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Monday, December 27, 2010
December 27, 2010 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 2:29 PM :: 6245 Views :: Hawaii County News, Agriculture, Maui County News, Congressional Delegation, Honolulu County News, Democratic Party, Hawaii State Government, Republican Party

NYT: Inouye pushes Exemption from Terror Embargo after $2000 contribution

Abercrombie: Hawaii business leaders are ideologically rigid and cliche-ridden

Abercrombie’s Weird Priority: Raising profile of birtherism

Last day to vote for City Council special election at Honolulu Hale

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Monday is the last day for absentee voting at Honolulu Hale and Kapolei Hale for the City Council District 1 seat, but voters still have until Wednesday Dec 29 to mail in their ballots for the special election.

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CB: Hawaii Outpaced U.S. In Income Growth, Poverty Decline Since 2000

It's been a rough decade for the American economy, but Hawaii has escaped comparatively unscathed.

The islands experienced a smaller dip in real income between 1999 and 2009 than the nation at large and the percent of citizens living in poverty dropped in Hawaii even as it grew on the mainland, according to American Community Survey data released by the U.S. Census Bureau earlier this month.

The survey found that the national median household income rose to $51,425 from $41,994 in the 2000 Census. But after adjusting for inflation, the "real income" or "purchasing power" of Americans has dipped 4.9 percent in the past 10 years. The latest data comes from surveys taken between 2005 and 2009.

In Hawaii, real income dropped by 2.3 percent in the same time, though the Big Island and Kauai saw strong increases.1

(Civil Beat managed to write the entire article without using the words “Linda Lingle” even once.  That takes skill.)

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Major dislocation in Hawaii economy if Muni bond market collapses

IT'S NOT THIS BAD IN HAWAI`I -- YET. The same '60 Minutes' broadcast also featured a segment, "The Day of Reckoning “with Meredith Whitney -- the brilliant, no-nonsense financial analysis who had correctly predicted the growing trouble at U.S. banks like Citigroup before the 2007 meltdown. She observed, "States fiscal stress may trigger a spate of [bond] defaults among local municipalities." “You could see 50 sizable defaults amounting to 'hundreds of billions of dollars.'" Now under attack from Wall Street, Whitney said the numbers easily add up 'if you really do the work.'" The Post article said, "The week's smackdown of Wall Street analyst Meredith Whitney continued unabated yesterday as more naysayers came out to challenge the star analyst's recent comments that up to 50 to 100 US cities could default on their municipal bonds over the next 18 months." Whitney appropriately suggested that her Wall Street critics are protecting their portfolios.

Time will tell of course, but should such municipal bond defaults indeed occur, Hawai`i will really be in a truly royal mess as the bond market tanks. No bond market, no sales or refinancing of existing state bonds and no construction. No construction, no union jobs. No union jobs, major dislocation and unrest in the very sector that assured the new Hawai`i Governor's election. Yes, Abercrombie won by 17 points, but that margin could quickly evaporate by the next election -- if the national and international economies get as bad as some are now predicting.

(But, but, but … Neil is leading us all in a Holy War to defeat the diabolical birthers.)

CBS: State Budgets, the Day of Reckoning

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CB: Something We Didn't Hear During Campaign: Birthers a Priority For Abercrombie

Abercrombie told The New York Times that he had already talked with the state’s attorney general and the chief of its Health Department about how he can release more explicit documentation of the president's birth. There are 2,335 articles on the topic linked from Google News.

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CNN: Abercrombie dripping with disgust for the birthers

the governor made clear in the CNN interview that he will push forward on this matter regardless of whether the White House is privately worried that it may bring more attention to the so-called "birthers" who continue to deny that Obama was born in America - despite evidence showing that he was.

"We haven't had any of those discussions," Abercrombie said of the White House. "It's a matter of principle with me. I knew his mom and dad. I was here when he was born. Anybody who wants to ask a question honestly could have had their answer already."

Asked if one option is to ask Obama to waive his privacy rights so that a copy of his actual birth certificate can be released publicly, Abercrombie cut off a reporter's question.

"No, no, no - it's not up to the president," he said.  "It has nothing to do with the president.  It has to do with the people of Hawaii who love him, people who love his mom and dad. It has to do with respect the office of the president is entitled to. And it has to do with respect that every single person's mother and father are entitled to."

Pressed on whether he might unilaterally release a copy of Obama's actual birth certificate, Abercrombie made clear that he is waiting for his cabinet officials to give him a report on what he can legally do before proceeding.

"Obviously, I'm going to do what is legally possible," the governor said.

Throughout the interview, Abercrombie was dripping with disgust for the birthers, saying his goal is to have an open process so that he can "put those who want to disrespect the president and his parents in the proper light…

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SA: Dignity key for Kobayashi--The state's newest U.S. district judge is known for her fairness

Leslie E. Kobayashi, whose lifetime appointment by President Barack Obama to the U.S. District Court was approved by the Senate last weekend, spent her private-practice career with the law firm headed by Wallace Fujiyama, a blunt-speaking, highly influential Honolulu attorney, and James Duffy Jr., now a Hawaii Supreme Court associate justice….

KOBAYASHI, 53, daughter of retired dentist Herbert Kobayashi and retired public school teacher Ruth Kobayashi, worked as a clerk with the Fujiyama, Duffy firm during her last year of law school, then at the city prosecutor's office in 1983 and 1984.

Her supervisors were Darwin Ching, a recent candidate for prosecutor, and Peter Carlisle, now Honolulu mayor….

KOBAYASHI married Clarence Pacarro in 1990. A former deputy prosecutor, Pacarro has been a Honolulu district judge since 2002.

