Archive for hawaii

Lighting the Fuse

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Nicole Sandler

I'd always nod along when Randi Rhodes would say that it's not if it'll happen, but when. And I, like she, always wondered what the catalyst will be that finally lights the fuse.

Back in 2011, the spark that begat the Arab Spring was one of those proverbial straws breaking the camel's back--  a Tunisian fruit vendor set himself on fire to protest his government's treatment of himself and his fellow citizens along with its brazen corruption.

Before dawn on Friday, Dec. 17, as [Mohammed] Bouazizi pulled his cart along the narrow, rutted stone road toward the market, two police officers blocked his path and tried to take his fruit. Bouazizi’s uncle rushed to help his 26-year-old nephew, persuading the officers to let the rugged-looking young man complete his one-mile trek.

The uncle visited the chief of police and asked him for help. The chief called in a policewoman who had stopped Bouazizi, Fedya Hamdi, and told her to let the boy work.

Hamdi, outraged by the appeal to her boss, returned to the market. She took a basket of Bouazizi’s apples and put it in her car. Then she started loading a second basket. This time, according to Alladin Badri, who worked the next cart over, Bouazizi tried to block the officer.

“She pushed Mohammed and hit him with her baton,” Badri said.

Hamdi reached for Bouazizi’s scale, and again he tried to stop her.

Hamdi and two other officers pushed Bouazizi to the ground and grabbed the scale. Then she slapped Bouazizi in the face in front of about 50 witnesses.

Bouazizi wept with shame.

“Why are you doing this to me?” he cried, according to vendors and customers who were there. “I’m a simple person, and I just want to work.”

... After the slap, Bouazizi went to city hall and demanded to see an official. No, a clerk replied. Go home. Forget about it.

Bouazizi returned to the market and told his fellow vendors he would let the world know how unfairly they were being treated, how corrupt the system was.

He would set himself ablaze.

“We thought he was just talking,” said Hassan Tili, another vendor.

A short while later, the vendors heard shouts from a couple of blocks away. Without another word to anyone, Bouazizi had positioned himself in front of the municipal building, poured paint thinner over his body and lit himself aflame.

He was subjected to continued indignities, as enumerated in the Washington Post article.  For example, as Bouazizi lay dying in the hospital burn unit, Tunisia's dictator,  Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali arrived, camera crew in tow.

The president made a show of handing (his mother) Manoubya a check for 10,000 dinars (about $14,000). But the mother said Ben Ali’s staffers took the check back after the cameramen were escorted from the room. “I never got any of it,” she said.

Three weeks later, Bouazizi died.

In early January, the policewoman was arrested, but it was too late. The story had spread, and three months later, a revolution that sprouted in a small village in Tunisia and flowered in Egypt has morphed into a contagion that threatens regimes in Bahrain and Yemen, has enveloped Libya in civil war, and is unsettling even the region’s more placid monarchies, such as Saudi Arabia and Jordan.

And thus, it began. The flame that Bouazizi used to light himself on fire was the spark that lit the fuse of the powder keg that had slowly heating, though decades of injustice, public humiliation and worse. It finally blew.

Revolutions are explosions of frustration and rage that build over time, sometimes over decades. Although their political roots are deep, it is often a single spark that ignites them — an assassination, perhaps, or one selfless act of defiance.

Of course, the word had to spread. Facebook was the conduit and nothing could stop it. And the rest, as they say, is history.

What will be the spark that mobilizes Americans?

Just before airtime this morning I checked the Nicole Sandler Show Message Board to find a new thread titled, "The Fire Has Been Lit! And It Starts In Ferguson, MO."

An 18-year old young man named Michael Brown was walking down the street with his friend Dorin Johnson, headed for Brown's grandmother's house. According to Johnson, a cop pulled up next to them and said, "Get the F--k on the sidewalk." And that's where the details get sketchy.

The police say that Brown jumped into the police car and fought with the officer over her gun. Witnesses say that Brown ran from the car, only to be hit by a bullet, after which he put his hands up in surrender, only to be shot again in the face and the chest before falling to the ground dead.

