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Thursday, September 15, 2011
September 15, 2011 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 6:19 PM :: 14630 Views

The Future of Honolulu Rail? Libyan Rebels forced to Push when Ansaldo Motor Won’t Run

Kaauwai: NY, NV Republican Victories Send Message

DoE Commits $6M for Pre-School Vouchers for 800 Children

“Title Insurance Issues” may force FannieMae to release and re-foreclose Hawaii properties

Gun Control: A Relic of Racism

Fund established to help fallen and injured police officers

The Hawaii Law Enforcement Federal Credit Union has set up a fund to assist the families of the two police officers imvolved in Tuesday’s traffic death.

Police Officer Eric Fontes, a 6-year veteran, was killed during a routine traffic stop Tuesday night on Farrington Highway near Ko Olina. Officer Herman Scanlan, 14-year veteran, was injured in the same accident. He is recovering at the Queen’s Medical Center in stable condition….

Donations may be dropped off or mailed to any one of the credit union branches. For more information please call 973-4311. The main office is at 1537 Young Street, Honolulu, HI 96826.

Branch offices are located in Kapolei at 889 Kamokila Boulevard; the main police station at 801 South Beretania Street, and the Pearl City police station at 1100 Waimano Home Road.

read … Fund Established

Ed Case calls for Massive Tax Hikes

The Bush tax cuts can't be sustained. Some people call that a tax increase. I call it letting bad tax cuts expire. I think the vast majority of this island, state and county don't like government by battle, and don't like partisan gridlock. You may not like 100 percent of what you get from me….

read … Tax Increase

Delusional Abercrombie: “Everyone—from business to labor, the Legislative and Executive Branch—can come together around our New Day Plan”

"In Congress, there is division and discord," Abercrombie said in the press release. "Here in Hawai`i, everyone—from business to labor, the Legislative and Executive Branch—can come together around our New Day Plan."

Whoa! I had no idea Abercrombie's plan (which was actually redone last month to take into account criticism that it was too dependent on federal spending) had become accepted by all. I had no clue Abercrombie's proposals to spend billions on local infrastructure had brought peace in our time.

And we were all worried about Maui's 7.3 percent unemployment rate, to say nothing of Molokai's 14.7 percent jobless rate. Silly us!

read … Abercrombie Predicts Harmony In Hawaii

ILind: Potential conflict in review of rail contractor

But Horner failed to mention the long-standing business relationships between First Hawaiian’s parent company, the French banking giant PNB Paribas, and Finmeccanica. Earlier this year, for example, PNB Paribas was one of three banks underwriting a $900 million loan package to finance the sale of Ansaldo Energia SpA, Finmeccanica SpA’s power-plant construction unit, to private equity-investor First Reserve Corp.

A 2010 Ansaldo STS report noted its banking relationships:

Good and well-established relationships with the banks represent a corner stone of the strategy of Ansaldo STS. This objective is achieved through a multi-product approach in terms of management of:
• activities related to exchange rates (FX, Derivatives, etc.);
• bonding (guarantee management);
• treasury (management of receipts, payment of taxes, cash pooling, etc.);
• liquidity (deposits, current account overdrafts);
• investment banking (M&A, structured finance);
…The Ansaldo STS Group maintains relationships with the major banks worldwide, such as BancaIntesa, Unicredit, CitiGroup, ING, Calyon, BNP Paribas, JP Morgan Chase, HSBC, Nordea.

PNB Paribas and several other French banks have been under unusual pressure recently because of their extensive investments in Greece. Profits have been impacted, and a story published last week reported Moody’s Investors Service this month is again considering lowering the credit rating of PNB Paribas.

Questions about how the crisis in Greece will impact PNB have trickled down to First Hawaiian. In June 2011, Moody’s put First Hawaiian’s credit rating “on review for possible downgrade” due to the issues surrounding PNB’s exposure in Greece.

BNP Paribas Flashback: Debunking Carter-Ruck's defense of Iraqi billionaire tied to Rezko and Obama

read … Ansaldo

Honolulu Rail Agreed to Pay Broken Trust Lobbyist $300,000

Honolulu rail planners agreed to pay a Washington-based lobbying firm up to $300,000 in the first year of a five-year deal, according to a copy of the 2009 contract obtained by Civil Beat.

