Response to rant
I’m sure glad that I live in the actual real world of Hawaii County (you know, the one that lives aloha and elected President Obama by 74 percent) and not the strange parallel universe that exists in the letters to the editor. I know I should ignore the angry, petty, hateful souls who populate this section and whatever problems they have that make them so bitter and nutty, but it crosses the line of “opinion” when they spew misinformation and the Tribune-Herald publishes these nontruths.
The latest rant accuses Obama of staying in a mansion and eating gourmet meals all on the taxpayer’s dime (and implies that we are all eating Vienna Sausage and saimin because of it). Obama pays for his lodging and meals on vacation and reimburses the government for the equivalent of commercial airfare. We pick up the security tab (which is huge, but if he wasn’t working for us, he wouldn’t need it all). He didn’t use his motorcade to visit wealthy donors, but he did hang out with old friends, attended Sen. Daniel Inouye’s funeral, and visited Marines to thank them for their service. So what?
He doesn’t own his own private ranch, and, for security reasons, he can’t just get a hotel room in Waikiki. He has taken way less vacation time than Reagan or Bush.
Whether or not you agree with what he does, he works hard and deserves to come home for the holidays. Obama’s not the buffoon …
Lack of seniority
I am baffled by Sen. Daniel Akaka’s apparent quote, regarding the Democratic Party’s unity, that “we have always put Hawaii first, before our individual ambition.”
What did he accomplish in the past six years that couldn’t have been better done by a replacement for him back in 2006? He should have seen that Hawaii’s seniority was in serious jeopardy if both he and Sen. Daniel Inouye both stayed in office at their very similar ages and states of health.
Ed Case had the right idea about this, but he lacked political acumen by deciding to surprise everybody by running against Sen. Akaka in the primary, instead of seeking a caucus of Democratic leaders, especially Sen. Inouye, to discuss this most critical matter.
It wouldn’t have made any difference who would have replaced Akaka — Democrat or Republican — but making the transition back then instead of now would have allowed the new senator to benefit from Inouye’s tutelage, to gain access to important committee seats and to get a kick start gaining this ever-important seniority, which is so financially critical to Hawaii.
Now, because Akaka, Case and the Democrats failed to truly recognize this situation, Hawaii will undoubtedly suffer in the coming years by having two extremely junior senators who will try their best, I’m sure, to help our state, but are bound to be much less successful than a transition years ago would have been.
Having said all this, the best long-term solution for Hawaii, every other state and the country as a whole will be to term-limit the U.S. Congress, just like most governors and the U.S. president. Then, long-serving politicians (with the obvious exception of Sen. Inouye, I use the word “serving” very lightly), the overly strong lobbyists and “big money” will have less clout, more political and financial parity will exist throughout the U.S., and dilemmas such as we now face in Hawaii will essentially disappear.
I have a store in downtown Hilo, Orchid Isle Party Supplies. While I was out for a while one morning, a young woman came in and handed my husband a card and a box of cookies. She also handed one to one of my customers. My husband didn’t think too much about it. He thought maybe it was a friend of mine bringing us some goodies.
He noticed on the envelope of the card that only “#8” was written on it. Curiosity got the best of him, so he opened it, and this is what the card said inside: “Dear Stranger, You are our 8th random act of kindness in memory of the 26 lives lost at the school shooting in Connecticut. With respect to their families who face loss and sorrow this season, we offer you our warmest ALOHA.”
Needless to say, we were touched to tears, so I would like to give you our warmest mahalo and aloha for this very kind act.
In a way, I think the families over there feel the love pouring in for them from every corner of the world.
To you, dear stranger, have a very blessed Christmas and prosperous New Year.