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Friday, April 18, 2003




Critic of Powell's was the real loser

For Lisa Hoffman of Scripps Howard News Service to call Colin Powell a "loser" in her analysis of "winners and losers" in the war with Iraq (April 16) says to me she's clueless in world affairs. Powell simply did his job and did it very well:

Step 1: Go to the United Nations to try to secure the Security Council's support. There are no guarantees. Step 2: Put the U.N. and the world, for that matter, on notice that the United States has a purpose and the conviction to back it. And finally, step 3: Show the world what side of the line in the sand France, Germany and Russia would stand on.

Maybe Powell was thinking just a few moves ahead in his "chess" game -- a game Hoffman hasn't the slightest understanding of how to play.

Martin D. Schiller

System unfair to some substitute teachers

Your March 28 editorial, "Law leaves behind substitute teachers," adds to the public's misconception of the problem by its omission of pertinent facts:

>> The majority of 1,450 Class I substitute teachers were alerted by the Department of Education to a required college degree in 1998 to ensure continued employment, per standards established by the Hawaii Standard Board.

>> Class II substitute teachers (760) have baccalaureate degrees from regionally accredited institutions. While they may not have completed a student-teaching program, some are enrolled in a course of study that satisfies the first requirement above and still are hired one year at a time without benefits.

>> Class III substitute teachers provide an additional 1,800 double-dipping retirees, constituting a total annual pool of 4,013 substitute teachers (Class I, II and III).

The key for any of these on-call substitutes is a mandatory "school priority list" that delegates "interviews and selection by principal/vice principal of at least one school" -- a scratch-my-back perpetuation favoring retirees. After all, what are old colleagues for?

Do you know who's teaching your child today?

Diane A. Scoville-Kingsley
Class II substitute teacher
Wahiawa

Promoting families is church business

With all the constant hoopla over keeping the influence of the church out of government, I find it interesting that the state Legislature has introduced a bill that will fund a commission to promote the value of fatherhood to families (Star-Bulletin, April 9). If the state should ever manage to do well the things it's meant to do, such as effectively running our schools, then maybe it could expand its purview into areas such as the promotion of family values. Until then the state should leave such issues to the agency designed to do so: the church.

If we're going to keep the church out of the state's business, let's keep the state out of the church's business as well.

Steve Klein
Kailua

Ruthless dictators rarely embrace aloha

Rep. Helene Hale's April 16 letter defending the "Aloha to Saddam" House resolution shows she just doesn't get it. I don't blame the legislators who originally co-sponsored this resolution, because it started off innocuously, ostensibly being about "reaffirming the value and meaning of aloha." Hey, who isn't for that? And so, in the flurry of activity that starts off the session, some legislators undoubtedly quit reading the resolution, signed it and moved on.

But if you keep reading, it gets more and more surreal, urging us to negotiate with Saddam Hussein using aloha -- gently urging a ruthless, mass-murdering dictator to embrace kindness and disarm voluntarily. There's a time and place for aloha, but it's certainly not during negotiations with a deadly, armed sociopath who respects only ikaika (strength).

You have to wonder about the judgment of those who supported this resolution after the war started, and after its true meaning was revealed and condemned by speaker after speaker in floor debate. It beggars the imagination for Hale to continue defending it after Saddam's reign ended and his former subjects pulled down his statues and rejoiced in their liberation.

The only way this resolution could have made sense was if the word "aloha" was used in the narrowest possible sense, as in "goodbye" -- goodbye to Saddam, and good riddance.

Sen. Bob Hogue
24th District
Kaneohe-Maunawili- Enchanted Lake

Keep engineered crops out of Hawaii

The authors of your "Health Options" column, Alan Titchenal and Joannie Dobbs, have lost credibility after writing that genetically engineered foods are safe to eat. They said federal agencies have "thoroughly evaluated" these products before they can be marketed (Star-Bulletin, April 14). Respected scientists have testified that these foods have not been accurately tested. Consequently, much of the world won't allow these modified seeds or crops. The Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration have a history of promoting business interests over consumer and environmental concerns (foxes guarding the chicken coop); Hawaii's coffee growers and organic farmers are justifiably worried about their land and crops being contaminated by nearby genetic engineering test sites.

One has to wonder if the writers can be objective, being employees of an agricultural college in a state that has courted the biotech industry.

Paul Lerman

America's flagship will sail Hawaiian Isles

The SS United States Foundation is proud to announce that Norwegian Cruise Lines has purchased America's flagship and saved her from the scrap heap. The SS United States is being refurbished and sent to Hawaii to cruise our islands. We have been quite busy these past four years trying to get the SS United States saved as either a museum, like the Queen Mary in Long Beach, Calif., or as a ship plying our islands.

When she gets here, this ship will employ about 1,500 crew and probably the same number in reservations, and dock workers and other positions.

Ben Davis
Waipahu

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The Star-Bulletin welcomes letters that are crisp and to the point (150 to 200 words). 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 and include a daytime telephone number.

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