Tuesday, March 9, 1999
Don't feel sorry for those in prisonReading about our prison suicides has set my mind in motion. What's with all the sympathy that people show for those who choose to do drugs and maim their families and society?
In the Japanese culture, when one disgraces himself he commits self-disembowelment to save face. Why not here?
Drugs didn't kill Feary, it was the drug lawsWhen David Shapiro wrote in his Feb. 27 column that Macky Feary's death was due to drugs, he was almost right. It wasn't drugs that killed Feary, but rather, drug laws.
It wasn't a needle in his arm or a pipe that killed Feary, it was being locked in a cage because of a medical problem. Crystal meth may have made Feary's life a living hell, but it was nothing compared to the hell that cops, prosecutors and judges, just doing their jobs, sent him into.
Supporters of the drug war argue that it is justified by the social costs of addiction, but the laws don't reduce those costs, they multiply them. Placing the blame for the costs of the drug war on drugs to justify the drug war only makes it harder to solve the real problems connected with drug abuse.
James R. Olson jr.
(Via the Internet)
Murder of Brewer was another travesty of justiceIn his March 3 column, "System has turned upside down," Charles Memminger lists five incidents where "the order of punishment was exactly upside down."
He should have included the brutal beating and murder of Kenneth Brewer as No. 6. Brewer was savagely beaten; his face was beyond recognition. There was blood everywhere, including on the ceiling, yet the confessed killer was released from jail by a jury after serving only one year in prison.
In that case, indeed, something was upside down.
Why does Memminger attack the messenger?Although it is not my habit to read Charles Memminger's Honolulu Lite column, I could hardly miss the March 5 headline, "Mitch needs to find a new calling." It appears Memminger harbors some great animosity toward me.
In an e-mail to one member of the Hawaii Citizens for Separation of State and Church, Memminger admitted waging a personal attack on me when he wrote, "It's not the message, it's the messenger...which was the point of my column." I have never met Memminger, so perhaps he can explain why he dislikes me personally, aside from my position on state/church separation.
His childish tirade against a person he's never met is perplexing. Even more so, he questions my purpose in life. On his advice, however, I will consider becoming a newspaper columnist. Then like him, I too could express my opinions without regard for first-hand experience or knowledge. I could ignore the bothersome requirement for objectivity. I wouldn't have to waste time checking facts or trying to uncover the truth.
If I were a columnist, I could hide behind my publisher's prerogative to limit rebuttals. I would be shielded from public criticism. I would be privileged to write personal attacks and not permit my victims to respond.
This is exactly what Memminger asserts when he wrote, "I'm exercising my freedom to write about this subject without talking to you about it. So don't call me. I mean it."
Ah, ha! Here is the real Charles Memminger.
"When you spill some milk, I guess you're expected to clean it up. It's a pretty expensive glass of milk, I'll tell you that."
-- Todd Urosevich, vice president of Election Systems & Software, which is paying for the cost of Hawaii's general election recount.
"As the world's largest manufacturer of Hawaiian wear, it's appropriate for us to have the world's largest aloha shirt."
-- Chris Resich, president of Hilo Hattie, which is seeking the world's record for the 400XL aloha shirt it has on display at its Honolulu store.
"The anesthesiologist wouldn't even come into the room until she got her money. I offered her a credit card and a check, but she wouldn't accept it...I felt like an animal. It was degrading."
-- Ozzie Chavez, a California Medicaid patient who was denied an epidural just before she gave birth at Northridge Hospital Medical Center until she came up with $400 in cash.
Don't insult people of Hawaii with rumorIn the past, the people of Hawaii were called ignorant because we refused to vote for Orson Swindle. Now we're ignorant for believing that the most important issue in the November election was that Linda Lingle was the Grinch that stole Christmas.
It's unbelievable that the national Republican Party would insult the intelligence of Hawaii voters with that story.
There were whispers regarding Lingle's sexual orientation and her relationship with her ex-husband. Most of the political ads supporting Governor Cayetano made it clear that a traditional family life was important in the measure of the candidate. This was intended to question the sexual orientation of Lingle and her family values.
The real reason we did not vote for Republicans is that they were out of touch with grass-roots voters. Gay rights, Newt Gingrich and conservative Republicans were Lingle's liabilities. These were the reasons that Lingle, Gene Ward and Republicans across the nation lost their elections. Christmas had nothing to do with it.
Hawaii Federal Employees Metal Trades Council
Rumors about Lingle and Christmas were trueAs someone who was involved with "rumor central" on a daily basis at Linda Lingle campaign headquarters, I would like to set the record straight on the profligation of rumors.
Weeks before the election, the rumors were run of the mill: She's a lesbian; a clone of Newt Gingrich; I don't like her because of what Sam Slom said; I don't like her because of what is going on with Clinton; Maui hasn't done that great, listen to that carpenter on TV, etc.
But the closer we got to the election, the more varied the rumors got. The week before the election, the rumors were: She got $300,000 from the Bishop Estate trustees so she will drop the case; she is going to fire all police officers and firefighters so she can privatize those departments; she is going to fire all state workers eligible for retirement so we don't have to pay their pensions, etc. And, yes, I did receive a call from someone concerned she was going to cancel Christmas.
Who started these rumors? To answer that, ask who was afraid of Lingle winning the governor's race. Now ask, who benefited from Cayetano winning. The answer's the same.
Garry P. Smith
Hawaii Revised Statutes
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