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In Hawaii, Obama shames GOP for going home for holidays while ‘mothers need help feeding kids’

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This is from BizPac Review.

 

Spending multi millions of dollars while in Hawaii Obama chides

Republicans for not extending unemployment welfare benifits.

With the expansion of food stamp eligibility and increases in

The food stamps amounts paid extended unemployment are not

needed.

 

President Barack Obamablasted Republican lawmakers in his weekly address Saturday for going on vacation during the holidays and neglecting “a mother who needs help feeding her kids.”

 

While apparently sitting in his Hawaiian vacation home, the president delivered hisweekly address Saturday, in which he said:

Just a few days after Christmas, more than one million of our fellow Americans lost a vital economic lifeline – the temporary insurance that helps folks make ends meet while they look for a job. Republicans in Congress went home for the holidays and let that lifeline expire…

I might add that Democrats in Congress also “went home for the holidays.” That’s what people do on Christmas, Hanukkah and New Year’s — as did the president.

Obama used the address to lay out what he thought were the ramifications of Republicans playing hooky from Congress on Christmas, saying:

We make this promise to one another because it makes a difference to a mother who needs help feeding her kids while she’s looking for work; to a father who needs help paying the rent while learning the skills to get a new and better job. And denying families that security is just plain cruel. We’re a better country than that. We don’t abandon our fellow Americans when times get tough – we keep the faith with them until they start that new job.

With the Obama administration expanding the food stamp program, one would be hard-pressed to find “a mother who needs help feeding her kids while she’s looking for work.”

Then there’s the “wisdom” of extending unemployment benefits. By doing so, Congress would merely be nipping around the edges of a sluggish jobs market, instead of addressing the root cause of unemployment.

But most of all, there’s the sheer hypocrisy of the president scolding elected officials for taking a vacation while he sits back and enjoys the holidays.

No matter what one may think of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s administration, he used his weekly radio “fireside chats” to bring a troubled nation together. Obama is using his own version to divide the nation.

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10 RARE AND UNSEEN PICS AFTER PEARL HARBOR

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This is from Breitbarts Big Peace.

While clicking other links I found these pictures.

 

Exactly 72 years ago today, Japan launched more than 350 fighters, bombers, and torpedo planes against the U.S. naval base in Hawaii–a “date which will live in infamy,” in the words of President Franklin Roosevelt. In fact, that Sunday morning is so seared into America‘s memory that the tumult of the weeks and months afterward is often overlooked. Here, on the 72nd anniversary of Pearl Harbor, LIFE.com presents rare and unpublished photos from Hawaii and the mainland, chronicling a nation’s answer to an unprecedented act of war.

 

Unpublished, a rally at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, Dec. 1941. 

The Brooklyn Navy Yard was founded in 1801. It had contributed ships to every American conflict, including the War of 1812, the Civil War, and World War I. It would prove absolutely essential to the war effort during World War II.

Source: George Strock/TIME & LIFE Pictures

Unpublished, young defenders beside a mounted machine gun, Hawaii, Dec. 1941.

“Close observers of Japan,” LIFE noted in mid-1941, “have said for years that if that country ever found itself in a hopeless corner it was capable of committing national hara-kiri by flinging itself at the throat of its mightiest enemy … [On December 7] it took the desperate plunge and told its enemies in effect: “If this be hara-kiri, make the most of it.”

Source: William C. Shrout/TIME & LIFE Pictures

Unpublished, Vice Admiral Joseph “Bull” Reeves, Waikiki Beach, Dec. 1941. 

While the U.S. was stunned by the attack on Pearl Harbor, the nation’s political and military leaders had long been conscious of tensions with Japan — which was obviously gearing up for war long before December 1941. An example of the measures the U.S. took in expectation of some sort of conflict in the Pacific: Joseph “Bull” Reeves, retired since 1936, was recalled to active duty in 1940. When Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, he was already 69.

Source: Bob Landry/TIME & LIFE Pictures

 

Unpublished, Pearl Harbor, Dec. 1941.

