Sunday, September 30, 2007

Musings: Dogs and Sundays

Venus and the moon, rapidly shrinking, made brief appearances before getting swallowed up by clouds — the same ones that shrouded the mountaintops — when I went walking in the dark this morning. I like being out on Sundays because it’s so quiet. Even the horses were still sleeping in their lush pasture, one of the few that remain on our rural road.

As a child, I hated Sundays because it meant going to church and worse, having to wait to eat because we couldn’t break our fast before taking communion. When I was a teenager, working as a counter girl at Kentucky Fried Chicken, I always signed up for the 2 to 10 p.m. shift so I’d have something to fill those long, dull afternoons.

Now they’re my favorite day of the week, precisely because of their emptiness. I don’t feel compelled to work, or do anything at all, although I often go to the Laundromat and run errands. It’s a breeze to get around Kapaa on Sunday mornings, so long as you go early enough to beat the church traffic.

While the clothes were washing, I vacuumed my little Hyundai. Three conditions wreak havoc on car cleanliness, and they’re all present in my life: parking under camphor and java plum trees, eating juicy, sticky longon while driving and taking a dog regularly to the beach. I’ve given up trying to eradicate all the sand and dog hair, and just try to stay on top of the chunky stuff.

After my dog Kaukau died, my next door neighbor came over to offer her condolences while I was vacuuming out the car. I just can’t seem to get rid of all her hair, I said, shaking my head sadly. Maybe you could collect it and save it in a little box, she suggested, thinking I was finding it difficult to part with this tangible memory of my darling. No, I answered. I just need a good shop vac.

Koko, whose short hair is brown, and not white, like my last two dogs, definitely adds to my housekeeping chores. There’s always the bit of sand that doesn’t get brushed off the belly, the paw that still carries a trace of mud, the fur that sheds regularly.

But while I’ve muttered under my breath, and complained out loud, while cleaning up after a man, I’ve never resented those same chores when they’re made necessary by a dog. A bit of extra sweeping and washing is a small price to pay for the comfort of their companionship, the inspiration of their joyousness, the bubbling enthusiasm of their greeting, whether I’m gone an hour or a day.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Musings: Kaloko Fall Out

For the first time in days, the summit of Waialeale was clear this morning, although its skirt of fluffy clouds had lifted to obscure its flat top before my walk was pau. As I left my house this morning, the lightest, finest rain fell briefly, a sprinkling of holy water.

The best days, in my opinion, start mauka and end makai, although vice versa is also fine with me. I like nature to be the book ends to my days, which are otherwise spent inside an “electric scab,” to borrow singer Joni Mitchell’s vivid phrase, dealing with human concerns.

Kilauea growers are concerned about water for their crops after the state land board yesterday voted to revoke the permit that allows Kilauea Irrigation Co. to operate the Koloko ditch system that serves about 20 farmers along Waiakalua Road.

These are some of the North Shore’s few real farmers, folks who consistently produce commercial crops in a region where the “Green Acres” model of farming — plant a few fruit trees around your luxurious home to get the ag exemption — prevails.

The board, with the support of Kauai member Ron Agor, ostensibly revoked the permit because Kilauea Irrigation Co. owner Tom Hitch reportedly failed to secure liability insurance — at a cost that Hitch claimed exceeded revenues gained from selling water to the farmers.

An attorney for Jimmy Pflueger, who owns land beneath the Kaloko reservoir, asked the board to revoke the permit, citing safety concerns because the system feeds the reservoir, whose dam broke last year, releasing a torrent of water that killed seven persons downstream.

Hitch, who had the bad luck to purchase the company shortly before the fatal dam breach, has been beset with legal problems and mounting legal fees ever since. Now, under the board’s action, he will also have to shoulder the cost of implementing measures to prevent surface water from entering the ditch system.

That may not be as simple as building a wall to keep water from Puu Ka Ele Stream out of the ditch, as suggested by a state engineer in the staff report to the board.

