The moon, though less than half, was still bright, and golden Venus, set against a snakeskin pattern of white clouds, was close on her heels, surrounded by a smattering of stars, when Koko and I went out walking this morning. Then suddenly their light was gone and I could hear the rain coming — that muffled, splattering roar of drops upon leaves — long before I felt the first hint of moisture upon my skin.
It passed, I closed the umbrella, Koko shook herself dry and we continued on our way, as did the day, preparing to show itself in a small patch of sky coming alive with streaks of dove gray, yellow and the faintest hint of pink.
I returned to the house to find this email from a friend, which I imagine reflects the view of so many of us trudging back to work after a four-day weekend:
Woke up grumpy and grumbly this am., mainly because weekend was over. Wah. Have been working to turn the attitude around.
I’m wondering how the diplomats and world leaders will turn their own attitudes around now that so many true feelings, assessments, views, agendas and tactics have been revealed by newspapers using the Wikileaks-leaked diplomatic cables. I like this this piece by The Guardian, which gives a good overview and links to international stories. It’s been fascinating to see what the different newspapers highlight, with the overseas publications focusing, not surprisingly, on the snarky stuff the U.S. has said about their countries.
I also liked the coverage by the New York Times’ blog, The Lede, which is following international reaction to the cables.
Their release comes on the heels of a conversation with a friend the other day about how we have entered a whole new era, and once things get out on the Internet, there’s no calling them back. You know, sort of like releasing GMOs into the environment. And certainly nothing is private any more, with The Guardian’s editors noting the distinction between private, which the cables certainly were, and secret, which they weren’t, since some 3 million Americans had security authorization that allowed them access, and now aren’t, since they’ve posted been on the Web.
But I wonder, will anything change because of it? I mean, now that it’s confirmed Karzai is corrupt and Yemen was complicit in U.S. airstrikes within its nation and Saudia Arabia wants the U.S. to attack Iran and the coup against the Honduran President Manuel Zelaya was "illegal and unconstitutional," will any of the leaders be ousted, any of the the strategies and alliances be altered? I don’t think so.
Meanwhile, an international group has filed suit against BP over the Gulf of Mexcio oil spew using Ecuador’s constitution, which recognizes the rights of nature. They aren’t asking for money, “since harm done to nature cannot be compensated for in monetary terms,” according to a post on the COTO Report. Instead, they want BP to release data on the ecological destruction and “refrain from extracting as much oil underground” as was released in the incident.
And here at home, The Garden Island has a good report on citizen reaction to Councilman Daryl Kaneshiro’s parting "gift" to the public. The bill he introduced is supposed to implement the citizen-sponsored charter amendment that voters passed two years ago in an attempt to regulate the growth of tourism accommodations on the island. But those who worked to get the measure on the ballot are crying foul. As the Sierra Club’s Carl Imparato explained:
First: by manipulating the definition of transient accommodation units so that the definition includes every dwelling unit - including primary residences - in the Visitor Destination Areas, the bill artificially and dramatically increases the annual growth limit far beyond the level that was envisioned in the General Plan, the citizen-sponsored Charter amendment, and the County charter.
Second: By exempting a very large number of potential developments from the annual limit (instead of granting those potential developments priorities for allocations under the annual limit), the bill would make the annual limit pretty much meaningless.
This bill needs major revisions to make it legal under the County Charter.
There's one more thing that I want to re-emphasize to you. It's a reminder of why people worked so hard on getting this Charter amendment passed. As you know, there's lots of talk about "sustainability." But the KEY sustainability issue for Kauai is not about banning plastic bags, or driving more electric cars. It is about accepting the fact that the number of tourists, residents, jobs, cars, t-shirt shops, etc. cannot be allowed to grow without bounds. And the key way to control all of the above is to regulate the amount of growth in the number of tourist units on the island. All of the other impacts are roughly proportional to the number of tourists and number of tourist units. So the reason why the citizen-sponsored Charter amendment was so critically important to the future character and sustainability of Kauai was not because it was about controlling tourism per se. It was because it was about gaining control over the future direction and sustainabiity of life on Kauai.
The bill is now in the hands of the Planning Commission, and I'm left recalling some of the comments that Councilmembers made when saying goodbye to Daryl at their last meeting. They talked about how "smart" he is — a characterization that must be one of Kauai's best-kept secrets. I'd say, from looking at the bill (and who knows who really drafted it?) that sly is a more accurate assessment.