At the time of the attack, there were roughly 50,000 troops based at Pearl Harbor. Afterwards the number of soldiers spiked, as there were several hundred thousand of them stationed in Hawaii by 1945. (The number dropped to less than 70,000 by 1946.) “Out of the Pacific skies last week,” LIFE magazine wrote in its December 15, 1941 issue, “World War II came with startling suddenness to America … With reckless daring Japan aimed this blow at the citadel of American power in the Pacific.”

Source: William C. Shrout/TIME & LIFE Pictures

 

Unpublished, training with gas masks in Hawaii, early 1942.

“Ambassador Nomura and Envoy Kurusu,” LIFE reported in mid-December 1941, “had come with the answer to Hull’s note [of protest to the Japanese delegation in D.C.]. Hull read it through and then, for the first time in many long, patient years, the soft-spoken Secretary lost his temper. Into the teeth of the two Japanese, who for once did not grin, he flung these words: “In all my 50 years of public service I have never seen a document that was more crowded with infamous falsehoods and distortions — on a scale so huge that I never imagined until today that any government on this planet was capable of uttering them.”

Source: William C. Shrout/TIME & LIFE Pictures

 

Unpublished, troops shore up defenses in Hawaii in the weeks after Pearl Harbor. 

World War II lasted four more years — until Germany surrendered in May of 1945 and Japan surrendered in September of that year, in the wake of America’s destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The attack on Pearl Harbor, meanwhile — rather than Japan’s greatest victory — turned out to be an act of belligerent folly that, in many ways, guaranteed Japan’s eventual defeat.

Source: William C. Shrout/TIME & LIFE Pictures

 

No Job Too Small — Dec. 1942

A Naval officer — dwarfed by the vessel in his view — gazes at a cruiser’s propeller at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. During the course of World War II, more than 5,000 Allied ships were brought to Brooklyn for repairs.

Source: George Strock/TIME & LIFE Pictures

 

Unpublished, a poster at the Brooklyn Navy Yard calls for vigilance, Dec. 1941.

Within days of the attack, while the eyes of America were understandably focused on Pearl Harbor and the Pacific, a naval yard in New York City was already ramping up for what looked to be a long, long war.

Source: George Strock/TIME & LIFE Pictures

 

A closer look at the USS Arizona‘s wreckage, 1942.

Source: Bob Landry/TIME & LIFE Pictures

 


“U.S. aircraft rose at once to repel the Japanese attack,” LIFE wrote in December 1941, overstating the efficacy of the American response to the assault. In fact, more than 2,400 Americans (including scores of civilians) were killed in the attack; hundreds of U.S. aircraft were destroyed. In contrast, fewer than 70 Japanese were killed. The American response to the massive, sudden attack was unquestionably stalwart; but there’s also little question that, in terms of sheer losses, America endured a hellish blow.

Source: William C. Shrout/TIME & LIFE Pictures

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Connecticut man fights Navy for return of WWII sailor’s remains

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This is from Fox News.

Edwin Hopkins should be able to rest with  family.

Edwin Hopkins gave his last full measure of devotion for

His comrades and Hls nation.

We owe it to Edwin Hopkins to return his remains home.

 

hopkins-split.jpg

Edwin Hopkins, left, sits with his mother and father in an undated photograph prior to Hopkins joining the Navy. (TOM GRAY)

Nearly 72 years after his second cousin was killed during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Tom Gray is still fighting for the remains of the Navy fireman buried half a world away.

Gray, of Guilford, Conn., and his relatives want to bury 3rd Class Fireman Edwin Hopkins in a family cemetery in his hometown of Keene, N.H. The remains of Hopkins, who was 19 when he was killed in the engine room on the USS Oklahoma in 1941, were designated as unknown by the Navy and remain in the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Hawaii — also known as the “Punchbowl” — along with the remains of five other veterans.

“We just want him returned to his family, that’s what this is all about,” Gray, 64, told FoxNews.com. “This boy deserves to rest with his mother and father. It’s a burden and we want closure.”

 

The entire process to retrieve Hopkins’ remains has been tedious and agonizingly slow, Gray said. After providing mitochondrial DNA as proof of relation following a request from Navy officials, the remaining issue is the sanctity of the graves, he said.

