Letters for Sunday — November 27, 2005

• Propaganda that fits

• Anti-traffic uncongests the road

Propaganda that fits

Propagandists play fast and loose with statistics and/or general statements when they frame their arguments. They count on people not having the time, ability or the inclination to research their claims. One often repeated claim was once again in the TGI FORUM 11/25/2005: “…Hawai’i’s horrendous, substandard academic level, the lowest in the Nation.”

There are lots and lots of rankings available on the internet and these come with a variety of biases and agendas that must be considered along with the value, or lack of value, of such rankings. I looked at seventeen by governmental, University, for-profit and nonprofit and political “think tank” researchers. Of these, the following can be said:

1) Hawai’i did not rank lowest on any of the lists.

2) Mississippi, Louisiana. and Alabama ranked lowest on most lists.

3) Hawai’i ranked higher than California on every list.

If you looked hard enough, you might find a bottom ranking, but that would be countered by all the ones that aren’t. Much more important than rankings is how your local school is doing. You find this out by visiting it and/or being involved, not by reading the paper. The closest school to the 11/25 writer is Kalaheo School; a very good school with wonderful test results across the board. This doesn’t fit the writer’s political agenda so he ignores it in favor of propaganda that does fit. His attitude and disrespect make him part of the problem and not part of the solution.

  • Peter Antonson

Anti-traffic uncongests the road

In a 11/25 letter to the editor Eric Voorhies struck a chord. A pertinent portion of the letter follows.

“…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.”

In reading between the lines one can assume the writer/driver thinks that:

1) other drivers should not set a pace that he cannot control, and

2) others should get off the road if they are in his way.

This attitude is immature, selfish and shortsighted. Eric’s driving strategy amounts to driving as fast as possible and hoping slower drivers simply get out of his way. This leads to starting off fast from some kind of showdown and racing off to the next one. This style of driving actually adds to the waves of congestion that we encounter without an observable source… No burning bus, no overturned tractor-trailer — the “invisible accidents.”

William Beaty is an electrical engineer in Seattle. He has made some fascinating observations on how individual drivers can “uncongest” and create “antitraffic”. Check out www.amasci.com/amateur/traffic/traffic1.html

The best strategy to relieve congestion is to maintain a steady speed that is even with overall traffic and that leaves plenty of space in front of you. This creates anti-congestion. The space in front of you is for you to react in time to the vagaries to the moment to moment conditions. You should be hitting your brakes less and smoothing out congestion that produces better throughput of traffic. This allows you to keep a steady pace without experiencing jam-ups. People should not cut into the “comfortable” space between cars, and then tailgate. This adds to wilder fluctuations is traffic density and ultimately jam-ups.

Selfish driving is not a solution. Individual driving manners do really help. Letting drivers in ahead of you, leaving reaction space front of you, avoiding jerking to a stop and racing away from a slowdown all contribute to keeping traffic rolling efficiently.

The long-term solution to our traffic problems include curbing Kaua’i population growth, creating alternatives to cars, riding mass transit and being as courteous and unselfish to others on the road. Building more roads, doubling up on highway lanes and growing more suburbs will simply doom us to living on “Koahu.”

  • Juan Wilson

PLEASE bring our troops home

Dear Senators Akaka, Inouye and Representative Case,

“To cut and run would invite terrorism into our backyards, and no one wants to see troops fighting terrorism on American soil,” Speaker Dennis Hastert, R—Ill.

This quote from Hastert on Friday night is as stupid and fear-based as all the other “reasons we went to war.” It’s old dishonest news. I urge and beg you to join or form coalitions with others to garner enough votes to bring our troops home. I know the three of you have supported amendments to stop this immoral and illegal war, but I’m asking you to do more.

Look at the polls, the American people are sick of the lies, the corruption of reconstruction in Iraq, and the torture. You could even introduce or sponsor legislation to impeach Bush. When you compare Clinton’s misdeeds that resulted in impeachment proceedings with the hundreds of thousands of people who have died at Bush and Cheney’s hand, it’s clear that Congress isn’t doing their job.

In the last two days, 128 people have died, including two of our troops and our “totally out of touch with reality” President says, “We will fight the terrorists in Iraq. We will stay in the fight until we have achieved the victory that our brave troops have fought for. The defense of freedom is worth our sacrifice.” This war isn’t about freedom — it’s about oil and power and about not having the integrity to admit a huge mistake was made.

This isn’t even taking into account that our tax dollars were spent by the White House Iraq Group to “sell us on the war.” How disgusting is this? One of his aides has said it would be bad for ISRAEL! ISRAEL? Do you think any of the loved ones of our fallen troops will be comforted by that remark? I would really appreciate an answer from each of you with what you can and will do to stop this madness.

I’ve been mostly proud of each of your voting records in relation to the war; now I’m asking that you do something BOLD and DARING that will bring our troops home NOW and get Bush and Cheney out of the White House.

  • Judie Hilke Lundborg

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