Tag Archives: Hawaii

10 things you need to know today: January 2, 2014

Bill swears in Bill.

Bill swears in Bill. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

The Week

Militants attack Somali hotel, de Blasio is sworn in as mayor, and more

1. Attack on Somali hotel leaves at least six dead
Two car bombs and an attack by armed militants left six people dead and several more wounded at the Jazeera hotel in Mogadishu. Police say they were able to stop the assailants from entering the hotel, which is often used by foreign visitors and government officials. [New York Times]
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2. New NYC Mayor de Blasio vows to tackle income inequality
New York City’s new mayor, Bill de Blasio, took office vowing to continue the fight against income inequality. “That mission – our march towards a fairer, more just, more progressive place, our march to keep the promise of New York alive for the next generation – it begins today,” he said after being sworn into office Wednesday by former President Bill Clinton. [Christian Science Monitor]
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3. Harry Reid promises vote on long-term unemployment benefits
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says the Senate will vote on a bill that aims to extend long-term unemployment benefits when the holiday recess ends on Jan. 6. Reid expressed optimism that the bill will pass the Senate with bipartisan support, but declined to speculate whether he thought the legislation would make it through the House. [FOX]
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4. Massive fire breaks out in Minneapolis
A huge fire broke out in south Minneapolis, destroying a 10-unit apartment building and injuring at least 14 people. Thick gray smoke could be seen rising from the building, which also housed a small grocery store. It took 50 firefighters to quell the blaze in the freezing weather. [New York Times]
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5. U.N. releases 2013 Iraq death toll number
The United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq released its estimate for the total number of civilian casualties in Iraq in 2013. According to the U.N., 7,818 people were killed and 17,981 were injured. It was the most dangerous year since 2008, when 6,787 died and 20,178 were injured. [CNN]
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6. Hawaii Senate primary causing tension among Democrats
A bitter feud is diving Democrats in Hawaii between those who support Sen. Brian Schatz, the politician appointed to fill the late Daniel Inouye’s seat, and Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, Inouye’s protegee. Inouye’s deathbed wish was that Hanabusa be chosen to succeed him, but the governor appointed Schatz instead. The primary is scheduled for August 9. [Washington Post]
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7. Historic document tied to American Independence discovered
It had been misfiled in a museum’s attic for more than four decades, but an archivist at the Morris-Jumel Mansion in Manhattan found a letter from the Continental Congress after going through some old documents that were to be discarded. The letter was a draft of a plea for reconciliation sent to Britain in 1775. Analysts say the draft was written by Robert R. Livingston, a New Yorker who helped draft the Declaration of Independence a year later. The document is expected to be auctioned off later this month. [New York Times]
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8. Kim Jong Un defends uncle’s execution
In a New Year’s address, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un defended the decision to have his uncle executed in December. The uncle, Jang Song Thaek, helped Kim rise to power, but Kim said the purge has brought greater unity to the country. Kim accused his uncle of trying to overthrow the government. [CNN]
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9. Actor James Avery dies
Actor James Avery died from complications of open heart surgery. Best known for playing Uncle Phil on The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, Avery was 68. He also appeared in Dr. Dolittle 2 and License to Drive. [ABC]
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10. Gay couple weds during the Rose Parade
Aubrey Loots and Danny Leclair became the first same-sex couple to get married at the Rose Parade. The pair was standing atop a giant wedding cake float when they exchanged “I dos.” It was the first gay wedding at the Rose Parade. [CBS]

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Taegan Goddard’s Political Wire 12-21-2013

Obamas arrive in Hawaii 12-21-2013

Taegan Goddard’s Political Wire

Obamas Arrive in Hawaii for Vacation [The Caucus] 12/21/2013 7:33:22 AM
After an end-of-the-year news conference, President Obama and his family touched down in Hawaii, his boyhood home, for a …

Monkey Cage: ‘Father Christmas’: The week in one song [Politico] 12/21/2013 8:00:27 AM
With the holiday five days away, I give you Christmas, as seen through the acerbic eyes of Ray Davies and the Kinks. Read full …

GovBeat: Chris Christie just took a big risk on immigration [CBS News] 12/21/2013 7:30:37 AM
In late September 2011, Rick Perry was riding high. Just a month and a half after joining the race for the Republican …

5 takeaways: Obama’s news conference [CBS News] 12/20/2013 5:13:36 PM 
Obama’s message: If you liked 2013, you’ll love 2014.

