Shapes and faces in shades of rose and orange were drifting across the sky, doing a Venus fly-by, when the dogs and I went out walking in the pre-dawn chill. But it wasn't long before the clouds consolidated, turned gray and began delivering a much-welcomed downpour.
Email, meanwhile, delivered a much-welcomed message from Michelle Swartman, the local rep for Ohana Hanalei LLC, the Pierre Omidyar-owned company that wants to develop the old Hanalei Plantation Resort site —Kauakahiunu— where I've reported some recent access and parking problems. She wrote:
I can assure you that this issue - ensuring safe, open public access to property - is extremely important to us. We have reminded our security and our maintenance staff of what has always been our parking and public access policy: Individuals and families who wish to access our property using the pedestrian easement are allowed to park their vehicles along the side of the road outside of the gate, as long as they're not obstructing access or posing a hazard.
We want to be a good neighbor and to provide open access to our property, while ensuring a safe environment for everyone.
Aurai! Let's just hope it lasts.....
While we're on the subject of billionaire property owners, journalist/blogger Ian Lind had a good post on how it appears Larry Ellis will skate on paying the real estate conveyance tax for his purchase of Lanai. That's because it's set up as the sale of corporate stock rather than land. As a result, the state will lose about $6 million — some of which would have gone to support the Legacy Land Conservation Fund, the state’s rental housing trust fund and the natural area reserve fund.
Yeah, that sucks. But not as much as the latest “Reefer Madness” campaign, which I totally saw coming. I'm talking about the so-called “face chewer” in Florida. It's now being widely reported that he had only marijuana in his system, though in fact they can't even test for all the current synthetic drugs. Anyway, that gave rise to the "super strain" hysteria, as promulgated by the Associated Press:
An addiction expert said she wouldn't rule out marijuana causing the agitation.
"It could have been the strain of marijuana that increases the dopamine in the brain, such as sativa," said Dr. Patricia Junquera, assistant professor at the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.
That total, absolute crock prompted at least one follow up story:
"Some people have said, 'Well, it must have been the marijuana that triggered [Rudy] Eugene's behavior.' That, in my opinion, is outrageous, and out of the question. Marijuana will not cause this type of behavior," said Dr. Bruce Goldberger, professor and director of toxicology at the University of Florida.
But the bottom line is, pot couldn't have triggered the attack. "Some media is reporting that pot isn't ruled out [as the cause of the attack]," Goldberger said. "I don't buy that. That's like talking about, 'If you take LSD, it stays in your body for a lifetime.' It's one of these misleading things you hear about drugs."
It's that ongoing demonization of marijuana that allows the government to turn Roger Christie, founder of the Big Island cannabis ministry, into a political prisoner. Deemed a "threat to the community," he's been held in a federal detention center without bail for nearly two years now as he awaits his endlessly delayed trial.
Coincidentally, I got a letter from Roger yesterday that coincidentally bore a cancelled stamp that depicted the American flag with the words, "Equality Forever." If that's true, and we all know it isn't, then why are marijuana smokers — even those who use it medicinally — discriminated against so blatantly?
Anyway, aside from noting he'd run into “Tex” Spears in the big house, Roger said the feds would not allow a British film crew from the National Geographic Channel to interview him for their documentary, “Drugs, Inc.” He also referenced a passage from the book, “Steve Jobs,” that stated, “his intellect flowered in high school after he started smoking marijuana and taking LSD.”
Despite the aggressive anti-cannabis campaign, we continue to we see these tiny steps toward liberation, such as Chicago decriminalizing possession of less than half an ounce of weed. As Reuters reports:
More than a dozen U.S. states and several large cities have already taken similar steps. Supporters said the Chicago measure, which takes effect on August 4, would help raise revenue for the city, save money and free up police to pursue more serious crimes.
Gee, what a concept. Instead of pissing people off and wasting time, money and fuel on Green Harvest, the Kauai cops could actually try to solve murders and stop ice.
Finally, amidst the clamor about the Supreme Court upholding “Obama care,” I was interested in this piece on some of the lesser known effects of the massive law (emphasis added):
The health care legislation renews $50 million per year for five years for abstinence-only education. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, "programs that receive this funding must teach that abstinence from sexual activity is the only certain way to avoid out-of-wedlock pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, and other associated health problems." And they also have to teach that sex before marriage is "likely to have harmful psychological and physical effects."
OMG. Is it any wonder people don't trust the government?