Gray’s campaign for the remains has included letters to Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus, local elected officials and U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H. He has also obtained documentation indicating that Hopkins’ remains were uncovered and buried in the Halawa Navy Cemetery in 1943. Six years later, it was recommended that Hopkins’ remains be transferred to another gravesite along with his identity, but an anthropologist refused to sign the certificate because she didn’t have all of the remains to make a full identification. Hopkins’ remains were ultimately transferred as unknown, Gray said.

“I’m doing everything I can to put pressure on them,” he said. “I know it’s an expensive process, but you know they have the means to do it.”

Further complicating matters, Gray said he has also been told by Navy officials that they do not want to disturb the sanctity of the graves in the casket in Hawaii.

“That’s still the case,” Navy spokeswoman Sarah Flaherty told the New Haven Register. “The grave has been disturbed a number of times. We don’t want to keep doing that.”

State Sen. Edward Meyer, D-Guilford, is now assisting Gray to connect with local lawmakers to “make a pitch” to Navy officials to exhume the remains, the newspaper reports.

Flaherty said plans for a USS Oklahoma memorial are now being discussed, but that won’t satisfy Gray and his mission to provide a final resting place for his second cousin.

“It’s something that I really want to happen,” he said. “Let’s put it this way: I’m 64 and if I live to be 84, I’m going to work on it that long. The honorable and moral thing to do is to identify this man.”

 

 

Edward Snowden: the whistleblower behind the NSA surveillance revelation

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This is from The U.K.Guardian.

This young man has a Big Brass pair.

I hope this will help sound the alarm and wake people up.

We need to sound the alarm from coast to coast.

Our Liberties are rapidly being stripped away. 

Link to video: NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden: ‘I don’t want to live in a society that does these sort of things’

 

The 29-year-old source behind the biggest intelligence leak in the NSA’s history explains his motives, his uncertain future and why he never intended on hiding in the shadows

• Q&A with NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden: ‘I do not expect to see home again’

The individual responsible for one of the most significant leaks in US political history is Edward Snowden, a 29-year-old former technical assistant for the CIA and current employee of the defence contractor Booz Allen Hamilton. Snowden has been working at the National Security Agency for the last four years as an employee of various outside contractors, including Booz Allen and Dell.

The Guardian, after several days of interviews, is revealing his identity at his request. From the moment he decided to disclose numerous top-secret documents to the public, he was determined not to opt for the protection of anonymity. “I have no intention of hiding who I am because I know I have done nothing wrong,” he said.

Snowden will go down in history as one of America’s most consequential whistleblowers, alongside Daniel Ellsberg and Bradley Manning. He is responsible for handing over material from one of the world’s most secretive organisations – the NSA.

In a note accompanying the first set of documents he provided, he wrote: “I understand that I will be made to suffer for my actions,” but “I will be satisfied if the federation of secret law, unequal pardon and irresistible executive powers that rule the world that I love are revealed even for an instant.”

Despite his determination to be publicly unveiled, he repeatedly insisted that he wants to avoid the media spotlight. “I don’t want public attention because I don’t want the story to be about me. I want it to be about what the US government is doing.”

He does not fear the consequences of going public, he said, only that doing so will distract attention from the issues raised by his disclosures. “I know the media likes to personalise political debates, and I know the government will demonise me.”

Despite these fears, he remained hopeful his outing will not divert attention from the substance of his disclosures. “I really want the focus to be on these documents and the debate which I hope this will trigger among citizens around the globe about what kind of world we want to live in.” He added: “My sole motive is to inform the public as to that which is done in their name and that which is done against them.”

He has had “a very comfortable life” that included a salary of roughly $200,000, a girlfriend with whom he shared a home in Hawaii, a stable career, and a family he loves. “I’m willing to sacrifice all of that because I can’t in good conscience allow the US government to destroy privacy, internet freedom and basic liberties for people around the world with this massive surveillance machine they’re secretly building.”

‘I am not afraid, because this is the choice I’ve made’

Three weeks ago, Snowden made final preparations that resulted in last week’s series of blockbuster news stories. At the NSA office in Hawaii where he was working, he copied the last set of documents he intended to disclose.

