to the Editor

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Sunday, January 19, 2003

LPNs could solve nurses' shortage

A quick solution to the nurses' shortage would be allowing licensed practical nurses with more than three years of experience to take the RN state board exam. You will be surprised by the number of LPNs who can pass this exam.

On the mainland, many nonprofit county hospitals train LPNs to do the same jobs as nurses at the large city hospitals. They realize that it will be more cost effective to pay a LPN than a RN.

Perhaps someday a nonprofit county hospital in Hawaii will be dedicated to providing quality affordable hospital care for lower-income families the same way they have been doing for decades on the mainland.

Cecilia Graybeal

Proposed state drug plan is flawed

State Rep. Roy Takumi's Rx Hawaii and Healthy Hawaii programs are inherently flawed.

The Healthy Hawaii program will allow residents who have no drug coverage and are at certain income levels to obtain medications at a discount.

This program is obsolete. Many pharmaceutical companies already have taken the initiative, offering people with no drug coverage and certain incomes, substantially discounted and even free medications. Government intervention is not needed here.

The Hawaii Rx program will allow the state to purchase bulk quantities of medications at a lower price from pharmaceutical companies. The state would become a large pharmaceutical clearinghouse and be able to collect rebates from drug manufacturers.

It is hard for me to believe that the state could run a large program like this efficiently. This program will lead to increased restrictions on more effective, newer medications. Physicians likely would be faced with increasing paperwork to obtain these "non-generic" treatments for their patients when indicated.

Negotiation of drug costs should be left to the drug companies and insurers. The practice of medicine does not need more government bureaucracy.

Jeffrey C. Kam, M.D.

Death penalty helps victims and state, too

Hawaii needs the death penalty. Our sympathy should be the for the victim's family and friends, not the murderer. Moreover, not having the death penalty is costly to taxpayers.

For example, the man suspected of killing Kahealani Indreginal is young. If he is found guilty, he will spend the rest of his life in prison. It will cost an estimated $25,000 a year for his incarceration. His life span will be at least 50 years. Byran Uyesugi, the Xerox killer, is another example. These millions could be spent for other purposes.

Those who oppose the death penalty should ponder the trauma of the victim's family, the cost of incarceration and the use of this money for productive purposes.

How Tim Chang

Child's poem reflects on Kahealani's life

The tragedy that has descended on the Indreginal family hit my family so deeply. Our hearts go out to them. Unfortunately, there are no words to relieve the unimaginable pain that her family is feeling.

I too have a beautiful 11-year-old daughter, which is why I feel such sadness for this family. However, the effect this has had on my daughter is what encouraged me to reach out and share this with your readers and hopefully with Kahealani Ingredinal's family.

My daughter, Ashleigh, had a dream that she and Kahealani were friends and went to school together. The day following her dream Ashleigh wrote this poem.

A girl, so beautiful and so kind,
I know she was.
One day her life ended,
I don't know why,
Just because?
When people turn against each other and change their ways,
Try to remember what it is "they" say ... ,
"You haven't lost a friend,
You've gained another angel in the sky."

Kahealani will never really die. God bless.

Cindi Burkhouse

Boat passengers face many dangers

Touring our islands by boat and observing the "jewels of the Pacific" is probably the reason most tourists return to Maui. After 31 years of being involved in the ocean-recreation business, I had a hard look at reality during the last four days.

Tuesday -- A nice day on a whale watch in front of Baby Beach in Lahaina, the pretty cruise ship was in, a whale was close by, and turtles with tumors were looking at us in a boat about a quarter-mile off shore. As we left towards Lahaina Harbor, the boat stopped. We observed a 200-foot circle of thick red oil. It appeared to be straight in back of the cruise ship that was anchored about a half-mile from us. I heard the captain call on the radio to the harbor agent to report the spill.

Wednesday -- I went on a snorkel trip to Lanai. As we looked at the beautiful cliffs, we noticed that a deer was trapped. The captain notified the Department of Land and Natural Resources and the Lanai Co., too.

Thursday -- Went on another boat trip and passed the same spot. The deer now had a broken leg. The Lanai Co. was notified again.

Friday -- Back to Lanai to snorkel. Upon arrival at the reef, we spotted a chewed up deer carcass floating. We didn't get to snorkel there!

Why wasn't the deer rescued before it suffered and broke its leg, attracting sharks to the snorkel site?

