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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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Otherwise titled: “Top Five Situations People Pay to be In, Which I Would Pay Lots of Money to Avoid”

#5 – A Crowded Beach on a Hot Summer Day

I have a knack for being the one hit in the head by the Frisbee, football, whatever – it’s just my thing. Why I can’t transform that phenomenon into, say, winning lottery tickets… it’s an alchemy yet manifested. Meanwhile, I’ve experienced many a hot summer burn your feet, packed with bodies, peak days at beaches across Southern California, the East Coast, Waikiki, even the French Riviera. Luckily, since then, I’ve been spoiled living on a tropical island with a limitless number of optional sandy settings to choose from. Though we consistently get bombarded with tourists, you can always suss out some private spot that includes only you, your dog and your other dog (your boyfriend). There is no reason ever when I prefer to be sitting downwind to tourists spraying each other with carcinogenic sunscreens chock full o’ DNA-distorting nano particles (far-fetched thought in the modern weird world but… I’d rather croak from fun in the sun than a can of chemicals). These same plebs immediately jump into the ocean, where it all washes off and destroys the reef and adds a lovely toxic slurry for the marine life. To compound the clichéd unconsciousness, they then go sit in the blaring midday sun without an umbrella or hat and wonder why they resemble baked lobster. I would pay $150 if necessary to be removed in handcuffs from that situation.

AMOUNT I’D PAY TO AVOID: $50-150

#4 – Hotels

These days even five star hotels are not immune to roach motel level scum thanks to the onslaught of bed bugs. Many a yelp review sounds more like a cry for help as guests – from the budget conscious to the high rollers – are subjected to a variety of pestiferous aggravations that range from being nibbled upon to having complaints/concerns dismissed with a courtesy move to a new room without compensation for the inconvenience. If you thought the flame retardants from California’s overkill mattress standards were bad, these rooms are even worse as they get fumigated over and over (bed included) on a regular basis. And if you want to check on a hotel before booking, don’t rely solely on bedbugregistry.com; you need to do a thorough Internet search as there’s no solely reliable clearinghouse for experiential public commentary regarding this matter. Though most hotel staff keeps mum about how bad the situation really is, one Oahu-based concierge spilled the beans: “All hotels in Honolulu have them and if they say they don’t, they are lying.” Bringing these bugs home = a whole other nightmare most people would pay thousands of dollars to avoid.

AMOUNT I’D PAY TO AVOID: $250-500+

#3 – Coachella

(Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza, Burning Man, etc.…) I highly recommend going to at least one music festival when you are young, you know, so you understand why you don’t need to go to them. Beyond that, you have no excuse. Thousands of people in any one location, integrating into the biomass; sweat on, shoved, pretending to have a blast watching the best band ever (when in reality you could barely see or hear a thing). The bands that play, who might otherwise be good, often suck in these huge venues. As a music reviewer (and previous Lollapalooza magazine editor), I attended my fair share but in my defense, I always finagled a backstage pass as means of escape – and heck, it was free and I was getting paid to write about it. Honestly, most of the time it was the smaller stages that I’d enjoy, unless I was being entertained by behind-the-scenes antics (think Love-allapalooza circa 1995).

Not to sound like a “back-in-the-day” party pooper but Burning Man, SXSW, etc. were comparatively small events with maybe 20% the number of attendees. We made events like Burning Man manageable by having our own theme camp (the “Water Camp”), flush with the most desirous desert compound H20 (thanks to Brian Doherty and his van full of tap-filled garbage cans), beach chairs in kiddie pools, water wings (for extra protection from awkward social situations), a cardboard ship, sea shells, a sea shore, as well as a big M*A*S*H tent (stocked with food, alcohol, Ouiji board) to hide out in during the wind storms.

In summary, if I wasn’t viewing an omnipotent mass corporate conglomerate event while parked backstage in a reclining massage chair enjoying complementary food and cocktail service and a loin-clothed hottie fanning me, I would pay $500 to have a private driver pick my ass up and escort it straight to Al’s Bar (old skool LA reference but just think small run down smokey dive bar with your fave band before they became popular in any town near you).

