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Obama, Congress right to kill known terrorist

Frankly, I'm having trouble starting to rebut a recent letter in this column. The writer suggested that the president and members of Congress be charged with a crime in the killing of American citizen Anwar al-Awlaki in Yemen. If that wasn't a stretch of the imagination, the writer compounded his ridiculous assertion by suggesting that the government is now free to target American citizens at home. I assume he meant peace-loving citizens. How killing a well-known terrorist translates to killing Americans at home is anyone's guess.

Al-Awlaki's well-known hand in numerous murderous attacks on innocent men, women and children cannot be denied. His most famous terrorist event was the Fort Hood massacre of about a dozen people by an Arab Army officer, who was inspired to do so by al-Awlaki. Surely the writer must be aware of this fact. And still he objects to the terrorist's death just because he's an American citizen?

Should this criminal have been allowed to continue in his murderous ways? Did the writer think al-Awlaki was going to change or turn himself in to American authorities? If that is the case, I have oceanfront property in Kansas I can sell him.

I hope the writer is the only reader of this column who holds this distorted view in the killing of al-Awlaki.

Philip Fanone

West Seneca

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County is maintaining Como Park very well

Como Park is an absolute jewel. It is beautifully maintained and always clean. Literally thousands of people have annually enjoyed all that the park has to offer. New shelters have been built. New disc golf equipment is used daily. Modern slides and playground equipment have been the source of countless hours of fun for the kids. All of this without any fee to get into the park.

In addition, the work force has been reduced but the efficiency has been drastically increased. All one has to do is to witness the expertise of those who expertly mow the many hundreds of acres of lawn and you will know exactly what I mean.

I remember back in the early 1930s when Como Park was opened. I have lived near the park all of my life. It is easy to see that it is managed now better than it ever was. Those who claim that county parks are mismanaged simply do not know what they are talking about.

Dick Young

Lancaster

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Members of Congress need to work together

Our political parties, and many individuals, continue to operate on an all-or-nothing, confrontational basis. It's a sad commentary that what divides us has become more important than what makes us the same, and this country great. Many seem to have forgotten that our government is by the people and for the people.

Our supercommittee and Congress offer little more than political platitudes and ideological rhetoric. They act like kids who can't get their own way, and cooperation is not a skill they know or like. In the meantime, the majority of Americans spiral down while we watch dysfunction and the divisive talking heads who are trying to keep their ratings up.

We can no longer afford politics as usual. Our country cannot afford additional partisan and ideological gridlock. Failure of the supercommittee would trigger deep, across-the-board budget cuts to defense and other areas of spending without adequate forethought and with real, adverse consequences. Failure is not an option for this country -- for the rich or for the poor. We are destroying ourselves faster than our enemies could ever hope for.

We stand or sink together, regardless of how we feel on individual issues. We the people need to stop complaining and take action -- hit the donkey or the elephant on the head! Cooperation is the operative word. No more labels. If you can't work out a compromise, you're out. No money to politicians and political parties that continue to go it alone. No more finger pointing for our politicians.

Linda Weiss

Williamsville

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Cain's 9-9-9 tax plan is threat to Social Security

It was stated in Peter Morici's Oct. 17 Another Voice on tax policy that Herman Cain's 9-9-9 plan would end Social Security and Medicare taxes. All taxes would be part of the 9 percent income tax, corporate tax and new national sales taxes. President Franklin D. Roosevelt's vehement belief was that the Social Security tax must be paid by the individual taxpayer in order to safeguard it from being called a giveaway.

Since it would be paid for by the future recipient, and set aside separately from the other national revenues, it would always be there for the retiring person. Therefore, proposals that weaken this set-aside for Social Security threaten it. Roosevelt saw this coming and we should keep in mind the reason he insisted on this. Documents showing his beliefs in this regard are currently on display in Hyde Park at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library, in a special exhibit on Social Security.

Mariam R. Shannon

Alden

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Did 2nd Chance Prom have to be so elitist?

On the way to the 2nd Chance Prom, my friends and I passed a group of Occupy Buffalo protesters. Some held signs that read, "We are the 99 percent," referring to the income disparity between the richest 1 percent of Americans and the other 99 percent.

Upon entering the Statler Towers' ballroom, where the prom was held, we passed a group of men on our right. There was a space between the men and a row of small trees. We tried to walk through the space to the bar, but were stopped by the men, apparently security guards, who said it was VIP only. Feeling embarrassed, we walked over to the bar on the left, which we hadn't noticed originally, got drinks and moved toward the dance floor.

People were dancing, and we looked around for a place to put our coats and purses so we could join them. There were a handful of tall tables set up on the edges of the floor. There were no chairs. We scanned the room, and behind a barricade of small trees marking the VIP area were dozens of tables. Three or four people were sitting at them. The rest were empty. The prom was from 7 p.m. until midnight. Apparently everyone who wasn't a VIP was expected to stand for five hours.

The regular prom tickets cost $35, and the VIP tickets cost $100 per person. Buffalo is a blue-collar town. How many people can afford $100 tickets? How sad that even in a poor city like Buffalo, events are still elitist. This prom should be an opportunity for everyone to be equal and have a great time, not an event that caters to a wealthy minority.

Sarah Mika

Sloan