Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Musings: Tasers and Terrorists

A starry Scorpion was hanging in the southeast, and what I believe was Mars was glowing reddish in the west, when Koko and I set out walking this morning. At the end of the road we encountered an escapee from the adjacent pasture grazing on the soft grass of a vacant lot. I couldn’t tell, in the darkness, whether it was a steer or a bull, but when it started to approach us, Koko and I decided we’d better beat it.

On the way back, we ran into farmer Jerry, who was headed in to the experimental station to check on things, even though he’s on furlough. Jerry mentioned he saw what he thought was a large flock of parrots flying overhead last evening, and said they’ve apparently done a lot of damage to corn, lychee and other crops on the southside. He also said he’s been appointed to the county’s Important Ag Lands panel, so we know there will be at least one person with a passion for farming involved in the process of designating the prime ag lands that should remain undeveloped.

Not that it necessarily matters, if you’re just going to condemn them for a new dump, as is proposed for A&B’s important ag lands in Kalaheo — the first and only designated in the entire state.

It was such a gorgeous morning that when I ran into my neighbor Andy, I turned around and walked with him as the sun rose fiery red behind the Giant and cast Waialeale, which was partially cloud-draped, in shades of green. That mountain never ceases to fascinate because it not only changes color, but sometimes appears flat-faced and at other times multi-dimensional, as was the case this morning, when the bowl that holds all the waterfalls — dry now, in this long spell without big rain — was clearly revealed.

We both reported receiving calls last night from the Hooser campaign, wondering if we were planning to attend his February birthday celebration-fundraiser, which we were not, primarily because it’s in Honolulu. And we both agreed that much as we like and strongly support Gary, we really wished he would give up his run for governor-in-waiting and return to the Lege. When you consider who might be elected to his seat, losing him in the Senate would be a real setback for Kauai.

The 9th U.S. . Circuit Court of Appeals dealt the cops a little setback this week when it ruled that police “need reasons to believe a suspect is dangerous before firing a Taser and can't use their stun gun simply because the person is disobeying orders or acting erratically,” according to a report on

The ruling opens the door for a California man to sue a cop who Tased him during a traffic stop, causing the man to fall and break four front teeth, and visit a hospital to have the electric dart removed. Kind of heavy for a seat belt violation. The article also reported that “Amnesty International says 334 people died in the United States from 2001 to August 2008 after being hit by Tasers.”

Meanwhile, CNN is reporting that the U.S. and Yemen are looking at sites for a potential retaliation strike in the aftermath of the failed Christmas Day airline bombing:

This is part of a new classified agreement with the Yemeni government that the two countries will work together and that the U.S. will remain publicly silent on its role in providing intelligence and weapons to conduct strikes.

Oh, good. Another secret war.

And apparently it's a go, because BusinessWeek reported that Yemen has vowed to strike Al-Qaeda “hideouts” there.

But a New York Times article indicates that failed bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was radicalized not in Yemen, but Britain, “a nation of deep Islamic ferment.” Gee, that does complicate matters a bit, since it's not quite so easy to carry out "retaliation strikes" there.

Democracy Now! has a good piece on how Obama has handled the case, as well as the media coverage. It included clips from people like former Homeland Security chief Tom Ridge, who is arguing that Abdulmutallab shouldn’t get the full range of protection afforded by America’s criminal justice system, and Pat Buchanan, who was advocating withholding pain meds from the badly burned man to make him talk more. It seems unbelievable we're still having these discussions, and that's partly because the people who carried out the tortures and secret renditions and other lawless acts during the Bush Administration were never brought to justice.

Still, as journalist Spencer Ackerman noted on the Democracy Now! report:

But if there’s anything encouraging about the way Obama and the administration is handling it, it’s that his first instinct and the Justice Department’s first instinct was not to declare him an enemy combatant, was not to take him to some prison overseas, was not to say that he couldn’t be tried in the normal justice system, but to actually have FBI officials on the scene conduct an investigation of him, to question him, to extract information from him, and then to bring charges against him, when it was clear that information leading to a prosecution was in evidence.


