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Brainstorm! Challenge

Rainbow logo is also worth a pot of gold

At last week's meeting of the Honolulu Quarterback Club, June Jones was still trying to justify the dastardly deed of dumping the University of Hawaii Rainbow nickname and logo and replacing them with something supposedly more masculine and marketable.

With no apology or regret, he related that the change resulted in an "unbelievable" increase in logo revenue. If he is interested in a more "unbelievable" increase in logo revenue, all Coach Jones has to do is to dump the Warriors and bring back the Rainbow name and logo and watch the money roll in. Want to roll in dough? Bring back the 'Bows!

Richard Y. Will

Merchants should find safer way to make IDs

A recent workshop on identify theft in Hawaii consisted of informative and surprising presentations by the Honolulu Police Department and the U.S. Secret Service.

Some day, all merchants will abandon the unnecessary and risky practice of demanding Social Security numbers from customers who write personal checks. But when?

Vincent Kelly Pollard

Power play divides Council once again

Here we go again. The City Council is once again engaged in petty in-fighting and underhanded politics.

Councilman Gary Okino has not even been the chairman for a year and a cabalistic faction is already trying to oust him from power ("Kobayashi heads charge to oust Council chairman," Star-Bulletin, Aug. 6). Personally, I think Okino is a pretty honest guy and has been doing a decent job as chairman.

However, Councilwoman Ann Kobayashi and her allies are trying to oust him. I was embarrassed to watch Kobayashi make a mockery of the city budget process and don't blame Okino for openly disagreeing with her.

If Kobayashi had her way, our city would be in a lot worse shape than it already is.

Louis Diaz

Priests have abused women and girls, too

In his Aug. 9 letter to the editor, Kevin Gagan, in deciding that all deviant acts were committed by gay priests, is ignoring girls and women who also were abused.

All of the women whose therapy is being paid for by the Catholic Church were certainly not abused by homosexual priests, nor did all the quietly settled paternity cases that never reached a court room involve gay clergy.

Thousands of children worldwide were fathered by men, some of whom are still in the priesthood and who certainly by now are in very elevated positions in the Catholic Church.

These cases make up more than 50 percent of all of the cases of abuse by priests. The women and girls who were abused have received smaller settlements because the church, and later the courts, felt that they weren't as damaged as the boys.

Sandy Farmer-Wiley
Kihei, Maui


Indonesians are not 'flocking' to support terrorists

The Associated Press article in your Aug. 11 edition about a rally in Central Java supporting Islamic radical leader Abu Bakar Bashir is one of the worst examples I have recently seen of distorted, hyped and just plain misinformed reporting by foreign media on Indonesia.

The AP reporter -- aided by your headline writer -- would have us believe that Indonesia is a seething cauldron of support for the terrorists who perpetrated the Aug. 5 bombing at the Marriott hotel in Jakarta and the Oct. 12 bombings in Bali last year. This message is such a distortion of the real situation as to qualify as disinformation.

The impression: The article reports that "about 3,000" attended the rally, that they had come from "all over Indonesia" and that it was a "public display of solidarity" with the jailed leader. The article is spiced with colorful quotes from listeners shouting "God is Great," "Let us defend (Bashir)," "Bashir is a true fighter," "Bush is a terrorist." The accompanying photos show a group of veiled women (likely students from an Islamic school) and men in camouflage uniforms (the organization's security force), adding to both the sense of popular support and the sense of menace.

The facts: Indonesia has 210 million people, 90 percent of them Muslims. If this group was able to draw only 3,000 from "all over Indonesia" then the rally was a bust. Further, the rally was held in a parking lot next to a stadium, rather than in the stadium as apparently originally planned, because the crowd would have looked quite pathetic in the big stadium. And this is a country where the major Islamic figures regularly play to gatherings of tens of thousands of the faithful.

Finally, according to the report of the same event that appeared in the International Herald Tribune, none of the mainstream politicians who were invited to attend the rally -- including Vice President Hamzah Haz who in the past has frequently associated with some of the more extremist leaders, including Bashir -- showed up.

Sidney Jones, one of the leading Western observers now in Indonesia, commented, "Indonesian leaders now know it is no longer useful to be associated with radical Islam . ... That means there is a real sea change in Indonesia since the Bali bombing."

Talk about missing the real story! The author of the AP report seems to have given in to the appeal of the easy story and sensationalist scare tactics. Still more unfortunately, the Star-Bulletin's news team seems to have fallen for it. This is precisely the kind of sloppy journalism that contributes to widening the already huge gap in understanding between Muslims (in Indonesia and elsewhere) and the Western world, especially the ill-informed and often mis-informed American public. The Star-Bulletin can and should do better.

Richard W. Baker
Indonesia specialist
East-West Center




"What can be done with utility poles and lines to improve the view from our highways? Is legislation necessary, or perhaps some sort of invention or new technology?"

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