Archive for October, 2009

Foreign and Domestic

October 30th, 2009
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Hawaii Democratic Party Chairman Brian Schatz is asking Gov. Linda Lingle to cancel her trip to China.

The governor is scheduled to leave today on a two-week tour of six cities to promote tourism, business, renewable energy projects and sister-city relationships in the world’s most populous country.

That’s all well and good, Schatz says, “but there are many leaders in Hawaii who would represent us proudly and well in China.  There is only one governor and we need her here.”

He adds: “There’s just way too much work to be done, including an $800 million budget shortfall and two pending collective bargaining negotiations.  On top of that our schools are shut down every other Friday, a condition the Governor herself said never should have happened.  This moment calls for the governor to do whatever it takes to work with the legislature and other leaders in finding solutions to the school crisis, to balance the budget and to be here when we need her most.”

Lingle says she plans to keep in touch with her staff in Hawaii to stay on top of issues happening at home while she is away.

Doing Less With Less

October 16th, 2009
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(Warning: Shameless plug to follow!)

Grid08
^^KGMB weather guy Ben. Gutierrez (center, with flag) portrays the altitudinous Honoluolu mayor pitching his rail plan to the masses in last year’s Gridiron show.

-=-=-

If it’s October that can only mean one thing. Well, several things, actually.

We know many state workers are on the verge of losing their jobs, while others are staring furloughs in the face. And yes, we know public school kids are about to get extended weekends and three of our TV stations are about to be consolidated.

There is a way to fight the dreariness!

It’s Gridiron 2009: Doing Less With Less.

Gridiron is the annual show put on by the Hawaii Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.

The show itself is a fundraiser for the SPJ’s journalism internship program, but more than that it’s just a raucous romp spoofing the news and newsmakers of the past year (think Superferry, the swine flu and the last island-wide blackout … again!)

Gridiron features the talent of more than three dozen members of Hawaii’s media outlets with artistic direction from award-winning members of the island’s performing arts community.

For ticket information, go to Ticketmaster.

Shows are at Diamond Head Theatre:

7:30 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 22: Dress rehearsal. ($25 general admission tickets sold at the door; Doors open at 7 p.m.)

8 p.m., Friday, Oct. 23: Opening night (only single seats avaialble)

3 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 24: Matinee performance

8 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 24: Closing night

For more on Gridiron, follow the show on Facebook and MySpace.

(Yours truly is in the cast and will be taking the week off to concentrate on dance steps and song lyrics rather than ratification votes and rail transit.)

How to Vote Smart

October 13th, 2009
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The decidedly nonpartisan Project Vote Smart  spends its time tracking what politicians are doing all across the country, even Hawaii.

The Vote Smart trackers have been watching 12 of Hawaii’s top issues.

The issues range from tax increases to civil unions.  The savvy political follower will want to click around and check out the bios on all the players.

Let us know if you think the Vote Smart folks are missing an issue.

Nobel: Noteworthy or Nonsense?

October 9th, 2009
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Reaction to news of President Barack Obama winning the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize was swift. The sampling of headlines and links from the Drudge Report told it all:

OBAMA: 'SURPRISED AND DEEPLY HUMBLED'...
WINS NOBEL PEACE PRIZE...
MIXED REVIEWS; 'EMBARRASSING JOKE'...

PAPER: This makes mockery of peace prize...
White House Aide: 'It's Not April 1st, Is It?'...
Carter: 'Bold statement'...
Lech Walesa: 'Too early. He has no contribution so far'...
Michael Moore: 'Congratulations President Obama -- Now Please Earn It!'
Sen. Inhofe: Obama received Nobel Peace Prize for 'de-emphasizing defense'...

From the AP story:

Members of the Norwegian Nobel Committee said their choice could be seen as an early vote of confidence in Obama intended to build global support for his policies. They lauded the change in global mood wrought by Obama’s calls for peace and cooperation, and praised his pledges to reduce the world stock of nuclear arms, ease American conflicts with Muslim nations and strengthen the U.S. role in combating climate change.

Local political leaders didn’t miss a chance to weigh in either.

