Archive for June, 2011

June 30, 2011

Australia’s Newest Anti-Tobacco Initiative

Australia's Plain Cigarette Packaging

Australia's Plain Cigarette Packaging. Photo credit: abc.net.au

On June 21, United States health officials unveiled their newest anti-tobacco campaign: a mandatory graphic warning label to encompass fifty percent of each cigarette pack’s surface area. The United States newest effort follows suit to forty other countries leading the way in progressive anti-tobacco campaigns. And in an effort to push anti-tobacco campaigns even further, the Australian government recently announced its plan to introduce plain packaging for cigarettes — an extra step in their already exemplary path. Under the new legislature, tobacco products would be sold in plain green packaging, limiting the brand recognition. The law will be formally introduced in July, and is expected to be passed and go into effect within a six-month transition period – requiring new, plain packaging by 2012. However, uproar of protests from tobacco companies and even members of the United States Congress has greeted news of the law, as they contend that it could be a breach in Australia’s international trade obligations. The conflict between proponents and opponents of the bill rouses the age-old question: Should we place priority over capital interests or the health and well-being of our public.

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June 30, 2011

Graphic Warning Labels: A Fresh New Step

Each year nearly half a million tobacco users in the United States die of tobacco-related deaths. Of this vast majority, nearly 1,100 of the lives claimed by tobacco related illnesses—such as lung disease, cancer, and heart disease—come from Hawai’i. Currently, one in five adults in the United States are regular cigarette users despite these risks. It is highly likely that each of us know at the very least one family member and friend who are victims to the highly-addictive habit. Part of the reason twenty one percent of our population engages in this practice is because of our country’s slow initiative in adopting [effective] anti-smoking campaigns. In comparison to other countries’ efforts at educating its public on the risks of tobacco use, Michael Cummings, chair of the Roswell Park Cancer Institute’s Department of Health Behavior, compares the United States’ progress to a third world country.

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June 30, 2011

Kaneohe Sandbar

The sandbar in Kaneohe is and has been a popular gathering spot for many people. People of all ages enjoy taking boats out to the sand bar, swimming, and relaxing. Lately, concerns have been made about the safety of the sandbar because of the numerous people who go there and get drunk. Last memorial day, a fight broke out at the sandbar and ended at the harbor where a 26 year old man died due to injuries from the fight. Consequently, the state is pushing to ban alcohol consumption on the sandbar during every three day weekend because it is an unsafe situation for civilians. The state should ban alcohol consumption on the sandbar during three day weekends because it benefits the safety of the public.

The state feels that the alcohol consumption at the sandbar is unsafe because it leads to unnecessary altercations and in some cases, death. Alcohol was believed to be the main factor in the beating and death of Oahu resident Nelden Kamakali’ulani Torres. The fight broke out on the sandbar and ended at the harbor. According to police, Torres hit his head on the pavement after being punched by the suspect. Similarly, in 2009 on Labor Day weekend, another fight broke out on the sandbar leaving three men injured. One of the men involved in the fight was stabbed and alcohol was a contributing factor. In 2005, on Labor Day, there were an estimated number of 400 boats. On this day, a man who was trying to help his drowning sister was cut on the head by another man holding a beer bottle. This shows that alcohol is a contributing factor to many of the injuries civilians get while at the sandbar.

The state is taking action to reduce the number of alcohol related fights on the sandbar. An emergency ban has been placed on alcohol at the sandbar during the Four

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June 30, 2011

Banning the Hijab

 

By Kortnie Dean

 

The past few years, Muslim women have been forced to choose between their religion and their desire to work, attend institutions and participate in sports. Islamic clothing such as the burqa, the hijab or the khimar has been banned by several countries and is highly debated in others. One of the most controversial bans took place in France in 2004, but other countries such as Tunisia, Syria and Turkey have also prohibited Muslim women from wearing their headscarves and other Islamic attire in government buildings and educational institutions. Not only has there been legislative action towards the banning, but recreational organizations have created regulations that prohibit players from wearing headscarves. Employers are also cracking down on  employees who refuse to take off their hijab while working. Schools and universities have also considered eliminating hijabs on their campuses.

