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Obama likely took steps to protect union cronies

The Sept. 13 article in The News, “Federal role in Delphi pension flap confirmed,” should come as no surprise to anyone. We will find out more as court orders have been issued to government agencies, including the Treasury Department and the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp., which have fought for years to keep secret their role in this deceitful act of saving the UAW pension rights, to produce thousands of pages of documents relating to members’ pensions, while throwing the non-union Delphi workers’ pension rights under the bus.

President Obama has long been the fawning toady of labor unions. He famously told one labor convention, “I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for you.” And labor called in its IOU.

Christy Romero, the special inspector general for the Troubled Asset Relief Program, said in the report to Congress that the Treasury Department’s auto team “made it clear to GM that they wanted an agreement with the UAW prior to bankruptcy and the auto team actively negotiated and made the overall deal.” Does anyone believe that the president didn’t have an active role in ordering Treasury to protect his union cronies? This is class warfare at its dirtiest.

But of course, that’s what $7 million contributed by the UAW to our Humpty Dumpty president’s 2008 campaign will get you.

Alfred V. Eade

Olean

Local residents pay too much for power

In a recent News article, Assemblyman Sean Ryan stated that the Public Service Commission should curb profits of our local fuel provider, National Fuel Gas. I have found that heating costs have improved in the last few years.

Instead, Ryan should investigate the profits of National Grid. Recent billings have been excessive. I am a conservative user, watch minimal TV and do not have air conditioning. I know of other areas of the country that are much more considerate of the consumer. Of all places, with our power, why is it so expensive?

Carol Ennis

East Amherst

Education, social issues should be top priorities

In 2000, I retired after 40-some years in teaching. During those years, our schools seemed to prepare many of our youth for a better life. However, since 2000 things have deteriorated to a “less-than-bare-bones” situation.

On July 20, 1969, we felt American education contributed to Neil Armstrong’s stepping on to the moon earlier than the decade President Kennedy pronounced that would require. Back then, the United States could afford to fund its space, military and foreign aid programs without cutting its educational and social program funding.

Now, financial cuts have closed thousands of schools and gutted classroom teaching and support positions in cities like Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit, Philadelphia, Los Angeles and in other urban, suburban and rural districts across the nation.

Can the United States still fund its space, military and foreign aid programs today as it did in the 1960s? Doing so should not come at the expense of education and other social needs in our nation.

At the very best, this is a Hobson’s choice. As our nation deals with economic recovery, reductions in space program, military and foreign aid expenditures should be diverted to improving school programs and dealing with worsening social needs. Curtailment, not elimination, of space program, military and foreign aid is recommended.

Computers, and much more that was developed in our initial space program, changed life forever. The NASA Voyager 1 that has left the solar system will probably have at least an equal impact, requiring a more enlightened population. Thus, our nation cannot risk failing to deal with the increasing problems of students in underfunded classrooms and social problems reducing the quality of life for the masses.

Conrad F. Toepfer

Getzville

Regulate e-cigarettes to protect the public

A recent CDC report indicates e-cigarette use has more than doubled among U.S. students. This is troubling because teens who begin smoking e-cigarettes may graduate to traditional cigarettes. The currently unregulated nicotine delivery device is offered in candy flavors that are attractive to young people.

While e-cigarette use is on the rise, cigarette smoking remains the cause for the most premature death and disease in this country. Never starting tobacco is the healthiest option and quitting tobacco as soon as possible is the next best option.

There are reasons to believe e-cigarettes are safer than cigarettes, but also reasons to be concerned about their impact on public health. A generation ago, the scientific community thought that “light” cigarettes were safer than regular cigarettes and many even encouraged smokers to switch to lights to reduce their risk, but the scientific community was wrong and public health suffered.

The Food and Drug Administration needs to act to exert its authority to regulate e-cigarettes and to use the best available science to guide its actions to maximize public health.

Andrew Hyland, Ph.D.

Chairman, Department of Health

Behavior, Roswell Park Cancer

Institute, Buffalo

Switching from coal to natural gas is smart

The Sept. 12 My View on natural gas versus coal in global warming contributions is factually incorrect. Electricity generation is the largest source of carbon dioxide emissions in this country. The burning of natural gas contributes only 30 percent to 40 percent of the carbon dioxide produced by coal. The conversion from coal to natural gas in many of our power plants is the largest single factor in an unexpected 12 percent reduction is U.S. carbon dioxide emissions since 2005, bringing us back to 1996 levels.

The economic recession made some contribution to this decline, as well as more energy-efficient cars, but conversion to natural gas is recognized in peer-reviewed data as the biggest contributor to this decline. Unfortunately, our decline is still being easily outstripped by coal-fired plants being built in great numbers in China and India (to name two nations), and world carbon dioxide levels are now at their highest in at least 800,000 years.

Current projections on global warming impacts show this decline outweighs the potential contribution posed by the threat of methane leaks in the fracking and mining technologies. There is no scientific justification for the writer’s misstatements on this topic.

Don Paul

East Amherst

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