When I interviewed Hitch last year for a story that ran in Honolulu Magazine (see “Dammed for All Time” in the favorite clips menu at right), he noted that Kaloko reservoir is filled with water collected from 14 streams by two ditches that run for miles — all the way from Kilauea to Aliomanu — along nearby mountain ridges.

If the dam is decommissioned, as Pflueger suggested in the aftermath of the fatal breach, the ditches must be opened, too, Hitch said. “You’re going to be putting water down valleys that haven’t seen water for 125 years. That’s going to be monumental, because we have all these subdivisions in there now.”

The state Water Commission and Departments of Land and Natural Resources and Agriculture do plan to meet with Kilauea farmers to discuss the issue and explore whether farmers can be awarded the stream diversion permit. Kauai County officials, however, had asked the state to do that before moving to revoke Hitch’s permit.

It appears from the land board's action that the state is continuing to deal with the issue of Hawaii’s aging dams and irrigation systems in a piecemeal approach, driven largely by liability concerns, rather than taking a comprehensive look at the whole complicated picture.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Musings: Two Communities

This morning it was my own restless sleep of vivid dreams played out against a cacophony of crowing — two of my neighbors raise fighting chickens — that prompted me to leave my bed earlier than usual.

Sometimes it’s hard to get up, but the moment I step outside, I’m always glad I did. There’s an excitement, a quickening of the pulse, that comes from being out before dawn, watching the day unfold. It’s a new discovery daily.

No pigs today, just three bicyclists, chattering loudly and panting as they pedaled uphill. I don’t mind conversation when the sun’s up, but prefer silent stealth when it’s still dark.

Heard a discussion on the radio yesterday about how Kauai residents can build upon the momentum of the Superferry controversy to deal with the many issues that face us, including traffic, trash and all the new development geared toward transient types who have a penchant for supersized homes that they only occasionally occupy.

Don Heacock, our state aquatic biologist, called in to make a good point. There are two communities here, he noted. There’s the broader one that includes people who care about one another and the island. And there’s the corporate community, and all it cares about is profit.

That divisiveness is nothing new, of course. On Kauai, it goes all the way back to the first sugar plantation. But it’s important, as we discuss the Superferry conflict and other issues that confront us, to recognize that while we all are connected, there are people on this island with vastly different values and competing interests.

The tendency among some is to seek common ground; surely, I hear people say, we’re all alike in our love for Kauai. I don’t believe that. Plenty of folks are willing to sell out the island, and each other, and many know only dysfunctional love.

It isn’t always possible to reach consensus, or come up with a win-win solution, and a lot of time and energy can be wasted in that pursuit.

What’s crucial for all of us who care about critical issues — and face it, many don’t — is to get clear about our own values, to ensure we are informed and firmly rooted in our understanding of what’s pono, to connect with others who are on the same path, and to strive always to come from the heart.

And as my friend Daniel Kunimura so wisely noted: “We’ve gotta ask what Kauai wants. Because she’s just like you and me, brah. She lives and breathes.”

That's our common ground.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Musings: Pigs and Spin Doctors

The harvest moon called me out of bed earlier than usual this morning, and I walked in full moonlight until it hid behind the clouds. Even then, it gave off ample light for me to navigate the narrow road.

Less than a mile into our walk, Koko and I encountered a few wild pigs, squealing softly as they squeezed under the guardrail and disappeared into a thickly-vegetated ravine. Most likely they were snacking on ripe guava that’s falling from trees that line the street.

Such sightings are not uncommon. I saw a dead piglet in the road less than a quarter-mile from Costco, which I have still not visited. I tend to get quickly overwhelmed in mega stores and immediately want to leave, so I’m not the ideal customer.

Hunter friends offer different theories on why the pigs are moving closer to “civilization.” Some contend the drought has left them with insufficient food in the mountains. Others claim the pigs are being displaced as people build homes in once wild areas. And some say it’s because too much land has been closed off to hunters, allowing the wild pig population to explode.

Only the pigs know for sure.

