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Sunday, June 20, 2010
June 20, 2010 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 1:52 PM :: 8218 Views

Hawaii spending per Medicare enrollee 32% lower than national avg (Why Hawaii Doctors are leaving)

New Jersey (highest): $10,005.

Hawaii (lowest): $5,926.  (Thanks to the “Medicare Resource Based Relative Value Scale” which pays 32% less than average for services if performed in Hawaii.)

Average for all states: $8,682.

(This is a key reason why doctors are leaving Hawaii.)

Geographic Pricing Cost Index:

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Candidates mining campaign 'gold' on the mainland

Candidates for governor are mining the mainland for campaign gold, with former U.S. Rep. Neil Abercrombie going on the most assay trips and Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann carting away the most ore.

Abercrombie has held 11 mainland fundraisers -- the most among the gubernatorial candidates -- and Hannemann has made five trips….

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UHERO: ‘Construction downswing near its trough’

But it won’t be until 2011 that statewide private building permits “will turn positive” and, even so, “activity in coming years will fall short of the brisk levels experienced during much of the past decade,” UHERO’s report says.

“We have reduced somewhat our projection for new residential construction permitting this year, which results in lower construction activity in 2011,” the report says.

“We now expect the cost-adjusted contracting tax base to be unchanged in 2011, after one more year of sharp decline. Because the sector will remain weak, there will be little net hiring until 2012.”

The only “boost” in development this year will “come from public-sector construction, as we (finally) feel the effects of federal and state stimulus plans,” the report goes on to say.

However, the “deep construction downswing is near its trough,” according to UHERO

RELATED: Light flickering at the end of recession tunnel, state rep says

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Lingle returns, still facing civil unions bill

The measure has been on the Republican governor's desk since May 3. But the suspense is growing now because by law, Lingle is required by Monday to publicly identify the bills still on her desk that she might veto.

If the civil unions legislation appears on that list, its allies and foes will have to wait longer - perhaps until July 6, the legal deadline by which the governor must decide to veto or sign the bill, or allow it to become law without her signature

Time: Hawaii's Waiting Game for Civil Unions -- Gay and Straight

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Second Gay Pride Parade Held In Waikiki

...Because gay activists are split there are two parades.  The first one featuring Neil Abercrombie and UNITE Here Local 5 was the Golujuch Gay Pride parade.  This is the original gay pride parade.   

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ACLU: Let's find out true cost of privatized incarceration

To respond to these crises -- and widespread allegations of rampant constitutional violations -- the Legislature recently passed House Bill 415, which calls for an independent audit of Hawaii's contract with CCA. The audit bill asks for a comparison, "in terms of quality of programming, costs, and economic benefit to the state," of Hawaii's and CCA's prisons. Among other things, the Legislature questioned the cost-effectiveness of prison privatization and discussed that the current system may not save Hawaii money in the short or long term.

HB 415 is currently waiting for the governor's signature, and we encourage her to sign that bill into law. Hawaii's people deserve to know the real costs, the real conditions and the real impact of privatized incarceration. 

(In other words, the UPW needs to hold another circus.)

REALITY: Hawaii Prison Watch

SPLC: Behind the Wire

At Portland's Multnomah County Jail, two guards sporting brand new "Brotherhood of the Strong" tattoos allegedly beat up an inmate this August, and were rumored to be recruiting others into their clique. They since have been placed on paid administrative leave by the sheriff's department.

The guards had been introduced to the tattoo design by a temporary employee from Hawaii, according to Undersheriff Mel Hedgpeth. Following the beating, concern that a dangerous guard gang might be forming prompted the department to send an investigator to Hawaii.

What was discovered there, says Hedgpeth, was a group of "Brotherhood of the Strong" prison guards of various races who "definitely pushed the edge of excessive use of force."

SA: On Oahu, crime up

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More Hawaii residents packing heat

“It’s part of our heritage and if nothing else, you should learn about it just for that reason,” said Hawaii Rifle Association Vice President Gordon Oshiro.

A piece of our history that continues to be one surrounded in controversy.

The US Supreme Court is currently listening to a challenge against the ban of handguns in Chicago.

The court will then decide whether it's constitutional for state and local governments to control hand gun use.

They are expected to have a decision this summer.

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Ships, planes and people from 14 nations will be participating in the biennial RIMPAC

China, meanwhile, is reaching out in waters beyond Japan and asserting claims in the South China Sea. Carl Baker, director of programs at the Pacific Forum Center for Strategic and International Studies in Honolulu, said RIMPAC is a demonstration of U.S. and allied capabilities and its desire for open sea lanes.

