Archive for the ‘Current Events’ Category

General Election 2006

Tuesday, November 7th, 2006

9:40 p.m. Second printout is in. 50% of the vote counted. Statewide, Lingle still leads with 60%, Akaka is still running away from Thielen, and both Democrats in the U.S. House are leading their opponents with comfortable margins. Interesting to note is that the GOP may lose several seats, notably Senate 24 and House 11, 23, and 40, and the GOP incumbents who are still in the lead are in the mid-50% range while Democratic incumbents are well above 60%.

8:47 p.m. And as the House went, could the Senate go as well? Claire McCaskill has just taken the lead in Missouri by about 25K votes. It’s down to three states, Missouri, Virginia, and Montana. Montana looks like it will go blue, and Missouri just might if McCaskill holds on. Virginia might be the Ohio/Florida of this year’s election, and a recount is not unlikely. We might not know who won the Senate for weeks.

8:17 p.m. Some key races I’m keeping my eye on.

State Senate 19: Mike Gabbard is leading in early returns against George Yamamoto by one point for Brian Kanno’s old seat. This district is one of the fastest growing and politically mixed area of Hawaii. Way too close to call.

State Senate 24: Bob Hogue’s old seat, and my district. Jill Tokuda currently leads the absentee count 58-38, but don’t count out Keoki Leong yet. This district is traditionally GOP.

State House 4: Helene Hale’s old seat. Faye Hanohano leads by 10 percentage points, which seems rather close for an East Hawaii seat.

State House 17: Gene Ward seems to be making a good showing in his political comeback, but his lead over A.J. Halagao seems a bit tight given the area’s GOP-leaning tendencies.

State House 23: Tom Brower leads over Anne Stevens, who was appointed to replaced Galen Fox. A good chance for the Dems to pickup.

State House 28: Karl Rhoads leads Collin Wong in the race to replace ousted Rep. Bev Harbin. The margin is 2 percentage points; a good chance for the GOP to pickup a seat.

State House 40: Mark Moses leads Sharon Har by two votes. This could be a cliffhanger. Kapolei looks like a political battleground today.

State House 44: Karen Awana leads Michael Kahikina 51% to 47%.

7:17 p.m. First printout is in. All walk-ins and 2/3 of mail-in absentee ballots counted.
Governor: Lingle 61% Iwase 38%
Senate: Akaka 65% Thielen 34%
House #1: Abercrombie 69% Hough 31%
House #2: Hirono 64% Hogue 36%
Maui Mayor: Tavares 54% Arakawa 42%

7:08 p.m. Looks like the Dems will take the U.S. House and make Nancy Pelosi speaker. The Senate is +3 for the Democrats with Santorum, DeWine, and Chafee falling, but three more need to fall for the Dems to take control of the Senate. At this point, it looks like the GOP may hold on by the skin of their teeth. Webb is ahead by the slimmest of margins in Virginia (2,300 votes out of over 2.3 million cast), and Tester is well ahead of Burns in Montana. However, Corker and Talent are in the lead in Tennessee and Missouri respectively. That means that Dick Cheney may actually get to do something. Scary.

Polls have closed in Hawaii, but the first printout isn’t expected until about 7:30 p.m. Watching “Dancing with the Stars” until then.

Democrats Take the House!

Tuesday, November 7th, 2006

Happy days are here again!

Well, sort of. We’re still in the midst of a quagmire in Iraq that’s taking the lives of our best, and we’ve still got laws with domestic spying and torture on the books.

At least I’m reassured that it won’t get much worse. I hope.

Primary Election 2006

Saturday, September 23rd, 2006

10:48 p.m. Ed Case will probably wait for another printout before calling it quits. Akaka is singing “Hawaiian Lullaby.” Personally, I’m glad he’s Senator, ’cause he wouldn’t make it as a singer in Waikiki. KITV pundit Daryl Huff is saying that areas still outstanding in the 2nd printout are probably strong traditional Democratic (read: Akaka) areas. He’s ready to call it.

