Thursday, June 25, 2009

Musings: Fortified

Bits of gray traded places in the sky, like jigsaw puzzle pieces that didn’t quite fit, when Koko and I went walking on the roadside path this morning. We passed the regulars, some with dogs, bikes, I-pods or all three, and exchanged the usual greetings, nods, smiles. A horse, silently communicating the command/desire “pet me,” stretched his head over the fence and then melted beneath my stroking hand and soft words. Some days we just need a hug, and today, apparently, was one of those for him.

The sun arrived, creating a column of dusky red that rose like a fiery smokestack in the east, just beyond Kalalea, and I was marveling at the way a far off rain shower was tinted pink as it floated across the sky until suddenly it wasn’t far off, but right there, and we took shelter under the roof of the Fuel Mart until the rain blew farther mauka, obliterating the mountains and leaving a rainbow in its wake.

I’m so glad I’m one of those people who naturally wakes up early and so am able to enjoy the dawn of each day. It fortifies me with a good feeling that persists even through exposure to the news — not that you could call The Garden Island’s article on a Poipu animal cruelty case that. Reporter Paul Curtis completely threw objectivity out the window in his coverage and allowed himself to become a propaganda machine for the Kauai Humane Society.

I’ve noticed this every single time the paper covers stories that obviously come from the Humane Society. The reporters let director Becky Rhoades say any kind, with nary a glimmer of any other point of view. She did the same thing last month in a piece on roosters confiscated from a chicken fight.

Now no one wants to learn of dogs starving and rotting in their kennels, but there’s also the issue of trying —heck, slandering — a person in the newspaper, especially when he’s awaiting trial. And I couldn’t help but wonder if the KHS offensive was an attempt to CYA. I mean, they reportedly found a dead dog in this guy’s kennels in March, and after seeing everything was hunky dory in April, the enforcement officer stopped following up.

Come on. People don’t go from having a dead dog in a kennel to being model pet owners in a month. Surely a tad more oversight was warranted.

Today’s article notes:

The case is a bit puzzling to Rhoades, she said, because KHS offers free food, owner educational assistance, spay and neuter services, and other services, no questions asked.

What Dr. Becky in her self-righteousness doesn’t seem to understand is that many people do not view the Humane Society as a helpful resource where they’re likely to get assistance “no questions asked” – especially if they’re hunters.

I’m wondering if folks at the federal level will start asking questions about the MARAD loan to Hawaii Superferry, now that the agency is moving to repossess the two catamarans, as I noted yesterday’s post.

As a friend observed in an email:

My bet, is that MARAD gets the boats and sells them to the military at reduced rate, that way the military got boat R&D and some really cheap ships without dipping into its military procurement budget, all engineered by Adm. Lehman. MARAD can't fund military ships building, but in fact it did. I saw this scenario spelled out WAY back. Navy couldn't get the bucks for R&D because they were spending so much on other things so they went around the system. I bet McCain could do an expose on this.

It’s all very interesting, because the agency lent the money under its Title XI program, which is intended to support U.S shipyards by reducing their dependence on military work. Yet in this case, the loan allowed an Australian company to establish itself precisely so it could get a lucrative military contract.

Andy Parx also touched on this in his blog post yesterday:

… the whole deal was a fraud.

And by fraud we don’t mean just some petty theft- we’re talking about defrauding the taxpayer out of $136.8 million.

Unfortunately, the State of Hawaii also got sucked into this scam, to the tune of tens of millions of dollars, not to mention the angst, divisiveness and trauma.

Speaking of which, I highly recommend the Democracy Now! interview with Pakistani opposition figure and cricketing legend Imran Khan, who discussed the escalation of the war in Afghanistan and U.S. drone attacks.

Here is just one compelling excerpt:

To go after 5,000 Taliban, they have displaced three-and-a-half million people. To use artillery, helicopter gunships, F-16s on civilian population, they’ve caused this massive human catastrophe. And so, yes, people wanted an operation, but they didn’t want this, because this now, if anything, is going to fan militancy. How are they going to rehabilitate these people? Their crops are destroyed. These are subsistence farmers, most of them. Their fruit orchards, their animals. So what are they going to go back to? This is another problem we face now.