Who wins when the cruise ships are in? How is swimming at the beach going to affect your health? Why should we put boat passengers at risk from foreign cruise ship tender operators?

Randy Draper
Lahaina, Maui

Older cruise ships caused much pollution

There is obvious concern about foreign cruise ships polluting our lovely islands. That is quite understandable, even though state-of-the-art retaining systems are now in place aboard most, if not all, ships that arrive here.

However, I often wondered what the U.S. Coast Guard and other authorities were doing in the '80s when two U.S. ships conducted weekly pleasure trips around the islands.

Built in the '50s, no such equipment existed on these ships. Speaking from my experience as a chef on board both vessels, all forms of trash, plus dozens of 40-gallon plastic garbage containers full of everything imaginable, were quietly dumped overboard at midnight five days a week. It was literally impossible to work without this routine procedure, authorized by the head office. I still feel guilty about it.

John L. Werrill

Lay people have pets, and brains, too

Dr. Frank Tabrah (Letters, Jan. 15) has many impressive credentials, but has also committed ad hominem, or diverting the argument to disparage the presumed character or "competence" of one's opponent rather than dealing with the argument itself. My dictionary defines ad hominem as: 1. appealing to one's prejudice, emotions, or special interests rather than to one's intellect or reason. 2. attacking an opponent's character rather than answering an argument.

Tabrah didn't deal with the arguments put forth by "lay persons" trying to change the quarantine law. Rather, he smeared their characters as not being qualified.

Exactly what points of fact published by leading world and national authorities about rabies, rabies quarantine and the safety and efficacy of rabies vaccines and vaccinations does Tabrah wish to dispute?

If there are none, perhaps an apology to us incompetent lay persons is due.

Catherine A. Robinson

Lingle understands injustice to Hawaiians

Hawaii's first "gal" governor really "gets it." At a recent meeting on Native Hawaiian issues, she said, "This is not a racial issue. This is a historical issue based on a relationship between an independent government and the United States of America and what has happened since and the steps that we need to make things right."

She is right on the money.

Now how come every administration before her avoided this fact like the plague? Answer: They never believed it was worthy of their attention so they politically subdued the issue.

Why do others continue to mislabel this as a racial issue? Answer: They want to steal the benefits based on racial, social and economic unworthiness.

Hawaiians should never forget that this is your "place" and aloha can emanate only from you. It is then ushered into the hearts and minds of all those who are receptive.

So take note: This governor likes to repeat the words, "We need to make things right." Never heard that from previous administrations.

It may be too early to witness results, but the signs indicate help is finally on the way.

Hank McKeague

Americans have a duty to resist war

The Nuremberg Tribunal of 1945-46, which passed judgment on Nazi war criminals, declared that "to initiate a war of aggression is not only an international crime, it is the supreme international crime." George W. Bush, by all appearances, is preparing to wage a war of aggression against Iraq in violation of international law. Such a war, according to the Nuremberg principles, would be a crime against peace and a crime against humanity. The Nuremberg judgment also said that "individuals have international duties which transcend any national duty. They have a duty to prevent crimes against peace and against humanity."

During World War II, many Germans said they were simply following orders or they had a duty to the government and their country. The Nuremberg judgment saw things very differently. It said that following orders was no excuse; citizens had a duty to resist the crimes of their government.

Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMDs) -- nuclear, chemical and biological -- already have been declared illegal by the World Court and denounced by resolutions of the U.N. General Assembly, as well as the International Red Cross in its Geneva Conventions. As the United States prepares to wage a war of aggression against Iraq because Iraq might possess WMDs, it is important to remember that the United States is the world's worst offender with the largest stockpile of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. It is hardly in a position to be casting any stones.

Philip Berrigan, one of America's great peacemakers who died recently after spending 11 of the last 31 years in prison for non-violent resistance to war, put it this way: "We all have to take responsibility for the bomb. The bomb is destroying us spiritually, morally, psychologically, emotionally and humanly ... We are expected to do good, to do justice in our lives and we're expected to resist evil. So I would say that we have to continue resisting war as long as we live ... The disarmament of our nuclear weapons needs to be a priority for us ... We are daughters and sons of God, and that means we are called to be peacemakers."

If we fail to nonviolently resist the criminal policies of our own government we risk similar judgments handed down to the "good" Germans at Nuremberg. We also risk becoming the evil we claim to deplore.

James V. Albertini
Kurtistown, Hawaii

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