Ruling gives free rein to crooked employers
I disagree with the recent U.S. Supreme Court's 5-4 ruling that would inhibit free speech for government whistleblowers.
What if a potential whistleblower witnessed a supervisor committing a crime? Shall crimes by supervisory personnel in the public sector all be covered up nowadays? I want to encourage these potential witnesses to come forward and contact the courts, if their supervisors go around doing illegal things.
Isle students getting the wrong message
The Department of Education has always given its strongest effort to provide the best possible education to Hawaii's public school students. So it is distressing that the test scores of Hawaii's students on the National Assessment of Educational Progress remain at the lowest level ("Isle science scores rise, but still lag most states," May 25
In 2005, for example, only 44 percent of Hawaii's eighth graders scored "at or above a basic understanding" of science. Furthermore, during the previous nine years the improvement was a mere 2 percent.
Even more distressing, though, is the reaction of superintendent Pat Hamamoto. She said, "We are hopeful that our gains will increase as several science initiatives take effect in the next few years" (emphasis added).
So while the rest of the world zooms forward technologically, fewer than half of Hawaii's eighth-graders have a basic understanding of science. Meanwhile, the state's top education official is merely "hopeful" that things will improve.
For generations, a common expectation of parents was that their children, upon reaching adulthood, would find work at jobs paying more than they themselves had earned. The parents of the current generation of school-age children should realize that in the emerging global high-tech economy, education will play an increasingly important role in determining a person's income.
In consideration of Hawaii's ineffective system of public education, those parents should reverse their expectations.
Stop repeating lies about Hawaii history
Senator Akaka claims (Star Bulletin, May 28
) that his bill "will right some of the wrongs done by the U.S. government in its 1893 overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy."
The record shows the U.S. government was never involved, and in fact formally distanced itself from the perpetrators. Repeating a falsehood doesn't make it so.
In any event, the majority of Hawaiians voted for the republic, then for territorial status and finally for statehood. All fair and square.
Concerning the crown lands, which never belonged to the people, these were ceded by the monarchs to the republic, which transferred them to the territory, which passed them to the state. These lands belong to the government, and historically natives were never considered eligible for any share of income from them.
Racial entitlement and sentiment notwithstanding, the last thing our state needs is two classes of citizen or a power grab based on racial discrimination.
Take Kailua Beach back from profiteers
I grew up in Kailua. Kailua Beach has played an enormous role in my life. I learned to swim, surf, dive, spearfish, sail, windsurf. It was at Kailua Beach where I first learned to respect nature and all her beauty.
For years local beach-goers like me have had to endure the maze of commercial operators that have taken over the beach. For years they have monopolized valuable parking spaces for themselves. By spreading their gear all over the beach, they deny the rest of us the "good" spots. I say it is long overdue that we take the beach back.
Some of our problems have easy solutions
Possible solution to the illegal immigration problem:
>> Dig a moat the length of the Mexican border.
>> Take the dirt from the moat and use it to raise the levees in New Orleans.
>> Put those man-eating Florida alligators in the moat.
Now ... any other problems you want me to solve?
Eliminating estate tax would be unfair
I prefer a consumption tax to an income tax as America's primary tax base, but if income from labor is taxed, equity requires the estate and gift taxes.
The principle underlying the income, estate and gift tax trilogy is simple. It is unjust to tax money for which a person works -- income -- and not money for which a person doesn't -- inheritance and gifts.
Suppose I want a $10-million marina and the total tax rate is 50 percent. I find no injustice in the fact I must earn $10 million to buy mine while one is handed to "A" and given to "B".
Eliminating the estate tax would mean I had to earn my marina and a second $10 million while "A" & "B" had to do neither. Not fair.
Don't forget, the marina is worthless unless other Americans protect it with military, police, fire departments and a just court system, plus make it useful with roads, airports, trash collection, water and other services.
The "it has already been taxed once" argument is fallacious. I earn a wage. It is taxed. I pay a mechanic with the once-taxed money. It is taxed again. He pays a gardener with the twice-taxed money. It is taxed again. The gardener hires a tutor. The thrice-taxed money is taxed a fourth time. And so on, till none is left. Taxes pay for one use by the person taxed, not to make the assets tax free for eternity.
George L. Berish