This year's exercise includes units or personnel from Australia, Canada, Chile, Columbia, France, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, the Netherlands, Peru, South Korea, Singapore, Thailand and the U.S. The Navy also said there will be three observer nations: Brazil, India and New Zealand.

At least 11 foreign vessels and 16 U.S. ships from other ports will swell Pearl Harbor's usual contingent of 11 surface ships and 17 submarines during RIMPAC.

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Show revs up public effort for raceway

Motorsports enthusiasts gathered at Aloha Tower Marketplace yesterday to show off cars that are souped up but have no place to go.

The Oahu Motorsports Advisory Council hosted the fourth annual "Build The Track!" Motorsports Show to publicize the need for a racetrack in Oahu.

"We keep pushing as much as we can to get it done," said OMAC chairman Michael Kitchens.

His group owns 38 acres at Kalaeloa near Coral Sea Road and Tripoli Street. But the group is still trying to raise more than $1.5 million to build a track and still needs a green light from the city and the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands.

REALITY: Fireworks, dirt, and stolen trucks: Colleen Hanabusa and the Honolulu Raceway Deal

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Maui County furloughs to save $3.5 million

WAILUKU - To save an estimated $3.5 million, Maui County will furlough most of its employees for 12 days in the fiscal year that begins July 1.

Except for the county Department of Liquor Control, the furlough days will be Fridays, one day per month through the year.

The first county furlough day will be July 16.

The furloughs affect all civil service and appointed employees, but not uniformed police officers and firefighters. They work under separate collective-bargaining agreements that do not provide for furloughs.

Mayor Charmaine Tavares proposed the one-day-per-month furlough plan, which was approved by the Maui County Council during its recent budget deliberations.

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Local support at heart of Hali‘imaile’s success

So far, Hali'imaile Pineapple has generated $3.2 million in revenue - before taxes and farmland rents to Maui Land & Pineapple Co.

Most of the revenue has gone to Hali'imaile Pineapple employees, who belong to the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, MacCluer said.

One of the primary goals of the investors, all six of whom are Maui farmers and businessmen, is to provide well-paying jobs on Maui, MacCluer said. And the company has gotten a lot of help - and savings - from the ILWU, which put Hali'imaile Pineapple employees on the union's health plan.

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Lead-acid battery has competition (Windmills to pump water for hydro?)

However, although pumped hydro is among the simplest and most reliable of all storage methods, especially for really big projects, it is "almost impossible to get permitted," according to Sandia National Laboratory experts speaking Wednesday at an energy storage seminar at the University of Hawaii Maui College.

Neighbors don't care for lakes that are filled and emptied every day, said Abbas Akhil. However, at Ulupalakua, there won't be many neighbors.

Another objection is the use of fresh water in arid areas, but Akhil said seawater is used in both Okinawa and Ireland. He said he didn't know what the reaction to a seawater hydro project would be in Hawaii.

Another method of storing power that doesn't require batteries (and therefore no chemicals) is the flywheel.

Flywheels have proven useful in providing powerful sources for brief periods (such as 30 seconds) to allow backup generators to be started when primary generators fail. They are used as part of uninterruptible power sources.

Flywheel farms using hundreds of small wheels are being built in New York and elsewhere to provide storage at utility scales, but they are land-hungry. A storage farm to back up 20 megawatts of supply occupies 10 acres.

Alternative energy needs storage options

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Brainwashing children on behalf of The Maui Coastal Land Trust

Sitting on the couch with my three-year-old son, we are watching James Cameron’s hit new release, “Avatar.” The scene shows large machinery destroying a sacred tree that the people of this mythical planet live in, to get to a substance worth millions of dollars per ounce that lies below the tree. I look over and tears are falling down his face.
With eyes wide open, he said, “Mommy, we have to protect our planet.” Pretty insightful for a three-year-old.

At this moment the entire group of people broke into a deep, slow, rhythmic chant of 'B-B! .... B-B! .... B-B!'—over and over again, very slowly, with a long pause between the first 'B' and the second—a heavy murmurous sound, somehow curiously savage, in the background of which one seemed to hear the stamps of naked feet and the throbbing of tom-toms. For perhaps as much as thirty seconds they kept it up. It was a refrain that was often heard in moments of overwhelming emotion. Partly it was a sort of hymn to the wisdom and majesty of Big Brother, but still more it was an act of self-hypnosis, a deliberate drowning of consciousness by means of rhythmic noise.  George Orwell, “1984”

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