He then advised his NSA supervisor that he needed to be away from work for “a couple of weeks” in order to receive treatment for epilepsy, a condition he learned he suffers from after a series of seizures last year.

As he packed his bags, he told his girlfriend that he had to be away for a few weeks, though he said he was vague about the reason. “That is not an uncommon occurrence for someone who has spent the last decade working in the intelligence world.”

On May 20, he boarded a flight to Hong Kong, where he has remained ever since. He chose the city because “they have a spirited commitment to free speech and the right of political dissent”, and because he believed that it was one of the few places in the world that both could and would resist the dictates of the US government.

In the three weeks since he arrived, he has been ensconced in a hotel room. “I’ve left the room maybe a total of three times during my entire stay,” he said. It is a plush hotel and, what with eating meals in his room too, he has run up big bills.

He is deeply worried about being spied on. He lines the door of his hotel room with pillows to prevent eavesdropping. He puts a large red hood over his head and laptop when entering his passwords to prevent any hidden cameras from detecting them.

Though that may sound like paranoia to some, Snowden has good reason for such fears. He worked in the US intelligence world for almost a decade. He knows that the biggest and most secretive surveillance organisation in America, the NSA, along with the most powerful government on the planet, is looking for him.

Since the disclosures began to emerge, he has watched television and monitored the internet, hearing all the threats and vows of prosecution emanating from Washington.

And he knows only too well the sophisticated technology available to them and how easy it will be for them to find him. The NSA police and other law enforcement officers have twice visited his home in Hawaii and already contacted his girlfriend, though he believes that may have been prompted by his absence from work, and not because of suspicions of any connection to the leaks.

“All my options are bad,” he said. The US could begin extradition proceedings against him, a potentially problematic, lengthy and unpredictable course for Washington. Or the Chinese government might whisk him away for questioning, viewing him as a useful source of information. Or he might end up being grabbed and bundled into a plane bound for US territory.

“Yes, I could be rendered by the CIA. I could have people come after me. Or any of the third-party partners. They work closely with a number of other nations. Or they could pay off the Triads. Any of their agents or assets,” he said.

“We have got a CIA station just up the road – the consulate here in Hong Kong – and I am sure they are going to be busy for the next week. And that is a concern I will live with for the rest of my life, however long that happens to be.”

Having watched the Obama administration prosecute whistleblowers at a historically unprecedented rate, he fully expects the US government to attempt to use all its weight to punish him. “I am not afraid,” he said calmly, “because this is the choice I’ve made.”

He predicts the government will launch an investigation and “say I have broken the Espionage Act and helped our enemies, but that can be used against anyone who points out how massive and invasive the system has become”.

The only time he became emotional during the many hours of interviews was when he pondered the impact his choices would have on his family, many of whom work for the US government. “The only thing I fear is the harmful effects on my family, who I won’t be able to help any more. That’s what keeps me up at night,” he said, his eyes welling up with tears.

‘You can’t wait around for someone else to act’

Snowden did not always believe the US government posed a threat to his political values. He was brought up originally in Elizabeth City, North Carolina. His family moved later to Maryland, near the NSA headquarters in Fort Meade.

By his own admission, he was not a stellar student. In order to get the credits necessary to obtain a high school diploma, he attended a community college in Maryland, studying computing, but never completed the coursework. (He later obtained his GED.)

In 2003, he enlisted in the US army and began a training program to join the Special Forces. Invoking the same principles that he now cites to justify his leaks, he said: “I wanted to fight in the Iraq war because I felt like I had an obligation as a human being to help free people from oppression”.

He recounted how his beliefs about the war’s purpose were quickly dispelled. “Most of the people training us seemed pumped up about killing Arabs, not helping anyone,” he said. After he broke both his legs in a training accident, he was discharged.

After that, he got his first job in an NSA facility, working as a security guard for one of the agency’s covert facilities at the University of Maryland. From there, he went to the CIA, where he worked on IT security. His understanding of the internet and his talent for computer programming enabled him to rise fairly quickly for someone who lacked even a high school diploma.

By 2007, the CIA stationed him with diplomatic cover in Geneva, Switzerland. His responsibility for maintaining computer network security meant he had clearance to access a wide array of classified documents.

