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Gingrich has bold ideas but he is not a racist

I am writing in regard to The News editorial, "Gingrich acts to divide." Newt Gingrich is a lot of things, both good and not so good, but he's no racist. Read the transcript of his speech to the American Enterprise Institute in March 2008.

Read what he said about Native Americans being disenfranchised. Read what he had to say about Detroit's public education system. Read about the Detroit school bureaucracy's block of $200 million from saving young men from going to jail, from giving them an opportunity to go to college, from offering them hope.

Read what he has to say about our cultural problem; to replace a world of poverty with a world of prosperity, it begins with fundamental cultural change. If we want to reinforce cultural change, we have to design government policies that reward the right behaviors and make it expensive to have the wrong behaviors. Read what he has to say about prisons in America; that it is totally unacceptable to have 3 million people in prison, many of whom are in physical danger as wards of the state.

Read what he has to say about how angry he is when he challenges our leadership to openly debate his bold ideas to change our culture. He says he's called a racist. Read that speech, or better yet spend 30 minutes on the phone with him discussing race in America, then print your retraction.

Wayne Landesman

Orchard Park

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Sonogram allows women to make informed choice

Gene Weingarten has called himself an unapologetic liberal. He certainly presented the perfect liberal argument in his column regarding the new Texas abortion laws. That is, when your argument has no legs, resort to sarcasm.

Why would the pro-choice faction be so upset that a mother has to see a sonogram of her baby before an abortion? Are they worried that the mother might realize that there is an actual life in her womb and change her mind? It seems to me the more information one has, the more informed choice one will make. Apparently liberals are pro-choice only when the choice is termination.

Tim Delano

Cheektowaga

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Students and parents must do their part, too

Everyone who works has a level of accountability that underlies his competence and effectiveness. Measurements of performance are a necessary part of ultimate success in the work world. Much has been written recently about teacher evaluation procedures and parameters that measure one's effectiveness in the classroom and consequent student performance on state tests.

At the heart of this notion is the concept of accountability. Teachers are typically accountable for a myriad of tasks: planning lessons; motivating students; correcting papers; connecting with parents; coaching; advising clubs; completing report cards; preparing and purchasing classroom materials; completing progress reports and student evaluations; preparing students for state standardized tests; tutoring after school,

What is often overlooked in the education arena is the accountability "umbrella" that must include the students and their parents. Students need to be accountable for: attending school regularly; doing their homework; participating in class; respectfully treating their teachers, administrators and fellow students; wearing appropriate clothing; leaving their cellphones in their locker; acting respectfully. And behind all of this is the accountability that parents must accept: making certain that their children are in school every day; feeding their children breakfast; checking their child's homework each night; reading with their child regularly; talking about school at the dinner table; attending sporting events, school-sponsored programs and parents night; acting appropriately and seeking assistance to repair difficulties their children might face at school; connecting with teachers and administrators in a positive manner; positively reinforcing the need for an education.

If the students and their parents accepted and acted upon their part of this educational process, we undoubtedly would taste success at all levels. The final evaluation processes for all would be constructive and progressive.

Tom Hoolihan

Getzville

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State must continue funding Roswell Park

Just as Buffalo was beginning to feel good after the announcement that Western New York would be getting $1 billion in aid to attract new business, the governor delivered a sucker punch as he announced that the state will withdraw its support of Roswell Park Cancer Institute in two years.

Roswell Park is a premiere cancer research center and is the only such institution in upstate New York, a facility that has developed cutting-edge technology in cancer detection and treatment. It was just a few weeks ago that a huge breakthrough on a cure for cancer was announced. As we all know, cancer research is expensive and tedious. The withdrawal of support will likely be the end of cancer research at Roswell Park, and without cutting-edge research the institute will be just another hospital on the medical corridor.

Despite employing 3,300 people and pumping millions of dollars into the local economy, the governor proposes to cut off Roswell Park's funding. This will hurt the Buffalo economy, not help it. Roswell Park is one of the top 20 employers in Western New York.

So if the governor really represents the people, as he has stated so many times, he will reverse this illogical move and continue state support of Roswell Park.

Kevin Hintz

Ellicottville

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Examine root causes of state pension woes

The recent Another Voice by Heather Briccetti, president and CEO of the Business Council of New York State, was a telling portrayal of what ails the New York State pension system, but not for the reasons she cites.

She includes data about the "aging baby boomer population" as "one of the reasons behind this tremendous increase in pension costs." This, of course, would only be germane if all baby boomers received a pension from New York State or if employment levels were based on population size. Employment levels are related to the services required of governments as set by law and regulation.

The primary reason that the burden has increased on taxpayers in recent years has been the poor performance of private enterprises to produce the profits that fuel a healthy economy and provide revenue to governments and their pension funds. With the president of the Business Council unable to analyze the root cause of the problem, it's no wonder these enterprises have not been profitable lately.

Timothy D. Roach

Hamburg