Sunday, December 2, 2001
Hawaii's people rose to pray for othersHawaii is a special and amazing place. Not only is the weather sublime and the scenery picture-perfect, the people here defy any attempt at definition. I come from a small town in Pennsylvania, where the only changes in the landscape are the seasons. Most everyone looks, acts and talks the same -- making the swim down the main stream effortless.
Hawaii people, though, exhibit everyday characteristics of phenomenal magnitude. We live face-to-face with people who differ from ourselves in many ways -- and we make it work. An example:
On Thanksgiving Eve, thousands of islanders gathered as one people to pray for neighbors, community, state, nation -- and America's enemies. Representing more than 65 island Christian churches and many denominations, these thousands united to offer support, especially for those who are hurting emotionally and economically as a result of the Sept. 11 terrorists attacks. Also, thanks was given to God for the hope of peace for all.
Songs and prayers in Hawaiian, Samoan, Japanese and English filled the air and seats were filled with old, young, rich, poor, and every shade of skin under the rainbow. Only in Hawaii could an evening this special take place for such a time as this.
I'd like to thank all those involved in bringing together the best of what Hawaii is -- the people.
Angela Rickabaugh Shears
"I'll probably get a good night's rest." Cal Lee
St. Louis Crusader head football coach, on being asked what his plans were after Friday night's high school state championship game. Kahuku beat St. Louis 21-14.
"It was obvious it was a phony. The more attention you give to these kinds of things, the more you will have copycats." Gov. Ben Cayetano
Speaking to reporters after his office received a letter containing white powder. The anthrax scare shut down down the state Capitol, the Governor's Office and the Lieutenant Governor's Office. Initial tests of the powder were negative for anthrax.
Fight oil companies' blackmail of motoristsIn amazement, I have been following the capricious activities of the oil companies to protect their local golden goose. If I were in their place, I would do everything within my power to keep secret my margin of profit and make sure that I can continue soaking it to the people of Hawaii. What a wonderful racket they have!
It does not cost more to bring oil from Alaska to Hawaii than to California. Nor does one need a degree in economic science to understand that if the gasoline on the mainland is 50 cents less a gallon, somebody is playing a word game when talking about non-competition. All oil companies are laughing their heads off making insane profits compared with the rest of the country.
The request for secrecy is understandable. So is the request for a change of venue. I suggest that Hawaii motorists cut down on their gasoline as much as possible in planning trips and other activities. Use a bike when possible. Boycott the highest-priced oil companies; there are still some interesting minor variances in pricing at the different gas stations.
Moreover, people should write to the gas companies and voice their opinions about the unrealistic demands for profit. There cannot be a reason for the price of gasoline to be so much higher than on the mainland -- except greed. I hope the judiciary will show the strength to fight this.
Hawaii's last royalty should be honoredWhere were you on Nov. 2? I was honoring our last Moi Wahine, Queen Lydia Liliuokalani at Iolani Palace. On that date in 1917, she passed away still waiting for justice from America for stealing her/our sovereign Kingdom of Hawaii. Our queen's protest is stronger than ever.
Where were you on Nov. 16? I honored our last Moi Alii Nui-His Majesty King David Kalakaua at his statue in Waikiki, placed a lei at his foot, the only lei, and said a pule to honor and celebrate the Merry Monarch's birthday and condemn the Bayonet Constitution.
It was King Kalakaua with his people who built Iolani Palace -- our center of government for the kingdom. Why isn't his statue there? Shouldn't it be there -- say, maybe next to his sister? She misses her brother. In these harsh times we surely can re-unite our last ruling king and queen.
George Kahuomoku Flores
Add airport efficiency to security measuresPart of the reason for the drop in people flying is not so much fear of terrorists anymore but simply the dread of enduring the long delays and hassles of the new airport security procedures.
A way to alleviate some of the delay would be to establish a separate "express" line for those who qualify by meeting two requirements: First, each passenger would need to obtain a specially designed, foolproof ID card (with photo, fingerprints, electronic security info scan, whatever).
