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Monday, January 31, 2011
January 31, 2011 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 10:46 AM :: 5826 Views :: Hawaii County News, Agriculture, Maui County News, Congressional Delegation, Honolulu County News, Democratic Party, Hawaii State Government, Republican Party

Four assisted suicide bills introduced to Hawaii Legislature

SB711: Luddites attack Hawaii GE aquaculture

Transparency in judicial selection procedures increasingly common on the mainland

…The problem is with the fundamental secrecy of Hawaii’s entire judicial selection process, which is now far more closed than most other states. Although it started as a reform to the raw politics of an earlier era in the judiciary, the process in Hawaii, unlike most other states, has failed to adapt to the growing public appetite for openness, transparency, and participation.

A judicial nominating commission similar to Hawaii’s is used in 33 states and the District of Columbia to screen judicial applications for some or all of their courts, according to the American Judicature Society. Of those, at least 23 states and the District of Columbia publicly disclose the names of nominees, although in some states the practice differs by area or court.

But there are far more startling differences than simply the public disclosure of nominees. Many states are far more open than ours, not only in terms of public information but also public participation….

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Cayetano group renewing attack on Rail?

A coalition of community groups led by former Gov. Ben Cayetano has scheduled a news conference today (12:30 p.m. On the city hall steps) to try to convince people that the fight to stop the $5.5 billion O‘ahu rail project isn’t over.

It’ll be interesting to see if it’s just the same old talk or if they have something new up their sleeves, such as a credible legal challenge to the rail environmental impact statement or a plan to shift some City Council votes.

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Doing the job DoE won’t: Kamehameha now spending $102M on educational outreach programs

Altogether, the outreach programs -- through school campuses and community groups -- served some 45,000 children and their caregivers, according to an annual report for fiscal year 2010 released last week.

About 10 percent of the spending, or $31 million, went to public school programs (from homework centers to summer enrichment programs to after-school help for at-risk youth), compared with $28 million the year before.

Kamehameha Schools also continued to expand its literacy instruction initiative, which helps public school students improve their reading skills.  The program is now in 21 schools, eight of which were added last fiscal year.

The $102 million spent for outreach education programs last fiscal year compares with about $129 million spent for programs at the three Kamehameha Schools campuses on Oahu, Maui and the Big Island, a spokeswoman said.

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SA: DoE Failing?  Its Bush’s Fault

Nationally, 29 percent of fourth-graders and 38 percent of eighth-graders scored less than basically proficient. Only one in 20 of Hawaii's fourth- and eighth-graders were "advanced" in science.  (And this is George W Bush’s fault, just keep reading…)

Part of the reason for Hawaii's low science scores may result from the emphasis of math and reading rather than science under the (idiot Bush’s) federal No Child Left Behind program, (see, told you so) according to Jeff Piontek, president of the Hawaii Science Teachers Association's board and head of the Hawaii Technology Academy.

Under (the idiot Bush’s) No Child Left Behind, school systems with failing grades are punished through denial of federal funding. The (enlightened, conscious, and progressive) Obama administration's Race to the Top instead provides stimulus money to systems committing to reform, including turning around their lowest-performing schools.

(Has RTTT happened in Hawaii yet?  No, but Obama has already “solved” this problem, upon which work has not even begun.)

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Myron B Thompson Nepotism leads to Probation

The state Charter School Review Panel's decision to initiate probation procedures against Myron B. Thompson Academy over concerns of nepotism is a necessary and timely step.

The academy was slow to respond, but the review panel was not. As the panel's vice chair put it, "All charter schools are being tainted because of Myron B. Thompson's hiring policies and are being questioned."

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DoE not seeking ways to cool classrooms

it's now studying cheaper alternatives to bring temperatures down, like ceiling fans, better insulation and new roofing .

When those measures were taken for four portable classrooms at Kahuku High and Intermediate recently, the highest temperature recorded -- shortly after lunch -- came down to 85 degrees from a brain-boiling 103 degrees.

Legislative appropriations for heat abatement at schools:

  • » 2008: $4 million
  • » 2009: none
  • » 2010: none

For several years, including this session, lawmakers have considered a measure mandating that the DOE follow a schedule for installing air conditioning and stick to it. The bill calls for all public schools in Hawaii to be air-conditioned by 2016….The measure's chances of passing this session, he said, are not good.

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Gay Atheist Victory Lap around Hawaii?—No, just getting warmed up

On cue from Atheists, Osorio revises Hawaii’s Christian History

Osorio said invocations were probably used in the Legislature because it was an American custom. “The reason it was custom in the territorial Legislature and through early statehood up to this point, is because in Hawaii we have generally modeled our institutions after typical American models,” he said. Hawaii had religious invocations to prove, Osorio said, “that we were as American as anyone else.”  (Pure bullshit.)

That the Senate ended invocations does not surprise Osorio. But he doesn't expect prayers to stop.

“Hawaiians pray all the time," he told Civil Beat. "We pray to a variety of deities and we open up many of our deliberations and important occasions with prayer and we’re not going to stop doing that.”

(What part of “Queen Kaahumanu” does Osorio not understand?)

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State seeks input on wind energy plan

Public meetings on transmitting wind energy by undersea cable will start at 5:30 p.m. on the following days:
» Tomorrow at McKinley High School, Honolulu
» Wednesday at Pomaikai Elementary, Kahului, Maui
» Thursday at Mitchell Pauole Community Center, Molokai
» Feb. 5 at Lanai High and Elementary School
An environmental notice about the plan is available for review in the online Jan. 8 issue of the state Office of Environmental Quality Control's newsletter:

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Funds elude Kakaako: “Not much revenue generation”

The plan calls for expanding shoreline parks and promenades, establishing fish and farmers' markets, and building museums of surfing and Hawaiian music and dance.

