Letters to the Editor

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Unwed mother or not, Fantasia has talent

In regard to the letter from Ryan Boshard of Wahiawa ("Unwed mother isn't the one to 'Idolize,' May 30), who did not consider Fantasia Barino an "American Idol": It is really too bad that he cannot simply be happy for Fantasia. She is extremely gifted and talented. She deserved to win.

Remember this from C.S. Lewis: "What you see and hear depends on where you are standing. It also depends on what kind of person you are."

Denise Kaono

No Child act is just part of the picture

As evidenced by the claims of your editorial ("Make Big Isle program a model for other schools," May 25), No Child Left Behind has become a convenient scapegoat for all that ails education.

No Child Left Behind does require that states set standards and assess progress in meeting those standards in reading and math. The law concerns the basic skills that students should acquire in each grade level, as determined by Hawaii. It does not bar assessment measures in other subjects. If Hawaii chooses to test in social studies, history or civics, as many states do, it may implement an assessment. But I must ask, how are students supposed to learn about history and social studies if they can't read?

We are committed to helping states provide a quality education to all children, but they first need the foundational skills. No Child Left Behind identifies civics, government, history and geography as "core academic subjects." As such, the teachers of these subjects fall under requirements that they be highly qualified. The quality of the teacher, not the test, determines success.

In addition, our support has included a project to encourage civics engagement in high schools, the creation of a Web-based Character Education and Civic Engagement Technical Assistance Center, a partnership with the History Channel to explain the significance of our national holidays, millions in grants to improve the teaching of American history, and numerous other projects.

No Child Left Behind is designed to ensure all children receive the quality education they deserve. Now is the time to employ the historic levels of resources and flexibility, roll up our collective sleeves and get to the task at hand -- making sure all children reach their potential.

Rod Paige
U.S. Secretary of Education
Washington, D.C.

Hawaii should allow death with dignity

I was pleased to see the recent ruling of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in favor of the Oregon Death with Dignity Act. This is an important issue for all of us in Hawaii as we look forward to passing a similar law here. The experience in Oregon has shown us two things: that carefully crafted laws allowing physician aid in dying are practically unassailable, and that they work.

The law was passed by ballot in 1994, and survived a 1997 repeal measure by an even greater margin of votes. Then-Attorney General Janet Reno prevented the Drug Enforcement Administration from moving against the law in 1998, only to have John Ashcroft resume the hunt in 2001. Now the U.S. District Court and the 9th Circuit Court have declared Ashcroft's positions invalid. Obviously, this law is desired by the people of Oregon and violates no federal rules.

And the law is working! Since it went into effect in Oregon, out of approximately 30,000 deaths annually in Oregon only 29-30 people have used the law to hasten death. Even more important, these people were not consigned to a difficult, frightening or suffering death, but were able to exit this world on their own terms.

None of the dire predictions about this law have come true. This is a good law. It is past time we had one like it in Hawaii.

'Andi' van der Voort, R.N.
President, End of Life Choices
Life member, Hemlock Foundation

Judges put their own interests ahead of law

I always enjoy your cover stories. The comments of retired Judge James Dannenberg in your article regarding the judicial retention process reaffirmed our criminal justice system is broken (Star-Bulletin, May 30). When a judge's job security is predicated on delaying decisions up to a year, he or she has lost sight of his/her job.

I hope the judges read your article in the same edition about Morton Bassan, who had to install razor wire to keep thieves out of his Kahu orchard. If only farmers had the luxury of waiting a year to make a decision.

Kevin J. Mulkern
Hawaii Kai

'Ice mom' is a victim of dealer, prosecutor

Your June 4 story "Mom who used 'ice' can be tried for death" is shallow and misleading. The woman is as pretty as any famous actress, model or TV entertainer. She is a victim.

Who sold her the ice? How much did she pay for the ice in addition to the life of her baby, her health and her very soul? Why are you permitting the prosecutor to further victimize her instead of concentrating on punishing the ice dealer?

It is three years since the baby died. By now, the prosecutor must know who the ice dealer was. How many babies has the ice dealer killed? How many more will he or she kill? Don't you care enough to want to know?

Joe Ryan




The ponds at the state Capitol are full of icky green stuff. What, besides holding an election, can we do to get rid of all that scum at the Big Square Building? Or should we just replace the ponds with something else?

Tell us what you think, whether you know of a way to clean the ponds or if you'd rather see a remodel of the Capitol grounds. Anything would be an improvement.

Send your ideas by June 16 to:

Or by mail:
c/o Nancy Christenson
500 Ala Moana
7 Waterfront Plaza, Suite 210
Honolulu, Hawaii 96813

Or by fax:
c/o Nancy Christenson


How to write us

The Star-Bulletin welcomes letters that are crisp and to the point (150 to 200 words). The Star-Bulletin reserves the right to edit letters for clarity and length. Please direct comments to the issues; personal attacks will not be published. Letters must be signed and include a daytime telephone number.

Letter form: Online form, click here
Fax: (808) 529-4750
Mail: Letters to the Editor, Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 7 Waterfront Plaza, 500 Ala Moana, Suite 210, Honolulu, HI 96813

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