Archive for January, 2010

Paperless progress

January 30th, 2010
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If you’ve ever been to a hearing at the state Legislature, you’ve no doubt seen the incredible amount of paper that’s used on any given day.

Pink for the Senate reports. Yellow for the House. Green for conference committees. Blue for the governor’s justification sheets. And of course white, for everything else. (It’s almost as colorful as the array of T-shirts adopted by various groups to show their solidarity for an issue.)

But over the last few years, both the House and Senate have moved to reduce the amount of paper that gets used. How are they doing?

According to the Senate Majority‘s communications office:

Operationally, the Senate has reduced paper use by over eight million pages over the last two years, and eliminated the need for most of the large photocopiers required to produce the thousands of copies called for in the past.

For a closer look, check out this video unveiled by the Senate on Friday:

Eyes on Hawaii

January 26th, 2010
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DCCCNRCC

More evidence that national eyes are keeping a close watch on the upcoming vacancy in Hawaii’s 1st Congressional District (the seat being vacated by U.S. Rep. Neil Abercrombie).

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, or DCCC, the partisan group that works to get Democrats elected to Congress, is weighing in on the race and calling attention to what it calls hypocrisy by Republican candidate Charles Djou.

Djou faces Democrats Ed Case and Colleen Hanabusa in what is likely to be a winner-take-all special election open to all candidates regardless of party affiliation. The GOP’s thinking — fresh off of Sen.-elect Scott Brown’s upset victory in heavily Democratic Massachusetts — is that Djou could win a plurality of the vote if Democrats split between their two (possibly three) candidates.

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Final address

January 25th, 2010
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Gov. Linda Lingle delivers her eighth and final State of the State address today to a joint session of the House and Senate. (Start time scheduled for 10 a.m. The live stream can be viewed online at Olelo.)

Her speech is entitled “Reaffirmation and Rededication.”

From her office:

Reaffirmation of who we are and what we are for, and rededication to the kind of future we want for the next generation – a future we will all share.

You can follow our Twitter feed of the speech at http://twitter.com/hsbpolitics

For a copy of the speech, click here.

The Politics of Paradise

January 22nd, 2010
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politicomugs

Fresh off its upset victory in the Massachusetts Senate race, the Republican National Committee now sets its sights on Hawaii and the upcoming vacancy in the 1st Congressional District.

But at least one high-ranking Republican in Congress is calling out national party Chairman Michael Steele for, literally, setting his sights on Hawaii.

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Opening Day

January 20th, 2010
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SenatePhoto by Craig Kojima

Today marks opening day of the 2010 Legislative Session — when lawmakers begin the process of closing a $1.23 billion budget gap for the next two years.

There is less fanfare than in past openings, a nod to the flailing economy. Whereas there usually would be tables lining the basement hallways to accept scads of flowers and other gifts, there are none here today. There promises to be none of the typical entertainment — no hula halau or Society of Seven –  and there will not by the typical overflow of guests on the chamber floors.

Office parties may still go on, but likely on a scaled-down basis.

As a nod to the serious task at hand, opening day speeches are being kept short.

Here are the complete (prepared) remarks of the opening day speakers:

Senate President Colleen Hanabusa

Senate Minority member Sam Slom

House Speaker Calvin Say

House Minority Leader Lynn Finnegan

Support for Haiti

January 15th, 2010
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haiti

Here are the recent statements from Hawaii’s political leaders on the massive earthquake that has struck in Haiti.

Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann (Thursday, Jan. 14):

We in Hawaii share a special kinship with island peoples throughout the world. Let us all keep Haiti in our thoughts and prayers during this immense tragedy, and let us remain hopeful during the difficult recovery period that lies ahead. I am very pleased that our great nation has joined international relief efforts now underway, and I applaud our president for his swift action and pledge to help our neighbors in this time of terrible suffering.


Gov. Linda Lingle (Friday, Jan. 15):

The people of Hawai‘i have been following the news of the devastating disaster in Haiti with great interest and have been generously donating towards the relief effort.  The U.S. government has sent thousands of military personnel and tons of aid, including supplies and volunteers.  As always, our residents have reached deep into their hearts and pocketbooks to contribute to those Haitians who need immediate aid.

The State of Hawai‘i stands with the people of Haiti during this time of crisis and we pledge our long-term support.  I urge everyone to continue donating to the American Red Cross and other relief agencies.  I also ask the people of Hawai‘i to keep the Haitians in their thoughts and prayers during this very difficult time.

