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Monday, October 20, 2014         

Volcanic Ash

Some of the most sobering information to come out of the Connecticut massacre was the extent to which the psychopath who gunned down 20 first-graders and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School was armed.
Legal precedent would seem to give mayoral candidate Ben Cayetano little chance of winning a defamation lawsuit against Pacific Resources Partnership for falsely implying he gave state contracts for bribes when he was governor.
Local leaders tout the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meetings as a chance for Hawaii to build business relationships, attract regional investment, increase trade and spotlight our state as an innovator in renewable energy.
Our city leaders don't seem to be getting it that it's simply unacceptable to Oahuans to have raw sewer sludge trucked all over the island because the city failed to plan for the Sand Island treatment plant reaching capacity.
I don't know why I got so much of a laugh out of the story about a Colorado woman who was arrested for groping an airport security screener, but it seems I'm not the only one.
The Honolulu City Council could be in for a bumpy ride back to the future after the reorganization that replaced Nestor Garcia as chairman.
The Hawaii State Teachers Association accuses the Abercrombie administration of skirting the collective bargaining process by imposing its “last, best and final” contract terms, but that’s exactly what the union would be doing by filing a legal challenge.
In a commentary in Sunday's newspaper, Mayor Peter Carlisle made an impassioned plea for taking the politics out of the city's $5.3 billion rail project by letting the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation build and run the train without interference from elected officials.
This year's state Reapportionment Commission will probably be best remembered for how it decides the contentious issue of whether to count nonresident military personnel and dependents in setting legislative district lines.
Gov. Neil Abercrombie is setting a new speed record for squandering the approval he enjoyed after ascending to the state’s top job with landslide victories over Mufi Hannemann and James “Duke” Aiona.
After the Navy SEALs got Osama bin Laden, one of my first thoughts was to wonder what Rochan Pinho thought about it.
Germany's decision to wean itself off of nuclear power by 2022 is a significant shift in the world energy debate and one of special interest to Hawaii.
The Carlisle administration describes its battle with the City Council over control of the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation as an issue of autonomy, but the question is, autonomy from whom?
The 2012 race to replace retiring U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka is starting to look like a replay of Hawaii’s 2002 election for governor.
As unionized public workers take more painful pay cuts, state legislators made their own pay a focus of drama as they ended their 2011 session.
For Wednesday, May 4, 2011
Good for state Sen. Josh Green for insisting on long-overdue accountability for medical marijuana before the Legislature plants the seeds of a dispensary system that could lead to a California-like situation where pot fliers are handed out at malls.
I can’t think of a moment of greater bliss than sitting at the cash register of Island Guitars last Monday with a granddaughter on each cheek, giving me kisses, hugs and assurances that I’m the greatest granddad in the history of the universe.
There's been a lot of shouting about the new labor agreement between Gov. Neil Abercrombie and the Hawaii Government Employees Association, but the view from here is that it's a fair contribution by HGEA's 28,000 white-collar workers toward balancing state and county budgets.
As expected, former U.S. Rep. Ed Case became the first Dem­o­crat to enter the race to succeed retiring U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka, a job he has coveted since his ill-fated run against Akaka in 2006.
Just when you think you can’t lose any more confidence in how the city is running the $5.5 billion rail project, new reasons abound. Some troubling recent developments:
When I searched online for information about Joseph L. Wildman, appointed by Gov. Neil Abercrombie to be a Circuit Court judge on Maui, the first interesting items that popped up were that he came from the law firm of Rep. Gil Keith-Agaran, the House Judiciary chairman, and contributed $1,610 to Abercrombie's campaign for governor
Gov. Neil Aber­crom­bie is sounding the alarm that “conditions have changed dramatically” in the local economy since the earthquake-tsunami-nuclear disaster in Japan.
If Ed Case and Mufi Hannemann face off in the 2012 Democratic primary for the right to succeed retiring U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka, it'll be a battle between two guys attempting comebacks from terrible political timing.
Gov. Neil Abercrombie was asked whether he's abandoned his campaign promise of no general excise tax increase, and he displayed the obfuscatory powers of a guy with a master's degree, a Ph.D. and 40 years of political tap dancing.
Now that civil unions have become law in Hawaii with Gov. Neil Abercrombie's signature, it's time to move past all the years of acrimony and work on implementing the new law in a way that strengthens our community rather than divides us further.
Gov. Neil Abercrombie's refusal to abide by an Office of Information Practices opinion that he must make public the names of judicial candidates is a dangerous step back from the transparency in appointing judges we've achieved in the last decade.
Gov. Neil Abercrombie said he wanted to take responsibility for public education in Hawaii, and it looks like he'll get the chance with legislators in agreement that he should appoint members of his choosing to the Board of Education instead of picking from an advisory panel's list.
Between the state Senate's abandonment of prayer and the clumsy refueling of the Barack Obama birth controversy by local elected officials, I'm seeing a lot of correspondence from Hawaii expatriates on the mainland along the lines of, "What the heck is going on over there?"
The state Senate kept faith with voters by giving fast and unanimous approval to a bill allowing the governor a free hand in making appointments to the Board of Education, subject only to Senate confirmation.
