Waialeale, blue and clear, her summit notched in two places, was the first thing I saw when Koko and I went out walking this morning. The birds were stirring and the northeastern horizon was dotted with scarlet in anticipation of the sun, which is steadily rising later each morning.
That fact, coupled with the warm, mugginess of the dawn, prompted my neighbor Andy, who we encountered early on, to launch into a scientific explanation of why temperatures continue to rise for a couple of months beyond the longest day of the year.
I learn something new every day, which made me think of a quote someone had attached to an email with a link to a sweet video of a moose family encountering a lawn sprinkler:
"If I die from boredom, I am the killer."
And that made me think of a comment that a friend who lives in the Midwest wrote in an email:
I watched the barn swallows swoop around and feed between the thunder storms before dark and marveled at them and was a little sad as they’ll take off in a couple weeks to migrate back to S. America and I’ll miss them. If people could just learn to enjoy small things like that, they’d be a lot more happy.
Instead, some people put their energy into devising a commodities speculation scheme that “pushed 250 million new people into food insecurity and starving,” according to an extremely troubling Democracy Now! interview with Harper’s magazine editor Frederick Kaufman. Sure, they made billions, but who could be happy knowing they played a part in causing such suffering?
Although I’ve been dinged in comments for being “anti-wealth,” I’m not against money, per se. But I am against those who accumulate their dough through scamming and speculating. And while we’re on that topic, the Associated Press is reporting that Hawaii Superferry was already shorting the state on its monthly fees back in the summer of 2008, at a time when the company was boasting of record ridership.
Yet even as the state demanded payment and threatened legal action, the Lingle Administration continued to beat the drum for the big boat:
"All along, we felt that the state was carrying this thing, for whatever reasons," said Irene Bowie, executive director of Maui Tomorrow, one of the groups that fought the Superferry in court. "The Superferry was able to play the victim when they never had an operation that made financial sense."
Similarly, many owners of vacation rentals (TVRs) on ag land are playing the victim even as they scam the public. Like the eyebrow-raising Kilauea Lakeside Estate. Although it’s located on ag land, its website describes it as a “private resort." It also claims to be a “wildlife refuge" and a nonprofit, the Save Waiakalua Foundation, which supposedly donates income from the property to numerous environmental and charitable causes. But while its most recent 990 tax form showed total revenues of $37,400, it didn't disclose any such charitable activities.
That’s in addition to some hokum about how the ancient Hawaiians used to fish from the lake, which was actually a plantation reservoir. At any rate, these are the kinds of folks who now want the county to legitimize their decidedly illegitimate, non-farm activities.
Meanwhile, the County Council will be taking up the ag land TVR bill once again today. I have no idea how many hours it has already spent on this issue — and remember the countless hours devoted to debating whether dogs should be allowed on the Path? — but it does seem that other governmental bodies are able to conduct business more speedily. As Reuters reported:
The city of Oakland, California on Tuesday legalized large-scale marijuana cultivation for medical use and will issue up to four permits for "industrial" cultivation starting next year.
The resolution passed the city council easily after a nearly four-hour debate that pitted small-scale "garden" growers against advocates of a bigger, industrial system that would become a "Silicon Valley" of pot.
Just imagine, a Council that could make a decision like that after just four hours of debate. Gee, that’s even more surprising than this paragraph:
The toughest opposition at the Tuesday city council meeting in Oakland came from the small-scale marijuana growers who feel they will be squeezed out of the market by the new 'agribusiness'. Outright opponents to marijuana use were silent.