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Wednesday, December 24, 2008
December 24, 2008
By Andrew Walden @ 6:17 PM :: 10366 Views

Obama questioned by Federal prosecutors

Federal prosecutors investigating alleged corruption by Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich interviewed President-elect Barack Obama and two of his top advisers last week in connection with the case, according to a memo released Tuesday by the Obama transition team.

Surprised?  then you need to read this: Barack Obama reading list

Note: The Clintons were not questioned by Federal prosecutors until they had been in office two years

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Maui workers accept drug testing

WAILUKU » Some 400 blue-collar workers in Maui County will be subject to drug and alcohol testing at random as well as for cause under a labor agreement signed with the United Public Workers union.

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10 Who Made a difference: Panos Prevedouros

Panos Prevedouros was the unlikely mayoral candidate. He had no political experience. No name recognition. And, perhaps most importantly, no money.  Yet this well-respected, quirky University of Hawaii at Manoa engineering professor challenged powerful incumbent Mayor Mufi Hannemann, changing the race and shaping much of the campaign around the city's controversial $4 billion rail transit project.

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Proposal to put off pay raises gets cool reception

WAILUKU - Gov. Linda Lingle's proposal for the state's top elected leaders to put off scheduled pay raises received a cool response from three of four Maui County lawmakers reached for comment Monday.  A fourth legislator, South Maui state Rep. Joe Bertram III, made it abundantly clear he doesn't like the idea.  "What a joke!" he said, pointing out the governor's projected savings from forgoing raises would be about $4 million. "That's what they call budget dust. It's just absurd....

State Sen. Roz Baker, who represents West and South Maui residents, said: "There might be a better way to go."  She suggested all state employees - from the governor on down to the lowest-rung worker - give up a day's pay, perhaps once a month....

The outlook could be a lot worse. It could be where it is now," Tsutsui said. "We'll take a serious look at all of (the governor's) proposed budget cuts."  But he said he was concerned that cutting top government officials' salaries would affect the quality of people willing to take on government service....

Bertram said the governor would do better to look at other ways the state could save money.  He argued the state wastes money incarcerating nonviolent offenders and in enforcing its laws against growing and using marijuana. He called the drug war a "disaster" and said it has "not affected drug use in the least."

(And he should know...)

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Mortgage relief may benefit 2,400 in Isles

The state Office of Consumer Protection has reached an agreement with Countrywide Financial Corp. and its parent company, Bank of America, designed to help subprime and adjustable-rate mortgage borrowers who bought homes with loans from Countrywide.

The deal may allow eligible Hawai'i owner occupants to modify terms of their Countrywide loans to escape foreclosure or make their mortgages more affordable.

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Rep. Mazie Hirono ‘hopeful’ about second term

U.S. Rep. Mazie Hirono, a Democrat of Hawai‘i’s second district, spent a chunk of Monday afternoon standing alongside new Kaua‘i Mayor Bernard Carvalho...

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Hawaii Superferry Breaking Passenger Records

Over the Thanksgiving weekend we ferried more than 6,000 passengers and thousands of cars filled with shopping bags of gifts and goodies to share with family and friends. For the Christmas weekend we are expecting more of the same, which is why we have added extra sailings on December 23 and 30 to meet the demand of our customers.

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Britain:  Secret gag orders undermine core Western values

This month saw a secret UK court hearing, with secret participants, produce a secret order to secretly gag the population, the terms of which are secret and the revelation of which is punishable by upto 15 years of imprisonment. How many of these orders exist is unknowable--we glimpse at the severity of the problem only when the orders are violated.

It is time civil society treated such orders with the the contempt they deserve by releasing them for all to see.

Wikileaks previously released the gag order for the Northern Rock bank collapse, now we release the secret gag order made by High Court Justice Tugendhat on Dec 15, 2008 aimed at covering up an email leak from the British establishment. The secret order first targeted UK newspapers, but our copy was destined for the UK Parliamentary blogger 'Guido Fawkes', editor of 'order-order.com'. The summary states:

  1. The identities of the Applicants/Claimants must remain confidential.
  2. The fact of the existence of the Orders must remain confidential.
  3. The terms of the Orders must remain confidential.

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Doctor training loses funding

Lingle's office announced earlier this week that the $2.5 million would not be released because the state is facing big budget deficits.

State lawmakers appropriated the money in 2007 to help the University of Hawaii expand its residency program to the Big Island and improve rural primary health care. Residents here and statewide are suffering from severe doctor shortages.  (Which are caused by the Legislature.)

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Pork Dreams: Greenwell to seek billions in federal funds

North Kona Councilman Kelly Greenwell said Tuesday he is preparing legislation that, if approved, could eventually net $3 billion to $4 billion in federal grant dollars.  One of the two projects the money could help pay for on the Big Island would be construction of a state-of-the-art hospital in Kona, he said.  The other project would be construction of a solid waste facility in Kona that handles all of the rubbish generated statewide, Greenwell said.

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