Halloween — repackaged by one local pre-school as “career day” in deference to the religious views of some parents, who apparently are not disturbed by the prospect of little kids growing up to become pirates, princesses, vampires and Hulk — came and went once again with nary a trick-or-treater, although choke kids live in my neighborhood.
The tradition, however, apparently still lives on, as I did see a few costumed kids out roaming when Koko and I went strolling last night under a dazzling moon that is nearing full, but had set by the time I pulled up at my former neighbor Andy’s house for our walk this morning.
It was still darkish when we set out, but the sun wasn’t too long in rising through the wispy clouds that floated off the Giant, casting the world in a soft golden glow. The ethereal effect was enhanced by a fine, almost misty rain that, in turn, caused a vibrant rainbow to arch over the mountains.
As we walked and the dogs sniffed, I filled Andy in on the meeting I’d had last week with representatives from Waioli Corp. and the county about the Larsen’s Beach access. I need to do a bit more research, but I’ll be writing another story about it in a few days. Suffice to say, it raises a lot of intriguing issues and the county doesn’t come off looking too good. In fact, it never did move to record the warranty deed that conveyed the land for the roadway access and trail to the beach, and if Waioli hadn’t done it, some 21 years later, we would have lost it.
And that’s just one of many angles in what is shaping up to be a very interesting story.
Nationally, folks seem to find Hawaii’s shortened school year an interesting story. As I noted previously, our Furlough Fridays prompted a critical op-ed piece by the Secretary of Education, and yesterday The New York Times chimed in, saying that while other states had scrimped through the budget crisis, “Hawaii has sacrificed its own schoolchildren.”
The editorial made reference to the federal stimulus funds:
(The state instead used the $105 million to cut its own contribution to education, which was legal but hardly admirable.)
And then it made Lingle look as lame as she is:
The governor, who had ordered the Department of Education to cut its $1.8 billion budget by 14 percent, now says she had not expected the union to take its furlough days from instruction time. She said she regretted the settlement, even though her attorney general defended it in hearings over two federal lawsuits filed on behalf of parents and children trying to restore the school days.
I find it fascinating that Lingle and other Republicans were quick to blame Superferry opponents for the national coverage of that debacle, which they claimed made Hawaii look like a “backwater.” Yet they’re mum about this negative publicity, which makes it clear that we actually are a “backwater.”
Speaking of negative publicity, the problem of cops gone wild with Tasers was back in the news recently when a judge rebuked Orlando, Fla., police officers for killing an unarmed man by shocking him with a Taser eight to 12 times in two minutes. According to Courthouse News Service:
Judge Stanley Marcus said the repeated shocks were "grossly disproportionate to any threat posed and unreasonable under the circumstances."
The report goes on to state that the victim, Anthony Carl Oliver Sr.:
[W]as pronounced dead at Florida Hospital, a result of "being struck by a Taser," according to a forensic pathologist.
So much for Police Chief Darryl Perry’s recent assertion that “All the research I’ve read says that Tasers are safe.”
The safety of depleted uranium is being called into question following reports that Lt. Col. Warline S. Richardson, commanding officer of the Big Island’s Pohakuloa Training Area, wants to put Stryker vehicles fresh from Iraq in the Hilo Veteran’s Day parade. Jim Albertini, president of the Malu `Aina Farm Center for Non-Violent Education and Action protested the plans in a letter that stated, in part:
The fact that these Strykers are currently doing live-fire training at Pohakuloa, known to be contaminated with DU, risks spreading that contamination, endangering the health and safety of troops and the citizens of this island. Bringing these Strykers, that may be contaminated with DU, down the streets of Hilo adds insult to injury.
Every time I blog about DU I get a nasty comment from Pentagon shill Roger Helbig. He most recently claimed that because of “liars like Lindorff, Conroe [sic] and other Hawaiian activists” the military was about to waste tax dollars on a massive scale. Although it wasn't clear, he was apparently referencing the Army's application for a Nuclear Regulatory Commission permit to manage its radioactive stash. He writes:
Wouldn't you rather have that money actually be used for something useful like healthcare or reseach into helping soldiers recover from or cope with traumatic brain injury or PTSD?
Of course, But instead of skimping on containing its radioactive waste, perhaps the military could cut a bit from the Afghanistan war budget. As Paul Craig Roberts, Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan administration, wrote in Counterpunch:
Pentagon officials have told the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee in the House that every gallon of gasoline delivered to US troops in Afghanistan costs American taxpayers $400.
According to reports, the US Marines in Afghanistan use 800,000 gallons of gasoline per day. At $400 per gallon, that comes to a $320,000,000 daily fuel bill for the Marines alone. Only a country totally out of control would squander resources in this way.
Need I say more?