Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Musings: Gleanings

It's fascinating, the diverse things that cross my desk, infiltrate my consciousness.

Like the motion filed by Craig DeCosta and Dan Hempey, seeking to have charges dismissed against their client, the Kauai police officer who ran over a stricken pedestrian while rushing to his aid.

As I previously reported, Officer Irvin Magayanes was charged with one count of negligent homicide in the second degree for the traffic death of Michael Sheehan Kocher Jr. The 19-year-old Kocher reportedly was walking in the eastbound lane of Kaumualii Highway on Jan. 3, 2015, when he was hit by a car. Kocher was lying in the road, but alive, when a police car driven by Magayanes reportedly struck him and killed him while responding to the call for help.

In their motion, DeCosta and Hempey cite a police investigation that determined Kocher was not legally in the highway, and was wearing dark clothing, when he was hit by a car driven by Alan Yamagata, who was not charged. They note:

According to the police reports, Mr. Kocher tried to get up and out of the middle of the road after he was struck, but bystanders held him down and kept him there, laying in the east-bound lane of Kuhio Highway.  None of the bystanders engaged any emergency flashing lights on their vehicles or set any flares to warn oncoming traffic of the person lying in the east-bound lane of the highway.
Instead the bystanders covered him with a dark blanket or a tarp. 

En route to where he was dispatched, [Magayanes] saw something dark in the road, like a tarp or a blanket.  He swerved to avoid it, but it was too late.  His police vehicle struck Mr. Kocher, who was lying in the middle of the eastbound lane of the highway, covered in the dark blanket or tarp. 

Based on the police car's GPS, investigators determined that Magayanes was driving 19-24 mph over the speed limit, but “concluded that the same result would have happened, even if the officer was going 50 MPH.”

Defense attorneys argue there is no evidence that Magayanes acted with “gross negligence” at the time of the incident, or that his alleged speeding was “unjustified.” As they noted: 

Indeed, society’s basic understanding that police officers should speed to the aid of the public during emergency calls is enshrined in law.

They further argue that Kocher, who had a blood alcohol level nearly twice the legal limit, does not meet the definition of a “vulnerable user“ because he was illegally in the highway.

A hearing on the motion to dismiss has been set for 8 a.m., Dec. 1 before Judge Randal Valenciano.

One thing's clear: it was a tragedy all around.

On a much lighter note, I had to laugh at this comment on TGI's article about Councilman KipuKai Kualii's revamped noise ordinance:

I would be so thankful if the dog barking ordinance went back into effect. The dogs in Hanapepe have gotten extremely noisy ever since the Ordinance was dropped.

Such clever dogs, to understand not only that the ordinance had been rescinded, but that they could bark with impunity as a result.

The question now is whether KipuKai also has the guts to address the guys who house hundreds of  fighting roosters, making a cacophonous racket day and night.

Speaking of dogs, folks are banking on the novelty factor of Kauai mutts to find mainland owners for dogs that are unwanted here. On the one hand, it's great if they're adopted. On the other, let's not pretend this transfer program is actually saving canine lives. For every poi dog that's adopted, a mainland stray is not. Still, I did chuckle a bit when TGI reported:

Cassidy, a former resident of the Kauai Humane Society, was about to begin a 2,500-mile trip to Marin County, California, where he would more than likely soon be placed with a home.

Now if only Marin County would reclaim some its transplanted residents, who are bound and determined to re-create the Bay Area on Kauai.

In skimming Brittany Lyte's ridiculously long and gushy paean to the late Bill Porter, I noticed this interesting tidbit:

Another of Bill and Joan’s philanthropic endeavors on Wai Koa Plantation is Kauai Fresh Farms, which specializes in supplying the island with produce that’s organic and local. The farm grows lettuce, kale, tomatoes, cucumbers and basil in state-of-the-art hydroponic greenhouses.

So this is what it takes to produce organic, local veggies on Kauai? A wealthy patron? And it's so weird that people reject GMOs as “unnatural,” but blithely consume food that has never seen soil or sunlight, just because it's labeled “organic.”

Which reminds me of a recent poll that determined 87 percent of voters think political candidates should have a basic understanding science. And 77 percent of Americans believe public policies should be based on the best available science.

Wow, what a concept. The public actually prefers science to propaganda — provided they can tell the difference. Of course, that spells trouble for woo-woo candidates like  Felicia Cowden, Gary Hooser and Dustin Barca. 

Speaking of the latter, Barca was quoted in “Tracks, the Surfer's Bible,” as saying this about GMOs (while also recounting his numerous fist fights):
"They’re splicing the genes with the chemicals they make, into the genes of the plants. Bugs will eat it and they will die instantly and they will be weed resistant, but after two years what they don’t tell people is that it creates super weeds. So now they have to make even heavier chemical resistant crops.

“What a biotoxin does is it kills a bug. When a bug eats a plant and the biotoxic gene, they pretty much implode and poop their whole stomach out and die right there. Basically, we’re giant bugs.”

Uh, speak for yourself, Dustin. The rest of us are clearly mammals.

It's hard to know whether this kind of gibberish is the result of drugs, repetitive brain injury, skipping school to surf or just plain stupidity.

