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Public is beginning wake up from its tea party slumber

The vice president was right in likening the tea party to "terrorists" following the debt deal debacle. Thinking that this so-called grassroots movement is simply comprised of insane right-wing extremists would be slightly inaccurate, however.

Tea party-backed members in Congress certainly acted like terrorists by holding this nation's economy hostage through their vehement opposition to any form of tax increase in the days leading up to the deadline. It can also be said that Michele Bachmann's caucus has hijacked the Republican Party and has suppressed any element of moderation within its ranks.

Yet it is important to note that terrorists commit atrocities because they believe in a warped ideology that assures them that what they are doing is right. Therein lies the difference; the tea party is driven not by radical libertarian ideology but the ambitions of career GOP politicians. These supposed anti-spending crusaders are simply doing what they have been doing for decades, which is satisfying the greedy desires of wealthy backers like the Koch brothers.

The public is beginning to see through this facade and, based on recent polls, support the president's position that the economy cannot survive on budget cuts alone. Republicans should be wary of this tide of discontent as whatever gains they made on Capitol Hill in 2010 can very well be wiped out in 2012.

They can also consider trying to recapture the White House a lost cause.

Anees Kashmiri

East Amherst

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Ken-Ton superintendent shows real leadership

I would like to commend Ken-Ton superintendent Mark Mondanaro for his decision to make concessions regarding his wages and benefits. He truly has the best interests of his district and students in mind. This is quite a contrast to the outgoing Buffalo superintendent, who is squeezing every last dime from that district. Does he have no conscience?

My family and everyone I know is making sacrifices and trying hard to make ends meet. If all school districts would bite the bullet and make a concerted effort to make real budget cuts, teachers would not be laid off, class sizes would not grow, services would not be cut, programs, clubs and sports would not be eliminated.

My own children are feeling the pinch. Our school district has made many cuts to sports and clubs. I fear what the next budget will look like if the district doesn't make some real changes.

Jill M. Wierzba

Sloan

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New fuel standards must be kept in place

I was shocked to hear of the tornado that tore through Wayne County on Sunday, wreaking havoc on Butler and Savannah before moving on to damage parts of Conquest in Cayuga County. The news made me pause and ask myself: When did central New York start getting tornadoes?

This has been a year of strange weather across the country. Record-setting tornado seasons in the Southeast and Midwest have made for frequent and heartbreaking news. While no single weather event can be directly attributed to global warming, this wet, hot weather that spawns tornadoes is exactly the sort of forecast that scientists have predicted on a warming planet. It seems clear that we need to act to stop global warming or tornadoes in central New York may become a more common problem.

Fortunately, President Obama just announced one of the biggest steps the United States has ever taken to combat climate change. The administration has decided to increase vehicle fuel efficiency standards to 54.5 miles-per-gallon by 2025. This will cut annual emissions of global warming pollution by 280 million metric tons -- equal to 72 coal-fired power plants -- in 2030.

The president deserves congratulations, but now he should make sure that no loopholes are created to undermine the greenhouse gas reductions and oil savings that these new standards promise.

Eric Whalen

Field Organizer

Environment New York

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Changes should account for the average worker

I took a deep breath when I read the Aug. 6 News editorial, "A Crisis of Confidence." I thought here we go again, the mention of President Franklin Roosevelt and the Great Depression of the 1930s. If we put people back to work all boats would start to rise. Not only professional jobs, but also the average worker.

President Roosevelt also started the contract (that's what it is) with the American worker, which has been ruined and misnamed through the years. All the IOU's taken from the Social Security cookie jar should be put back. Corporate America now needs to put some stimulus money in the cookie jar. No matter how those in power try to figure new ways about Social Security, it must be what it was intended, to help the average person help pay their bills at retirement. If technology helps more people live to be 101, should we make people retire at age 80? Hard laborers need to retire at a reasonable age.

I hope the congressional supercommittee established by the debt ceiling deal to propose further deficit reduction will be mindful of the average worker.

President Roosevelt came from a privileged class, but he never forgot the average American worker. It's the American way.

Livia Menza Cammarano

Buffalo

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Peace Bridge inertia is still unacceptable

Ten years of dithering over the needed Peace Bridge replacement and the attendant Homeland Security-mandated plaza upgrade have already cost our region dearly in federal funding. While communities gazed into the clouds and imagined a "signature" bridge, the U.S. economy went into its biggest slump since the Great Depression. So now, our options are limited. However, opportunities remain -- as long as we act quickly and decisively.

Everybody involved, it seems, wants to optimize. Wonderful. But an optimal nothing is still a nothing. It's time to do something, while it's still possible to do anything.

Margot Hamilton

North Tonawanda

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Signs show that Perry may not be the choice

Texas Gov. Rick Perry does not believe climate change is caused by the behavior of human beings. Curiously, Texas has suffered from a devastating drought for the 10 years he has held office. Maybe God is telling him he is doing a really bad job as governor. If that is true, the United States certainly does not need to add drought to our already long list of problems by electing him president.

Richard Czarnecki

Sanborn