From crime to cigarettes, Bloomberg leaves his mark on New York [Reuters]12/21/2013 7:03:09 AM
NEW YORK (Reuters) – Love him or hate him, one thing is for sure: New Yorkers will not forget outgoing Mayor Michael Bloomberg …

Weekly addresses: GOP says Obamacare fails young people; White House looks ahead to 2014 [The Trail] 12/21/2013 6:00:06 AM
(CNN) – House Republicans took aim at Obamacare in their weekly address, while in his own weekly address President Obama …

Analysis: How the White House is rebranding Obamacare for ‘young invincibles’[Reuters] 12/21/2013 1:05:06 AM
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Last summer, White House officials planning a nationwide push to urge young adults to enroll in new …

Obama: Diverse Olympic delegation “speaks for itself” [Politico] 12/21/2013 12:25:29 AM
President Obama explains his decision to send LGBT athletes in the U.S. delegation to Olympics in Sochi, Russia, saying such …

Obama sidesteps question about Snowden amnesty [Politico] 12/21/2013 12:24:33 AM
President Obama says NSA leaker Edward Snowden started a worthwhile conversation about privacy, but he also damaged U.S. …

Federal Judge Rules That Same-Sex Marriage Is Legal in Utah [New York Times]12/20/2013 11:19:33 PM
The judge said that Utah’s amendment barring same-sex marriage violated the United States Constitution. If the ruling is …

2013: The year of gay marriage? [NBC News] 12/20/2013 1:17:01 PM
We’ve already published our 10 biggest political stories of the year. They include the government shutdown, the bungled …

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Birther Movement Capitalizes On Loretta Fuddy’s Tragic Death

birther movement loretta fuddy

ASSOCIATED PRESS

Well, we can’t say we didn’t see this coming…

The Huffington Post

As the Obama family is likely packing for their annual vacation to Hawaii, the birther movement is pouncing on yet another conspiracy theory about the President’s Hawaii birth certificate.

On Wednesday afternoon, Loretta Fuddy, the director of Hawaii’s Department of Health, died in a small, commercial plane crash off the coast of the Hawaiian island Molokai. Fuddy, who had been director of Hawaii’s health department since March 2011, was the official who verified and approved the release of President Obama’s birth certificate. Fuddy said then that the records “further prove the fact that he was born in Hawaii.

Early reports indicate that the plane, a 2002 Cessna Grand Caravan, sufferedcatastrophic engine failure. The other eight passengers on board were rescued. According to Rev. Patrick Killilea who met with the survivors, Fuddy was wearing her life jacket in the water and was holding hands with deputy director Keith Yamamoto when she let go.

Tweets, comments, and web posts from the birther movement quickly insinuated that the tragedy was no accident. Some implied that the White House was “tying up loose ends,” while others commented “that anyone with any connection to Obama or his background has a tendency to have a ‘shortened’ life span.”

And, of course, Donald Trump weighed in:

Despite the media whirlwind around the birther conspiracies, Fuddy’s life and numerous successes are being celebrated.

Just yesterday, a report published by the United Health Foundation, American Public Health Association and the Partnership for Prevention, confirmed that Hawaii is the country’s healthiest state.

According to Hawaii House Speaker Joe Souki, Fuddy, 65, “was especially passionate about the most vulnerable in our communities, a champion for mothers, newborns, and early childhood care. Her warm, caring spirit for the people of Hawaii will truly be missed.”

“Our hearts are broken,” Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie said in a statement. “Loretta was deeply loved and respected. She was selfless, utterly dedicated, and committed to her colleagues in the Department of Health and to the people of Hawaii. Her knowledge was vast; her counsel and advice always given from her heart as much as from her storehouse of experience.”

In August, Fuddy told Honolulu’s Midweek magazine, “I’m a child of the ’60s, the Kennedy era of ‘ask what you can do for your country’ public service and Catholic values.”

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Official who OK’d Obama birth papers dies in crash

Hawaiian Health Department Director Loretta Fuddy was killed after a small plane with nine people aboard crashed into the water off Molokai on Dec. 11.
(Photo: Hawaii Department of Health via AP)

My friend who emailed this to me wrote: “Birthers are gonna go nuts with this one!”  You  bet they will…

USA Today

Hawaiian Health Director Loretta Fuddy was killed in a small plane crash off Hawaii.

The Hawaiian health official who verified the authenticity of President Obama’s birth certificate died in a small plane crash.

