Ignoring Gingrich visit shows liberal bias
Who says that liberal bias is not alive and well in Honolulu? Last weekend there was a conservative dog-and-pony show at Pearl Harbor and at the Honolulu Convention Center. Rights were being exercised and nationally recognized political commentators were in attendance. There was absolutely no reportage from either of the daily papers or any of the local TV affiliates, as far as I know.
Ordinarily the likes of Ollie North and/or Newt Gingrich would receive plenty of media coverage were they to visit. At about the same time, John Travolta and his wife were here for a charity event and, as admirable as that is, they received all kinds of media coverage.
Regardless of political beliefs, the press has an obligation to at least appear to report events objectively without favoring one side or the other. What a joke that is. In this instance the Star-Bulletin and the other mainstream media outlets failed miserably.
How pathetic of you.
Kent W. Comstock
Antismoking agenda endangers rights
As a smoker, I'm used to the extremes the antismoking crowd will go to, but your editorial Monday
tops them all. You bemoan the fact that "too many smokers get their own way in homes where they live." You seem to have forgotten that people are, in fact, allowed to "get their own way" in their homes. Believe it or not, there are still people who believe that making their own decisions (and yes, sometimes deciding it's -- gasp -- OK to live with a smoker) is a right every adult citizen has.
The antismoking agenda has careened into a vitriolic, hysterical campaign that will brook no tolerance of adults living their lives as they see fit. You can hate smoking as much you like, but don't you dare suggest it's not my right to live as I please in my own home. The arrangements smokers and nonsmokers make to accommodate each other at home are none of your business, and none of the government's. The fact that you found it reasonable and normal to write this editorial shows how skewed and dangerous this crusade has become.
You can't always walk away from the smoke
Kudos to the Coalition for a Tobacco-Free Hawaii and their new campaign to ban smoking in multifamily dwellings (Star-Bulletin, May 29
As condo dwellers, my family has suffered close to a year from the excesses of our new neighbors who continue to smoke on their lanai despite our complaints that their smoke enters our condominium. We've been woken up at all hours of the night because the smoke is so bad. It's not unusual to smell cigarette smoke at 2, 3 or 4 a.m., as well as throughout the rest of the day.
The Hawaii Smokers Alliance chairwoman stated, "Everyone has a smoking ban -- it's called your nose. If you don't like it, get up and walk away." That's difficult to do if you are in your home and it's infused with smoke. Where should we walk to, the stairwell?
The chairwoman also calls the efforts to protect nonsmokers "paternalistic." When did saving lives become considered paternalistic? Sixty-five thousand nonsmokers die each year in this country from secondhand smoke. The seatbelt laws and the DUI laws have saved thousands of innocent lives and so will a ban on smoking in multifamily dwellings.
Don't put politics ahead of science
Thank you to the Star-Bulletin for urging U.S. officials to abide by a recent federal court ruling calling for the private production of cannabis for FDA-approved research ("Our Opinion," May 22
Drug Enforcement Administration law judge Mary Ellen Bittner determined that the private manufacturing of cannabis is "in the public interest" because there is "currently an inadequate supply of marijuana available for research purposes." How ironic. While pot is only a phone call away for America's teenagers, it remains out of reach for those qualified researchers who wish to study its therapeutic utility in clinical trials.
Meanwhile, investigators in Europe -- where the private production of medical-grade cannabis is less restricted -- are developing various cannabis-based drugs to treat debilitating conditions like multiple sclerosis and chronic pain. One such drug -- a cannabis plant-based extract known as Sativex -- is already legal by prescription in Canada, Spain and in the United Kingdom.
It is time for the DEA and the White House to stop putting politics above science and abide by Bittner's decision.
Senior policy analyst
National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws
Ban on lay gill nets is the only answer
I am sickened at the thought of the male monk seal frantically trying to free himself
from a gill net and, unable to get to the surface to breathe, drowning ("Newswatch," May 30
). I observed him and his mate in a cove at Kaena Point recently. They nuzzled each other as they enjoyed lying in the the sun on the shore. Their affection for each other was apparent.
This is the fifth case of a seal caught in a gill net in the past six years in Hawaiian waters. It is unacceptable. By law, a gill net cannot be left in the water for more than four hours, or left without being inspected for more than 30 minutes. What a ridiculous sham this law is!
If the net's owner followed the regulations, he would have seen the seal thrashing about, trying to free himself, and perhaps he could have been saved. But who enforces the gill-net rules?
On Oahu, there are 40 enforcement officers at the Department of Land and Natural Resources. Some are in training, or work in an administrative capacity. Others are on vacation or sick leave. The few remaining officers are supposed to patrol resource, parking and park violations. Very little time is devoted to gill nets. How many officers are needed to monitor every gill net for four hours? Finding a net in the ocean is like finding a needle in a haystack. There is no effective way to monitor the situation.
Clearly, this law isn't working. If we care about protecting endangered species, then the only answer is a ban on lay gill nets. Lawmakers, are you listening?
So what is the purpose of the sanctions?
On Monday, President Bush announced that sanctions would be levied against the Sudanese government because of its repeated acts of genocide. Some questions were raised concerning what the president meant by sanctions.
On Tuesday, U.S. Ambassador to Sudan Andrew Natsios clarified what the president meant by sanctions. He said, "The purpose of these sanctions is not sanctions."
John A. Broussard