Anonymous has taken notice, posting this video online today:

This show of police brutality comes only a week after another black man, Eric Garner, was killed by an overly violent show of police force.

The 43-year-old father of six, who was asthmatic, can be heard saying “I can’t breathe” several times in the footage, and the city’s chief medical examiner confirmed that much on August 1, when he ruled Garner’s death a “homicide by chokehold.”

The militarization of the American police was on global display during the Occupy Wall Street protests which began on Sept 17, 2011, when protesters gathered to occupy a park on, as the name implies, Wall Street.

On November 15, almost a year after Mohammed Bouazizi set himself on fire to protest police and government actions in Tunisia, police in New York City - decked out in full riot gear regalia - descended on Zuccotti Park, which the occupiers had renamed Freedom Plaza, arresting protesters and journalists alike, injuring many in the process.

Just two days later and thousands of miles to the west, a group of students at the University of California/Davis were exercising their constitutional right to peaceably protest by sitting, silently in a row along a sidewalk when a UC Davis cop walked methodically up and down the row, pepper spraying them.

That incident didn't inspire enough nationwide outrage to get Americans out on the streets, nor did the news that said officer, Lt. John Pike, who was

placed on paid administrative leave after the incident and was firedeight months later in July 2012 – although an internal investigation actually found he had acted appropriately.

Appropriately?!?!?!  How about the fact that he was then awarded $38,059 in a workers compensation claim, because

 Pike, 40, had suffered depression and anxiety brought on by death threats to him and his family. The threats followed the 18 November 2011 protest, the newspaper reported.

Or how about Tony Bologna.. you remember him, right? The Manhattan DA declined to press charges, but the cop was docked 10 vacation days or equivalent pay. Plus,

The NYPD officer caught using pepper-spray on two female Occupy Wall Street protesters in September has been transferred to work in Staten Island.

While that might sound like enough torture for some, Bologna is apparently from Staten Island, so the transfer translates into a shorter commute for the 29-year NYPD veteran.

So, what will it take to light the fuse under Americans, to get us to go to our windows and show "I'm as mad as hell and I'm not going to take it any more!"?

I don't know, but I guess it hasn't happened yet...

Today on the show

After talking about the shooting by police death of Michael Brown, it was time to talk about our broken political system.

Howie Klein who blogs at Down with Tyranny and, along with Digby and John Amato, runs the Blue America PAC, joins me every Monday morning for The Steve Israel Hour, sponsored by Little Debbie.  

It was an ugly weekend primary in Hawaii, where the "Republican wing of the Democratic party" had a good night. Governor Neil Abercrombie, the progressive sitting governor was defeated decimated by centrist David Ige.

On the good news side, Howie announced that Blue America formally endorsed Zephyr Teachout in her bid to unseat New York's ethically-challenged Andrew Cuomo. They've even set up a special Gubernatorial donation page here. 

And finally, if you're a regular listener of my show, you know that I think many of our problems are caused by the corporate control of our media. That's one of the reasons I'm such a big fan of The Nation magazine. They're truly independent with no corporate overlords or influence.

I was thrilled to welcome Katrina vanden Heuvel, editor and publisher of The Nation, to the show this morning to talk about the situation in Ukraine - and the fact that it's nothing like what you're hearing from the TV so-called "news" programs.

Katrina and her husband, Stephen F. Cohen, set the record straight using history and facts about what's really going on over there in, "Why is Washington Risking War with Russia?", a must-read if you want to know the truth. And for some more background, check out Cohen's "The Silence of American Hawks about Kiev's Atrocities."

It was a great discussion that ventured into much more, and fascinating reading from very smart people whose goal is to report the truth. What a concept!

Tomorrow, the return of the Gliberal Goddesses and whatever else the day brings... radio or not!

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Overnight: Hawaii's Big Island Vacation Travel Guide | Expedia

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Hawaii Beach Expedia

From the YouTube video (produced by Expedia)

The Island of Hawai'i is also known as the Big Island. Green jungles, blue waves and red hot lava please the senses on this North Pacific island with its equally colorful Polynesian history.

