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Dogs bring out? our better angels

A letter in The News questioned whether the attention and resources given to abused animals, such as Phoenix, the severely burned dog, is worthwhile. The writer states that, "There are other criminal acts that deserve the attention of law enforcement and our local news venues." She concludes with a suggestion that we revisit our priorities.

While I am a dog lover, I do not begrudge the writer's challenge to our priorities. She raises legitimate questions. Are these dogs and incidents worth our time and resources, which are so limited to begin with?

As an occasional volunteer at the City of Buffalo Animal Shelter, I have witnessed countless moments where the unconditional love of a dog has brought such joy to someone. I have seen the toughest, gruffest construction workers melt over a puppy. And I have been touched by the efforts of people to care for these animals that are so dependent on us.

These dogs bring out our better angels. Perhaps through the love and compassion that we experience with them, we in turn can treat each other better as well. Do they deserve the attention? Yes.

Paul McCarthy

East Amherst

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Is Thompson the best? the mayor could find?

Once again, the City of Buffalo is blessed to have such a talent pool to choose from. Antoine Thompson's acceptance of the mayor's $80,000 offer shows his selfless concern for others. Why else would someone leave the private sector where he flourished and stood on his own as a top real estate agent? Taxpayer money has never been so well spent. The employment line starts on Goodell Street and runs right to the second floor of City Hall. I think it is safe to say we haven't heard the last of Thompson and his selfless acts.

David Wilcox

East Amherst

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Media consolidation ?is bad for democracy

There are fewer and fewer large corporations owning more and more media outlets. In some markets, the same corporation owns the local newspaper, the local television station(s) as well as radio stations. What this means, to me at least, is the taxpaying citizens are exposed only to whatever point of view the owning corporation deems desirable. This is a recipe for the destruction of democracy.

This media consolidation must not be allowed to proceed. The taxpaying public must be invited to public hearings on this issue. We must be allowed to make our voices heard. The airwaves belong to the taxpayers and as such we must have a say in this very important issue.

Larry Dudeck

Williamsville

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Society needs to stop? promoting casual sex

The Dec. 12 letter calling for teen access to emergency contraception brought up some questions to ponder. We, as a society and based on studies and evidence, have come to the conclusion that drinking, smoking and taking drugs are bad for teens, so there have been programs set up to discourage that behavior and laws to restrict the use of those substances. So why does society treat sexual behavior by teens as a given? The writer calls for contraceptives so that teens can act "responsibly." How about calling for responsible behavior before a sexual act takes place? It takes a lot more to engage in sexual behavior than it does to smoke, drink or pop a pill, yet we expect our teens to display self-control with the latter and not the former.

Many problems can occur when people of any age, but especially teens, engage in sex casually. So many of the social ills of our times were unheard of in past generations. Why is that? Human beings are capable of great virtue and discipline. How life-giving it is for our young to be encouraged in virtue; to be able to delay gratification for a greater good. For those who think I am promoting going back to the Dark Ages, look at the statistics. It is very dark right now, but because we are human and can decide to live virtuously, there is hope that can be based on our action, especially with our youth.

Mary Roaldi

Kenmore

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‘White Christmas'? warmed many hearts

The other day I encountered a real first. It happened after being part of a rousing standing ovation for the latest of this season's offerings at Shea's: Irving Berlin's "White Christmas the Musical." This show's set design, dancing, singing, acting and storyline had the appreciative theatergoers tapping their feet and clapping their hands or humming along with the all-so-familiar classic numbers of "White Christmas." It culminated with a show-stopping finale and an old-fashioned, make-you-feel-good, tug-at-your-heart meaning of Christmas ending.

Now here's the first. As my wife and I began to exit the theater, we became involved in several conversations with complete strangers all "reviewing" The News review by Ben Siegel that so "coldly" critiqued this performance. Some of the comments were as follows: Maybe he had a bad day. Maybe he doesn't like Christmas. Maybe he broke up with his girlfriend. And here is my personal favorite: Maybe he got lost and caught a grade-school performance somewhere.

At least from what I could see, no real harm was done. The theater looked to be sold out, so hopefully Shea's did not suffer any financial harm and the patrons still came despite the review. At least they were not deprived of a wonderful rendition of a special Christmas classic, and I'm sure the actors and musicians are used to the occasional off-base review.

As for me, and I believe as for many others based on the context of the theater exit conversations, I will simply read the review after the show, if at all.

Thomas Dey

Amherst

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Close overseas bases ?and reduce foreign aid

As a longtime subscriber to The Buffalo News and a wounded World War II veteran, this is the first time I felt the need to write to your column.

As I was thinking about our national debt, I wondered why there is no discussion about closing some of our military bases around the world. In this day and age, it is possible to transport great numbers of troops and equipment any place in the world in a short period of time.

Many of our leaders seem to think that we need them to protect our interests. Where was our protection for our consulate in Libya when we had all of the troops and firepower that we needed at almost a moment's notice? Our leaders had the knowledge of what to do, but they didn't have the wisdom to apply the knowledge.

Finally, let's stop a lot of our unnecessary foreign aid.

Ed Wilke

West Seneca