and the drive to look for what is out there. There is work available. Earning $12 to $15 per hour is good money when you have not worked in two years. It is good enough for me now. Get out and look, there are jobs, you just have to want to work.

Vincent Romano

Lancaster

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Great neighbors keeping our sidewalks snow-free

The evidence that there are still good people in this world continues to grow. In the past few days, I have seen:

At least two gentlemen who regularly snowblow the driveways and sidewalks of widows and elderly neighbors.

A 94-year-old gentleman who snowblows his entire long block so that people can get to the church at the end of the block.

These acts of kindness define what it is to be a good neighbor. If I see this many acts of kindness, how many more have I not seen?

Elfrida Orlowski

Snyder

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Esmonde uses broad brush to disparage Canadian fans

After reading Donn Esmonde's Jan. 9 column, it seems that we have different experiences for a Tale of Two Cities. While he apparently relied on interviews of people at restaurants and pubs, I had the good fortune of sitting in the midst of very friendly and enthusiastic Canadian families at several of the World Junior Hockey games. The broad brush that was used in the column regarding the Canadian fans' behavior presented a point of view mired in stereotypes, and certainly not a complete picture.

We have had such wonderful opportunities to collaborate with our Canadian neighbors and we want to see more of it. Personally, I thank them for spending time in our city, bringing their children, going to Albright-Knox to see the hockey exhibit and helping to bring new energy, life and yes, dollars, to downtown and our shopping malls in Western New York. If we are to position ourselves as a city worth visiting, we must first be ready to embrace those who are most likely to visit on a regular basis rather than perpetuating sour, disparaging perceptions.

As Esmonde suggested, we do enjoy many attributes of the neighborly relationship we share with our friends across the border. Let us reciprocate the welcoming spirit from which we so often benefit. Let us focus on how we may further partner with our neighbors to the north for a stronger region. Furthermore, let us also seize every chance we can to engage in positive, civil, respectful dialogue and proliferate publicly the best that our community has to offer.

Lana D. Benatovich

President, National Federation for Just Communities of Western New York

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Kane has always done good job for city schools

By my reckoning, James Kane has served under six Buffalo Public School superintendents. His career has spanned decades; toiling mostly in obscurity, working hard for the parents and kids of the district as the right-hand man to those wielding power.

A recent editorial highlighted the "no-win" nature of his job. Kane's work has always required the utmost loyalty and discretion. Period. To suggest that he is a policy maker responsible for the sometimes questionable behavior of others was totally off the mark. If The News would like a list of people from the past four decades who have behaved badly in regard to the schools, just let me know. Kane will never be on that list.

Chief of staff, executive assistant to the superintendent -- the titles have changed, but the job hasn't. He is running interference for some of the most powerful people in the community day in, day out. All guts, no glory. Kane is frequently the first one in City Hall in the morning and the last one out at night.

On behalf of the countless families and students he has compassionately assisted over the years, I wanted to set the record straight.

Ann K. Lupo

Buffalo

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Take a stand against excessive regulation

Concerning The News article, "City may get aid to curb tobacco," on Jan. 8, I am not a smoker but I am still frightened by the proposed law. If we don't take a stand now against the excessive regulation of tobacco, I guarantee we'll be sitting here in a few years fighting over a different product.

Matthew Mancini

East Amherst

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