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Sunday, November 21, 2010
November 21, 2010 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 1:41 PM :: 7520 Views :: Hawaii County News, Agriculture, Maui County News, Congressional Delegation, Honolulu County News, Democratic Party, Hawaii State Government, Republican Party, National News, Development, World News, Hawaii History

Aloha Family Alliance: Our advice is do not give up

Democrat-Advertiser still crying about loss of Inouye Earmarks

Tea party groups have grabbed Congress by the neck in a misguided movement to ban spending items in the form of lawmakers' earmarks, ironically giving more power to big government's executive branch. Unfortunately, U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye may need to find other ways to bring welcome chunks of federal spending to Hawaii.

Earmarks seem to have become the devilish symbol of government waste, even though they account for little more than three-tenths of 1 percent of federal spending. Under the ban, ways of spending that individual members of Congress know would be most useful in their states or districts would be left to far-away bureaucrats to decide.

Inouye told reporters last week that "the people of Hawaii didn't elect me to be a rubber stamp for any executive," The Wall Street Journal reported. Even if all earmark requests were "wiped out," Inouye said, the federal deficit would be hardly reduced.

(Yes, but the one-party system, founded on Inouye’s pork, will be very sharply reduced.  And that makes it all worthwhile.)

Best comment: “Let's see how the Star-Advertiser feels about earmarks after Senator Inouye is gone and all our federal tax dollars start disappearing into the state of some other old guy.”

Inouye Earmark: East-West Center hammered for “sustained, biased and politically-motivated attack on World War II veterans”

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Delusions and Panic: Abercrombie can go back to Congress and save the S1011 version of Akaka Bill

Borreca: If Inouye and Akaka drop the Lingle compromise version and go back to the version that Abercrombie delivered to the Senate, all they need to do is get it past the Senate and it goes cleanly to Obama.

If Inouye and Akaka go with the Lingle compromise bill, it needs to pass the Senate and then go back to the House, but without the Abercrombie clout, before it can go to Obama.

Our two senators still need to round up 60 votes (Duh. Minor detail, eh?) to clear the GOP holds in the Senate, but with a little of the last-minute dealing, grinning and arm-twisting that Inouye learned over the past 51 years he has been in Washington, it is not an impossible task. (But the truth is that Inouye doesn’t want to.)

Here's the last part of the plan: If the delegation waits until after Lingle is out of office, Gov. Abercrombie can write to the Senate urging passage; he might even fly up to Washington and visit some of his GOP BFFs, like House Speaker-elect John Boehner (he and Abercrombie started in the House the same year), to get them to tamp down opposition in the Senate. 

(So Boehner will do whatever the hippie from Buffalo asks.  And GOP Senators will do whatever Boehner asks.  And we need to do this because Inouye can’t count to 60 without Abercrombie twisting Boehner’s arm to twist Senators arms. And Akaka?  Who’s that?  Oh yes, he’s one of the votes Inouye counts. Anybody who thinks this is a serious proposal needs psychiatric care.  In fact the only person who could possibly be delusional enough to believe this is…Neil Abercrombie.) 

(However there is one very valuable piece of information in this column.  And with that information I can now determine exactly how Inouye sabotaged the Akaka Bill, who did the dirty work for him, and when.  More on this soon.) 

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Maui MD: Medicare cuts a concern to Hawaii doctors

An article published in The Maui News on Nov. 13 - "Doctors brace for big Medicare cuts" - is a clear indication of what lies ahead in health care. Hawaii doctors have been worrying about their ability to survive for several years as they have observed payments for services being slashed by Medicare, Medicaid and all other major insurance companies, which often fall in line once Medicare has initiated the incision.

Congress has made several gestures, especially recently, that lead most health care providers to believe that a fix is not likely and that the 23 percent reduction in payments is just the beginning of the end of private practice in medicine. Medicare has been reducing reimbursements for medical care for several years while expenses to medical practices have soared on Maui and in the rest of Hawaii. Employee costs, malpractice insurance, medical equipment and supplies are among the expenses that have continued to rise.

The article points out that up to two-thirds of private physicians will likely stop taking any new Medicare patients if this cut occurs. Most private Maui physicians agree with this estimate. Many physicians around the country, including Hawaii, have stopped accepting Medicare patients and because most other insurances have followed Medicare's cuts, there are an increased number of physicians who do not accept other private insurances, which used to be known as the gold standard.

AP: "Doctors brace for big Medicare cuts"

SA: Scaling heath reform (Obamacare propaganda)

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Isle fish farming good for environment and economy

FWW is not a scientific body but a multimillion-dollar activist organization in Washington, D.C.

It has been attacking -- and paying local activists in Hawaii to attack -- Hawaii's aquaculture businesses since the state adopted a policy in favor of open ocean aquaculture and enacted a regulatory framework to implement that policy.

FWW is anti-private industry, anti-progress and anti-technology -- and it is trying to stop aquaculture in Hawaii before our open ocean aquaculture law becomes a model for the nation.

Do these D.C. activists know what's good for Hawaii or our oceans?

RELATED: With federal law at stake, Paid activists attack Hawaii fish farmers

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Protesters aim to deflate Lanai wind project

Opponents fear it would cut off access to important hunting grounds and have a major impact on an area rich in cultural and archaeological sites.