That access, along with the almost three years he spent around CIA officers, led him to begin seriously questioning the rightness of what he saw.

He described as formative an incident in which he claimed CIA operatives were attempting to recruit a Swiss banker to obtain secret banking information. Snowden said they achieved this by purposely getting the banker drunk and encouraging him to drive home in his car. When the banker was arrested for drunk driving, the undercover agent seeking to befriend him offered to help, and a bond was formed that led to successful recruitment.

“Much of what I saw in Geneva really disillusioned me about how my government functions and what its impact is in the world,” he says. “I realised that I was part of something that was doing far more harm than good.”

He said it was during his CIA stint in Geneva that he thought for the first time about exposing government secrets. But, at the time, he chose not to for two reasons.

First, he said: “Most of the secrets the CIA has are about people, not machines and systems, so I didn’t feel comfortable with disclosures that I thought could endanger anyone”. Secondly, the election of Barack Obama in 2008 gave him hope that there would be real reforms, rendering disclosures unnecessary.

He left the CIA in 2009 in order to take his first job working for a private contractor that assigned him to a functioning NSA facility, stationed on a military base in Japan. It was then, he said, that he “watched as Obama advanced the very policies that I thought would be reined in”, and as a result, “I got hardened.”

The primary lesson from this experience was that “you can’t wait around for someone else to act. I had been looking for leaders, but I realised that leadership is about being the first to act.”

Over the next three years, he learned just how all-consuming the NSA’s surveillance activities were, claiming “they are intent on making every conversation and every form of behaviour in the world known to them”.

He described how he once viewed the internet as “the most important invention in all of human history”. As an adolescent, he spent days at a time “speaking to people with all sorts of views that I would never have encountered on my own”.

But he believed that the value of the internet, along with basic privacy, is being rapidly destroyed by ubiquitous surveillance. “I don’t see myself as a hero,” he said, “because what I’m doing is self-interested: I don’t want to live in a world where there’s no privacy and therefore no room for intellectual exploration and creativity.”

Once he reached the conclusion that the NSA’s surveillance net would soon be irrevocable, he said it was just a matter of time before he chose to act. “What they’re doing” poses “an existential threat to democracy”, he said.

A matter of principle

As strong as those beliefs are, there still remains the question: why did he do it? Giving up his freedom and a privileged lifestyle? “There are more important things than money. If I were motivated by money, I could have sold these documents to any number of countries and gotten very rich.”

For him, it is a matter of principle. “The government has granted itself power it is not entitled to. There is no public oversight. The result is people like myself have the latitude to go further than they are allowed to,” he said.

His allegiance to internet freedom is reflected in the stickers on his laptop: “I support Online Rights: Electronic Frontier Foundation,” reads one. Another hails the online organisation offering anonymity, the Tor Project.

Asked by reporters to establish his authenticity to ensure he is not some fantasist, he laid bare, without hesitation, his personal details, from his social security number to his CIA ID and his expired diplomatic passport. There is no shiftiness. Ask him about anything in his personal life and he will answer.

He is quiet, smart, easy-going and self-effacing. A master on computers, he seemed happiest when talking about the technical side of surveillance, at a level of detail comprehensible probably only to fellow communication specialists. But he showed intense passion when talking about the value of privacy and how he felt it was being steadily eroded by the behaviour of the intelligence services.

His manner was calm and relaxed but he has been understandably twitchy since he went into hiding, waiting for the knock on the hotel door. A fire alarm goes off. “That has not happened before,” he said, betraying anxiety wondering if was real, a test or a CIA ploy to get him out onto the street.

Strewn about the side of his bed are his suitcase, a plate with the remains of room-service breakfast, and a copy of Angler, the biography of former vice-president Dick Cheney.

Ever since last week’s news stories began to appear in the Guardian, Snowden has vigilantly watched TV and read the internet to see the effects of his choices. He seemed satisfied that the debate he longed to provoke was finally taking place.

He lay, propped up against pillows, watching CNN’s Wolf Blitzer ask a discussion panel about government intrusion if they had any idea who the leaker was. From 8,000 miles away, the leaker looked on impassively, not even indulging in a wry smile.

