Letters for Wedneday, July 9, 2008

• Mahalo, Baptiste family

• Wined and dined at food shortage summit

• Recommending pills to pop

• The folly of the trolley

Mahalo, Baptiste family

Mahalo to all those who had a hand in the memorial for Bryan Baptiste on Sunday. What a great job you all did. Thank you to the Baptiste family for sharing Bryan with the people of Kaua‘i. To each and every one of the Baptiste family members who got up before that large crowd to share your own personal stories about Bryan, you all did a marvelous job. Bryan would have been extremely proud of all of you. Finally to Annette Baptiste, what a wonderful family you have. You and Bryan certainly did a great job in raising your children. God bless you.

P.S. To our newly appointed Mayor Kaipo Asing and the County Council members, a fitting tribute to Bryan would be to expedite the second phase of the Kapaa bike path from Kealia to Donkey Beach and to rename it in honor of Bryan.

Keith and Gail Smith


Wined and dined at food shortage summit

The G8 leaders of the world just met in Japan to discuss world hunger at the “G8 Food Shortage Summit.”

The price of food is soaring. The threat of hunger and malnutrition is growing. Millions of the world’s most vulnerable people are at risk. An effective and urgent response is needed.

So what happened?

The first day our leaders met they were served a total of 24 different courses “each” in one day, which of course was paid by “we the people.”

For lunch our heads of state had restricted themselves to a light lunch of asparagus and truffle soup, crab and supreme of chicken served with nuts and beetroot foam, followed by a cheese selection, peach compote, ice cream and coffee with petits fours.

The price of staple foods may be soaring, but thankfully caviar and sea urchin are within the purchasing power of the taxpayers … we the people.

After discussing famine in Africa, these highly paid politicians and five spouses took on bite-sized amuse-bouche, including corn stuffed with caviar, smoked salmon and sea urchin “pain surprise style” and winter lily bulb to tickle their palates.

Hairy crab Kegani bisque-style soup was another treat alongside salt-grilled bighand thornyhead with a vinegary water pepper sauce.

Caviar and Kobe Beef and Grilled Eel rolled around Burdock Strip were washed down with offerings from an impeccable wine list.

And last but not least, as they urgently spoke of millions starving in Africa and other places, they dined on milk-fed lamb with aromatic herbs and roasted lamb with crepes and black truffle emulsion sauce.

Finally there was a “fantasy” dessert, a special cheese selection accompanied by lavender honey and caramelized nuts, while coffee came with candied fruits and vegetables.

I especially like the name of the dessert and one of the appetizers they had, knowing that the chef has a wonderful sense of irony in naming at least two of the dishes listed above.

Are we stupid for voting them in or just plain too lazy to hire people who will actually work for us? Are we going to come to our senses before it’s too late?

We had better start to really look at whose name we are marking when we vote.

God bless our fearless leaders.

Dennis Chaquette


Recommending pills to pop

I feel my patients and the people of Hawai‘i have the right to know some of what goes on behind the scenes at HMSA, our island’s number one health insurance company. This week, I will participate in a teleconference about a new initiative program created by HMSA as part of what they call “quality of care.” If you have diabetes, your doctor will be paid more if he or she convinces you to buy a cholesterol-lowering pill. How much more? If I get all my diabetics on these pills, I calculate that I may earn up to $20,000 more next year. Sounds great for me, and you might think I’d be an idiot to question such an easy cash gift. But I don’t think I’ll go for it. I don’t think there is enough scientific evidence that this practice will help all my diabetic patients, and I can’t justify such mindless, mass prescribing.

For more information on what’s happening behind the scenes, check out www.drcate.com And if you are a paying customer of HMSA, you might want to join the discussion by contacting HMSA’s vice president/medical director John Berthiaume.

Catey Shanahan, M.D.


The folly of the trolley

I was researching some background on John Wehrheim’s slide presentation on the Taylor Camp when I read the letter “Stopping the runaway train” by Glenn Mickens on July 4, 2006.

I was amazed at the similarity of objections to that “train,” to what we, on O‘ahu, are facing with Mayor Hanneman’s “train to nowhere” (my nickname for his proposal).

The unanswered questions are the same:

• Does this fix our traffic woes?

• Will the cost escalate?

• Given our maintenance problems, will this project be maintained?

• Proof of its worth is in the details, not the concept.

By the way, whatever became of the proposal for a bike-pedestrian path for East Kaua‘i?

Kaua‘i is fortunate not to have to pay the 1/2 cent excise tax to pay for Mufi’s Goofy Trolley Folly … until you come to O‘ahu, that is.

Salome Sato



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