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Conservatism would mean a return to the bad old days

Just what is conservatism? if we use the precept of "You shall know them by their deeds," we can list the characteristics of a conservative.

Small government. But it can't be too small because it must be large enough to wage wars to prove to other nations that we are dangerous. It must also be able to control how females deal with their capacity to reproduce.

Tax cuts, subsidies and other financial givebacks to the rich because they are the job creators. This is the evolution of a plantation or company town mentality where the leader controls the lives and finances of every worker for the organization's benefit.

Belief in a religion that guarantees riches in the next life because adherents certainly will not be enjoying them in this world. The male-centered culture where males control all of the power centers including that of the family.

My family lived in the decades before Franklin Delano Roosevelt and the New Deal. When I was a child my dad had to work three jobs to take care of my medical bills when I was ill. We were on welfare for a time. Because I was handicaped, I attended college on a scholarship provided by the state. I was one of many beneficiaries of the change in government philosophy that provided assistance to its needy citizens, thanks to Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

Conservatives also celebrate the idea of freedom. Before FDR you were free to lose your job, lose your home and starve. As conservatives have gained control of states today, people are learning these freedoms all over again.

People who forget or do not know the past are doomed to repeat it.

Richard Czarnecki

Sanborn

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For Slaughter, age is no measure of strength

Hopefully, The News' mail will be deluged by active seniors and those who conduct daily life in wheelchairs in response to the April 18 front page headline and photo of Louise Slaughter.

Misleading at best, the point seemed to be that a female over 80 cannot function as a congressional representative due to recovery from an accident, broken leg and surgery.

As a senior citizen myself and daughter of a viable senior (age 92) who has shown new bone growth in a broken ankle, I share that modern technology proves what we've already known about aging, good genetic health and regeneration.

Knowing Louise as we do from her Fairport days, we see an expression on her face that indicates this feisty upstate representative is by no means ready to disengage from her duties. Let's drop the age/mobility factor and keep this gem in Washington with our well wishes!

Jean Serusa

Buffalo

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Anti-smoking TV ads have gone over the line

The only thing more disgusting than smoking is, of course, the loathsome anti-smoking public service announcements now found with ubiquity on your television set.

Tune in to a baseball game and you can be treated to the delights of having to massage grandma's bedsores, because smoking has made her immobile. Fancy the NHL playoffs? Well, the anti-smoking zealots have amputees to trot out in front of you there. Not a sports fan? No problem. All of our local news stations have decided that sickening images of lung surgery fit in nicely between the weather and sports.

Fool that I am, I decided that watching my favorite show via hulu.com might save me a bout with nausea. There's really nothing like having a laugh at Les Nessman's expense just before drowning in a sea of children who can barely breathe.

I simply cannot imagine the prurient mind that comes up with these disturbing images. In a time when everyone from our president to our own families has lamented the lack of grace and decorum in society, why are these PSAs (which come from our tax dollars) allowed to run anywhere at any time?

Best of all, a 2011 study in the Journal of Media Psychology has shown that these very graphic commercials may, in fact, trigger a defense mechanism in people watching them that negates any of their supposed value.

Sadly, we are a society of children: we want everything handed to us like children; we think like children; we treat each other like children do; and our communal dialectic is childish. "O brave new world. That has such people in't!"

Paul Lacapruccia

Hamburg

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NFTA should check out waterfronts in other cities

So, the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority is thinking of providing some public access on our waterfront? Oh, I do wish someone in the local or county government, or the business community, would take a look at what Nashville just did with its waterfront along the Cumberland River.

A park was created with such features as a "beach" made with armor mat for launching kayaks, a climbing wall, a picnic area and a play park, along with several water features. To protect the river, a cistern was built to collect the runoff from nearby streets and parking lots, which will be filtered and reused for landscape irrigation.

It's so discouraging to see what others do with their waterfront areas and recognize what has not been done with ours. I suggest that the NFTA and other local leaders see what other cities are doing, take those ideas and imagine how they could be done in our city.

Eleanor McConnell

Williamsville

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Time to pass legislation ensuring fair elections

In Gov. Andrew Cuomo's State of the State address, he said loud and clear that in order for the voice of hard-working New Yorkers to be heard, we must drastically alter our campaign finance rules to level the playing field and end the dynamic of money doing all the talking. We need to pass Fair Elections legislation.

A report from Common Cause New York, based on the campaign finance reports from various elected officials across the state, found a disturbing trend. Most of our representatives get the majority of their contributions from outside their districts, from well-heeled donors rather than the traditional working families that form the backbone of New York.

This usually means CEO campaign contributors have no trouble getting the ear of our representatives while the 99 percent of us are left by the wayside. They get the policies they want, like a tax code that unfairly benefits them, while the majority of New Yorkers are faced with devastating cuts to schools, services and our social safety net.

Fair Elections would be a game-changer. It would give a voice back to the 99 percent. Our state senators and Assembly members need to pass legislation during this session. We can't let the 1 percent dominate our public policies any longer.

Ellen Kennedy

Buffalo