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Monday, December 29, 2008
December 29, 2008
By Andrew Walden @ 9:36 AM :: 7854 Views

Replacing Levinson: State high court could be shorthanded till February

A replacement for Associate Justice Steven Levinson, who retires this week, likely will not be sworn in until February at the earliest, leaving the five-member Hawaii Supreme Court with four justices to handle cases.

But Chief Justice Ronald Moon is expected to name lower-court judges to act as a substitute fifth justice to decide cases until the replacement takes over the job.

Levinson, 62, will retire on Wednesday after 17 years on the high court, but three years before the end of his 10-year term. 

Levinson is considered one of the court's most liberal jurists.

It will also be Lingle's second appointment to the high court. The Republican governor is expected to name a third when Moon retires in 2010, when he reaches the mandatory retirement age of 70.

RELATED:  PBN Oct 15 Levinson to Retire

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More Chicago Cronies: Obama kicks back with North Shore pal

Obama and his family, along with Chicago friends Eric Whitaker and Marty Nesbitt, traveled by sport utility vehicle to the home of Bobby Titcomb, a high school friend of Obama's, near Dillingham Airfield in Mokuleia....Later, he said he heard an "eclectic mix" of music from inside the house, including a partial soundtrack from "The Big Chill." Obama spokesman Ben LaBolt said there were 20 to 30 people at the party, including Obama's Chicago friend and adviser Valerie Jarrett.

The Big Chill: A movie about a bunch of 60s leftovers who get together in the Reagan years when things were looking bad for the Gramscians....

LINK: Whitaker appointed by Rezko

LINK: Who is Nesbitt?

Jarrett LINKS

Boston Globe: Grim Proving ground for Obama's Housing Policy

Pajamas Media: Obama's War on Black America

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Corporatism: Tech tax credits cost Hawaii $747 million

Hawai'i's attempt to create a high-tech industry using generous and opaque tax credits cost an estimated $747 million through 2007, according to a new study by the state.

It's the most comprehensive cost estimate to date and an indication that the total cost of the program could eventually exceed $1 billion. That's more than twice the estimated repair and maintenance backlog at all Hawai'i elementary, middle and high schools. It's also enough money to pay nearly one-fifth the $5.3 billion cost of O'ahu's proposed mass-transit rail system.

In 2007, the 177 companies benefiting from tax-credit generated investments created just 2,245 direct jobs, according to the new report. That's a fraction of the state's more than 621,000 overall jobs.

The report was released the same day Gov. Linda Lingle proposed in her new budget to tighten tax credits for technology investments. She estimated doing so would free up $122 million to help offset a state budget deficit.

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Corporatism:  Ethanol plant plan advances

Pacific West wants to retrofit Gay & Robinson's Kaumakani sugar mill to produce 15 million gallons a year of ethanol and 30 megawatts of power by burning bagasse.

It would be the first sugar-ethanol plant on U.S. soil and could provide jobs for more than 200 Gay & Robinson workers who will lose their jobs as the company leaves the sugar business over the next two years.

Financing for the project has proved difficult, as its price has grown to $125 million and the cost of importing ethanol has remained low....

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Push for early action on sovereignty bill

SB runs yet another letter to Obama from the Hawai`i elite:

While short of a landslide, it should result in a comfortable victory, especially if Sens. John D. Rockefeller, D-W.V., and John Schumer, D-N.Y., decide to vote, which they failed to do two years ago. If past supporting votes are maintained, nothing should prevent Sen. Daniel Akaka from moving the bill to the Senate floor early in the session. The House should pass the bill easily, as it did last year.

Richard Rowland, president of Grassroot Institute, agrees but suggests Obama might not want to use any of his "capital" on the issue so early in his presidency. Little "capital" will be expended on a bill that has interest only in the president-elect's native state.

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Judge grants probation, despite long record

WAILUKU - A 22-year-old Makawao man was given credit for nearly a year he has spent in jail and placed on five years' probation for burglary, abuse and drug offenses Wednesday....Finau's criminal history ... includes 17 violations as a juvenile for crimes that include six counts of first-degree burglary, second-degree burglary, theft, terroristic threatening, criminal property damage and harassment. Finau said he had been incarcerated at the Hawaii Youth Correctional Facility on Oahu for one year.

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