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      A religion is an ideology with supernatural elements. We consider it OK to criticize Marxists or capitalists or libertarians or monarchists, but we tend to shy  away from saying that a religion has bad elements. The Hindu caste system is evil. It needs to end, and it needs to end today. If The Laws of […]
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Friday: Earthquakes and Tsunamis

The video footage from Japan can fill you with awe and terror.  There’s a whirlpool that looks like God pulled the plug on the Pacific and a video of a tsunami wave hitting farmland in Fukushima prefecture that was captured live from a helicopter.  Follow The Lede at the NYTimes for the most recent news and videos.

Number 1 child in Maui was wakened early this morning by tsunami sirens and this time, unlike the 2010 scare, she evacuated to higher ground.  She’s sleeping in her car in a parking lot, although her location in Maui is not expected to get hit very hard.

Number 2 child was hoping to attend a semester in Japan through AFS.  She’s at school right now and probably doesn’t know the full extent of the damage.  I doubt that this event will change her mind about her destination.

We are very concerned for the people of Japan and the Russian coast who have been affected by this tsunami and hope that the loss of lives is minimal.

The Big Island

Hi guys, we arrived on Hawaii yesterday via a teeny tiny commuter plane.  Kudos to the guys at Pacific Wings for a smooth and breathtaking flight.  It was beautiful.

Inside the Pacific Wings Cessna

Inside the Pacific Wings Cessna

I have some pics of the Pu’uhonoa o Honaunau (City of Refuge) and Kona Joe’s Trellised Coffee Farm.  The barrista at Kona Joe’s has the best location in the world, sitting on a hill overlooking a placid Pacific Ocean.

The coffee bar at Kona Joe's

The coffee bar at Kona Joe's

Ok, here are some pics of yesterday’s scenery.  You might recognize a pattern with my snapshots.  Well, other than the obvious that they were taken with my lousy iPhone camera (I will never forgive AT&T for not allowing me to upgrade without a $200 penalty).  So, here goes:

Hawaiian lace at Kona Joe's

Hawaiian lace at Kona Joe's

Ali'i's Coconut Grove, Pu'uhonua

Ali'i's Coconut Grove, Pu'uhonua

Heiau construction, Pu'uhonua

Heiau construction, Pu'uhonua

Banana hammock? Pu'uhonua

Banana hammock? Pu'uhonua

The Villagers, Pu'uhonua

The Villagers, Pu'uhonua

My little grass shack, Pu'uhonua

My little grass shack, Pu'uhonua

Sea turtle, Pu'uhonua

Sea turtle, Pu'uhonua

Today, we’re headed for Volcanoes National Park.  Kiluea is erupting for us.  The state of Hawaii has set aside an area off of Highway 130 as a viewing area.  We have to hike to it at dusk to get the best view.  We hope to get some good pics.

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Er, Happy Birthday, Hawaii?

No. 1 child sits in the Oheo Pools waterfall at Haleakala National Park

No. 1 child sits in the Oheo Pools waterfall at Haleakala National Park

Today is the 50th anniversary of Hawaiian statehood.

yay

Oddly, no one here is celebrating.  Well, OK, we outmaneuvered Queen Lilioukalani to force her to give up the monarchy.  That wasn’t nice.  But Hawaii has a thriving Hawaiian culture, most of it vigorously rescued in the 60’s when I lived here as a kid.  It could have turned into just another reservation.  And yes, there is poverty.  Corrugated roof shacks have replaced the little grass ones.   I can’t imagine how difficult it must be to afford food at these prices.  Nearly everything has to be shipped in and the oil speculators really hurt the locals last year.  The roads aren’t in the best shape either, as we learned last night on our way back from Hana travelling clockwise around the island by Haleakala.  There was a stretch of about 20 miles where the blacktop yielded to dirt road, cow guards and virtually nothing to stop the intrepid voyager from plunging into the sea.

Hmmm, maybe that’s the plan.  Keep it rough and it will be that much harder to develop.  The wild unspoiled beauty of Maui, Molokai, Hawaii and Lanai should stay that way.  Forever.

Hawaii ponoi Nana i kou, moi
Kalani Alii, ke Alii.
Makua lani e Kamehameha e
Na kaua e pale Me ka i he.

(translation)

Hawaii’s own true sons, be loyal to your chief
Your country’s liege and lord, the Alii.1
Father above us all, Kamehameha,2
Who guarded in the war with his ihe,3

Saturday: No power on Oahu

The power is out on Oahu after a thunderstorm yesterday:

HONOLULU (AP) — The island of Oahu lost power during heavy rain and lightning, blacking out the population of some 800,000 people and thousands of tourists including vacationing President-elect Barack Obama.

Residents were advised by the power company and civil authorities to stay home after the Friday evening outage and to conserve water. Several radio stations broadcast emergency information.

Maybe my memory is really bad but when I lived there as a kid, one of the things I noticed was that  there *weren’t* any thunderstorms on Oahu.  It could be that I lived there during the two years that they had freak weather patterns but it was something I definitely noticed.  No lightning.

It is the rainy season in the Hawaiian islands but most of us would adjust fairly well.  My older daughter lives on Maui and she told me that Christmas day was unusually hot.  It’s probably just a freak weather occurence.

Then again, Obama is staying at a villa on the east side of Oahu (very swank) and apparently, Linda Lingle, the governor, had to take an emergency generator out to him.  Obama, in turn, said he would just go back to sleep.  Yeah, right, have the secret service freak out during the emergency on your behalf while you catch some Z’s.  Typical.

In other news: Lady Caroline says that 9/11 spurred her to public service. That’s great!  I’m just not sure there’s much left to do on The Pile eight years after.  But it’s swell that 9/11 has finally gotten her attention.  I’m pretty sure I would have noticed if she had decided to walk Ground Zero while it was still smokin’ like Citizen Hillary did.

Hillary senatating post-9/11

Hillary senatating post-9/11

Or if she had rounded up her friends and taken some hot dish down to the firefighters who sacrificed their lungs for their buried colleagues.  That would have been nice.  Or if she had lifted one of her perfectly manicured fingers to go public about what she was going to do about the plight of Afghan girls that would have demonstrated global concern in a Peace Corpsy kinda way.  Does she even remember the Peace Corps?

“Ask not what Caroline can do for her country.  Ask what her country can do for Caroline.”

Caroline is so obviously not cut out for this job:

She agreed to sit down for interviews Friday with The Associated Press and NY1 television.

“I was trying to respect the process. It is not a campaign,” she said. “It was misinterpreted. If I were to be selected, I understand public servants have to be accessible.”

Kennedy said she wished her brother, John F. Kennedy Jr., could see the drama that has developed over her quest for the Senate.

“He would be laughing his head off at seeing what’s going on right now,” she said.

Yes, he would be laughing his head off.  He wasn’t the brightest of the Kennedy clan but he had more charisma and better political instincts.  Never explain why you are so obviously avoiding the voters. They’ll never buy it anyway.

But what does Caroline think he’d be laughing about? That she is actually facing some resistance to her nervy queue jumping? Maybe the irony of it all that now, after 51 years of avoiding the spotlight, now that she wants to start at the top like her family always told her she could, she is finding herself the butt of ridicule and hostility? That she can’t trade on her name after all? She might have to put some kind of effort into *campaigning*?

Fancy that.