Sierra Club does much for aina
The Star-Advertiser published an article that appropriately encourages end-of-the-year charitable donations, but unnecessarily put the Sierra Club in a box by saying that if "the Greenpeace and the Sierra Club are not your cup of tea …," and then suggests donations to different organizations ("Nonprofit groups deserve donations to help the aina," Star-Advertiser, Dec. 27) .
The author may not be aware of the Sierra Club’s rich 30-year history of success here in Hawaii. Volunteers and supporters have led hundreds of hikes, service projects and beach cleanups annually; built popular trails like the Maunawili trail on Oahu and the Alakai Boardwalk on Kauai; installed fencing to protect endangered plants in the Haleakala National Park on Maui; spent thousands of volunteer hours restoring a native plant habitat at Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge on the Big Island; and helped pass important legislation like Hawaii’s 5-cent bottle law program, which, to date, has recycled more than 3 billion beverage containers.
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Wright is right about Gaza
I was in the occupied territories of Palestine in January 2006 as part of a fact-finding mission of the United Methodist Church.
I was there during the democratic Palestinian election in which the Hamas party was overwhelmingly chosen to lead the Palestinian people.
I saw the armed guards at the checkpoints, the miles of walls dividing Palestinian people from their families and livelihood, and the Jewish settlements being built even as Western media declared the construction had stopped.
I was not allowed by the Israeli government to travel to Gaza, but spoke to many Israelis who deplored the isolation of the Palestinian people in Gaza, supported by the Israeli and even the U.S. governments.
Ann Wright’s article is right on ("Gaza victimized by double standard," Star-Advertiser, Dec. 22). She has tried, along with other humanitarians, to bring aid to the people — the children, the women, the men — who live in a virtual prison in Gaza with air, land and sea borders controlled by the Israeli government.
Statement was gobbledygook
On Sunday, the Star-Advertiser published an interesting article by Gov. Neil Abercrombie about the four major initiatives of his administration ("Gov calls for shared sacrifice on 4-part economic plan," Star-Advertiser, Island Voices, Dec. 26).
Wow! The governor has just elevated the art of speaking gobbledygook to a new high.
He wrote, "Second, we will create jobs with a significant capital improvement program that simultaneously improves the infrastructure and economic landscape for sustained economic and social advancement."
I have read this initiative over several times and find myself at a complete loss to understand what the heck the governor is trying to say.
He should do away with speaking gobbledygook and just give us some straight talk that everyone can understand.
Fair tax would be the simplest
With 67,000 pages of tax code, I would be surprised if it was not considered out of hand. It is a system that allows the government to play favorites about who gets taxed and who gets a tax break.
A national sales tax instead of a income tax makes sense to me. There have been bills in the U.S. House and Senate to create such a tax. It would generate the same income as the current income tax system and would eliminate the income tax, inheritance tax, the capital gains tax, payroll taxes, corporate and business taxes. No one would have to file income taxes.
What a great country this would be to do business.
Spending on fireworks a waste
To those of you who are about to embark on that annual tradition of setting off fireworks, here’s some food for thought:
How about using that money on a new tradition, like helping feed the homeless or donating it to a worthwhile charity, instead of burdening emergency personnel for their services, overfilling the landfill with unneccessary litter, stressing helpless animals and making sick people sicker with the abundance of smoke.
This is also a good lesson for your keiki on the importance of civic responsibility. We do not need to be teaching children on how to become pyromaniacs.