It is our duty to question the president
In 1971 I lost my student deferment and my draft number was 14. The Vietnam War was still raging. I was against the war but enlisted in the Army anyway. I didn't see that I had much choice. I wasn't a conscientious objector to war in general. I didn't want to move to Canada. I did my duty in spite of my belief that our leaders were misguided.
I also never supported the 2003 Iraq invasion. I never drew a connection between 9/11 and Iraq. I am highly skeptical about whether the United States can live in peace with the Arab/ Muslim world until some kind of equitable peace can be established between Israel and its neighbors. But I also believe that if it weren't for our dependence on foreign oil, the Israel/Palestine conflict would be a backwater issue for our country.
Last Friday, I attended the boot camp graduation ceremony of my son, PFC Samuel J. Curlee, into the Marine Corps. I am extremely proud of Sam. Right now his only option is to be the very best Marine that he can be. When he is deployed to Iraq or any other place he carries the honor of the Corps, the lives of his brothers and the defense of the nation on his 19-year-old shoulders. There is no question in my mind that Sam will do his duty.
I am very doubtful that this commander in chief is capable of or inclined to do his duty. I also doubt that he had any idea of what he was getting into in Iraq. Being critical of incompetent leadership is my duty as a citizen. It would be so whether I were the father of two sons who work in defense of the nation or not. We must not forget that the president and Congress work for us. That means that if you work as a waitress, gas station attendant or business owner, you are still the president's and Congress' employer.
I ask all fellow citizens to learn as much as they can about the policies of this nation and get involved in the process by voting, writing their congressmen or peacefully demonstrating their beliefs. My sons are fighting for our right to do just that.
It is important to remember that the president is not our (civilian) commander in chief. He is the commander in chief of our armed forces. Support the troops by holding their commander's feet to the fire and demanding sensible and competent leadership.
Veteran, 25th Infantry Division
Let isle craftsmen make your surfboard
Hawaii is known throughout the world for our surfers and the surfing life -- supported by thousands of craftsmen and entrepreneurs. But Hawaii is now in danger of losing this industry that is unique to the islands.
The local craftsmen who shape and build surfboards are in danger of being wiped out by discount mass marketers who sell pop-out epoxy boards made in foreign factories.
That's on top of the latest crisis to hit the surfboard industry -- the closure this week of a California firm that provides the cores for most of the world's surfboards.
The big boys will find a way to survive, and after a spike in prices, that crisis will pass for them. For us little guys, it's the latest in an increasingly difficult struggle to preserve the art of creating boards the traditional way -- by hand, a skill I learned from my father. Surfing is not just a sport. It's a way of life that connects us with the ocean and generations of surfers who have made Hawaii the center of the surfing world.
Losing Hawaii's independent shapers would be a loss for the entire community, and a blow to a state that taught the world how to surf. We need your kokua to preserve our surfing tradition. Let us create your surfboards and we will survive. Mahalo pono.
Lawmakers should create more parks
As Alexander & Baldwin proposed its modified plans of the Kewalo basin area (Star-Bulletin, Dec. 8
), I was walking around Magic Island enjoying a moonlit night. The beauty of Magic Island was once threatened by the development of a series of high-rise hotels and shops. The developers at the time had proposed a plan that would have adversely changed Ala Moana Beach Park and the south shore.
The number of condos that are appearing on the south shore is alarming. I question why the Legislature does not see the need for significantly increasing the acreage of open park space, especially since we have the one resource needed, which is land. Is it really a "renaissance" to have another mall where all the vendors will complain about the lack of parking? What is happening to our sense of preserving Hawaii's natural beauty?
UH intellectuals do little for America
I have read with interest the ongoing dilemma about the Navy's university affiliated research center coming to the University of Hawaii. Millions of federal (taxpayers) dollars could be expended, yet the UH Faculty Senate
and even Denise Konan, the interim chancellor
, give a thumbs down. Wonder why? Because these intellectuals have no motivation to approve this center. The taxpayers of Hawaii foot the bill, so why bring in another entity to help? Need money? Go to the Legislature, it has the deep pockets of the taxpayers.
Many of these so-called intellectuals were draft-deferred during the Vietnam conflict. They chose to ride out the war in the comfort of the dorm or Canada, while allowing others to protect their rights and freedoms. They espouse freedom of assembly, of speech, of individual rights, yet they've yet to lift a finger to protect those rights. But that's OK, too; while I might not agree with them, I spent more than 22 years defending their right to disagree.
