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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, December 28, 2006

Letters to the Editor



A camel is an animal put together by a committee. We have just witnessed the creation of the biggest camel this island has ever seen by seven City Council members last week. The problem with camels is that they are hard to control.

They are obstreperous, stubborn animals with a tendency to bite and spit. And the camel created by the council members probably will rise up to bite them on their okole.

Will someone please help me to understand why we paid Parsons Brinckerhoff $10 million to develop a plan to relieve traffic congestion, when all along it could have been left to the City Council to botch?

It has been obvious from the get-go that this project has nothing to do with relieving traffic congestion, but everything to do with money and egos.

By the time this fiasco reaches its final conclusion, the mayor and members of the City Council will be long gone, but the rest of us will be stuck with their debacle for generations to come.

Charles M. Ferrell



There is a lot of hype surrounding Barack Obama. But where's the beef?

He has charisma and a great smile. Perhaps that's all that is needed to get the Oprah vote. The time in which we live requires a person in the White House with more substance than that.

Having never been a governor, a mayor, or even a CEO, Obama lacks the executive experience that a 21st-century president needs to effectively lead our great country. With seven years as state senator and only two as a U.S. senator, what record of leadership does he have? The answer: There is none.

Obama is all hype. Where does he stand on the prescient issues of today's America? He needs to do more than deliver bumper-sticker speeches and write a book to lead the country. He needs to get some leadership experience under his belt and establish a track record of substance and leadership.

I find it interesting that the biography on the draftobama.org Web site is shorter than this letter to the editor.

If elected president in 2008, Barack Obama would be a bigger bust than that peanut farmer from Georgia.

Roosevelt Freeman


What sets Sen. Barack Obama apart from other presidential aspirants is that he is relatively untainted by the preferences and prejudices of the baby boom generation.

He reaches out wherever he goes to all citizens, with charm and candor.

There is evidence of a subtle synergy at work here. It appears to have a strangely unifying effect on the population after years of being splintered by the myopic declarations of politicians bent on perpetuating their divisive partisan goals at the expense of forging a national consciousness of unity.

Sages have reminded us, time and time again, that we have to cease finding solutions in the realm of opposites where each side digs its heels into the ground and self-righteously declares itself right while labeling the other wrong. This is said to be the world of duality that we have unfortunately come to accept as reality.

The wisdom of non-duality challenges us to look for a solution beyond the cultural norms of right and wrong.

Obama is in Hawai'i right now, pondering his widely expected candidacy. He needs to be acknowledged for bringing a unique perspective to the political dialogue.

Al Braidwood



While my deepest condolences go out to Terri Glotfelty on the Oct. 15 loss in Iraq of Capt. Mark Paine, a member of her wedding party six years ago, I must take this opportunity to say that Lt. Ehren Watada deserves to be applauded and respected for having the strength and courage to publicly stand up for his convictions of what is right and just.

It is commonly acknowledged and the majority of Americans today agree that our invasion of Iraq was incorrect and that the current administration hoodwinked everyone into this faulty endeavor.

All of us are compelled to voice our opposition when we are convinced our superior is advocating illegal behavior.

I dare say we need to thank Lt. Watada for subjecting himself and his chosen career to ridicule and, indeed, prosecution, to make his point. Let none of us forget that Lt. Watada has declared himself willing to deploy to Afghanistan.

Janet Dagan


A colonel at Fort Dix responsible for training young men and women to fight in Iraq was asked in a recent radio interview if his job was more difficult with such a large percentage of the country now opposed to the war. He responded, "Sir, our mission here remains focused."

But what is the mission? This is too hard of a question for many to explore seriously. The mission has shifted numerous times, always built on false information, lies and innuendo. A bitter truth to carry while risking one's life and taking others. Too painful of a contradiction to live with while loved ones are in Iraq.

Sure, it seems patriotic to pay back those responsible for 9/11, but Iraq had nothing to do with that. Ehren Watada asked himself about the mission, too. When he found that it had no credible foundation, it was his duty and his right to refuse. He will not ever have to tell his children, "I knew it was wrong and said nothing."

For me, Lt. Watada is a true hero for our time.

Nancy Aleck



It's been an interesting year for folks who eat meat.

We started the year in the grip of a bird flu pandemic scare. Originating in Asian chicken factories, the disease still threatens to kill millions.

In April, the Chicago City Council banned the sale of cruelly produced foie gras, setting an important precedent for other cities.

All through the year, a dozen scientific reports linked meat and dairy consumption with elevated risk of colon, stomach, pancreatic, prostate, breast and ovarian cancers. A dozen more linked it with obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure.

Last month, hundreds of Taco Bell and Olive Garden customers were sickened by produce contaminated by E. coli pathogens.

This month, the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization reported that meat and dairy production accounts for 18 percent of all greenhouse gases responsible for global warming. It is also the governing factor in water pollution, water use and land degradation.

There is a definite pattern here. It may be time to explore the rich variety of veggie burgers, dogs, deli slices, heat-and-eat dinners and soy-based milk, cheese and ice cream in our local supermarket, as well as the more traditional fare of vegetables, nuts, grains and fruits. Did I mention that it makes for a delicious, easy-to-keep New Year's resolution?

Huey Lundy



My wife and I had the absolute pleasure of visiting O'ahu Dec. 10 to 18. While we enjoyed the island's beauty, surf, food and people, there was one thing that absolutely stood out in my mind: the laid-back nature and friendliness of your drivers.

I am native to the self-titled friendly state, Texas, and our drivers in general are out to save two or three seconds on their commute by not letting in someone or not clearing a lane for emergency vehicles.

I believe you can tell a lot about a place and its people by the way they treat other drivers on the road.

So mahalo to the people of O'ahu for making my vacation stress-free on the highways and roads of your beautiful island by showing that the spirit of aloha is not just some tourist department's tagline.

We hope to come back soon. From us to you, have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Rob & Vicki Little
South Padre Island, Texas



Before moving out of state, I discussed my vehicle's reduced miles per gallon with service mechanics at my auto dealership.

My compact station wagon operated at 21 mpg in the city before the ethanol requirement took effect. After the change, my vehicle's fuel efficiency dropped to 16 mpg city, a 24 percent decrease. The mechanics confirmed that their pre/post testing had similar results: Miles per gallon dropped 20-25 percent. The U.S. Department of Energy Web site indicates that results will vary with different makes of cars, depending on whether the engines are designed for alternative fuels.

That meant for me that fuel consumption increased by 24 percent, and fuel expense increased by 24-plus percent. Subtracting the 10 percent ethanol content, my vehicle's consumption of imported oil increased by at least 14 percent.

Your news report confirms the statewide increase in consumption of imported oil. It's time for the state to revisit this whole matter since, as you reported, Hawai'i is now importing more oil, importing its entire supply of ethanol, and consumers are experiencing lower fuel efficiency.

Miles N.L. Matsumura
New York City