Lobbyist Denis Dwyer said the city needs him because matters related to rail arise so frequently that congressional delegates and their staffers would be overwhelmed without additional help….

According to the open-government database opensecrets.org, Dwyer's firm was paid $320,000 by InfraConsult last year and $160,000 so far this year. Since 2008, the rail contractor has paid Williams & Jensen a total of $840,000.

Full Text: 2009 williams & jensen contract

Related: Rail Lobbyist at Center of Effort to Relocate Kamehameha Schools to South Dakota Indian Reservation

read … $300,000 for Broken Trust Lobbyist




While DoE Claims Massive Success, SAT Scores Drop Sharply

Hawaii's average combined scores were 500 in mathematics, from 505 for the Class of 2010; 479 in reading, from 483 the previous year; and 469 in writing, from 470.

Some 8,731 Hawaii public and private school students in the Class of 2011 took the test.

About 65 percent of test takers were public school students, from 59 percent last year.

Public school students in Hawaii saw a significant decline in math scores, with an average combined score of 474, compared with 479 last year. Reading dropped from 460 to 454; and writing declined slightly from 442 to 441.

SA: 3 Hawaii public schools named blue ribbon award winners

CB: Hawaii Students Score Lower Than Peers on SAT

read … The DoE Can’t Cheat on the SAT

Hawaii Ed Department Drops Plan to Cut Social Studies Requirements

The Hawaii Department of Education is dropping its controversial recommendation that the state cut its high school social studies requirements from four to three credits.

A memo to the Board of Education posted online late Wednesday and dated Sept. 20 reverses the department's June 21 recommendation to reduce the number of required social studies courses…

The initial recommendation raised the ire of social studies advocates all over the state, and hundreds have submitted testimony to the board opposing the change. Several others, including author, education advocate and (unbearably smug) Presidential sibling Maya Soetoro-Ng….

Lyla “Islam day” Berg: Deconstructing Education In a Time of Global Crisis

Related: Antonio Gramsci Reading List

read … Gramscians crush STEM

Shapiro Pines for the World before The Generation of 1968

The stories seem like ancient history to today’s younger audiences and Caroline Kennedy called her mother’s interviews “a snapshot of a world we barely recognize,” but the period covered in both was when I was finishing intermediate school and starting high school and I recognize it well….

These women, the black maids from Mississippi and the debutante from the exclusive schools of New York and Connecticut, couldn’t have been more different in many ways, but it was the similarities that made their stories compelling.

They all displayed remarkable courage and inner strength in dealing with adversity and ultimately changing history.

They played the cards they were dealt with an unwavering dignity, disdaining public displays of drama so common today with some politician on every network and some malcontent on every street corner whining about getting screwed.

It struck me that courage and dignity are qualities we could use a lot more of today as we confront a new set of challenges of the same magnitude of those in the ’60s.

“The Help” is still playing in local theaters and you can see the Kennedy documentary at abc.com.

read … Once there was dignity

Aila, Louie stalled for months until Abercrombie gave Munitions Disposal Experts Exemption from EIS to Detonate Unexploded Ordinance

The item was on the land board’s Dec. 9 agenda. Laura H. Thielen, the former department director, had signed off on the recommendation and said Wednesday that she would have urged the board to adopt it if she was still in charge.

Aila, however, said he deferred the matter after the state Attorney General’s office raised concerns about the potential exemptions to the state’s environmental review law.

(So now we need an EIS to get rid of a ticking time bomb? Here’s an idea, lets have environmental groups do on site munitions assessments. Give them a three foot long stick. They can poke the bomb with the pointy end.)

In June, Gov. Neil Abercrombie issued an emergency proclamation suspending nearly two dozen state land use and environmental regulations for five years to help the Army Corps with munitions cleanup, a far more expansive move than what DLNR staff had urged in December.

Read the DLNR staff submittal here: http://hawaii.gov/dlnr/chair/meeting/submittals/101209/D-Land-Submittals-D7.pdf

Related: Legislators not Consulted on Abercrombie’s Unnoticed Emergency Proclamation

read … EIS for Bombs?

