Venus struggled through clouds that left her murky when Koko and I went out walking in the star-encrusted cusp of dawn — me still missing Pa`ele, who this weekend went to a home selected by his owner, but Koko glad to be solo, and so indisputably top dog again. A slivery silvery moon that had been dancing with Venus the past two mornings today slept in and so found her well out of reach when it finally crested the Giant as the sky turned bright.
The neighborhood was quiet, unlike late yesterday afternoon when Koko and I sauntered through the hazy sunshine wrought by southwest winds and heard the whoops and hollers — some joyous, other mournful — that characterize men watching football. The $9 billion “sport” got some extra attention yesterday because dog abuser Michael Vick was starting quarterback in the Pro Bowl in Honolulu.
The Star-Advertiser ran an Associated Press article about the slow recovery of some of the dogs rescued from his fighting ring, while Time magazine had a weird piece, obviously written by a football fan, that reluctantly acknowledged Vick’s very bad deeds, even as it canonized the man:
Vick exited prison and worked harder than ever, transforming himself into a better quarterback than he was before his punishment. No matter what you think of Vick personally, that's an act of atonement.
You can still hate Michael Vick. But even if you do, you can say this guilt-free: by becoming a star for the Philadelphia Eagles, Michael Vick, in a real sense, has been redeemed.
So far as I’m concerned, there’s justice in Vick returning to a game that has a high probability of leaving him brain damaged and crippled for the entertainment of others — the Times piece actually had a link to a video that showed what football does to the brain. The players, that is, not the watchers.
But what really got me was this statement:
He spent more time in prison than many people do for abuse of humans.
It’s not only patently false — anyone found guilty of systematically torturing and murdering humans for sport, and financing a ring that allowed him to profit off the practice for five years, would most certainly spend more than 23 months in prison — it perpetuates the belief that is at the root of factory farms, animal experimentation, discrimination against women, gays and people of color, imperialism and destruction of the environment.
And that’s the attitude that it’s really not all that big of a deal to do anything we want, even bad stuff, to whomever or whatever we think is beneath us for our own selfish ends and purposes. Which is why I’m still bothered by the image of that seal getting mugged on the beach by scientists who hold invariably themselves superior to the animals they “study.” I wrote that when the seal’s eyes met mine, they conveyed terror, but that wasn’t the right word. It was unwilling subjugation that I saw, a silent plea for help that I couldn’t provide that made me angry — angry at the men who were dominating the seal, angry at the woman who was justifying their actions, angry at a society that thinks it’s OK to mistreat and impose our will on those and that over which we hold power — especially when we claim we’re doing it for their own good, or worse, in God (or Christ’s) name.
Which brings me to Sen. Ron Kouchi’s sorry ass excuse, as reported by The Garden Island, for voting against the civil union bill — legislation that Gary Hooser fought so hard to get approved. Rather than admit he’s a homophobe pandering to fundamental Christians, Ron claims he’s worried that the bill doesn’t give same-sex couples the full range of legal responsibilities as married couples:
“It doesn’t say anything regarding to policy, procedure or method of dissolving these unions. Therefore it doesn’t say anything about how to deal with paternity,” Kouchi said.
There are some issues that were not addressed in HB 444, according to Kouchi. “They still are not addressed in (SB) 232.” Some of those issues deal with division of assets, he said.
Since Ron professes to be so concerned about making sure the law is consistent in the responsibilities it imposes, perhaps he’ll champion some changes in the medical marijuana law, which treats people with a marijuana prescription entirely different than those prescribed pharmaceutical drugs. Check it out. No other patient is forced to pay $25 to register with the Department of Safety, which scrutinizes their application and retains the right to check out their home to make sure they don’t have more than they’re allowed; abstain from using their medication in certain places; risk getting fired if their physician-prescribed medicine is found in a drug test or be denied any insurance coverage of both their physician visit and medicine. It’s totally discriminatory.
Finally, for those who don’t read comments, Councilman Mel Rapazo left this one on Friday’s post, after I raised the question of just how many people Mayor Bernard Carvalho has hired, what they’re doing, and how much they’re getting paid:
Joan, on December 12, 2011 [he corrected it to 2010], I asked the Administration to provide a matrix of all new and/or reallocated positions that were created during the recent "restructure." I was most interested in the fiscal impact to the budget. After numerous follow-up requests, I have received nothing. I will be asking Chair Furfaro to place this matter on the agenda in February if I don't hear from them by the end of January. Pretty simple request in my opinion.
Yup, pretty simple. That is, unless the release of such information would prove politically embarrassing. Perhaps Councilmembers JoAnn Yukimura and Tim Bynum, so worried about the County Clerk’s pay raise and the process by which he received it, will join you in pressing for more accountability from the mayor’s office. Unless, of course, they were just grinding a political ax.
Oh, and who is the mayor's father's girlfriend? [See the above mentioned comments section.]
And does anybody know if Ron Agor is actually still living on Kauai, or who serves on the board of the Kauai Visitors Bureau? Just a few questions posed by readers....