For Thursday, November 10, 2011
POSTED: 1:30 a.m. HST, Nov 10, 2011
Occupy protesters have valid gripes
"Occupy movement hurts the 99%" (Letters, Star-Advertiser, Nov. 6) claims the protesters don't know what they're protesting about.
Someone should read their signs and listen to their words. They are out there because of a decade of favoring short-term gains for the wealthy over the needs of the rest of us.
The big banks, corporations and investment firms that caused the recession got the biggest taxpayer-financed bailouts. Taxpayers are now expected to foot the bill for wild speculation on mortgage derivatives. Yet a permanent underclass is being created in this country, as outsourcing and automation increasingly make U.S. workers obsolete.
What is needed is more investment in education and infrastructure and regulation of big business to help the U.S. escape a downward spiral into Third World status. Otherwise, who will remain as consumers, except the rich? The 99 percent may soon all be out in the street, one way or another.
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Virtue of selfishness drives public policy
The class war is over. The rich have won. To the winners go the spoils. While some of our American middle class still believe in trickle-down economics, the upper-class believes in the sucking-up theory, in which more and more wealth and political power are placed in the hands of fewer and fewer individuals and large corporations.
A crude and sometimes cruel social Darwinism, the survival of the economic fittest, has become a part of the radical right's agenda and ideology:
» The rich and super-rich deserve everything they earn. The poor, and increasingly the middle-class, are suffering and have less because they don't have the tools and mindset to make themselves successful. They deserve having less and sometimes they deserve nothing at all.
» Reform Medicare, cut Social Security, close post offices, lay off public servants — the common good should no longer be governmental "business." Let free markets reign.
Whatever happened to the fundamental belief that we are our brothers' and sisters' keepers? Selfishness has become a primary virtue.
Turn off some lights to save some money
Two articles in the Nov. 4 Star-Advertiser caught my attention.
The first said that debt-saddled Highland Park, Mich,. reduced the city's monthly electric bill by 80 percent by shutting off unnecessary lighting ("Debt-saddled Michigan city leaves residents in the dark"); the other said that carbon gas emissions leaped to record levels worldwide ("Carbon gas emissions leap to record").
Since most electrical power is generated by either burning coal or oil, which causes the rise in carbon gas emissions, cutting back on unnecessary lighting can save the environment and save cities a huge amount of money in electrical costs. Perhaps Highland Park went to extreme measures to save 80 percent, but imagine the money and power saved by a 25 percent reduction.
There are huge high-rises in Honolulu that are lit up with spotlights. Why is this lighting necessary? And why do high-rise business offices have their lights on all night?
Ansaldo treated with kid gloves
Rail contractor Ansaldo settled a bidding irregularity of not having a proper license by paying the city $150,000.
At the same time, other bidders received less-than-friendly treatment and one was rejected for requesting a clarification with its bid.
Something is really fishy here.
Pay for food at store before consuming it
Am I a minority in feeling that it was wrong to take merchandise from a store and not pay for it? Oops, a mistake … so sorry! Yeah, right.
Why did Safeway have to apologize to a person who took a sandwich, ate it, and did not pay for it? Perhaps Child Welfare Services overreacted, but that certainly wasn't Safeway's fault.
It is wrong to eat or drink an item in a store before paying for it. Period.
When my children were small, I always taught them that it wasn't right to eat something before paying for it. It was a basic lesson in ethics and morality.
When shoppers eat or drink merchandise without paying for it, it is the other shopper, like me, who ends up paying for it. And that's wrong.
Clean freeway was refreshing to see
I drove from the airport to Ko Olina last weekend on H-1 freeway. It was so nice to drive the entire route without seeing any trash alongside the freeway.
The cleanup crew has been working to pick up the trash, mow the grass and cut the weeds along H-1 for weeks. I have never seen our freeway so clean.
Thanks to our government officials for sending the crew to clean up our island in time for the APEC conference. I hope we can all be inspired to do our part to help keep our beautiful islands clean of litter and trash.
Consensual sex is not sex harassment
Alice Costales, in her Nov. 8 letter to the editor, maintains that former President Bill Clinton set an example for GOP nomination hopeful Herman Cain to follow. And I concede her First Amendment right to say what she believes to be true.
However, consensual infidelity is nowhere near the same thing as sexual harassments, and for a letter to assert as much is no better than any accusation that turns out to be false.
Neither may be characteristics of an ideal president, but one is definitely "worse" than the other.