China inflicts new evil on Falun Gong
On July 20, an independent investigation report into allegations of organ harvesting of Falun Gong practitioners in China was released by David Matas and David Kilgour. Matas is an immigration, refugee and international human rights lawyer in private practice in Winnipeg, Canada. Kilgour is a former member of Parliament and a former secretary of state of the government of Canada for the Asia Pacific region.
The report confirmed that the widespread and systematic extraction of organs from living human beings -- with Falun Gong practitioners as the most targeted group -- has become one of the most secretive and lucrative enterprises in China.
Kilgour said, "When you read this report, you will be appalled. They take both kidneys, then the heart and the skin and the corneas and the liver, and your body is then thrown in the incinerator." Matas called the report's revelation "a form of evil we have yet to see on this planet ... a new form of evil."
To view this report, please go to http://investigation.redirectme.net/
Bush lacks logic in stem-cell stance
If microscopic embryos are the same as human beings, then fertility clinics are committing mass murder on a grand scale, daily. Yet we don't hear any protest about women trying to become mothers with the help of fertility doctors. That has become completely accepted by government and clergy.
I don't see President Bush trying to ban fertility clinics. Why not? More embryos are necessarily created in these clinics than are used, and the rest are destroyed. Either it is murder or it is not. Then why not use these very same embryos to save lives, rather than destroy them. To say otherwise displays hypocrisy and lazy thinking. Meanwhile the American people are being denied research that could save the lives of millions of real people with real families.
At least Bush didn't follow dad's example
It was noteworthy to see our ever-elegant, well-spoken, loquacious president buttering his bread and, between bites, use the vernacular for "feces" when speaking to British Prime Minister Tony Blair. Perhaps he should be fined by the FCC for vulgarity. At least he didn't puke all over Blair or Kofi Annan.
Isle voting machines open to fraud
While the rest of the nation is calling for the removal of electronic voting machines, Hawaii's Office of Elections is driving forward with a plan to implement them.
Safe Vote Hawaii successfully backed legislation requiring that a paper trail be added to voting machines after the state began using machines with no audit capability and almost no security in 2004.
That same system, now with a printer and many changes to the software certain to introduce bugs and complexity, was just chosen by the Office of Elections for 2006, and there's every indication that it plans to move 100 percent to electronic voting machines in the near future.
A report by the Brennan Center for Justice provides great detail about the many failings of these machines. The League of Women Voters has called for close scrutiny of the systems.
The Office of Elections is ignoring every recognized expert in the field in favor of handing our voting process to a third-party vendor with a vested interest in covering up problems and failures in the system.
Let's all -- the public, the media and our government -- be vigilant in protecting our right to a safe, secure, private vote.
Would gill-net limits create beach crowds?
When I first heard about the proposal to ban or limit gill nets
I thought it was a good thing. Proponents of the ban often recall the days when the near-shore waters were filled with fish. I remembered how Hanauma Bay was turned from a barren aquatic wasteland into a wonderful place filled with colorful fish, rich in marine life after it became a marine sanctuary and they banned fishing there altogether. That was a good thing, too, right?
But then I thought about it some more. When there were no fish, I was able to go there and swim and sun myself on a beautiful, nearly empty beach any day of the week. That made me think about why I haven't gone there recently -- too many tourists, too much hassle to get in. I asked my local friends when they last visited Hanauma Bay, and they all said the same thing: "We used to go there a lot, but not recently, because too many tourists."
If banning gill nets brought back all the fish, would more people go to my favorite spots to ogle at them? Would I be crowded out of the places I now go because I can't go to Hanauma Bay? I guess I have to be more careful about what I wish for.
Limiting gill netting can restore stocks
I live on the Big Island and also Cape Cod, Mass., where there is total disaster with fishing.
Too many gill nets have taken a toll. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and other regulators have limited fishing to fewer than 80 days a year. Total pounds are restricted to 400 a day. Our ground fish stocks are at an all-time low and might never recover.
Who's to blame, you ask? The commercial fishermen setting too many nets, killing undersize fish that will not reproduce.
If commercial fishers in Hawaii want to ensure a sustainable fishery they should put greed aside, not line their pockets for a few years then face a ban.
The commercial guys always fight the bans but when they are implemented stocks do increase if bans are set early enough. Then the fisheries are stable and the prices will only go higher.
Cape Cod, Mass.
Israel had right response to Hezbollah
C.Douglas Kouka Allen's July 19 letter
to the editor blamed Israel for irrational behavior by bombing the country of Lebanon. I guess the Hezbollah kidnapping of two Israeli soldiers and firing rockets into Israel is appropriate behavior?
Isn't Lebanon allowing Hezbollah to occupy its southern border to terrorize the Jews and do whatever it takes to destroy Israel's right to exist also appropriate behavior? Who are the real terrorists?
