Gay unions plagued by unfounded 'facts'
In response to Russell Pang's letter Thursday
about civil unions, I was surprised to learn that same-sex couples cannot feel anything but physical attraction for one another and that they have more relationship and health problems. There might be no truth to any of that, but the statements do have an element of "truthiness" (as defined by Stephen Colbert) -- after all, if a statistic, or something like a statistic, might have been written down by somebody at some time in a report that somebody later read and sort of remembers, what more proof do we need?
Same-sex marriage is legal in five countries, and civil unions are legal in 19 countries (and in parts of six others). The question is: Do our families, friends, neighbors and coworkers deserve the same legal rights and benefits as everyone else? Or should we tell our ohana that their civil rights are using too many of their own tax dollars?
Pang's comments can be added to the long list of arguments opposing gay marriage that don't make sense. Let's get past the stereotypes and start doing the right thing.
Not all poultry raised as fighting chickens
I am writing in response to your Jan. 31 editorial
, "End gamecock breeding in areas where people live." You wrote that the Legislature should enact House Bill 1128 to prohibit the raising of domestic hens, roosters or other poultry and any gamecock or fighting fowl in residential areas. But before enacting such a bill, think of the people who raise other birds named as poultry.
Poultry is defined by the Department of Agriculture as not only chickens but also pigeons, quail, pheasants and other birds not used as fighting chickens. These other birds don't make noise. They are not used to kill each other with razors. Yet if the bill goes through there are others who will suffer that are not in the same category as fighting game cocks. Pigeons are a hobby to some, quails are pets and pheasants are kept because of their beauty.
We should not condemn all poultry. If it is the chicken, then name the chicken, not lump-sum all poultry.
Ed Ah Chong
States should decide on assisted death
I agree with the Star-Bulletin's editorial
("'Death with Dignity' deserves fair hearing," Feb. 2
) that the House Health Committee should give HB 675 a full hearing. I believe it is unreasonable that legislators will defer this bill indefinitely based on former Attorney General John Ashcroft's issue of an Interpretive rule that physician-assisted suicide was not a legitimate medical purpose as well as any physician administering federally controlled drugs for that purpose would be a violation of the Controlled Substances Act.
In reviewing Gonzales v. Oregon, it is my belief that the Hawaii Legislature should adhere by the 2006 decision that rules such issues "should be left to the states." This brings up the fundamental issue of the federal government overstepping its jurisdiction by attempting to overrule state laws to determine what constituted the appropriate use of medications that were not themselves prohibited. Thus, it is up to the Hawaii Legislature to decide on whether to consider the "Death with Dignity" bill without regards to an obsolete ruling.
Hawaii Democrats have lost their way
My parents were Jack Burns Democrats who always told us proudly to "look what the Democrats are doing." I am glad they aren't here to see what the Democrats are doing today.
Insightful columnist was a real patriot
I would like to thank the Star-Bulletin for carrying Molly Ivins' column every Tuesday. It is with sadness that I learn of her passing.
We all have our own idea of what constitutes a patriot, someone who loves his or her country and labors to make it a better place. Ivins was able to cut through layers of political hubris to identify and address important issues with clarity, honesty and keen insight. Her compassion for the "common man" and those without a voice was evident. She did all this with humor and at times a biting wit.
America lost a true patriot; perhaps we should lower our flags to half-mast.
It's fine to stop trying to impress us
Every time I see the public service announcements on TV to let viewers know that if they break a traffic law they might be subject to a "monetary assessment," I shake my head in dismay. Not only is it a waste of taxpayer money to tell us something we already know, but trying to use "big words" to tell us about it is silly. "Fine" is just fine with me.
Leaders deserve more respectful tone
I appreciate the Star-Bulletin editorial page printing my op-ed piece
, "Setting the Agenda," in last Sunday's paper
However, it was obvious that many changes were made to my original piece. Of course it is certainly the right of the editors to edit some content as submitted, but some of the alterations made were both uncharacteristic of my writing and inappropriate to form. Specifically, I would never to refer to the governor by only her last name. The position Gov. Linda Lingle holds is one of high honor and respect, and I believe that should always be recognized.