Second, the passenger must agree to bring only two pieces of specialized pre-approved baggage -- one cargo and one carry-on. These bags would be of simple and uniform design, able to be searched and moved quickly and easily.
Frequent flyers might especially welcome this. Other passengers would soon see the advantages and switch over also. They might be further induced by discounts or frequent-flyer miles. The easier it is to fly, the more tourists will come to Hawaii.
Michael Van Dorn
Ticket cameras will tax city's motoristsI wish our political leaders would spend more time creating positive solutions to Hawaii's economic woes and less time taxing its people through the use of traffic-ticket cameras.
Based upon the Arizona model of 2,000 to 3,000 tickets a day, versus the current Honolulu Police Department model of 103 a day, it will create a lot of money for the state -- $55 million a year, to be exact. I can hear them now: "The money will be used for education, to create more jobs for the state, to insure safer streets and highways ... blah, blah, blah."
I ask one question of our state officials who secretly rammed this ticket camera down our throats: Was the public ever offered an opportunity to voice opposition to this? The answer lies behind the silent, dumbfounded look they give us.
Michael K. Griffith
Hurricane fund should not be raidedBen Cayetano is still eyeing the money in the Hawaii Hurricane Relief Fund to keep from laying off state employees. This money belongs to the homeowners who were duped into paying into this useless fund, and it should be refunded without any further delay.
But let's say the governor does get to use that money to keep civil servants on the job. What happens when that money runs out? What fund will he want to raid next? Small and large businesses across the nation are being forced to lay off productive workers because of the economic slump. Too bad they don't have their own homeowner-financed hurricane fund or some other fund to tap into so they can keep their employees working. Business owners have to make unpopular and hard decisions to keep their operations afloat.
Cayetano should take a lesson from the private sector: Try running our state the way he'd have to run his own business to stay open. Or is he doing that already? In a way, I wish he were going to run for office again so that I could vote for anyone else ... again.
John H. Mayer
Shopper thankful for early holiday spiritChristmas came in November for me. It was the opening morning at Macy's Ala Moana. My sister and I were shopping when we were faced with a very serious situation where we needed assistance. Two very special ladies, Laura Mission from Kauai and Marlene Oishi, came to our aid.
It's comforting to know that despite what our country is facing today, there are still people who care enough to help those in need. Thank you from the bottom of my heart, Laura and Marlene!
Smoking ban provides equal protectionBrandon Bosworth (Letters, Nov. 24) misses the point about a smoking ban in restaurants. The bill is to give equal protection to restaurant employees that we already give to every other worker in every other workplace in the state of Hawaii.
He may choose to dine where he wants, but he shouldn't be allowed to contaminate the air of the workers who have no choice.
That a smoke-free Hawaii would also help bring us up out of our economic doldrums by appealing to the majority who do not smoke is an added benefit.
Radio stations should play more countryI was beginning to think that there were very few of us who felt that our radio stations are not producing any programs worth listing to, then I read with great joy the Editor's Scratchpad by Burl Burlingame (Star-Bulletin, Nov .27).
When I change channels and find the same song on three different stations I become very disenchanted with the powers that guide us.
I am 70-plus years old and really like most music; however, the agenda seems to be only for the young and it all sounds alike. Same beat, same tunes, not a great variety of words.
I personally prefer Hawaiian and country music. I was informed by Double K County, when they became Da Bomb, that no one listens to country, yet most of the people I know -- young and old -- are country music lovers.
Maybe we should all protest and turn our radios off. How about it, country music lovers?
Leona "Noni" Bender
Political correctness hurts Hawaii's schoolsAndy Parx's "religious profiling" (Letters, Nov. 26) of Board of Education members Carol Gabbard and Sherwood Hara and blaming them for Hawaii students doing poorly in science is sad.
If Parx wants to play the blame game, he should point the finger at liberal education bureaucrats who have been in power in Hawaii for the past 50 years. They are the ones who have made the decision to direct our educational system away from rigorous academic curricula toward outcome-based education and Skinnerian mastery learning.
