The Watering Hole, Friday May 31 2013; Atooi, The Newly Emergent Polynesian Kingdom

I  recently ran across and re-read an old book that I had purchased a few decades back whilst visiting the Hawaiian Islands. It’s titled, “An Account of the Sandwich Islands; The Hawaiian Journal of John B. Whitman, 1813-1815.” In the Foreward, John Dominis Holt writes,

These “notes” of an unknown early visitor to Hawaii who we know as John B. Whitman are unique and certainly they contain observations both incisive and authentic which create an unmistakable atmosphere of old Hawaii perhaps still to be found in some of the untouched places of these Islands. . . . If you can ignore Whitman’s irksome and fanatical views common to American Calvinists of the time, the “notes” or “Journal” . . . presents a unique view of Hawaii . . . a few years before the death of Kamehameha. (highlight mine)

What actually caught my eye as I reread the book were the place names cited by Whitman. He spoke of islands named Owhyhee,” and “Mowee,” also “Woahu, Morokie and Attooi,” and he noted that on Woahu stood “the busy little village of Hanoruru.”  Whitman also noted that “Woahu is situated between Morokie and Attooi about thirty miles from the former and seventy miles from the latter.” He was, of course, using the phonetic spelling of the various islands (and place names) in the Hawaiian group. The American missionaries hadn’t yet arrived, and since the Polynesians had no alphabet and no written language, phonic spelling was the tool the westerners used on their maps and in their writings.

In later years, after the (American-Calvinist) missionaries who were assigned to the Hawaiian Islands had managed to construct the means of writing the local Polynesian lingua, the alphabet they collectively devised contained only thirteen letters: the five vowels, plus consonants h, k, l, m, n, p, and w, plus the “uina”, where the embedded () indicates a glottal stop. After the alphabet was devised and assigned, Whitman’s Island and place names became (resp.) Hawai’i, Maui, Molokai, Kauai, and Honolulu; i.o.w., both the letters “T” and “K” became “K” only, and the letters “R” and “L” became “L” only. It was a matter of phonics, of trying to accommodate/insert the implicit (and variant) local pronunciation(s) into the English alphabet. So, in the Hawaiian corner of Polynesia, the word ‘Tahiti’ became ‘Kahiki’, and ‘Attooi’ (variously spelled, by others, as Atooi, or Atoui) became ‘Kauai’ (what happened to the ‘A’ on the front end, I have no clue).

Anyway, enough of that. Suffice to say that today’s island of Kauai was once known as Atooi, and was apparently considered to be a very sacred spot in the Hawaiian Islands as well as definitive of the northern apex of the so-called ‘Polynesian triangle’. Today, ‘Atooi’ is the name of a new and fresh Polynesian Kingdom. This Polynesian Kingdom of Atooi is a United Nations recognized indigenous sovereign nation that is headquartered on the Island we call Kauai, and led by a descendant of ancient royalty, the Ali’i Nui (king) Aleka Aipoalani who currently reigns over the Kingdom from on the west side of Kauai, which is one of the most sacred and royal areas of the Hawaiian islands. The PKOA [Polynesian Kingdom  of Atooi] is composed of peoples from diverse cultures whose relationships share the mission of ho’opono aina (to make right with the land).

I have to wonder: is this newly-emergent Polynesian Kingdom of Atooi possibly the forefront of that above-referenced unmistakable atmosphere of old Hawaii perhaps still to be found in some of the untouched places of these Islands ?? If so, I wanna go there! Again! Maybe stay this time!

Ah, well, ok then, and speaking of ‘untouched places’, following are a handful of photos, shot circa 1978 on my first visit to what has now become the Polynesian Kingdom of Atooi. There were still, way back then, some ‘untouched places’ on those islands . . . well, barely touched at least. But then, beauty remains forever embedded . . . in the beautiful — right? (see below!)

