Why is CIA allowed ?to lie to the public?

Each day we read of U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice and her account of what happened at the U.S. Embassy in Benghazi. Did she mislead the public? Was she just telling us what she had been told? The CIA says that it knew it was a terrorist attack, but deliberately kept that information out of the briefing that was given to Rice.

The real question is not what Rice said or knew, but why the CIA deliberately misleads the American public. This is not the first time it has lied to us. The CIA gave false information to Colin Powell, who then appeared before the United Nations to justify the war with Iraq.

What was the purpose in hiding the fact that it was a terrorist attack on our embassy in Benghazi? Certainly the terrorists knew that they were the ones who did it. Therefore, the only ones kept ignorant were the American people. What the Congress should be concerned with is whether the so-called intelligence community lies for the sake of lying or whether there is a legitimate purpose to its deceit. Or, does the CIA even know what it is doing. Perhaps it should be better controlled.

Alan Levine



Schultz did a great job?as art gallery director

I would like to commend The News for "The Grachos Decade" article. It was informative, interesting and well-balanced.

However, it mischaracterized Louis Grachos' hiring process. In 2002, the board was not "desperate to reverse the increasingly evident signs of decline." In late spring of 2002, Douglas Schultz, after 19 important years as director, and almost 30 years of loyal service to the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, tendered his resignation. At that point, the board engaged in a national search for a replacement. Grachos was one of many candidates interviewed. The board hired him, starting Jan. 1, 2003, and a decade of great accomplishment began.

Charles Balbach

President, 1996-2002

Board of Directors, Albright-Knox Art Gallery


Buffalo can create? Skyway to the future

Good for Congressman Brian Higgins. Down with the Skyway! Or, how about an alternative? How about reducing the cost of demolition and the amount of rubble? How about a world-class green project? How about a public/private partnership that morphs the Skyway into a revenue-generating, tax-generating structure?

That's what visionary Ran Webber sees ( Imagine a line drawn from First Niagara Center to the Naval & Military Park. Imagine that line intersecting the Skyway. Imagine everything related to the Skyway between that line and downtown gone.

Now the magic. Imagine the remainder of the Skyway converted to a multiuse building. Imagine condos with incredible views, museums, retail stores, offices, a green observation deck, wind and solar making it power neutral. Imagine Buffalo with an iconic structure recognizable worldwide. Imagine our own Eiffel Tower if you will. Imagine the tourism. Think big.

Any Skyway replacement faces a challenge in the tens of thousands of vehicles pouring over its four lanes every day. The Buffalo River is a challenge. A four-lane swing bridge is the solution. Just as highway interchanges soar, a swing bridge could soar with pleasure craft passing underneath. It would only need to open for lake vessels, not an everyday occurrence. Were the bridge a two-level structure, the upper level could host a restaurant with spectacular views. Imagine being there when a lake vessel sails by. It's doable. It's been vetted by local and national architectural and engineering experts. It's cost effective. It's good for tourism. It creates jobs – jobs to build it, jobs to fill it. It's good for the environment. It's good for the economy. All that and more. Webber has the vision. Do we?

W.T. "Bill" McKibben



Although diverse,?we're all connected

Kudos to Rod Watson for his courage in visiting the purveyor of the racist sign in the Town of Aurora, and for the reminder to me to stop and take a stand for what I believe in.

Thanks to Joe Shimburski, I am once more reminded that there are still too many of us who have been misguided and misdirected, perhaps long ago by parents, peers, even pastors, who never really got that although diverse, we are not separate but one, irrevocably connected with one another and with all of creation, as taught by our major faith traditions and more recently by science as well.

Whenever we listen to radio talk show hosts and others who spew hatred and foster division, we allow them, to use spiritual teacher Eckhart Tolle's language, to massage "our pain bodies," which keeps wounds festering and keeps us stuck in victimhood, fear, resentment and blame.

I believe in free speech; but when it is racist or otherwise harmful, it needs to be countered with what uplifts rather than divides our community. What if we all looked deeply into our own hearts and acknowledged both the good and the dishonorable therein? Despite our own brokenness, what if we consciously chose to reach toward the light, made an intention to act out of our higher instincts, aimed to be what we want others to be? What if more of us took a stand for what is right? What if a whole village took a stand?

Mary O'Herron



Deficit spending degrades? future of our young people

In their Nov. 26 Another Voice, State University of New York Chancellor Nancy Zimpher and Erie Community College President Jack Quinn warn that the "fiscal cliff would paralyze higher education in the U.S." They do not define whether the cliff is one inch high or one mile high. This cliff represents austerity, and they recommend that Congress avoid this austerity.

Zimpher and Quinn do not recommend a method of avoidance, and I am assuming they want Congress to continue the federal government deficit spending that threatens our economy and is degrading the future of our young people. Greece and Spain are examples of nations with young people who riot in the streets because their future has been degraded by federal government deficit spending.

Michael F. Patterson

Clarence Center


Time to crack down?on drunken drivers

Regarding the tragic death of 7-month-old Baylee Dion, due to a past drunken driver who has again been charged with driving while intoxicated, I firmly believe that convicted drunken drivers should be required to be retested every year on the anniversary of their conviction for alcohol consumption in their system.

Had there been such a law requiring this test, perhaps little Baylee and other victims of repeat drunken drivers would still be alive.

John A. Gallo