The moon, full on Tuesday, lit up the night, peeking in through the skylight, darting behind clouds, staring through the window before it slipped behind the mountains, restoring darkness for a brief spell before dawn.
The sun was barely above the horizon, tentatively sending out gold and scarlet rays, when the rain arrived and drummed it into gray submission. Then it moved on and Koko and I moved out into a landscape that was all fresh and wet.
We surprisingly ran into farmer Jerry, prompting me to ask what he was doing out so early on a Sunday morning and of course he was headed over to help set up the county fair — for the third day in a row. And next week he’ll help man it for four days, then take it all down.
A lot goes into the farm fair, just like a lot went into the ‘Aha Hula that Kehau Kekua’s halau shared yesterday, what with an ono feast prepared by Stacy guys at Waipa — she is a member of the halau, and one of her daughters danced last night — decorations, music, beautiful costumes, lei and several amazing hours of chants and dance.
We sat on the lawn at Church of the Pacific, cloud-shrouded mountains at our backs, the sparkling blue ocean before us and off to the side was the brownish-grey creep of Princeville. Behind us was the steady roar of the highway, and we were looking at what used to be the old road: no shoulder, meandering, and narrow enough to prompt a complaint from my father, years ago, when he visited, and my sister, a New Zealander, to reply: “Well yes, it is a wee road, but this is a wee island.”
Things sure have changed. A commenter on a recent post complained that this blog so often gets into politics. It’s hard to escape them when you see their implications all around you, and even harder this time of year. I ran into JoAnn Yukimura, who said that during the election season she might be at a drag race in Mana one night and a hula event on the North Shore the next.
“Do you even need to campaign?” I asked of the woman who has been a force in local politics for some four decades. “Doesn’t everyone know you?”
“No,” she said. “Some people know me, but don’t know I’m running for Council. And some of the young people and new residents don’t know me at all.”
One place to see just about everyone on the Island is the farm fair, and Jerry said candidates requested so many booths this year that there wasn’t room for some of the nonprofits that usually have a presence. Apparently Mufi Hannemann wanted to sponsor the piggy race, but the fair doesn’t go in for political sponsorships.
It does, however, accept corporate sponsorships. I heard the fair ad on the radio the other day, talking about the Verizon opening night, and the Monsanto hall and the Grove Farm tent. I understand they need/want the money, but it’s creepy and weird that so many things/places/events in our lives are “owned” by the corporations. But they have their way because they give not only money, but “volunteers” who are on the clock for their jobs.
Nonprofits, especially small ones, can never compete, which is why you won’t see a GMO Free Kauai tent at the fair – and perhaps not even a booth or table.
And private investors apparently cannot compete against the federal government, at least, not when it comes to fulfilling Mufi Hannemann’s dream of resurrecting the Superferry. As KITV reported:
Gubernatorial Candidate Mufi Hannemann (D) has touted reviving the bankrupt Hawaii Superferry as one of the cornerstones of his economic revival plan.
Hannemann made the proposal last month when he announced his 10 point plan to stimulate Hawaii's economy.
Hannemann said he had talked to a group of private investors eager to revive the inter-island ferry service.
But U.S. Maritime Administrator David Matsuda said Friday the Maritime Administration expects to be the winning bidder when the Superferry vessels are put up for auction.
Matsuda said he doubts any private bidder could compete to buy the ships.
It seems Mufi guys were banking on a fire sale, and hoped to scoop up the ferries — now docked in Norfolk, Va. — for no more than $40 million each, according to KITV. But the feds already have $150 million into the boats, and besides, they’ve discovered just how handy they can be:
"They are extremely versatile as we saw the military successfully activate them for use in the response to the earthquake in Haiti. We saw what they can do," said Matsunda.
At last, they seem destined to serve their true calling.
It’s interesting that Mufi has been pushing the HSF, especially as part of an economic plan. Regardless of how one feels about the ferry, it was losing money badly. It’s hard to see how it could go, even if the boats were bought cheap, unless it was subsidized by government and military contracts. And that is not a good thing.
Perhaps he’s willing to risk turning off voters on the Neighbor Islands, where he is reportedly stronger than Abercrombie, to court voters on Oahu, where he’s lagging. Not that polls really mean all that much. Especially when there’s so much more money to be spent, and mud to be slung, influencing voters in the next four weeks.
And finally, we got a sad and ugly look locally at how the ill-conceived Iraq war just keeps on killing, long after the previously normal soldiers — or in this case, National Guardsman — come home.
After returning, he [Clayborne Conley] suffered from insomnia, combat nightmares, startle reactions, morbid ruminations, suicidal thoughts, and alcohol abuse, court records said.
Nearly as troubling as the three deaths that occurred is what this comment portends:
[Fred] Ballard, with [Hawaii Dept. of] Veterans Affairs, said PTSD and traumatic brain injury are the predominant injuries of the current conflicts in the Middle East.