10:39 p.m. Sen. Akaka arrives at his HQ. His remarks indicate that he’s not yet claiming victory. He credits Sen. Inouye and Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann for their support and help.

10:37 p.m. Second printout is in. Akaka still in the lead, 55% to 45%. 2nd CD GOP: Bob Hogue still leads, 46.7% to 43.2%. Dems: Hirono still leads with 23%, but Hanabusa gets 18%. Iwase leads 49% to 17% over Aila.

10:13 p.m. KITV is reporting that the 2nd printout is being audited.

10:05 p.m. One more thing to note in the 2nd Congressional race: while Mazie Hirono leads statewide, Colleen Hanabusa is currently carrying Oahu. Can’t count anyone out yet.

9:51 p.m. Still waiting for the 2nd printout. KITV is saying that the election folks are making duplicates as they spoke. Keeping the media hungry, I guess. The 2nd printout will include 159 of the 353 precincts, mostly likely not including the west side of the Big Island, the Waianae Coast, and the North Shore (due to driving distance).

9:35 p.m. A few close races on the 1st printout while waiting for the second:

House 25 – D
BELATTI, Della Au 752 36.4%
STEELQUIST, John A. 725 35.1%
TURBEVILLE, Joy Matsuda 289 14.0%

House 44 – D
KAHIKINA, Michael P. 417 49.9%
REZENTES, Cynthia K.L. 355 42.5%

House 49 – R
ELISON, Minoo 158 39.2%
ZUTTERMEISTER, Kurt D.H. 148 36.7%

9:15 p.m. Another interesting race for the Windward seat on the Board of Education (my district):

PENEBACKER, John R. 34,945 51.0%
DeREGO, Kris 7,424 10.8%
VIERLING, Paul 4,651 6.8%

Says the Honolulu Advertiser in its rescission of its earlier endorsement of DeRego:

Kris DeRego, a Windward O’ahu candidate for the state Board of Education, last year admitted to his former boss that he had stolen money and wine from a liquor store where he briefly worked.

DeRego partly denied the theft allegations yesterday and said he had made a written admission last year to quickly resolve a dispute and avoid legal costs. He said he had also paid restitution and forfeited numerous bottles of expensive wines to the store.

“No theft has occurred, if for no other reason than because I paid full restitution for everything that was requested by the store,” DeRego said.

Kinda like saying one shouldn’t be charged for assault because he took his victim to the hospital.

At this point, if this trend continues, DeRego would still end up on the general ballot, unless Paul Vierling picks up some votes that would have gone to DeRego.

8:40 p.m. One notable race is House 28:

RHOADS, Karl (D) 801 58.0%
HARBIN, Bev (D) 215 15.6%
MIDDLETON, Carlton N. (D) 143 10.4%

Looks like Bev Harbin, who was the poster child for stick-to-itiveness or just plain stubborn muleheadedness, and who managed to alienate just about every politico in Hawaii and ended up being a politican without a party, is crashing and burning tonight. Note to Gov. Lingle: Next time, check to make sure your candidate hasn’t passed bad checks BEFORE you appoint her.

One to look at that may have future implications, and that we should watch closely, is the Republican U.S. Senate race:

COFFEE, Jerry 3,853 33.4%
BEATTY, Mark 1,913 16.6%
COLLINS, Chas. (Akacase) 921 8.0%
FRIEDHEIM, Jay 761 6.6%
TATAII, Steve 503 4.4%
PIRKOWSKI, Edward (Eddie) 478 4.1%

Lingle had been asking Republican voters to have a cup of Coffee (never mind that he withdrew to have heart surgery), and it looks like they listened. If Coffee keeps his lead, the GOP can then handpick their candidate to face Akaka. Maybe the loser in the U.S. House 2 GOP race may have a second chance. Stay tuned.

8:00 p.m. It looks like a long night. Bob Hogue is using his sports metaphors, still in the first quarter, and they “made a drive down the field and scored a TD.” They’re ahead, 3,000 to 2,500, but it’s still a close race with only absentee votes.

