Stiffen the penalty? for animal cruelty

Like many other Western New Yorkers, I was shocked and disgusted to learn that a few weeks ago someone had lit a 16-week-old Jack Russell Terrier puppy, now named Phoenix, on fire. I have two puppies at home that my boyfriend and I treat like our children and I cannot even begin to fathom what type of hateful monster would do this to an innocent animal.

On Nov. 14, the community learned that 17-year-old Diondre Brown and 19-year-old Adell Zeigler, both of whom were described as violent and having criminal pasts, are facing felony charges for aggravated animal cruelty and if convicted could face up to one-and-one-third to four years in prison.

Under current New York State animal cruelty laws, it is clear that Phoenix will not get the justice he deserves and that many community members feel is appropriate. How can this deplorable act carry such a small jail sentence? There have been numerous studies and professional articles written about how killing and being cruel to animals is a stepping-stone for sociopathic individuals, which increases the likelihood they will kill again in the future and even graduate to killing people.
The justice system has a duty to protect animals and society from such dangerous individuals and New York State needs to stiffen the penalty for animal cruelty, especially when it is this sick and violent in nature.

Zabrina V. Reich



Rice is not worthy? of secretary's job

In its editorial defending U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice, The News criticized the Republicans in their "slobbering" assault on her. How childish, how amateurish!

The president said that Rice knew nothing about the Benghazi attack. Why then was she chosen to speak? Obviously Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the appropriate spokesperson, refused to be caught mouthing such a lie.

Either Rice knowingly lied, and such dishonesty should bar her nomination to replace Clinton, or she unknowingly lied, and such incompetence should similarly bar her. If someone needs to take a breath, look in the mirror.

John M. Chilcott

Lake View


Stop attacking teachers;? they are not the enemy

I am a Buffalo public school teacher and my selection of medical coverage does include a cosmetic rider. I have had Botox to reduce stress lines from my forehead. There are four medical insurance packages that teachers can choose from when they are hired. All of the packages are offered through Blue Cross/Blue Shield of WNY. The packages are designed to mirror services included in other companies' insurance packages before the district arbitrarily went to one carrier.

Each package carries a different price. The basic package is the format that offers the cosmetic rider. The other three do not. The basic package requires a greater contribution from the member's own pocket and the least payment from the school district. If I choose to utilize the cosmetic rider, it in no way costs the district additional funds. The truth is that the basic package costs the district the least amount of money in comparison to the other three choices of coverage.

I believe that most of the backlash comes from jealousy. My job is draining, stressful and wonderful. When I don't see those stress wrinkles on my forehead, I present a positive image on the outside and inside, which propels me through another day.

The district pays for prenatal riders but we all do not use that option. The district pays one finite amount per member's insurance coverage and no additional charges for services utilized. That kind of thinking would have people believing that if I don't have a baby, then the district is entitled to a refund for services not utilized.

Get over the issue and let's direct our focus where it should be – our children's successful education and safety. Teachers are not the enemy, they are our soldiers on the front line.

Bonny A. Turner

West Seneca


Simply raising taxes ?won't solve problem

I am appalled at the continual media bias with respect to resolution of the "fiscal cliff." This is reminiscent of the past election.

Recent headlines and an accompanying article in the Nov. 27 News, "Rep. Reed joins GOP move to drop tax pledge," support this opinion and imply that the only problem with the U.S. deficit is the lack of tax revenue. This is true in only a theoretical or philosophical context. You could tax everybody enough to close the deficit, but no one would have any money left for anything and this would send the world into economic chaos. The fact remains that if the government confiscated all of the income of the top 1 percent, the United States could be run, at current levels, for approximately eight days.

Where is the headline: "Sen. Reed and the Democrats refuse to address entitlement reduction"? Why isn't this position demonized by the media, since it is the real problem with the country's deficit? Where are articles that discuss how Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid are all going bankrupt; that cities, counties, states and very large corporations have significant unfunded pension and health care liabilities and the ramifications these liabilities will have on all of us because they have been allowed to grow?

We are at a crisis point in the United States. It is time for the media to do their job and report all the facts, be they good or bad, in an unbiased manner. I think then there is a better chance of coming to an agreement on the "fiscal cliff."

Michael J. O'Connor



Hamas militants aren't? basking in the limelight

In an otherwise well-written commentary published in The News on Nov. 28, Trudy Rubin mentions "while Hamas militants bask in the global limelight." Basking under blockade? Basking under threat of assassination by Israeli rocket? Building rockets in your garage to fire at Israel is insane. Failing to realize that this behavior is brought about by previous occupation, current blockade and pressure is equally insane.

"Because you were prisoners in Egypt, be good to the strangers among you. Love them as you do your own." This is prescribed in Leviticus, the book of Jewish law, and failure to observe is one of the specific indictments in the book of Leviticus.

David Gaeddert



Disagreeing with policies? doesn't make one a racist

Hate crime. Racism. That appears to be the only defense hurled against those opposing President Obama. It is based on nothing, but that Democrats can find no other reason.

The opposition is because of Obama's views – the socialist direction that he's heading us to – and not because of skin color.

The "hope and change" and the move "forward" all point to a changing America that liberals have in mind. It is this change that we oppose.

Donald Norton