Another friend, suspicious that President Bush acted so speedily, and uncharacteristically, to give the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands the protection afforded a national monument, theorized that he did it in exchange for Hawaii accepting the Superferry.

This ties into a belief held by many intelligent and reasonable people of my acquaintance that the Superferry’s true purpose is not to help locals visit their ohana on other islands — a scenario repeatedly hyped by ferry boosters — but to quickly transport the Stryker brigade and assist other military operations in the nation’s most heavily militarized state.

To bolster that assertion, they point to the prominent role played by John Lehman, former secretary of the navy and now chairman of Hawaii Superferry, whose firm is the project’s largest single investor.

Only the politicians know for sure.

As the Legislature prepares to override any court decision unfavorable to the Superferry, the Lingle administration is ramping up the rhetoric, claiming now that harbor users will foot the $40 million bill for construction done to accommodate the ferry if it leaves the state.

It’s yet another ploy in the divide and conquer approach that the Lingle administration, aided by Oahu media and talk show hosts, has adopted in the Superferry debate. Environmentalists are portrayed as self-serving obstructionists. Neighbor Islanders are accused of being anti-Oahu. Superferry protestors are characterized as newcomer mainland haoles. Kauai residents are dismissed as rude and unlawful.

And now, according to Rep. Calvin Say, who scuttled a bill in the last session that would have required an EIS for the ferry, those who seek to delay Superferry operations are putting the state’s status at stake. "I think if we lose the Superferry, I think we go back to being a backwater," he is reported as saying in today’s Star-Bulletin.

Only the spin doctors know for sure.


Some people have asked why I don't allow comments. I'm just learning about the blog world, and it's taking me time to figure out all the settings. So from now on, comments will be accepted. And if you're tempted to be mean, I refer you to the entry on Healing.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Musings: Cost of Culture

Big squalls blew through repeatedly last night, dumping some much needed rain. The clouds mauka were thick this morning, so the full moon was hidden from view. But as I finished my walk, I looked back, and spotted a rainbow illuminating the clouds.

My friend Kaimi and a couple of his friends stopped by yesterday on their way to Kahoolawe. They were amped about going to a place where Hawaiians — and their way of doing things — dominate, but bummed about the cost. With island access fees of $120, plus $140 airfare to Maui and four lost days of work, it’s not easy for young men who make their living cleaning yards and trimming trees to come up with the cash to connect with their culture.

As Kaimi pulled camouflage pants over his surf shorts and donned a camouflage shirt and cap, all I could think was, mahalo ke Akua that we don’t have the draft. And my heart ached for all those young men and women who are living the nightmare of military service in Iraq, often because they face the same economic challenges as Kaimi and other kanaka maoli.

Lessons Not Learned

One has to wonder, what is the point of going through this long, drawn-out dog and pony show in the Maui court — the Kauai proceedings begin tomorrow — when the Legislature is already plotting ways to override any decision unfavorable to the Superferry?

Oahu lawmakers, who greatly outnumber representatives from the Neighbor Islands, apparently are ready to pass legislation to let the ferry run if the Maui court says it cannot until the Environmental Assessment is done. The only question, it seems, is whether their pre-emptive strike should occur before or after the Maui court rules.

It’s unfortunate that Gov. Lingle and so many of our lawmakers have failed to learn the core lesson of the Superferry debacle. And since they don’t seem to get it, I’ll spell it out: state officials must follow our environmental laws, not seek ways to circumvent them.

Meanwhile, despite attempts by Lingle and Oahu radio talk show hosts to vilify Kauai residents as rude, “un-Hawaii like” (whatever that is) surfer rebels and outlaws, folks over here aren’t buying it.

We know what we are, and we know what really happened at Nawiliwili Harbor and the Convention Hall.

I guarantee Lingle would get a much warmer reception if she came to our island as our governor, rather than the strident, scolding, inflammatory leader of some ridiculous “unified command.”

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

By the way...

