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Consult with disability community

Let's not be pushed over an imaginary "fiscal cliff." As this country continually runs a deficit, it makes sense to look at many programs, including Medicaid and Medicare, to see whether or not savings can be achieved.

For many years, ADAPT and others in the disability community have pushed for changes in the types of services that Medicaid and Medicare would fund in order to meet the needs of the people those programs are intended to serve. For example, allowing Medicaid to pay for attendant care in the home is a policy that ADAPT helped make possible. This change in policy improved people's quality of life and saved money.

If Congress wants to be fiscally and socially responsible with Medicare and Medicaid, they need to consider suggestions put forth from those in the disability community.
KENYATTA DACOSTA, ROCHESTER

A lesson from Japan

I returned a few days ago from 11 days in Japan traveling through several areas teaching and speaking about nonviolence and sustainability. Many of the people I worked with had lives devastated in various ways by radiation in the Fukushima area after the March 2011 earthquake:

Couples split up because of different views on safety of air and water for their children. Families forced to move, often losing most of their financial stability as a result, as well as their communities. Hundreds of people living in camps, waiting with dwindling hope for government support to help them re-settle.

Public interest in their plight has faded. Distrust with government and other official assurances about safe levels of radiation in air, water, and food continues to grow.

All of this feels relevant as the people of New York and its lawmakers consider hydrofracking. Some or many of the issues from Japan could become our issues as toxic chemicals enter our ground water, eco-system, food chains, and bodies.

The abundant fresh waters of New York are such an extraordinary resource in a world that is becoming warmer and drier with each passing year. I hope we will choose not to pollute millions of gallons of that resource in shortsighted pursuit of natural gas. I hope we will choose to look harder for solutions to long-term economic and energy issues.

With the anxious eyes of Japanese parents still fresh in my mind, I hope we will choose to be good ancestors for our children and their children.
KIT MILLER, BRIGHTON
Miller is director of the MK Gandhi Institute.

Moved by 'Le Mis'

My experience with the movie adaptation of "Les Miserables" was quite different than Adam Lubitow's ("Better on the Boards," review, January 2).

I was accompanied to the movie by my "son" and his friend, both foreign exchange students from China, and from the opening to the final scene, we were enthralled. I proudly admit that I sat there with tears in my eyes for most of the movie and several times had to put the hood of my sweatshirt over my head to avoid disturbing other moviegoers.

In my opinion, this movie adaptation of a staged musical was perfect in every sense and the best movie adaptation of a staged musical of all time. Every role was perfectly cast, even minor characters.

I am not a big fan of Russell Crowe – I agree with Mr. Lubitow that Crowe cannot sing – yet I found him perfect as Javert. I was especially enthralled with stage veteran Samantha Barks as Eponine, though Mr. Lubitow barely mentioned her.

The filming of the movie was spectacular in every sense. The actors' live singing added to the immediacy and richness of this film.

I have recommended this film to several friends who would not be caught dead watching a musical, either on the stage or in a film. They came back to me and said they loved it.

Les Miserables is not a disappointment.
TONY PERRI, ROCHESTER

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