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Archive for the ‘Big Island’ Category

Hawaii Winter Heating ToasterDon’t laugh at us when we complain, it gets cold in Hawai’i.

Not ice blistering Alaska cold, but cold all the same.

Before you call us pussies, let me explain. In Hawai’i, most houses are semi-contained. Many places here have either no windows or some windows, and the rest is screened in. There’s no heat, and rarely air conditioning. So whatever the temperature is outside, is what the temperature is inside.

So while the rest of the world would have their thermostats moderating something around 65°, we’re getting nice moist chilled air swooping off the mountains below 50° nighttime through the early morning.

The past few days I’ve had to resort to toaster hand warming, running the oven and opening the door, using the still-hot saucepan (after making rice) on my belly and bones, hot showers, foot soaks, jogging in place, ThermaCare neck warmers taped on the back, wool socks and hoodies, and even stuffing my Malamute / Chow Chow under the covers, to no avail. In a few hours I’ll be in shorts and a t-shirt, and the rest of the freezing world will be jealous, but until then….

While we’re on the topic, every year on weather modification sites you will see posts about snow here. To be clear, before there were airplanes, there’s been snow on the tops of Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa. That doesn’t discount “geoengineering” by any means, nor does it discount the fact that even those not living near the tops of volcanos are shivering.

I might even have to bust out my long sleeve 2mil wet suit top today for our current brisk ocean temp of 75.7 – what, don’t laugh!

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Yesterday concluded two day’s worth of testimony to restrict genetically modified organisms on Hawai’i Island. Though ironically the initial impetus in genetically engineered foods began there with the GM papaya, the Big Island – unlike all the other Hawai’i Islands – has not yet been inundated with GMO farms. (For more about the topic, read this recent Huffington Post article “GMO & Pesticide Experiments in Hawai’i: The Poisoning of Paradise” on the precarious situation.) This may be due in part to the lack of soil there, as well as the fact the people have been so diligent in fighting against it, particularly with coffee and taro – but it’s only a matter of time if it’s not stopped now.

GMO Hawaii Bill HearingA large number of people, from all islands, turned out both pro and con for Bill 79, with lots of informed testimony. This could have some implications on other anti-GMO bills on the table in Hawai’i, including Bill 2491 on KauaiAn overwhelming majority of the public favored the Bill, while pretty much everyone speaking out against it either farms GMOs, works for GMO companies, or are bought for and paid by GMO companies. Opposers to the bill seemed oddly misinformed, not just about GE crops, but about the bill itself, which includes exemptions for existing GMOs – like papaya – already on the island.

Here are a few testimonies that should go viral. Check out Big Island Video News for more of the proceedings.

Kealoha Sugiyama’s testimony was a crowd favorite – see why:

Comedian and organic farmer Aunty Granny Roseanne Barr was front and center. She grabbed her balls (or nuts) a few times at the meeting (symbolically), offering some help to the current GMO farmers on the Big Island, “Everybody here is very giving, and they would bend over backwards to burn those papayas and grow something decent.”

A pretty good timeline of the GMO fight in Hawai’i*, leading up to Bill 79:

The food fight will continue July 30th, Tuesday at 9AM in the Kona Council Chambers (we find this very curious, as the next date for the Kauai Bill 2491 Public Hearing is July 31st, which would obviously make it more difficult for activists, organic farmers, etc. to attend both. Hmmm.)

From Babes Against Biotech: 

Hawaii County Bill 79 to ban GMOs is recessed until July 30, 9AM in Kona Council Chambers…. Wille will introduce a stronger draft with less holes and exemptions which biotech could enter below the radar upon. Ilagan stated he plans to introduce an amendment as well, which will be upon the original draft as Willes’ final amend[ed] version will not be available until then…. [After] which case the Council will have to agree upon a version in discussion of multiple proposed amendments. Be on the lookout, reach out to your Hawaii Councilmembers.

Like Babes Against BiotechGMO Eradication Movement, GMO-Free Kauai, on Facebook for updates.

* Though we’ve mentioned it many times before, we’ll cover more on the lies regarding the supposed “success” of the GE Papaya.

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Mac Nut Hawaii 2

Mac Nut Trees Typically Drop Nuts From May Through December

What’s a girl to do when the guy at the farmer’s market has a couple bunches of basil left that he practically wants to give to you (sometimes it pays to arrive late). Well, if you’re a girl in Hawai’i with a mac nut tree that just won’t quit, you rush home to make a batch of Mac Nut Pesto.

Here’s our quick un-recipe (measuring cups be damned):

  • 2 bunches o’ basil
  • 2 cloves garlic. (Heck, I’d add even more if it was just for me. What, I’m obsessed!)
  • 20 mac nuts
  • Organic Oils

So in a nut shell, the hardest part of this recipe is the nut shell.

If you don’t have a mac nut tree, it’s good to buy your nuts in the shell. They last longer and are less likely to be rancid. Order online from Monika’s Mac Nuts in Pahoa on the Big Island of Hawai’i – they send them to you ready to crack. But cracking takes some finesse – we’ll get to that in a bit.

