Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Musings: Roses and Dust

The world started out black and hazy and dense with stars when Koko and I went walking this morning. And then the sun began to nose up over the horizon, and suddenly everything from mauka to makai was enveloped in a rosy shimmer.

Not so rosy is the ongoing economic news, unless, of course, you’re a defense contractor. It seems we’ve got plenty of money for war, with the Senate approving a $626 billion military and war funding bill. (Let's be realistic here, and stop calling it "defense" spending.)

Meanwhile, in the penny-wise, pound-foolish tradition of the feds, post offices are shortening their hours in an effort to save money.

On the home front, state workers are agreeing to a total of 42 furlough days this year and next, along with the prospect of more layoffs. But even though I read through the entire Advertiser article, I never did see anything about how much money the furloughs are actually expected to save. There was only this lone, vague paragraph:

The furloughs would reduce the state's labor costs and ease an estimated deficit of about $1 billion through June 2011.

Surely the guv must have some idea.

I’m wondering if the NATO troops that used depleted uranium shells during the 1999 bombing of Serbia — a military operation dubiously named “Merciful Angel” — had any idea of what the toxic effects might be 10 years down the line. Russia Today is reporting:

[M]ilitary experts from Belgrade have registered an increased radiation level and claim the area is highly contaminated.

Besides reports of increased human cancer rates, especially among young people, there are also reports of animals being born with abnormalities, such as extra limbs and two heads.

Our nature is sick. And certainly – it has to do with depleted uranium usage,” says Miodrag Milkovic, a veterinarian.

While we’re on the topic of bad things happening to animals, the Kauai prosecutor’s office can’t be happy to learn that Blaine Jacintho, the Puhi man accused of animal cruelty, is requesting a jury trial. Prosecutors previously failed to convince a jury of wrongdoing in the case where another Puhi man was accused of deliberately running over a cat.

Changing the subject entirely, I’ll be delving into the issue of water — who has it, and who wants it — on Thursday’s Out of the Box radio show on KKCR. It runs from 4 to 5:30, and you can listen on-line. Farmer Jerry Ornellas, who is very akamai about Kauai’s water issues, will be my guest in the studio, and Earthjustice attorney Isaac Moriwake, who has been litigating the precedent-setting case over water use on Maui, will call in. We'll be taking calls from listeners, so if you've got a question during the show, dial 826-7771.

Water is probably the most critical topic, and it’s going to be a major factor as Kauai identifies its Important Ag Lands, since water availability is one of the criteria for such a designation. If you’re interested in a little background on the IAL study, as well as the process that will be followed, check out my article in The Hawaii Independent.

I must say, while I initially was excited about the IAL study, I’m now doubting it will have much impact in preserving ag land on Kauai. Another criteria for IAL designation is land that is already being used for ag. And when you consider that of the 150,000 acres of land zoned for ag on Kauai, only about 5,000 acres are actually under cultivation — and much of that is seed corn and GMO crops — it sure narrows the field. It kinda makes you wonder if, when the dust settles after the fight to keep acreage out of the IAL classification, we’ll be growing diversified crops or the far more lucrative gentleman’s estates.

Speaking of dust settling, and water, if you’re up at 1:30 a.m. Friday morning and have a small telescope, you, too, can witness the Earth attacking the moon in a quest to find water. As the Star-Bulletin reports:

Tony Colaprete of NASA's Ames Research Center in California, the principal investigator for the mission, said in a telephone interview with the Star-Bulletin two years ago that the 4,500-pound rocket will strike Cabeus crater near the moon's south pole at 5,600 mph, making a hole about the size of a tennis court. "It will be like a small SUV moving at twice the speed of a rifle bullet," he described.

The impact of the Centaur rocket is expected to throw a cloud of debris more than three miles above the lunar surface that will be illuminated by sunlight and should be visible from Earth.

Ain’t that swell! And just the other day, I was reading — and I wish I could remember where — that when you consider all the grand names given to the moons of other planets, it’s rather odd that we’ve never given our own moon a moniker. Hmmm. Maybe after Friday's mission we should start calling her Dusty.


Anonymous said...

