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EVERYBODY'S COLUMN

It's ridiculous to censor Mark Twain's literature

I have read several columns about censoring Mark Twain's "Huck Finn" for controversy over the "n" word, most recently Colin Dabkowski's Jan. 16 commentary. I find the idea ridiculous; the sanitizing of great literature for the sake of political correctness is unacceptable. In the same day's paper, I read about Miles Davis' 40th anniversary collector's edition titled "Bitches Brew." As a woman, I am deeply offended by this moniker, and I insist the title be changed to "Female Dogs Brew." Now, isn't that ridiculous?

I would only support the cleansing of "Huck Finn" if everyone agrees to strike all derogatory slurs from thousands of rap songs and millions of books. Rappers routinely use words in their songs that I know will not be printed here. Eminem's music is constantly praised and rewarded, even though he has extreme misogynistic lyrics. Literature and music are meant to make people think and have intelligent debates. Any attempts to censor an artist's expression runs contrary to the expectations of a free society.

Melissa Albert

Orchard Park

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Tax cuts for the rich won't save our economy

I hope that in the course of all the back-patting at the end of last year's Congress, the members haven't made us forget that the tax bill they passed is a mixed bag for the country at best. It's wonderful that my family will get to keep a few hundred dollars more this year than the last, but at what cost? It was made clear in the course of this debate that no tax cuts would be passed unless they included cuts for the rich. The whole package was, therefore, held hostage by those who work for the wealthy rather than the people in general.

How many millions of dollars are upper-class individuals getting out of this bargain? And what happened to the great concern over the federal deficit in all of this? Once again, we are turning to the absurd idea that these wealthy individuals will save our economy -- if only the government gives them more of our money. The rich will simply get richer from these cuts, and nothing more. Trickle-down economics has never worked for the average person. So why was it done, unless for the self-interest of the wealthy donors of the members of Congress on both sides of the aisle?

Marie Acosta

Williamsville

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Orchard Park trying to muzzle its citizens

After the Jan. 5 Town Council meeting in Orchard Park, it became obvious that the selectively enforced Rules of Decorum were invented and used to curtail the ability of residents to voice their displeasure with Council members. During this meeting, the first speaker, representing Walmart, was allowed to speak during Business From The Floor without a time limit. The next speaker, Louis Boehm, was confronted by Janis Colarusso, our town supervisor, after he stepped away from the microphone.

Residents were led to believe these Rules of Decorum were imposed to restore civility to Town Board meetings that were becoming uncivil, largely because of our elected representatives' inability to listen to the public without rudely interrupting and engaging in raucous debate. But these new rules were never meant to restore civility. What they do is limit voters to four minutes of speech during Business From The Floor.

But this curtailment of free speech is apparently not enough for our new town supervisor. She has threatened to take the unprecedented step of eliminating Business From The Floor and, therefore, the voting public's only means of addressing the Town Board publicly.

Many citizens sacrificed their time and effort to attend the Jan. 5 Town Board meeting on a cold wintry night for the same reason they vote -- because they love this community, deeply care about how it is developed and understand their civic duty to hold their elected officials accountable for the decisions that are made in our name. We expect our supervisor and Town Board to answer our questions and listen to our comments in a public setting, so that all of the public can benefit from knowing how the people's business is being conducted.

Ed Flynn

Orchard Park

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It's refreshing to read different views in News

With great interest I read The News opinion pages. Glasses or no glasses for Medicaid recipients; to be or not to be for universal health care reforms; cancel or renew The News subscription. The editorials and readers' opinions can be provocative because they express unique views. That's the way a newspaper should be. It's expected and accepted. Is it possible to satisfy all? No. But it's great to listen to different perspectives that can turn out to be new ideas because of different views on the same topic.

As a naturalized U.S. citizen who used to live in a country with universal health care, I know and understand the controversy of public health care. What some readers are missing is the focus on money. As a taxpayer, I want my representatives at all government levels to explain where and how the money is coming from for medical programs and on what principles their final decisions are based. I want my elected officials -- public representatives -- to educate their constituents on how the taxpayers' money is spent.

I support The News' editorial views as I focus on freedom of speech. I will continue my subscription. The editors have great guts to cover and discuss diverse community topics and issues. It's hard to satisfy all, and I give a big kudos to The News for not trying to please, but to be a strong, straightforward voice of Western New York. When readers disagree with the editorials, they can always express their views verbally and in writing.

Zanna Vaida

Lackawanna

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New York must weed out those who abuse Medicaid

After reading the letters on County Executive Chris Collins' Medicaid proposals, I felt compelled to set a few things straight. While Medicaid -- the health insurance for the poor -- covers nearly any medical need including eyeglasses and dental care; Medicare -- the medical insurance for people on Social Security and Social Security Disability -- does not cover eyeglasses, although many elderly require the use of glasses, or any dental work. If a person with a disability needs the use of any medical equipment while outside the home -- motorized scooter, walker, cane, etc. -- Medicare will not approve it; while Medicaid does.

Medicaid also will replace eyeglasses and any medical equipment after two years for glasses and five years for equipment whether they are needed or not. There is a gross amount of fraud by Medicaid recipients who get new glasses, wheelchairs, etc., just because they can and not because they are needed. I have seen it done.

Medical care may be the right of all Americans, but abuse of the service is not a right. It's a crime that costs everyone.

Sherrill Fulghum

Niagara Falls

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