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Monday, March 2, 2009
March 2, 2009
By Andrew Walden @ 8:00 AM :: 9701 Views

Japanese emperor to visit Pearl Harbor for first time since war

The Japanese emperor is likely to visit Pearl Harbor in July, the first time a member of the imperial family will have visited the site of the surprise attack that brought the United States into the Second World War.

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Abercrombie critical of Obama Iraq plan

In a clear sign that President Barack Obama's honeymoon is over, one of his staunchest allies -- U.S. Rep. Neil Abercrombie -- parted ways with the president yesterday on Iraq policy....

(Abercrombie) refuted rejected the notion that the remaining soldiers would only provide security and help with training of the Iraqi military.  "Any residual troops are by definition combat troops, because the combat isn't ending," the congressman said.  Abercrombie also denied that the surge of troops that former President George W. Bush championed in the last years of his administration was a success. Instead, he said claimed the surge largely involved payoffs to former enemies.

"What we did is we bribed people. We paid people not to kill us," the congressman said. "That's all the surge is. It's a surge in money."  (So the surge wasn't really combat--but troops staying in Iraq to train Iraqi forces really are in combat.  And Larry King didn't notice this.)

He also expressed concern about Obama's plan for adding as many as 17,000 troops in Afghanistan, saying that the president is trying to "buy political time" while a review of U.S. policy there continues.  (It certainly doesn't  have anything to do with getting al-Qaeda and the Taliban, does it Neil?)

RELATED:  Behind the Scenes on Iraq Drawdown

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Hawai`i effort cited in report urging states to improve probation, parole programs

The report cited a probation program in Hawaii as a positive example. Under that program, which offers extensive counseling and treatment, failure to comply with random drug tests, office visits and treatment requirements is met with immediate sanctions — typically a few days in jail. Participants have proven far less likely than others on probation to be arrested for new crimes and sent back to prison.

RELATED: 1 in 32 Hawaii adults in correctional system 

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University of Hawai`i sports losing their fan base

With 10,300 seats in the Stan Sheriff Center to accommodate a turnstile crowd of 272 — a good night considering attendance has hovered just above 200 for most of the season — there was nary an obstructed view in the arena.

The department is projecting an additional deficit of $3 million for the current fiscal year, which ends June 30.  The department's financial situation has prompted athletic director Jim Donovan to consider cutting one or more athletic programs to save money.

For UH sociology professor David Johnson, the problem starts with poor leadership and a lack of accountability — in the department and across the university.  "It seems quite clear that the Herman Frazier hire was a disaster," he said. "But there are also a number of coaches who have not done very well and are not held accountable for poor performance...."Where's the accountability?" Johnson asked. "My impression is that there are some pretty glaring areas where there is little or no accountability, but it's not limited to the department. It's that way throughout the university.  "People in positions of responsibility, whether it's the AD or the chancellor, the president of the university, have to pay attention and hold people accountable," he said.

(Proving once again that socialists don't know how to sell tickets or promote events.)

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O`ahu: Council candidates emerge

Two candidates emerging early as front runners are Steve Holmes and John Henry Felix, former City Council members who have remained out of the political spotlight for some years.  (Homes=Jeremy Harris ally and carpetbagger.  Felix=Mufi Hannemann ally.  Next?)

Others who have filed to run include Paul Akau and Wilson Kekoa Ho.  Marshall's aide, Ikaika Anderson, who ran unsuccessfully for state representative, is also considering entering the race. Friday is the deadline for candidates to register for the election period, which begins early this month and ends April 23.

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Higher medical costs await state workers

According to the trust fund's consultants, the big 29 percent increase is caused by rising costs of medical insurance and the past practice of the trustees to "buy down" the statewide insurance costs by using cash held in reserve. "We have learned that if rates continue to increase, buying down rates only delays future rate increases. ... We cannot catch up by buying down rates more," (union official) Radcliffe said.

His plan to lower the increase to 10.5 percent from 29 percent calls for lowering plan benefits so they match the average plans offered to private workers. The state plan is slightly more generous.

Radcliffe also wanted to impose a mandatory wellness program on all employees and beneficiaries, which consultants said would save 10 percent in just the first year. The wellness program would require state workers and dependents to stop smoking, lower cholesterol levels and increase exercise.  Failure to meet those standards would cause employees' premiums to rise.

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Hilo High facing cuts

HILO -- Hilo High School's students and their parents are appealing to public officials for the reinstatement of several well-liked teachers who are being let go next year because of budget cuts.  In all, 13 teachers are being eliminated, including the school's only French teacher and a couple of advanced placement teachers.... 

(Why?  Because...) "The Weighted Student Formula is based on student enrollment and other student factors. Thus, decreases in student enrollment result in less school funds for salaries, equipment, supplies, and operations.  Unfortunately, at Hilo High, projected decreases in student enrollment have required a reduction in class offerings. Thus, either a course was not offered and the student was given another selection choice, or a program (e.g. French) was discontinued."  (Notice that WSF does not call for any reduction in DoE bureaucracy.)

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Taxpayer Advocates Take Unfair Taxes to Court

In 2006, the Illinois Legislature invoked a 3 percent surcharge on Illinois’ top-performing casinos. Those revenues, as directed by the statute, were to be transferred in whole to Illinois racetracks with no funds being contributed to state programs. That law sunsetted, but was strong-armed once again through the Illinois Legislature in November 2008. The second bill earned notoriety after transcripts were released by the U.S. Attorney’s office late last year. The 2008 legislation is alleged to be one of the pay-to-play schemes constructed by Rod Blagojevich, the scandalized former governor. He has been accused of trading his support for the bill for campaign donations from the racetrack industry.  Taxpayers cannot afford to take a gamble with unethical political practices such as these. Unless the Supreme Court intervenes, the trend of levying discriminatory taxes will worsen, and taxpayers everywhere will suffer.

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