Possible moon names:
1. Reverend Moon
2. Erik Moon
3. Lumpy
4. Rocky
5. Pock Face
6. Guava face
7. Titus
8. Joan
9. Mr. Aloha

Anonymous said...

"1999 bombing of Serbia — a military operation dubiously named “Merciful Angel”

-- hell if i know the exact range of munitions we used, but to say it was not well named? ya maybe a stupid name but we saved the day on that one, after years of the europeans not being able to put down that war / genocide

its also a good example of how to run a post war show (well trooped, multinational, well supplied, smart civilians in charge of much, etc etc). had we done the job we are capable of - we would /could have been heros in afg and that is a prospect generations and billions away, at best


Anonymous said...

it’s rather odd that we’ve never given our own moon a moniker. Hmmm. Maybe after Friday's mission we should start calling her Dusty.


Anonymous said...

What moon her?

******** said...

What a great topic = water.

Something that nobody owns, yet some few think they are entitled to a whole bunch more than the rest of us...AND not even pay for it;
Kauai springs has their day coming.
Just been too many other issues that took forefront.
They slipped through a crack. Temporarily from what I heard.

Anonymous said...

I thougt Moon (or Luna in Latin) was the name of the satellite orbiting the planet we call Earth of the star we call Sun (Sol).

Anonymous said...

"Kauai springs has their day coming.
Just been too many other issues that took forefront.
They slipped through a crack. Temporarily from what I heard."

-- expand on that please. their permit (the building / function) is solid. but so their "right" to the water is "clouded"..or? thanks


******** said...

TO: young_atheist_male or dwps aminland mentality...

Get a grip. Think for a change. You are quick to shoot your mouth off about everything but just this once...think.
Therein you ʻmightʻ find the answer. If not Iʻm not so inclined to freely pass around points of argument. For obvious reasons.

Anonymous said...

October 7, 2009 8:51 PM

whatever kid. it was a legit question. i do not know, and am interested in the answer. that person wrote as if they had more info, so i asked

but feel free to describe any, in your view, unsupportable assertions on my part


Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

"we saved the day on that one, after years of the europeans not being able to put down that war / genocide "

Saved the day! Tell that to the untold numbers that will die (or be born with deformities) as 2500 years of radiation sickness sets in. Just ask the people of the Marshall Islands that got "dusted" by the Bikini atomic tests. You don't want to breathe depleted uranium if you can avoid it, but unfortunately our saving "the day" leaves millions with no choice. We is all down-winders now.

Anonymous said...

October 8, 2009 5:19 PM

hi. id tell it to the relatives of the 100-200k killed b4 we got there ya. are those DU rounds a bad idea at all times? i bet not. was it a "must" they be used there in '99? maybe not (probably not? other ways to kill russian armor...from a safe distance in the sky?). look, in short, i know alot about toxicity. DU dust is not good, i hear ya. and i still say our net effect there was positive one

but hey, im open to reviewing it more, if you want to also. id welcome your cites showing "millions" in yugo getting seriously sick / dead per our '99 DU rounds, either in the past - or running a real risk of it in the future. on my quick (re)check (per your comment), i did not see DU harm so massive as to outweigh the benefits of our ending that conflict as we did (and i'll readily note i agree with the 2 nukes we dropped on japan, as unrelated as that might seem)

but im not defending DU rounds. show me the harm you allege per those rounds shot in '99; id gladly retract my claim, and probably join your anti-DU camp

for sure there are for certain items man-made and natural that only slowly do we realize are extremely hazardous (i happen to think certain forms of the mineral erionite are a yet appreciated killer, but that is off topic)

a better example of where i am coming from, for what it is worth, would be Rwanda. as of now, i wish DU rounds were used there to...hell, ANY rounds (and id bet the tutsis would have been ok with it also). but we did jack shit to stop that. we could have been heroes there too, but we were not...we were spineless. 100s of thousands not worth the ("at worst") moderate risk to a relative few US military lives? b/ of somali? prob the blackest mark on clinton / then generals, in my view. pardon the digression

but id still like an answer on my water question, thanks

young_atheist_male or dwps aminland mentality