MEMORY OF QUEEN'S INTENT BESMIRCHED
Rush Limbaugh's comments upon his release from Queen's Medical Center are typical of his far-right mindset and reflect as well the attitude of the Social Darwinists who pay him obscene amounts of money to spew out their propaganda.
After praising the hospital's staff, as well he should, he said, "There is nothing wrong with the American health care system," and that it's "just fine, just dandy."
Is he serious? What about the hundreds of Americans who die for lack of access to health care, the thousands every year who lose their homes to medical bankruptcy, the millions of vulnerable uninsured?
Mr. Limbaugh has besmirched the memory of Queen Emma's humanitarian intent. Does he know that when the queen's husband King Kamehameha IV laid the hospital's cornerstone in 1860 he said, "There is something wholesome in being called from time to time to acknowledge however strong our own health may be, and however prosperous our fortunes, that, after all, the destitute and sick are our brothers and sisters."
Pray for plenty paka ua to wash away the coat of defilement Mr. Limbaugh will leave in his wake.
ANDREW BLAINE | Hilo, Hawai'i
TIME IS NOW TO FIND A STRONGER BOARD
Regarding the recent Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing of the Honolulu Symphony Orchestra board:
The spirit of the musicians of the HSO is truly astounding and the pride they have in what they do inspiring. This important ensemble serves a public in a geographic and cultural crossroads in a melting pot that demonstrates each day that people from the East and West can live in harmony and beauty every day.
This community demands excellence from its quality of life and prides itself on providing the same excellence to its visitors, from its outdoor activities to its great hotels, restaurants, entertainment and its great arts. Great art is inspired by great beauty; whether your heritage is Eastern or Western, classical music reaches your heart just the same.
The people of Honolulu need the music of the Honolulu Symphony musicians because it is one of the only sources on the island where people can find an activity that is truly nurturing.
The time is now to find a stronger board of directors. Classical music is not entertainment; it is food for the soul. Please do not get rid of one of the few things on the Islands that provide this.
JOHN MOORE | Former HSO assistant principal bass, 1989-1991
SENSE OF FAIRNESS IN CONGRESS LONG GONE
Clay Atkins from Missouri in his Dec. 29 letter is absolutely right that it is not fair that our (Hawaii) senators bring home an unusually large chunk of pork. Mr. Atkins must also know that any sense of fairness disappeared from our Congress a long time ago. Nowadays all congressmen — on the federal, state and local levels — are reflecting a Me-Me-Me generation.
By the way, one senator and the majority of the House representatives from his state have voted against providing medical insurance to millions of uninsured Americans. Does he suppose that is fair?
Happy New Year, and may all of your expectations for 2010 come true.
GERHARD C. HAMM | Waialae Iki
SPEND WISELY ON EFFECTIVE PROGRAMS
Kudos to Lorenn Walker for her Dec. 21 commentary, "Reducing recidivism rate can benefit the economy and help convicts heal." If we want to have safe communities, we need to start spending our meager resources wisely on effective programs that help individuals gain access to marketable job skills and educational opportunities that help them learn how to become better parents and contributing community members.
According to a state preliminary classification study, the majority of Hawaii's incarcerated population are nonviolent with 51 percent of the women and 30.7 percent of the men projected to be classified as community custody - the least restrictive level.
Banishing thousands of individuals to the hands of prison profiteers thousands of miles from home does not ensure public safety. One study found that the turnover rate in private prisons is 52 percent compared to 16 percent in public prisons, and that private facilities have 35 percent fewer training hours than public facilities.
Hawaii needs to reallocate funding to provide effective alternatives to incarceration to competently address individuals' pathways to crime.
KAT BRADY | Coordinator, Community Alliance on Prisons
GIVE US THE CHOICE OF A PUBLIC OPTION
We are on the threshold of a historic accomplishment. However, the health care reform bill has already been watered down. There's still a chance to improve it when the House and Senate reconcile their different versions.
Give Americans the choice of a public option. Congress should model the final bill after the House version, which contains a national public option, the key to real competition, greater choice and lower costs.
Finance health care fairly. The Senate would pay for part of reform by taxing the benefits packages of some working Americans. The House, on the other hand, pays for reform with a small surcharge on the wealthiest Americans — a far better approach.
This is a great chance to take health care back from the greedy capitalist ideal: Make as much money as you possibly can and to hell with all the rest. As a nation we can do far better.
MALACHY GRANGE | Honolulu