A welcome heavy squall had just passed through when Koko and I went out walking this morning beneath a cloud-scattered sky and utility wires occupied by sodden, silent doves.
We were nearly home when another shower blew in, falling first in light sprinkles, then heavy enough to prompt Koko, head down, to pick up her pace. And the last thing I saw, before slipping inside, was a horizontal rainbow working its way mauka where Waialeale was veiled by sheets of white rain.
The last thing you want to do in a state that already has way more foster kids than homes to take them, a serious crystal meth problem and distracted parents trying to survive economically is cut a program like Healthy Start, which has been effective in preventing child abuse.
But that’s exactly what the Lingle Administration plans to do. Meanwhile, the Board of Education is considering cost-cutting proposals to close libraries in such rural places as Hana.
Yet we’re still shoveling millions into the Hawaii Tourism Authority to promote a place that is already known and coveted around the world. I know the state has financial problems, but its fundings priorities are really screwed up and incredibly short-sighted. Every kid that falls through the cracks now is going to cost the state much more down the road. And that’s not even factoring in the psychic pain they’ll carry forever.
In a case that seems to be dragging on forever, the State Historic Preservation Division has rejected Draft 11 of the burial treatment plan (BTP) for Joe Brescia’s property at Naue, where he’s building a house on a lot with some 30 identified burials.
As a result, the Native Hawaiian Legal Corp has asked SHPD to officially inform the Kauai Planning Commission that the rejection constitutes a failure to meet one of the conditions imposed on the project, which could lead to a revocation of his permit.
NHLC also wants the state to join it in a motion seeking an injunction on construction until a BTP is approved. That hearing is set for next Tuesday afternoon. NHLC attorney Alan Murakami writes in a letter to Deputy AG Randy Ishikawa:
We request this action because of the urgency caused by Mr. Brescia's past unilateral actions that are making a mockery of burial protection laws.
In particular, please note the provision of HRS secs. 6E-11(b) and 6E-72(a)(1), which makes it a civil and administrative violation as well as a criminal offense to … destroy or alter a burial site, "except as permitted by the department." Having rejected BTP-11, Mr. Brescia has no DLNR permission to do anything on the burial site at Naue, but is conducting construction activity that is clearly altering, if not injuring and destroying the site (or sites, even if one assumes there is more than one).
So things are heating up, even as Brescia’s house is still going up, and this news, which I read in comments, makes me feel like rising up: a new nuclear-powered attack submarine named USS Hawaii is heading to the Islands to participate in the fake state anniversary farce. Wow, if that isn’t the ultimate co-opting of Hawaii, and a full-on slap in the face to kanaka maoli, I don’t know what is. And it only cost a cool $2.5 billion to build it — enough to fund Healthy Start and rural libraries for many a generation.
What’s more, we don’t even need it. See what I mean about screwed up priorities?
Speaking of which, in a follow-up to yesterday’s musing on food safety paranoia, I got a call from Farmer Jerry, who had just gotten a call from one of the North Shore organic farmers who is going through an audit required to sell produce to places like Whole Foods. Under the food safety rules, he can’t have one bit of bird kukae on his crop. Now how do you prevent birds from crapping as they fly over your farm? And then there’s the matter of all our wild chickens, not to mention the taro that’s grown in a refuge created specifically for endangered birds, which are definitely making doo doo.
What kind of insanity is this? Animal, and even human, waste has been a part of agriculture since the beginning, and yet the human race managed to survive and thrive. So has doo doo suddenly gotten much more dangerous? Or is there something wrong with our factory farm practices, or equaly likely, our perception of the threat?
Meanwhile, GOP senators are trying to push the perception that Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor is racist and sexist, and so too biased to serve on the high court, which is supposedly above such things.
Yet a recent article in The New Yorker clearly outlined the “stealth activism” of Chief Justice John G. Roberts:
Roberts’s hard-edged performance at oral argument offers more than just a rhetorical contrast to the rendering of himself that he presented at his confirmation hearing. “Judges are like umpires,” Roberts said at the time. “Umpires don’t make the rules. They apply them. The role of an umpire and a judge is critical. They make sure everybody plays by the rules. But it is a limited role. Nobody ever went to a ballgame to see the umpire.” His jurisprudence as Chief Justice, Roberts said, would be characterized by “modesty and humility.” After four years on the Court, however, Roberts’s record is not that of a humble moderate but, rather, that of a doctrinaire conservative. The kind of humility that Roberts favors reflects a view that the Court should almost always defer to the existing power relationships in society. In every major case since he became the nation’s seventeenth Chief Justice, Roberts has sided with the prosecution over the defendant, the state over the condemned, the executive branch over the legislative, and the corporate defendant over the individual plaintiff. Even more than Scalia, who has embodied judicial conservatism during a generation of service on the Supreme Court, Roberts has served the interests, and reflected the values, of the contemporary Republican Party.
Seems that when it comes to breaking into the good old boy club, what’s good for the gander is clearly not good for the goose.