Because it received $3.3 million in state funds, the YMCA had to conduct an Environmental Assessment on the new Olympic-sized swimming pool it’s building in the urban sprawl of Lihue, next to Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School. But the state waived the EA requirement on $40 million worth of dock construction done to accommodate the Superferry, which speeds through waters inhabited by endangered species.

Contrary to testimony given by a Superferry captain in Maui Circuit Court, boats have killed whales in Alaska’s Glacier Bay National Park. Princess Cruise Lines was fined $750,000 in January for inflicting fatal massive skull fractures on a humpback whale. At least now we know the price of a dead whale.

Court proceedings begin next week for Kauai residents arrested Aug. 26 and 27 during Superferry protests. While some attorneys are predicting the state will have a hard time prosecuting many of the cases, the surfers and boogie boarders who were booked are already being punished —none of their boards have been returned. Presumably, they’re being held as evidence, but some surfers have complained they weren’t given receipts for their seized property.

Gov. Lingle finally admitted yesterday that it makes sense for the Superferry to wait until the court decisions are in before resuming service to Kauai, something we’ve been saying since the cases were filed.

So why didn’t she take that sensible course of action from the start, instead of shoving the boat down our throats and creating the conflict she now claims is “un-Hawaii-like” and giving the state “a very bad reputation?” As attorney Lanny Sinkin observed, somebody needs to give the guv a mirror.

Musings: Throwing it all away

Tuesday is trash day in my neighborhood. Walking down the street, Venus at my back and the moon, full tomorrow, hiding somewhere before me behind thick clouds over Waialeale, I pass dozens of garbage cans, some with extra rubbish piled on top.

I’m intrigued by our weekly ritual of tossing stuff out. The EPA says Americans generate 245 million tons of opala every year, a lot of it usable, and 12 percent of it food. We on Kauai contribute our share. I’m happy when my own small can is less than half full, although even that amount surprises me, since I bury kitchen scraps in the garden, recycle everything I can and rarely shop. Where does it all come from? It seems impossible, in this material world, to eliminate rubbish altogether.

Invariably Koko and I encounter the garbage truck, zigzagging across the road to collect trash on both sides of the street, lights flashing in the semi-darkness, two guys hanging off the back. Hoisting the contents of each can into the big bin on the truck, they understand better than any of us the fall out from consumer culture. And then the compressor starts up, squishing the trash so more can be packed in, tighter and tighter. This is Koko’s favorite part of the scene: sniffing the juice that’s squeezed out of our leftovers, the thin, milky trickle that stains the pavement.

Graffiti spray painted on a refrigerator dumped at Upper Kapahi Reservoir: what, no shame?

I’m not into shaming, but the message behind the admonition is one we can all take to heart, even when our unrelenting stream of trash is neatly hidden beneath the plastic lids of our beige, black, blue or gray cans.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Musings: Lessons Learned

I was listening to Kaiulani’s sovereignty show (one of my personal favorites) on KKCR this morning when she played Queen’s “We are the Champions” to celebrate the citizenry’s success in keeping the Superferry away.

The mood among many on Kauai is indeed jubilant. Finally, after years of having the mayor, county planning commissioners and the state ignore residents’ concerns about overdevelopment and inadequate infrastructure, people feel like they have some power.

Obviously, the hue and cry over the Superferry goes way beyond the vessel itself. The Advertiser carried a story yesterday that delved into that topic more deeply. And no, Jan TenBruggencate didn’t come out of retirement to write it. He submitted it more than a month ago, but the editors only now saw fit to run it, with reportage added by Kevin Dayton. It seems Maui and the Big Island are experiencing the same growth pains that we are, and it's difficult for some Oahu folks to relate.

Mayor Baptiste, however, may finally be getting the message. He commented in an editorial published in TGI on Friday that “the issue has become the lightning rod to which all our frustrations and concerns are being focused.”

Whether he’ll take that message to heart and act upon it, is another matter. Don’t forget, he appointed the planning director and commissioners who approved many of the more objectionable projects over the past five years, and his time in office has been characterized by a distinct lack of leadership and vision.