From state Democratic Party Chairman Brian Schatz:

Brian

The Nobel Committee’s choice of President Obama for the 2009 Peace Prize is an honor for the President and for our country.  For those of us in Hawaii, who know that Barack Obama’s roots are what led to his dreams and vision, we can be doubly proud.  We all know there is so much work ahead in a world filled with peril, but let us pause for a moment and reflect on what is possible and commit ourselves to a global community in which peace prevails.

Hawaii Republican Party Chairman Jonah Ka’auwai had a bit more to say on the matter:

Jonah

President Obama’s star power continues to earn him praise without merit.  What significant shift has taken place on the international front since he has taken office?

North Korea and Iran continue to demonstrate their unwillingness to disclose nuclear capabilities or negotiate real disarmament. American troops are still risking their lives in Afghanistan and Iraq to protect the country from those who wish to do us harm.

American leaders such as President Ronald Reagan, who ushered America to the end of the Cold War, were not honored for their actual achievements, while President Obama, nominated after only two weeks in office, was recognized for his rhetoric by a committee of star-struck Norwegians.

Following on the heels of a similar Hollywood-fueled Nobel win by Al Gore, one can only hope that the Prize will someday regain its credibility.

-=-=-=-=-

UPDATE: 2:20 p.m.

Ka’auwai’s statement drew a response from Schatz:

This is a proud day for America, and an especially proud day for all of us in Hawaii, because we have the first Hawaii – affiliated winner of the Nobel Peace Prize. We should be thrilled about this, and it’s sad that the local Republicans can’t get beyond their partisanship for just a moment to realize what a great day this is.

It’s no wonder that the local GOP has been so ineffective in capturing the enthusiasm of Hawaii residents when they focus on nipping at the President’s ankles rather than solving problems.

If this statement in turn draws a response from the GOP, we will post that, too. After that, they will just have to leave a comment like everyone else!

BHO on HBO

October 8th, 2009
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It’s not exactly “Sunset on the Beach” but it is a free movie in Waikiki.

HBO

On Thursday night, Oct. 29, HBO, Oceanic Time Warner Cable and the City and County of Honolulu present the Honolulu premiere of “By The People: The Election of Barack Obama.

The screening is free to the public, although viewers are being asked to bring a donation of canned food to support the Hawaii Foodbank.

Doors open at 5:30 p.m. with live entertainment by Willie K beginning at 6 p.m. The screening begins at 7 p.m.

From a news release about the event:

“By The People” is a unique exclusive, behind-the-scenes inside story of the Obama campaign, focusing on the candidate, family members, and staffers and voters who helped turn an unlikely American dream into reality. The film includes footage shot in Honolulu and interviews with several Hawaii residents, including, Congressman Neil Abercrombie, Bobby Titcomb and the President’s sister and brother-in-law, Drs. Maya Soetoro-Ng and Konrad Ng.

The documentary is produced by actor Edward Norton’s Class 5 Films and directed by Amy Rice and Alicia Sams.

Norton recently discussed the project on The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien (skip ahead to about the 5:35 mark):

The Honolulu screening includes a private VIP reception in the pool area of the Shell; reserved seating for Oceanic customers, community groups and sweepstakes winners in the seated section; and free, open seating in the lawn section. Oceanic subscribers may RSVP for preferred seating on a first come, first served basis at www.oceanic.com/obama. Lawn seating is open to the general public; no RSVP is required.

Hawaii GOP on Candidate Search

October 1st, 2009
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The Hawaii Republican Party, which is approaching one of its all-time lows in terms of legislative members has started a candidate recruitment drive.

Dubbed “You Like Run?” the campaign is headed by Rep. Lynn Finnegan (R, Mapunapuna-Foster Village) House minority leader.

“We are always looking for great candidates, this month and beyond,” said Finnegan.

“I hope that our ‘You Like Run?’ campaign helps Republican Party members and supporters start thinking about referring their child’s teacher,  their neighbor or even themselves to run for elected office.”

Finnegan says the Hawaii GOP has already gotten inquiries from “men and women with an array of ethnic backgrounds, from flight attendants and stay at home moms to small business owners and heads of non-profit organizations.”

Republicans now hold two seats in the 25-member state Senate and six in the 51-member state House.

The lowest GOP memebrship was in 1993 when there were four house members and three senators.