Find most resorts and attractions around Kailua-Kona on the west coast. To see green sea turtles, visit Kahalu'u bay or Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park. For a break from beaches, the grand Hulihe'e Palace and the sacred site of Pu'uhonua are worth exploring.

Your mileage may vary, but I lived in Hawaii years ago and did not find it overly expensive, which I loved. It was a pleasant place to be with friendly people. Aloha!

Enjoy!

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Rep.Tom Brower Replaces Charles Bronson In New Death Wish Project

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Charles BronsonCharles Bronson - Death Wish

Okay, talk me down.

Seems like Congressmen all over the place are on a law breaking spree. A few days ago it was Florida Congressman Trey Radel. Now it's Hawaii's Paul Kersey. And if he isn't apprehended soon, we may need to call McGarrett and hear him say, "Book 'em, Dano, murder one."

A U.S. House of Representative member of Hawaii has become Charles Bronson's vigilante character Paul Kersey, from Death Wish. His name is Tom Brower and there should be an APB put out on him. He needs to be stopped, apprehended and arrested for criminal assault, stalking and destruction of private property. He's armed himself with a lethal weapon, a sledgehammer and he's targeting the homeless. This is not a joke. He's armed and dangerous.

He must be arrested immediately before he commits murder. You know those awful viral cellphone videos that some wilding teens make on their cellphones t hen post on the Internet? Those horrific attacks where they randomly attack, kick and beat some homeless person until they're unconscious? Well guess which member of Congress has been doing this? And he's been caught on tape! (See Below)

His mission is to attack homeless victims by threatening them wielding his deadly weapon. If they elude him, he destroys their possessions and  the privately owned shopping carts that homeless use to transport their personal belongings. He's taking the law into his own hands. These shopping carts he's destroying are not his. They're privately owned or leased by individual stores. He has no right to do that. This deranged man justifies it as getting back at the homeless.

Getting back at them? For what?

This armed lunatic is causing innocent, homeless people to fear for their life as he stalks them and their belongings, leaving a wake of destruction of private property. These people may be homeless but they're not without rights. This congressman is taking justice into his own hands, the consummate definition of a vigilante. He's a criminal and he's picking on the weak and vulnerable. Does he think these people chose to be homeless? This isn't just a matter that this guy shouldn't be re-elected. It's a matter of the police doing their jobs and taking a dangerous criminal off the streets.

Disgust you enough? Watch him at work:

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New York & Los Angeles Just An Hour Apart?

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It's about time

Today's the first day of standard time. At 2 AM this morning, Daylight Saving's time ended. No, I got that right. You'd think it was the other way around, daylight savings would come for the winter months, but it's actually the summer, when you analyze it. Veracity Stew.com:

It would seem to be more efficient to do away with the practice altogether. The actual energy savings are minimal, if they exist at all. Frequent and uncoordinated time changes cause confusion, undermining economic efficiency. There’s evidence that regularly changing sleep cycles, associated with daylight saving, lowers productivity and increases heart attacks. Being out of sync with European time changes was projected to cost the airline industry $147 million a year in travel disruptions.

Bottom line is it gets darker earlier now but we have more daylight in the morning. That is of course, unless you live farther from the equator where you get 24 hour daylight in the summer (Scandanavia, Alaska) and total dark days during the winter. Kind of crazy but people adjust.

Here we are graphically now, and as proposed:

time zones

What you see above is the breakdown of the four time zones we currently have in the states (on the left) and the proposed two time zone map on the right.

Okay, what's up with that? Well, for starters, practicality. We're basically a country of commercialism. Business is where the money is. As technology has become globalized, so has business. And in the states, it's nothing to have offices across the entire country. But what happens when you want to do business in New York and you live in LA? You have to find a mutual time when everyone is in the office. But when it's 9 AM in LA, it's noon in NYC and everyone's gone to lunch. When they get back around 3 PM Eastern, it's noon in LA  and the west coast people are heading off to lunch. So your mutually "in the office hours" are really very limited. When the LA people return from lunch at three, the New Yorkers are going home for the day.