Anonymous said...

We've lost gary.
Since his move to HNL and his makeover he has had little to do with Kauai issues.
But he will be back here soon with his tail between his legs.
It will be a long time before the state trusts a haole in the capital again.

Anonymous said...

Maybe he wasnʻt as concerned about his effectiveness and the problems going on here as much as we thought and put faith in him.

The bubbles of the political champagne have him in their power.

If he really cared he would have kept his seat.

The delusions people get caught up in. But we saw Gary was clawing his way up the ladder ever since the outburst at the county council demanding an investigation. Just a balloon. Itʻs popped.

Heʻs still got a slim chance if he renews his loyalties and stays where he can be most effective. Otherwise, I told you so.

Anonymous said...

Sen. Hooser is a great asset to Kauai. Yes, he's running fo higher office, but in the leg he has remained true to Kauai What's with the ngativity?.
Gary fan

Anonymous said...

Gary has been great for Kauai, but he isn't going to win the current LG race. No chance of it, I'm afraid.

He is a leader in the Senate on issues important to Kauai. Especially with the Senate changing he should stay there and not end his promising career by pursuing Light Governor.

Kauai people have to ask him to reconsider. This isn't going to end well.

Anonymous said...

I'm afraid he's listening to his new Honolulu people who are giving him bad advice.

Anonymous said...

Honolulu people? Dem guys almost as bad as da Caliwhackers.

Anonymous said...

What's with the ngativity?.
Gary fan

December 31, 2009 4:49 AM

Negativity because of the facts. Heʻs just another sell out. Garyʻs trying to launch his career, nothing else. And been doing it on the backs of Kauai. He isnʻt that bright, either. He originally signed off on the Superferry with no EIS. Who needs him already.

Tired of the naivity of voters.

Anonymous said...

cheer's gary for your response, mahalo for your service to kauai and good luck to you on your next steps to congress. you've been an asset, ally and advocate for our community. we'll trust that you'll continue to do so.

as for us on kauai who'd like to see gary continue to serve the people of the islands we must reach out across the channel to our friends and family on oahu, maui and the big island and share w/them our sentiments about gh and why they'll be best served by a vote for the gentleman from wailua.

Joan Conrow said...

I'll second that.

Thanks, Gary, for your comment and for your service. You've got a record you can be proud of.

Anonymous said...

"we must reach out across the channel to our friends and family on oahu, maui and the big island"
Would that be the same family and friends we denied access to kauai by not allowing the super ferry to land.
The rest of the state doesn't give a rats *** what we think.
Maybe that's good.

Anonymous said...

"Would that be the same family and friends we denied access to kauai by not allowing the super ferry to land."

No, that would be the family and friends that we pick up at the airport. As for Gary, I hope he ain't Jeremy light.

Anonymous said...

What if the polls get worse and so does the fundraising? What's the point of this whole "all in" thing?

Seems like an ego trip. You are selling out the people who have backed you from the beginning.

Anonymous said...

Gary, you can rationalize your motives all you want.
Itʻs also lying and you can lie to yourself all you want but not me.
I would surmise that you know exactly what you are doing. Would have been better to come out with it from the beginning. Thatʻs honesty.

Great things are said and done on the way up but the goal is to get where slugs like Inouye and Akaka are who no longer have to justify anything they do to the pesky American public.

And to quote a terrific email I just got: " Serving in Congress is an honor, not a career." And that goes for all public office.

And just so you know: I wouldnʻt spend a dime contributing to your campaign or ʻbirthdayʻ party. how presumptuous. Instead I will donate to the cause of Hawaiian Sovereignty to further justice. Something you and Abercrombie see as merely a rock to be kicked to the side of the road. You have now aligned yourself with a white racist and a disser of Hawaiians.

Anonymous said...

If you are elected to do a job with a commitment to do that job for a specific period of time and then renig for a better job, please don't rationalize your actions by claiming you "can better serve the people" by leaving the job you were elected to do, That's not serving the people, that's serving yourself.