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June 30, 2011

More Dangerous than it’s Worth


by Sheri Sakamoto

There is a long standing stasis in the debate about gun laws. Gun advocates promote our rights under the Second Amendment, and declare that being allowed to freely have guns will make people feel safer. On the opposite side are those who proclaim that guns are not safe and is not a necessity to self-defense. Would having a gun in your possession really make you feel safer? Or can it be a deathly accident waiting to happen? Depending on the situation, it can be both. However, guns are riskier to have than not.

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June 30, 2011

The Death Penalty

By Ross Uehara-Tilton

The death penalty, or capital punishment, has been used by almost every historical society ever studied. Criminals have been sentenced to die for a vast array of crimes ranging from cowardice to insubordination to sexual crimes to murder. Capital punishment has been carried out by a variety of methods including lethal injection, crucifixion, ling chi–execution by slow slicing–and death by guillotine.  Although the idea of a penalty of death for wrongdoing has been around for some time, the civilized nation of the United States should not continue to allow this sentence to be handed down as punishment to any criminal.  While it is important that criminals be punished for their wrongdoings in a manner that is according to the law, the death penalty should not be permitted as a punitive act.

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June 30, 2011

California law on video games struck down

The First Amendment prohibits the making of any law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.  On June 27th 2011, the Supreme Court struck down a California law that currently bans the sale of violent video games to minors.  The winning argument in this case was on the basis that the game impedes on the First amendment rights of minors.  In my opinion the court made the right decision because it is not the responsibility of the government to impose a law restricting the sale of the video games to minors.  I believe that the video industry is doing their part by rating their games, but parents need to take an active role also.  It is also important to realize that the two sides of the argument are arguing about two different things, and I want to focus on whether the courts made the right decision based on the argument of First Amendment rights.

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June 29, 2011

A Small Price to Pay: GET Exemption Suspensions the Best Choice to Close Hawaii’s Budget Deficit

TaxesFrom 2009 through 2010, nearly 171,000 Hawai’i public school students were faced with furlough Fridays – accounting for the U.S.’s shortest school year. According to the Time article “ Hawaii’s Fight Over School Furloughs Heats Up,” the furloughs were former Governor, Linda Lingle’s “solution to a projected budget deficit of nearly $1 billion.” Today, our state has emerged past the furloughs in search of other methods to overcome our budget deficit. The most effective ways to do so include more budget cuts or tax changes. State lawmakers and current Governor, Neil Abercrombie, have recently adopted a bill that generates revenue by suspending general excise tax (GET) exemptions on approximately twelve business industries. This tax revenue, coupled with smaller budget cuts, will allow our state to emerge from its debt without slashing programs and services important to the welfare of our citizens.

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June 29, 2011

Freedom of Social Media

Enter to Share
by Sheri Sakamoto

The layout of social media creates a common ground for people to post and communicate what they want. Once they post a comment, message, or picture it becomes public domain and others have access to them. This means that others can also use it against them, but do they have that right? When does posting become an infringement on freedom of speech? Even though the things they post can be illicit, mean, or downright crude is it not their right under the First Amendment to be able to freely express themselves? Should we crucify these people like we have crucified Anthony Weiner and others like him, who made the mistake of committing an online faux pas?

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June 29, 2011

Oahu’s Transportation Woes: Elevated System is the Best Option

Honolulu Rail Transit

By Ross Uehara-Tilton

Mayor Mufi Hanneman was a major supporter of a fixed rail transportation system connecting the communities on the west coast of Oahu  (East Kapolei) to Ala Moana Center.  A city charter amendment containing necessary provisions to begin construction of the Honolulu High-Capacity Transit Corridor Project (HHCTCP) and associated infrastructure was placed on the ballot in the 2008 elections, and passed with a majority vote of 53%.   A groundbreaking ceremony was held on February 22, 2011 at the future site of the first terminal on Kualakai Parkway in Kapolei.  The construction and operation of such a system would provide Oahu with many positive benefits not limited to just relief of traffic congestion. 

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