Koko and I spent some time outside last night, the air still, balmy and perfumed with mock orange; the sky new moon-dark and packed so tight with stars that the Milky Way appeared as celestial broad avenue. We watched Makalii — Pleides — rise shimmering in the east as Jupiter glowed yellow in the south and all the while, crickets sang loudly.
Life is always so good, and so simple, at such times.
The new $700 billion bailout bill, up to 110 pages from the three-page document that President Bush initially sent to Congress, is no longer simple, but it’s clearly good for some:
While the plan broadly aims to prevent banks from profiting on the sale of troubled assets to the government, there is an exception made for assets acquired in a merger or buyout, or from companies that have filed for bankruptcy.
This detail could allow JPMorgan Chase & Co. to sell toxic mortgages and other assets it gained control of last week when it purchased Washington Mutual Inc. for a higher price than the failed thrift paid for them.
And not so good for others:
They [Democrats] failed in an effort to give judges the power to modify mortgage terms for people who have filed for bankruptcy and Democrats were unable to get approval for part of any profits the government might receive to go to help people facing mortgage defaults.
Despite Bush loudly ringing the fear alarm, it’s proving to be a tough sell in Congress and even tougher sell to the public:
Thousands of angry phone calls, e-mails and letters have poured into Capitol Hill from constituents. Supporters essentially acknowledged that it was a hold-your-nose-and-vote matter.”
Noted Rep. Dennis Kucinich in a Democracy Now! interview:
Well, what we have is a transfer of wealth, actually. It’s a continuation of a transfer of wealth. This whole government has become nothing more than a big machine that transfers the wealth upwards with our tax policies, our energy policies, with this fiscal policies, with the war. All the wealth of the country goes from the pockets of the people into the hands of a few. This is a very dangerous moment.
Will it pass? And if it does, will it work? Who knows? Our elected officials are making it all up as they go along.
I’ve heard a few people make similar references to former Star-Bulletin reporter Tony Sommer’s book, “KPD Blue,” which is being serialized on Andy Parx’s blog.
While that’s excessively harsh, there have been a few times when Tony was loose with the truth, or at least, his recollection of events wasn’t quite the same as mine. Mostly, though, reading the installments has been like taking a trip down bad memory lane, recalling some of the more sordid moments of my Kauai reporting history, such as the Fanta-See Express debacle and the really tragic Monica Alves murder trial.
This was especially true of yesterday’s installment, which dealt with the infamous Kauai serial killer, a case that chilled most women on the island and took an unpleasant legal turn for me after I wrote about it for Honolulu Magazine. As Tony writes:
The arrested man was, of course, KPD’s primary, in fact only, suspect and (off the record, of course) they were certain he was the killer but they couldn’t prove it.
His name was Waldorf “Wally” Wilson, and his name and picture were all over the west side on anonymously printed flyers.
But the Honolulu media executives would not publish his name until two years later—and then only because Wilson filed a lawsuit against KPD, a newspaper and a magazine.
The lawsuit came as a shock because the magazine’s attorney had vetted my article, and Wilson, who was identified in the piece, was still incarcerated on rape and kidnapping charges when he filed the suit, claiming my article had libeled him. It also named Dennis Wilkins of The Garden Island and various high- ranking KPD officers, who were accused of violating his civil rights by leaking information to the media.
The case was eventually dismissed, and attorneys said it was most likely filed as a sort of fishing expedition to learn just what evidence KPD had against him.
Anyway, I saw that whole episode as the time when then-Chief Freitas, who was not a Kauai boy, realized the depth of mistrust that residents had of KPD, and not because the cops were necessarily crooked or bad, but hesitant to bust anyone who was a relative or a friend. Frietas told me of getting a lot of heat from residents, especially Westsiders, who found it impossible to believe that in a tight-knit community like that, the cops didn’t have some knowledge about the culprit.
In the end, it seems, they did, and they got him off the street the only way that was possible at the time.
A friend said he’s talked to several folks who have read Tony’s whole book and are all up in arms, although I’m not sure why they should be. Mostly it’s a rehash of stuff that’s already been covered and discussed. Still, there is some power in putting it all out there in one place, and dredging up the stinky muck one more time for those who perhaps never knew the details or, like me, prefer to have forgotten.
I'm not sure why Tony wrote this book, which reads an awful lot like a vendetta. I've heard, though, that he's hoping it will be an instrument of reform and change, which is admirable, but always a tough sell when it comes to KPD.