Monday, November 3, 2008

Musings: What a Waste

The sky was dark, more from clouds than night, when Koko and I set out walking this morning on streets glistening from frequent passing showers. A scientist friend said the rain gauge on Waialeale is down 70 percent this year, so this recent spate of precipitation is a very good thing.

As we meandered through the neighborhood, past political signs that speak to an election that seems like it’s been going on forever, the sun rose and turned the gray into dreamy pink. Back home, the rat that had been lured into a trap by a piece of meat pilfered from Koko’s dinner bowl was awaiting perpetual dream time. Since I didn’t hear any banging around this morning, I’m pretty sure I got the one that was trying to become my uninvited roommate.

While out in the yard yesterday, enjoying a perfect double rainbow in the clouds, I noticed that the chickens had dug up all the graves of the rats I dispatched last year, making meals of the insects that had made meals of the corpses. It was neat to see that natural cycle played out. I don’t especially want to feed the chickens, but at least the rats didn’t go to waste.

Unfortunately, the same can't be said for the shocking $1.55 billion that was raised — and spent — in this year’s presidential campaign.

As the Lynchburg, Virginia News & Advance opines:

The figures are still being compiled for all the congressional races this year — all 435 seats in the House of Representatives and a third of the U.S. Senate. When that figure’s in, it’s likely 2008 will be the most expensive year yet for the cost of conducting an election.

That fact should send shivers down the spine of any American, for money is now the driving force of politics in this nation to an extent that was unimaginable three decades ago when public financing of campaigns began in the wake of the Watergate scandal.

Sad thing is, so much of that money was spent not educating or informing voters, but frightening, misinforming and alienating them.

In following Hunter Bishop’s blog, I’m reminded that mayoral elections on the Big Island always seem to be so much more interesting than the ones on Kauai. Why is that? We face many of the same issues — waste to energy, overdevelopment, GMOs — but our races tend to be yawn-o-ramas.

Speaking of GMOs, I was disappointed to read that Big Island Mayor Harry Kim, whose reign is winding down, vetoed the Hawaii County Council’s unanimously approved ban on growing and researching GMO coffee and taro, even though public testimony was overwhelmingly in support of the measure.

I used to think Harry was a progressive, a politician for the people, but the rationale he spouted sounded like something right out of a Syngenta brochure:

Kim added, "There is global demand for new, improved, safe and dependable plant genetics, and Hawaii is a special place for research because of its location and its year-round growing environment."

Then he went on to prove he’s really out of touch:

Kim repeated a call for more public education about genetic modification, including the strict state and federal regulations it must meet.

That’s the problem, Harry old boy. There ain’t any strict regs it’s gotta meet, especially at the state level. As Hunter pono reports, Harry also vetoed a ban on plastic bags, a North Kohala downzoning and the Council’s budget. Hmmmm. He sure is acting a lot like the Republican he always claimed he wasn’t.

On the state level, Rep.Mina Morita wrote a good op-ed piece on why folks should vote no on the Con-Con, a view shared by Sen. Gary Hooser.

And for those who are still wondering if there’s even going to BE an election tomorrow, a friend sent this link to a YouTube video that locates “potential prison camps around the country.”

Gee. What a waste of good barbed wire.

No comments: