This Week in Review
WEDNESDAY, Nov. 9
November 17, 2005
So those whining eggheads over at the University of Hawai'i are at it again. Ooh, we don't want a $50 million contract to do military research for the U.S. Navy. Woe is us—we're an institute of higher learning, not a secret defense lab tasked to come up with new weapons and sensors. Hey, it's the 21st century! Everyone's now part of the military-industrial complex! Even your local pre-school! Okay, maybe not your local pre-school. But come on! War is the new Peace—it's breaking out all over! And yet still UH complains. In today's Honolulu Star-Bulletin, they're bitching about this new report commissioned by the Faculty Senate that raises all these questions about the Navy's proposed contract with the university for a special University Affiliated Research Center (UARC). How does UARC research get published? Or does it? What can the school do with equipment the UARC purchases? What about intellectual property rights? Does the research staff need top secret security clearances? What about conflicts of interest if faculty does UARC and non-UARC work? Drug tests for everyone? Okay, okay, I get it: the Navy's proposed contract has a lot of problems. Boo-frickin'-hoo. Do you guys want to make the Navy cry by asking for a rewrite? Do you want to make Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld cry? You know, he's a feeble old man who cries like a little girl when he doesn't get his way, be it torturing terror suspects in secret prisons or getting university-affiliated research contracts. I don't particularly want to see that, and I don't think UH wants to either.
THURSDAY, Nov. 10
Apparently, Maui News reporter Harry Eagar can't even get a simple blowjob story about genetically modified food right. "Thank you very much for your story 'Seeds a growth industry in isles,' published Nov. 4," Monsanto Hawai'i site manager Paul Koehler wrote in a letter to The Maui News today, before proceeding to "clarify two aspects of the article in order to avoid misunderstanding." First, Koehler wrote that Monsanto really does worry about its genetically engineered pollen floating around the island and contaminating other crops (Eagar's story seemed to suggest that such occurrences were just the rantings of "GMO alarmists"). And second, Koehler pointed out that Eagar incorrectly translated the industry acronym "BT" as standing for "biotechnology," when in fact he should have written it as "Bt," which is shorthand for Bacillus thuringiensis, a special Monsanto crop spliced with bacterium DNA to protect it from certain insects. Keep giving 'em hell, Harry!
FRIDAY, Nov. 11
Apparently that whole B-2 Bomber spymaster indictment thing the Fed handed down on Haiku resident and former Northrop Grumman engineer Noshir Gowadia is all a big "misunderstanding," says his family. According to an Associated Press story yesterday, Gowadia's family wants copies of his security clearance, which supposedly shows that he was cleared to sell his infrared-suppression engine technological expertise to three—or is it eight?—countries that no one seems in any hurry to name. In a statement Gowadia's lawyers distributed to the media, the guy's family said, "Professor Gowadia's family"—isn't it cute how they referred to themselves in the third person?—"trusts that the correct facts will come out and that this misunderstanding will be cleared up in the days and weeks to come." Okay, seriously—what are the odds they're correct? Well, sure, back in 1999 the federal government charged nuclear engineer Wen Ho Lee with 59 counts of supposedly selling secrets to China, and that guy turned out to be completely innocent. Then in 2004 they charged U.S. Army chaplain James Yee with spying, only to later clear him of all criminal charges. Hey, maybe the family's got a point…
SATURDAY, Nov. 12
Saw Good Night, and Good Luck about the right-wing, red-baiting Senator Joseph McCarthy. Coincidence? I hope so.
SUNDAY, Nov. 13
We just have 18 months to go before the Superferry starts docking at Kahului Harbor, and there's still no place to put it! That's the grim determination of reporter Valerie Monson in today's Maui News story "Issues ferried about." The big loser in the fight over the Supeferry? That would be Young Brothers, the cargo carrier that has long dominated access to Pier 2. In fact, Monson wrote that unless big changes are made, the Superferry "will cause chaos" on the pier. After carefully analyzing the Superferry's preliminary draft plans for the harbor, Monson discovered that a proposed two- or three-lane road "will force Young Brothers to relocate its icehouse and the necessary electrical outlets." Oh my God—the entire icehouse? How will Young Brothers cope? What's worse is that congestion on the docks when the Superferry arrives will be so great that "it could make for a dangerous mix of people and forklifts." You know, determining whether the Superferry could vastly increase invasive species contamination on Maui was one thing—a dead issue now that two courts have ruled Superferry, Inc. doesn't have to do an environmental impact statement—but putting people into close proximity with forklifts is going too far!
MONDAY, Nov. 14
Nice to see the war between Wackenhut security guards and Pacific Wings employees at Kahului Airport is still raging. KHON-2 News ran footage this morning of Wackenhut guard Eric Brown going off on a Pacific Wings employee, hitting him and threatening him repeatedly. Police later arrested Brown, 49, and charged him with second-degree terroristic threatening. This latest skirmish comes barely three weeks after another Wackenhut guard allegedly attacked Pacific Wings president Greg Kahlstorf at the airport manager's officer. Entertaining as all this is, aren't private security firms supposed to going after the guys making terroristic threats and such?
TUESDAY, Nov. 15
By the way, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency wants to turn its annual listing of all the toxic sites that are currently poisoning the nation into a biannual publication and also allow companies to keep from reporting toxic spills unless they're 10 times the current threshold. Beyond the fact that the EPA is part of the Bush Administration, does anyone really need a justification?
Anthony Pignataro wishes the Defense Department would contract out for some decent canned Navy Bean Soup. MTW
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