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We must teach children basics, right from wrong

A few words in a column written by Rod Watson in the Nov. 3 News caught my attention. Duane Diggs said, "Crime -- driven largely by poverty, joblessness and hopelessness -- happens all over Buffalo "

Tell that to Bernie Madoff victims. It appears that our generation needs to lay blame for immorality to poverty, slums and any number of excuses. While the numbers may bear us out, something seems lost in the translation. Many of our forebears settled in this country to escape religious persecution. Although some were criminals, many were religious men and women of high moral character, ready to defend a new nation against tyrants. Our grandparents lived with poverty, hunger and joblessness. They struggled, but kept their moral compass. Honesty, integrity, maybe even fear of God, helped keep a hungry generation on the straight and narrow. It is easy to blame circumstance for corruption.

Sure, we need to combat hunger, joblessness and hopelessness, but somewhere on our "to do" list we need to go back to the basics and teach our children right from wrong. The Walden Avenue facility mentioned in that article is one step, but morality really needs to be reinforced throughout the system. No religion should have a monopoly on it. If we could find a way to teach basic love and morality, an-eye-for-an-eye mentality might disappear. We might even find a path to world peace. Wouldn't that be sweet?

Leila Kahn

Youngstown

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Axing Neaverth's job is good news for taxpayers

The News article on Dan Neaverth Jr.'s job loss left out one major piece of information. What effect does his departure have on the people of Erie County? As a matter of fact, the only reason for keeping Neaverth seems to be that the positions he is supposedly qualified for "were financed in whole or in part by federal grant money, not county tax dollars."

The reporter fails to grasp that tax dollars are tax dollars; they come from the same pockets, no matter what level of government takes them. What is even more disconcerting is Neaverth's assertion that hundreds of thousands of tax dollars were spent training him to prepare for tragedies and natural disasters. Yet based on the article, residents apparently are getting no return on their investment. Why Neaverth's position was abolished is nothing more than political fodder. What the ultimate outcome seems to be is the elimination of questionable governmental positions financed by overburdened taxpayers.

Bob Pfeiffer

Buffalo

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State should take steps to protect prison staff

It's good to see New York State is sobering up from its years of drunken spending. What is so surprising is how the state decides to make these spending cuts. Recently, state leaders have attacked public employees, their wages, benefits and rights, all at a time when they continue to feed and protect their bloated administrators and administrations.

This has never been more apparent than in the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision. In the media, there have been daily reports of possible escape attempts, escape paraphernalia and violent assaults, both inmate-on-inmate and inmate-on-staff. With the recent closing and consolidations of prisons and the supposed loss of inmates, the state has placed a well-run correctional system into a workplace of more danger, fear and stress. One would believe that with this loss of inmate (or as the state now wants them called "offenders") population, these acts of progressive violence would go down. Just the opposite is happening.

For once I would like to see the state change its direction and protect its employees, instead of putting them into a more violent situation than they are already in. To do this, though, it might mean that the state shrinks its bloated administration and stands up for front-line employees who actually work -- and, I might add, work well.

Vinny Blasio

Lake View

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Krauthammer's push to keep U.S. troops in Iraq is pathetic

Charles Krauthammer fears we will "lose" Iraq. I didn't realize that it was ours. Apparently, he believes that if you invade a country, depose its leader and occupy it for eight years, you can stay as long as you like. He does not want us to leave at the end of 2011, as required by the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) that was negotiated by President George W. Bush. Krauthammer wants us to maintain our military presence forever, because that is what would be required. It doesn't matter how long we stay. Once we leave, the level of sectarian violence will escalate until a "strongman" (much like Saddam Hussein) takes over and becomes president for life.

Ironically, the Iraqis' refusal to renegotiate the SOFA under our terms is the best evidence that I am wrong (and I hope I am), and that Iraq may be ready to stand on its own. Liberty cannot be given. It must be taken. The best thing Iraq can do to become free is to show us the door. Krauthammer does not want this, because there is a good chance that Iraq will ally itself with Iran and against Israel; and that is Krauthammer's primary concern. He fears the threat to Israel will increase; and, he knows that once we leave Iraq, we will not go back. That is why he is so desperate to keep a U.S. military presence in Iraq forever.

We invaded a country that did not attack us and posed no threat to us, and did so without a declaration of war. Thousands of innocent Iraqi civilians are dead as a result of our actions. None of this makes any difference to Krauthammer; so content is he to have us keep risking our soldiers' lives indefinitely. Pathetic.

Joseph R. Riggie

Kenmore

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Politicians' foolish policies aid and abet illegal aliens

The murder of a woman in Albion, allegedly by an illegal alien, is repeated far too often in this country, not counting the other crimes they commit. The only thing people understand nowadays is a lawsuit or prosecution. We law-abiding citizens are being victimized by all politicians from the smallest town to the highest in the land who encourage illegals to come to this country and give them special treatment. The policies they make, such as sanctuary cities, encouraging illegals to apply for a driver's license and public assistance, and hindering law enforcement to identify illegals and deport them, makes the politicians accessories to these crimes. They should be sued or prosecuted for the crimes illegal aliens commit.

Once politicians learn they can be held accountable for their policies, they will think twice before they encourage illegal activity. We have some very smart attorneys in this country and I encourage any victim of any crime committed by an illegal alien to include politicians as accessories to these crimes. Then maybe we can return this country to the legal citizens.

Don Brzezinski

Elma