Hawaii Mac Nuts MK Wares Pottery

If you have tree access, don’t pick the nuts directly off of it. Instead, wait ’til they fall in their soft green husk. And though it’s recommended that you harvest the nut within a day or two after it has fallen, we often don’t get to it ’til the nut is part way or completely out of the husk. Cons: Potential mold, heat respiration, creatures nibbling on your nuts. Pros: less work, the unused nuts becoming natural compost for the tree. On the side of the tree that gets more shade, the nuts are sometimes moldy, but otherwise they’re typically fine.

Once you have the nuts de-husked, you want them to dry out a bit inside the shell. That allows it to lose some moisture content and shrink; making space between the nut and the shell. After that it’s easier to crack and separate.

Typically I put them in a flat bowl and for a month keep them in the window sill that gets some afternoon sun (it’s difficult to get things to dry in high humidity, especially if you live in areas with less sun and wind exposure). You can also use a food dehydrator over the course of a few days.

Give this job to your boyfriend or husband or someone with patience & muscles

Give this job to your boyfriend or husband or someone with patience & muscles

This time though I grabbed them right off the ground and wanted to use them as soon as I could. Solution? Stick them in the oven at a very low temp for a few hours. The idea is to try to keep it as “raw” as possible and not heat the oils. Sure, it’s not enough time to really dry and shrink the nut much but it sure makes the shell easier to crack. And though you’ll still have to nudge the meat out, in this case, keeping it whole isn’t a priority anyway.

Though hammers work, I splurged on a $20 Australian Crack-A-Mac from Monika’s. Tip: Crack it on the little dot that appears on the shell.

Once you de-husk and de-shell it’s pretty simple: throw it all in the food processor.

It got a little ADD when it came to choosing the oil and I ended up including a splash of: Dr. Bronner’s* Coconut, Epicurean Organics Olive, Udos, and Nutiva’s* Hemp (sign up for Nutiva’s newsletters – they have amazing Tuesday sales).

Mac Nut Pesto

Use whatever oil you have – even more Mac Nut – but you gotta have some olive oil for that Mediterranean flavor. Look for organic, cold pressing, extra virgin, and for the light sensitive oils always get them in a darker glass. Also because the mac nuts have a good amount of Omega 3, you’ll maintain a decent balance even if you are adding oils that are high in Omega 6.

Our mac nut pesto came out yummy – ate it on pasta, sprouted breads, crackers, added to more oil to make a salad dressing. Eventually got reconstructed into a cream cheese salmon spread for a few wayward poppyseed spelt bagels.

Mac Nut Pesto Toast

Cheap, yummy and healthy – what’s not to luv

* support companies who don’t use GMOs and helped fight for GMO labeling!

Note: If you want to grow your own mac nuts, they do prefer a decent amount of rainfall. Check out this video.

Quick plug, the cute lavender / blue / green stoneware in two of the above photos is from MK Wares who makes the most beautiful pottery. Check them out.

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For the first hour or two after the planes spray, you can see the remnants of the actual line(s), followed by many random criss-cross patterns that come from the ocean and cross Hanalei Bay.

Our sky pollution in Hawai’i is caused mostly by a volcano and the purposeful spraying of “chemtrails” by planes. Criss-cross patterns that make no sense considering the very particular air traffic to and from Hawai’i, with a specific “start” and “stop” marker that doesn’t appear as a continuous “contrail” (there’s not supposed to be an on/off switch), and that don’t evaporate as a contrail would (there needs to be specific conditions required for a contrail to form and then not dissipate). Often we can watch them doing it. Other times they** spray over the Pacific Ocean, and let the trade winds or Kona winds carry them in, after which we observe the absolutely clear, crisp blue sky disappear before our eyes as a blanket of color-muting haze.

The strips degenerate into ribbony wisps so the sky appears more white than blue. It starts in the morning and lasts a majority of the day, sometimes supplemented with more sky painting in the afternoon.

Those with asthma, respiratory and allergy issues are worst hit, but even those who don’t have health issues notice burning eyes, shortness in breath (as if you spent the day exercising in a very smoggy city or smoking a lot of cigarettes) and/or fatigue.***

Sure, we are abused by military exercises in Hawai’i, they like to call it “chaff” in the news ["What looked like rain wasn't rain, it was military chaff" –Guy Hagi, KGMB weatherman, 1/16/2012], and it’s suggested spraying here is done to affect radar. Often you hear people call the haze “vog” (volcanic smog), despite the fact that when there are trade winds, which is a majority of the time, they push the vog away from most islands except S/W of Hawai’i Island.

The chemtrails (and HAARP affected clouds) are seen more and more often (especially over the past five years) here and around the world. In fact, the most immediately dramatic effects of this spraying that I’ve ever witnessed was visiting Morro Bay; when I got up early to check the surf, and watched about five planes – flying back and forth – absolutely saturate the skies. Within an hour the beautiful morning was gone, yet anyone who woke up late and only looked up at the sky after 7 a.m. might have thought it just another foggy day in the central coast of California.

