Buffalo General offered excellent transplant care

As a post-transplant patient of the Buffalo General Transplant Center for the past eight years, I feel great sadness that this program is no longer available at this hospital. My sadness is not so much that transplant services will move to Erie County Medical Center, but that all of the people who provided me with such wonderful care will no longer be the support team I have come to rely upon.

If you have never experienced this life-changing event, it is hard to understand the relationship an organ recipient develops with the doctors, nurses, laboratory technicians and support staff. The care recipients need after transplantation is the key to organ retention and it was indeed a team effort at Buffalo General.

One never tells those how much they mean to them until they are gone, and in this case I am in that line. To all of those empathetic and caring people who have served me over the past eight years, I am indebted to you for the gift of your knowledge, skill, time and, most of all, for performing your jobs at all times to the best of your abilities. Receiving the gift of life twice at Buffalo General is a value beyond measure. So, too, is the gift of your care. To be able to heal the body and mend the human spirit was a miracle that occurred every day at Buffalo General.

Jeff Capitani



Let's keep religion, government separate

A radio report on Jan. 2 featured Rick Santorum and his political stance on moral/religious behavior equating to freedom. It included Iowa conservative Christian voters' support for his positions, including blacks needing to be more self-sufficient and not government-dependent. This was followed by a report on Egyptian and Tunisian elections. A Muslim Brotherhood spokesman declared antipathy for secular western liberal art and intellectual beliefs.

Sadly, and with trepidation, I see similarity between the two positions; both very controlling and prejudiced. These two political/religious postures don't separate church and state. They exclude so many people who don't follow a certain religious dogma. They would structure all of society to their controlled "liberty" (the key word in the conservative Christian desire for control of all public institutions.) The talking points are anti-regulation, but put control on all behavior other than under their narrow guidelines.

The religious institutions that are behind taking over government and public institutions are supporting these right-wing candidates. They know what they are doing. All government institutions must be free of this religious control or we won't have true liberty or democracy.

Robert Schulman



Environmental rules are killing many jobs

A recent writer accused Republicans of undermining effective environmental legislation. This is simply not true. The real improvement happened after 1980, under mostly Republican administrations. For example, by 2008, per-capita emissions had plummeted to only 35 percent of their 1980 levels.

For proof that overreaching environmental regulations kill jobs, we need to look no further than Nancy Pelosi's cap-and-trade bill, which required $4.2 billion of taxpayer money for "displaced energy workers." The Democratic Senate killed the bill, and Pelosi lost in a landslide. Closer to home, 122 skilled workers at Somerset Generating Station are facing unemployment and Niagara County is bracing to lose its biggest taxpayer. Although the plant complies with all applicable emission requirements, it became unprofitable because of a $10 million carbon footprint tax arbitrarily imposed by some faceless bureaucrats at the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.

The revenues of Big Environment now approach $10 billion a year. It is hardly in their interest to stop saying the sky is falling. The early, politically driven decision to emphasize carbon dioxide as the main contributor to global warming has come back to bite "the cause." After an investment in the order of $50 billion, no scientifically verifiable link between carbon dioxide and increased temperature has been established.

As a physician, the writer might be interested to know, according to climate historian J.D. Post, that prior to the end of the Little Ice Age in the 19th century, the world was averaging one intercontinental subsistence crisis every 30 years. We have not had another in nearly 200 years. It might be something to think about as 122 potentially "displaced energy workers" ponder their future.

Malcolm Vanderburgh



America must invest in its infrastructure

The federal government has set up the TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) Fund to invest in transportation infrastructure. So far, it has received $90 billion in requests for site-ready construction projects around the country. Yet the federal government has authorized spending only $3 billion to repair, replace or refurbish transportation infrastructure.

When Americans go overseas, they see what other countries are doing with their infrastructure. When they come home to compare, what they see is a crumbling, shabby nation.

While the Republican Party at the federal level drags its political feet on all programs to defeat President Obama -- its number one expressed goal -- the nation loses economic vitality.

The effect is a country collapsing in employment, infrastructure, investment, research and development, education and everything else that makes a country a superpower in the world.

When we expend our treasure fighting wars and police actions that cost trillions of dollars, do we think those countries appreciate our efforts? It's about time we stop strutting on the international stage and start nation-building right here in our shabby country before it's too late.

Richard Czarnecki



Remove Faso from post until probe is complete

I was so upset after reading the article, "SPCA in Erie County to probe charges against Faso." I can't believe Executive Director John Faso is still at the SPCA of Niagara. Although the allegations have not yet been verified, reports say that nearly 600 cats and dogs, some of them healthy, were euthanized at the Niagara shelter since Oct. 1.

I donate to the SPCA in Tonawanda. If I read that this had happened there, I wouldn't donate any more.

These animals supposedly had chips in them, but the shelter didn't search for the owners, like our Erie County SPCA does. They were just put to sleep.

Faso should be removed until the investigation is complete. The people who made the allegations should step up to the plate. That is why they do what they do -- to save animals. These people are all the animals have to protect them. They can't protect themselves.

Diane Mogavero