Hanakapiai, Atooi                                     Makapu'u, WoahuHanakapiai (Atooi)                                  Makapu’u (Woahu)


Owhyhee 4Hanalei Bay, Atooi                                   Sunset, Mowee

Hanalei Bay (Atooi)                                     Ka’anapali Sunset (Mowee)


Owhyhee 9Windward Shores (Owhyhee)


Owhyhee 7Halawa Valley and North Shore (Morotai)


Owhyhee 8Kalalau Overlook (Atooi)                              Petroglyph (Mowee)


Owhyhee 6Tiki carvings at Pu’uhonua O Honaunau (City of Refuge), Kona (Owhyhee)


Owhyhee 5Kalihiwai Falls (Polynesian Kingdom of Atooi)


Owhyhee 3Waterfall in Waimea Canyon (Atooi)     The Painted Church at Kona (Owhyhee)


So there you have it, the northern tip of the Polynesian Kingdom of Atooi. As of today, it consists of:

Not a bad combo! And (just guessing), NO REPUBLICANS OR OTHER WINGNUTS ANYWHERE TO BE SEEN!!

Paradise, anyone?

Closing tidbit: Membership in the Kingdom of Atooi is open to anyone. We recognize the potential of all mankind.

Works for me!

And last but not least: Old map(s), but interesting:

Owhyhee Map

Owhyhee Atooi MapThis is Today’s Open Thread. Aloha!

The Watering Hole; Thursday May 30 2013; “What Can We Learn From Denmark?”

Earlier this week I received an email letter from Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), a letter which I thought effectively defines the elusive concept of a societal ideal, one which makes perfect sense. In it, he speaks of Denmark and its governmental-societal relationships, and in effect proposes that ‘we the people’ of the United States should seriously consider restructuring our own society along similar tracks. I couldn’t agree more. And all we’d have to do in order to begin the process would be to dismiss and dis-empower the entire outhouse basement in which resides America’s Wingnuttistanian movement . . . including each and every Republican plus each and every “conservative” (aka Blue Dog) Democrat. If only we could engage instead in the process of building a ‘we the people’-oriented governing body, i.e. a (so-called) “leftist” “Socialist” construct that sees more virtue in helping people and in protecting the environment than it sees in enabling greed, i.e. wealth and power accumulation by only the few. The ultimate beneficiaries would indeed be we the people (well, with a small handful of exceptions, perhaps including about 1% of the population . . . who would still be likely able to live quite well anyway. No big deal, i.o.w.)

Senator Sanders’ entire (and yes, a bit lengthy) letter is included below. I decided that rather than try to excerpt and summarize I’d simply post the whole thing so as to not miss or ignore any of the significant details included therein. Personally, I could not find a single issue with which I don’t completely agree, but then I’m not a wingnut or a Republican or a Blue Dog. I am, like Senator Sanders, a Progressive Socialist, one who believes in the well-being of everyone and everything, and NOT solely in the accumulation of wealth and power.


What Can We Learn From Denmark?
By Senator Bernie Sanders
May 26, 2013

Danish Ambassador Peter Taksoe-Jensen spent a weekend in Vermont this month traveling with me to town meetings in Burlington, Brattleboro and Montpelier. Large crowds came out to learn about a social system very different from our own which provides extraordinary security and opportunity for the people of Denmark.

Today in the United States there is a massive amount of economic anxiety. Unemployment is much too high, wages and income are too low, millions of Americans are struggling to find affordable health care and the gap between the very rich and everyone else is growing wider.

While young working families search desperately for affordable child care, older Americans worry about how they can retire with dignity. Many of our people are physically exhausted as they work the longest hours of any industrialized country and have far less paid vacation time than other major countries.

Denmark is a small, homogenous nation of about 5.5 million people. The United States is a melting pot of more than 315 million people. No question about it, Denmark and the United States are very different countries. Nonetheless, are there lessons that we can learn from Denmark?

In Denmark, social policy in areas like health care, child care, education and protecting the unemployed are part of a “solidarity system” that makes sure that almost no one falls into economic despair. Danes pay very high taxes, but in return enjoy a quality of life that many Americans would find hard to believe. As the ambassador mentioned, while it is difficult to become very rich in Denmark no one is allowed to be poor. The minimum wage in Denmark is about twice that of the United States and people who are totally out of the labor market or unable to care for themselves have a basic income guarantee of about $100 per day.

Health care in Denmark is universal, free of charge and high quality. Everybody is covered as a right of citizenship. The Danish health care system is popular, with patient satisfaction much higher than in our country. In Denmark, every citizen can choose a doctor in their area. Prescription drugs are inexpensive and free for those under 18 years of age. Interestingly, despite their universal coverage, the Danish health care system is far more cost-effective than ours. They spend about 11 percent of their GDP on health care. We spend almost 18 percent.

When it comes to raising families, Danes understand that the first few years of a person’s life are the most important in terms of intellectual and emotional development. In order to give strong support to expecting parents, mothers get four weeks of paid leave before giving birth. They get another 14 weeks afterward. Expecting fathers get two paid weeks off, and both parents have the right to 32 more weeks of leave during the first nine years of a child’s life. The state covers three-quarters of the cost of child care, more for lower-income workers.

At a time when college education in the United States is increasingly unaffordable and the average college graduate leaves school more than $25,000 in debt, virtually all higher education in Denmark is free. That includes not just college but graduate schools as well, including medical school.

In a volatile global economy, the Danish government recognizes that it must invest heavily in training programs so workers can learn new skills to meet changing workforce demands. It also understands that when people lose their jobs they must have adequate income while they search for new jobs. If a worker loses his or her job in Denmark, unemployment insurance covers up to 90 percent of earnings for as long as two years. Here benefits can be cut off after as few as 26 weeks.

In Denmark, adequate leisure and family time are considered an important part of having a good life. Every worker in Denmark is entitled to five weeks of paid vacation plus 11 paid holidays. The United States is the only major country that does not guarantee its workers paid vacation time. The result is that fewer than half of lower-paid hourly wage workers in our country receive any paid vacation days.

Recently the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) found that the Danish people rank among the happiest in the world among some 40 countries that were studied. America did not crack the top 10.

As Ambassador Taksoe-Jensen explained, the Danish social model did not develop overnight. It has evolved over many decades and, in general, has the political support of all parties across the political spectrum. One of the reasons for that may be that the Danes are, politically and economically, a very engaged and informed people. In their last election, which lasted all of three weeks and had no TV ads, 89 percent of Danes voted.

In Denmark, more than 75 percent of the people are members of trade unions. In America today, as a result of the political and economic power of corporate America and the billionaire class, we are seeing a sustained and brutal attack against the economic well-being of the American worker. As the middle class disappears, benefits and guarantees that workers have secured over the last century are now on the chopping block. Republicans, and too many Democrats, are supporting cuts in Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, nutrition, education, and other basic needs — at the same time as the very rich become much richer. Workers’ rights, the ability to organize unions, and the very existence of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) are now under massive assault.

In the U.S. Senate today, my right-wing colleagues talk a lot about “freedom” and limiting the size of government. Here’s what they really mean.

They want ordinary Americans to have the freedom NOT to have health care in a country where 45,000 of our people die each year because they don’t get to a doctor when they should. They want young people in our country to have the freedom NOT to go to college, and join the 400,000 young Americans unable to afford a higher education and the millions struggling with huge college debts. They want children and seniors in our country to have the freedom NOT to have enough food to eat, and join the many millions who are already hungry. And on and on it goes!

In Denmark, there is a very different understanding of what “freedom” means. In that country, they have gone a long way to ending the enormous anxieties that comes with economic insecurity. Instead of promoting a system which allows a few to have enormous wealth, they have developed a system which guarantees a strong minimal standard of living to all — including the children, the elderly and the disabled.

The United States, in size, culture, and the diversity of our population, is a very different country from Denmark. Can we, however, learn some important lessons from them? You bet we can.

Can we, indeed, ‘learn some important lessons’ from Denmark? Sure. But can/will we ever take them to heart and DO SOMETHING positive with that which we’ve learned? Nope. Not so long as greed rules; i.o.w., not as long as Republicans remain in control of political aspects within our midst. Why? Because the Danes recognize and accept THE  REALITY – the reality designed to enhance the well-being of EVERY person under their roof, and because of their driving thesis which Sanders clearly states, the (obviously anti-American) thesis that reads, “while it is difficult to become very rich in Denmark no one is allowed to be poor.” To any inhabitant of the American Wingnut crowd, that’s about as UNAMERICAN (probably, in their view,  TREASONOUS!) a thesis as could ever be imagined, much less proposed and implemented. Which explains, of course, precisely why this nation is no longer the model to which other nations aspire, and why it’s become, rather, an example of that which MUST be, by all of good will and by all who care about anything and/or anyone other than the already rich and powerful, eternally avoided.

