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LETTERS for December 2 issue

By Staff | Dec 2, 2010


Eons ago, homo sapiens and canines formed a mutually beneficial bond of support. Some theorize that humans evolved more quickly due to this bond. The dogs received food, water, shelter and companionship, but man got the better of the deal.

As we have taken the time to study what dogs can offer to us, we have discovered how they can help those disabled by a sense deprivation, provide security on many levels, and assist first-line responders and rescuers. Do you know dogs work as life guards in Italy?

Dogs had been a huge asset to the military for centuries as guards, messengers and presently as explosive detectors. They work in hospitals and assistant living centers to help the weak and ill, offering therapy. Trials are indicating they can detect human disease before our medical technology can.

Humans who live with dogs experience longer, healthier lives, and dogs understand us much better than we do them. Then there’s the aloha.

So with these guys offering us so much, why do so many mistreat them? Right here on Maui, we see them neglected and abused, from being staked out 24 hours a day, to the savages who train them to fight among themselves for amusement. Do you know it is legal to kill and eat dogs, as no county nor state law prohibits this in Hawaii? BAD PERSON!



As part of a personally developed “Thera-sea: Ocean-erapy,” I rode my bicycle down to North Beach for a last snorkel/swim before heading out to the mountains of North Carolina to visit with family.

I spent about two hours, first going north to the edge of The Westin, then turning south and finishing at Black Rock. Along the way, there were plenty of humus, gar and parrotfish, as well as a large-sized eel looking for its next hideaway. It’s always a treat to see one of those in the open. 

Along the way, I also managed to pull a tako off a kane’s back.

The free diver had been digging around some rocks when I noticed two-foot tentacles wrapped around his body and a large, bulbous head hanging on his back just below his left wing. The diver surfaced, turned left and then right trying to grab hold of it, but it was in such a location that he couldn’t reach it. So I asked if he needed help.

“Yeah,” he said. “Can you pull him off?” 

I gave it some thought but couldn’t quite bring myself to put my hand on it. 

“Serious,” he said. “He won’t bite — he’s just slimy.”  Making me think that maybe, just maybe, this was a matter of life and death… and if it was, could I really put my hand around this thing and pull it off? 

Yes, I could, and did! As if wringing out a washcloth, I braced one hand on his shoulder, one fin on his hip, and grabbed the tako’s head, giving it a twist and a yank just hard enough for it to slide around to the kane’s front, where he plucked it off himself and speared it to his tether.

A shaka between us, and I was off.

At the shower about an hour later, he walked up to me to thank me again.

“How will you prep it?” I asked, thinking that my bravado had helped him with a special evening meal. 

“Ah, no,” he smiled. “This is bait. We’ re going fishing tonight.”




My mother is 80 years old.

My father, who suffered from Alzheimer’s Disease, passed away in April of this year.

My mother now travels on occasion to visit her children, some of whom live in states other than her own.

She has never been arrested.

She votes each election and attends church regularly.

She raised five American children to adulthood.

One branch of my family has been in this country since 1621. The Native American branch of my family has been in this country since before it was a country.

Raised in Germany because her parents could not afford to feed her in the U.S. during the Depression, she was there during World War II and witnessed the oppressive actions of a paranoid government raging out of control from fright, addiction to power and stupidity.

My 80-year-old, law-abiding and loving, apple pie baking AMERICAN mother was pulled out of line at an airport, X-RAYED and physically body checked.

She stated that she was stunned by the experience and will refuse travel by air in the future if confronted again at an airport screening.

A murdering 36-year-old Tanzanian terrorist was given a pass by a cowardly jury in New York (after affording him the right to remain innocent until proven guilty) while 80-year-old American women are being treated as if guilty until proven innocent.

My mother hopes this never happens to any other older people.

Do you believe it’s possible to stop terrorists by terrorizing Americans?



When he was campaigning in 2008, President Barack Obama promised to raise the federal minimum wage, declaring “people who work full-time should not live in poverty.” Obama proposed raising it to $9.50 by 2011. That would merely adjust the minimum wage for inflation and restore its 1968 purchasing power.

Despite the very modest increase he proposed, neither the White House nor Congress has done anything to make it happen. In fact, at least three prominent Republican Senate nominees advocated abolishing this worker protection altogether as they fought tough races. It’s a good thing they all lost.

We need to raise the minimum wage, not eliminate it. Boosting the minimum wage would help our lowest-paid workers as well as the entire economy. According to the Economic Policy Institute, every dollar increase in wages for a worker on the bottom rung of the pay scale creates more than $3,500 in new spending after one year.

The minimum wage, established during the New Deal to provide a “minimum standard of living necessary for health, efficiency and general well-being,” is falling short. A person working full-time at the $7.25 hourly minimum wage would earn $15,080 annually before taxes and deductions.

Consider a working single mom with two children: the federal poverty level for this family is $18,310. She could work full-time and still earn $3,000 less than poverty wages.

While raising the federal minimum wage would only be a small step in helping low-income families — other income-boosting measures like the Earned Income Tax Credit and dependent care tax credits are proven to be more effective in fighting poverty — it’s nevertheless an important step for ensuring that workers in minimum and near-minimum wage jobs can better bridge the gap between their meager income and expenses.

In addition to raising the minimum wage and indexing it to inflation, the government must ensure that all workers get this fundamental labor protection. In 2009, approximately 3.6 million people earned the minimum wage or less. A stunning 2.6 million of those people legally earned less than the minimum wage because they’re excluded from the 1938 Fair Labor Standards Act.

Home health workers, who provide invaluable care to the elderly and disabled — allowing them to live with dignity in their own homes — are still excluded from minimum wage and overtime protections under the so-called “companionship exemption.”

Before the end of the year, the Department of Labor is slated to finally include reform to the companionship exemption in its regulatory agenda. Yet, home health workers are only one segment of the workforce that’s excluded in one way or another from meaningful labor protections that all workers need and deserve.

While it’s reasonable to presume that it’s risky to boost wages during a recession, several economic studies indicate otherwise. Increasing the minimum wage, and thereby increasing purchasing power for the poorest Americans, actually helps the economy recover.

Raising the minimum wage would be a step to restoring dignity for millions of workers, enabling many ordinary working Americans to become part of the economic recovery rather than its collateral damage.

TIFFANY WILLIAMS, Break The Chain Campaign