Monday, June 17, 2013

Musings: On a Monday

When the rain stopped, and the dogs and I went walking, wispy cloud tendrils clung to the sky like a vast pink spider web, reminding me that this is the last week of the super early dawns. Come Friday's solstice, we start losing light in the morning. Aw shucks.

It's officially pollinators' week in Hawaii, the time to honor all the creatures that provide this critical function. Though most of the attention is on honey bees, because people like honey, the work is also performed by butterflies, moths, beetles, flies, bats and carpenter, sweat, leafcutter, mason and native bees. If you're interested in native and introduced plants that appeal to pollinators in Hawaii, check out this handy guide.

I've got my eye on a swarm that landed high up in the mango tree in my yard. I'm trying to lure it into a box, using some drawn comb as attractant. Scout bees are busy checking it out, so I hope they come to the consensus that it's the best choice for their new home.

Moving on to the birds, a recent study of the Hawaiian petrel, an endangered seabird, “documented a dramatic and unprecedented shift in foraging habits that is likely linked to industrial fishing in the Pacific." The study shows the birds are moving down the food chain to smaller fish because the larger prey they'd consumed in prior centuries is no longer available. Because seabirds “forage over such wide expanses of the Pacific, changes in their foraging habits have the potential to reflect widespread changes in food chain dynamics.”

As in going, going, gone.....

Speaking of the Pacific, in yet another story missed by The Garden Island, NASA plans to use PMRF for supersonic parachute testing:

Next summer, NASA plans to send a saucer-shaped Mars entry vehicle aloft by balloon from Kauai, boost it from 120,000 feet to as high as 180,000 feet by rocket, then, as it hurtles through the thin air at 2,600 mph, deploy a speed-reducing inflatable doughnut around the craft, followed by a big parachute, until it plops into the water for pickup. It will be refitted and re-fired three more times through the summer of 2015.

Apparently they can't do it anywhere on the mainland because of people, but here they plan to shoot it out over the water, because nothing and no one is using the ocean off PMRF, right?

As a friend observed, in explaining TGI's coverage: 

illegally turning the tsunami district into a resort with no zoning change and not following the requirements of the law, no story, put a lei on and sing, now that's a story

Meanwhile, as we seek to understand if there's life on Mars, we're busily trying to end it on Earth:

A new study from the International Energy Agency says emissions of carbon dioxide from fossil fuels rose to record levels last year. Global emissions increased by 1.4 percent, putting the world on pace for a temperature hike of up to 5.3 degrees Celsius, or 9 degrees Fahrenheit, which is more than double the 2-degree-Celsius target set by world leaders. The agency’s chief economist called that scenario a "disaster for all countries."

As the world's ecosystems are being degraded, so too are Americans' civil liberties.  For example, the Supreme Court ruled today that you can't just remain silent under police questioning, you have to actually declare you're invoking your Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination:

It all seems sort of almost ridiculously terrifying, this new idea that in order to claim your Fifth Amendment, you need to know how to call the on-the-fly legal equivalent of "safesies." Your right to remain silent just got more complicated, and it will require potential criminals to be more informed about their protections and the linguistic details on how to invoke them. "But does it really mean that the suspect must use the exact words 'Fifth Amendment'? How can an individual who is not a lawyer know that these particular words are legally magic?" [Justice Stephen] Breyer wrote

Precisely, my dear Watson. Gotta count on the missteps of the accused to keep those private prisons filled.

I was also interested to follow the Justices' discussion on the Arizona voting law, in which Justice Antonin Scalia commented that swearing under oath that one is a citizen “is not proof at all. It’s just a statement.” To which an attorney representing those trying to change the restrictive voting law countered:

Statements under oath in a criminal case are proof beyond a reasonable doubt” in criminal cases that result in execution.

So where, exactly, does a notarized affidavit fit into all this? I'm wondering, because I can't help but think of all those people who signed such statements in order to get vacation rental permits, even though the "facts" they were swearing to where untrue. Perjury? Fraud? Or just, yawn, whatevahs......


Anonymous said...

Thanks for coming back....missed u!

Anonymous said...

Deteriorating public school systems, high gas prices, expensive housing, but we have supersonic balloons. Did the Cold War end?

Elaine Albertson said...

In my late Pop's words...

"It's all goin' to hell in a handbasket!"


Gonna have to change the Miranda no longer have a right to actually remain silent. Howz bout:

"You have a right to remain sorta kinda silent...that is, you don't want to say anything we could use against you in a court of law, unless you understand the legalities of the Fifth Amendment and take it, and you have to do that and make yourself look guilty even if you're not. If you need a lawyer to understand all that crap, we'll give you one when you get down to lockup. Otherwise, you're on your own!"

What a bunch of maroons.

Joan Conrow said...

I just want to make it clear that my criticism about The Garden Island wasn't directed at Léo Azambuja, who tries hard and does a good job.