While I understand that the standard style for the Star-Bulletin is to use full names and titles on first reference and last names thereafter, often times rules cannot be simply black and white. Perhaps it is time to revisit the editorial/op-ed guidelines employed to acknowledge the positions of our leaders and grant them their proper distinction.
For those who read my article, I hope you will look past this and focus on the content.
Senior adviser, communications
Office of the Governor
'Pali aloha' helps make Honolulu bike friendly
Windward residents James and Bill got out of their car to push a stalled Honolulu-bound car 40 yards uphill outside the Pali tunnels Tuesday morning. By clearing the lane they helped prevent a crash and allowed traffic to flow.
Just another example of Pali aloha I experience daily while riding my bicycle from Kailua to Honolulu. Special mahalo to all the courteous and safe drivers who slow down and pass cyclists with ample room. TheBus drivers are excellent role models in this regard.
George Abcde and Teddy Sumibcay of the state Department of Transportation and its contractor KleenSweep do a great job of keeping the shoulders clean and the bushes trimmed for good visibility. Volunteer monitors from the Hawaii Bicycling League (hbl.org) call attention to trouble spots.
These are examples of Honolulu becoming a pedestrian- and bicycle-friendly city. To help make the recently passed City Charter amendment a reality, the city can apply for the League of American Bicyclist's designation as a "bicycle friendly community."
Just by applying, we'll learn what we can do through engineering, education, enforcement, encouragement and evaluation to become bicycle friendly. Using these criteria can also help us become more pedestrian friendly. Let's get started, Mayor Hannemann! Together, can do!
Don't blame ed system for poor achievement
If I hear or read one more comment like "No Child Left Behind needs fixing" or "The schools are failing" or "Teachers need to improve," I think I'll scream!
For academically struggling students, we do more harm than good by sending the message that the school systems (whether that be national policy, school infrastructure or personnel) need to be fixed.
Sure, some things might be broken, but in our society diseased by attitudes of entitlement, passivity, and misplaced blame, sharpening the pencil (or replacing it with a pen) does little for the potential writer who doesn't want to write and/or thinks the writing tool doesn't work.
I have no doubt that changes in the education systems will occur. But I fear that, regardless of the "fixes", those students who struggle will continue to do so until the root causes are addressed.
The root causes are: not valuing education, having little or no connection to school and having a weak sense of personal responsibility.
When we all start focusing on these root causes (especially when our kids are young), then all students will begin to benefit from "repairs" to the education systems.
Letter misrepresented efforts as 'lobbying'
I am responding to Garry Smith's comments (Letters, Jan. 27
) about my part-time employment with D.R. Horton-Schuler Division.
My work at D.R. Horton does not include "lobbying," as Smith suggests, but centers on maintaining a strong community relations program for the company. I am involved with the company's "Read to Win" program that's designed to urge more elementary school students to read; today more than 800 students participate in the program. I also oversee development of the company's quarterly community newsletter, as well as other outreach activities with nonprofit and community organizations.
Because I do not lobby on behalf of the company, nor do I get involved with helping them obtain permits or approvals, the state Ethics Commission has advised my position as a community relations manager is appropriate.
Smith also incorrectly states I paved the way for Gentry and Haseko to build homes in Ewa Beach. In fact, the City Council and mayor had final say on these projects.
I am concerned about development that doesn't incorporate "smart growth" concepts, and continue to advocate for these principles. My voice and input will always have the concerns of Ewa Beach and West Oahu residents at the forefront.
Community relations manager
D.R. Horton-Hawaii Division
Each of us can help cut greenhouse gas
We are all part of the climate change problem. We need to all be part of the solution.
The threat of climate variability requires us to act while we are gathering additional data. We must begin to reduce our greenhouse gas footprint immediately.
We need to understand the greenhouse gas footprint of our activities.
We can't just look at tailpipe emissions for a flex-fuel car vs. a gas-guzzler. We need to look at the greenhouse gases emitted during the manufacturing stage and the disposal stage of vehicles. We need to look at the average miles of paved road per vehicle, and to count the greenhouse gases used to make that road. Only then can we understand the relative impact of different choices.
Life of the Land