Open Thread for Socialists; NO FASCISTI ALLOWED!


The Watering Hole: Wednesday, May 29, 2013: Not Again!

Are we there yet?

Are we there yet?

“It was like re-living the Vietnam war all over again, only this time without the trees and swamps and jungles.” remarked John McCain after returning safely from Syria. “I was held, basically, as a Prisoner of War for what seemed an eternity.”

McCain spent a total of two hours in the complete mercy of terrorist rebels hell-bent on overthrowing the righteous government of Syria. “Make no mistake about it,” McCain continued, “some of those rebels are more extreme than the Taliban.”

McCain’s mission, undertaken with the full knowledge of the Obama Administration, was to deliver a message of support to the rebels. “Well, actually, I got the messages mixed up. In all the haste and security and confusion, I grabbed a note I got from Paul Ryan instead of the note from the President. So, when I got there…well, you can imagine their reaction when I read Ryan’s note. So. There I was, face to face with armed radical Islamists when I read “If you will accept the Lord Jesus Christ into your heart … That’s as far as I got before my security guards picked me up by the armpits and hightailed it out of Syria.”


OPEN THREAD: Guns don’t kill people, pressure cookers kill people.

All cartoons are posted with the artists’ express permission to TPZoo.
Paul Jamiol
Jamiol’s World

Good morning, Zoosters.

This is the open thread of the day, until a better one comes around.

So, have a cup of your favorite brew, sit down and unload whatever comes to mind.

The Watering Hole, Monday, May 27th, 2013: Untitled*

*I could not possibly honor the day anywhere near as well as frugalchariot’s Memorial Day post does, so I will not even try. To anyone who missed it, take the time, it’s a must-read.

Instead, I thought that I would check the local on-line newspapers in the hopes of finding some fodder. I went to the Opinion page of the Poughkeepsie Journal. One title looks promising: “Energy Policy is National Security Issue: Column” “by Merrill Matthews, USA Today.” As I read it I noted the author’s right-wing point of view, and wondered where he was going with it. After some discussion of Russia, Iran and Venezuela, with their “totalitarian regimes” and great big gobs of oil and natural gas, Mr. Matthews came closer to his point. An excerpt:

“Many energy-dependent countries would like to be free of that oil and gas stranglehold to pursue their on[sic] foreign policy interests and alignments. The good news is that the old paradigm is shifting; the better news is that we can accelerate those changes. [emphasis mine]

For one thing, the oil and gas production boom, especially in the U.S., has dramatically increased energy supplies and pushed down prices. That means that some of the “energy captives” now have options available to them, including coal, they may not have had in the past, helping to break the stranglehold.

But this shift is not necessarily permanent; much of it depends on expanded U.S. production, made possible by hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” and the ability to export some of that energy.

Which takes us to the better news: how to accelerate the current trend. The U.S. must move forward with plans that will turn cheap and abundant natural gas into liquefied natural gas (LNG) for export. We are only now building the liquefaction facilities to undertake this venture on a large scale, and the private sector is investing the money to make it happen — as long as the Obama administration will allow it. [emphasis mine]

The ability for the U.S. to extract and export energy is a national security issue. Energy self-sufficiency, which could be attainable in a decade or so, would mean that U.S. foreign policy wasn’t held hostage to energy policy.”

Not one word about wind, solar, hydroelectric, nothing about renewables at all. Still oil and gas, with a side of coal. At this point I’m wondering who this dinosaur is and, more to the point, who’s paying him. At the end of the “Column”, there it is:”Merrill Matthews is a resident scholar at the Institute for Policy Innovation.” Hmmm, that name rings a bell, IPI, yup, ding-ding-ding! The conservative think-tank and member of ALEC which was, as per sourcewatch, “founded in 1987 by Congressman Dick Armey to “research, develop and promote innovative and non-partisan solutions to today’s public policy problems.”” Yeah, right. Dick Armey is as slimy and partisan as they come, and cannot help but leave his oily fingerprints on everything he touches.