VERACITY STEW.COM

This year, Americans on Eastern Standard Time should set their clocks back one hour (like normal), Americans on Central and Rocky Mountain time do nothing, and Americans on Pacific time should set their clocks forward one hour. After that we won’t change our clocks again – no more daylight saving. This will result in just two time zones for the continental United States. The east and west coasts will only be one hour apart. Anyone who lives on one coast and does business with the other can imagine the uncountable benefits of living in a two-time-zone nation (excluding Alaska and Hawaii).

As it is now the time zones are arbitrarily drawn. Some larger than others, some states even in two different time zones. Crazy.

Now before you go all ballistic on me, think about it for a beat. What really changes? We'll no longer lose an hour of sleep. We commercially can be more productive. And even now in some states it gets darker earlier than in others. We'll only be, at the most one hour time difference than anyone else in the US.

So what are we holding onto:

holding onto time

It’s a controversial practice that became the official standard in America in 1966 and adjusted throughout the 1970s with the intent of conserving energy. The fall time change feels particularly hard because we lose another hour of evening daylight, just as the days grow shorter.

Truth is, the hours of sunlight per day don't change, nor do the hours of darkness. That's determined by how close or far we live from the equator and that's not changing. Just when those hours fall. We simply adjust.

Think of how much easier it will be to chat with friends on the other side of the country? And plane flights will be so much easier to figure out. You now leave LA at noon for a five hour flight to NYC and get there around 8 PM, eastern time. Wouldn't it be better to arrive at 6 local? Look at how much more time you'd have to spend in the Big Apple.

As it is, there are states like Arizona and Hawaii that opted out of Daylight Savings and don't have time changes. They survive quite well. So can the rest of us. And no more states with two time zones.

Maybe it's time to change time. Think about it. Nothing much is going to be different, except perhaps our sanity an not having to become slave twice a year to programming all those damn, digital clocks.

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Not Passing Same Sex Marriage In Hawaii Will Cost $2.17 Billion in Lost Revenue

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Hawaii

If the Republicans have their way in Hawaii, nobody's going to get lei'd.

Republicans in Hawaii say they don't care. They're adamant about not passing same sex marriage in their state of Hawaii. And their reason? Don't have one. From KITV-News, throwing away $2.17 Billion should be something they think long and hard about when their state stays solvent on tourism dollars.

According to Yahoo statistics:

Nearly 8 million travelers — 7,998,815, to be exact — visited the islands in 2012. That's an increase of nearly 10 per cent over the previous year. It also breaks the previous record of 7.6 million visitors marked in 2006, before the financial crisis and recession encouraged travelers to stay home.

Travelers spent a record $14.3 billion in Hawaii last year. This is nearly 19 per cent more than they spent in 2011 and it beats the annual spending record of $12.8 billion marked in 2007.

The agency expects continued growth this year, with the visitors expected to exceed 8 million in 2013 and spending forecast to top $14.8 billion.

What's at stake here is a lot of money as well as justice. When Prop 8 was struck down by the Supreme Court earlier this year, the signal had been sent out that laws against same-sex marriage were discriminatory. Evidently the word hasn't gotten out as far as Hawaii yet. Or maybe they just mis-heard the Conch Shell message. At least by those Republicans in the Hawaiian state legislature.

The amazing thing is that the financially strapped state makes a majority of its money in the tourism business. 80% of commerce on the islands is tourism related. Without the millions of guests annually, the state could not exist.

So what would happen if same-sex marriage were to become legal in our 50th State? Most likely a huge bounce in wedding destinations. With those weddings come guests. With the guests, come spending. Huge increased revenue.

As it is, Hawaii is considered a premiere honeymoon destination. Think now if all of those couples were to have their whole wedding parties in the state, holding services there as well. They would need to build more islands just to hold the overflow.