So, you just sit in your cushy jobs on campus, with your huge salaries. There are still true American patriots who step forward to the call to defend those rights you so recklessly enjoy.
Hand stamps would solve stadium problem
Get two solutions to two present problems. One: Recruit da new president for University of Hawaii from Hawaii. Someone who understands and has knowledge of the university and the local people who attend the University of Hawaii.
Two: Limit alcohol beverages to two per person of age to legally drink. How? Easy, every time someone at da stadium orders a drink the customer will get a stamp or bracelet to indicate that that person received an alcoholic beverage, and the second time the customer gets a drink (alcohol) the customer will get another stamp. A customer with two stamps won't be able to order another unless it's bottled water, soda or juice.
Da "stamp da hand" idea is from when I went to dances at Pearl City High School (1987 to 1990). Students who worked at the dances would stamp a student's hand to show they already paid at da door.
This can save da headache of losing a vendor contract and avoid lawsuits against da stadium.
Does McClain have his eye on gov's office?
University of Hawaii Interim President David McClain's announcement that he will not seek appointment as the permanent president (Star-Bulletin, Nov. 29
) should have been no surprise to those who have been following Hawaii politics.
While McClain has wisely chosen to steer clear of partisan politics during his tenure at UH, his roots in the Democratic Party are deep, including a stint as senior staff economist for President Carter's Council of Economic Advisors. Combine that with the Democratic Party's desperate search for a credible candidate for governor and McClain's announcement makes perfect sense.
With his background in economics and his success performing the second-toughest job in Hawaii, McClain is well qualified for the toughest. As to his abilities as a politician, anyone who has ever seen McClain work the crowd at a UH event knows he is a natural.
Perhaps Governor Lingle should make sure her friend George W. Bush has a "fall-back" job waiting for her after next November's election -- just in case.
John P. Wendell
Time to question wisdom of rail is now
City officials need to take a good, hard look at rail transit
with unclouded eyes.
Rail proponents can complain about stalling tactics, but at the moment, the city is jumping blindly into a deep pit.
Can we afford a project that will cost us millions more than the current estimates? Can we maintain a project that is divisive and has never been approved by voters?
Do we need a solid and cohesive plan before proceeding? You betcha.
Remember the reason for joy this season
Dec. 25 was originally known as a pagan holiday. But for more than a century, Christians have converted that day to the birth of Christ even though the true date of Jesus Christ's birth is not known.
Dec. 25 is a special day for all Christians. Wasn't there a death, an emptiness, a need? Wasn't there a Love somewhere -- infinite, eternal, unchangeable -- a Love that gave his only son away?
That's what Christmas is about: God coming to earth in the person of the Christ child to do for you and me what we cannot possibly do for ourselves. A time for joy and happiness.
The bias against Christians continues in this country as the very heart of Christianity is attacked on this special day. WalMart, Costco and Target stores have already decided they will use "Happy Holidays" in place of "Merry Christmas" so that they won't offend a few.
Save electricity -- we're at war
Aieee! Am I the only one who does not understand? We are at war! Our soldiers, sailors, Marines are dying. Thousands of innocents are dying!
Yet I go downtown and see the lights brightly burning. Then the bill from Hawaiian Electric comes with an insert that has "Tips for Conserving Energy." It has a picture of clothes hanging on a line, drying in the sun, just like the 1930s when I was growing up and everybody hung their clothes outside. All the clothes -- including underwear! There were no neighborhood watchdogs to come around and say, "You are bringing down the neighborhood. No hanging laundry where they are visible!"
Then I read further that the state cannot afford more for schools, libraries, transportation ... and further I read, "Let the men and women in the front lines know that we are behind them -- let us sacrifice together!"
Sacrifice together, my foot! Like Nero fiddling while Rome burned, let us "eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we may die" is the message I get. Why are we acting like "business as usual?" Are we trying to tell the terrorists that we're not afraid of them? That they are not going to intimidate us into giving up our lavishness? Auwe!
Seriously, leaders, we do not mind tightening our belts, but we do mind if you don't. Turn out the lights till the troops come home!
Jim and Yoshie Tanabe
Kakaako waterfront project is off the mark
Regarding the Kakaako waterfront project
with two 20-story condominium towers. A Hawaiian sense of place? Or Hawaiian sense -- replaced?