WEDNESDAY, Jan. 23
Looks like Hawai`i Superferry, Inc. (HSF) is dipping yet another fin into the waters surrounding Kauai—or at least, pouring over a survey of what Kauai business executives think about the possible return of the boat Alakai to their island. Today HSF’s high-powered public relations firm McNeil-Wilson Communications emailed the results of an early December 2007 survey of 74 members of the Kauai Chamber of Commerce on a few issues, including the Superferry. No surprise here: the chamber membership is overwhelmingly for the boat. Then again, it wasn’t the chamber that jumped into Nawiliwili Harbor on the Superferry’s second visit to Kauai and formed a human chain across its path, preventing its docking and leading to the company indefinitely suspending all future voyages to Kauai. But the survey—conducted on the web by the magical-sounding Surveymonkey.com—did include a very interesting question asking chamber members to offer their own suggestions “for reaching out to the Kauai community in preparation for the resumption of services.” Their answers ranged from the eminently practical (“Communicate to the public”) to the not very practical but still positive (“buy an invisible cloak”) to the outright hostile (“arrest all protesters” and “Ignore the minority terrorists”). Then there was one curious suggestion that is pretty much open to interpretation: “I suggest that we be treated with respect as oppossed [sic] to being incorrectly dismissed as a bunch of crazed transplant hippies.”
THURSDAY, Jan. 24
Haven’t heard from our two U.S. Senators—Daniel Akaka and Daniel Inouye—lately, so we should check in on them and see what they’re up to. And to help us out, today’s Honolulu Advertiser website has updates on both. Lessee… the paper says Mr. Akaka is holding a big hearing into “contractor waste and fraud in Iraq.” Now there’s a cheery topic! Good thing the Republican-led congress spent all of 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2006 doing their part to ignore or otherwise hush up allegations of corruption and outright thievery in Iraq by our many loyal valiant private contractors in Iraq—otherwise, there might not be anything for Akaka to investigate. And as for Mr. Inouye, he’s apparently agitating for something even more important than trying to make our splendid little war in Iraq honest: getting federal tourism funds through the passage of something called the Travel Promotion Act of 2007. “This bill would create a non-profit corporation to promote America to international visitors,” Inouye said at the winter meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors in Washington, D.C., according to the paper. “It would disseminate information about U.S. travel policies, so as to resolve any misperceptions about the difficulties associated with coming to our country.”
FRIDAY, Jan. 25
So it looks like we won’t have Dennis Kucinich to kick around anymore. Today the Ohio Democratic Congressman who somehow became the Maui County Democratic Party’s favorite son officially ended his presidential campaign. With his own party excluding him from candidate debates, it’s easy to see why Kucinich is bailing out. Kucinich possessed all of the anti-war, anti-corporate fervor of a Ron Paul, but without a decade of racist, homophobic, anti-Semitic newsletters bearing his name. Kucinich will be missed, but only by the apparent minority that favors an immediate end to the war in Iraq and corporate welfare and support increased government attention to poverty, homelessness, the growing population of people who lack medical insurance and environmental degradation.
SATURDAY, Jan. 26
Don’t say we didn’t warn you: according to today’s Honolulu Advertiser, state Board of Land and Natural Resources brought the hammer down on Maui Snorkel Charters (MSC), which does business as Maui Dive Shop. Not only did the board fine the company $550,000 for the 2006 sinking and salvage of their dive boat Kai Anela—which caused 80 years of damage to 192 square meters of Molokini coral—but they also indefinitely revoked the company’s permit to take the Kai Anela back to the crater. This is all rather surprising—MSC is a good-sized company that brings good-sized tourist dollars to the state—but not nearly as surprising as the Advertiser’s description of the waters around Molokini as “pristine.” Yes, the ancient, submerged volcanic crater is gorgeous, with lots of clear water and colorful sea creatures, but it is not pristine—the Advertiser’s own Jan. 23 story “Molokini waters to be closed for detonation of munitions,” detailing how the U.S. Navy will close the islet on Jan. 30 so they can destroy three unexploded bombs, is proof of that.
SUNDAY, Jan. 27
Now I was going to dish on today’s batch of Superferry documents published by the Advertiser, and how they offer even more evidence of the Lingle Administration’s desire to give Hawai‘i Superferry, Inc. everything it wanted (except for good weather—voyages got cancelled today and tomorrow due to heavy seas), but then I got a press release announcing the birth of a new African Black-Footed Penguin at the Hyatt Regency Maui Resort and Spa, and that changed everything. That’s right, folks—little baby Buddha, son of George and Waddles, has now joined the posh Ka‘anapali resort’s menagerie that already includes Australian Black Swans, Australian King Parrots, European Mute Swans, an East African Golden Crowned Crane and an African Grey Parrot. Hey, wait a second: the release says baby Buddha was born way back on Oct. 20, 2007. What a rip! How dare they wait more than three months before telling us about little baby Buddha! We should have been notified the instant that little penguin cracked open his shell!
MONDAY, Jan. 28
Cutest invasive species ever.
TUESDAY, Jan. 29
In other news, the Hawaiian Electric Company (HECO) is still charging forward with plans to build two monster biodiesel refineries—one of which will be on Maui!—that will consume insane quantities of imported palm oil. If this strikes you as, well, stupid (palm oil plantations are annihilating rain forests in Southeast Asia), then take comfort in the fact that you’re not alone. This week, to coincide with the Major Economies Meeting on Energy Security and Climate Change at the University of Hawai`i East-West Center, groups like Maui Tomorrow Foundation and Sierra Club-Maui are trying to get people thinking about how all this attention on shipping palm oil over here just so we can keep driving our SUVs. “Switching from imported petroleum to imported palm oil does nothing for Hawaii’s energy security,” Sierra Club-Maui Group Chairman Lance Holter said in a Maui Tomorrow Foundation press release sent out on Jan. 27. “We have abundant local energy resources we should be utilizing, including solar, wind, and wave technologies.” On a similar note, the groups are also doing something called Project Blue Line—a “visual demonstration of the impacts of the projected one meter sea level rise by the end of the century.” Sounds like fun—the project, not the actual sea level rise.
Anthony Pignataro wants to provide you daily updates and comments. Go to http://twitter.com/apignataro to learn more. MTW