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Sunday, August 8, 2010
August 8, 2010 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 10:21 AM :: 15839 Views

Mufi’s Republican Army: The Bush Family Connection

Leonard Appointment: How they voted

The 'Birthers' Began on the Left

Djou on MSNBC: “We’ve lost 2.5 million jobs since the stimulus package was created. That’s not progress.”

Borreca: “Lingle stumbles in effort to remake state Judiciary” (How Recktenwald lost favor)

(First the Democrat Judicial Selection Commission forced Lingle to appoint Democrat stiff Duffy.  Then they turned Recktenwald.  Now they blocked Leonard.  The headline blames Lingle, but the story is written in purposefully opaque language.  We have added the annotations necessary to understand.)

It was nearly eight years ago that Lingle started to target the court.

In 2003, she called it "dysfunctional," and let it be known she wanted changes on the court, which she felt was too much in the business of making new laws instead of interpreting the state Constitution.

Lingle's antipathy for the court was egged on by her policy adviser at the time, University of Hawaii law professor Randy Roth, and her attorney general, Mark Bennett, both of whom had written critical commentaries about the court.

It was solidified when the court ruled against her administration in the Hawaii Superferry case, a decision that she condemns as a misjudgment.

"Kate would shake it up, for good or bad," said one source and former member of the state judiciary.

"She is very much like Linda Lingle, she is a bulldog," he said. (Which is why Democrats rejected her.)

Bulldog or not, it appears Lingle was forced to turn to Leonard when Mark Recktenwald fell out of favor with the governor and Bennett….

However, once on the Supreme Court, sources say, Lingle and Bennett started to have doubts about Recktenwald.

As the Star-Advertiser's Ken Kobayashi noted, Recktenwald invoked the state Constitution in a ruling last month that changed the way courts deal with competing interests of environmentalists and developers.

Environmental lawyers say it makes clear that private parties can pursue lawsuits under the constitutional provision that says "each person has a right to a clean and healthful environment," Kobayashi reported.

"That ruling was icing on the cake against Recktenwald," according to several other legal sources, who said it echoed the court's Superferry ruling.

Sources said Lingle was furious that Recktenwald was not fighting for her position on the court and turned out to be a centrist, not an advocate for less judicial interpretation.

  • TOTALLY RELATED: Leonard Appointment: How they voted >>> "Sen. Clayton Hee, in opposition, raised concerns about whether Leonard would be open enough to Native Hawaiian rights. A court that strictly follows the rule of law may not have led to the recognition of customary Hawaiian rights, he said."

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Kauai prosecutor prosecutes former boyfriend for crime she is implicated in

In a response to the prosecutors’ answer to Zenger’s motion to disqualify the prosecutor for a conflict of interest, Zenger and Rego in court papers say Rego and Iseri-Carvalho were boyfriend-girlfriend for nearly a decade, that Rego helped put Iseri-Carvalho through undergraduate and law school, and that Iseri-Carvalho prodded Rego into the 1987 theft of cosmetics from a Honolulu department store.

“Shaylene was directly involved in the criminal activity that led (to) DJ’s (Rego’s) arrest and conviction in the 1987 Honolulu petty misdemeanor theft case,” and “has been covering up her involvement in that case ever since,” Zenger wrote in a document filed in 5th Circuit Judge Randal Valenciano’s court.

(Don’t worry.  There is noting wrong with the justice system in Hawaii.  The Senate has protected us all from the Leonard.)

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Looking at the Bar Association Board

What about the Hawaii State Bar Association's "not qualified" rating? It is meaningless because it is unsubstantiated. Because of the HSBA's process for evaluation of judicial appointees is confidential, and the HSBA does not provide anything to back up a rating, there is no way for Senators or the public to evaluate the trustworthiness of the rating. Could it be based on factors other than the objective and politically neutral list of criteria the HSBA says it applies? For all we know, a dislike of how a Chief Justice Leonard might rule on particular issues may have factored in. Look at the list of Board members, and it's a valid question. Is the rating designed to insulate Senators from the potential political blowback of a no vote ("if her own peers say she is not qualified, who are we to say otherwise")?

IC: Live Blog Of Hawaii Senate Judicary Committee Hearing On Confirmation Of Katherine Leonard As Chief Justice

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Hanabusa promises to raise your taxes

"Raising taxes in this current economic environment is a bad idea," Djou said by telephone from Washington, D.C. "Raising taxes is not going to stimulate growth or create jobs, and that's exactly what the economy now needs, and pushing through more tax increases when the economy is still struggling and weak is a lousy idea."