Daryl Huff on KITV says that Akaka has been winning every island including Oahu, which he says is crucial for a Case victory, as he won during the 2002 gubernatorial race. That he’s losing Oahu means that it would be difficult for Case. On the other hand, the GOP turnout is low, which means that there may be significant crossover. He doesn’t want to count Ed Case out. I think he’s right.

Printout #2 is expected about 9:30 p.m.

7:44 p.m. First printout is in. Akaka is ahead, 56% to 44%. Mazie Hirono leads the Dems in 2nd district Congress. Hogue leads GOP in 2nd district Congress. Iwase leads Dem primary for governor.

7:42 p.m. Some glitches, not all polls closed yet. Still waiting.

7:36 p.m. All polls are closed. Waiting for first printout.

7:03 p.m. Still waiting for the first printout. Right now on KHON Ed Case is addressing his campaign supporters, recognizing his supporters (first of whom was his wife Audrey), and taking credit for “giving the voters a real choice.” He called Akaka “a good, decent and honorable man,” and pledging his support should Akaka win. Is it just me, or does that sound like a concession speech, even before the first printout comes out?

Looking back, it’s been a rough campaign. The marquee campaign has turned especially nasty and divisive the last few days.

There are 13 polling places still open right now, so the printout should come out anytime now.

Five Years Later, Part 2: Blurring the Line Between Movies and Reality

Monday, September 11th, 2006

This excerpted entry was originally written on September 12, 2001. The kinesthetic side of me just had to get its hands around the whole thing, so what follows in this entry may seem kinda disturbing but was part of my dealing with the whole disaster. Apparently, though, I wasn’t alone.
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Five Years Later, Part 1: Ashes, Ashes, All Fall Down

Monday, September 11th, 2006

The following is a reprint of a journal/blog entry I made in the late evening of September 11, 2001 in my old hand-edited journal. Five years later, I re-read this entry and some of the other entries I made in that timeframe and they brought back memories. In a later entry (when I get my thoughts together) I’ll comment more on this entry and others.
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What Do You Think? Liquid Assets on a Plane

Thursday, August 10th, 2006

So British authorities have foiled a plot that would have involved liquid explosives, and as a result the TSA has banned all liquids and semi-liquids from carry-on baggage.

It’s about time that dangerous liquids are kept off planes. Dangerous liquids like…oh, say, dihydrogen monoxide?

Of course, it’s just my luck that this change is happening just two weeks before I go on a trip. I like traveling light…in fact, I’ll bring three or four changes of clothing for a one-to-two-week trip and plan to do laundry. Plus, I’m marginally less likely to lose my own luggage. Consequently, I’ve always been willing to make sacrifices so that all my stuff fits in a single suitcase and daypack. Carry-on-only has been the way to go.

But now these new requirements will put a crimp in my plans. I can’t even carry on toothpaste or shaving cream on the plane. Now I have two choices…either check my suitcase and risk it getting lost, or getting sample-size toiletries at the destination. (I am going to the area around a major city, so stopping at a Walgreens is an option.)

I have a couple of weeks to plan ahead, so I’d like some feedback. What would you do in my situation? Check the suitcase or buy my toothpaste there?

Waging Linguistic Warfare Against Iran

Saturday, July 29th, 2006

First they declared cultural war on the Danish (the people and the pastry). Now, they’ve taken aim at Western loanwords. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has ordered that words of Western origin be purged from Farsi (hat tip to The Moderate Voice). For example, “pizzas” will now be known as “elastic loaves.” Mamma mia.

OK, two can play at that game. Let’s not use any words of Persian origin in English.

Hmmm…this may be harder than I thought. We’re going to have to come up with really weird circumlocutions for some of these.

Hawaii is going to have a hard time marketing itself to the world, because “paradise” is of Persian origin. Saying that Hawaii is a “very desirable place” doesn’t have that same ring.

Guys getting married will have trouble telling tuxedo shops what kind of tux they want. “That one with the cummerbund–‘waist strap thing’ looks really good.”

Then when he takes his bride-to-be out for a night on the town, they’ll have to order a “wide mouthed bottle” of wine instead of a carafe.