What are in these chemtrails, and what is the purpose behind them, are addressed in Michael Murphy aptly titled films “What in the World Are They Spraying?” and the just released follow-up: “Why in the World Are They Spraying?” Watch the full length movie here. Spread the word. Start a dialogue. It’s kinda hard to look up in the skies, witness with our own eyes, and deny what’s going on any longer.

For the most updated picts/info check these wacko fringe groups who are obsessed with the outdated notion of blue skies and clean air ;) : AirCrap.org; Kauai Sky Watchblog / Facebook page; Maui Sky Watch; Maui Clean Sky Ordinance FB (Maui residents craft legislation to ban aerosol spraying; read the actual bill); Chemtrail Awareness; Stop Spraying California; GeoEngineering Watch.

* It still attracts cuckoo birds, too.  ** No, I don’t know who “they” are – from the climate engineers, government entities, private companies, pilots spraying – but considering all the military in Hawai’i I would assume they would be most efficient in getting the job done. Then again, you could just use Hawaiian Airlines….  *** Certainly not complementary to the health issues people may be having post-Fukushima (including the cesium which invades muscle tissue).

Chemtrails at Kealia Beach, East side Kauai

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There are a few groups I like to donate to when I can, and this is one of them: Project Hawai’i. Project Hawai’i helps with homeless families on the Big Island and Oahu including day camps, sleepover camps, holiday meals, Christmas gifts… little things that are HUGE things in the lives of homeless keiki. Summer camp is just around the corner and right now, for just $4.50 (as they say, the cost of a latte) you can provide a meal, or $12.50 for whole day’s worth of meals. Tax-deductible donations can be made through their goal chart page “Summer Camp Food Menu Drive”, or mail a check direct to: Project Hawai’i, POB 1844, Kea’au, HI 96749. Mahalo for your kokua!

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There are many homeless children in Hawai’i, but being homeless shouldn’t mean growing up without opportunities for health, security, education, joy…. There’s one woman and one program located on the Big Island* that seems to go above and beyond in order to provide and make a difference and that’s Magin Patrick and The Christmas Wish Program. Her volunteer-based organization doesn’t just provide holiday gifts, meals and festivities for the Big Island’s homeless, poverty-stricken and abused keiki but they also provide life necessities, personal hygiene kits, food, clothing, emergency services, assistance to help families get off the streets, inspiring kids to stay in school, back to school supplies, a reading and tutoring program, teen mentoring…. As if that wasn’t enough work, in 2007 they introduced a 9 week summer camp, where teens from all over the US come to Hawai’i to mentor homeless keiki with a variety of activities and educational programs.

The Christmas Wish Program is now partnering nonprofit with the USDA Summer Nutrition Program. This program allows them to assure proper nutrition for the kids during summer camp and is a stipend they rely on to keep the project running. But a new policy means they need to show financial stability for their projected attendance and the USDA is now requiring them to have their funds before their application can be approved.

So last month Magin put a call out for some financial assistance to help them meet their goals for this year’s summer camp: to provide hot nutritious meals to 75 homeless and poverty-stricken keiki. The deadline is March 5th yet when I got a second email plea I went on their site and saw out of the $12,112 needed, they’d only raised $267 ($60 being from myself and a company I work for). Times are tough and we all feel it, but they’re still looking for people who can help by covering one child’s healthy, hot breakfast, lunch and dinner for a day – just $8.50! All their staff is on a volunteer basis, which allows 100% of all the donations to help the homeless (and they are tax deductible).

It only takes a minute. If can, please kokua!

Christmas Wish Summer Nutrition Program  (First Giving)

For more info:

Magin Patrick, Executive Director, Christmas Wish Program, Inc. & Project Hawai’i, P.O. Box 1844, Kea’au, HI 96749 • (808) 982-8128 or cell (808)987-6018 • HelpingHands@ChristmasWishProgram.org

The Christmas Wish Program

Volunteer Hawai’i: Christmas Wish Program

Volunteer Hawai’i: Teen Mentoring Program

Great Non-Profits

* Eighteen percent of children on Hawai’i Island live in poverty (Hawaii-Tribune Herald, Feb., 2010)

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We have a follow-up on the Chile tsunami potentially hitting Hawaii and the post-tsunami rumor mill. We’ll keep the info nicely tucked away in the “allegedly” category. For your consideration:

1) We have offshore buoy reports that accurately predict swells (size and direction) coming into Hawaiian waters. These are the buoys that give us our surf forecasts, and the forecasters who translate this information are amazingly accurate. So wouldn’t you think that these same buoys could give us the same information about a wave generated by a tsunami? On top of that there is tsunami detection equipment set not only on buoys but on the sea floor. NOAA satellite’s can measure the surface of the ocean to a millimeter, minute by minute, as well as sand build up under the water. So wouldn’t they be able to measure a 3-6 foot swell heading into Hawai’i, especially as the wave got closer? Sure there are degrees of variance, including how a tsunami may hit different areas on the island. But post event we now hear that many looking at the readings already knew the wave was going to safely pass Hawai’i. So why wasn’t the tsunami called an “advisory” (which would have better fit their criteria) instead of a warning”, at least as it made its way closer and it became more undeniable?

