Clinton on ticket could lead to boycott
What Sen. Daniel Inouye, who is backing Sen. Hillary Clinton in the Democratic presidential primary race, does not seem to realize is that a lot of us staunch Democrats do not want Bill and Hillary in the White House again ("Island intrigue: Hawaii's caucus gains significance in a deadlocked primary campaign
," Star-Bulletin, Feb. 6).
If she is on the ticket in either position -- for president or vice president -- I, and I think others, will be looking for a third party candidate or sitting out the general election in November.
We want a change.
James M. Walling
It's their year, but rats have little to celebrate
Many people in Vietnam will be celebrating the Year of the Rat this year by lighting firecrackers and feasting with friends. At some parties, Vietnamese will eat rat. Once Vietnamese rural people were the only ones to relish rat, but now rodent cuisine is becoming popular in cities.
Vietnamese favor clean country rats raised in the rice paddies. After the harvest, villagers catch the rats in traps or they capture them by hand. Farmers chase the rice-bloated rodents through the fields and kill them by bopping them over the head with sticks.
When I was a reporter covering the Vietnam War, I unintentionally ate a rat. I was reporting from a province called Vihn Long in the Mekong Delta. The Vietnamese district commander there, Major Luong Dinh Bay, invited me to his house for lunch. He said he wanted to treat me and other visitors to a regional specialty. His cook passed around a blue and white porcelain dish of what appeared to be fried chicken. Major Bay told me the meat was frogs legs. I found the flesh annoying to eat, with many tiny bones, but the sauce was delicious, a French-like combination of garlic and butter. The maid served carmel custard for desert. Then Major Bay told us we had eaten rat. Rats!
That was more than 40 years ago but ever since it has given me a good story to tell.
Keep smoke out of island restaurants
As Hawaii residents enjoy a dinner out on the town this Valentine's Day, the American Lung Association of Hawaii asks you to think about something you take for granted -- the air around you.
It wasn't long ago that most restaurant air was polluted with cigarette smoke. Maybe you were used to it then, but now that it's gone from our restaurants, bars and all other indoor public spaces, clean air adds to our enjoyment and improves our health.
When state legislators enacted the 2006 public places smoking ban, they did so knowing there is no risk-free level of exposure to secondhand smoke. Some businesses now claim they've been harmed by the law. Whether or not that's true, the law's overriding public benefit is that smoke no longer damages the health of employees and patrons alike.
The ALA of Hawaii strongly disagrees with those who say smoking licenses should be available to willing establishments and that prospective employees would be informed as a condition of employment that smoking is allowed.
As a society, we strive to improve working conditions and eliminate threats to health and safety. The no-smoking law has done that for all Hawaii residents and deserves our continued support.
The American Lung Association of Hawaii
A good leader must have more than charm
A so-called "local boy president" or "health care for all." Your choice.
Hillary Clinton has no reason to kowtow to special interests; Barack Obama does. His health plan points in that direction. That's only one issue.
Clinton voted to bring troops home; Obama abstained. A coward's way out. He is a charming man but not ready to be president.
Obama the best choice -- for vice president
Hawaii, along with most of America, has a decision to make. Who is going to be our next president? Am I the only person who thinks this is a fairly simple decision?
I believe that Sen. Barack Obama would be great -- as a vice president, that is.
Over and over again you hear Obama talk about how he never supported the war in Iraq and how we need a president who is "right from day one." Never mind that many of our country's finest leaders, like Hillary Clinton, were misled to vote for the war initially. It is unreasonable to expect anyone to be perfect. Our leaders are just as human as you and I. So for a candidate to boast that he was "right from day one" is misleading and implies that he doesn't make mistakes. We need a president who has the guts to defend our country and who is able to draw upon a lifetime of experiences to make the tough decisions with the information available. What we don't need is a president who just sits around and talks about hopes and dreams.
When you are casting your ballot on Feb. 19, do not vote for Obama because he was born in Hawaii, or because he seems like a nice guy. Think hard about your decision and vote for the candidate who has the experience, knowledge and leadership to lead our country and bring about change. Vote Hillary.
Andrew T. Ogata
Democrats are setting up interesting dilemma
A fascinating thing has happened to the two political parties -- the electorate has backed both into almost untenable positions.