Moving on…I guess I should have known better than to try the “Online Extra: Obama Scandals Overlap and Drain his Authority” – it turned out to be a rancid piece of pink slime meat by George Will. I couldn’t read the whole thing, but that doesn’t mean that I won’t subject you to some of it:

“Liberalism’s agenda has been constant since long before liberals, having given their name a bad name, stopped calling themselves liberals and resumed calling themselves progressives, which they will call themselves until they finish giving that name a bad name.”

[Fuck you, George, I’m still proud to call myself a liberal.]

“The agenda always is: Concentrate more power in Washington, more Washington power in the executive branch and more executive power in agencies run by experts. Then trust the experts to be disinterested and prudent with their myriad intrusions into, and minute regulations of, Americans’ lives. Obama’s presidency may yet be, on balance, a net plus for the public good if it shatters American’s trust in the regulatory state’s motives.”

It gets worse after that, and should only be read by someone with an iron stomach.

After noting that John Stossel was another featured columnist, and that other links were to pieces such as “Michelle Malkin: Top Obama donor a fox in health records hen house”, “Slippery slope to accepting atheist Boy Scouts”, and “Punchlines: Prom Season for Obama”, I gave up entirely on the Poughkeepsie Journal.

Palate cleanser: here’s a Blue-Footed Booby (one of my all-time favorite bird names) from National Geographic:

Blue-Footed Booby, photo by Tim Laman, courtesy of National Geographic

Blue-Footed Booby, photo by Tim Laman, courtesy of National Geographic

This is our Open Thread. Go ahead, talk amongst yourselves!

Sunday Roast (for want of another title)

Face of a predator?

In the unlikely case that you haven’t heard about Kaitlyn, here is a recap:

Kaitlyn Hunt faces felony charges after the mother of her girlfriend, aged 14, notified police of the relationship as soon as she turned 18.

She has been charged with two counts of lewd and lascivious battery of a child 12 to 16 years of age and has been expelled from Sebastian River High School, in the town of Sebastian, Florida.

If she had chosen to accept the plea deal, she would have been under house arrest for two years, and would have been labelled a sex offender.

The state attorney’s office now says she will face trial on 20 June, and could face up to 15 years in prison, if she were to be found guilty of the offences.

Over at Think Progress, I read a long list of comments on Kaitlyn’s case. Most of them wrote of her as heroic and essentially a political victim. As always there are a few right wing trolls who consider Kaitlyn a pervert along with anyone who suggests she’s being treated unfairly.

I am plagued by mixed feelings. Although her attorney points to one case where a boy got a much lighter charge for essentially the same behavior, lots of young men are also stamped as sexual predators for having a physical relationship with a girl a few years younger than they are. As the attorney says, there would be no media attention at all if Kaitlyn was a boy — true, because it would be too common to be newsworthy. The cases we have heard of lately were very different — primarily gang rape of girls who were incapacitated by drink or drugs.

Does Kaitlyn get a pass because she’s a girl? Because she’s a lesbian? Or could this be a wakeup call that not all statutory rape cases are simple and clear cut. What is an appropriate age difference for teens, or is age an appropriate marker at all?

I’ll cop to it: when I was in my late teens I had sex with several girls under age 18 (although the marker was 16 in those days where I lived). I believe to this day that no coercion was ever involved or that any of those girls were incapable of making the choice to be sexual. But maybe I’m wrong, maybe I’m simply justifying selfish behavior.

I don’t think Kaitlyn should be singled out for praise because she’s a girl, but I support her fighting back at a ridiculous interpretation of the law. But that’s just me. This is, after all, an Open Thread.

UPDATE: From ThinkProgress

Conflicting reports, including an investigation by the Windy City Times (WCT), suggest that Kaitlyn was 18 before her relationship began. State Attorney Bruce Colton also suggested that the offered plea deal would have spared her from registering as a sex offender, a detail which does not correspond with previous reporting on the story from various outlets.