2) The alarms went off at 6am and instead of authorities saying, Get your ass out of town by 11:00, what was repeatedly stated is, you have plenty of time, don’t rush, don’t hurry. Sure, in the best of worlds keeping people calm and collected in the face of challenges is a wonderful accomplishment (especially with Hawai’i’s quickly congested 1-2 lane roads), but one would assume more fervent evacuations might have been conducted. Though many evacuations took place, some who reside in shoreline areas commented that it felt a little off that with such a definite forecast of a tsunami warning there wasn’t a greater sense of imminent danger.

A possible conclusion:  If the government agency in charge of emergency response chose to – instead of calling off the warning – use the situation as a tsunami drill… then the drill was well performed and a success. Fact is, it’d be darn near impossible to make a true-to-life mock tsunami drill, so it was a great opportunity. In the end of course, it’s always better to err on caution (unless you’re Chicken Little). And as far as economic stimulation (well, at least for Foodland and the news shows/sites) – check!

Anyway, you decide.

p.s. You think I can return all these supa-sized Crystal Geyser waters?

p.p.s. Btw, the info about the tsunami readings, that it was known early on that Hawai’i was in no danger, was confirmed by an anonymous higher-up in the military with a little lot more insider info than us surf rats.

*   *   *

March 1, 2010: Today the news explained away the tsunami warning stating that the readings for the tsunami were 50% higher than they should have been. That no tsunami warning for Hawai’i should have even been made. So why was it? Officials blamed it on unexperienced workers who couldn’t read the new equipment correctly.

They didn’t mention when this fug-up was actually realized, but it does mean we’re supposed to believe that they based this huge tsunami warning on a few incompetent workers. Regardless, as it made its way towards Hawaiian waters (where we have the most amazing surf forecasters, tsunami central for the Pacific, etc.), logic dictates that the true nature of this tsunami must have been realized well before the warning was finally called off after noon.

Again, you decide…..

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Right now everyone is still asleep here in Hawaii. Word is they’re going to blast the sirens at 6am. That’s when the town is going to wake up, cancel their surf ‘n’ sun plans and stock up. If there’s one thing people living Hawai’i know how to do, it’s stock up. Especially because if any natural disaster does hit, we never know when the next boat will come to bring us toilet paper (and beer). Tsunami arrival time approx 11:20am (island dependent). Of course, it’s often more about the anxiety of the possibility, but might as well be prepared for the worse (and it can’t really be a bad thing to have an extra case). Follow us on Twitter; will keep you posted from there.

7am update

Gas stations selling out/power being shut off, grocery store lines running around the inside of the store (of course we went to the empty lines no one was using in the middle), roads closed, evacuations, computer works much better than the phone…. three feet doesn’t sound like much, and probably won’t be. There’s more concern for ocean front / sea level property, docked boats, temporary lack of provisions and power….

One interesting aspect, the last tsunami that hit – about 1″ – into Kauai left some beaches covered in sea life – including turtles, seals, shells, etc. What will the sea turtle do this time? Going to Princeville’s St. Regis hotel where members of Save Our Seas are prepped to document / video any effects on the marine life.  Anything good, we’ll post it here!

11am update

Anything happening? At St. Regis overlooking Hanalei … with hundreds of other people. Nothing to report yet except it’s the lowest high tide with much of the reef exposed, there are no turtles in the water, the whales are breaching way outside, and Laird is the only guy they allowed out to surf…just kidding. Actually, the only thing to report is it’s a big party up here and a beautiful day…and the St. Regis bar is making a killing.

*   *   *

And then…our post-hype follow-up piece: Was the Hawai’i Tsunami Warning Really Just a Drill?

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Big Island getting some Obama Love. Okay, it’s actually the Democratic “Grand Rally” where Barack Obama’s sister Maya Soetoro-Ng will be making an appearance on behalf of her bro. That’ll be this Friday, September 19, 2008 from 4-7pm.

Where’s it at? In Hilo at Mooheau Park, 231 Kamehameha Avenue. Supposedly there is only space for 300 (at the park?) – so, click here to RSVP ASAP! More info: Hilo Bay Oceanfront Contact Al Beeman (808.895.1813). Did someone say free hot dogs and chili?

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These days on the Big Island at least, you can probably save a tree and get better quality local island news by reading it online. The recent demise of locally owned Hawaii Island Journal* -the Big Island’s best and oldest “weekly” (officially three times monthly)- will certainly leave a hole to fill when it comes to more intelligent, eco-conscious, thorough culture, community, and (if not a little typically left-sided, a la most Weeklies) political coverage. There were direct insinuations, that the Big Island Weekly, owned by Nevada’s Stephens Media Group, helped put HIJ out of business. As a matter of fact, previous to this, Stephens had made attempts to purchase HIJ to no avail. The Weekly*, which entered the field in the last few years, has a business m.o. similar to Mesa (Go!) Airlines: enter the market (subsidized and able to offer lower prices), put the competition out of business, then control the market (raise rates, and in this case, without diverse competition, cut out the more cutting edge editorial policies). We’ll see how that goes.

