For Wednesday, May 4, 2011
POSTED: 1:30 a.m. HST, May 4, 2011
Proud to be an American
I have been critical of President Barack Obama on a number of his policies and actions. However, as he addressed the nation on the death of Osama bin Laden, I was proud to be an American. Comparable to the manner that George W. Bush spoke to the nation after 9/11, Obama was direct, unequivocal and authoritative, all traits we have not seen up to this point.
He didn't apologize for his decision or the U.S. action, nor did he try to make it out to be for the safety and security of the world. It was about America and her security. Finally, he invoked the name of God, under whom this country and its principles were founded and under whom this country must never depart or risk losing the blessing that Obama asked for as he ended his address.
While I am still far from casting my vote for him, Obama for one night made me proud that he was my leader.
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Oil prices raised by speculators
Daniel Spenn blames the president and Gov. Neil Abercrombie for the near-$5-a-gallon gas and flat employment ("President, governor push failed policies," Letters, Star-Advertiser, April 29). While it is tempting to find a scapegoat, many economists and oil experts blame the high price of oil on speculators taking advantage of the unrest in the Middle East, as there is no current shortage of oil.
The long-term solution is to become less dependent on foreign oil and more energy self-sufficient. The governor has no control over the price of gas. Employment has increased since Abercrombie has taken office, although it is much too early in his term to take credit for decreases in the unemployment rate.
Don't betray fundamentals
The commentary by Dana Milbank ("Obama: Man of Mystery," Insight, Star-Advertiser, May 1) describes President Barack Obama as "the very model of a complex thinker," able to simultaneously consider all aspects of an issue and all moral forces in play. He contrasts this with a "simple thinker" like Winston Churchill.
Perhaps a more accurate view is that if you view fundamental principles as less and less important in more and more situations, you will eventually believe in no principles, every time.
Conservatives believe that whenever basic fundamental principles are violated, freedom, prosperity, justice and human dignity will be harmed. Every time. That's why we had a Declaration of Independence, a Constitution and a Bill of Rights.
Obama and the progressives don't realize that when you are too open minded, your brains fall out.
Conservative Forum for Hawaii
Drug testing for public welfare
If an individual is on any form of public assistance, as in food stamps, vouchers, Medicaid, unemployment or housing, why doesn't the government put into effect mandatory drug testing?
Many employers demand drug testing as a condition for employment. I have no problem with this. Drug use is illegal.
Why, then, does the government pay out our tax dollars in the form of welfare to those who may be using drugs illegally?
It doesn't make sense to me.
Marijuana loses once again
So once again the medical marijuana patients are left out of any meaningful legislation to help with the many issues left unresolved for the last 11 years since Hawaii enacted its so-called compassionate use of medical marijuana laws. Once again the Senate passed reasonably helpful bills, and the House proceeded to shred them apart and kowtow to the law-enforcement prohibition position and the tobacco, pharmaceutical and other corporate interests.
When is this going to stop? Any reasonable person can go online and see the countless medical benefits of marijuana. The federal government sees it too, as it has been busy patenting cannabinoids and other preparations from cannabis for medical purposes, such as fighting cancer. They will benefit tremendously, and you the common citizen will be persecuted and thrown in jail, have a criminal record, be on probation for large blocks of time, and be denied decent jobs because of it.
Laudable effort to help Japan
A day following our arrival in Honolulu I decided to venture out of our Waikiki hotel to soak up some Hawaiian sun. I got more than I planned for. As I reached the beach, I saw rows upon rows of chairs, hundreds of them with people seated on them. I soon realized that it wasn't just a live concert, but a huge fundraiser to help Japan deal with the triple whammies, earthquake, tsunami, and followed by severe radioactive situation. I put my own dollars in the basket and was rewarded with a heartfelt mahalo.
I couldn't help thinking of that day in 1941 when the Japanese bombarded Pearl Harbor. How good it would be if, as in the case of the American-Japanese relationship, we could make all our enemies our friends.
The fundraiser yielded $1.6 million, and I was proud to make my own little contribution to the cause.
West Bloomfield, Minn.
Tenured teachers should work in disadvantaged schools
Gov. Neil Abercrombie is quoted as saying, “We’re here for the children’s best interests, not anyone else’s” (“Education audits ahead,” Star-Advertiser, April 27). If he truly means it, then the Board of Education needs to do something about the concentration of experienced (tenured) teachers in the advantaged areas and of inexperienced (probationary) teachers in disadvantaged area schools. Why? Because the system is using children, having the greatest need for experienced educators, to qualify probationary teachers for tenure and it’s wrong. The low test scores and high dropout rates attest to it.
Our kids have been victims of this discriminatory practice for decades. It happened when the teachers’ union contract was approved giving tenured teachers priority in filling vacancies. This privilege allows tenured teachers to migrate to schools in desired areas while placing the burden of finding qualified replacements on principals of disadvantaged area schools.
Public schools are there to provide all children, regardless of the area they live in, an equal opportunity to succeed in learning.
Bill Punini Prescott