Failing school system should be revamped
We all support education, and as a state we continue to virtuously invest in our kids. We do this because we believe that all kids deserve the same kind of quality education. So how is it that we can ask that families keep their kids in ANY of the 187 failing public schools out of the 282? Growing up in public schools, I couldn't stay because each year the expectations steadily dropped. The kids get split into classes, and soon two sets of standards lead to two educations. Due to these standards, many students leave our education system to go to private schools, paying thousands out of their families' pockets.
If we are investing money each year for all kids, why can't we let students get the education they deserve by offering them their choice of school? Soon schools with successful formulas can expand and failing schools will restart. Let's consider a new education strategy and not keep pumping money into a system that continues to disappoint us.
Don't cause another death, drive with aloha
I recently lost an extraordinary friend who was killed in a car accident. I and many others are trying our best to cope with this great loss.
This event has not only changed the way I live, it has changed the way I drive. Now, when I get into my car, I am more cautious, more calm, more courteous. I expect that from others, too, even though most of the time, I see the opposite.
After dropping my parents off at the airport, while driving the speed limit, I was overtaken by a recognized kumu hula on a single-lane onramp to the freeway. I honked my horn at him as he was reckless, like the driver who killed my friend.
On the freeway, he slowed next to my car and with his window rolled up, yelled at me with a look on his face that is still unforgettable. I could see his hate and anger. As we continued on the freeway, he took every opportunity to give me the meanest stink eye.
Perhaps I should not have honked at him. Yet he needed to know that what he did could have caused another tragedy.
I do not usually write letters, but I feel compelled to send a message to Hawaii drivers to please be kinder and more courteous. A senseless act killed my friend. He was not only a compassionate, giving friend, he was a loving husband, a caring son, a loyal brother, a doting uncle ... a person who is irreplaceable. Please, please do not wait for a tragedy like this to drive safely, to drive with aloha.
'Inconvenient Truth' a must-see movie
Roger Ebert, the country's premier movie reviewer, wrote about "An Inconvenient Truth" that "In my 39 years of movie reviewing I've never said this before but I'm going to say it now, you owe it to yourself to see this movie and if you don't you need to be prepared to explain to your children and grandchildren why you chose not to."
We solved the hole in the ozone layer through political will and we can solve global warming, but we must become informed and engaged to do it. You owe it to yourself and the rest of us to see the movie and to become engaged.
Laura Crites and Tim Keck
Rail will make our city much more livable
I have traveled to many cities through out the world that have rail transit, and I always value the ability to get around without a car. Honolulu's existing geography and layout are perfectly suited for rail transit, with all major destinations like the University of Hawaii, Ala Moana Center, the downtown financial district, Aloha Stadium and the Honolulu airport accessible along a linear route from Honolulu to Kapolei. These destination points would link up with the fast-growing leeward areas and new destinations such as UH-West Oahu.
I attended the recent public meetings on mass transit and was impressed with the city's presentation of alternatives.
Rail transit in Honolulu will allow for necessary growth for increasing population without the need for increased sprawl. In town, transit centers will become natural activity hubs, providing needed services within walking distance of homes. People who cannot afford a car, choose not to drive or do not have the physical ability to drive would have increased mobility options.
A well-planned rail system is the key to Honolulu's future. It will provide transportation options, revitalize our city and become an example emulated throughout the world.
Curbing malpractice will lower health costs
A July 2 letter
signed by Hawaii physicians, which assails the medical insurance industry and Medicare for their inadequate reimbursements to physicians, incorrectly claims that "escalating medical malpractice costs are driving doctors from practice in Hawaii."
According to the American Medical Association, from 2000-2004 the number of physicians in Hawaii per 100,000 residents rose by 51; the total number of physicians rose by 546. The total number of ob-gyns has risen by 21 and the number of ob-gyns per 100,000 residents has remained steady.
The answer is not to push for restrictions on the rights of patients but to rein in the insurance companies from price-gouging and provide doctors with fair payment for their services.
There is no correlation between insurance premiums, restrictions on patient rights and claims. In fact, Hawaii's medical malpractice premiums are significantly lower than in many other states. Medical malpractice premiums in Hawaii have now risen and fallen three times in the last 30 years in accordance with national insurance economic cycles -- with no correlation to local legislation. Each time rates went up, doctors sought restrictions on patient rights, yet each time rates came down with no changes in the law. And rates are starting to come down again without any changes in the law.
We should be working together to eliminate medical errors as a way to lower medical malpractice costs and increase patient safety. Hawaii simply does a poor job of monitoring and disciplining bad doctors. We must do more to protect patients and provide doctors with fair payments for their services.