This politically correct education has left our schools in pitiful condition. Instead of emphasizing math and science, the liberals have chosen to focus on whole language, sex education, sensitivity training and other non-academic subjects.
I think Gabbard and Hara are doing a great job and I will continue to support them. Getting our educational system back on the right track will not happen overnight. Parx's juvenile namecalling helps no one.
Fluoridating water ineffective and toxicThis is response to the article "UH School wins out over Lanai fluoride" (Star-Bulletin, Nov. 19) and the subsequent editorial "Find a way to begin fluoridating water" (Nov. 20) in which you fail to provide factual information on fluoridation. Simply repeating claims by fluoridation proponents and ignoring concerns of the opposition is a disservice to your readers.
A little investigating would show you that highly toxic hazardous waste used in water fluoridation hasn't been determined to be safe for human consumption. You would find fluoridation is only effective in that it provides a means of disposal for this hazardous waste material of the fluoride industry. You would also find most of what the fluoridation proponents claim is misleading, incorrect and without credible supporting evidence.
Two facts show water fluoridation makes no sense. First, it is intended to ensure that those ingesting fluoridated water will ingest optimum amounts of fluoride, but there is absolutely no control on the amount ingested. Light drinkers get sub-optimum amounts, heavy drinkers, such as diabetics and athletes, get overdosed. Second, less than 1 percent of fluoridated water is ingested by those it is intended to benefit. This translates to 99 percent being spent for the purchase and the disposal of this toxic waste by dumping it into the environment through the public water systems.
Robert G. Briggs
Republicans should back embryo cloningIt comes as no surprise that President Bush, the Pope and all the other anti-choicers would oppose human embryo cloning. Even congressional people would abuse their governmental powers to prevent this much-needed research that could lead to cures and the relief of suffering for millions. Attorney General John Ashcroft has opposed medicinal marijuana in spite of all the evidence of its benefits. He also blocked the state of Oregon from doctor-assisted suicide. Everyone has an undeniable right to die at this own desired time and method. I have heard and read of conservatives stating that if someone is sick, crippled or suffering, that it is God's will.
Republicans always say that they want less government but they constantly deny us our right of choice.
Torii at triangular park a welcoming sightI like the Torii at the small triangular-shaped park at Beretania and King streets. It fits well with the surroundings and enhances a rather plain-looking place. It seems to beckon people passing by with its non-written message of "Welcome to Moiliili!"
Roy E. Shigemura
Terrorist attack could have been preventedAfter the 1993 World Trade Center bombing that killed six and injured 1,000 people, President Clinton promised that those responsible would be hunted down and punished.
After the 1995 Khobar Towers bombing in Saudi Arabia, which killed 19 and injured 200 U.S. military personnel, Clinton promised that those responsible would be hunted down and punished.
After the 1998 bombing of U.S. embassies in Africa that killed 224 and injured more than 5,000, Clinton promised that those responsible would be hunted down and punished.
After the 2000 bombing of th USS Cole, which killed 17 and injured 39 U.S. sailors, Clinton promised that those responsible would he hunted down and punished.
After the 2001 debacle ... maybe if Clinton had kept his promises, thousands would be alive today.
John L. Werrill
Military trials would turn others against usI don't often find myself in agreement with William Safire, but he's dead on with regard to star chamber military trials for captured terrorist suspects. To try, or worse, execute these people secretly would be shooting ourselves in the foot.
Let's be practical. Once again we've got them, they're not going away. Meanwhile, the war on terrorism will go on and won't be won until we convince a lot of people around the world that many things about our country deserve admiration rather than hate.
What better way to show them our nobler side than to demonstrate that we are a society of laws and basic rights and justice? To set aside our time-honored constitutional procedures in this case would only confirm their deep suspicions that, like so many of their own leaders, we waive the rules when it suits our convenience.
Further terror abroad won't bring peaceVisualize a pilot mumbling to himself after a bombing run over Afghanistan: "So this was my first run ... I gotta stay focused, man ... one bomb bay has the food, the other the bombs ...gosh, maybe I shouldn't use my cell phone during these runs."