Snowden said that he admires both Ellsberg and Manning, but argues that there is one important distinction between himself and the army private, whose trial coincidentally began the week Snowden’s leaks began to make news.

“I carefully evaluated every single document I disclosed to ensure that each was legitimately in the public interest,” he said. “There are all sorts of documents that would have made a big impact that I didn’t turn over, because harming people isn’t my goal. Transparency is.”

He purposely chose, he said, to give the documents to journalists whose judgment he trusted about what should be public and what should remain concealed.

As for his future, he is vague. He hoped the publicity the leaks have generated will offer him some protection, making it “harder for them to get dirty”.

He views his best hope as the possibility of asylum, with Iceland – with its reputation of a champion of internet freedom – at the top of his list. He knows that may prove a wish unfulfilled.

But after the intense political controversy he has already created with just the first week’s haul of stories, “I feel satisfied that this was all worth it. I have no regrets.”

 

 

 

Honoring veterans as monuments decay, funds dry up

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This is from Stars And Stripes.

This makes me sad beyond words.

There is enough money to expand the welfare and

food stamps programs.

There is money for illegals to get housing and health care.

But not one dime for the up keep of the Memorials to our veterans.

 

HONOLULU — On the shoreline of Hawaii’s most famous beach, a decaying structure attracts little attention from wandering tourists.

A few glance curiously at the crumbling Waikiki Natatorium, a salt water pool built in 1927 as a memorial to the 10,000 soldiers from Hawaii who served in World War I. But the monument’s walls are caked with salt and rust, and passers-by are quickly diverted by the lure of sand and waves.

The faded structure has been closed to the public for decades, the object of seemingly endless debate over whether it should be demolished or restored to its former glory. The latest plan is to replace it with a beach, more practical for the state’s lucrative tourism industry – and millions of dollars cheaper, according to state and local officials. They say a full restoration could cost nearly $70 million.

The corroding monument has challenged the community to maneuver a delicate question: How do we honor those who have served when memorials deteriorate and finances are tight?

Similar debates have been playing out across the nation.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation waged a 2 1/2-year fight to restore the aging Tomb of the Unknowns in Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, D.C., when some people proposed replacing it. Far less disagreement surrounded a decision to update the War Memorial Opera House in San Francisco after a powerful earthquake in 1989.

In Greensboro, N.C., residents have been grappling with what to do with the city’s own decaying tribute to the soldiers of World War I.

The Greensboro World War Memorial Stadium hosted minor league baseball for decades and even served as a location for notable sports films such as “Leatherheads” and “Bull Durham.”

Yet, despite continued use by kids and college-level athletes, the structure is falling into disrepair.

The historic pebbled facade is falling off, and some of the bleachers are blocked off because of crumbling concrete, said David Wharton, a Greensboro resident who is fighting as a member of his neighborhood association to restore the structure.

It’s been a losing battle. The city rejected two referendums to fund renovations and chose to build a new stadium for minor league baseball instead of fixing up the old one.

As a classics professor at University of North Carolina-Greensboro, Wharton has a soft spot for historic places. But he recognizes there are many other priorities competing for the millions of dollars it would take to restore the stadium.

A city group is exploring different ways to use the space, and preservation advocates hope the monument can be saved even if that means changing the stadium’s purpose.

For many residents, the structure’s architectural and historic significance pales in comparison to more immediate needs.

“The war was a long time ago,” Wharton said. “I don’t think it’s meaningful for most people.”

Sometimes, communities decide that memorials aren’t worth the price.

In Michigan’s upper peninsula, the Wakefield Memorial Building once stood as a grand structure overlooking a lake in Wakefield, an old mining town. The memorial, built in 1924 to commemorate the sacrifices of World War I soldiers, was expansive, including a banquet hall, meeting room and theater.

By the 1950s, the community couldn’t afford the upkeep of the building and sold it to a private owner. Over the years, there were attempts to renovate the structure. But it was deemed too expensive and by 2010, the building was demolished.

John Siira, the city manager, said there are plans to build a new memorial at the site, including a City Hall and library.

But the project is on hold, and Siira said he’s not sure when construction will start or when the project will pick up again.

