WEDNESDAY, Sept. 20
We’re all cool with the big Kaheawa Wind farm up on the ridge overlooking Ma`alaea, right? I mean, we all love clean power, and there are few things cleaner than wind spinning turbines. But the look of the thing: all those white turbines standing in a neat little row stretching across the otherwise barren ridgeline—we’re all happy and okay with that, right? Good, because today’s Honolulu Star-Bulletin says the company just put a proposal before the state Board of Natural Resources asking permission to nearly double the number of windmills up there, from 20 to 38. Whether this actually happens is still—forgive me—up in the air. That’s because state Forestry and Wildlife officials apparently are still waiting to see the finished environmental assessment of the wind farm’s 20 existing turbines. Of course, the windmills—clean and efficient power generators though they are—probably wouldn’t be so much of an eyesore if they were painted more like the surrounding hillside (in this case, charred black) but would be significantly less friendly towards low-flying aircraft. And that would not be right.
THURSDAY, Sept. 21
Republicans from President George W. Bush on up sure love to talk about spreading democracy around the world, but when a military coup topples Thailand’s loathsome but democratically elected prime minister, they utter few complaints. Probably because they’re too busy working themselves into a lather over a new plan to chop the 9th District U.S. Court of Appeals—which includes Hawai`i and eight other western states—into itty bitty pieces. Okay, two pieces: there would be a slimmer 9th District comprising the traditionally liberal California, Hawai`i and a few Pacific islands, and then there would be a new 12th District containing Oregon, Washington and the far more conservative states of Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Nevada and Arizona. The reasoning is ostensibly the size of the district itself, which holds 28 judgeships and 54 million people, but a story in today’s Honolulu Advertiser also holds up the possibility that Republicans are just tired of the 9th’s progressive rulings. Because if there’s anything that’s ruining this country for those who want to invade Middle Eastern nations, lock away prisoners in secret jails and then try them in kangaroo courts, it’s the liberal judges of the 9th District.
FRIDAY, Sept. 22
Well, it’s official: today Mayor Alan Arakawa signed into law the new liquor rule that says establishments no longer have to card every single person who wants to buy booze. They still have to card people who look younger than 21 but for the most part our island’s older folks will no longer have to show their drivers licenses to every bartender and server they come across. “Although I understand that the department’s efforts were laudably intended to ensure that underage or impaired persons not be allowed to purchase alcoholic beverages,” Arakawa said in a press release sent out today, “I am very happy that the Liquor Control Commission has responded to my request to reconsider their earlier ruling and to once again exercise common sense in the application of the law and not otherwise interfere with law abiding citizens.” The new rule takes affect Oct. 2. Don’t you just love election years?
SATURDAY, Sept. 23
Goodnight, Mr. Apana, wherever you are.
SUNDAY, Sept. 24
Got an email today from Ray Masters. “Death of a landmark,” is how it begins. “September 16th 2006 marked the end of an era for the Maui windsurfing community, when at 11:45 Rope Tree fell to its death. Rope Tree has been a landmark at Camp One for as long as anyone can remember, sitting at the water’s edge and providing the perfect platform for almost every photo-shoot ever held there. Kids aged 3-90, residents and visitors alike have loved the rope swing. Summer 2006 has seen the highest levels of beach erosion at Camp One in a decade. Rope Tree was not the first to fall. It will probably not be the last. One thing is for sure; it will be the most missed.” Those wishing to share their “condolences” are asked to visit www.mauiwindcam.com/ropetree. I think Rope Tree would have wanted it that way.
MONDAY, Sept. 25
As of noon today there are 15 condolences for Rope Tree at the Maui Wind Cam website, including this poem, submitted by Robert and Mary Jo Masters’ dog Kachina, which I excerpt here because it more than captures Rope Tree’s charm, wit and humility: Oh tree, oh tree!/You stood so tall, so free./I yearn for ye, like a piece of Brie./Why oh why did you have to flee?… Now where oh where will I take a pee/After my morning bowl of Earl Grey tea?/I know not now—all is lost for me,/Since Matt and Kev knocked over my favorite pissing spot.
TUESDAY, Sept. 26
And now for another installment in my occasional series of rants against the Bush Administration’s No Child Left Behind program. Two days ago the Honolulu Advertiser ran a tiny story telling parents that there’s still a little time to get in those “opt-out forms” for their kids. You know, so school officials won’t give your child’s personal contact information to military recruiters. Because this is America and we want our public school teachers and administrators to play a big role in the Military Industrial Complex. We want them to teach math and science and history and geography and the infield fly rule, and then at the end of the day after the kids have gone home, hand over all their students’ files to Pentagon recruiters. That’s the Bush Administration’s price for these schools to stay on the public dole. Hey, you think it’s easy getting people into uniform when there are a couple actual shooting wars—neither of which happens to be going particularly well—leading the evening news every single night? That’s what we get for electing George W. Bush, who is every bit the “The Edumacation President” he thinks he is.
Anthony Pignataro wonders why Hollywood doesn’t make more movies with all-chimp casts. MTW