Also here in Hawaii, we refer to “calabash cousins.” Ixnay on the alabashcay. We have to say instead, “my mom’s brother’s cousin’s daughter’s niece.” Or something equally convoluted.

Intellectuals will be disappointed to know that they won’t be able to participate in chess tournaments anymore. They’ll have to participate in “really difficult, high-muckity-muck game” tournaments instead.

And in that game, when they win, they can’t yell out, “Checkmate.” But, no big loss. They can always say, “Yeah! I whipped your sorry ass.”

While we’re at it, stores can’t accept checks anymore. It too is of Persian origin, though by a long convoluted pedigree. They’ll have to accept “financial IOUs” instead.

The list goes on and on.

It goes to say that in this increasingly connected world, when you try to dictate how your people speak, you’ll ultimately make language that much less useful.

An Open Letter to Israel

Tuesday, July 25th, 2006

Steve at Linkmeister has written an open letter to Israel. Of course, I have no delusions that our current administration would even think of writing anything similar.

Random Thoughts on the Situation in the Middle East

Sunday, July 23rd, 2006

Ever since the Israel-Hezbollah conflict ignited, Richard Silverstein, one of my favorite blog reads, has not been a happy camper. He has launched a counteroffensive of his own, with this, this, and this. And a heck of a lot more. He’s practically been blogging the Israel-Lebanon conflict 24/7 over the past week.

Not that I blame him. His blog’s raison d’être is working toward lasting peace in the Middle East, with particular emphasis on Israel’s actions vis-a-vis the Palestinians and their other Arab neighbors. And the region just took a step backward last week. Not just a step backward…a running jump backward. Summarizing his position (my words, not his…)

And the rockets red glare,
The bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night,
Ehud Olmert don’t care…

Of course, this conflict has been going on for centuries. When you read the Bible, hundreds of chapters and thousands of verses talk about the nation of Israel going to war against this nation, that tribe, or what have you. Of course, it’s all about territory and land. When God gave the promised land to Jacob’s descendants, he didn’t create a new island in the middle of the Mediterranean. The land that was given to the Jews was subtracted from that of the Canaanites. It’s been a zero-sum game ever since. Or at least, it’s been posed that way.

Not that ancient history excuses in any way the current behavior of the governments and groups in the Middle East toward each other. Unlike the religious right, who seem to believe that we should blindly support Israel because, well, they’re the hero of the Old Testament, I do believe that blame has to be shared by all involved.

I have to ask myself: If it’s Hezbollah that’s really behind all of this, why hasn’t Israel confined its bombing to confirmed Hezbollah targets? Why do they find it necessary to bomb Lebanon’s airport to smithereens, thus stranding foreign citizens, including Americans whose government now has to devote significant resources to getting their citizens out of harm’s way, resources that could be devoted to, oh, brokering a cease-fire?

Of course, seeing our government’s response toward its own citizens in New Orleans, I shouldn’t be the least bit surprised about our response regarding Lebanon. They’re just Lebanese, after all.

To end on a light note, though, a Lebanese blogger has decided to create some satirical cartoons on his blog (hat tip to the aforementioned Richard). Check his site for the original cartoon, but I’ll include the text of one here:

Damage to infrastructure: $200 million.
Loss of civilian property: $100 million.
Loss of civilian life: irreplaceable.
Chance to see Arab leadership for the impotent cowards they are: PRICELESS.

Kenneth Lay: A Higher Court Has Already Sentenced Him

Friday, July 7th, 2006

What do Kenneth Lay and Slobodan Milosevic have in common? They have the dubious distinction of having escaped the prison of life before having been duly judged and sentenced.

I guess God disagreed with the maximum sentence that Lay would receive (which would have, in effect, been life in prison), and decided to impose an even harsher sentence. Death. (Not that I agree in any way, shape, or form with the death penalty…at least as imposed by humans.)

On the other hand, his lawyers can take some credit for ensuring that their client would not spend one day in prison. How they managed to negotiate with the Almighty, though, is beyond me.

I don’t know. This just seems so…surreal.