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Monday, March 9, 2009
March 9, 2009 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 5:21 AM :: 10936 Views

State of Pork: Hawaii delegation proud of earmarks

U.S. Sen. Daniel K. Inouye, chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, was expected to be among the top beneficiaries of the so-called omnibus spending bill.  And he is.

But an analysis of earmarks by Taxpayers for Common Sense found that second-term U.S. Rep. Mazie Hirono, a Democrat, led the 435-member House of Representatives with $138.6 million in pet projects — or earmarks — in large part because they were co-sponsored with Inouye.

In fourth place was Democratic U.S. Rep. Neil Abercrombie, with $111.4 million.

Hirono was traveling Friday, but her spokeswoman, Jaclyn Zimmerman, was ebullient.

"We are very excited about that," she said. "Hawai'i should be delighted at this. The congresswoman was delighted when I told her about this over the phone." ...

At times, Inouye endured verbal assaults from the Senate's champion of budget reform, U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona.

"We're going to spend $2 million for the promotion of astronomy in Hawai'i," McCain said, referring to one of the earmarks, as he leered at Inouye. "I ask the senator from Hawai'i: Why do we need $2 million to promote astronomy in Hawai'i?"

Unruffled, Inouye rattled off provisions for healthcare, housing and scientific research.  "I dare anyone to suggest these are evil products," he said. "These should remind us earmarks are not evil."

(They're evil.  Inouye's pork exists to benefit his cronies and keep him and them in power.)

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SB Cheers: More Americans say they have no religion

Fifteen percent of respondents said they had no religion, an increase from 14.2 percent in 2001 and 8.2 percent in 1990, according to the American Religious Identification Survey.

(And why so thrilled about this decreasing rate of Gramscian accession?)

Northern New England surpassed the Pacific Northwest as the least religious region, with Vermont reporting the highest share of those claiming no religion, at 34 percent.  (And who do they elect in Vermont?  Openly socialist candidates like Sen Bernie Sanders.)

Survey results:

RELATED SB Editorial: "Now is right time to correct injustice for gay couples"

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Kamehameha Schools urges that Honolulu rail be at ground level

The city eliminated that option long ago on concerns that a ground-level train would operate at slower speeds and generate lower ridership and higher long-term costs.

However, Kamehameha Schools has joined others, including the American Institute of Architects, in raising concerns about the visual impact the approximately 30-foot-wide, 50-foot-high elevated track system will have on Honolulu's scenery. A ground-level train also could shave millions of dollars off the cost of the project, and that could allow the city to build a longer train system more of what it is planning before running out of money.

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SB:  Lawmakers would rob Oahu to fill treasury (Rail tax raid)

A SENATE committee that approved a measure to transfer half of the city's rail transit revenue to the state's treasury is essentially proposing to steal money from Oahu taxpayers.

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SB: Reveal Plaintiffs' names

The rules allow the identity of plaintiffs in civil lawsuits to be kept hidden if they "would risk suffering injury if identified." Eric Grant, one of the youths' attorneys, says threats and inflammatory rhetoric have surrounded the case.

Indeed, the issue of whether the admission policy is unlawful and should be changed has been highly emotional, but the angry letters to the Star-Bulletin have been less than incendiary.

Kalani Rosell, a non-Hawaiian who was allowed to attend Kamehameha Schools on Maui in 2002, said upon graduation two years ago that students would not talk to him at first. That quickly changed, he said, and his friends at the campus called him "Snowy" as a term of endearment.

Ann Botticelli, the schools' vice president for community relations, says the schools "would never take an action that would place a child in danger." If the youthful plaintiffs reveal their identities, win admission to Kamehameha Schools and are injured as a result, Botticelli's assurance is sure to resound in court.  (What resounds is the fact that she had to make such an assurance.)

(Instead of hiding from the courts by bribing and then threatening plaintiffs, Hawaii can solve this problem by going to a voucher system which would enable an end to Kamehameha Schools artificial shortage of student seats, admit every Hawaiian child who wants to go, and then open admissions to others without excluding any Hawaiians.  In a state where the largest single private institution and landowner is a private school, ask yourself why vouchers are not even on the political agenda.)

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Aiona supports giant telescope, within limits

Aiona addressed questions about the telescope at a meeting Friday with the Hawaii Island Chamber of Commerce in Hilo. 

Aiona stated the administration's categorical support for the telescope, but then said it had to be done in a "pono" way.  "The administration is 100 percent behind that initiative," Aiona said of the TMT. "We want to see that initiative here in Hawaii. We think Mauna Kea is the site ...

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Hawaii Tribune Herald finally covers Motta Trial

The trial of accused underworld murder Ethan Malu Motta hasn't gotten much play in the Big Island papers, in spite of because of the well documented ties between Motta and Mayor Billy Kenoi.  But finally the Sunday Tribune Herald did get around to running a recycled item from Saturday's Advertiser.  Its the one with the most exculpatory evidence on behalf of Judge Town. 

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Abercrombie flies to Maui, speaks to 50

LIHU‘E — Rep. Neil Abercrombie launched a two-day campaign tour of the Neighbor Islands on Sunday, saying the 2010 race for governor will be decided by voters outside urban O‘ahu.  (Who are grateful for his decision to leave Congress and know him far too well to elect him Governor.)
After a supporter breakfast in Honolulu, the 10-term Hawai‘i Democrat told about 50 supporters at Maui’s Kanaha Beach Park Sunday that his campaign will emphasize issues of concern to the Neighbor Islands.
Abercrombie then flew to Kaua‘i for an evening campaign kickoff at HGEA Union Hall in Lihu‘e.

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