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Wednesday, July 1, 2009
July 1, 2009 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 8:18 AM :: 12057 Views

 

N. Korean rocket capable of hitting half the U.S.: American scientists

"The Unha launcher represents a significant advance over North Korea's previous launchers and would have the capability to reach the continental United States with a payload of one ton or more if North Korea modified it for use as a ballistic missile," they said.
"It could have a range of 10,000-10,500 kilometers, allowing it to reach Alaska, Hawaii, and roughly half of the lower 48 states," they said in an article posted this week on the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.

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Hawaii state workers rally at Capitol to protest furloughs

Only 2000 protesters-- bussed in by their unions--take note, this is less than the anti-Gay Civil Unions rallies.

A Circuit Court judge will hear requests tomorrow by union leaders to halt furloughs while the court considers union arguments that the governor's plan is unconstitutional and should be subject to collective bargaining. Lingle has said she believes she has implied authority under state labor law to order furloughs, and has warned of mass layoffs if she is stopped in court.

Lingle has said three furlough days a month for two years, starting this month, would save the state $688 million and would close an estimated $730 million budget deficit through June 2011.

Kauai: Only 6 show up to protest

RELATED: GOP chairman supports governor's fiscal strategy

Ka'auwai pointed to the state's burgeoning unemployment ranks as evidence of real economic catastrophe.

"Look at the 47,000 unemployed last month," he said. "How many of them were state employees? Where's the fairness there?"

"The furloughs are a gift to the union bosses because they can still collect dues and get their $150,000 salaries," he said.

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Hawaii's Public Union Leaders Are Taking Home the Big Bucks, While Their Members Struggle Financially

I bet the blue-collar United Public Workers members who might be struggling to feed their families would be surprised to know that their monthly dues are going to support the approximately $160,000 annual compensation of their executive director.

Perhaps the public school teachers of our state would be interested to know that their union president is also taking home over $150,000 a year.

Members of the University of Hawaii Professional Assembly support their executive director at a whopping $176,000 annually and the Hawaii Government Employee Association is sending over $180,000 to their executive director.

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Democrat Lawmakers assess vetoes for overrides

The state Legislature's Democrats meet today to decide which of the 65 possible vetoes that Gov. Linda Lingle revealed yesterday they would override.

During the 2009 legislative session, Lingle held a public veto session and rally at the state Capitol as she rejected four tax-increase bills. The Legislature promptly overrode all four vetoes, and starting today the new laws will increase taxes on real estate sales, hotel rooms and state income.

Yesterday Lingle singled out several more tax bills, including Senate Bill 199, which scales back Act 221 high-tech tax credits. Critics said the bill was costing the state millions every year, while supporters said it was responsible for growing the embryonic technology community in Hawaii.

Lingle did not state her objections to the bill in her message, just noting that it eliminated the 2-to-1 multiplier on business tax credit and capped the credit at 80 percent of investments.

Senate President Colleen Hanabusa said she doubts Lingle will really veto that bill because it would mean a $150 million tax loss.

Lingle signed the state budget, Hanabusa noted, but it is a balanced budget only because of bills such as SB 199. "We have to protect the budget," Hanabusa said.

Another bill Lingle flagged would increase affordable housing requirements for new construction in Kakaako, but critics say SB 1350 would shut out developers because the housing requirements are too strict.

In her message to the Legislature, Lingle said the bill would also "place a temporary moratorium on building permits during a period of economic decline when we should be encouraging construction activity."

Lingle said the bill would hurt affordable housing options by creating "unreliable and unworkable" housing conditions.

House Speaker Calvin Say, one of the bill's proponents, was not available for comment yesterday, but Hanabusa said the bill cleared the Senate only "with a lot of drama."

"I can't say for certain that that bill will be overridden," Hanabusa said.

Hanabusa did say she thought there would be support to override House Bill 1271, the so-called "barrel tax bill."

Environmentalists have argued that the bill, which increases from 5 cents to $1.05 the tax on the sale of every barrel of oil, would go to fund energy-saving projects.

