Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Musings: Sparkling, And Not

Heavy downpours in the night left puddles in the road for Koko, Paele and me to skirt as we took our morning walk beneath a sky that was trying to brighten even as dark clouds were rolling in. And sure enough, rain began falling while the sun was out, making the whole world sparkle.

Similarly, some sparkling bits of news have emerged amid the usual dark doom and gloom. Mississippi voters rightly rejected a Constitutional amendment that defined life as a fertilized egg, which would have greatly restricted women's rights and opened the door to a serious attack on Roe vs Wade.

I'm also glad that those who protected the perp in the Penn State young boy sex scandal are going down. Most people have no idea just how devastating sexual abuse is to the victim. And it's great that more women are finding the courage to speak up about sexual harassment from GOP President candidate Herman Cain, despite the usual backlash that further victimizes them.

Uncomfortably closer to home, I've learned our planning department is facing its own allegations of sexual harassment from a female employee currently on administrative leave. Or in other words, her career is on indefinite hold. So now we've got allegations of sexism and racism plaguing that department. What's it gonna to take to clean that place up?

In the meantime, the county Planning Commission, at the recommendation of Director Mike Dahilig, denied appeals by three ag land vacation rental owners whose applications were initially turned down as incomplete. Their attorney, blogger Charley Foster, missed the deadline for filing an appeal, arguing that the clock should have started ticking when the denial letter was postmarked, rather than signed. That may be legit, but still, if you had any doubt about the deadline at all, wouldn't you check, rather than make an assumption?

None of the three applicants live on island, and at least one bought the property recently, which underscores the objection that many of us have to so many of the ag TVRs: they have nothing to do with supporting local farm families and everything to do with commercial investments for mainlanders.

The Garden Island has Dahilig saying “only” 81 ag TVR owners had applied by the Aug. 16 deadline, which doesn't sound like a lot — until you consider that we had only 48 farms growing veggies and only 45 producing taro, according to the most recent (2009) Dept. of Ag stats. And how many ag TVR owners do you suppose didn't even bother to apply, because they figured, quite reasonably, given the county's history, that the likelihood of getting busted for their illegal operation was pretty darn slim?

Getting back to national news, it's obvious the “Occupy Wall Street” movement is having some impact on both voters and the media, with Reuters publishing an article that outlines just how the 1% have been able to accumulate so much more wealth than the rest of us:

Income inequality couldn't be more of a mainstream issue as some 70 percent of Americans surveyed want wealth shared more equally.

The reasons for the growing disparity, which the CBO [Congressional Budget Office], without irony, measured by an increasing "Gini coefficient," were buried deep in the report. It's how income was taxed that allowed the ultra-wealthy to keep more of what they earned compared to middle- or lower-class Americans.

Of course, fixing that disparity becomes more challenging when you consider that so many federal legislators are part of that 1 percent, with the 10 richest members of Congress — all of whom voted to extend the Bush tax cuts — worth an estimated $2.8 billion, according to a report in Mother Jones.

And finally, I was amused to read a report from a former Navy SEAL who rejects just about everything in the official account of how Osama bin Laden was killed. So if we can't believe the Obama Administration's story of how he was killed, how can we, in the absence of any sort of documented proof, reasonably believe that they took him down at all?

Or to borrow an old line from Pink Floyd: “Haven't you heard, it's a battle of words, and most of them are lies?”


Anonymous said...

The Pink Floyd lyrics are actually:
"Haven't you heard it's a battle of words, the poster bearer cried."
But we get your point.
Thanks for another great article Joan!

Joan Conrow said...

Thanks for correcting my ad lib!

Anonymous said...

Due process. Shame on the PD, the court would have to tell them to not violate the 14th amendment? Please provide public service not fraud.

Anonymous said...

And what are we commoners to do when lies are mandated to be constitutional by "our" government? America has been a nation of lies and, by gum, they're sticking with it.

Anonymous said...

Too bad the paper didn't report on how many Ag land TVRs got approved. That would have been more interesting.

But be a bit fair. Some of these parcels are postage stamps or on soil so poor you can't grow weeds. They're not limiting ag here. Economics is limiting ag.