It looks like Gov. Neil Abercrombie's "New Day in Hawaii" includes a return to the dark ages of secret dealings in appointing the state's top judges.
My inner political junkie has had a tough time getting interested in the power struggle in the state House of Representatives between Speaker Calvin Say and a band of 17 Democratic dissidents.
In the shooting attack that seriously wounded Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and killed six others, we've been admonished about the dangers of looking for political lessons in the actions of a mentally deranged man.
It wasn't quite, "You won't have Dick Nixon to kick around anymore," but Charles Djou made a rather ungracious exit from his brief stint representing Hawaii's 1st Congressional District.
U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka was a sorry sight standing nearly alone on the Senate floor in the final hours of the 111th Congress, giving a speech blaming Republican obstruction for the failure yet again of his Akaka Bill for native Hawaiian political recognition.
We had a lively discussion in my blog last week about the appropriateness of public displays of Christmas.
I finally found some time to spend with the 138-page financial analysis of the $5.5 billion Oahu rail project that former Gov. Linda Lingle released on her way out the door.
Neil Abercrombie, at 72, was sworn in as the oldest person elected governor of Hawaii, but it's notable that the start of his administration has been as much about youth as age.
Even Gov.-elect Neil Abercrombie's biggest detractors have to give him credit for running a brilliant campaign.
I was a bad Kailuan and didn't show up for last weekend's protest to grumble about the Target store planned to open in 2012 at the Don Quijote site in downtown Kailua between the Safeway and the post office.
City officials and other local leaders say they're confident that $1.5 billion in anticipated federal funding for the $5.5 billion Oahu rail transit line will still be forthcoming despite the Republican takeover of the U.S. House of Representatives.
Barely a week after voters decided by a wide margin to abolish the elected Board of Education in favor of a panel appointed by the governor, some elected members are lobbying for appointment to the new board.
I was sitting in my recliner with my two granddaughters on my lap enjoying the TV Halloween special "Scared Shrekless." It was the first time I had the kids settled down all day, and the peace was blissful -- until the TV cut to commercials and a pilau political ad came on.
It makes me steam to read that the tap water at Mayor Wright public housing won't.
A recent profile of U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye in the Washington Post described him as the "king of Hawaii."
The primary election told us all we need to know about why we must pass the constitutional amendment to abolish the elected Board of Education and replace it with one appointed by the governor if we hope to fix our public schools.
As the deadline to register to vote in the general election passed Monday, Republicans took another shot at Democrat Colleen Hanabusa for not being able to vote for herself in the 1st Congressional District she seeks to represent.
All of the chest-thumping about morality and righteousness in this year's election only reminds me that politics is one of the last places I'd look for either.
Much of the talk since the surprisingly one-sided Democratic primary for governor has been about what Mufi Hannemann did wrong, but it's more likely a matter of what Neil Abercrombie did right.
I'm superstitious about making candidate jokes on election day because of the famous admonition: "The problem with political jokes is they get elected."
There's been a lot of talk about CEO experience in the races for governor, lieutenant governor and mayor, but that's not what these jobs are really about.
There's getting to be a hit-and-run pattern to the negative tactics associated with the Mufi Hannemann campaign for governor.
The more you hear candidates for lieutenant governor talk about why they want the job, the more you wonder why they're running for it.
The fracas over Mufi Hannemann's "Compare and Decide" mailer that belittled Democratic opponent Neil Abercrombie's mainland birth, haole wife, UH education and congressional record is reminiscent of the 1994 governor's race that Ben Cayetano won over Pat Saiki and Frank Fasi.
Ed Case is out of the 2010 election after withdrawing from the 1st Congressional District race, but he's still making his presence felt by calling out candidates who play the race and "local" cards in Hawaii elections.
For a country that was founded by people who came here to avoid religious persecution, we're sure having a lot of trouble finding tolerance in our hearts more than two centuries later.
This year's race for governor of Hawaii is proving to be a test of whether bigger really is better, with Democratic candidate Mufi Hannemann pressing the campaign on every front like a true believer in the value of living large.
Gov. Linda Lingle's choice of Katherine Leonard over Mark Recktenwald as chief justice of the Hawaii Supreme Court was a surprise to most in the legal community, but it shouldn't have been.
Nobody can turn trash into political trash talk faster than Honolulu's elected officials.
Criticism of the Akaka Bill for native Hawaiian recognition has focused mainly on the concerns of the political right, which considers the legislation race-based preferential treatment.
A 200-acre fire in Kalama Valley caused by illegal Fourth of July aerial fireworks might light a fire under City Councilman Gary Okino's bill to totally ban consumer fireworks on Oahu.
Hawaii's homeless problem got unflattering national attention with the recent airing of a "Dog The Bounty Hunter" episode that showed the crew losing a suspect in a 50-acre encampment that sprang up in the brush between Waipahu High School and Pearl Harbor's Middle Loch.
When you ask the local education establishment what ails Hawaii's public schools, the stock answer is not enough money.
Mayor Mufi Hannemann has a gift for the political art of taking credit for everything and accepting accountability for nothing.
Of all the political rhetoric I've heard early in this campaign season, what's resonated the most is Democratic gubernatorial candidate Neil Abercrombie's call for the "re-establishment of a public conscience."

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