The lot where the building used to stand is now an empty lawn. The snow melted just last week, remnants of a long winter.

In Honolulu, the fight over the beachside memorial is far from over.

Jason Woll, who manages the beaches and parks in Waikiki, says the salty air, crashing waves and decades-old construction material have contributed to the memorial’s demise.

“Unfortunately this may have had its day in the sun,” Woll said. “It’s a World War I memorial but quite frankly, it looks like it’s been through war.”

Hawaii state and local officials recently announced a proposal to tear down the building and have started analyzing the plan – a process expected to take at least a year.

Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell says the demolition has been a long time coming.

“The greater disrespect is allowing the pool to continue to crumble and fall into the sea,” Caldwell said.

Caldwell says the new beach would better serve local residents and plans to preserve the memorial’s arch will honor the soldiers. Demolishing the structure for $18 million is much cheaper than the $69 million price tag attached to full renovation, he said.

But an organization called Friends of the Natatorium says the city’s cost analysis is wrong and renovation would in fact be cheaper than demolition. The group, led by former state lawmaker Peter Apo, wants a moratorium on any plans to destroy the memorial to give the group time to fundraise for restoration.

Apo says because the building is on the National Register of Historic Places, a restoration campaign could attract philanthropy from across the nation. But he acknowledges that it could be hard to garner public support. World War I doesn’t carry the same significance in Hawaii as World War II, and many people like the idea of a new beach.

The site is such a safety hazard that public access has been blocked since 1979 – well past the pool’s days of hosting legendary athletes like Olympic swimmer and surf icon Duke Kahanamoku.

Crabs scuttle between “Danger” signs lining the building’s edges, and sharks swim in the pool, beneath the cracks of the crumbling floor.

“We’re a nation of short memory,” Apo said.

 

Obama Uses Funeral Service to Talk About Himself

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This is from The Weekly Standard.

What a narcissistic SOB.

How do you refer to yourself so many times in a eulogy?

President Barack Obama used the funeral for Hawaii senator Daniel Inouye to talk about himself. In the short 1,600 word speech, Obama used the word “my” 21 times, “me” 12 times, and “I” 30 times.

Obama’s speech discussed how Inouye had gotten him interested in politics. “Danny was elected to the U.S. Senate when I was two years old,” he said.

Speaking to the audience at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., Obama talked about his family and their vacations. “Now, even though my mother and grandparents took great pride that they had voted for him, I confess that I wasn’t paying much attention to the United States Senate at the age of four or five or six.  It wasn’t until I was 11 years old that I recall even learning what a U.S. senator was, or it registering, at least.  It was during my summer vacation with my family — my first trip to what those of us in Hawaii call the Mainland,” said Obama.

So we flew over the ocean, and with my mother and my grandmother and my sister, who at the time was two, we traveled around the country.  It was a big trip.  We went to Seattle, and we went to Disneyland — which was most important.  We traveled to Kansas where my grandmother’s family was from, and went to Chicago, and went to Yellowstone.  And we took Greyhound buses most of the time, and we rented cars, and we would stay at local motels or Howard Johnson’s.  And if there was a pool at one of these motels, even if it was just tiny, I would be very excited. And the ice machine was exciting — and the vending machine, I was really excited about that.

But this is at a time when you didn’t have 600 stations and 24 hours’ worth of cartoons.  And so at night, if the TV was on, it was what your parents decided to watch.  And my mother that summer would turn on the TV every night during this vacation and watch the Watergate hearings.  And I can’t say that I understood everything that was being discussed, but I knew the issues were important.  I knew they spoke to some basic way about who we were and who we might be as Americans.

And so, slowly, during the course of this trip, which lasted about a month, some of this seeped into my head.  And the person who fascinated me most was this man of Japanese descent with one arm, speaking in this courtly baritone, full of dignity and grace.  And maybe he captivated my attention because my mom explained that this was our senator and that he was upholding what our government was all about.  Maybe it was a boyhood fascination with the story of how he had lost his arm in a war.  But I think it was more than that.