As it stands, Stephens also owns the island’s dailies West-Hawaii Today and The Hawaii Tribune Herald. These newspapers (more specifically the later – though they often share pieces) are mainly entertaining to read if you like spell-checking or making fun of improper English; let’s just say Grammar Girl would have a field day. Though you’ll get a decent article now-and-again, often anything controversial is reported via one-sides stories with reporters not always bothering with the concept of an unbiased or balanced perspective. There’s also a convenient over-use of the “…wasn’t available for comment” line, which seems to find it’s way into many articles when their “journalists” don’t want to go out of their way to make a few more phone calls (or when hearing the other side might let the truth get in the way).

Stephens was under fire in 2005-2006 for “union-busting”, after which many of their best writers subsequently left the paper. After much brouhaha, in March 2008 the National Labor Relations Board ruled that at least two of the firings violated federal labor laws and ordered the paper to hire the reporters back – though it’s still uncertain how the paper may now proceed (though you can keep abreast of the issue via the Hawai’i Newspaper Guild website).

If their control of print media wasn’t enough, last year Stephens caused alarm by becoming a part-owner in television station KHHB (channel 5). Though newspapers are usually not allowed to own TV stations, the FCC said they would allow this because it is a low-power station.

Beyond Stephen’s media, we have the fun to read aloud Hawai’i Free Press. Let’s just say it would make Rush Limbaugh proud. The editor (the same guy behind the lies that Obama was a radical Muslim, as uncovered by a Washington Post investigation) is now touting his paper as the only free press on Hawai’i Island but…. Coincidentally, in the wake of HIJ‘s demise, a new free paper, The Island Sun, has emerged, focusing on an immersion in Hawai’i issues and cultural roots. Only one issue so far, we’ll have to if they can step it up: from design to substance. Still, it’s doubtful it can ever replace what is missed with HIJ going under. But is there hope?

HIJ editor Peter Serafin is out and about making a case for the importance of maintaining alternatives to monopolies. The powers that be don’t seem very concerned about protecting independent media sources, but there’s still some small hope someone will step in and purchase the defunct paper. As Peter mentioned in his July 1st testimony to the Hawai’i County Planning Committee (posted on Hunter Bishop’s site):

A number of investors are in discussion to buy the paper and relaunch publication. Anyone interested in participating in this effort, or anyone with any questions is welcome to contact me at SaveTheJournal@mac.com.

Whether or not new owners will take on the bills, including payment to the freelance writers of the past few issues, is another story. Actually, they have unpaid editorial bills from April 19th to the final June 14th issue! Seems publisher Laurie Carlson (Pacific Catalyst Publishing, which also owns the sister publication Honolulu Weekly) closed shop, without much warning (to the point of waiting ’til Serafin was on his first vacation since starting with the paper 2 1/2 years ago!), and left it in a state where there are no funds to pay their contributors (thank you very much), who are now left footing her outstanding bills (myself included). According to Bob Brooks who works for the Advertiser and is in charge of HIJ accounting:

Unfortunately, the Journal has no money but we do have about $30,000 in accounts receivable for unpaid advertising. Our adviser has stated that the first payment priority is salaries and next is taxes. As money is collected, we will be issuing checks; however I don’t expect that it will be any time soon, if ever, as many of the accounts are long past due and may never be collected…. Pacific Catalyst Publishing Company, LLC, is a limited liability corporation. All of the stock is owned by Honolulu Weekly; however the Weekly has no liability for the debts of the corporation as it is a stockholder.

Back to the local blogs which are – and have been for quite some time – picking up the slack for local island news reporting (and likely will continue to do so, as printing prices rise and quality editors and journalists are lost). If you’re interested in what’s really going on in the islands, here are a few site links – some by writers who used to work in the local newspaper biz – and all worthy of bookmarking!

big island chronicle • hunterbishopthekonablogpoinographyIan LindDisappeared News

[* note: though there are many disparaging words for Big Island Weekly ownership, most support the local staff that work there.]

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Was that really a caucus? Look, I didn’t have any grand illusions that it would be professionally organized; I know these people are volunteers, most first timers. And we have already seen how this election has brought the Democrats out in force. On top of that, certain areas here on Hawai’i Island have getting answers at the hawaii caucusgrown during that last housing boom (some spots experiencing population growth of over 8x since just 1990) – so one could only imagine this year it’d be a little more crowded. But one might also assume there would be a proportionate increase in caucus locations… not so much….