"Without this source of funding, it is unclear how the Hawaii clean energy initiative will be funded," said Robert Harris, Hawaii Sierra Club director.

But Lingle had said the bill would raise the price of gasoline two or three cents a gallon and will tax consumers $31 million a year.

"Clean energy and food self-sufficiency initiatives are making significant progress without imposing this tax," Lingle said in her message to the Legislature.

Hanabusa said she thinks the Legislature would have the votes needed in the House and Senate for an override if Lingle chooses to veto the measure.

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The online retailer stops its affiliate program for Hawaii (Leg already destroying business)

A faucet that gushed millions of dollars into Hawaii's economy has been shut off as Amazon.com terminated its Hawaii affiliate program yesterday because of uncertainty over House Bill 1405, which is awaiting the governor's action.

The program allowed Hawaii residents with Web sites to earn commissions on referrals to Amazon.com and sister-site Endless.com that resulted in purchases.

Late yesterday, Gov. Linda Lingle notified the Legislature the bill was among 65 she may veto.

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University of Hawaii wants to cut faculty pay, may add furloughs

University of Hawai'i President David McClain says he will seek pay cuts for faculty and administrators as part of a developing plan to address about $155 million in budget cuts over the next two years.

UH-Manoa Chancellor Virginia Hinshaw added that the flagship Manoa campus has not renewed about 150 adjunct instructors, nontenured faculty and administrative personnel.

About 500 class sections are on hold, which could mean increased competition to get into courses, Hinshaw said.

SB: Furloughs or pay cuts are on UH docket

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MCC looking to spend and hire in boom

KAHULUI - At a time when jobs are scarce and money is tight, Maui Community College is looking to spend more and hire more instructors to teach a record number of students.

Enrollment is up by 56 percent, with 2,837 students set to attend this fall. And registration hasn't closed yet.

About this time last year, there were 1,822 students registered.

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Gas prices going up: Excise tax kicked in at midnight

 

The state government is about to begin fueling higher gas prices.
Starting at midnight Tuesday, motorists can expect to pay at least another 12 cents per gallon -- plus any market-based increase -- on top of the $3.16 many Hilo dealers were charging Monday for a gallon of regular unleaded.
That's when ethanol-blended gasoline filling nearly every Hawaii pump will be subject to the same excise tax applied to other purchases.

Taxing gasoline will raise an estimated $40 million a year.  It also means Hawaii will once again have the nation's highest gas taxes

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Abercrombie: KIUC must face climate change be destroyed

Abercrombie and others are skeptical about the bill’s passage in the U.S. Senate (Abercrombie said prospects for the bill there are “grim”), there is still a great need for oil-dependent Hawai‘i and Kaua‘i to work aggressively toward energy self-sufficiency “or we will be absolutely colonized.”  (Colonized?  By who?  Hippies from Buffalo?)

He said he voted for one version of the climate-change legislation, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he will vote for the final version. How he votes, though, he said, will be totally dependent on how the legislation would impact KIUC and Kauaians.  (Translation:  I voted to destroy KIUC, but if the bill passes the Senate I might not vote for the conference version.  Since he isn't likely to ever see a conference version, this is double talk for the ignorant.)

KIUC will be the “principle element” in his decision on how to cast his vote on the federal climate-change legislation, he said.  (lying thru his teeth)
If the bill adversely affected KIUC or the people of Kaua‘i, that would be bad, said Abercrombie, adding that the original bill was supplemented by 300 pages of amendments at 3 a.m. by the bill’s author, U.S. Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif.

Abercrombie admitted he hasn’t read the entire bill, and that he assigned staff members to read portions of it and brief him on the highlights.

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Dazed Hirono: Federal stimulus will help Hawai‘i

U.S. Rep. Mazie Hirono on Tuesday criticized Gov. Linda Lingle’s furlough plan to balance the state budget, saying it will be a “huge hardship” on Hawai‘i’s workers and “will have a ripple effect” across the Islands’ economy. 
“I would do everything possible to avoid furloughs,” Hirono said in an interview at The Garden Island office in Lihu‘e.
The congresswoman said the plan’s inclusion of a group of federally funded state employees will not save Lingle any money...(still peddling that bs)

While not specifying how Lingle’s administration should plug the nine-figure puka in the state’s budget caused by decreased revenue projections, Hirono pointed to the $1 billion in stimulus funds headed to Hawai‘i.  (Fake mana from the Lord Obama....)