The plane, carrying a pilot and eight passengers, went down Wednesday in the water a half mile off the Hawaiian island of Molokai, the Maui Fire Department said. The lone fatality was Loretta Fuddy, who has served as state health director since January 2011. Tom Matsuda, the interim executive director of Hawaii’s health insurance exchange, confirmed Fuddy’s death.

Fuddy, 65, made national news in April 2011 when she verified the authenticity of certified copies of President Obama’s birth certificate. Obama had requested the release to curb claims by so-called “birthers” that he was born in Kenya and not eligible to be president.

Makani Kai Air President Richard Schuman said the crash of the Cessna Grand Caravan was caused by engine failure.

“Our hearts are broken,” Gov. Neil Abercrombie said in a statement. “Loretta was deeply loved and respected. She was selfless, utterly dedicated and committed to her colleagues in the Department of Health and to the people of Hawaii. Her knowledge was vast; her counsel and advice always given from her heart as much as from her storehouse of experience.”

Matsuda, who worked with Fuddy to set up the state’s Obamacare website, Hawaii Health Connector, called her death “a terrible loss” for the state.

“I worked closely with Director Fuddy on the Affordable Care Act and came to know and respect her as a passionate advocate for public health and a warm, caring human being,” Matsuda said.

The plane went down about a half-mile northwest of Kalaupapa peninsula, which was home to a leper colony until 1969. A handful of patients still live there. The state health director by law remains mayor of part of the peninsula, and Fuddy was visiting the peninsula in that capacity, state Health Department spokeswoman Janice Okubo said.

Okubo said the department’s deputy director, Keith Yamamoto, also had been booked on the flight.

Coast Guard Petty Officer Melissa McKenzie said a Coast Guard helicopter got three passengers out of the water while Maui fire crews picked up five people. One person swam ashore.

 

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State Rep. Uses Sledgehammer To Destroy Homeless People’s Possessions

State Rep. Tom Brower (D) destroying a homeless person’s possessions.

It occurs to me that this politician can find other ways to rid homelessness in his state.  Using this Machiavellian tactic for a photo-op or two is not on the list.

Think Progress

Much like Batkid, Hawaii has found its own superhero. Except that instead of protecting the powerless from harm, he roams the streets with a sledgehammer and looks for homeless people in order to literally smash their possessions.

Remarkably, this vigilante isn’t just some random Hawaiian, but five-term State Rep. Tom Brower (D).

Noting that he’s “disgusted” with homeless people, Brower told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser about his own personal brand of “justice”: “If I see shopping carts that I can’t identify, I will destroy them so they can’t be pushed on the streets.” Brower has waged this campaign for two weeks, estimating that he’s smashed about 30 shopping carts in the process.

“I want to do something practical that will really clean up the streets,” he explained to Hawaii News Now as he showed off his property destruction skills while sporting an Armani Exchange hat:

Uncontent to just destroy homeless people’s items, Brower is also on a mission to wake those he finds sleeping and tell them to sleep somewhere else. “If someone is sleeping at night on the bus stop, I don’t do anything, but if they are sleeping during the day, I’ll walk up and say, ‘Get your ass moving,’” he said.

It’s no stretch to assume that if Brower were found roaming middle-class neighborhoods and smashing items in people’s homes, he would find himself both out of office and behind bars. But segments of society view homeless people as less important and undeserving of the dignity of having their possessions kept safe.

One homeless person in Honolulu, Edward Ferreira, witnessed Brower in action. “To see someone banging on stuff like that, it was very scary for me,” he told Hawaii News Now.

Without a home, homeless people often have nowhere to store their possessions. A shopping cart can be very useful in both its storage space and mobility. Some localities, including New York, San Francisco, Chicago, and others have tried to address this problem by offering free storage space to homeless people.

Hawaii, on the other hand, is garnering a reputation for a less-than-compassionate approach to its homeless population, and it’s not just because of Brower. It’s got the highest rate of homelessness in the country, but rather than build more shelters or offer more services for the poor, lawmakers approved $100,000 over the next two years to offer one-way flights off the islands to any of the state’s estimated 17,000 homeless persons.

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10 things you need to know today: September 10, 2013

 

Rafael Nadal has now won 13 Grand Slam titles, the third most in men’s tennis history.