<one volunteer explains, “tink they got da pakalolo over dair”>

My polling place was packed. Considering past presidential caucuses in the whole state of Hawai’i haven’t exceeded 5,000 voters, and though optimistic reports were anticipating maybe 12,000, I was kinda shocked when (by my estimates) there were at least 500 at our caucus location alone (okay a few were kids and dogs, but still)! (note: I just found out, over 1000 people voted there!) It was absolutely amazing; hundreds of people coming and going. (more…)

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<yo wil… think this one is even more to-the-point than the “Yes We Can” Obama original …and way mo funny>

The Clinton’s are disliked too much by the Republican’s. And if Hillary winds up as the Democratic nominee, the Republican’s have the weapons, the ammunition, all the Clinton corruption we’re sick of hearing about…to utilize against her. Clinton will inspire a nation of neo-cons to come out in force, to make sure their militarist nationalist Bush-backed Republican McCain will win and maintain the anti-terrorism terrorism, Patriot Act spying on US citizens, war mongering, and keep us in Iraq for years…and years…to come. Despite some of his once-positive attributes, and nevermind that he once stood up for things he believed in, McCain will become another puppet – just like our current president. We have already witnessed this shift since he decided to run for office (though some blame it on senility or an honest admitting to not recalling his own voting history or perspective on core issues). Recently he’s made advances to appeal to the extreme conservatives – who constantly bagger him that he’s not conservative enough. The only thing that’s consistent about his beliefs, is that he’ll flip-flop on them in order to get elected: he now wants to overturn Roe vs. Wade, now wants no campaign finance reform, now is for torturing war criminals (of all things), etc.

(more…)

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voting controversyThere have been some discrepancies in caucus locations. I’ve published below what seems like the most accurate Precinct Election & Presidential Preference Poll site directory, found at the Democratic Party of Hawai’i web site. You will need to know your representative district first —use this link if you don’t know itthen enter that info into the Democratic Party’s Prez Preference Poll site directory – or if you’re on the Big Island, just check the list below. Any further questions, or if the sites are still crashing: BIG ISLAND RESIDENTS, THE Hawai’i Democratic Office, 808/596-2980, is forwarding you to this number: 326-9779. You can also call County of Hawai’i Election Division: Hilo 961-8277; Kailua-Kona 327-3633. PLEASE NOTE: Caucus location is likely not the same as your regular polling place. ALSO NOTE: KNOW YOUR PRECINCT NUMBER TOO, THAT’S HOW YOU WILL BE DIVIDED ONCE INSIDE THE CAUCUS! (more…)

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wifi hotspotSo, Starbucks made their splashy announcement that they’re ditching T-Mobile for AT&T and by this Spring (a little later for Hawaii) will offer two hours of free internet with a purchase of $3.99 or more. As cutting edge as they were by taking that Seattle gourmet coffee habit and spreading the addiction to a world ready and willing to spend 2-3 times what they used to on a cuppa joe, this company had been a little slow on the draw when it came to certain aspects of running business in the modern world. Most every coffee shop, at least in major cities, knows a good coffee buzz and net surfing go together and therefor don’t make it difficult for customers to grab their coffee and check their email at the same time. Yes, quality coffee is a priority, but free internet and a nice atmosphere (with adequate electrical outlets and comfy seats) to inspire one’s next great blog post is equally important.

It’s a different sort of aminal when it comes to small towns. There are less options, less competition, and it’s filled with imprudent owners who think it wise to nickle-and-dime potentially faithful clientele for an internet connection as a means to bolster profits. So, on the Big Island for example, with limited locations, you see the places that are evolved enough to offer free WiFi (or WiFi with purchase) are typically busy all day long.starbucks paper cups

The thing that irks me about Starbucks, is that while they take a few steps forward with this internet plan, they’re taking a few steps back in the way in which they are implementing it. See, the new deal goes: You must purchase one of their plastic Starbucks store cards with a $5 minimum on it in order to qualify for access! The idea is that you will buy the card, pay for your $2-4 coffee, and then proceed to lose the card or throw it in a drawer with some money still on it – free profit for them. And though it is “recyclable” in the sense that you can certainly reload the card, the majority of people will never use it again, and instead will ask for a new one the next time they go in.

Hey, on an island, we don’t need any more unnecessary waste in our landfills; toxins seeping into our groundwater and ocean. Starbucks should give an internet code on any receipt of $3.99 or more and leave it at that (since they still automatically print receipts). Starbucks makes enough starbucksmoney – $2.8 billion first quarter fiscal 2008 seems decent – while strangely, their many-paged investor relations release never once mentions the environmental concerns of doing business.

Don’t get me wrong, Starbucks has made efforts to be eco-friendly, but activists had to work long and hard to get them to pay attention to the importance of purchasing Fair Trade, for example. And while the company now goes over-board to publicize their efforts, it’s still a limited portion of their coffee sold (ask for a cup of Fair Trade next time you go in there, they’ll likely have to French Press you up one special). As far as recycling goes, they’ve been equally slow. On the plus side, they recycle their cardboards, repack grounds for garden fertilizer, and made the eco-gesture of using 10% recycled paper in their cups. But they utilize 2.3 billion paper cups annually, and their cups are still not recyclable. As the world leaders, claiming awareness to the cause, they should set the highest standards. Sure, perhaps the expense could be a hit on their billions, but how is it these smaller coffee shops are willing and able to take on the challenge?

