Akaka not blameless in Walter Reed scandal
During the last few days, several high-ranking Army officers have been relieved of their commands as the result of the Walter Reed Army Medical Center
. They fell because it was felt that they failed to take adequate steps to correct obvious long-standing inadequacies in out-patient facilities. Their ousters were clearly justified.
Sen. Daniel Akaka has been a member of the Veterans Affairs Committee for 16 years, and now chairs that committee. Perhaps someone can tell me why, during all his 16 years' experience, he did not come forward with outrage at these inadequacies, and with his recommendations for correction? His responsibilities included overseeing these facilities, and correcting any obvious neglect. Where was he when our military victims needed him? And why is he still chairing the committee?
Anti-marijuana forces use twisted logic
I was discouraged to read that Angel Raich had lost her appeal in the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ("Ill woman loses pot appeal," Star-Bulletin, March 14).
Over the years, marijuana has been linked with many maladies. I think the logical rule of inference, known as modus tollens, can be used to refute many of marijuana's critics. For example, we know from public opinion polls that at least 47 percent of the American population have experimented with marijuana. If marijuana is harmful, and there is a correlation in those old studies, then would not around 47 percent of the population be afflicted with those maladies?
Marijuana is a big black market with estimated dollar-volume between $35 and $50 billion per year. Where are the bank robberies and stolen car rings attributable solely to marijuana addiction? Things like weapons of mass destruction, the federal drug czar claiming that marijuana is addictive, and the pro-tobacco faction of the government trying to convince people that nicotine is not addictive have caused me to lose a lot of faith in the government.
If Raich is dying, then I think the government is irrational in denying her something that gives her relief.
Don't let kids skip school for family trip
When it comes to improving student performance in Hawaii's public schools, there is a critical, but often overlooked, solution that can be applied easily and inexpensively.
That solution is getting parents to ensure their children attend class for the full school calendar year. In more than 20 years as a public school teacher, I have seen a marked increase in the number of family trips that take children away from the classroom. While travel can be an educational and a wonderful experience for children, trips that conflict with scheduled classroom time can measurably hurt youngsters.
Sadly, the accountability always falls on the teachers (especially in the eyes of the public) when the scores are low, or when schools fail to meet basic standards. Yet the parents are never held accountable for their actions.
Most parents do not realize that pulling their child out of school for even one day causes their child to miss valuable learning time. Students also miss valuable interactive time with peers, experiments, field trips, videos and so on.
The good news is that Hawaii's new school calendar gives parents an increased number of breaks during the school year to go on family vacations, without parents having to pull their children out of class.
Most private schools frown upon and discourage trips during the academic year. Why can't Hawaii's public schools adopt this same high standard? For our children's sake, I hope the Department of Education will give this serious consideration in the future.
He'eia Elementary School
They don't make 'em like 'Five-0' anymore
In response to Robert L. "Bobby" Silva's letter Thursday
about one of the all-time greats ever to hit television, "Hawaii Five-0":
I have to say I grew up in Mississippi watching this show, first off because it was one of my dad's favorite TV shows. But as I got older I got to learn about people who were from a different place, and who had differences, and I learned to respect people as a result. I like to meet people from different areas of the country and different countries to learn about them, their likes and dislikes, what motivates them. I myself have never been to Hawaii, and would love to go sometime.
When I was a child, my dad had no problem letting me watch Steve and Danno and Chin pursue the bad guys each week. As I got older, of course, I took to other shows to watch on TV. Now all I watch, if I watch TV, is either news or sports. What I see on network TV -- most of it, anyways -- is not worth watching. I sure wouldn't let my child watch what is on, with all the adult subject matter and such.
I have already bought the first season of "Hawaii Five-0" on DVD and, like Mr. Silva, I want to get more. Now if I can just get the time from work to make it to your beautiful state.
Iraqis brainwashing young to hate U.S.
The more I read about the sectarian violence raging in Iraq, the more I believe that the adult Iraqis have brainwashed the younger generation to fight a holy war in the name of their God, and that the United States will not be able to stop this sectarian violence. A gradual withdrawal plan from Iraq within a year, but not more than two, should be declared immediately before more U.S. troops are sacrificed.
It's your life -- be responsible for it
Pedestrians seem to forget the most important responsibility of all -- their responsibility. Common sense dictates that every single encounter between a vehicle and a pedestrian results in injury and/or death of the pedestrian. The focus of training and education has been on drivers and their responsibilities. The focus should be shared by drivers and pedestrians, with more emphasis placed on the pedestrians. It makes no sense to be in the right, but dead-right.
I instructed my children, who are both now adults, to make eye-contact with the driver before stepping into the street, crosswalk or not, green/walk light or not. As a society, we take too much comfort in placing the blame on others. The bottom line? If you are a pedestrian or a driver, you cannot be engaged in an animated conversation, on a cell phone or with another individual; you cannot be concentrating on anything else but the task at hand, be it driving or walking. Your life depends on it.
Stop being a society of victims, and take responsibility for your own actions!