Not all rural folks agree? with anti-Obama signs

I often drive out to Colden on Center Street and have looked with aggravation since 2008 at the big red and white sign that says "Obama Not My President." I've been tempted to add my two cents to the sign: "grammar not my forte," but only in my imagination. Another sign on the property says "Say No to Obamacare."

This person really doesn't like our president.

Recently when I drove by I noticed a sign, since removed, I hadn't seen before. It said "Voters Reniged." Another sign says "Still No President." When I got home I read T.J. Pignataro's article in The News, "A sign of ?free speech – or of racism?" and was surprised to see that only one person has complained to the police.

I'd like to publicly add my complaint to that of Paul Bradford. I also don't like the inference in the article that many "rural people" agree with the words on these signs. My husband and I are rural people and we certainly do not agree.

Of course, Joseph L. Shimburski, the sign author and person who says "if they think it's racist, tough crap," is completely within his rights to think and say whatever he wants, but I am embarrassed for him nevertheless.

Deborah M. Sullivan

South Wales


Climate change occurs? even without humans

In the Dec. 2 Viewpoints piece, "Seeking a sustainable future," we assume from the subject that the author's conclusion is that man is the cause and the solution to "climate change" or "global warming."

Perhaps The News would invite a paleontologist to discuss what caused the interglacial period that preceeded the last ice age that began 2.6 million years ago.

We know earth is currently in an interglacial period that began more than 13,000 years ago. Can anyone tell us what triggered the interglacial period?

Also, we are aware there were at least three ice ages and five mass extinctions of the species over many eons. Perhaps the scientist can tell us why. It certainly wasn't human activity.

Our point here is that the climate on this planet has been and continues to be dynamic and evolving, with or without humans.

Roy T. Lindberg



Teachers are held? to unfair standards

With almost a quarter-century of teaching experience in Buffalo Public Schools, it's with "fear and trembling and a sickness unto death" that I read from Mayor Byron W. Brown that there is "no deficiency whatsoever" in the administration's approach to public education and his enthusiastic belief in the sweet, sensible assertion that "… you can't have a great city without great schools," according to the Nov. 30 News.

True enough that school systems reflect the society they're a part of, but it would be wrong to fault the mayor for Buffalo's extensive slum dwellings, high crime rate and lack of employment, especially for city youth. These problems exist in all cities great and not so great.

Why, if the mayor's office were subjected to the evaluations that teachers now endure, he could be dismissed from City Hall, his staff cut in half and also given the boot. If his constituency didn't continually get higher scores on standardized tests, he would receive an "inefficient" rating and if he got that two years in a row he could be fired. (This is not to suggest such as urban reform.)

Yet this is what our nation, state and school district gleefully doles out to its teachers with the annual professional performance review requirements of Race to the Top federal legislation. Such punishment to teachers, who have no control over their students' private lives, so often submerged in high poverty rates, unemployment (the highest predictor of success in school and college is having professional parents) and student apathy are deeply social deficiencies way out of the reach of even the best educator's efforts. Yet I'm fortunate to know so many who still reach out every day.

Great cities do require courageous leadership in public education and today that means going against the federally mandated attacks on public educators, in the guise of reform, and giving all children the highest quality of learning our human experience has to offer. Standardized test scores don't quite fit that bill.

Ray Peterson



Shorter projections? offer realistic pictures

The Dec. 1 article concerning the switching from one-dollar paper bills to one-dollar coins makes the point that this switch "could save taxpayers some $4.4 billion ($4,400,000,000) over the next 30 years."

I wondered, why was 30 years chosen? How can anyone guess that far in advance? (After all, I don't expect to be around in 30 years and the savings then won't mean a thing to me!) Why not project 10 years instead? Oh, I know, a period of 30 years makes the savings look a lot bigger. But what about the accuracy of the projection? Guessing what's going to happen in 30 years is a lot tougher than guessing what's going to happen in 10.

But look at the projections that are being made in the current debate about the fiscal cliff.

Reportedly,the president has proposed to delay automatic spending cuts for one year, extending the Bush tax cuts for those earning up to $250,000, extending the payroll tax cut and extending expiring unemployment benefits, while reducing deficits by $4 trillion over the next 10 years.

Ten-year projections seem to be common in the fiscal cliff discussions. I call these projection factors – that is, 30 and 10 –"funny factors."

In the global economy, we're having a difficult enough time projecting even one day ahead. (Think of the stock market.) These factors are just used to make the dollar figures look big and impressive. As the time length of a prediction increases, most assuredly, the accuracy of the prediction will fall and lead to funny and very unreliable results.

I'd feel much better if they just tried to project one year in advance and be accurate than to project 10 years ahead and be wildly off the mark. Aren't some of these projections just out-and-out dreams?

Thomas W. Weber



Money should get spent? on Western New York firms

How about investing 5 percent of the billion in Western New York into small, lean for-profits and nonprofits that have demonstrated breakthrough innovations, in contrast to outsider "savior" firms (e.g. Bass Pro) that reinforce Western New York's self-image that we need help from afar to save our city.

Selection checklist: diversity in all forms plus creative types (arts and music) that sustain themselves on pennies per month plus keen sense allowing the customer (marketplace) to drive innovation.

Breakthrough leadership comes from the fringe and embracing "evolutionary" thinkers will do more. We may discover that the "more" we need is right in our backyard.

Bob James

West Falls