Pick appropriate time, place for politicking
Almost immediately after arriving downtown on New Year's Eve, I spotted a cluster of signs, noticed that every one of them said "Ron Paul 2012" and realized that they were being held directly in front of the television cameras. I suppose that the families at home who tuned in to watch a carefree, universal gathering of other locals were treated instead to what I can only assume was two solid hours of bobbing campaign signs.
I would have liked to talk to the Ron Paul devotees, but it was far too loud. It's good to know that the people encircling them were having a good time, even if the ones at home were being prevented that. If I'd had the opportunity to engage in a discussion with those people, I can only assume that someone would have reminded me that it's a free country and that I had no business trying to stifle their free speech.
What bombastic people frequently seem to forget is that the constitutional guarantee of free speech doesn't mean that it's always right to use your speech to be inconsiderate. I encourage people to express themselves passionately, even if I don't agree with their views, but there's a time and place for everything. A completely apolitical, celebratory event is nearly as inappropriate a place for signs and chanting as is a veteran's funeral.
It made me sad to see people ringing in the new year with such a complete lack of self-awareness, ethics and restraint. But if there's one good thing to be said for it, it's that such a public show of obtuse behavior may drive away large numbers of people from such aggressively intrusive activism.
Bigger recycling bins a smart move by city
I applaud the City of Buffalo for the progressive move to larger recycling bins. As a North District resident, I am finding we easily fill the green bin with paper, cans, glass and, of course, endless plastic packaging. We added a second kitchen can for recycling, and with the expanded list of acceptable materials, we now recycle close to half of our waste. A quick dump in the green bin and a roll to the curb makes saving money and protecting the environment easy. This new policy is a smart move for today's taxpayers and tomorrow's world.
Stop trying to provoke Iran into military action
I'm increasingly alarmed by the undeclared war that the United States is currently waging on Iran. My concern is that this will lead to a major war in the Middle East, and that very few are speaking out about this danger. The stated purpose of our actions is to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. However, our latest efforts amount to an act of war on Iran: In addition to covert operations, we are proposing sanctions that will prevent Iran from selling oil, destroying the Iranian economy. In response, Iran threatens to close the Strait of Hormuz. We are now placing our military units, including an aircraft carrier group, in harm's way in the region.
It appears that we are trying to provoke the Iranians into military action, which would give us the pretext to attack them and bomb their nuclear facilities. Regardless of the danger that a nuclear-armed Iran might present, our attacking another Muslim country in the region would be a horrible act: a setback to attempts to foster democracy and stability in the Middle East, not to mention the death and violence.
Nobody elected us the world's policeman. Nothing gives us the right to attack Iran, particularly as we now have only the worry -- not the proof -- that it may acquire nuclear weapons. Provoking Iran to justify an attack is typical of the behavior that causes the United States to be hated in the rest of the world. Our present course is insane, and must be stopped before it creates a real catastrophe.
Eric A. Gallion
New York has no clue how to handle money
As I perused The Buffalo News recently, one could not mistake the parallel between New York State and Scarecrow from "The Wizard of Oz." The Jan. 6 edition greeted me with the story of the deterioration of Knox Farm State Park. It's a piece of property bought by taxpayers to the tune of $5.1 million. As a regular visitor to New York State parks over several decades, it is no secret the parks have been deteriorating for a long time. The state's answer to this was to take on more liabilities with this purchase.
Sharing the front-page spotlight, I read of the expectations the governor laid out to share in a $1 billion business incentive package. The plan is being kept "vague to meet the diverse needs of potential future employers." In other words, the specifics of how to handle our money eludes them.
Then the Jan. 7 edition hit my doorstep. The state feels our TV viewing habits haven't reached their full potential. It has butted into negotiations between privately held media companies. I propose the New York State Thruway be renamed the Yellow Brick Road. "With the thoughts you'll be thinkin', you could be another Lincoln, if you only had a brain."
Bob Pfeiffer Buffalo
Let's safely cultivate vital energy sources
When writers to Everybody's Column praise the possible veto of a solid, reliable source of oil (Keystone Pipeline) for years to come from Canada while Iran threatens once again to cut off our shaky oil imports, and gas prices are sure to surge, I can't comprehend their thinking.
Often these people want no drilling of oil anywhere. They consistently fight fracking and drilling for natural gas; they abhor coal mining; they are against nuclear power; and they put up a thousand reasons not to put wind farms anywhere near themselves.
They want electric cars with no thought as to how the electricity at the recharging stations is generated or how much mining must be done to get the rare, exotic metals required to build these car batteries.
I think about two weeks in a frigid New York winter without any supplies of coal, oil, natural gas or nuclear energy producing power to warm their homes and transport everything they eat or consume would quickly bring these people back to reality.
And finally, to dispense with the idea that I do not care how our energy is produced, as long as it is produced, I believe the best technology and stringent precautions to protect the environment should be applied, but not to the degree that these sources of vital energy are shut down, killing thousands of good-paying jobs. That could be suicidal for our nation.