Letters for Friday — November 25, 2005

• Whom do they represent?

Whom do they represent?

Last week in the House of Representatives there was a charade. Rep. John Murtha’s reasonable bill for the timely withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq was replaced by a “just-in-spite” bill for immediate termination of U.S. operations in Iraq. The latter got three “Yes” votes and was rejected by the over-whelming majority of representatives.

At the same time, Lou Dobbs of CNN polled the viewers of his program asking among other things whether to withdraw the American troops from Iraq. According to the poll 86-percent of the Americans voted for the withdrawal. Another poll — that of USA Today/CNN showed 57-percent of Americans favoring withdrawal from Iraq. These polls are not scientific, but they are significant, because they provide a good overview of what the Americans want. Using simply mathematics take these poll results and determine their mean value. You’ll get 71.5-percent. This means that 71.5-percent of Americans want us to leave Iraq.

This is what the percentage of the “Yes” votes should have been if our representatives were truly representing us. There is a margin of error — they say. Yes, indeed — in favor of their paychecks.

  • János Samu

Slow drivers should pull over

I would like to add a few remarks to the recent letter to the Forum about traffic and speed limits. There are many reasons why some people drive slowly. Some people are not good drivers. Some visitors view the island from their car when they should pull over to the side of the road. Some drivers deliberately drive slowly so they can control as many other drivers as possible. These people are the ones who react with anger when you legally pass them, as if their authority has been threatened.

Whatever the reason, if you are driving slowly, please pull over to the side of the road so the rest of us can arrive at our destination on time. Some of us do not have all day to drive to Hanalei.

A very dangerous problem on the roads are the drivers who drift into the oncoming lanes of traffic.

These are the drivers who cross the center line. Maybe they are talking on cell phones, or they are doing their makeup, or they are not alert, or they are reckless. Some people actually seem to be trying to intimidate other drivers. Whatever the reason, it is dangerous and potentially deadly.

Please drive carefully and stay on the correct side of the road.

  • Eric Voorhies

Just ask the students

Getting some great letters in our The Garden Island, and the latest is from “Josh Duvauchelle, age 18.”

He wrote concerning Intellegent Design and evolution stating that “There’s a difference between ID and Creationism” and then asked a very responsible and legitimate question: “Why not let the students in the classroom decide? After all, that’s how this whole argument blew up into national proportions.”

I am not writing to argue the merits of either ID or Creationism. I am writing to suggest an often forgotten means to solving Hawai’i’s devastating educational dilemma. In past efforts to renew academic achievement, we as citizens, have been relying upon our elected officials and bureaucrats to solve Hawai’i’s horrendous, substandard academic level, the lowest in the Nation.

The solution may lie in the title of Josh’s article, “Let the students decide.” My point: I have not heard anyone or read of any survey published as to just what our children want done with our, their, school system to correct the way they are being treated and cheated. Like teachers, they are the frontline victims of daily classroom scrimmages.

Over the past five years I have been employed by the DOE and have taught in every public school on Kaua’i as a substitute teacher. I have participated in the learning (?) process that is dictated by our DOE and I have been asking students over the past few years what they would like seen changed in the school system. Questions such as:

Do you want your children to go through the same educational system that you have gone through? Over-whelming answer: Hell no!

Do you like the new (ME, MP, N, U) or the present (A.B,C,D,F) grading system? Overwhelming answer: A,B,C,D, F

Lastly, in one of my long-term assignments, a class of 37 students, the students asked if they could earn extra credit. I told them to go home and write down 10 things they would like to see changed in school if they had the opportunity to make those changes. It was a weekend assignment. Monday they returned and their answers surprised even them. The top three items listed, in numerical order, on their papers and cards were as follows:

1. Get rid of the disruptive students in the classroom (better discipline in class)

2. Better school facilities (bathrooms that work, repaired buildings, better and more textbooks and supplies, etc)

3. Better teachers

From the mouths of babes! Even the students were surprised at their own choices and their priority. They want what parents and grandparents want.

They were truly surprised that “better food” came in sixth place. Does the DOE’s failing bureaucratic leadership need to spend so much money on endless studies when all they really need to do is ask the kids? Great letter, Josh.

  • John Hoff

‘Let peace begin with me’

I read with dismay the headline of Friday’s The Garden Island paper about missile launches propelling our island’s economy. I’d like to offer a quote from President Dwight Eisenhower which will perhaps offer a bigger picture view of what the war industry really costs us:

“Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.

“This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children…

This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron.” ( From the Chance for Peace address delivered before the American Society of Newspaper Editors, April 16, 1953. )

Over 50 years later our government is still headed in the wrong direction as far a making the world a safer and more peaceful peace. I don’t know why we can’t understand that we’re just not going to get folks to like us or want to emulate our style of government by destroying their culture and country. In this season of Thanksgiving and Christmas, my wish is that we can soon change our way of thinking away from the need to greedily control the world’s resources to the realization that there is enough to share with all the people of the world the wonderous gifts of the universe. Also, Let peace begin with me.

  • Maren Orion

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