Feds should pay for Micronesians
In 1986, the U.S. Congress adopted the Compact of Free Association with the Federated States of Micronesia, which, among other things, agreed to provide health care to low-income migrants from Palau, the Marshall Islands and Micronesia.
A federal judge has rejected the state of Hawaii’s attempt to limit these benefits, even though Hawaii spends about $120 million a year on this health care and the federal government spends only $11 million a year.
Gov. Neil Abercrombie told us that Lt. Gov. Brian Schatz will be tasked with getting any money due or available to the state from the federal government. I hope that reimbursement for these benefits is at the top of his list. Why are the taxpayers in Hawaii strapped with paying for this federal obligation?
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Pan Am airline was a class act
Aloha and mahalo to Burl Burlingame and the three lovely Pan Am stewardesses featured in the story and photo about their Pan Am nisei experience ("Fly girls," Star-Advertiser, Feb. 20).
While most of my experience as a passenger with Pan Am took place in the 1950s, traveling from the U.S. to Europe and the Middle East as a child with my family, I vividly remember Pan Am’s dominance in international travel and its professional crew. I’m afraid these modest ladies neglected to tell all of you about their beauty, energy, youth and wonderful demeanor that was the norm.
It was a wonderful experience to fly in those days, when service was paramount and most of us acted and dressed like ladies and gentlemen. Such a pity.
Inouye off base about Okinawa
According to a Feb. 12 article in The Japan Times, Sen. Daniel Inouye said "the U.S. side has been patient (regarding the relocation of U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma in Okinawa) although it cannot wait indefinitely."
The relocation plan he is so eager to push through entails massive destruction of Okinawa’s biodiversity in Henoko and Takae, and is opposed by the majority of people in Okinawa, who have already seen nearly 20 percent of their land appropriated for U.S. military facilities. It looks like Inouye expects the Okinawan people to wait indefinitely for democracy to be respected in Okinawa; for the people living in Ginowan City to continue being subjected to the noise and danger of Futenma; and for species at high risk of disappearing from the Earth to wait indefinitely for the U.S. military-industrial complex to give them a break.
Please urge him to reconsider.
Don’t take life too seriously
I enjoy David Shapiro’s Flashback column each week, as he can generate humor from the week’s news no matter how serious or troublesome it may be. This is what we need in our own lives, to laugh at ourselves and not to take things so seriously.
He must have enough material to write a column several times a week.
Keep up the good work, Dave.
Keep funding ‘Weed and Seed’
I am appealing for the support of our elected officials on the House Finance Committee, who will soon hear House Bill 1513.
This bill would provide support and funding to continue the Weed and Seed strategy in Kalihi-Chinatown-Ala Moana, Waipahu and Ewa/Ewa Beach.
As a public health nurse, I have seen many changes in Waipahu, where I have worked for the last 23 years. Currently I am the chairwoman of two organizations — Waipahu Community Coalition and Nations of Micronesia Committee — that are committed to creating a healthier community for our residents. Together with Weed and Seed — a strategy to work with law enforcement, residents, nonprofit organizations, community groups and private businesses — we continue to see a decrease in drugs and crime, increased participation in citizen patrols and neighborhood security watches, connections with schools and faith-based groups and an overall boost of pride in the community.
‘Hooker’ label was unfortunate
Imagine being kidnapped at gunpoint and forced to walk the streets soliciting sex. You manage to escape. You are putting your life back together. You even testify before lawmakers in support of a bill that would define human trafficking in Hawaii.
The next morning you wake up and find your story being told under the headline, "Ex-hooker wants harsher penalty" (Star-Advertiser, Feb. 18).
Ouch. Labels do matter.
I appreciate Rosemarie Bernardo’s balanced reporting on the proceedings, and Prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro’s willingness to address the issue. His proposal to create stiffer penalties for traffickers and johns is commendable. However, it is just one piece of the fight against human trafficking.
Passing a law that defines human trafficking (and which specifies the victim as a victim, not a prostitute — or hooker) is the first step in a long process and can help set the stage for prevention, education and aftercare.
Recycling often is wasteful
The new eco-friendly policy to ban plastic bags is the latest in poorly thought, knee-jerk reactions from the green lobby. When I was a kid, they told us we had to have plastic bags because we were cutting down too many trees. The people who reuse the plastic bags for rubbish or other uses must now buy other plastic bags for those purposes.
Compact fluorescent light bulbs contain hazardous materials. What is the net energy loss in sending the bulb here to be used and sending it back to the mainland to be recycled? Most people will just throw them away, resulting in large amounts of mercury in the soil at some point.
Ethanol, by many accounts, results in poorer miles per gallon, leading to more gas consumption, not to mention ruining small equipment and driving up food cost by creating higher demand for corn.
Many studies show recycling uses more energy than would be used to dispose of the materials, yet we are taxed and penalized if we don’t recycle.
And what will be done with all of the batteries in these electric and hybrid vehicles that we will be forced eventually into buying?
I am completely in favor of doing my share and being responsible. Let’s just be honest in the eco-discussion and realize that it is all about the money.