The Week

Syria says it will hand over its chemical weapons, Nadal wins the U.S. Open, and more

1. Syria says it will hand over its chemical weapons
President Obama is calling Russia’s push for Syria to cede control of its chemical weapons a potential breakthrough, “if it is real.” Russia embraced the idea after Secretary of State John Kerry mentioned it — seemingly off the cuff. Syria’s foreign minister says his country will accept the deal. France is taking the proposal to the United Nations Security Council. Obama says if Syria complied the U.S. would hold off on airstrikes. The president will still address the nation Tuesday to press the case for force. [ReutersAPNBCNews]
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2. Suspects convicted in rape that sparked protests in India
Four men were convicted in India for the rape and murder of a 23-year-old woman who was attacked on a bus in New Delhi last year. The case triggered protests over the mistreatment of women in Indian society and pressured the government to toughen laws against sexual violence. The men will be sentenced on Wednesday. The victim’s family has demanded the death penalty. A fifth defendant hanged himself in his cell. [The New York Times]
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3. Apple prepares to reveal new iPhones
Apple is expected to unveil its latest iPhones on Tuesday, possibly adding a faster iPhone 5S in more colors as well as a less-expensive model. Apple’s stock has been falling due to increased competition for smartphone customers, so it is counting on the new devices to boost sales, says Forrester Research analyst Sarah Rotman Epps. “It’s been a long time since they introduced a new product,” she says, “and the stakes are high.” [Bloomberg]
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4. New Yorkers vote in first round of stormy mayor’s race
New York City primary voters go to the polls Tuesday to pick their candidates in the November 5 election to replace outgoing Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Polls put the city’s public advocate, Bill de Blasio, ahead in the Democratic primary by 14 percentage points, although he might have trouble getting the 40 percent he needs to avoid an October 1 run-off. Former congressman Anthony Weiner, derailed by yet another sexting scandal, trails far behind in the pack. [USA Today]
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5. Hawaiian governor calls special session to legalize gay marriage
Hawaiian Gov. Neil Abercrombie is calling for a special legislative session next month to pass a bill legalizing gay marriage. Hawaii, a heavily Democratic state, already allows same-sex civil unions. In a statement released Monday, Abercrombie said the push is about “doing what is right to create equity for all in Hawaii.” If the bill passes, Hawaii will be the 14th state to recognize gay marriages. [Reuters]
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6. Pioneering diet center shuts down
The Rice Diet Program in Durham, N.C., is shutting down for good after 70 years of operation. The center was temporarily closed in November but the owners had hoped to find a buyer to revive it. The Rice Diet was once among the country’s best-known weight-loss centers, attracting celebrities such as Shelley Winters and Buddy Hackett. It lost customers in recent years as other diets and stomach surgeries became more popular. [Associated Press]
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7. California lawmakers offer plan to reduce prison crowding
California political leaders have reached a deal to ease prison overcrowding. Federal judges have given the state until the end of the year to reduce the prison population of 120,000 by 8,000, by building new prisons or releasing inmates. Gov. Jerry Brown said Monday that lawmakers have agreed to spend up to $400 million on rehabilitation efforts instead, but that the judges will need to extend the deadline for the plan to work. [Reuters]
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8. Newlywed accused of pushing husband off cliff
A newlywed woman, Jordan Linn Graham, was charged Monday with pushing her husband off a cliff to his death in July at Glacier National Park in Montana, just eight days after their wedding. The body of her husband, Cody L. Johnson, was found several days later. His family demanded an investigation, and prosecutors believe Graham was having second thoughts and shoved him over the edge in an argument during a hike. [CNN]
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9. Zimmerman questioned in domestic dispute
George Zimmerman, acquitted two months ago in Trayvon Martin’s killing, was briefly taken into custody on Monday after his wife, Shellie, who has filed for divorce, told a 911 dispatcher that he was sitting outside her home with a gun. Lake Mary, Fla., police said Mrs. Zimmerman later said she never saw the gun and declined prosecution, so no charges would be filed. George Zimmerman said his wife was the aggressor. [CBS News]
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10. Nadal wins the U.S. Open
Rafael Nadal defeated Novak Djokovic on Monday to win his second U.S. Open singles title. It was the third time that Nadal, who is ranked No. 2 in the world, and Djokovic, who is No. 1, had met in the men’s final in four years. Last year, Nadal sat out the tournament nursing a bad knee. The win gave Nadal the 13th Grand Slam of his career, the third most in the history of men’s tennis behind Roger Federer’s 17 and Pete Sampras’s 14. [ESPN]

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Yahoo News Calls Kenya ‘The Country Of Obama’s Birth’

I will never cite “Yahoo News” as a source again.  Period…end of discussion.  Yahoo’s reported “correction” and apologies do not affect my decision.

The Huffington Post

Apparently someone has been listening to too many birthers.

