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EVERYBODY'S COLUMN

Time to say goodbye to crumbling Statler

The stately Statler Hotel was a great building in downtown Buffalo where I attended many business meetings. It spoke elegantly to all who walked into its prestigious mezzanine. Many of us upstart advertising executives in the '60s devoted much effort and naive enthusiasm to awaken Buffalo's power people to boost the city's sagging image. Even back then, there were plans on the drawing board to do something to move Buffalo off the dime. Somehow, there always seemed to be a great abyss between drawing board activity and common-sense, doable accomplishment.

Mark Croce has plans to reopen the Statler, starting with the first two floors to generate some income and then moving to upper floors. The same, old, good-intentioned plans will require at least $100 million to bring this 800-pound gorilla up to modern, usable space, which the city doesn't need; especially with HSBC's future occupancy hanging.

The land upon which the Statler now sits is much more strategic and valuable to downtown Buffalo's future than putting a bandage on two floors of a tired, old, deteriorating has-been, and then waiting for the magic to happen.

It's time for a consensus vision to let the Statler go. She has lived her time. Tear her down. We have enough old history to keep the preservationists' tours busy. Let's forget what was (for awhile) and look forward to what can and should be here now. Let's imitate the vision of the big-thinkers in China, Dubai and those here (Avant and Courthouse) who are creating signature, environmentally friendly buildings for modern-day use, not preserving the crumbling brick and mortar beyond sensible retention.

Clayton Stahlka

Williamsville

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Establish a perimeter around North America

I am writing this letter as a Canadian currently staying in Buffalo. I've been a supporter of Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper for years now. Whereas Harper and President Obama are currently negotiating a far-reaching perimeter deal piggybacking on the "Shiprider Agreement," Canada and the United States should strive to harmonize trade policies and drug regulations to create a customs union, thereby reducing external tariffs between the two countries and lowering the price of merchandise and goods for consumers.

I believe that aligning Canada's security laws with the United States -- in light of 9/1 1 and the ensuing terrorism, counterfeit money and unsafe products manufactured in China and other countries whose standards are not on par with North American ones -- would go a long way to achieve a win-win situation for both countries. Therefore, I vote "yes" for establishing a perimeter around North America and subsequently easing the flow of travelers, labor and business people from Canada to the United States.

Steve Norris

Cheektowaga

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All life should be protected, nurtured

In the arguments put forth for and against abortion, the basic and indisputable fact is that we are arguing about babies. What are babies? Living extensions of their mothers and fathers. Babies conceived in their mothers, babies growing in their mothers' wombs, babies delivered at term by their mothers.

What can anyone logically and truthfully rationalize about babies? How much longer can we persist to rationalize whether a baby is life or not?

Look in the mirror. Are you life? Are you human? Where did you come from? Were you a helpless, innocent baby? Were you a disposable blob of tissue? Should you have been protected when you were a baby in your mother's womb or should you have been disposed of because you were only a blob of tissue?

You have the answer. Only by looking into your mirror can you honestly determine whether or not life is to be treasured, nurtured and protected from conception to natural death. Can you or I deny anyone life? My mirror tells me that I am life. What does your mirror tell you?

Stella L. Ryndak

North Tonawanda

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Indulgence in torture sends wrong message

While the president lectures the Chinese on human rights, the administration is planning new military commission trials at Guantanamo. The defendants will include Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, who was egregiously tortured by the CIA, making a conviction in civilian court difficult and the trial a source of international embarrassment.

At Guantanamo, the defendant won't be allowed to speak about torture, and evidence obtained by it may be admissible.

Consider the mental gyrations required by this and the last commission trial. On the one hand, we have to say that Nashiri was a combatant in a war, rather than a mass murderer, since otherwise military commissions might be illegitimate. On the other hand, in the last trial we said that Omar Ahmed Khadr was a murderer, rather than a prisoner of war, for throwing a grenade at a U.S. soldier while we were invading Afghanistan.

Thus the Bush administration's indulgence in torture, and the Obama administration's refusal to allow Americans to know the full scope of the abuses, stop us from providing fair trials and further convince the world that we are hypocrites about human rights.

Our desire to maintain a pretense of legality in this situation leads us into arguments that are substantively inconsistent, and can be reconciled only by tortuous legal argumentation, further blemishing our reputation around the world, and our capacity to maintain the rule of law at home and abroad.

Stephen Hart

Buffalo

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Don't blame Limbaugh; he speaks the truth

The sheriff of Tucson, Ariz., has at least one friend, according to a letter in Everybody's Column on Jan. 17. Writers blame Rush Limbaugh and "others of their kind" with splitting this country apart, reminiscent of Nazi Germany in the 1930s when the lies were repeated over and over until the people began to believe them as being true.

As a frequent listener of Limbaugh, I have never heard anything that could be called a "lie." I would like all the people who are accusing Limbaugh of lying to please tell us just what these lies are.

Patrick J. Mellody Sr.

Derby

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State representatives need to hear from us

A for Denise Jewell Gee's Jan. 24 column, "If we care for our state, let's step up." In full support of her comments, it would be great if The News would have a pull-out page or a clip-out spot on the front page with legislators' contact information. Few people have the necessary information needed to get their messages to their representatives in Albany.

Jean Duffy

Williamsville

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