Asked about Kaua‘i’s high unemployment rate — it’s currently more than 10 percent — and the failure to date of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to turn the tide, Hirono said a lot of the delay is not at the federal level but it’s up to state and county governments to “do what they need to do to get the money out the door.”  (If it ain't working it ain't my fault.)

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Isle bankruptcies increase at breakneck pace

As of yesterday afternoon, 268 bankruptcies had been filed, versus the 163 filed last June.

The 1,473 filings for the first half of this year dwarf the 889 cases filed in the first six months of last year, a rise of 65.77 percent.

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President appoints isle women  (Obama appoints Sandwich Isles Communications crony to direct Hawaii rural development)

The administration of Hawaii-born President Obama has picked two women with Big Island ties to be local directors of key agencies, the White House announced Monday.

Donna Kiyosaki, a former Hawaii County chief engineer, is the new Hawaii director for Rural Development at the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Kiyosaki is currently the senior vice president for Waimana Enterprises, a development company that works on energy development, water and telecommunications infrastructure.  (Waimana is parent corp of Sandwich Isles Communications.)

She also served as deputy manager and chief engineer for the City and County of Honolulu's Board of Water Supply.

Rural Development administers and manages housing, business, and community infrastructure and facility programs.

RELATED: Sandwich Isles Communications: Political Connections Pay Off

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Savings plan hinges on more long-term beds at Kula Hospital (Loan keeps hospital open thru Tuesday)

WAILUKU - The release of a $5 million appropriation to establish new long-term care beds at Kula Hospital could help to avoid furloughs and layoffs at Maui Memorial Medical Center, hospital officials said Tuesday.  (We've heard this Democrat song before--why hasn't the Gov released blablabla.)

Gov. Linda Lingle has not yet released the funding, but the plan calls for using the $5 million appropriation to add 15 to 20 beds for long-term patients at Kula Hospital. Then, some of the long-term patients being cared for at Maui Memorial could be transferred to Kula. Currently, Maui Memorial has 44 long-term care patients in acute-care beds.

"We're as busy as can be," Lo said. "There's very little we can furlough without jeopardizing health care."  (And yet they fought Malulani)

He said he believes the savings and possible revenue generation he could get from releasing long-term care beds at Maui Memorial would help the hospital become more financially stable.

Meanwhile, the Lingle administration has granted Lo's request for a $10 million loan to cover operational expenses through Tuesday.  (TALK ABOUT BURIED LEAD) The hospital used the money to cover expenses plus pay down delinquent bills that today are still running about 80 days past due.

Lo said it appears that the Lingle administration also will also be releasing, on schedule, the first quarter portion of the $23 million Maui Memorial expects to receive in state operational support this fiscal year.

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TheBoat sails into sunset ($5M for 29 people/day)

Wayne Yoshioka, director of the city Department of Transportation Services, said the city had to cut TheBoat's service because of the "economic challenging times." The City Council recently cut the TheBoat's annual $5 million subsidy.

"Although we feel that TheBoat is a very important service and served a valuable function, the boats weren't running full," Yoshioka said, noting ridership remained at about 29 people daily, with each paying $2 each way, which included a free transfer for TheBus.

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Creditors back Superferry bid to keep bankruptcy case on Mainland

(For some reason they insist on holing the case in a REAL court.)

Hawaii Superferry Inc. points out that more than half the unsecured creditors aren't in Hawaii while the largest secured creditor, Guggenheim Corporate Funding LLC, wants the case to remain in Delaware.

The Maritime Administration of the U.S. Department of Transportation also wants to case to stay where it is, and so does the official creditors' committee.

The committee, with one of its three members from Hawaii, points out that the company isn't operating in the state and that the ships, which the company wants to abandon, aren't there either.

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