If the Superferry brouhaha served any purpose, besides turning back the boat, it’s to remind folks that it does makes a difference when they stand up, speak up and show up. As one astute observer noted, the important point wasn’t the number of people who turned out for each Superferry event, but that the size of the crowd kept growing.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Musings: Healing

I love going out each morning to see what’s happening with the mountains. Is Nounou submerged in clouds? Is Waialeale draped in mist? Is Kalepa bathed in sunshine? I live in a sort of bowl, with mountains visible all around, and each dawn, the scene is familiar, but fresh and new, a good metaphor for daily life.

Farmer Jerry Ornellas stopped his pick-up truck to chat this morning while I was out walking. He’d been talking with the Hindu monks about ahimsa, the practice of doing no violence. It’s not just our actions, but our thoughts and words that count, too.

No matter where you stand on the issue, you’ve gotta admit there’s been a lot of violent thought and talk associated with the Superferry lately. And violence creates wounds that have to be healed, or else we keeping on hurting.

Jerry was wondering how the islands can heal from this deep wounding. It’s easy to destroy, he said, but now what are we going to create?

It seems to me, after grappling with my own physical, emotional and spiritual healing for a number of years, that healing of any kind follows a similar process, and it’s an inherently creative one.

First, there’s acceptance of the pain. Next comes forgiveness of the perpetrator, whether it’s someone else, or oneself. Then we have to nurture love, and like any seed tucked into the soil, it takes time for it to grow. Time can dull the pain of wounds, but it doesn’t in and of itself heal them. That requires love, which is based in the recognition of connection — to ourselves, the planet, others. Like it or not, we’re all in this together.

It is only through love that we can achieve true justice. We'll have no lasting peace without it.


I want to be the blade of grass
in the dew-damp pasture gleaming
beneath a full white moon.
I want to be the floating mist that
embraces the blade of grass and
grows up to be a cloud.

I want to be the twig that represents
security to a bird seeking an anchor
for its hanging teacup nest.
I want to be the fluttery leaf that
shades the avian nursery and
drifts, spent and withered, to the ground.

I want to be the pollen collected
from a guava flower on the
fuzzy back legs of a bee.
I want to be the breeze that
caresses the flower, inviting a swarm of
bees to partake in the feast.

I want to be returned to my kinfolk,
reunited with my clan, restored to the
center, woven back into the web.
I want to be reconnected to all that
is my birthright — a being
born of stardust and bacterial genes.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Musings: Perverting Reality

My neighbor, Andy Bushnell, broke the good news this morning when we met on the street while walking our dogs: the Superferry had the sense to cancel its trip to Kauai Wednesday, rather than face the inevitable ugly showdown with protestors. It’s too bad Gov. Lingle failed to exercise the same wise restraint, and instead decided to play hardball when she earlier chose to let the ferry return.

Yesterday, Lingle went crying to the Oahu reporters about her “rude” reception on Kauai. It’s a strange perversion of reality — aided and abetted by the media and PR teams — when Lingle and the Superferry are made to look like victims in a sordid scenario entirely of their own making.

The govenor’s reaction to the Kauai meeting only serves to show how totally out of touch she is with the situation here. I’m not a rude girl myself, and Andy Parx really didn’t need to yell, “F--- you,” (the only profanity I heard) but truly, what did Lingle expect? She was facing a crowd that has never, ever been consulted about the ferry, whose elected officials (well, some of them anyway, the ones with guts and brains) had begged her to let the legal process run its course, and whose members had already experienced two days of land and sea confrontation with law enforcement that resulted in numerous arrests.

And what about Lingle's own message? It was not one of peace, reconciliation, mediation, compromise or respect. Lingle came solely to lecture the crowd on her planned crackdown against dissent, and to threaten everyone with fines, federal prison sentences and even investigations by Child Protective Services if they dared step out of line.