Which brings me to a comment recently left on an old post about that scientifically-challenged “scientist” Terry Lilley, with his wild claims about military chemtrails and microwaves killing the North Shore reefs. As opposed to, say, runoff from the cesspools of the sleeps-12 oceanfront vacation rentals. Posted under the apt pseudonym Stay In School Kauai, it stated:

Wow. I have been on Kauai for 3 years now. At first, as a home owner in the conservation district, I did not like what I was reading on your blog. Now you have become the lone voice of reason and common sense on an otherwise dimly lit and misinformed community on Kauai. It is not that you just hear these wild tales on Terry Lilly's facebook page (aka the guy that literally lives in a van down by the river) it is that you hear them in conversations on the beach, talking story to your neighbors and from otherwise well educated friends.

Keep up the great work. I implore all of the people that read this to do some homework, read about science and come up with your own ideas and conclusions.

The keywords here are homework, read, science — before coming up with ideas and conclusions.


Anonymous said...

What happened to the law for all loud noise? When my neighbors get all drunk they make more noise than dogs.

Anonymous said...

"Wow, what a concept. The public actually prefers science to propaganda — provided they can tell the difference." You hit the nail on the head, Joan. How to tell the difference- educate ourselves. How many people know that chem/seed companies bury any scientific results which show the opposite of what they are hoping for? That they even fire their own scientists who come up with results they donʻt like? That Monsanto has a department whose job it is to discredit scientists around the world whose experimental results put Monsantoʻs products in a bad light? That the studies performed by chem/seed companies often last no longer than 90 days and contain only 10animals of each gender to be tested? That these companies do not test using humans? Or that scientists or universities that receive money from these companies are being unduly influenced by that money so that they seek results that show the companysʻ products are safe and discard results that may show harmful effect or bring safety into question? That there is no worldwide scientific consensus on GMO safety? And who has the greatest motive to distribute propaganda for the chem/seed companies- the companies themselves and the scientists they employ? Or the scientists who work completely free of the companysʻ influence? Yes, propaganda is used by those with vested interests in chem/seed companies to protect their investments and their jobs. So I totally agree that most people prefer science over propaganda- the difficult part is distinguishing between the two.

Anonymous said...

re: Dustin and credibility of his word...MMA lists his professional record as 1 win 0 loss...took 5;00 min. He claims three professional fights won under a minute in the article..

Dustin - lots of hope you one day drop the need for ego feeding and see where your good fortune in many aspects of DNA take you. Be a man and be real not a mouth off, posturing, second rate professional surfer, fighter, mayoral wannabe. There's still time left but you better start watching your act more carefully, we are only given a short while on this planet to effect change. Times a wasting...

Joan Conrow said...

Yes, we do indeed agree that discerning propaganda can be difficult, 11:22, and that education is key.

And might I suggest that you continue to educate yourself if you believe everything you wrote.

Anonymous said...

!!:22 I do know that some of your statements are true. I remember reading about scientists writing about how they were fired and even discredited by the companies that employed them because they found results that the companies did not like. And there are many well written articles about how massive amounts of money influence scientists and universities to come up with predetermined results. I also believe that Monsantoʻs department to discredit scientists does or did exist- this information was leaked by an employee and whistleblower at Monsanto, if my memory is correct. And even an intelligent 10 year can understand what a conflict of interest is. Former employees of Monsanto (or employees who join Monsanto after their government position is finished) are infamous for holding high positions in government regulatory agencies such as the FDA. Instead of outsourcing studies to completely independent researchers, they allow Monsanto to conduct their own studies which then become the basis of government rules and regulations. So I know there is a lot of truth in what you wrote, even though you may be wrong on some things (no human testing by companies?). Any one who thinks Monsanto does not engage in propaganda must be a fool. I know, because I used to be one of them.

Anonymous said...

I may be wrong, but I don't believe Kauai Fresh Farms produce is organic. It may be grown without pesticides but I think they use synthetic fertilizer (which excludes it from being organic). Probably why they don't state it on their labels. So it sounds like TGI reported some misinformation. With that being said, it's still an agricultural venture on ag land. You never know, someday it could become sustainable without being subsidized by the Porters. At least it's a step in the right direction.

Carla said...

Any dog that gets adopted is a canine life saved wether its a mainland dog or a Kauai dog. If it's adopted it's saved. It's hard to fathom, living on Kauai, that some areas of the country do not have the huge numbers of homeless animals that we have. Shelters all over the country take in animals from other areas that have huge numbers. Rancho Coastal in San Diego just took in large number of dogs from Mississippi. Why shouldn't Kauai use this as one avenue to help reduce our staggering homeless animal population? Our dogs are just as worth saving as dogs in other parts of the country and have a much smaller chance with the limited resources, families and homes on our small island. With our huge numbers of unwanted animals we have to be creative while still pushing for more spay and neuter programs and helping people realize the benefits for their pet and the island if their animal is fixed.

Joan Conrow said...

1:41--- You are correct. Kauai Fresh Farms is not certified organic.

Anonymous said...

Magayanes doesn't have to worry. Coreupt Judge Valenciano will stack the jury for him.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if the officer was tested for drugs and alcohol. Interesting arguments by the defense.