'Smart crosswalks' should be used here
Since Hawaii ranks as having one of the highest pedestrian accident rates in the nation, it is time for our state to invest in the Smart Crosswalk System, which uses unidirectional light-emitting diodes (LEDs) embedded in the roadway at the outer edge of a crosswalk. The LEDs flash a warning to approaching motorists that a pedestrian is in or is entering the crosswalk.
A pedestrian can activate the system by pushing a button, or it can be automatically activated when the pedestrian breaks an optical beam.
There is nothing to lose in investing in a smart crosswalk system. The lives we save are worth the investment.
Why did we go and why are we still there?
Are we in Iraq to stop the threat of terrorism? To go after those responsible for those lost on 9/11? Implement a democratic government in Iraq? Neutralize the dictatorship that was Saddam Hussein? What was the real reason for going into Iraq, and why are our troops still there?
Our president gave the order to go to Iraq because he said there would be weapons of mass destruction there, but none have been found. These days it seems there is no clear objective to the war in Iraq. The president is on TV every other day with another reason why our troops are still there. All the while the news reports that more troops are killed. If there is a clear objective, then everyone knows what the troops are fighting for, but with all the confusion it just seems that our troops are fighting (and dying) for some government secret agenda or to possibly cover up something. It wouldn't be the first time (or, sadly, the last time, either).
Get Iraqis trained, then bring troops home
We should train the Iraqis quickly to defend themselves against their enemies (terrorists) so that most of our military forces will be home by the end of 2006. Any soldier, sailor or Marine who spent time in harm's way must not be sent back to war zones in the Middle East. If they are sent back, then we must revive the draft so that everyone, rich or poor, will be required to serve his or her country. Life is precious. Let's not sacrifice only the poor.
To suggest we should bring home our forces from Iraq immediately is cowardice. Those who paid the price dearly should not be dishonored. Let's finish the job and win it.
Bernardo P. Benigno
Bush should speak to us all, not just military
Has anyone else noticed that President Bush has not spoken to an audience of ordinary citizens since his re-election? He spoke at an Air Force base Monday, and he spoke Wednesday at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md. He has had many military audiences in the last year, but he has spoken to civilians only in carefully screened settings like party fund-raisers or party-sponsored "town meetings." His speech after Hurricane Katrina was a talk to the TV prompter -- no audience at all.
The president clearly prefers military audiences, and he avoids the general public and the press. The White House probably thinks this emphasizes the president's role as the commander in chief. That is precisely what disturbs me. We, the citizens, do not have a commander in chief; we have a president. He is supposed to lead our government, not command it. Is the president trying to tell us not to demand that government follow our wishes, but that our duty is to obey the government? If we do, we are no longer a free people.
Thomas G. Gans
Democrats must show their accomplishments
Gary Helfand has written a piece that is sharply critical of the Bush administration ("Isle Viewpoint,"
Star-Bulletin, Nov. 29). In the same section, Mike Abe has totted up his reasons to fall for the Hawaii Democratic Party's line -- all of them reasonable. What is most important is what is not said.
The reason Governor Lingle won is that she impressed the voters of this "blue state" as adhering to honesty, reason, and Democratic goals and principles better than the corruption-ridden, clique-controlled Democratic establishment. The Democrats had lost their way. They were dividing Hawaii among themselves.
The Democrats must prove they have cleaned house if they wish to regain the confidence of voters. Mere repetition of platitudes will not suffice.
Lingle must emphatically reject the discredited Bush administration if she is to prevail. Bushisms could assuredly carry her away.
Parents responsible for alleged rapists
The recent rape of the 11-year-old child, allegedly by five juveniles (Star-Bulletin, Dec. 1
), is a prime example of what we can expect from the youth of today if parents continue to raise their kids in an immoral environment. I blame the parents of the alleged rapists for their actions.
I strongly feel that these kids should be held as adults. If that cannot be done because of the laws pertaining to youthful offenders, then their parents should be held responsible. Immorality begets immorality.
What does government do with gas taxes?
I would like to put into perspective the profits made by gasoline dealers. It is my understanding that gas station owners make about 13 cents or less profit per gallon of gas sold.
I'm not sure if that is net or gross profit, but whichever it is, remember that out of their profits they must pay the rent on the station, employees' wages, the upkeep of the premises and any modifications to provide for environmental protections.
But do we ever consider that the government makes close to 60 cents per gallon profit without doing anything for the station or its owner? And what does the government do with that "profit"? Our roads and bridges don't show much for the money taken in taxes from the purchasers of gasoline, do they?
So don't be angry with the providers of fuel; they're the good guys. But certainly ask and blame the government for what it doesn't do well with its profits from the sale of fuel.
Gordon "Doc" Smith