AMOUNT I’D PAY TO AVOID: $500-750

#2a – A Cruise Ship

Why anyone would want to be locked up with a bunch of over-processed vacationers, in tiny, swaying, vertigo-manifesting cabins, on a floating all-you-can-gorge island buffet of germs and bacteria is beyond me. If I were in charge of marketing such a scam, my campaign would highlight: pee-enhanced swimming pools; questionable quality music at high volumes; canned sitcom laughter; copious amounts of indulgence swathed in white trash decadence. And while you are just out to sea, you will find comfort in that as you depart, a boatload of shit (yes, the load in the boat’s hold) is being dumped into the eco-system (visit, pillage, leave your mess behind). It’s not just actual crap but miscellaneous algae, bacteria, etc., stowing away in the undercarriage to be spread with no prejudice to each port visited. And sure, boats also have a tendency to hit whales, reefs, and sink. The ONLY reason to go on one of these monstrosities is to see icebergs (Titanic fans call dibs on your lifeboat early).  I would pay $1,000 – $2,000 (depending upon how ill I felt; or if Isaac Washington was tending bar) to be helicoptered off a cruise ship direct to the nearest spa.

#2b – Group Tours

This is a similar situation, something designed for young or old people and/or those whose have little time, energy, or creativity to plan out their own trip. Sure, there are certain instances where a group tour makes sense – eco-adventures, searching for a boy/girlfriend, cultural tours (I even like those) – but the problem with group tours is that, unless the group is made up of people you already know/like, the company you will be forced to keep is a crapshoot. The type of tour and who it attracts in this case matters most. Depending on the length of the trip, I might pay $1,000 to escape a bad group tour. Certainly a zombie hipster tour to Fukushima… er, I mean Chernobyl, is not on my bucketlist.

AMOUNT I’D PAY TO AVOID: $1,000-2,000

#1 – Celebrity

Being universally recognized, wanted, and gossiped about by the general public is one of the most desired existences. It’s representative of humanity’s insatiable ego and the desperate pursuit of a “perfect life” via the illusion of “love” and wealth (and all the problems such things will solve). Anyone but an alien, and maybe the Dalai Lama, is not built to survive such onslaught without being permanently afflicted. Still, many spend their lives devoted to such a quest, with little consideration to the soul-selling consequences and what it truly takes to maintain such a facade. Imagine achieving world-wide fame, never being able to escape it in your lifetime, especially in those moments you want to leave the house with your hair unkempt; have a private nefarious relationship; do something stoopid in public; or simply be alone, in private, out in the world. I’m not terribly opposed to the idea of “almost famous”, where someone might recognize you once a month, once a year, because they actually appreciate your work rather than because you’re a part of the talent-optional pop-culture milieu they’ve been programmed to hyperventilate over. If faced with a life of TMZ status on the level of Aniston, Pitt, Jolie, Madonna, Spears, Kardashian Inc., etc., I would pay $1,000,000 to not be famous. Actually, I would pay much more.

AMOUNT I’D PAY TO AVOID: $1,000,000+

Honorable Mentions:

The Greek System – Kappa Delta Brutal – if it’s not Animal House why bother; the line at any Amusement Park on a dizzying 90°+ day being sprayed with atomized chlorine mist; Sweat Lodges, obviously; Colonics – just because Groupon offers a coupon does NOT mean you should do it! I’m not against things getting shoved in people’s butts per se, but enemas seem more safe and inexpensive; Korean Baths – I’m adding these on here for my friend, Kerin, who hates the idea of them almost as much as feet and bed bugs; Silverlake, CA / Hipsterville U.S.A. – though I have friends who’ve maintained amazing, tempting rent control situations, most punks would pay extra to NOT be residing next door to the mustachioed and hip-for-the-sake-of-being-ironically-droll – wow, it is like life as a bad episode of New Girl (no offense Phil Hendrie, you always rock our world)! This is pretty much consistent with all gentrified locales. In the end, it would likely even out in terms of expenses: You may pay more for a non-rent control place somewhere less trendy but your mochas won’t cost $8.00 plus tip (hello, LAMILL) and the act of eating out won’t force you to take out a loan either.

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British Airways SurfboardsFor the lot of us who rarely make it to Europe it may not seem a big deal, but for the thousands of international surfers -especially professional surfers- British Airways’ 2007  ban on surfboards was a nightmare. They weren’t just charging exhorbinant fees or having embargo periods, they were banning boards on all their flights. If they got away with it, would it influence other airlines to follow suit? After two years, BA has now reconsidered their policy and beginning October 9, 2009 they will once again accept surfboards — with some limitations.

