Letters To The Editor
May 16, 2007 - MidWeek
Jones in Rick’s cafe
It is ironic and appropriate that Bob Jones should use the Soviet retreat from Afghanistan in his rant about a U.S. pullout from Iraq. After all, the original outward intent of the Soviets was to prop up a tottering Communist regime, not overthrow a vicious military dictator. What they left behind was the type of chaos that led to the Taliban with its 7th century barbarism and, of course, bin Laden and al Qaida.
Though Bob was all excited after seeing a screening of The Situation, another more classic movie comes to mind. Bob Jones and a majority of Americans seem to be stuck in Rick’s cafe from the movie, Casablanca. “What is your politics?” asks the smarmy Nazi of Rick, played by Humphrey Bogart. “I am a drunkard,” replies Rick. Rick wanted to ignore the war going very badly in Europe for the Allied cause. Of course, the kicker is in the final scenes where Rick helps Victor Lazlo escape the Nazis seeking to send him back to prison and certain death. “Welcome back to the fight,” says Victor to Rick.
A lot of Americans want to just enjoy themselves, and the war in Iraq is a bother. But the clash of civilizations between xenophobic radical Islam and modernity is a battle to the finish, like it or not.
A bad gamble
I think Bob Jones can’t get gambling out of his head. I don’t know how many articles he has written in favor of legalized gambling in Hawaii. Even the most dedicated Vegas traveler who loves gambling would not like Waikiki or Kona to look like Vegas. Jones seems to think we have so little to offer tourists that we need gambling to sustain the revenue. We wouldn’t get more tourists, we would get a bevy of gamblers who wouldn’t put more money in the tax revenues, but give it to the gambling organizations, where it would be sucked away to the Mainland. All this while our local small businesses would wither without the money from tourist/gamblers, who would gamble rather than buy their products. Remember what happened to Atlantic City?
Tourists who would want to come to gamble would also expect the kind of shows that Vegas has, and no way can we compete in that area. Bob’s favorite type of gambling would be in offshore casinos, of which Hawaii would get a percentage and keep the local poor people from losing their wages with gambling. Just how long do you think those offshore cruises would remain offshore? When the weather gets bad, when the ships need repairs and have to stay on shore, the push would be to continue the gambling there. And if that happens, the hotels, etc. would cry “not fair, we want casinos too.” And where casinos exist come the slots, where our poorer citizens will have easy access to them and become a greater pool of addicts. That’s all Hawaii needs are more addicts! According to the police department, if legalized gambling comes to Hawaii, illegal gambling increases along with employees who will be dipping into the till to cover gambling debts. We certainly would need more police.
Just having gambling to bring more revenue into the state isn’t as simple as all that.
In the time since I learned I have ALS - amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or Lou Gehrig’s disease - I know I’m not alone. My family, friends and the Muscular Dystrophy Association in Hawaii are standing with me in the fight against the disease.
During national ALS Awareness Month, MDA Hawaii will hold a “Pampered ALS” event at the Queen’s Conference Center May 19 at 9 a.m. Participants can learn more about ALS, and support the programs of MDA’s ALS Division.
After my diagnosis, I learned that MDA leads the world in fighting ALS. MDA provides me with ALS-specific medical care at Castle Medical Center on Oahu. It has helped me obtain medical equipment that keeps me active and involved in life. The ALS support group on the second Tuesday of each month at Queen’s Conference Center allows me to share experiences, advice and motivation with others.
And most importantly, MDA’s worldwide program of ALS research provides hope of one day defeating this devastating disease. On May 19, please help MDA - and me - by participating in this special event.
For more information, contact MDA at 593-4454.
Thank you, Hawaii, for all your support!
Paul H. Gagnon
KailuaSend your letters to MidWeek Letters, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., Suite 500, Honolulu, HI. 96813; by fax to 585-6324, or by email to email@example.com. Please include your name, address and daytime and evening phone numbers. We print only the letters that include this information, but only your name and area of residence will appear in print. Letters may be edited for clarity and space.
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