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POSTED: Sunday, September 27, 2009

Maintain pledge to save Arctic

America's Arctic Ocean is home to abundant life—polar bears, walruses, ice seals, whales, the Inupiat people and much more. It is a treasure that has been part of our national heritage for generations.

Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar has pledged to make wise decisions based on sound scientific principles. Along with hundreds of thousands of Americans, we recently urged Secretary Salazar to reconsider the Bush administration's foolhardy rush to drill in our only Arctic ecosystems.

Secretary Salazar must continue his commitment to wise decisions based on sound science and come up with a rigorous plan for America's Arctic that will ensure its survival.

Murray and Shari Grounds

Kailua

Flip-flopping OK on Afghanistan

I was pleased to read that President Barack Obama is reconsidering our country's strategy in Afghanistan. It takes an intelligent and courageous person to reconsider previous decisions. Opponents will surely scream “;flip-flopper,”; but there is nothing more dangerous than a leader who cannot adapt to new information and changing conditions.

There have been lots of attempts to conquer, subdue or otherwise change Afghanistan over the centuries. None has succeeded. It is a good idea to examine just what our strategic objectives are there. We have to be careful not to get caught up in professor Max Brazerman's “;Twenty-dollar Auction.”; Brazerman teaches at Harvard Business School. In one of his classes he offers up a $20 bill for auction. But in this auction the runner-up must still pay what he bid, even though he gets nothing in return. In this regard, it is like war. The loser still has to pay. Brazerman's students start off thinking they can win the $20 at a reasonable cost, but as the bids approach the face value of the bill, the focus changes to avoiding the loss of what they have already bid. The bidding typically escalates well above $20. Reportedly, one class member bid $204 for the $20 bill!

Of course, this is not rational behavior. But then sometimes neither is war. Sometimes it is best to cut our losses and head in another direction.

James B. Young

Honolulu

Life is a gift from God, not the state

In predicating her statement that a single-payer government health care option is “;absolutely essential”;—i.e., “;If health insurance is to be mandatory ... as necessary as mandatory auto insurance”;—Dr. Roxanne Fand seems surprisingly confused about something vital (”;Single-payer plan a fiscal necessity,”; Star-Bulletin, Letters, Sept. 17). And that is putting it mildly.

Driving is a privilege granted, licensed and regulated by the government. That Dr. Fand would think the same of living is appalling.

And yet that is precisely what government health care will mean, especially for our most vulnerable citizens: Whether or not our youngest (e.g., unborn) and eldest citizens will be allowed to live will be the option of government bureaucrats. Bureaucrats will have to ration health care—to those whose care is the most expensive—to reduce government treasury outlays.

Life is a gift from God, not a government-issued privilege to be licensed, assigned a dollar value based on “;worth”; and terminated by bureaucrats.

Thomas E. Stuart

Kohala Middle School teacher, Kapaau

Water decision was a good move

From what I have read, the hearings officer in the state Water Commission interim instream flow standards matter has accommodated the Waiale water treatment plant. I hope so.

It is good to know that there is recognition of the needs we have for homes, businesses and jobs. Without the stream water, I don't know of any good alternative that won't take a generation to establish.

Linda N. Monden

Wailuku

               

     

 

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