Did she really think, at this point in the game, that 1,000 people (we won’t count the 150 Superferry employees and supporters brought over from Oahu) who took the time to drive into Lihue were going to politely listen to her propaganda, and then meekly obey?

Maybe Lingle needs to leave the deadness of the city and visit the real world more often.

But even if Lingle didn’t get the message, Superferry did. Kauai is a scrappy place, and now a number of its residents feel sufficiently empowered to actively resist.

So how will Kauai folks use their new-found energy, resolve and power?

Friday, September 21, 2007

Musings: Venus and the Superferry

Venus was bright this morning when Koko and I went out for our usual pre-dawn walk. Read in a New Yorker article recently that in Galileo’s time, some 400 years ago, the skies were so dark that Jupiter and Venus actually cast shadows on the earth, just like the sun and the moon. And I remembered hearing accounts of people born and raised in New Orleans, who had never ever seen the stars until Katrina turned out the lights. Can we, as modern humans, even begin to comprehend how much we’ve already lost?

One has to wonder why Gov. Lingle came to Kauai last night. Right off the bat, she said: “We’re not here to discuss when the Superferry is going to return. That decision has already been made. It’s coming next Wednesday.”

Of course, the boat’s return is precisely what so many in the audience, which numbered well over 1,000, wanted to discuss. So much for dialogue.

A lot of people got up and spoke their piece, anyway, and folks responded with loud boos and/or applause. Of the many comments yelled from the audience, my personal favorite was, “Baptiste, say something. Do something. Help us out. Represent us.”

But our mayor remained mute, maintaining his supposed neutrality as he sat at a table on the Convention Hall stage, flanked by folks from the Lingle administration, our police chief and the Coast Guard rear admiral who imposed the security zone at Nawiliwili Harbor.

Creepiest thing I learned last night: Cargo containers at Nawiliwili are being converted into holding pens for those who will be arrested next week protesting the Superferry’s return. Then what? Will they be shipped over to the federal detention center on Oahu? On the Superferry?

Went home after the meeting, and Koko wasn’t the least bit interested in the passionate political drama I’d just witnessed. She only wanted to go out and make shi shi. She sniffed the grass and lunged at toads. I looked up —at the stars we can still blessedly see in our dark skies, and a glowing moon one day past exactly half full.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

The Honolulu Advertiser pulled me off the Superferry story today because of this blog. Guess it was being circulated at the state Capitol, which absolutely astounded me, and Derrick DePledge, the Advertiser’s government reporter, ratted me out to the editors. They sent him to Kauai to cover tonight’s meeting with the guv, instead.

Earlier in the day, someone had called to advise the Advertiser editors that their new stringer (yours truly) was a freelancer for the Sierra Club — an apparent reference to an article I wrote a number of years back for Sierra magazine about pharmaceuticals and personal care products showing up in ground water around the world. (

It's OK to have opinions when you write for the mainstream press, you just have to make like you don't, and I've never been too good at pretending.

I don’t mind losing the Advertiser gig, but feel sad their coverage will now lack the perspective of someone who actually lives on Kauai. As people over here keep saying, “We don’t feel like we’re being heard.” And the truth of it is, we aren't.

Musings: Lingle's Visit to Kauai

The guv is coming to town tonight, and I heard Councilwoman JoAnn Yukimura on the radio last night urging people to attend a "gathering of aloha" at the Historic County Building before hand.

What caught my attention was her reference to that building, which houses the Council offices and chambers, as the focal point of decision-making and governance for the county — an assessment that totally dismisses the role played by Mayor Bryan Baptiste, whose offices are in the Round Building.

She's got a point. The Council has taken a leadership role on the issue, while Baptiste claims to be neutral, even though he will be participating in the meeting tonight as part of Lingle's team.

Meanwhile, folks are warning everyone to be peaceful tonight, and on the look out for paid troublemakers trying to incite violence among the crowd. Hard to tell if it's paranoia, or a reasoned response to the increasingly militant tone of the Lingle administration toward protestors.