State Senate President Colleen Hanabusa, who will probably face Djou in November in a rematch of the May special election, said she would extend tax cuts only for the middle class….

The tax cuts reduced federal income, capital gains and dividends tax rates and gradually eased the federal estate tax. The standard deduction was raised and a ceiling in the 15 percent income tax bracket was adjusted to soften the tax burden on many married couples. The child tax credit was doubled from $500 to $1,000.

The Tax Foundation, a Washington, D.C., based tax policy group, has estimated that the Bush tax cuts have saved the median family of four about $2,200 a year. A recent report by the group projected that a family in Hawaii with an income of $78,659 would save $1,739 a year if the tax cuts are extended.

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Democrats scrap over ads; Aiona stays upbeat

In the ad, Abercrombie accuses Hannemann of using the rail project for political purposes.

That explains, the former congressman asserted in the ad, why there was a controversy earlier this year about the project's proximity to a Honolulu airport runway and why the system will not initially extend to Waikiki or the University of Hawaii.

"There's no other way to look at it," Abercrombie said in the ad, which has been airing at least since July 20. "Instead of having a transit timetable, we've had a political timetable."

Hannemann spokeswoman Carolyn Tanaka said in a statement that Abercrombie's ad is an "irresponsible personal attack on Mufi Hannemann and is without any basis in fact."

Abercrombie as a congressman was fully apprised through several years of the project's timetable, funding and route, she added.

"Neil's rhetorical 'shock' over these issues is disingenuous," Tanaka said.

Laurie Au, a spokeswoman for Abercrombie, said the ad reflects what residents have told the candidate.

RELATED: Politico: Abercrombie leans on Pelosi for help, WaPo: As Hawaii Democrats battle, RGA goes up with ads, RGA ad for Duke Aiona: “People want their leaders to be positive, not divisive and negative”

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Abercrombie: “Confrontation, finger-pointing and name-calling”

Abercrombie said there has been a “collapse of leadership” recently in Hawai‘i, including confrontation, finger-pointing and name-calling.

Abercrombie said he has known Obama since the president was a baby. “I had the good fortune to have known his mother and father.”

Hannemann said he knew Obama “when his name was Barry,” because the president used to play basketball for Punahou School when the former mayor coached the Iolani School basketball team.

“I can’t let my opponent out-Obama me,” said Hannemann, pulling some laughter from the audience.

Hannemann questioned Abercrombie’s earlier statement that the former mayor is the “status quo” candidate.

“How can that be when he’s been in public service and was trying to be in public office since I was a sophomore in high school?” asked Hannemann.

“I don’t want this to be a retirement job,” said Hannemann, hinting at Abercrombie’s long career in Congress.

VIDEO: http://thegardenisland.com/

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State agency clears Honolulu rail contracts (decision backs Hannemann over Abercrombie)

In an Aug. 4 letter released Friday by Acting Mayor Kirk Caldwell, Procurement Office Administrator Aaron Fujioka says no violations of state rules were found.

Hannemann’s hand-picked replacement, Kirk Caldwell said in a statement that taxpayer money was wasted addressing the allegations.

Abercrombie supporter, Former Gov. Ben Cayetano and others filed the complaint in May.

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Anti-Superferry protesters target Navy sonar (again)

Maui Tomorrow Foundation Executive Director Irene Bowie said she saw the Navy's notice for the scoping meetings and plans to attend the Maui session.

"We have real (fake) concerns about this," she said, adding that one of the alternatives seems to indicate the Navy plans to expand its testing area.

Bowie said she wants to see if the expanded area would reach into Hawaiian waters frequented by humpback whales in the winter. Of particular concern is the environmentally sensitive Penguin Banks area west of Molokai, she said. That area is an important calving area for humpbacks, she added.

Another point Maui Tomorrow officials will watch is the decibel levels the Navy plans to use with its sonar, Bowie said. There have been numerous whale strandings when sonar decibel levels have reached 150, she said. (Sonar vs whale claims are already debunked, but they just keep on lying and the media keep on reporting the lies unchallenged.)

"We want to know what they're talking about here and where," Bowie said (hoping to find a way to litigate).

Paul Achitoff, managing attorney for the Hawaii office of Earthjustice, said he also will be monitoring the Navy's plans.