BA became the focus of much angst, petitions and surely some hate mail when overnight they went from “the surfer’s favorite airline” to “the surfer’s most hated airline.” To add insult to injury, at the same time they banned surfboards because of their size and bulk, they made it increasingly easy for golfers to bring their clubs, bike riders to bring their bikes, skiers to bring their skis, divers to bring their diving gear — all free of charge.

Luckily there are some pluses to a bad economy. Businesses who may have not aptly appreciated their customers are becoming financially influenced to satisfy their needs. Mark Wesson, an executive committee member of the British Surfing Association, says “Despite the immense global opposition at the time of the ban, BA remained staunch in its commitment to the move. However now it seems that their current financial situation – seeing a loss of £401 million this year – is helping to open their eyes and they are beginning to realize the business that surfers can bring back into the company.”

Problem is, while the partial lift of their ban may be a step in the right directions, it’s just not enough. You have to be a shortboarder in order to bring your boards as there is a 6’3″ size limit (so that’s likely a 6’1″ in a 6’3″ board bag). And even most shortboarders (professional and otherwise) will fly with larger sticks in their travel-quiver.

There is so much $$$ behind the surf industry, and so many surfers and surf company folk who travel, that collectively there should be enough power to earn us a little respect. Airlines who offer to take surfboards (of any size, including multiple boards in a bag) for a reasonable fee, should be the first choice for traveling wave riders. Companies like Virgin, for example, who stepped up to the plate after BA’s announcement, not only accepts surfboards but does so for free (and they made a huge profit last year doing it!).

Surfers should continue to make collective efforts: call and email customer service departments and sign petitions to get attention. Let your buying power speak for itself.  Think about the bigger picture before booking your next surf safari and make a statement by choosing a surf-friendly airline — even when you’re just traveling home to see mom and pop.

*   *   *

There are online lists that include info on airline policies concerning excess baggage acceptance and fees; though it should be noted that these can change and some airlines issue embargos during prime surf seasons to certain areas. Check out these links for more info: Surfers Against Airline Fees, Flying Fees and Surfline’s Breakdown of Board Bag Charges (call each airline before booking for the most current fees).


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Subject: I have been given your name by trusted mutual friend

Dear American: I need to ask you to support an urgent secret business relationship with a transfer of funds of great magnitude.

I am Ministry of the Treasury of the Republic of America. My country has had crisis that has caused the need for large transfer of funds of 800 billion dollars US. If you would assist me in this transfer, it would be most profitable to you.

I am working with Mr. Phil Gramm, lobbyist for UBS, who will be my replacement as Ministry of the Treasury in January. As a Senator, you may know him as the leader of the American banking deregulation movement in the 1990s. This transaction is 100% safe.

This is a matter of great urgency. We need a blank check. We need the funds as quickly as possible. We cannot directly transfer these funds in the names of our close friends because we are constantly under surveillance. My family lawyer advised me that I should look for a reliable and trustworthy person who will act as a next of kin so the funds can be transferred.

Please reply with all of your bank account, IRA and college fund account numbers and those of your children and grandchildren to wallstreetbailout@treasury.gov so that we may transfer your commission for this transaction. After I receive that information, I will respond with detailed informati on about safeguards that will be used to protect the funds.

Yours Faithfully,

Minister of Treasury Paulson

(You’ll probably get one of these eventually, as the email is making its rounds. Be forewarned!)

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by Campus Queen

Those who know me know that I’m very passionate about child protection. Let me tell you a few reasons why.

When I was 10, a friend confessed to me that her stepfather had molested her and her sister.

When I was 12, two friends, sisters, confessed to me that their cousin molested them when they were under six-years-old. The way they described it is that is how they lost their virginity.

When I was in college, two of my friends confessed to me that they had been molested by their fathers.

In college, another friend confessed to me that her cousin repeatedly molested her. When he called and said he was going to come visit her at boarding school, she tried to kill herself.

I kept every secret for every one of those girls.

Now at 40, my best friend’s daughter was abducted, molested, and murdered at age 5.

I’m a mom now and I’m not keeping any more secrets.

Two days ago John McCain released an ad attacking Barack Obama for supporting sex education for kindergarten students. In fact, what Obama supported was age appropriate education for children as a means of teaching them what was proper or improper touching to help protect them against sexual predators [read NY Times for facts behind the distortion]. McCain completely distorted that fact. The cold hard facts are that 1 in 5 girls and 1 in 10 boys are molested by the age of 14 (Department of Justice statistic). And because this crime is so greatly underreported, those numbers are extremely conservative. In 85% of the circumstances, the molester is someone close to this child, which makes this education even more important. If the molester is in the home, they will not be getting this education in the home. Children need to know that no one has the right to hurt them. No one.