On a much brighter note, I spotted a monk seal basking on the beach when I took a swim at Anahola this morning, and saw a brown boobie fishing in the waters off Kauapea last night, along with a flock of ruddy turnstones and a few nene, flying in formation. While it's easy to get caught up in politics and human shenanigans, being out in nature immediately reminds me what's real, and what's truly important.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Musings: Superferry Special Session

Rep. Mina Morita always hits the nail on the head. When asked whether there was a need for the Legislature to hold a special session on the Superferry, she responded: "No correction to the law is necessary. If we do go into special session, it will be to exempt the Superferry from the law.”

She is clear on that point, as is Sen. Gary Hooser, who said: ""The public interest is served when laws are followed.” But do the rest of our lawmakers fully grasp the political and environmental significance of bailing out Superferry if the courts say it can't run during the EA process? Do they recognize the frustration and disenchantment it will create among so many citizens?

If there is a special session, it seems pretty likely the Superferry will get what it wants. We already saw where the Oahu lawmakers stood when they voted down an EIS in the last session.

I was surprised to read that Big Island Mayor Harry Kim was a witness for the Superferry in the Maui hearing that's underway. Legally, it seems like his opinion is irrelevant. But what struck me was he made no mention of the environmental issues at all, and addressed solely the need for another form of instrastate transport.

Is this the same man who advocated for the people who were worried about the toxic effects of the Puna geothermal plant, who claims to love nature above all else, who says nature is what sustains and restores him? Or has sitting in the mayor's seat turned him into just another Republican politician supporting the party line?

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Musings: Lingle and the Superferry

Gov. Linda Lingle is coming to Kauai Thursday evening to tell folks about the Coast Guard's "security zone" at Nawiliwili Harbor, which no one can enter, unless they're on the Superferry, for an hour before its scheduled arrival until 10 minutes after it leaves port. The zone, created by a Coast Guard emergency rule, is aimed at preventing the kind of aquatic protests that forced the ferry to turn back to Oahu without docking on Aug. 27. The ferry hasn't been back since. The governor recently announced it will be returning at 11 a.m. Sept. 26, though, and warned that anyone venturing into the security zone will suffer the consequences: federal charges, jail time, hefty fines.

After announcing Thursday's 6 p.m. meeting at the Convention Hall, a DJ on KKCR suggested listeners might think about what sort of comment they'd like to make to the governor about "her imposition of martial law at Nawiliwili Harbor." He then played a song that conveyed his comment, and its chorus went like this: "shout, shout, shout at the devil."

Is Lingle the devil, the personification of evil?

The question intrigued me, because it just so happens I'm reading M. Scott Peck's "People of the Lie," which delves into the psychology of evil. In it, he defines evil as "opposition to life, that which opposes the life force" and "that force, residing either inside or outside of human beings, that seeks to kill life or liveliness." Evil people, he says, are those "who attack or scapegoat others, instead of facing their own failures."


Conversations: Prosperity

Prosperity isn’t even a word in the Hawaiian language, Ka`imi said. It’s an entirely Western concept, that idea of making good in a way that sets you apart from others; accumulating possessions with an eye toward achieving status; attracting money and material things to be stored up, hoarded.

But there is waiwai, she reminded him, the word used interchangeably for water and wealth, and she’d experienced it herself at Aliomanu, just recently. Walking to the beach, after a month of heavy rains, she’d noticed naupaka leaves, plumped and swollen; ironwood needles, a tender pale green; springy moss, clinging thickly to gray pohaku.

The red soil had darkened deep brown with a surfeit of wet; heliotrope seedlings had sprung boldly from the sand.

It was suddenly all so rich, so plush, so luxuriant, that drought-parched patch of east Kauai coastline, restored to vibrant life by rain alone.

That’s when she saw with her own eyes, she told him, that waiwai truly is wealth. Because everything in that moist scene was so lushly abundant, it seemed wholly ludicrous to value anything more than water.

And you can call the rain, he reminded her. You can evoke the water; you can turn the trickle into a torrent. Isn’t that prosperity?