Here is how Lanai and Molokai will end up: Wind Energy's Ghosts

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State lays groundwork for more clean energy

The big boost in renewable use could come in a few years if large wind farms are built on the islands of Lanai and Molokai, and then their energy pumped to power-hungry Oahu through an envisioned $1 billion undersea cable, with its cost likely borne by electricity consumers.

Environmentalist Henry Curtis is skeptical of the idea because it's costly and ignores the potential for more locally produced power.

''It will be expensive and it will be focusing on having the Neighbor Islands bail out Oahu,'' said Curtis, director for the environmental group Life of the Land.

Here is how Lanai and Molokai will end up: Wind Energy's Ghosts

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Mateo set to remain chairman of council amid reorganization

WAILUKU - Maui County Council Chairman Danny Mateo's colleagues decided that he will continue in that position for the next two years, his office announced Saturday morning.

During private one-on-one meetings, council members also decided to elevate Council Member Joe Pontanilla to the vice chairman position….

Council Member-elect Bob Carroll, who like Hokama previously served for years on the council, will be chairman of the the powerful Land Use Committee. He holds the East Maui residency seat.

Leadership of the Planning Committee goes to first-time Council Member-elect Don Couch. Couch was deputy planning director under Mayor-elect Alan Arakawa when Arakawa was previously mayor. He will hold the South Maui seat.

Political first-timer Elle Cochran, who will hold the West Maui residency seat, will be chairwoman of the Infrastructure Management Committee. And Mike White, who used to be a member of the state House of Representatives, will be chairman of the Economic Development, Agriculture and Recreation Committee.

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Kailuans take on Target

Not everyone was opposed.

Olomana resident Joe Bussen, 37, said the site is zoned for commercial use and that Target wants to spruce up an aging area. "I don't even like Target, I loved Holiday Mart and A&W. But times change," he said.

Keoni Webster, 29, of North Kainalu said he supports a Target because his wife likes to shop there, adding that the family drives to the Honolulu Target about three times a month.

"Traffic is going to get worse no matter what," he said. Webster, a construction worker, said the last thing he wants to see is the building sitting vacant like the nearby theaters have been for years.

Brook Gramann, who owns two businesses on Kailua Road, said she expects Target will be good for businesses by drawing people into the area.

Target won't compete, as other merchants fear, because it will bring a different type of product, she said. "Target coming into Kailua is a good thing as long as they meet the parking problems."

The Kailua Chamber of Commerce has chosen to take no position on the issue. Chamber President Puna Nam said the 190-member group is split evenly among those who support and oppose a Target.

The Kailua Neighborhood Board voted Nov. 4 to oppose the project.

Opponents expressed concerns that Kailua is losing its small-town feeeeel.

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Kona: Pine Trees development plan blocked

The state Land Use Commission on Wednesday finalized its Nov. 5 ruling rejecting Ooma Beachside Village's petition to reclassify some 181 acres listed as conservation district to urban for residential and commercial use….

"I'm disappointed. I really felt this was a good project for Hawaii and a good use of the land," said former Mayor Harry Kim.

Ooma's attorneys, Steven Lim and Jennifer Benck, said they had to speak with their client and review the ruling before deciding whether Ooma will appeal the decision.

(Question: How much longer can Hawaii land use attorneys get away with conning mainland developers into believing they actually have a chance to build anything in Hawaii?  And what will these attorneys do when the developers wise up to the futility?)

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Amendment to law allows state officers to have Tasers

The law now allows state deputy sheriffs and other law enforcement officers to carry Tasers, but they won't immediately get them because of a lack of funds.

A state law that banned the possession of the electronic guns except by police officers was amended this year to exempt law enforcement officers of the Department of Public Safety and Department of Land and Natural Resources.

The exemption reflects the growing popularity of the electronic gun, which was first used by Honolulu police in 2002. Maui police began using them in 2004, Big Island police in 2007, and Kauai police in 2008.

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Scientist: North Korea has 'stunning' new nuke facility

The scientist, Siegfried Hecker, said in a report posted Saturday that he was taken during a recent trip to the North's main Yongbyon atomic complex to a small industrial-scale uranium enrichment facility. It had 2,000 recently completed centrifuges, he said, and the North told him it was producing low-enriched uranium meant for a new reactor.

Hecker, a former director of the U.S. Los Alamos Nuclear Laboratory who is regularly given rare glimpses of the North's secretive nuclear program, said the program had been built in secret and with remarkable speed.

Hecker said his first glimpse of the North's new centrifuges was "stunning."

"Instead of seeing a few small cascades of centrifuges, which I believed to exist in North Korea, we saw a modern, clean centrifuge plant of more than a thousand centrifuges, all neatly aligned and plumbed below us," wrote Hecker, a Stanford University professor.

Hecker described the control room as "astonishingly modern," writing that, unlike other North Korean facilities, it "would fit into any modern American processing facility."

READ HIS REPORT: http://iis-db.stanford.edu/pubs/23035/Yongbyonreport.pdf

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800 isle soldiers deploying to Iraq

A deployment ceremony will be held Wednesday at Schofield Barracks as 800 soldiers with the 25th Infantry Division headquarters prepare to deploy to Iraq.

Maj. Gen. Bernard Champoux, the 25th Division commander, will take over command in Baghdad and in Anbar province to the west, the latter being the biggest geographic province in Iraq and which includes one-time flash points Ramadi and Fallujah.

Most of the soldiers will leave for Iraq after Thanksgiving.

The Schofield soldiers will be part of a diminishing U.S. presence in Iraq, with fewer than 50,000 U.S. troops left in the country.

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