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There are better ways ?to gain self-respect

I am greatly disturbed. I just finished reading the article titled "Chance encounter changes self-image" in the Nov. 17 News. The caption under the photo, "gained self-confidence and respect on a trip to Italy," is what initially caught my eye because my older daughter spent two years in Italy and it certainly helped her self-confidence.

The article began with the author, a college student spending a month in Rome studying economics and politics, as a member of a group of girls she described as "stuck-up, back-stabbing, prep-school rejects." I felt bad for her. She joined these girls for a night on the town, which is fine, and they ended up in a pub for "British expats and tourists." The article went downhill from there, as her confidence booster involved putting herself in a potentially compromising situation that could have ended very badly – and often does for other girls.

I am shocked that this article would be featured on the front page of the Life & Arts section as a Women's Voices article. I thought that women were trying to fight against the idea of needing the attention of a sleazy guy who probably hits on girls every night looking for a one-night stand to gain confidence and self-respect.

To gain self-confidence and a sense of accomplishment in a foreign country, break away from the stereotypical studying abroad party mold. Immerse yourself in the culture, history, art and architecture of the city. Learn some Italian, even if it's just enough to order an espresso. Make some real friends from other cultures and broaden your worldview. Please don't waste such an opportunity by using it to further the mistaken notion that young women need to compromise themselves in order to gain some "respect."

Michael Zwink

Clarence Center


Legalized marijuana ?would be disastrous

If we are going to legalize pot, as Donn Esmonde suggested in his Nov. 11 column, why should the police bother anyone for DWI? With legalized pot, we will have even more people dead than before. How many people have died from DWI? Now we will give impaired drivers a better chance to murder even more people.

This is the first step in putting more drugs on the street, and legalizing them. Has Esmonde ever talked to people about drug addiction in their families and how they feel about what he says is a good idea? Pot is the beginning of the end for all drug users.

Isn't it bad enough that we have an alcohol and smoking problem in our country? Or does Esmonde really think that pot isn't that bad? Give us the facts about those who never got over the pot and heroin problems, as opposed to those who do not do drugs.

Francis Zimmerman



Secessionists should? renounce citizenship

After the presidential election, I was concerned about the sort of mischief our nation's crazies might get themselves into. I was relieved when it turned out to be secession. What a great idea! They are busy in all 50 states signing petitions for their respective states to withdraw from the Union. That should keep them harmlessly occupied for a while.

Now I suspect those efforts may be fruitless, and thus quite frustrating. Therefore, I suggest to each secessionist a Plan B. Your state won't secede from the Union? You are a person of principle and strong convictions; do it yourself, individually. Personal secession simply would involve renouncing your U.S. citizenship. That means giving up rights that being a citizen entails. Certainly, it would include the right to vote. You would not be eligible for election to any public office. You would not receive any government-sourced educational loans or grants, let alone even be allowed to attend an educational institution.

As a resident non-citizen, would you need a "green card" to be employed? Perhaps you would not be eligible for Medicare, Social Security and that sort of thing. Certainly not unemployment insurance, any form of public assistance or anything but the most basic stabilization health care in an emergency.

You might be the recipient of some non-constitutional treatment like detention without due process. Even if you denounced your citizenship by seceding from the Union, you are still not exactly an alien, legal or otherwise. Proving that you are in this country legally might be problematic.

In summary, your life might become rather difficult, but you surely would have the satisfaction of standing up for your principles. Go for it! Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck will be proud of you.

Paul Lawton



Shorter campaigns? would benefit nation

I agree with the Nov. 16 letter, "We need to reform our political system." I couldn't have written it any better! All the points the writer made are truth-telling and grounded in reality.

Part of the campaign finance reform issue concerning the Supreme Court ruling on Citizens United should also include the shortening of the campaigns themselves, possibly to six weeks. Great Britain's campaign for prime minister lasts only six weeks. Shortening our campaign would allow less money to enter and "run the race" and eliminate a lot of problems associated with corrupt finance. It would also encourage more qualified people to enter the race.

Three debates could be held – one every two weeks – one on international issues, one on domestic issues and one as a town meeting format on a variety of issues brought forth by the citizens.

Our political system needs a major overhaul if democracy and the voice of the people of a "common good" government is to remain the mainstay. Not a plutocracy, where the voice of the people is muffled by the wealthy 1 percent, which would and does perpetuate inequality for the remaining 99 percent. We can handle the change to come.

Judith A. Maldonado

West Seneca


Time to investigate ?do-nothing Congress

After one of the most disgusting political election seasons in history, Congress is back to work. Are our representatives working on putting Americans back to work? Are they honestly attacking our national debt? Of course not. They are shamelessly conducting investigations on the four unfortunate deaths in Benghazi. Let's see, how many of our troops died in Iraq in a useless war? What about the Pat Tillman incident? How about our troops still dying in Afghanistan? Oh, I guess they don't matter.

We sent basically the same representatives back to Congress. They had a 9 percent approval rating, but regardless they are back playing their favorite sport – attacking each other. Wow, we are in desperate need of a leader or leaders to get our dysfunctional Congress to actually accomplish something positive for our country. I agree that an investigation is sorely needed. The entire do-nothing Congress should be investigated for possible malfeasance.

Allen F. Scioli