It's time for the republicans, who are the ones trying to stack the legislative committee to rule against this bill coming to the floor to stop and take an assessment of what they're doing. The entire state's economy is predicated on strong tourism. All they have to do is what's right and fair. It's bad enough they discriminate against their own Native Hawaiian people. They must fix that and at the same time, do what's best for all who live and work in Hawaii.

rainbow

Show your colors. The rainbow of colors. Legalize same sex marriage and reap the rewards.

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Who Put The Pearl In Pearl Harbor

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USS Arizona

When I first visited Hawaii years ago, I had to go to Pearl Harbor. There was something special about coming from Massachusetts and just being on the island. But out of respect for my father, a veteran of both WWII and Korea, I was drawn to the military historical site. This was where the sneak attack launched the 'great war'. There was something special about the camaraderie and bonds that WWII forged. I can remember as a kid how my father got together every other week with his Army buddies. It was informal at best, but it was a must. Nothing but Christmas or Easter could change this friendly rendezvous. They talked about their escapades and their exploits. Never the death. Never the destruction. Never with regrets. They were proud veterans.

As I have become older and more understanding of strong bonds and friendships, I can fully appreciate a military service that was unknown to me until recently. It's a private interment service available to those who survived the sinking of the Arizona. Survivors of that attack went on, though many of their brothers in arms never basked again in the sun. But their absence was never a full void. They were remembered long after they were gone.

With a h/t to Andrew Meyers, I became aware of a rather under-the-radar memorial commemoration that takes place above and in the submerged carcass of the Arizona.  Here's a private look into a rarely spoken of privilege for those who survived the Pearl Harbor attack, but like all of us will, ultimately succumb to time. How considerate and thoughtful of the armed forces-- not generally known for it's sensitivity -- to provide a touching and fitting farewell to the more recently passed. Those who wish to be reunited with their buddies who didn't make it out.

I'm really proud of our military for their warm and generous option they've provided our brave heroes. Bravo.

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Yet another calamitous spill. Oil? No. This time it's... molasses!

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molasses

At TPC, we've been all over the disaster-in-waiting known as the Keystone XL tar sands Pipeline as well as the 2010 BP oil catastrophe. The negative environmental impact of Big Oil's exploitation of Mother Earth has been horrifying to behold.

You'd think after all this time, there would be more attention paid to leak prevention and clean-up, because our food supply, our flora and fauna, our very lives are being tampered with on a gargantuan scale.

But did it ever occur to anyone that leaking molasses would have nearly the same effect as petroleum? BP goo, meet molasses goo. Instead of gallons and gallons of deadly sweet crude, there's an equally destructive abundance of sweet syrup.

Via the Los Angeles Times:

Fish began dying en masse in the waters around Honolulu after hundreds of thousands of gallons of molasses spilled into Honolulu Harbor early this week, and there's nothing officials can do to clean it up.

Thousands of fish have died from the sugary sludge. Crabs lay dead along the harbor bottom while more fish floated listlessly, some seeming to gasp above the surface of the water contaminated by the syrupy sweetener.

The spill is one of the worst man-made disasters to hit Hawaii in recent memory, officials said, not least because no one has quite seen anything like it.

"There's nothing you can do to clean up molasses," said Jeff Hull, a spokesman for Matson Inc., the company responsible for the leak. "It's sunk to the bottom of the harbor. Unlike oil, which can be cleaned from the surface, molasses sinks."

You know what else sinks to the bottom? Tar sands oil.

In this case, the sugary glop "replaces oxygen-bearing seawater that bottom-dwelling fish use to breathe."

The responsible party is Matson Inc. whose ship was being loaded via pipeline with 1,600 tons of molasses for shipping to the U.S. West Coast. About 1,400 tons of molasses may have gushed out.

Matson says they're sorry. No worries, Matson, that's ok!

The unknowns: "What kind of bacteria will come to consume the sugar? How low will oxygen levels go? Will the water become more acidic?"

Groucho Marx, Danny Kaye, Ella Fitzgerald, and Jimmy Durante singing "Blackstrap Molasses & Wheat Germ Bread." Song from a radio show in early 1950s.  Art & animation by Duff Hendrickson & Cosmo Spacey.

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