In an article about President Obama’s upcoming trip to Africa, a Yahoo News reporter referred to Kenya as “the country of his birth.” (See the screenshot below).

obama birth

The article has since been revised to refer to Kenya as the president’s “ancestral homeland.” A correction at the top acknowledges that “an earlier version of this story incorrectly identified the president’s birthplace.”

Obama was born in Hawaii, a fact that state officials have repeatedly confirmed, though the claim that he was secretly born in Kenya has dogged him for much of his presidential career. He sought to put questions to rest once and for all by releasing his long-form birth certificate in 2011.

At that year’s White House Correspondents Dinner, the president made light of the conspiracy theories by promising to show his “official birth video,” then playing a clip from “The Lion King.”

“I want to make it clear to the Fox News table,” he said afterwards, “that was a joke, that was not my birth video, that was a children’s cartoon.”

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TIME Exclusive: President Obama’s 1979 Prom Photos

From left: Greg Orme, Kelli Allman, Barack Obama and Megan Hughes at Allman’s parents’ house in Honolulu.

Wait for it…wait for it, I gauarantee you Obama haters and conspiracy nuts will have a field day deciphering this evidence of Obama’s youth activities.

Time

This article appears in this week’s magazine underneath the title, “Obama’s Grand Old Party.” 

Tucked away in someone else’s shoe box of adolescent artifacts, there might be a picture of you in garish clothes and with an outdated ‘do, your arm around a high school squeeze. The President of the United States is no different. These previously unpublished photos, obtained exclusively by TIME from Obama’s schoolmate Kelli Allman (née McCormack), show a 17-year-old Barack Obama on the night of his senior prom.

Barry spent his days at the Punahou School in Hawaii studying, shooting hoops and goofing off with his friends. Greg Orme, a fellow varsity basketball player, was Obama’s constant companion. “They were like brothers,” says Allman. On prom night, the pair double-dated. Obama and his date Megan Hughes, a student at the Hawaii School for Girls at La Pietra, joined Orme at Allman’s house, where the two couples sipped champagne before going to the dance and then an after-party. “It was a really fun, happy time. We were all cracking up, and everyone was smiling,” says Allman. “It was pretty typical from there out as far as what happens at prom: the dinner and the dancing and the photos.”

Millions of American teenagers will go to proms this year. Their photos are more likely to be stored on Facebook than in a shoe box. But it’s fun to imagine that in one of those pictures, there’s a girl in a pastel dress or a lanky guy in a white sport coat who will end up becoming the leader of the free world.

Barack Obama in an exclusive prom photo.

Left: Kelli Allman‘s OAHUAN 1979 Yearbook.
Right: Obama wrote the above note in Allman’s yearbook at the end of his senior year in 1979.

Barack Obama in an exclusive prom photo.

From left: Greg Orme, Kelli Allman, Barack Obama and Megan Hughes at Allman’s parents’ house in Honolulu.

 

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North Korea leader orders rocket units on standby to hit U.S. bases: KCNA

AFP Photo / Pedro Ugarde

The grand chess game begins…

Reuters

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un orders the country’s rocket units to be on standby to attack U.S. military bases in South Korea and the Pacific in an emergency meeting on Friday after the United States flew Stealth bombers in a show of force to Pyongyang.

The North’s official KCNA news agency said Kim signed off on the orders at a midnight meeting of top generals and “judged the time has come to settle accounts with the U.S. imperialists in view of the prevailing situation.”

“He finally signed the plan on technical preparations of strategic rockets of the KPA, ordering them to be standby for fire so that they may strike any time the U.S. mainland, its military bases in the operational theaters in the Pacific, including Hawaii and Guam, and those in South Korea.”

 

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Amazing video of injured dolphin seeking help from scuba divers

Dolphins are my favorite sea creatures.  When I ran across this video, I simply had to share why they are my favorite.  The humans in this video are the coolest, ever.  Enjoy…

AmericaBlog

This video of a dolphin in need is really something on so many levels.

diver helps dolphin

diver helps dolphin

It turns out that the dolphin had fishing line and a hook stuck on one of its fins, so it approached a group of divers who were watching manta rays at night near Kona, Hawaii. Fortunately one of the professional divers was able to help remove some of the fishing line that was restricting the movement of the dolphin, though in the end they were unable to remove the hook.

There are plenty of warnings at the beginning (the divers are professional so don’t try this at home), followed by the dolphin swimming around the group, with the untangling action starting around the 3:30 mark.

You won’t believe how calm and trusting the dolphin is with the diver, who patiently cuts away the line.

 

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