Fact of the matter is, whenever there is an option available, conscious customers (especially those of the green generation) will opt for the small local coffee shops. The good ones now all use compostable non-petroleum lined paper cups, fair-trade / organic local coffee, and offer internet with no plastic cards or limits. Not to be too negative, because where there are meager options, as is the case on much of the Big Island, it’s a good thing that Starbucks will now offer more than an indulgent soy mocha for my five bucks (and since I’m staying to connect, I’ll ask for it in a ceramic mug). Now I can get some work done and not worry that AWS (Hawai’i Island’s kinda pricey wireless service) is coming in sketchy. Or that I’ll ever again get suckered into paying for T-Mobile (any company, á la AOL, that makes it very difficult to figure out how to cancel your monthly subscription is not one to support! We’ll have to see how AT&T, typically incompetent with their accounting, does with the service). Because one thing about corporate Starbucks that is nice, besides getting the same tasting cup you’re expecting, no matter which store you go to, is that most have a cozy indoor space, where you can plug in and hang out as long as you like. …Especially important when the Hilo rain is all-time!

Note: T-mobile internet subscribers, Starbucks’ employees, and likely iPhone users and customers who are already paying AT&T internet access fees will get unlimited free service. • Though I heard the free two hours has already gone into effect some spots on the mainland…it’s always a little slower here. Let’s just say, staff at Borders’ Starbucks in Hilo only first heard about it this morning and they were just planning a meeting about the switch-over… in Hawai’i time…. (three weeks later the whole morning staff at the downtown Hilo Starbucks said they never heard of the internet switchover).

* * * * *

wifi logo

Hawai’i Island HotSpots

As a guide for locals who like to get outta the house to work, those who can’t afford DSL at home, and tourists who regularly post on chat rooms asking where they will be able to connect while visiting the Big Isle, here’s a list, of coffeehouses and beyond, where you can experience some free “coconut wireless” – including Starbucks locations ($ = purchase / passwords involved). If there are any spots we’ve left out or ones that no longer work – please let us know, as we will continually update as needed. Hope this helps… ’til the whole world is a free WiFi hotspot.

bot.com internet cafe

Hilo

Bot.com Café (180 Kinoole St, 808/933-9800) The new best place for chillin’ and getting some work done (or not getting some work done). Robots, zombies, Buffy, music, movies, espresso, fresh food and if you’ve got a laptop, log in for WiFi all day long if you like, for a simple $3 purchase (use their computers for $6 an hour). p.s. watch the 2hr parking limit on Kinoole – guess Hilo is trying to score on implementing their enforcement lately – Haile has an 8hr limit. (10am – 10pm, Tues.-Sat) $

***JUST ADDED*** Cafe Pesto (308 Kamehameha Ave Ste 101, 808/969-6640) Usually tasty food (tho somewhat inconsistent), good pizza, tourist pricey – and Hilo locals like it cause there are a limited number of what one may consider “nice” places to take your significant other out to eat. Saw a Wifi sign in front of their place – and also noticed on Trip Advisor you get a free birthday desert with ID and purchase of an entree. Call for hours.

CD Wizard (23C Pohaku St, 808/969-4800) Just opened their internet cafe – coffee and food coming soon. If you have your own laptop, hook into their WiFi with any purchase – yes, Trevor sez even a bottle of water! $ (Feb 21 update: $3 wifi password -good for one day- for non Wizard Club members, free for Wizard Club members).

Imiloa Astronomy Center Sky Garden Restaurant (600 Imiloa Place, 808/969-9700) Check out the new (primarily NASA-funded) 28 million dollar center, enjoy a state-of-the-art 3D Stereo Planetarium show, immerse yourself in the mesh of Hawai’ian culture and modern astronomy, grab some grub at the restaurant (new owners – espresso, omelettes, Chinese food…), get some work done (7am – 4pm). Yearly membership: $30 / students, $45 / adults (price will increase April ’08)imiloa astronomy center hawaii

KopeKope (Hilo Shopping Center, 1261 Kilauea, 808/933-1221) One of the most-utilized WiFi options for da college crowd besides campus, this place has the best coffee in town (with a mix of friendly and not-so-much service). Avoid the eggs (microwaved) and smoothies (syrup) but otherwise pretty good food too (waffles with fruit on the weekend). Entertainment provided, if you want to take a break from homework. The internet, since they switched to a passcode, gets very buggy, very often! (new owner, again – many are even less happy with him!). $

Naung Mai Thai Kitchen (86 Kilauea Ave, 934-7540 M-Sat 11-9) When you go to Tina’s Garden Snack Club for the Thai Pizza but you realize it’s Monday and they are closed…you’re so happy to see Naung Mai’s (right next door) is open. Thing is, when it comes to healthy Thai Food, Tina’s is the best, but Naung Mai is also super fresh, not too oily, (no MSG) and delicious. If you go for dinner best to go early, they often only have one over-worked waitress (what’s up with that?). Anyway, what a great spot to get some work done while eating some yum. Just ask them for the passcode (which it seems is always the same). $

Starbucks (438 Kilauea Ave., downtown; 111 E. Puanako St. [Prince Kuhio]; 301 Makaala St [@ Borders]) $ (((note: all the Starbucks listing will go into effect this Spring)))

UH Hilo (200 W. Kawili) This is for students only, but if you have a friend with a password and want to hang out at the library for a change, it’s a good no swell option.