$800K of Federal Pork for Political Activist Group FACE

HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius today announced an award of $80,000 to one organization in Hawaii that would like to become a community health center. These funds, made available by the Affordable Care Act, support organizations’ development as a future health center….

Today’s award will fund Faith Action for Community Equity in Hawaii to provide a more comprehensive range of primary health care services and/or expand their services to the larger community.

Eligible applicants included public or nonprofit private entities, including tribal, faith-based and community-based organizations. Current Health Center Program grantees were not eligible. Health Center Planning Grants, listed by organization and State, are at: http://www.hrsa.gov/about/news/2011tables/1108healthcenterplanning.html.

read … paid to fight for Obamacare

Green Energy Scammers, Legislators all Concentrated in One Place

CB is reporting live from the Asia Pacific Clean Energy Summit and Expo.

Leaders in the Asia Pacific Clean Energy Summit are convened at the Hawaii Convention Center Tuesday through Thursday.

read … Fish in a Barrel

Money Grubbing Activists Demand Rent from Mauna Kea Telescopes

State auditor Marion Higa summarized that, over the years, more than $600 million was spent to construct the 13 telescopes and the antenna on Mauna Kea. Another $50 million per year was spent by agencies involved in the operation of telescopes. Higa stated in the audit, “A small percentage of these substantial amounts could reasonably have been used for environmental protection and to provide basic services to the public (given to activists for their personal use). However, this is not the case.”

Stephanie Nagata, interim director of the Office of Mauna Kea Management, testified that since 2007 OMKM has received $6 per visitor from permitted commercial tour operators, totaling about $280,000 per year. Twenty percent of these funds sit in an account to be transferred to the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, but no mechanism currently exists to do such.

“There’s lots of money being made up there, but the public is denied access to these public lands without any financial benefit in the form of rent, taxes, or fees or anything,” observes Marti Townsend, KAHEA program director….

As explained:

read … Mauna Kea–Sacred Summit or Cash Cow?

Hawaii Post Offices Off Potential Closure List

The U.S. Postal Service on Thursday released a revised list of offices it plans to close, and Hawaii has been spared.

The struggling government service is seeking to close 250 postal processing facilities and 35,000 positions nationwide in an effort to reduce costs.

read … Inouye

Hawaii foreclosure filings drop 75% in August

There were 413 homes in Hawaii with foreclosure filings last month, which was 6 percent more than in July but a 75 percent drop from August 2010, according to Irvine, Calif.-based RealtyTrac.

The 413 filings in Hawaii included 288 notices of default, 23 public auctions and 102 bank repossessions.

read … Foreclosure August

Will Honolulu Media Council attempt to Litigate against Honolulu Star-Advertiser link with HNN?

Francis wrote that he’s not worried. “If a media buyer claims they can buy TV for the same price as an ad in the Star-Advertiser, then I would say the TV ad price would be quite high when you compare audience reach. In most cases, you would need to buy multiple TV stations to equal the reach of one ad in the Star-Advertiser.”

He has at least one other reason to be confident: The partnership between the Star-Advertiser and Hawaii News Now.

But Francis, Black and Raycom have a couple of reasons to worry. The FCC’s recent action against the AT&T/T Mobile merger may signal a new stricter scrutiny policy–and the Honolulu community, in its recent outpouring of contributions to save the Weekly from Black’s threatening lawsuit, demonstrated that demand for diversity of choice in media is strong.

Related: Raycom Honolulu TV Deal: Honolulu Community Media Council has its own issues with "media control"

read … Playing Media Monopoly

8-year-old girl arrested for allegedly punching vice principal

Police said the girl punched the 61-year-old man about 8:15 a.m., causing pain. The girl was arrested for investigation of second-degree assault.

read … Solving the really Big Cases

Pennsylvania Welfare Money Spent in Hawaii

Pennsylvania’s welfare dollars certainly got around in May 2010.

Some of that money made its way to every state in the country, including Alaska and Hawaii. Some welfare dollars were spent in the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.

In fact, $5.2 million was spent outside Pennsylvania’s borders that month, according to transactions from electronic-benefits transfer cards given to welfare recipients. It’s only a sliver of the $200 million in cash benefits spend using EBT cards.

read … Boosting Tourism


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