Earlier this year Joe Biden introduced Senate Bill 1738, the PROTECT Our Children Act. At the core of The PROTECT Our Children Act is a computer system that enables law enforcement to track and document the trading of child pornography in real time. This system allows the Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) taskforces and other authorized law enforcement officers throughout the country to quickly determine who the worst offenders are in a given area. The statistics illustrate how law enforcement is facing literally thousands of new leads every day. The PROTECT Our Children Act will create oversight, accountability and cooperation among the many agencies working to stop this problem and give them the resources, forensic labs and US attorneys to prosecute these cases successfully. Thus far, this system has resulted in a 96% conviction rate without a child ever having to take the stand; the images, videos and narratives justifying the heinous abuse of children stand for themselves.

This Senate bill is Congress’ most aggressive support for law enforcement’s efforts to address the exploding U.S. child pornography industry which consists of more than 600,000 known computers that have been recorded actively trading grotesque videos and images of sexually violent crimes against children. Currently, fewer than 2% of these known offenders are being investigated due to a lack of resources. However, in one third of child pornography arrests, evidence leading to a local child victim is found at the scene. If Senator Biden’s bill passes, we will have the power and resources to rescue as many as 200,000 children from ongoing abuse.

There are several senators who have yet to sign off on this bill. One notable absence is John McCain. Joe Biden sponsored it and Barack Obama supported it.

I am outraged that John McCain would use Obama’s support of something that is desperately needed for our nation’s children and distort it so blatantly. How he can represent himself as someone who cares about our children, release this ad, and then fail to support Senate Bill 1738 is deplorable.

Last week in an interview with Time Magazine, John McCain aggressively refused to define the word “honor.” Now I know why. Men of honor protect our children. I hope you will join me in supporting our nation’s children, our future, in this next election by supporting true change.

* * * * *

Supportive Links:

Not One More Child – The video and transcript of Special Agent Flint Waters’ testimony before congress, which can be found here, is unlike anything you’ll ever see/read.

National Sex Offender Public Website

The National Association to Protect Children

Stop It Now – Child Sexual Abuse Prevention

Dru’s Voice

Democracy In Action – Though it passed in the House 415-2, the Child Rescue Bill may likely be killed in the Senate due to politicking. Click here to send a message to the Minority and Majority Leaders in the Senate.

Code Amber – Hurricane’s have displaced the Louisiana-based Amber Alert offices yet again, and they are struggling with added operating expenses. They are funded solely through donations.

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by Msss. Reef-Rash

We’ve got some serious problems to tackle in our world at the current time.

I’ll start with OVERPOPULATION and the billions of people that are taxing our planet’s resources to its full extent. To the point it is soon likely to be the reason for all wars (if it isn’t already) and whose ENDLESS CONSUMERISM is creating mass amounts of waste. Another factor of the dis-ease in our planet is GLOBAL WARMING, a reality due in part to all the people and corporations that are using mass quantities of oil that are deemed responsible for generating the greenhouse gases changing our planet. A third major problem is the new OIL CRISIS, where this ever-growing population’s demand is about to outstrip the supply available, hence the historic level of oil prices and the search for alternative fuels. And let’s not forget GOVERNMENT CORRUPTION which allows all these problems to continue, grow, fester and get worse in the name of the Almighty Dollar and the American Dream.

The only problem among those mentioned whose solution will fatten somebody’s pockets (there’s that almighty dollar), and therefore the only problem everyone is scrambling to work on, is the oil crisis. Considering that gas now costs twice as much as it did many months ago -certainly an important concern- it’s still only one issue I’d like a solution to. It is however, a great beginning point in changing our world for the better. So what are our options to ensure we have oil to power our lives?

Either we could drill for oil in our our own country, which apparently wouldn’t help the gas prices because to bring the machinery and set up at each of the very small reserves we have would end up costing Americans the same at the pump in the end. Or we could continue down the line with foreign oil until their reserves run dry, but either way the population’s demand will outstrip supply by 2020 according to “Tapped Out” [National Geographic, June 2008].