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Shapiro: Big island prosecutors complicit in burying Peter Boy

The case was reclassified from a missing person to a homicide a decade ago, but Big Island law enforcers have stumbled over each other pointing fingers and no charges have been brought. At this point point, police say the case isn’t cold, but prosecutors say they don’t consider it an ongoing investigation.

It’s simply unacceptable to continue bumbling about while Peter Boy is denied justice and his siblings, who were long ago removed from their parents, have no closure. You don’t get to “lose” a child under highly suspicious circumstances and not have to account for it.

Big Island prosecutors are notoriously skittish about bringing charges on high-profile crimes …

If Big Island prosecutors are going to continue to be complicit in burying Peter Boy, perhaps it’s time for the state attorney general or U.S. Attorney to see if there’s a way in for them to bring justice to this little boy with the big smile that belied the harsh hand he was dealt.

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Obama party stays in home taxed at $300

The absentee owner of a multimillion-dollar home being used by President Barack Obama's visiting entourage gets one of the biggest residential property tax breaks on Oahu.

Kevin Comcowich, the Houston investment executive who purchased the nearly 5,000-square-foot home for $9 million in January 2008, was charged $300 in property taxes this year.

Last year, Comcowich paid nearly $30,000 in taxes for his 1-acre beachfront spread in Kailua. In 2007 the tab — paid by the previous owner — was about $48,000, according to city records.

Comcowich got the huge break because he was granted a 10-year property tax exemption by the city for his historic residence, built in the 1940s by Harold Castle, a key figure in the development of Kailua. The exemption is designed to encourage the preservation of historic homes.

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Affordable-rental community in Ewa was delayed by financing and land acquisition

The completion of Franciscan Vistas Ewa will fulfill a nearly decade-old plan by the nonprofit organization to provide affordable housing and services for Hawaii's ballooning population of seniors.

(Only a decade?  That’s pretty fast!)

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Freitas greased skids for UH sports to switch conferences

The words “Lokelani Lindsey” appear nowhere in this article.

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Star-Advertiser solicits donations to Anti-Superferry protesters, chemophobia scammers

If Greenpeace and the Sierra Club are not your cup of tea, there are many others…The Environmental Working Group (www.ewg.org) protects public health and the environment. EWG conducts research on pesticides in produce, chemicals in cosmetics, and, most recently, chromium in drinking water…..

REALITY: Honolulu is #2 on Erin Brockovich hexavalent chromium hit list

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Enviros prepare arguments against undersea power cables

Scientists increasingly believe these marine creatures and others use the Earth’s magnetic fields to navigate vast distances. (Key word: believe)

But as the search for green energy turns to the oceans, there are concerns tidal and wave generators and the cables that bring their electricity to shore could interfere with the internal compasses of everything from salmon, sharks and sea turtles to lobsters and crabs.  (Key word: could)

The fear isn’t that the fish and other marine life will get chewed up in revolving turbine blades or other machinery. It’s that the generators and the cables to shore produce electro-magnetic fields that could interfere with their natural guidance systems which use the earth’s magnetic fields. (Key word: could.  That’s a “could” founded on a “believe.”) In addition, there are some worries that the machines may produce a low-level hum that interferes with marine mammals such as whales. (Key word: may.)

“Before we put these power-generating devices in the water, we need to know how they will affect the marine environment,” said Andrea Copping, an oceanographer with Pacific Northwest National Laboratory’s Marine Sciences Lab in Sequim. (Pure precautionary principle nonsense.  At least the enviros are eating their own this time.)

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SA: Sign federal shark finning ban

Hawaii's initiative coming to the rescue of certain shark species is becoming noticed away from the islands, despite resistance by some countries. President Barack Obama should sign into law a prohibition against cutting off sharks' fins and discarding the finless sharks alive in the Pacific Ocean.

Congressional approval of the ban comes nine months after U.S. proposals to protect hammerhead and oceanic whitetip sharks were narrowly rejected by the 175-nation Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species.

China, India and other nations benefiting from the trade in shark fins opposed the proposals.

Fins sell for $300 a pound because they are a central ingredient in soups sold as an East Asian delicacy on special occasions. Some Hawaii restaurants offered the fin soups for as much as $45 a bowl, but this year's state Legislature outlawed possession of shark fins, effectively removing shark fin soups from their menus.

State Sen. Clayton Hee, who sponsored the bill, traveled this month to the Northern Mariana Islands, a U.S. commonwealth, to encourage enactment of a similar legislation.

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West Hawaii Veterans Cemetery recognized

KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii — The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has awarded "shrine status" to the West Hawaii Veterans Cemetery.

Only three state-owned veterans cemeteries in the country have the status. The Kailua-Kona cemetery is the only one in Hawaii.

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Big Island blogger faces legal pressure to withdraw reporting on zipline safety concerns

Big Island blogger Damon Tucker got an unexpected Christmas message last week–a short missive from attorney Robert K. Whitt of Midland, Texas, demanding retraction of any and all “derogatory comments or blogs” regarding his client, C.L. Carlile Enterprises, L.P.

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A&B stock at 52-week high

New York, December 27th (TradersHuddle.com) - Shares of Alexander & Baldwin, Inc. (NYSE:ALEX) booked a new 52 week high today by trading above $40.3, traders are definitely monitoring Alexander & Baldwin's price action to see if this move attracts further buying into the stock.

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Global Cooling: Summer Snow in Tasmaina

SYDNEY — Torrential rains across eastern Australia have left some towns flooded while the southern state of Tasmania has been hit by an unusual flurry of summer snow.

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