It feels like a little of this, little of that, kind of day. So let's start with some military tidbits, since another Veteran's Day is just behind us and seemingly endless war looms before us.
Yet just 30 percent of Americans aged 17 to 24 are even eligible to become soldiers, with the rest rejected because they have criminal records, insufficient education or are too obese, according to Stars and Stripes. Hmmm. Obesity has some health benefits after all….
America has spent $6 trillion on the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, most of it borrowed, and long-term care for the wounded soldiers is expected to hit $1 trillion by 2050. Who benefits? Weapons-makers, big--Pharma, health care providers, military contractors and suppliers, etc., etc. As one former Army colonel put it:
The lowliest 1% go off to war to make the other 1% monufuckingmentally rich.
Closer to home, failed Kauai mayoral candidate Dustin Barca continues to show his ego knows no bounds as he single-handedly wages war against biotech — from the safety of social media:
Whatever it takes? As in, I'm gonna Instagram you into oblivion? Them's big words for a guy who couldn't even muster a majority of votes south of Kilauea.
It looks like the GMO stalemate is likely to continue at the state Legislature, where Sen. Russell Ruderman, a second-term Big Island lawmaker and health food store owner, will square off against Rep. Clift Tsuji, a powerful longterm legislator, as chairs of their respective agricultural committees.
So once again folks will waste time, money and jet fuel in a futile effort to get GMO labeling and moratorium bills passed. But not all is lost. The failed campaigns will allow Center for Food Safety to keep its name in the media and its funding appeals going strong.
And anti-GMO lobbyist Nomi “Babes” Carmona can keep slurping at the activist funding trough, blowing money donated by the earnest and befuddled on her own petty vendettas — like buying up domain names for me, Joni Kamiya-Rose, Chuck Lasker, politicians Malama Solomon and Clarence Nishihara, Monsanto's Fred Perlak and Pioneer's Cindy Goldstein, along with gmogroundzero, gmofreeoahu, omggmowtf and my favorites, boobs against biotech and boobs against biology. Just in case any of us are in doubt....
Continuing on the subject of overblown egos, Gary Hooser was told to pack his bags and beat it after it was discovered he was attending classes at UH law school while getting paid to run the Office of Environmental Quality Control, according to a source in the guv's office. So Gary resigned and was elected — and just recently re-elected — to the Kauai County Council, where he's now running the Hawaii Alliance for Progressive Action — his own private political machine — and still attending law school.
Upon hearing the news, a friend asked, “How'd he get into law school?”
While we're on the topic of the Council, the planning committee yesterday passed the shoreline setback bill without the “bright line” exemption. The building setback for rocky coastlines is now set at 60 feet from the certified shoreline, instead of 40 feet from nowhere. It goes before the full Council next week.
Also going to a vote of the full Council is defeated Councilman Tim Bynum's “agronomics” bill, which would pull all the seed crop acreage — we're talking thousands of acres — out of the ag dedication, so it can be taxed at market value. This is Tim's last chance to attack agriculture, unforeseen consequences — e.g., development into gentleman's estates, more large parcel sales to billionaires — be damned.
And finally, a friend left a message on Facebook: "KIUC seeking lease of water from Kokee ditch."
The lease is on tomorrow's agenda of the Board of Land and Natural Resources. It would give KIUC access to the land to conduct engineering and geotechnical studies for the westside pumped storage project it's been studying for the past year. They held a public meeting about it in Waimea on July 8.
To clarify, it's not a hydro project and it's not a diversion. They're not taking water anywhere, just moving it back and forth in a pipe to generate renewable electricity. As explained in the June issue of KIUC's Currents magazine:
Pumped storage is essentially a huge battery that stores water instead of electrons. It can use solar power to inexpensively pump water uphill to a storage pond during the day, then reuse the same water at night to turn a turbine and create electricity. First developed in Europe in the 1890s, pumped storage is now the most common form of energy storage in the
As an interesting aside, the project would displace some GMO corn being grown under a state lease by Syngenta, proving once again that yes, everything is connected.