So the great wet blanket known as the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)—that pesky band of do-gooder meddling kids who for some reason still see the Bill of Rights as a vital and necessary check on our government’s authoritarian tendencies—wants the Hawai`i Department of Education to stop sending drug-sniffing dogs into public schools and quit allowing school officials to open student lockers whenever they please. “There’s just no rationale to allow for searches without a cause,” Hawai‘i American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) attorney Laurie Temple said in today’s Honolulu Star-Bulletin. “Hawaii has a history, a tradition of upholding student privacy rights and individual privacy rights in general.” Now while Temple is absolutely correct, she’s also missing a large point—namely, that school officials are doing all these searches without gathering any evidence or even reasonable suspicion to acclimate our children to society. These kids are, what? 15? 16? You think we’re still going to have a Bill of Rights and all its guarantees against “unreasonable search and seizure” when they reach voting age? Hell, you think we’re still going to have such a concept as “voting age?”
THURSDAY, Aug. 2
Noooooooooo! Actually, yes: according to today’s Maui News, the Lahaina Bypass is, once again, on hold. That’s right—there will be no groundbreaking anytime soon on the long sought-after alternative road through Lahaina Town. After 35 years of delays, false starts and empty promises, the culprit this time is the discovery of two ancient Hawaiian “archaeological sites” in the proposed corridor—sites that apparently didn’t show up when the state first surveyed the corridor 15 years ago. While you’re trying to figure that one out, think about the fact that this is just the “mini-bypass” we’re talking about (though in an ideal state its $48 million cost would get us a lot more than a single mile of pavement). What are state surveyors going to find when they start looking at the rest of the corridor?
FRIDAY, Aug. 3
Will someone please remind me why we have a Democratic Party? I ask because tonight the U.S. Senate—still controlled by the Democratic Party—voted 60-28 to approve the “Protect America Act of 2007.” The bill, which apparently just lasts for six months, makes it easier—and more legal!—for President George W. Bush to order secret warrant-less wiretaps. Hey, wasn’t stopping exactly these types of feel-good, just don’t ask Orwellian attacks our privacy, freedom and liberty one of the campaign promises of the Democrats when they took over the Senate last November? In a statement later quoted in The New York Times, Caroline Frederickson of the ACLU’s New York office said, “The Democrats caved in to the politics of fear we’re seeing from this administration. They didn’t want to be depicted as soft on terrorism. But this measure removes any court oversight from surveillance on Americans in a large number of cases.” As for our own Democratic U.S. Senators, Daniel Akaka voted nea, but Daniel Inouye voted yea. Surprised? I’m not, especially given the fact that the two current front-runners for the Democratic presidential nomination—that would be U.S. Senators Hillary Clinton (D, New York) and Barack Obama (D, Illinois)—are right now arguing over which one has the balls to drop nuclear bombs on Afghanistan and/or Pakistan, two nations that are right now our allies.
SATURDAY, Aug. 4
By coincidence, not long after learning that the U.S. House of Representatives voted 227-183 to go along with the Senate in giving Bush—a man who constantly harps on the need for “good intelligence” but then insists on prosecuting the bloody, insane war in Iraq—even more secret surveillance powers (our own Democratic Congresswoman Mazie Hirono voted nay, though that doesn’t seem to have mattered much), I read the following passage in Tim Weiner’s Legacy of Ashes, a remarkable, terrifying new history of the Central Intelligence Agency: “No republic in history has lasted longer than three hundred years, and this nation may not long endure as a great power unless it finds the eyes to see things as they are in the world.” I don’t recommend doing the math on that one.
SUNDAY, Aug. 5
Not sure if you’ve noticed, but the Maui County Council Land Use Committee has really been working overtime on Wailea 670 (“Honua`ula” to its friends). They’ve held a bunch of hearings on the 1,400 home-project, but because they’ve been scheduled during daylight hours—when it’s tough for working people to attend—three council members have gone on the record asking for an evening public hearing, so as many people as possible can comment on the proposed development and ask, if they so feel, how South Maui will deal with the project’s increased traffic and demand for water. Of course, committee chairman Mike Molina has been hesitant—according to the Aug. 4 Maui News, he even recessed the committee meeting at one point so there wouldn’t be any more public testimony. “I’m not going to let this turn into a circus,” Molina warned back on Aug. 1. Too late, Mike! That happened about five years ago, when the Maui Board of Ethics first advised you to recuse yourself from voting on any Makena rezoning because the Molina Family Trust owns 12.9 acres in Makena, then suddenly reversed course a month later and said it was fine for you to do as you pleased.
MONDAY, Aug. 6
Speaking of water, Charlie Jencks—the face of Wailea 670—now says developers will use reverse osmosis to ensure a steady stream of potable water to the project. “There are numerous side effects that accompany [reverse osmosis] use,” Wayne Bachman, a geologist and South Maui resident, said in written comments forwarded to me. “These include, but are not limited to; expense, high energy consumption requirements, waste-stream creation, waste disposal issues and inherent inefficiencies. Generally, 2 to 3 gallons of untreated water are required to produce one gallon of potable product. There are many existing reverse osmosis plants in use world-wide [sic]. It has been shown to be effective, however, very expensive with a high inefficiency quotient.”
TUESDAY, Aug. 7
Democracy… isn’t it beautiful?
Anthony Pignataro really wishes this week wasn’t such a downer. MTW