Honoka’a

76 station (Mamane St.) Not sure about this one, but saw it mentioned.

Kailua-Kona

Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf (75-5595 Palani Road) In the shopping center across from the Jamba Juice, Coffee Bean has the worst coffee. Okay, maybe it’s just that their chocolate is such garbage, it makes their mochas absolutely bite! You get one hour free internet with a purchase (and you don’t need to buy a card). $

Jamba Juice (Kona Coast Shopping Center, Palani Road, 808/327-6900) In the same shopping center as Starbucks. All access at the outdoor “food court style” eating area – surf the net all day if you want (every once in a while the connection gets buggy, and there’s limited juice in terms of electric.)kona brewing company

Kona Brewing Company (75-5629 Kukini Hwy — parking around back, 808/334-BREW) Limited outlets, but this is a fun spot to hang out. Great sandwiches, pizza, and of course beer… just don’t get too wasted and spill some on your laptop.

Lava Java (75-5799 Ali’i Dr., 808/327-2161) Food is pricey (though yummy), coffee is decent, and they are always packed (sometimes you have to wait a while for your order). Right across from the ocean, great central tourist location, ask for a passcode when ordering. $ – but I think the password is always the same.

Starbucks (75-1022 Henry St. #1 [across from WalMart]; Kona Coast Shopping Center 74-5588 Palani Rd.) $

Kohala (North)

Kohala Coffee Mill (Akoni Pule Hwy, Hawi, 808/889-5577) Pretty decent Kona coffee, good quick food (with some breakfast specials/decent prices), yummy Tropical Dreams ice cream. The Coffee Mill is the local hangout, pre-surf / pre-work buzz, and tourist stop. Cozy atmosphere makes it amenable for all. Plus, no password free wireless – sounds good to me!

Kohala (South)

Starbucks (68-1330 Mauna Lani Dr. in Mauna Lani, King’s Shops Waikaloa) $

Puna

Kalani Honua’s Aloha Café (Kalapana/Kapoho / HWY 137, 808/965-0468) Imagine all-access throughout the property to guests, cafe is open to all, 7pm to 10pm. Used to be able to sit in there even if they weren’t “open” but it’s changed a lot there over the years, so I’m checking in with them. Imagine you can also log in the outdoor dining area, while you’re splurging on a healthy meal.

Waimea / Kamuela

Starbucks (67-1185 Mamalahoa Hwy, 808/887-6409) $

Waimea Coffee Co. (65-1279 Kawaihae Rd. #114) This place is cool, coffee’s quality (select, organic, fresh roasted), yum food, regulars even bring their dog inside while they order. Kinda cozy but cramped during breakfast and lunch, but there are also seats outside.

FYI: I’ve noticed that many schools around the island supply internet access without needing a password. If you’re desperate (or somewhere like Ka’u) & have little option, I’ve connected from playing fields, while enjoying a high school soccer game, for example.

A few WiFi sites/articles for more info:

Directory of Free HotSpots around Hawai’i Island chain
Listing of Free HotSpot Directories around the world (+ become a free HotSpot with FON & others)
WiFi As a Health Hazard?, Wired Magazine
Why…WiFi Is Not Hazardous to Our Health, Microcast
The BioInitiative Report (Public Exposure Standard for ELF)
WiFi Antenna Boosters: Hawkings, Utenna
SF’s attempts for an all-access WiFi city
Public WiFi Use Raises Hacking Risk, USA Today
Essential Wireless Hacking Tools, The Ethical Hacker
Digital WiFi Detectors: DigiWifi, StarTechwifi wrist watch
Great while traveling/on the go (if your phone doesn’t already do it), when you want to see if you can connect but don’t want to have to have your computer open & on to find out. Watches, pens, & (soon) WiFi detector rings – but the kitchy ones only show the signal, not whether or not you will be able to access it.

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barack in the surfI don’t think I’ve ever registered as a Democrat before (no, never as a Republican either), but I’m going to this time. Sure, I don’t agree with either side’s policies on frequent occasion -less government seems like a better idea- but on the other had, I suppose I’m more “liberal” than not on many issues. And I don’t want to be cliché or corny but local boy Obama represents a mood, a spirit, a shifting of awareness, a higher level of being…(and the candidate who is more likely to play in the surf with me…. j.k.). Watching Hillary back at the Iowa debate reminded me why I don’t like or trust her – as much as I may want to see women take leadership roles and give the world a feminine touch. Her version is the same game-playing old school tactics that keep politics so smarmy – and personally, I don’t quite understand the rhetoric that she has more experience than Barack. I’ve been appreciating Obama’s efforts in Congress for a few years now, and I like how he is creating a more transparent government and through such does make the public feel as if they can be witnesses and participants in the process. I like the way he runs his campaign; he’s inspiring. (more…)

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