Now, here I was, a young boy with a white mom, a black father, raised in Indonesia and Hawaii.  And I was beginning to sense how fitting into the world might not be as simple as it might seem.  And so to see this man, this senator, this powerful, accomplished person who wasn’t out of central casting when it came to what you’d think a senator might look like at the time, and the way he commanded the respect of an entire nation I think it hinted to me what might be possible in my own life.Obama also mentioned the heroic life of Inouye. “And so we remember a man who inspired all of us with his courage, and moved us with his compassion, that inspired us with his integrity, and who taught so many of us — including a young kid growing up in Hawaii –– that America has a place for everyone,” Obama concluded.

 

Sen. Daniel Inouye dies at 88

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This is from The Daily Caller.

 

I missed reporting the death on Senator Inouye on Monday.

Senator Daniel Inouye was a World War ll veteran and Medal of Honor recipient.

Daniel was a member of the Nesi 442nd Regimental Combat team. 

Rest in Peace Valiant Warrior.

 

Hawaii Sen. Daniel Inouye died Monday of respiratory complications at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. The nine-term Hawaii Democrat was 88 years old.

Inouye had been hospitalized since December 6.

Rep. Jeff Miller, Chairman of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, issued a statement on Inouye’s passing late Monday.

“I am saddened by the news this evening of Senator Inouye’s passing. He was one of the last World War II veterans in Congress, and a leading veteran advocate for more than 50 years,” Miller said.

“His selfless service to our nation dates back well before his time on Capitol Hill, where in hard battle on the fields of Italy in 1945 his actions resulted in being bestowed the Medal of Honor. With his passing, we remember the bravery and dedication of the Greatest Generation, and with each day that sets, we mourn all who battled through this life to find reward in the next.”

Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch released a statement praising Inouye as well.

“I was honored to serve with Danny my entire service in the United States Senate, but even more so privileged to call him my close friend,” Hatch said.

Inouye served in the Senate for five decades, dating back to 1962. A towering political figure in both Washington and his home state of Hawaii, Inouye served as the most recent chairman of the Senate Committee on Appropriations.

Multiple Democratic senators on the appropriations committee had disparaged Inouye during his hospitalization, suggesting that he was an ineffective committee leader who had stayed in the Senate “too long.” (RELATED: Anonymous Dems attack ailing senator)

 
Read more: http://dailycaller.com/2012/12/17/sen-daniel-inouye-dies-at-88/#ixzz2FYiap3Wb

 

 

Report: Obamas to spend holidays in Hawaii at $4 million cost to taxpayers

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This is from The Daily Caller.

 

Poor Obama has had a tough time fund raising and blaming Bush.

Just think how much money the Obama’s will spend taking vacations.

After all it takes lots of energy to blame someone else for your problems.

 

The first family will be vacationing in Hawaii for the Christmas holidays at a cost of at least $4 million to taxpayers, according to a report from the Hawaii Reporter.

The Hawaiian paper reports that residents living near the beachfront homes at Kailuana Place, where the President Obama and first family have visited annually since 2008, were notified Monday that there will be restrictions on their movements in place for 20 days, from Dec. 17 through Jan. 6.

The Hawaii Reporter calculated the $4 million cost to taxpayers based in part on the price of a round trip flight to the island on Air Force One, the transport of the president’s support equipment, housing of security and staff and the cost of police to local taxpayers.

The first family pays for their own rental on the beach, according to the paper.

The White House Dossier notes that the White House has yet to officially announce the vacation or the president’s travel plans and notes Obama could be in Hawaii on the day the country goes off the “fiscal cliff” if no deal is reached in time.

The Dossier adds that the vacation could help to add “subtle pressure” the president to reach a deal.

Author Robert Keith Gray estimated in his book “Presidential Perks Gone Royal“ that last year taxpayers spent $1.4 billion on the first family, compared to the $57.8 million British taxpayers spent on the royal family, The Daily Caller reported in September.

Last year the Hawaii Reporter estimated the president’s 17-day holiday vacation in Hawaii was more than $4 million as well.

Read more: http://dailycaller.com/2012/11/29/report-obamas-to-spent-holidays-in-hawaii-at-4-million-cost-to-taxpayers/#ixzz2Den95b74

 

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