For information on how to help, visit the Google Crisis Response page for the Haiti earthquake.

White House Wiesy

January 13th, 2010
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obama_golf wieAP Photos

We all know of President Obama’s affinity for golf, especially while on vacation in Hawaii, so it had to be a treat to meet the state’s most notable duffer (and fellow Punahou alum) Michelle Wie.

The Big Wiesy was part of the victorious 2009 Solheim Cup team that visited Washington, D.C., this week as part of the seemingly endless parade of athletes to get a tour of the White House and a meeting in the Oval Office with the First Fan.

According to the Golf.com blog:

Obama asked the champs for tips on how to get his daughters into golf, wrote GolfWeek’s Beth Ann Baldry. “We told him to get them out to a tournament and let them drive a golf cart,” suggested LPGA poster girl Michelle Wie.

Wie turned to her generation’s medium for expressing giddiness: Tweeting. From her official Twitter feed today:

@themichellewie: the white house was AMAZING yesterday. meeting pres obama was one of the coolest things EVER!!

@themichellewie: Hes a total local boy! he said hey howzit and gave me a shaka!!!!!! cheeeee :)


Clinton Live

January 12th, 2010
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Please enjoy the live stream of Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s speech from the East-West Center. Clinton plans to address the U.S. vision for Asia-Pacific multilateral engagement. The speech is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. (Thanks to the East-West Center for making the stream available.)

At a news conference earlier today in Kapolei, Clinton announced that the Obama administration feels assured of Japan’s commitment to a continuing security alliance with the United States, even as Tokyo weighs abandoning a 2006 deal on a U.S. Marine air base. Story here.

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UPDATE 3:58 p.m.

In her speech, Clinton emphasized the need to strengthen regional institutions in Asia to make them more efficient and effective, and underscored the role the United States can play. Story here. She also pledged aid to the victims of today’s massive earthquake in Haiti.

Plus One

January 7th, 2010
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BCS

Even with all of the important business before lawmakers — like, say, finding $1.23 billion to close that pesky hole in the budget — there never is a shortage of bills or resolutions that make you go, “huh?”

With college football’s BCS National Championship tonight pitting unbeaten No. 2 Texas against undefeated and top-ranked Alabama, Rep. John Mizuno is introducing a resolution for the little guys — in this case, 14-0 Boise State and the other non-BCS conference schools that likely will never play for a national title.

Mizuno’s resolution calls on the NCAA to adopt the so-called “Plus One” quasi-playoff model for determining a “true” national champion. That system boils down to holding all the traditional bowl games and then adding a final game pitting the two top teams that emerge from the postseason, i.e., Boise State versus the winner of the Texas-Alabama game.

“I’m sure Boise State, after going 14-0 feels that they should have a shot at being number one,” Mizuno said in a news release. “However, because of the current flawed BCS system, they will be this year’s second ranked football team in the nation.”

(Actually, they could well finish fourth, behind Alabama, Texas and Florida.)**

The current system has no shortage of detractors, including Yahoo! Sports columnist Dan Wetzel, who has a unique idea for bringing public pressure on the BCS cartel.

Then again, the chief of the BCS thinks the system is working just fine.

Mizuno’s twist on the “Plus One” game would be to have 10 percent of seating reserved for members of the U.S. military and have 10 percent of the game’s proceeds go toward scholarships at the respective schools for handicapped students who qualify for admission, but lack the financial resources to attend.

The non-binding resolution would be sent to the president of the NCAA, President Barack Obama as well as members of Hawaii’s congressional delegation.

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** Update, 10 p.m.: Boise State finished fourth in both the AP and coaches’ polls.

Honoring teachers

January 5th, 2010
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Two Hawaii teachers are among 100 educators in Washington, D.C., this week to be honored by President Barack Obama for their excellence in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education.

Liane Tanigawa, of Pearl Ridge Elementary School, and Seanyelle Yagi, of Kalakaua Middle School, were informed of their honor earlier this year, and are in the nation’s capital to receive the award tomorrow (Jan. 6) at the White House.

A live, online stream of the event is scheduled to start at 8:30 a.m. Hawaii time, and can be viewed by clicking this banner:

WH_live

The awards are part of the Obama administration’s “Educate to Innovate” Campaign. The President also plans to announce new partnerships aimed at helping move American students to the top of the pack in science and math achievement over the next decade, according to White House spokesman Adam Abrams.

Teachers and mentors from across the country are scheduled to attend the event. A complete list of award recipients with their bios can be found HERE.