Yup, good thing I'm fortified because it's just another problem in a world plagued by many, including Hawaii’s drought, with The Advertiser today reporting some 76 percent of the state is experiencing such conditions. It seems Waialeale got just 1.5 inches of rain in May — compared to its average of 36 inches for that month.

As a friend noted in sending along the link:

This is what climate change is about in the islands.


Anonymous said...

disagree on your take on all of it, more or less - but good diversity of topics covered today


Anonymous said...

Isn't it the job of Becky Rhoades to be self rightous for animals? It's not about hunters, it's about minimum care of any dog. There is no excuse for just letting a dog die.

Anonymous said...

Now, the real tragedy...Farah and Michael die today!

I think Michael Jackson was just trying to upstage Farrah.

One newspaper quote:

In New York's Times Square, a low groan went up in the crowd when a screen flashed that Jackson had died, and people began relaying the news to friends by cell phone.

"No joke. King of Pop is no more. Wow," Michael Harris, 36, of New York City, read from a text message a friend sent to his telephone. "It's like when Kennedy was assassinated. I will always remember being in Times Square when Michael Jackson died."

That guy's feelings were just a little over the top, don't you think? Comparing it to the Kennedy assassination?

We were eating a cheese omlette when Farrah died and brewing beer when Michael died.

"King of Pop Pilsner" name for that batch.

I'll drink one in a month from today when it's ready...thinking of Michael and looking at Farrah's famous poster. Yes, I have one. Even though I'm 60.

Beats thinking of Farrah and looking at Michael Jackson. He started out looking like a cute black kid and ended up looking like an ugly white woman.

Ah, the '70's...

Anonymous said...

"That guy's feelings were just a little over the top, don't you think? Comparing it to the Kennedy assassination?"

Just a little. Pop culture -- the other opiate of the masses.

Anonymous said...

Farrah's famous poster. Yes, I have one. Even though I'm 60.

What do you mean "even though" you're sixty. You have one because you're sixty.

Dawson said...

"Isn't it the job of Becky Rhoades to be self rightous for animals?"

Absolutely. But it's not Paul Curtis' job. If he's writing an op-ed or a blog, yes. As a reporter, no.

A reporter's job is to witness for the rest of us. All the rest of us, on all sides of the story. Not to advocate -- passively, unconsciously, unwittingly, unwillingly or otherwise.

Anonymous said...

Dr. Becky in her self-righteousness


Pot, kettle, black?

Joan Conrow said...

I knew someone was going to do that!

Anonymous said...

Michael Jackson died? WTF!

Anonymous said...

"Michael Jackson died? WTF!"

He died for your sins.

Anonymous said...

unimaginable to see rhoades judged
the same as man charged with cruelty
with kettle remark. maybe you need to go
spend a few hours volunteering at
humane society

Anonymous said...

The pot and the kettle are not equivalent. The pot is black. It sees its image in the shiny kettle, and erroneously calls the kettle black.

Anonymous said...

KHS is too much of a deity on Kauai. It would do well for it to take a little public criticism, out of which a better organization would grow.

Anonymous said...

"He died for your sins."

He needn't have bothered.

Anonymous said...

"Pop culture -- the other opiate of the masses."

-- totally

"He died for your sins."

-- that was pretty funny :)


Anonymous said...

Every time there's commentary here about the humane society it always contains a personal swipe at the director. I've gotten the idea several times that there's some history involved and that Joan doesn't like Dr. Rhoades.

Mauibrad said...

Re: "My bet, is that MARAD gets the boats and sells them to the military at reduced rate...all engineered by Adm. Lehman. MARAD can't fund military ships building, but in fact it did...I bet McCain could do an expose on this."

Lehman is not a retired Admiral. He never reached senior rank. McCain wouldn't do an expose on it because he's best buddies with Lehman.

Anonymous said...

"Lehman is not a retired Admiral. He never reached senior rank."

He reached the rank of Commander.

Anonymous said...

Considering all the plastic surgery Michael had, I heard they're going to melt him down and make Legos out of him.

Then, kids will be able to play with him for a change.