But what Earthjustice does will depend on what the Navy proposes to do, to see if there's "something we want to do about it."

The other Hawaii scoping meetings will be held Aug. 24 at Kauai Community College, Aug. 25 at Keehi Lagoon - Disabled American Veterans Hall in Honolulu and Aug. 26 at the Hilo High School cafeteria.

More information on the Navy's proposal is available online at www.HSTTEIS.com.

Fascinating read: Does Sonar Harm Whales?

Winter v. Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc. [Supreme Court of the United States] (.pdf)

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Costs piling up two years into Molokai water lawsuit

Bronster said the county's case boils down to making sure Molokai Properties never shuts off residents' water, and attempts to make sure the county doesn't have to take over the utilities, a position that Gov. Linda Lingle's administration lost in court.

As for setting the water rate hikes permanently, the Public Utilities Commission has not set a date yet for a decision, she said. But things are moving along, Bronster said.

Adding to the controversy, the state Office of the Consumer Advocate entered into a "secret settlement" with Molokai Properties for the rate, Bronster said.

The words “Walter Ritte” and “Collette Machado” appear nowhere in this article.

REALITY: Molokai Ranch: Protesters to Cash in with Takeover Plan?

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Juror: Without DNA evidence, Makanani walks on sex assault

LIHU‘E — Jurors in the Kenneth Makanani sex-assault trial believed he was guilty, one of the members of the jury said recently.

But without DNA testing to confirm Makanani committed the 13 counts of sexual assault, attempted sexual assault and kidnapping he was accused of doing, jurors came back with a unanimous not-guilty verdict on all counts.

“We all thought he was guilty but there wasn’t any DNA evidence. In my heart I know he did,” said the female juror, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Somewhere along the way swabs from DNA testing were not processed, she said.

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Seed money: A koa plantation on the Big Island courts investors to buy tiny trees and then reap rewards over 25 years

On a former cattle ranch north of Hilo, about 20,000 koa trees are no more than 4 feet tall, but they represent high hopes for a company with a new model for renewable forestry in Hawaii….

Dunster and Fox founded Hawaiian Legacy in late 2008, and arranged a lease with a purchase option for 2,700 acres of Hamakua Coast pastureland that contain remnants of what they say was a vast koa forest before cattle were introduced to the area toward the middle of the last century. The pair expect to plant an average of about 480 trees per acre on the land.

Over the last year or so, the company has solicited investors to help finance the envisioned plantation of "investment-grade" trees.

Because significant risk is associated with the venture, federal Securities and Exchange Commission rules limit Hawaiian Legacy to raising money from "accredited investors"—essentially financially well-off entities that include banks, insurance companies, retirement funds and individuals with annual net income over $200,000….

Travis Idol, a University of Hawaii associate professor of tropical forestry and agroforestry, is skeptical of Hawaiian Legacy claims. "We're not saying they cannot grow trees, and nice big trees," he said. "But if they're trying to grow timber, we would question some of their projections."

Idol said previous koa plantation efforts have succeeded in growing trees, but the quality and quantity of lumber have been disappointing. "The projected volume of timber was not achieved," he said.

A December study led by Paul Scowcroft of the U.S. Forest Service concluded that most plantation-grown koa trees fork too close to the ground to produce much merchantable wood. The study said no one has demonstrated that koa plantation forestry can be financially successful, and that this has hindered private investment in the industry. (Just ignore this.)

Dunster acknowledges that he can't be certain how Hawaiian Legacy's trees will turn out….

Johns, a wood-turner with a gallery in Holualoa on the Big Island, said owning trees was a great opportunity. "It's exciting," he said. "It makes us feel better about using the wood."

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UH professor helps boost Vietnam's clinics

The change in attitude is due to a pilot project in "social franchising" in commune health stations in Khanh Hoa and Da Nang provinces. The project combines free-market principles with the communist government health care system.

Unable to apply such basic reform principles in Hawaii, University of Hawaii business professor Dana Alden was a consultant on the Vietnam project with Marie Stopes International and the Atlantic Philanthropies, a charity started by Duty Free Shoppers co-founder Charles Feeney….

The program, Alden said, is a model not just for Vietnam, but other countries.

"I think there's a lesson to be learned for may of us," Phuong said. "Even government clinics in the United States."

RELATED: Hawaii Hospitals: Not Quite Catching Up To Africa, Legislative Report: Convert HHSC to non-profit, dump civil service (full text)

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