Letters for Sunday, May 27, 2007

• Supply and demand will win

• Blog displays a complete lack of respect for science

• Do governments want the best for constituents?

Supply and demand will win

By a 5-0 vote to limit the size of businesses on Kaua‘i to 75,000 square feet of space, members of the Kaua‘i County Council Thursday, May 25, boxed themselves into a last gasp of political stagnation and cronyism instead of freeing themselves and their constituents to ride the wave of creativeness, efficiency and free enterprise into the future.

Instead of gracefully abiding by the wishes of the majority of voters, according to an SMS Research poll, and slipping into the curl of the wave of lower prices and better service that the scale of big box economy has already brought to the Garden Island by Costco, Wal-Mart, Kmart, and Home Depot, the insular minds of the Council members are trying to stem the force of nature and human progress by in effect boxing themselves into a cube-shaped bubble.

Some Wal-Mart employees at the store Thursday said they do not know what Wal-Mart is going to do next, but they expressed confidence that Wal-Mart will come up with a plan that will benefit consumers.

In attempting to cause time to move backward to a simpler life of yesteryear, the Council may as well adopt a resolution demanding that all roosters on the island stop crowing and lay square eggs.

Whatever the shape of eggs, Kaua‘i consumers have voted with their feet and pocketbooks to buy the biggest and best eggs for the cheapest price, and under the free enterprise system we have in America, it is their right.

The law of supply-and-demand is going to win out in the long run on Kaua‘i just as sure as it did in the former Soviet Union and its satellite countries.

For the Council to ignore the poll that showed a majority of registered voters on the island, 56 to 39 percent, favor the Lihu‘e Wal-Mart Store to be expanded to the State’s first Supercenter is pretentious and assumes a wisdom that they know better what is best for the people than the fools they want to control from their Ivory Tower perch on the second-floor of the Historic County Building.

Whether the Council members like it or not, the Garden Island is experiencing a tsunami; not a tsunami of water, but a tidal wave of commerce, efficiency and creativity.

Those who try to stop the tsunami by dumping a few piles of and in front of it, in the form of square-foot limits for Supercenters, are going to get wiped out.

Those who recognize reality will study the big wave of creativity and commerce as it arches, then slip into its curl and ride it all the way into prosperity.

It is not realistic to think that the tidal wave of Garden Island shoppers stampeding into Costco and Wal-Mart can be stopped by legislation or persuasion. It is more realistic to think that the Bulls of Pamplona can be stopped by whispering a few sweet-nothings into their ears.

Lower prices and better service are what commerce is all about. Those who do it best will prosper.

It may be fun to romanticize about the past. But those who are old enough to have experienced it tell about how it could be a painful sting in the okole before flush toilets arrived on Kaua‘i . Before sitting over the hole of an outdoor toilet, it was wise to wipe around under the rim to avoid being stung by a centipede.

Those who get caught up in the past and resist change will be forced deeper into stagnation and may get stung. Those who create value will move forward by riding the wave of success.

Jack Stephens


Blog displays a complete lack of respect for science

With all due respect to Mr. Smith (”Changes on Neptune link sun and global warming”, Friday), quoting the “World Climate Report” on the research presented in a scientific article is like referring to a poorly written Cliff’s Notes to understand a work of literature. The World Climate Report touts itself as being a “hard-hitting and scientifically correct response to the global change reports which gain attention in the literature and popular press.”

Really? Scientifically correct? They apparently completely mischaracterized the scientific paper they were quoting, because in that paper the authors state “[Even] for the well-studied Earth temperature variability, the steady rise in temperature since the mid 1970s is not fully understood but has an anthropogenic component due in part or entirely to rising greenhouse gases, in combination with changes induced by sulfate and volcanic aerosols, and/or other forcing factors. Total solar irradiance seems to be ruled out as a driving factor in temperature variations, although other components of solar output may still play a role.”

What their research was indicating was that some change(s) in solar output may be a component of the temperature changes seen on Earth, since changes are seen at other planets, but they did not discount the human-created (i.e., anthropogenic) causes on Earth. In fact, they maintained that the anthropogenic causes are still possibly the biggest factors. It’s as if the World Climate Report was referring to a different paper altogether, or they just decided to ignore that “inconvenient truth.”

It is very disturbing when people bend science to fit their own views. This shows a complete lack of respect for scientific principles and techniques. The World Climate Report has shown they lack such respect, and they shouldn’t be used as a reference on scientific matters.

Michael Mann


Do governments want the best for constituents?

Congress has now passed legislation that will punish gasoline sellers for “unconscionably excessive prices” where 10-year prison terms and $150 million a day fines can be levied.

At the same time the Kaua‘i “congress” has passed a bill that will limit the size of stores that offer unconscionably low prices.

Is this a great country or what? Our great and wise and wonderful governments all want the best for us and will do nearly anything to make sure we all get what we deserve.

I’m hoping that government will soon pass legislation that will eliminate poverty, reduce crime, stop inflation, stop drug use, make every kid smarter, drive the greedy corporations and other evil capitalists out of our country, deliver free health care, encourage illegal immigration, and make America the master of the Universe through military action. Oh, but wait . . . our government has already done all that and now all our problems have gone away.

Let’s be sure to keep voting for people so wise and resourceful and whose understanding of the way the world works is so much greater than the millions of people who make choices for themselves in a free market. Sure, capitalism has incited people who felt like it to deliver cheap and plentiful food and goods of all kinds, but with good government these activities can be curtailed and we can move ever closer to the Cuban solution.

Socialism is the easiest concept to explain in the world. You can do it in under 200 words and in less than two minutes. Capitalism cannot be explained in under, I estimate, 27,000 words and four-and-a-half days. So who do you think is going to win the hearts and minds of voters? The answer is blowing in the wind issuing out of government halls across the country and Kaua‘i is rolling along like a tumbling tumbleweed.

Michael Meek



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