It was meant for Tom LaVenture, who still hasn't covered the Ron Rawls story, and editor Bill Buley, who insists on treating readers as if we're all either JOJ or tourism boosters. Come on, man, enough with the fluff. Give us some real news.

Anonymous said...

They don't want to give us real news because they would be pissing off large advertisers. They shut down online commenting for the same reason. Totally gutless and doing a dis-service to the community they "serve".
Leo? he is just ok.

Anonymous said...

News? Isn't everything perfect in paradise?

Dawson said...

"They don't want to give us real news because they would be pissing off large advertisers. They shut down online commenting for the same reason. Totally gutless and doing a dis-service to the community they "serve"."

"I buried it as deep as I can; the ad is going to run in the back along with the grocery ads."
- Mr. Meadows the Local Newspaper Editor

Dawson said...

"News? Isn't everything perfect in paradise?"

"As you can see it's a beautiful day and everyone is having a wonderful time. As you know, Amity means friendship."
- Larry Vaughn, Mayor of Amity Island

Anonymous said...

Inside info: the GI is on the verge of collapse. They left a shell staff and are trying to run things from Oahu, royally pissing off all who remain. They took the press away and sold it. A total monopoly -- and we will soon suffer from it. Also, many, many subscribers will soon be leaving as they face a critical juncture since one of the few folks doing a top job (circ. manager) just quit after being extremely overworked. Stay tuned.

Anonymous said...

Sad that we take our beautiful planet for granted. I'm mostly sad for the children.

Anonymous said...

Maybe it is time for someone to step up and open another newspaper on Kauai. Even just an online one would be better than nothing. Real reporting, real news, poignant commentary and a platform for public discourse. Joan does a great job here but there is need and room for another news source.

Anonymous said...

Starting another Kauai newspaper would be great as long as it was a fair report-not one sided as this blog appears to be-
please remember that a blog is not reporting the facts-it is one persons opinion and the comments are also only opinions
This blog only seems to report the negative sides to any issue-as we all know it can't be all bad-if that was the case why are we here? There are many other places to live so if you don't like it consider moving on and leave those of us who love the Garden Island in peace-

Elaine Albertson said...

6:30 AM...good idea. I once owned a monthly "free" news magazine in Stockton CA called The Observer of San Joaquin County, which was an AP affiliate and covered local through global from a (I think) centrist and honest viewpoint. I'd love to startup an online news outlet for Kaua'i, but don't have the funds to do so.

Anyway...the Council voted to delay any investigation into the TVR debacle for 90 days. Gives the guilty time to destroy, create, or manipulate the evidence IMHO. At least the vote wasn't unanimous. The "investigation" has actually already been done, by Joan. I think that's why the ones who are at risk are so frantically circling the wagons. I hope the FBI listens to Mel. Something's got to change.

Joan Conrow said...

6:59 AM

I really resent your comment that "a blog is not reporting the facts." Yes, I often do insert my opinion, but I provide ample, well-documented facts.

To borrow your comment, if you don't like this blog or my coverage of real issues, why don't you consider moving on and leave the rest of us in peace? You'll find plenty of those "everything is groovy" stories in TGI and MidWeek.

Anonymous said...

so as long as everyone agrees with you then all is well and everything is "groovy" here-but when someone questions or makes comments not in agreement they should move on-which is my point above exactly-so I guess just let the "feeding frenzy" continue......

Elaine Albertson said...

6:59/7:27 ... Anonymous, of course...

It's her blog. Her rules. Free country, free press.

Frankly, hers is the only really honest reporting I've seen in the past ten years here. Yes, she has a point of view...but her statements of fact are just that, and cited. That's far more than most blowhards provide.

Your comments sound very much like "Gee, I like it's just fine the way it is; go leave me alone!" You're welcome to that view. country. If you don't like the reporting or commentary here, find someplace where Charley or Jake are opining. You'll love it.

Anonymous said...

If it was'nt for Joan's blog, we would be taking the "blue pill" and nodding....".yes, everything Is wonderful in paradise....sip, sip, on a Pina Colada. "Where are all the Hawaiians?"

Dr Shibai

Anonymous said...

Hi Joan!
On a little lighter note...thank you for the great information and recognition of our pollinators! We have a White-lined Spinx moth (hyles lineata) pupating as we speak! My kids are so excited for its eclosion in the upcoming week or two. I know I can't save the world, but I'm hoping sharing little things like this with my children will help them gain a greater appreciation of the beautiful world they live in.

Joan Conrow said...

Very cool! And really, how better to "save the world" than teaching kids to be curious, excited and appreciative?

Mahalo for sharing.

Anonymous said...

Th Supreme Court could give a shit about an individual's right to remain silent under the Fifth Amendment, but don't ever fuck with a corporation's property rights, even one based overseas.