Felt the ocean calling me this morning, so I went, and got there while the moon, nearing new, was still silver, and Venus a sparkling gem. The sun struggled to rise, turning the inside of gray clouds first pink, then gold, before it gave up entirely and everything — sky, sea, clouds — went back to gray, with white shafts descending into water warmer than the air.
I always enjoy watching people interact with Koko, who exudes energetic joy. When she approaches them unbidden, or they successfully coax her to them, they invariably smile with delight and satisfaction: “She likes me!” It’s a different story with dogs.
“They’re friendly,” people always say as their pets mug Koko. Yeah, maybe, but when Koko’s got her tail between her legs or is being chased by a big mutt, she’s not having fun. My favorite was the woman who called out, as her four Dobermans swarmed little Koko, “now play nice!”
That same admonition certainly applied at KKCR yesterday, when five police officers wrestled Hale Mawae to the ground, in the mud, as he repeatedly yelled: “I’m not resisting!” Hale, who suffered scratches and a sprained wrist in the encounter, was arrested for trespassing, resisting arrest and obstructing government operations while walking down Hanalei Plantation Road — armed with a video camera — toward the gate that leads to KKCR.
Hale was with programmers Katy Rose and Jimmy Trujillo and two others; all were prevented by Princeville Security and Kauai police from entering the gate, which was once again locked, even though it was regular business hours.
A press release from Kauai County offers this account, “According to police, Mawae was among a group of people who had congregated outside radio station KKCR at around 4 pm yesterday reportedly in protest of the termination of two KKCR talk show hosts. A manager from KKCR contacted police and asked for assistance.”
The release states that Hale returned to the gate after police had directed the group to move to a public right of way; Katy says Hale went back to look for Jimmy, who had stayed to negotiate with police.
Meanwhile, another free for all was occurring on the air, when the “Out of the Box” program — whose regular hosts, Jimmy and Katy, were pre-empted pending a sit down with station manager Gwen Palagi (see the Rustling Rats post for more details) — aired with two stand-in programmers, Bill Rash and Dave Gerow.
The upheaval at the station was the main topic of discussion, but things went downhill fast after Andy Parx called in and voiced his opinion. That prompted another caller — a station underwriter — to denigrate Andy on-air and say he’d like three minutes with Andy in any parking lot on Kauai.
Andy called again, complaining about the caller’s threat, and host Bill Rash got into an altercation with him that ended with Bill essentially challenging Andy to a fight at the station gate. That gate sure is seeing a lot of action. Earlier in the show, Dave had said a mob was trying to swarm it to force their way on-air.
Good grief. Now instead of relying on fistfights and insults to resolve this situation, let’s take a more civilized approach, like dropping bombs and mounting incursions from a littoral combat ship (LCS) stationed offshore.
That is, as we saw in yesterday’s post, part of the Navy’s evolving strategy for dealing with new “threats,” like China.
On Sept. 13, 2007, The Washington Post reported: “The littoral combat ship program is a major element of the Navy's strategy to expand its fleet to 313 ships from about 275. General Dynamics of Falls Church and Lockheed Martin of Bethesda had had each won contracts to build two prototype littoral combat ships, but the Navy in April  canceled one prototype from Lockheed. Under the legislation [approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee], General Dynamics and Lockheed Martin would still complete one prototype ship each, at a combined cost of more than $600 million.”
The article continues: “The littoral combat ship program should ultimately yield 55 small, fast-moving craft that would operate close to shore, hunting submarines and destroying underwater mines.”
It goes on to state: “The cancellation of the ship was part of a $459 billion defense appropriations measure that funds the Pentagon through 2008 -- not including the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.
"’The Navy's littoral combat ship has suffered from significant cost increases and has had to be restructured by the Secretary’" of the Navy, said Sen. Daniel K. Inouye (D-Hawaii), chairman of the Appropriations defense subcommittee, in explaining the decision.
“The Navy originally asked for six prototype combat ships, but it had not yet awarded contracts to build the last two," the article continues. "The Navy planned to select the best design and hold a new competition to decide who would build the rest of the fleet.
“The program has been plagued by frequent design changes, cost increases of more than 50 percent, delays and other issues," the article states. "Given those problems, lawmakers said it made sense for just one of each ship to be built first. The committee said it would result in a reduction of $911 million in spending on the program.
“Capt. John T. Schofield, a Navy spokesman, said that the littoral combat ship program is ‘needed to fill critical, urgent warfighting gaps’ and that the Navy stands by its original request.”
On Oct. 10, 2007, The Washington Post reported that littoral combat ships, “which will have the rare ability to operate close to shore but also on the open water, are a central part of the Navy's goal of expanding its fleet to 313 ships from 275. And key lawmakers and several outside experts agree the program is crucial.”
One of those key lawmakers is Rep. Duncan Hunter of San Diego, the former Chairman and now Ranking Republican on the House Armed Services Committee. He has a particular affinity for the Titan Sea Fighter prototype — formerly known as the X-Craft — a high speed, shallow draft vessel for littoral warfare. It was pictured in yesterday’s post.
In his announcement of FY 2008 Funding Initiatives, Hunter seeks $22 million “to add offensive and defensive armament, improve ship survivability systems, and complete command and control. Deployment of the Sea Fighter can demonstrate and validate many of the Navy’s operational concepts for littoral warfare, and more specifically reduce risk in the Littoral Combat Ship program.”
His list of 30 funding initiatives contains just one endorsement, and that is for the Sea Fighter. The endorsement states: “This kind of innovative ship, built with commercial off the shelf technology is the future of an affordable surface Navy.” And it was made by former Secretary of the Navy John Lehman, whose firm, as was noted in yesterday’s post, is the major investor in Hawaii Superferry.
Tomorrow, I’ll take a look at the Sea Fighter, and how it fits into the Navy’s LCS program.