The Maui 10
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October 26, 2006
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Maui Electric Co.
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10 Hawaiian Telcom
Great news for the Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) and herbicide
manufacturer Monsanto Hawai`i this week, according to an Oct. 11
Reuters story I have right here in front of me. "Monsanto posts bigger
loss for 4th quarter," it says, which actually isn't the great news I'm
talking about. No, that news is further down in the story… "The St.
Louis-based agricultural products company, an industry leader in
genetically altering crops to resist pests and tolerate weed-killing
treatments, saw a drop of 56 percent in net sales of its soybean seeds
and biotechnology traits and a 10 percent decline in other crop seeds
and traits in its fourth quarter," Reuters added, which isn't the good
news, actually. "The company posted a loss of 27 cents a share"—no,
that's not it, either. Where is it… Ah, yes: "Corn seed and trait sales
totaled $212 million in the quarter, up more than 11 percent," the
story said. Corn sales are up! Monsanto Hawai`i grows GMO corn, and
lots of it, right here on Maui. Isn't it wonderful that as the rest of
the company struggles, our little GMO operation is doing just fine?
LOW SPEED INTERNET
Look, I don't want to write about Carlyle Group-owned Hawaiian
Telcom every week. Believe me, I don't get any pleasure from it. I'd be
perfectly happy to give them a week off, or even bump them up on the
big list. But it's hard, really hard, to ignore stories like the one in
the Oct. 20 Honolulu Star-Bulletin about how 25,000 of the company's
customers lost DSL service the day before because of a "routine
software upgrade" that didn't apparently upgrade the software nearly as
much as company officials had hoped. "This certainly came as a
surprise," company spokesman Dan Smith told the paper. For a phone
company owned by one of the richest private equity firms in the world
and yet plagued by repeated billing errors affecting tens of thousands
of customers, that's totally understandable. It's completely
unacceptable, but it is understandable. MTW
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