Saturday, October 30, 2010

Musings: Saturday Samplings

The moon, a smidgen under half, was beaming down at me through the skylight, causing the raindrops on the glass to sparkle and me to get up and slip outside with Koko. The grass was wet and fast-moving clouds played dodge ball with the stars and sometimes blotted out the moon, but even then there was sufficient light to walk, and so we did, beneath ironwood trees that were sighing in the wind and shaking off the rain, causing secondary showers to spatter down on the lower canopy of guava and java plum, both of which are fruiting.

I’d been hearing a drone, a loud buzz, a hum, as I walked beneath various trees the past few days, and while I did not think it was bees, I couldn't identify the source of the sound until it arrived in my bedroom last night, in the corner of the ceiling above my bedside lamp, created by tiny winged insects that carried on until I turned off the lamp and plunged us all into darkness and silence.

They were gone this morning, save for a few corpses being carted off by ants in the kitchen, and I marveled that an ant can carry something larger than itself, accompanied by a few other ants that seem to serve as spotters. I often watch them at work, and it's always with a sense of awe. So when a friend brought over some ant poison the other day, I was aghast.

“Why in the world would I want to kill them?” I asked. “They’re so entertaining and efficient.”

It’s been delightful to have the rain return. It’s like we switched from summer into winter this past week, with the temperatures getting chillier and the beloved sound of rain drumming on the roof. Jan Tenbruggencate had an interesting blog post recently about the current historic drought and predictions for heavy winter rain, which was music to my ears. I may be one of the few people who liked the 40-day deluge of 2006.

Speaking of which, I had intended to mention when I wrote my last post on the new safety rules for dams and reservoirs that in researching that story, the state guys told me that every dam in the state has some sort of deficiency that needs to be corrected.

When I asked if the dams and reservoirs are safe now, four years after Ka Loko, Carty Chang, DLNR’s chief engineer, hedged a bit and said the inspection process, new rules and Dam Safety Act “gives everybody more peace of mind. That doesn’t say they will be totally safe. There’s more awareness and more oversight at this point, and dam owners recognize the need to make their dams safe. Even that is an improvement over Ka Loko.”

On Kauai, the state is decommissioning the reservoir it owns along Kahuna Road in Kapahi, and it’s not an easy matter, seeing as how the county must be involved since it will affect the road, too.

On this, the eve of Halloween, a friend sent an email with the subject line "Spooks" and a message that read:

Yes we have a scary day coming up!
2 Nov

Indeed. Especially when you look at some of the Republicans/Tea Partiers running in America. Like Ilario Pantano, the former marine running for Congress in North Carolina who admits shooting two unarmed Iraqis a total of 60 times, then hanging a sign over their corpses that read, "No better friend, no worse enemy."

Just the kind of guy you want in Washington. Like Sharron Angle, whose Senate run has been endorsed by failed presidential candidate John McCain. She ran a hit ad on her opponent with the message “Waves of illegal aliens streaming across our border, joining violent gangs, forcing families to live in fear” coupled with images of Latino-looking men in prison and gang attire.

Nice. It’s really unfortunate to see candidates playing the fear and racism cards. But then, they know what sells in America.

Of course, even if Republicans do capitalize on voter discontent and regain control of Congress, they’re not going to fix anything. People are so stupid that it’s only taken them two years to forget what party got us into this economic mess.

I was interested to read Duh Duke’s comments on legalizing marijuana, when he was questioned by Hawaii News Now:

The gain that you could get in taxes are [sic] going to be greatly outweighed by the cost that you're going to have in all the social issues that come with the use of marijuana. The teen pregnancy, the suicides, the domestic violence, etc. . It all comes with the use of marijuana.

I’d really like to see the data to support that contention. Cuz ya know, I don’t think it actually exists. Of course, the TV reporter doesn’t press, but just allows him to say any kine, unchallenged.

Abercrombie, who called for legalization back in the 1970s, said that issue is “so low on a priority list that it really doesn't come much into my consciousness. If we're going to grow things, we need to grow our own food. We're sending more dollars out of the state right now than we did in the 1970s for food."

And we’re definitely sending out WAY more dollars for cannabis than we did in the 1970s. You can thank Green Harvest for that.

While we’re talking about dollars, it’s quite clear that a very few select folks have a whole lot more than others. In fact, the 74 highest paid people in the U.S made as much as the 19 million lowest paid workers, according to David Cay Johnston on

Unreal. What’s more, they just keep getting richer:

The number of Americans making $50 million or more, the top income category in the data, fell from 131 in 2008 to 74 last year. But that’s only part of the story.

The average wage in this top category increased from $91.2 million in 2008 to an astonishing $518.8 million in 2009. That’s nearly $10 million in weekly pay!

You read that right. In the Great Recession year of 2009 (officially just the first half of the year), the average pay of the very highest-income Americans was more than five times their average wages and bonuses in 2008. And even though their numbers shrank by 43 percent, this group’s total compensation was 3.2 times larger in 2009 than in 2008, accounting for 0.6 percent of all pay.

Do you really suppose those top wage earners work that much harder than the guys picking lettuce and the women cleaning hotel rooms? And I wonder, how many of those 74 do you suppose are white men?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wait till the black biters show up! The poision will be flying off the shelves!