Hydrogen fuel cells would have been my vote, because it is made simply by converting water to hydrogen with the use of the sun or wind, but our CORRUPT GOVERNMENT screwed that one up with the Bush Administration’s “National Hydrogen Energy Roadmap”, drafted last year in concert with the energy industry, in which “up to 90 percent of all hydrogen will be refined from oil, natural gas, and other fossil fuels – in a process using energy generated by burning oil, coal, and natural gas… which would effectively eliminate most of the benefits offered by hydrogen.” [Mother Jones] Of course, this is because those making the bucks with oil can’t stand the thought of losing out on the money and have to find their way to keep funneling more to themselves.

Many people lean towards alternative fuels because they sound fantastic, but in most cases we are actually just creating more problems. For one, the use of corn in biofuel has driven up prices of food and is now causing food shortages around the globe (to the extent that you now have to ask for a loaf of bread when you go to a restaurant and in many places must pay for it). Another problem with alternatives is that making biofuel isn’t cost effective or better for the environment. In fact, according to Christopher Calder from Huntington News, “The ‘energy independence’ argument for biofuels is a hoax because American biodiesel made out of soybeans costs the equivalent of making regular diesel out of oil at $232 a barrel. Making ethanol from corn costs the equivalent of oil at $81 a barrel and uses 28% more fossil fuels than gasoline. Only massive government subsides makes biofuels affordable at the pump. Most countries had large food surpluses before the onset of the biofuel hoax, and the world will return to food surpluses once we put an end to government biofuel mandates.”

The future is looking grim, isn’t it?

Maybe not! I have thought and researched and thought some more and come up with THE SOLUTION… which took shape during a political discussion I had with my dad on Father’s Day in regards to alternative fuels, oil and President Bush ‘n’ friend’s fat pockets, which are getting bigger with every increase in foreign speculation that occurs. On every point I made, my dad had a counterpoint except in one area: The real crux of the biscuit that he could not argue was that there are just TOO MANY GOD DAMN PEOPLE IN OUR WORLD. And the answer to that major problem is to get rid of some fuggin’ people… which brings me to THE SOLUTION!

THE SOLUTION which will eliminate all five of our world issues is TDP!

TDP stands for Thermal Depolymerization Plant, which is “a solution to three of the biggest problems facing mankind,” says Brian Appel, chairman and CEO of Changing World Technologies, the company that built a pilot plant and has just completed its first industrial-size installation in Missouri. “This process can deal with the world’s waste. It can supplement our dwindling supplies of oil. And it can slow down global warming.” According to Appel, the TDP will accept any item and turn it into high-quality oil, clean-burning gas, and purified minerals that can be used as fuels, fertilizers, or specialty chemicals for manufacturing.” Oil crisis solved!

Ok, so I see that Brian Appel’s crew thought of the TDP first and foremost to help with our ENDLESS CONSUMERISM, OIL CRISIS and GLOBAL WARMING, but I promised a solution to two more problems that Brian didn’t have the guts to talk about. Why not use the TDP to deal with our OVERPOPULATION issue, because that truly is the root of all problems since the TDP can accept any carbon-based items. “If a 175-pound man fell into one end, he would come out the other end as 38 pounds of oil, 7 pounds of gas, and 7 pounds of minerals, as well as 123 pounds of sterilized water,” according to Appel. (The article this information came from Discover, Vol. 24 No. 5, May 2003, called “Anything into Oil“, which goes on to state that there are no plans to put people in the machine.)

But why not? Why not start throwing people in that TDP thing and churn them into biodiesel? The only question that remains is which people? …and the answer is obvious! Well, I have to admit I personally thought we could get rid of the Christians first since they feel they must over-breed us into oblivion, though that would include my mom, Jesus bless her. But then my dad commented that we should save our country by using the very people that are wrecking it and turn in the Democrats… but I say why stop there? The Republicans are just as guilty of causing the mess in this country. Why not make it government workers across the board. That made my dad happy because he thinks most government workers are Democrats anyway… but I think it is high time to get rid of our entire CORRUPT GOVERNMENT, POLITICIANS and LOBBYISTS and start over again, fresh and new, with nice people that aren’t power-seeking, power-wielding ogres. I mean, have you ever gone to a government office, such as the building department, tax office, county council meeting, etc., and enjoyed your visit? Most every American leaves these places in disgust, wishing that murder was legal.

Well, maybe we can make it so, in the name of altruism: Government Employees (not including teachers, park workers or…any other people I deem as the good guys) it is time to volunteer to help your country. Put yourself out of our misery. Don’t hesitate, please send yourself in for oil! The rest of us need to be able to afford the drive to work again!

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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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