The Republican power brokers, accustomed to a membership that allows Rush Limbaugh to think for them, have had John McCain forced onto the party. They don't like him because he thinks for himself. But a lot of the people like him.
The Democratic Party has a different dilemma. It must choose between a candidate who is divisive within her own party (not a good thing in an election so important as this one) and a candidate that expects that huge ocean of latent racial prejudice to drain dry by November.
There is a risk that all those folks who publicly profess to have abandoned their racism, in the privacy of the booth, won't be able to pull the lever for Obama. They may leap over and vote for McCain. And some who can't embrace Clinton if she is the candidate would do the same.
Twice lately we have seen that being the conference champs may be fine (particularly if that simply means the Democrats really are the big tent party inclusive of women and minorities), but the question is, can that win you the bowl game?
Gene J. Parola
Hawaii, don't give your vote to California
We must keep the Electoral College ("Electoral College gives Hawaii clout
," Our Opinion, Star-Bulletin, Feb. 8). Removing the Electoral College or bypassing it in general is a very bad idea. Sure a national popular vote sounds great in title, but what most people don't realize is that in the long run most states would not have a say in the election of our president.
If we require all states to send their voting Electoral College delegates in with a vote for the popular vote candidate, they will no longer be representing the voice of their state and their constituents. The presidential elections would be run by the states of large populations; California, New York and Florida would decide the next president, even if the rest of the country voted for the opposing candidate. States like Hawaii would have absolutely no say in deciding who holds presidency.
The Electoral College is an equalizer and allows every voice to be heard. Removing it would create a system fostering a tyranny of the majority. We must remember that our nation is a republic and we must not allow this change to occur.
Scott Nolan Smith
Formerly of Kaneohe
Voter-owned elections benefit business, too
Throwing out elected officials every so often might be satisfying, but it's a crude way of getting good government. If you agree that policy disasters such as Iraq are less likely when special interests have less influence over government, the question becomes "How can we elect politicians without special-interest campaign donations?"
The "voter-owned" elections (public funding) movement would be a good start. The way it works is that if enough voters make a $5 contribution to your campaign, and you agree to "run clean," government pays the remainder of your campaign expense up to an average of campaign costs in the last election. Maine and Vermont now have such legislation, and Hawaii keeps trying.
Voter-owned elections will benefit business as well as individuals. Consider: In Texas the oil industry rules (pollution, global warming, war). In Washington and Oregon, timber interests rule (destruction of forests and wildlife). In Hawaii, the tourist and real estate industries rule (narrow economic base, inflated housing prices). In nearly every state of the union, a nominally capitalist economy is actually a corporate welfare economy, as big old industries are given advantages in law and taxes by legislators indebted to them for campaign donations, while new industries more suited to the times must pay their own way.
Capitalism is a great system, but it works much better when voters determine the laws of corporate conduct and governments apply the rules fairly. Voter-owned elections deserves a try.
UH might have to say bye-bye to bowl games
The University of Hawaii Warriors had a great season of 12 and 0, but their bowl game performance was a letdown. If they do manage to go 12 and 0 this year without coach June Jones and their star quarterback Colt Brennan, it would be a miracle. Even if they do have the perfect season, they might think twice about giving us another shot at a bowl game.
Despite their loss in the Sugar Bowl, they did have an outstanding season that might not come again in a long time.
Return of helmet unearthed memories
I recently read the story about Lt. Fusata Iida's helmet being returned (Star-Bulletin, Dec. 8, 1999
). Iida, a Japanese fighter pilot, died while leading the attack on what was then Kaneohe Naval Air Station on Dec. 7, 1941.
My father, Robertus Richmond, was an aviation ordnanceman 2nd class at Kaneohe on that day. He was the first person to arrive at the crash site of Iida's plane. He retrieved a scarf off Iida's body. The scarf had Iida's name, along with Japanese writing that assured certain victory.
In a 1981 Associated Press photo story, we saw Iida's family visiting the grave site. At that time my father and I, with the help of Missouri 9th District Congressman Harold Volkmer and the Consulate of Japan, were successful in returning the scarf to Iida's family.
On Dec. 7, 2001, I visited the grave site of Lt. Fusata Iida. On the headstone it read "Crash site." At that moment I realized I was standing right where my father had been 60 years before.
I want to add this to the history of the attack and honor all those who were serving our country on Dec. 7, 1941.