Unfortunately, the civilians were bombed, and the Taliban received the food. The hawks say it's acceptable collateral damage -- Muslims worldwide who had been sympathetic toward the United States in the wake of the World Trade Center attacks are now rooting for Osama bin Laden.
We are allegedly a nation of laws; without them it's chaos and anarchy, which is what is occurring in Afghanistan. Would you like to see proof of who is responsible for the Sept. 11 atrocity? Does your government lie to you? Since we are all laying our lives on the line, we have the right to see the proof.
The dynamics of terror and counter-terror lead not to peace but to more violence. Israel's response to terrorism hasn't brought the Israelis more security.
Bombing Taliban puts more heroin on streetsLet me get this straight. We are bombing Afghanistan to get rid of the Taliban. Afghanistan was once the world's largest opium producer. The Taliban cracked down on opium production. Knowing that heroin destroys lives, this crackdown seems like a good thing to me.
But Afghan farmers have been saving poppy seeds in secret while planting wheat. We are giving them wheat while they are once again planting poppies, now that the Taliban are fleeing. Soon our city streets will again be saturated with heroin, thanks to our military campaign against terrorism.
Can somebody help me out? Am I missing something?
ACLU stirs readers
Don't protect rights of terrorist suspectsThe only thing the ACLU is doing by urging Hawaii's agencies not to cooperate with federal authorities is ensuring thugs, such as those of Sept. 11, have free and easy access to our country, to perform their havoc and kill our citizens (Star-Bulletin, Nov. 24). The ACLU is more concerned with the rights of these cowards than those of law-abiding American citizens.
Don't blame the federal government for restrictions being enforced for the sake of security. The terrorists changed the rules, the federal government didn't. I hope the public will not buy into the hysteria being bred by the ACLU and other "civil liberty" groups.
Law-abiding American citizens and legal immigrants have nothing to fear. As long as the American citizen has the right to vote, our rights and liberties are secure. But, of course, less than half of all Americans exercise that right. What makes anyone think they would care anymore about the rest of the rights they have?
ACLU is antithesis to the TalibanI am stunned that James E. Mazure would compare the ACLU to the Taliban (Letters, Nov. 25). The ACLU fights for the rights of those people underrepresented in this country. The Taliban doesn't believe in freedom of speech, expression or women's rights. The ACLU is the antitheses of all the Taliban stands for. The ACLU believes there are certain things that shouldn't be a part of a child's state-sanctioned curriculum. Freedom of religion covers people who don't want to follow any particular church as well. I understand Mr. Mazure's frustration regarding prayer in school but someone should have taken a nap before writing such shibai.
Local chapter makes arbitrary decisionsHere they go again. The local ACLU is now supporting Portland, Oregon's correct refusal to interrogate those on Attorney General Ashcroft's McCarthyesque list of "individuals with non-immigrant visas ... in relation to ... Sept. 11 attacks."
Yet the chapter refuses to disassociate itself from the Virginia ACLU's successful court case lifting the half-century law against Ku Klux Klan cross-burning to terrorize African-American and Jewish citizens. No wonder so many former and potential supporters are increasingly turned off by their arbitrary sense of justice.
Christians employ Taliban-like tacticsJames E. Mazure likens the ACLU to the Taliban on the grounds that the ACLU would take anyone trying to hold prayer meetings in public schools to court (Letters, Nov. 25).
How could he have gotten it so backward?
To the Taliban, nothing belongs in school so much as prayer. Their nearest soulmates in this country are those who would have prayer meetings -- as long as they were Christian -- part of the school day. The biggest differences between them have been the names and minor trappings of their religions and their political clout.
If there had been a strong AfghanCLU in Afghanistan, it would be a much nicer place to live today.
The Star-Bulletin welcomes letters that are crisp and to the point on issues of public interest. The Star-Bulletin reserves the right to edit letters for clarity and length. Please direct comments to the issues; personal attacks will not be published. Letters must be signed, must include a mailing address and daytime telephone number.