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Thursday, July 31, 2003





Abercrombie is right to criticize U.S. policy

I am not pleased with the Star-Bulletin's editorial concerning remarks about Rep. Neil Abercrombie's "Iraq Watch" ("U.S.-Iraq policy demonized by House members," July 27). My warmest mahalo to Abercrombie for voting against the resolution for an invasion of Iraq. We should not be in Iraq and there is every indication that the Bush administration's policies have been based on lies and deceit. I am glad that someone continues to question the administration's "integrity."

As far as Bill Clinton's remarks that "presidents make mistakes," well, this was a big one. It is so easy to be glib when it is not your child, father or mother dying. American soldiers and Iraqi citizens are dying every day. Rep. Dennis Kucinich of Ohio is calling for the return home of American soldiers now, and for the United Nations to become the peace-keeping force in Iraq. I hope that Abercrombie and Rep. Ed Case will support this proposal.

Pat Blair
Kailua

Ginoza's legacy nothing to crow about

Without so much as mentioning the statewide, 19-day teachers' strike, outgoing Hawaii State Teachers Association president Karen Ginoza leads the applause while assigning herself a high place in Hawaii's history ("Success abounds in public schools," Gathering Place, Star-Bulletin, July 6).

Ginoza once claimed that the strike exposed students to "what collective action could accomplish" (Star-Bulletin, April 5, 2001). Ginoza has returned to the classroom as a special education teacher. Her farewell message showed her need to be secure in a place from which she could not be dislodged and would not have to suffer condescension. Anyone who'd ever questioned the wisdom of a school decision or tried to rescue a child from the authority of a school "expert" might well have pondered the process by which union officials came to their positions of moral ascendancy over mere parents.

Ginoza claims that "the positives are far outshining the negatives." Yet boys don't buy the script in which unfailingly kind teachers place their interests first. Boys far outnumber girls in special education classrooms. Ginoza mentions a student from when she first started teaching who thanked her. In her column, she shares those thanks and publicly thanks teachers. That's done for political effect. Yet a large percentage Hawaii's public school students who are enrolled in special education won't return as "productive and conscientious" citizens.

Richard Thompson
Berkeley, Calif.
Part-time Hawaii resident

New court interpreter fees benefit everyone

The Judiciary values court interpreters and their important role in facilitating access to justice. Our institution is committed to attracting and retaining a reliable pool of qualified interpreters. That is why Chief Justice Ronald Moon, a grandchild of immigrants himself, tasked a committee with developing a payment structure that fairly compensates interpreters while being sensitive to the state's fiscal condition.

The committee developed a fee schedule that provides a large fee increase for interpreters. Noncertified interpreters will receive $200 for eight hours of work, a 100 to 150 percent increase. At $300 a day, certified interpreters will receive a 200 to 275 percent increase. Tight fiscal times prompted the Legislature to appropriate only half the requested amount.

Interpreters are independent contractors who are called as needed to interpret for persons with limited English proficiency. They are not Judiciary employees. Under the current system, interpreters are paid by the half-day. This means that an interpreter who works 15 minutes receives the same fee as one who works four hours.

The new fee schedule is based on an hourly formula and therefore benefits both interpreters and taxpayers, as it compensates interpreters at a higher rate and more responsibly expends public funds.

Marsha E. Kitagawa
Public Affairs office
Hawaii State Judiciary

CIA director is just the fall guy for Bush

After reading your July 14 editorial about the Iraq uranium blunder I found it amusing that people actually believe the convoluted explanation the Bush administration has given about the CIA approving unsubstantiated information for Bush's State of the Union address. Come on, the president just wanted to embellish his rationale for going to war. Now that these 16 little words are coming back to haunt this administration and possibly affecting next year's election. CIA Director George Tenet has been sacrificed as the fall guy for President Bush's error in judgment.

Maybe this blunder will give us all a chance to re-evaluate why Bush committed America to this war, which could very well end up being our Chechenya, or should I say our new Vietnam.

Kathleen Kaiser
Waipahu

It's a lingering death but it's legal

Regarding the July 24 Associated Press story "Self-starvation appeals to patients near death": To starve oneself to death is legal everywhere in the United States; starvation ends in death in about 14 days.

It is illegal, except in Oregon, for a doctor to administer a lethal dose of narcotics to a dying patient, even if he/she has requested it so as not to prolong a hopeless, helpless, suffering life.

Which do you think is more humane and merciful: to suffer a lingering death for 14 days, or to go peacefully within 20 minutes?

Consider also that the long-suffering way is legal, while the quick and peaceful way is illegal. Sensible?

Tetsuji Ono
Hilo


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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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