LETTERS for January 20 issue
WMTA THANKS KALUA
The board of directors and membership of the West Maui Taxpayers Association (WMTA) sincerely thank Zeke Kalua for serving West Maui as the WMTA executive director for the last four years. Zeke has accepted a position as special assistant to Mayor Alan Arakawa — a position Zeke held between stints with WMTA.
Zeke assures WMTA that his familiarity with West Maui issues will be put to good use in his new position, and that he retains the commitment to a better West Maui he demonstrated as WMTA executive director.
Zeke provided very capable representation for West Maui on a wide variety of issues as WMTA executive director, so I hope the West Maui community will join WMTA in offering Zeke congratulations and best wishes for continued success.
WMTA has worked with and for the West Maui community for over 35 years, with primary focus on infrastructure issues around health care, roadways and affordable housing.
In the current environment, WMTA will continue pursuing necessary infrastructure investment but will also focus on government efficiency, fighting regressive taxation and promoting business-friendly government policies.
For more information on WMTA, please go to www.WestMaui.org and watch for the announcement of the WMTA annual meeting in the near future.
DONALD LEHMAN, President, WMTA
THE GLORY OF WAR
Our society, like most others, glorifies war. “For God and Country!” is the cry. “Be all you can be,” is the manly challenge. “Bring ’em on,” was George W. Bush’s machismo war whoop, which drew cheers from “barstool soldiers” like he’d been.
Of course, war must be glorified to make it possible. How else can presidents and generals lure sane young men and women into the voracious maw of deathly chaos and unimaginable horror?
As General William T. Sherman put it in 1880, “Young men think that war is all glamour and glory, but let me tell you boys, it is all hell.”
For a glimpse of this hell, check out the Washington Post article “Operation Damage Control.” It’s meant to be a positive piece extolling the wondrous ability of U.S. trauma teams in Afghanistan to save grievously injured soldiers.
But the article also lifts the covers on the raw carnage that is the true story of war, highlighting nine soldiers injured in a single week. Two of them lost a leg, two lost a leg and a foot, two lost both legs, two lost both legs and a hand, one was paralyzed from the waist down, and three also lost their genitals. “Lost” is a euphemism for blown apart.
It takes multiple surgeries over several weeks just to find all the damage. Blood clots, pneumonia, collapsed lungs and other “complications” often follow, all deadly. Not to mention the brain damage, pain and psychological trauma.
Some 32,000 Americans have been maimed in Iraq and another 8,000 so far in Afghanistan. And for what? Ask them about the “glory” of war.
JIM HIGHTOWER, Via E-mail
SUPPORT BILL TO PROTECT DUCKS AND GEESE
When the Hawaii legislative session opens on Jan. 19, Rep. Angus McKelvey and Senators Mike Gabbard, Suzanne Chun Oakland and Clayton Hee will co-introduce a commonsense, humane bill to prevent unspeakable cruelty to ducks and geese.
Over 15 countries and the State of California have outlawed the cruel force feeding of ducks and geese to enlarge their livers to over ten times their normal size in the production of “foie gras,” a fatty liver appetizer that has been identified as a cause of Alzheimer’s. Only a few countries in the world still produce this diseased liver.
“Production of foie gras needs to be prohibited immediately,” said Dr. Demian Dressler, DVM, of Kihei. “Force feeding of the animal species is simply inhumane and deserves no part in an intelligent society such as ours. Secondly, the hepatic lipidosis (fatty liver) that afflicts the animals as consequence of the practice is an actual disease syndrome and a recognized medical problem. Finally, the product is simply a luxury food item and does not serve to feed a large portion or the population at a reasonable cost. I support legislation to prohibit the production and sale this product for these reasons.”
Please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call Barbara Steinberg at (808) 879-0025 to receive alerts about the status of the proposed humane legislation. More information on the worldwide campaign against force feeding is available at StopForceFeeding.com.
