Outstanding journalist left men up-standing
I saw in the newspaper that famous author and journalist Oriana Fallaci died. She was 77. I knew her briefly in 1968 in Vietnam. We were both residents at a press camp near Pleiku. She was the sole female of some 50 residents. There was no female toilet facility. Consequently, camp management had a system for clearing the six-hole "latrine" when Oriana wanted to use it. "Clear the latrine" and "Latrine all clear" would ring out over the loudspeaker from time to time.
One evening I found myself sitting next to Oriana for dinner. I had no idea at the time that she was "internationally famous" or "glamorous." We had a pleasant discussion with me enjoying her beauty and Italian accent and she my Texas twang. Her provocative, fearless, mostly humorous remarks and my frankness soon had us exchanging all sorts of insights. Then she delivered this unforgettable gem:
"You American men are so overly conditioned to be polite to women that it is easy for me to have great fun at your expense."
"How so"? I asked.
"Every morning when I feel wicked when I wake up, and I go directly to the latrine without notice, pull open the door and walk in. All the polite American men sitting there immediately stand up in respect and complete embarrassment."
"I love to do that," she said.
I laughed at her audacity.
Two mornings later, I was sitting in the latrine along with four others when the outside door was jerked open and in walked Oriana.
I, along with the others, quickly stood up, looking desperately embarrassed.
All dictators and other political pretenders tried to avoid interviews with Oriana. She left all of them naked with her penetrating questions and fearless reporting.
She stood tall. The world will miss her.
Richard O. Rowland
President, Grassroot Institute of Hawaii
New airline's low fares won't last long
Go! airlines again is offering the $19 one-way airfare (Star-Bulletin, Sept. 22
). While this is good news for the few who can acquire this and sample go!'s air service, it gives the wrong impression that interisland travel should be cheap.
Anyone with a little intelligence knows that making a profit at those low rates is impossible, due to the actual cost of doing business. While the plan of go! airlines may be to force a local carrier out of business, it is only a matter of time before it also will need to raise its rates to become profitable. Should one of Hawaii's local carriers -- Aloha, Hawaiian, Island Air or even Pacific Wings -- stop service, it will be a loss to people of Hawaii. Go! airlines has its pocketbook on the mainland, and should it desire to cease business here, it can always go home and continue. What about our local carriers?
It is only a matter of time before go! raises rates or goes home to be profitable. Go! home now.
DOE should spend a/c money elsewhere
The Department of Education should better justify the $25 million request for air conditioning.
Having air conditioning not only incurs the initial construction costs but also the added electric bill and maintenance costs. Retrofitting air conditioning on older or portable buildings with no insulated walls and roof is very energy inefficient. Poor air-conditioning design or maintenance also increases mold and disease transmission risks.
Having more fans, trees for shading or functioning electric water fountains on campus might be the more economical and environmentally friendly answer.
Save the money to fund teaching supplies and teachers' raises.
Gas price cap caused too much up-and-down
The governor was right to push for a repeal of the gas cap. The gas cap not only raised gasoline prices and cost consumers money, it also made prices volatile.
If the price was forecast to go up, long lines of cars would pile up on each other at gasoline stations on Tuesdays just to get their fill before the increase. If the price was thought to go down, people drove their cars sometimes to empty, getting stranded on the freeway and causing more traffic snarls, just to hold out until they could get their fill of the cheaper gas. It created instability in the market and our lives, ultimately costing consumers money and headaches.
I am happy the gas cap is a thing of the past, and the governor has stepped forward to focus on real solutions such as energy self-sufficiency.
Real fans find a way to get to the game
I like June Jones' reflection on 21,000-plus season ticket holders in the stadium. A fan is someone who is there because he or she is a supporter. We may not always agree with everything the University of Hawaii athletic department does -- such as cost of tickets, changes in uniforms or music -- we are there to support the players, the band, the cheerleaders and the coaches! We are there to have a good time. too! Money isn't everything, so if you're not physically there like the Alabama, Nebraska and USC fans are, then get there or be square! GO WARRIORS!
Thai leader not as popular as he seems
Regarding your Sept. 22 editorial
about the coup in Thailand: Thaksin Shinawatra might have appeared to be popular, but that is misleading. Generally, the rural communities of northern and northeastern Thailand voted for Thaksin. Many of them did so because they were paid for their votes. That part of the country received a great deal of assistance from Thaksin's government and party in the form of grants and assistance programs.
To detail the mismanagement, misgovernment actions of the last five years would require much more space than a letter to the editor. But Thaksin was willing to use any trick to win sympathy, particularly from abroad.
A so-called attempt on his life with a car bomb has been revealed to be a ruse staged by a senior military officer close to the prime minister.
Thaksin was not the popular leader he pretended to be but, because he controlled the police, the courts and other government agencies, no election would be successful in removing him. If the military had not acted, with the support of the truly popular king, the situation could easily have become violent.
Having lived in Hawaii for 40-plus years, I have seen the effects of one-party government. It was far worse here; only the Thai culture on nonconfrontation kept things from becoming deadly.
All troops deserve warm welcome home
Regarding the Sept. 15 letter,
"Marines swap aloha with flight passengers" by Don McDiarmid, Jr.:
Mr. McDiarmid's letter made me cry. My nephew is stationed at Kaneohe Bay and will be leaving for Iraq early next year.
I would love it if his return flight to Kaneohe Bay would be as patriotic and loving as the United flight was. From pictures I've seen in this newspaper the base arrival is always a wonderful event.