Haupu and the Giant could be clearly seen, but Makaleha and Waialeale were totally absent, hidden by the thick clouds that caused light rain to drift across Kalalea and dampen Koko and me as we went walking this morning.
The gusts and intermittent rain prompted me to cut off a few of Koko’s sniffing expeditions, setting a pace that had us heading for home before the sun rose. I’d been missing the songs of the shama thrushes since moving, and wishing one would come to join me, so was bummed to see one lying dead in a driveway not far from my house.
On a brighter note, it turned out to be a weekend of food gifts, what with a friend dropping off the sweetest yellow pineapple I’ve ever had, and a cluster of juicy lychee, followed by another friend bringing over a plate lunch purchased at the chicken fight that was being held next door to his house, and more lychee, then two groups of neighborhood kids came bearing banana and papaya.
Kindnesses like these make me glad to live on Kauai. The Kuhio Highway death corridor, which Saturday was the scene of two fatalities in a major crash that tied up traffic for hours, does not. As “kauailocal1” noted in the comments section of the Advertiser’s coverage:
This stretch of Kuhio Highway has been a deathtrap since Lehua Fernandes-Salling - then Senator from Kauai - had the DOT enlarge it from 2 to 3 lanes in the early 1980s. The lanes are too narrow, the shoulders are a joke (I ride a bicycle out there numerous times each week) and there's simply nowhere to go when something goes wrong! I've urged that the speed limit be reduced to 40 or 45 mph from its current 50 - and the average speed is well above the posted limit.
It’s unlikely DOT is going to change the road, so how many more people have to die there before the cops start aggressively enforcing the speed limit?
In following the coverage of the deadly protests in Iran over ”voting irregularities” in the presidential election, I couldn’t help but recall how Americans barely let a out a whimper, much less took to the streets in droves, when “voting irregularities” twice put W in the White House. And we’re supposedly the defenders of democracy.
Now we have Obama threatening to nuke North Korea if it nukes South Korea. What’s up with that? Weren’t we all taught in elementary school not to engage in tit for tat? So why is it OK when it involves the use of weapons whose radioactive fallout affects the entire planet?
It brings to mind a quote by the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.:
It is no longer a choice between violence and non-violence in the world today, but non-violence or non-existence. That is where we are at today.
Meanwhile, as the situation in Pakistan demonstrates, it’s so much easier to find the money to wage war than deal with its consequences. Some 2 million people have been displaced by the offensives against the Taliban, yet although the UN issued an appeal for $543 million in international aid, only about 35 percent of that amount has been funded. Perhaps a surcharge could be assessed on weapons sales to create a fund for cleaning up their human fallout.
Speaking of which, Obama displayed great insensitivity in joking about the Uyghurs, who were recently resettled in Bermuda and Palau after being wrongly detained at Gitmo — along with who knows how many others — for seven long, ugly years after they were picked up bounty hunters. I don’t think any of us can even begin to comprehend the harm that our nation caused those men. Yet there’s Obama, yukking it up at the Radio TV Correspondents’ Dinner:
President Obama: “Nick at Nite has a new take on an old classic: Leave It to Uyghurs. I thought that was pretty good.”
Obama also joked about the refusal of other countries to accept prisoners held at Guantanamo.
President Obama: “As I have traveled to all these countries, I saw firsthand how much people truly have in common with one another, because no matter where I went there is one thing I heard over and over again from every world leader: ‘No thanks, but have you considered Palau?’”
It didn’t get much (if any) coverage, but the Kauai Alliance for Peace and Social Justice urged Lingle, the Lege and Hawaii’s Congressional delegation to accept the Uyghurs in the Islands, saying the $200 million in federal resettlement money would help the state’s budget shortfall and the aloha spirit would help heal the lives of these shattered men.
And just think of the money we could have saved on tourism promotions with all the free publicity it would have generated. Heck, it worked for Palau.