Like the California law that will take effect in 2012, the proposed Hawaii bill will prohibit the sale of products that are the result of force feeding a bird to enlarge its liver beyond normal size. No matter where producers are jamming large metal pipes down the throats of birds and pumping them full of massive quantities of food, they will not be able to sell their torturous product in the states of Hawaii or California.
Foie gras is the only product that is made in this manner. No other form of animal agriculture involves using machines to pump animals full of feed against their will and beyond their natural desire to eat. When Chicago banned the sale of foie gras in 2006, some restaurants started making versions of this appetizer that did not use liver from force fed birds, and restaurant critics said it tasted the same (stopforcefeeding.com/content/faux-foie-gras-alternative).
Many top chefs, such as Wolfgang Puck and Charlie Trotter, have renounced this product of extreme animal cruelty. There are many humane alternatives for restaurants to serve, and we as a society are above torturing animals for a table treat.
Sir Roger Moore, who played James Bond in many films, narrated a video of the Animal Protection & Rescue League’s animal cruelty investigations of the three U.S. foie gras farms and several in France, viewable at StopForceFeeding.com. On this site, you can also see the horrendous record these farms have of abusing undocumented migrant laborers and polluting the environment.
There is nothing unusual or unprecedented about banning a product that is made in an inhumane manner or that negatively impacts the environment or people’s health. For instance, the federal Marine Mammal Protection Act prohibits the sale of whale or dolphin meat anywhere in the U.S. Hawaii also has its own laws to protect our unique environment and humane standards.
Most people rightly assume that if an item is on a menu at a restaurant, it is safe to consume and not produced in such an extremely cruel manner as pumping animals full of so much feed they are sick and dying. The purpose of our state government is to provide a forum to examine issues affecting the health and welfare of society and to pass laws protecting these goals.
In order to operate, restaurants must be certified as complying with local health codes and regulations, and they cannot sell products that have been deemed through the democratic process as being destructive to the common good, whether for health, environmental or humane reasons. No law can stop someone from engaging in animal cruelty if they are intent on doing so, but the least we can do is stop condoning this cruelty as a society.
Please visit StopForceFeeding.com, e-mail email@example.com or call Barbara Steinberg at (808) 879-0025 to receive alerts about this campaign.
BARBARA STEINBERG, Kihei
QUIT SMOKING — YOUR PET WILL THANK YOU
It’s well-known that smoking is hazardous to people’s health, and the New Year is an excellent time to kick the habit. But if you’re a smoker who also is a pet owner, there’s an additional incentive to make that New Year’s resolution: your habit may be killing your beloved dog or cat. Recent medical research shows that cats and dogs living with people who smoke risk developing cancer, allergies and other illnesses from secondhand smoke.
Unlike humans, animals do more than just inhale. Tobacco residue collects on animal fur, and cats and dogs swallow the residue when they groom themselves. Some pets even like to lick or eat cigarette butts in ashtrays. A curious puppy can die of nicotine poisoning from swallowing just two cigarette butts.
Smokers’ cats are at least twice as likely to develop a deadly form of cancer called feline lymphoma as are cats in smoke-free homes. After five years living with a smoker, that rate increases to three times as likely. When you factor in other variables — the number of smokers in the house, how many packs smoked per day — that risk can rise nearly fourfold.
This data, taken from a University of Massachusetts study, raises the question of a possible link between passive smoking and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in humans, which is similar to lymphoma in cats.
Another study by Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine showed that cats exposed to secondhand smoke have an increased chance of developing squamous cell carcinoma, a type of oral cancer commonly found in smokers. The increased risk may be due to carcinogens in smoke that settle on cats’ fur and which cats ingest as they groom themselves.
Similarly dangerous to dogs, secondhand smoke raises the rates of certain cancers in canines. A Colorado State University study found dogs living with smokers had higher rates of lung and nasal cancer. Dogs with long noses are at an even greater risk of developing nasal and sinus cancer, as they expose more tissue to the carcinogens when they inhale. Short or medium-nosed dogs showed higher rates of lung cancer.
The research also showed measurable levels of carcinogenic chemicals from cigarette smoke in dogs’ fur and urine for months after exposure.
Even if they do not develop cancer, all pets can have strong reactions to smoke particles in the air. Just like their human families, pets can develop respiratory infections, eye irritation, lung inflammation and asthma when exposed to secondhand smoke.
“The message is clear,” said Renée Klein, president and CEO of the American Lung Association of the Mountain Pacific. “Secondhand smoke is hazardous to you and your pets. We hope this information will motivate pet owners who smoke to quit.”
A 2009 study from Michigan found that nearly one-third of pet owners who smoke would try to quit if they knew that secondhand smoke was dangerous to their pets. For those who are ready to quit, the American Lung Association offers the gold-standard Freedom From Smoking program, which can accessed online at: www.ffsonline.org or by phone via the Lung HelpLine/Tobacco Quitline at 1-800-LUNG-USA.
AMERICAN LUNG ASSOCIATION IN HAWAII
DON’T MIX POLITICS AND SCIENCE
The U.S. is a world leader because of its ability to innovate. Science stands at the core of that innovation. The U.S. invests hundreds of billions of dollars annually in research and education, because our economic growth depends upon the combination of innovation and a workforce capable of implementing those innovations.
If the U.S. had not made an exceptional investment in science and education throughout the 20th century, we would not have the quality of life we enjoy today.
Science saves lives, informs how we manage valuable resources and provides the basis for much of what we buy when we go shopping.
Using project titles and short public abstracts, Rep. Adrian Smith of Nebraska recently criticized the National Science Foundation for funding several research projects. Furthermore, he suggests that politicians and the general public should be involved in using limited information to inform funding decisions.
The National Science Foundation uses a highly competitive peer review process to evaluate proposals. Funding rates are typically quite low, dropping below 5 percent in some programs. Consequently, only extremely good projects get funded, and many deserving projects go unfunded.
Do some of those projects have funny titles, or is the relevance of some of the projects hard to understand based on a quick review? Yes, but the overwhelming criterion for receiving a grant is the value of the work, not the marketability of the project’s title.
There is a current push in our nation’s capitol to eliminate earmarks. That push is largely motivated by a desire to see projects funded on their merit, as decided by experts, and not on the basis of who sits on a congressional committee.
This is a noteworthy trend — one that follows the successful approach the National Science Foundation and other federal science agencies have relied on for decades, which has helped generate advances that improve our lives.
Let’s stick with success and stay away from politicizing science.
VALERIE FRANCK, Kailua
CURRENT SYSTEM SUPPORTS SMOKERS
“That one puff on that cigarette could be the one that causes your heart attack… I advise people to try to avoid being around smoking any way they can,” advises Surgeon General Regina Benjamin.
But the non-smoker is subjected repeatedly to secondhand smoke because no current laws are enforced to prevent this insult. The smoker not only demonstrates disrespect for others, but also to our environment. This is evident by the amount of discarded butts.
Those who practice a holistic approach of preventative care reduce the cost of health care. Perhaps denial of medical coverage for the diseases related to smoking would give smokers the incentive to kick the habit.
It is time for change. It is time for tough love!
PAT REUMAN, Via E-mail
KILLING IS NOT THE SOLUTION
Yes, it’s already starting: “Let’s execute Jared Loughner!” (Notwithstanding the fact that he’s OBVIOUSLY insane.)
Look, folks, it was the urge to kill that created the problem to begin with! Can we, at long last, get back to using our heads instead of our murderous instincts?
Same thing happened after 9/11. “Let’s go get ’em!” That gut reaction led us into Afghanistan and then into Iraq.
Today, a couple of trillion dollars lighter in the pocket, we’re STILL trying to figure out how to extricate ourselves from those two messes!
Could it be that Jesus actually WAS right after all? “Turn the other cheek — you’ll be better off.” Trouble is, no one really believes him.
BILL LOVE, Lahaina