Other plan elements include a performing arts center, community center, community gardens and a parking structure.

Some restaurants and small shops are also part of the vision, but most plan components are noncommercial public facilities that come with hefty price tags and not much revenue generation. (Duh!)

Total construction cost for the Kakaako Makai plan is estimated by project consultant Keyser Marston Associates at between $250 million and $350 million.

Given the state's strained financial condition, doubt exists about whether the vision can be realized.

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Hawaiian Electric Powers Up First Utility-Scale Biofuel Generator

Hawaiian Electric Company (HECO) has successfully powered up Kahe #3’s ninety-megawatt generator to full capacity using 100 percent sustainably produced palm oil. This demonstration was the culmination of a series of tests that HECO has been conducting in advance of its commitment to adopt biofuels in support of Hawaii’s renewable energy goals.

(The great thing about biofuel, is that it can be quietly converted to regular diesel once everybody comes to their senses.)

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Laundered money from drugs that go through Hawaii helps keep Burma's junta in power

Burma is a tale of drugs, ransom and sanctions, and Hawaii is at the center of it.

Laundered money -- paid with drugs that go through Hawaii -- cements the junta's power. The Congressional Research Service estimates that Burma exports $1-2 billion in illegal drugs annually. The Pacific Rim countries, which Burma uses to transport its exports, send crystal methamphetamine ("ice") to Hawaii on transpacific cargo containers using Hawaii's 10 harbors on six islands, according to the U.S. Justice Department's 2010 High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Market Analysis. It's "extremely challenging for U.S. Homeland Security and other law enforcement," says the report. "Hawaii is a transshipment port for ice metham- phetamine."

The report goes on to say that 99 percent of Hawaii's imported goods arrive in cargo containers with limited, if any, inspection. Direct flights to and from Asia from six of Hawaii's eight airports are primary drug sources. Hawaii is a market for Burmese drugs where they can earn twice their mainland street value.

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First chartered flight arrives with high-spending China visitors

The first chartered direct flight from China touched down at Honolulu International Airport this morning with 263 passengers eager to shop and see the islands through the Chinese New Year over the next six days.

Chinese visitors are expected to spend an average of $368 per person per day this year, compared to just $275 per day for every Japanese tourist, said David Uchiyama, vice president of brand management for the Hawaii Tourism Authority, who welcomed the Chinese guests at a special airport reception that included hula dancers, live Hawaiian music, leis, soft drinks and plenty of picture taking.

SA: Visitors from China arrive ready to spend 

(How’d you like to go somewhere and find all the local newspapers talking about how much money they could vacuum out of your pocket?)

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Mass Psychosis hits Big Island: 200 call Humane Society to complain about stuffed pig

Downing and Hog, who live in Na'alehu along with several alpacas, have been parked in various spots along the side of Queen Ka'ahumanu highway the last couple of weeks drumming up support for the film. People honk, stop, take pictures. Downing entertains them with jokes and songs with some Shakespeare thrown in for good measure. And if they want to make a contribution to the film, so much the better.

But Roger, they ask, how did you get that pig to climb on top of your car?

Well now, Downing hasn't run into any naysayers disparaging his activities, but the Humane Society did catch up with him. You see, Hog goes everywhere with Downing. Hog sticks his head out the back window, Downing feeds him coffee and even claims Hog beats him at poker. Still, about 200 people called the Humane Society asking them to do something about this poor pig being forced to live in a car.

"The lady came up to me and said, 'man, you can't treat that pig like that, he'll die'. I said 'well ma'am, I got news for you, he's already dead,'" Downing said.

Seems Downing knew a taxidermist, and when he died, Hog was bequeathed to him and the rest is "hogstory."

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Obama will go down in history as the president who lost Egypt

Jimmy Carter will go down in American history as "the president who lost Iran," which during his term went from being a major strategic ally of the United States to being the revolutionary Islamic Republic. Barack Obama will be remembered as the president who "lost" Turkey, Lebanon and Egypt, and during whose tenure America's alliances in the Middle East crumbled.

The superficial circumstances are similar. In both cases, a United States in financial crisis and after failed wars loses global influence under a leftist president whose good intentions are interpreted abroad as expressions of weakness. The results are reflected in the fall of regimes that were dependent on their relationship with Washington for survival, or in a change in their orientation, as with Ankara.

Carter calls Egyptian crisis ‘most profound situation in the Middle East since I left office’

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Supreme Court reversals deliver a dressing-down to the inferior judges of the liberal 9th Circuit

Sometimes the Supreme Court simply decides cases, and sometimes it seems to have something bigger in mind. In the past two weeks it has been in scold mode, and its target has been the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit.

In five straight cases, the court has rejected the work of the San Francisco-based court without a single affirmative vote from a justice (which means even the liberals on SCOTUS reject the inferior judges of the 9th). The nation's largest court, stretching from Montana to Hawaii, the 9th has jurisdiction over nearly 20 percent of the nation's citizens. Not surprisingly, it routinely supplies the largest portion of the cases the court reviews each term.

As the most liberal circuit in the land, its work quite often is at odds with an increasingly conservative Supreme Court.

But some of the recent reversals have been delivered with a lash that those who closely watch the courts say reflects more than just a disagreement of law.

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