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Can we please not have the Crusades again?

A friend who is both intelligent and kind-hearted nevertheless made a remark about the anti-American violence in the Middle East which referred to “them” as if all Muslims think like, and endorse, the terrorists who assassinated Chris Stevens, the U.S. ambassador to Libya. This is unfair to the Libyan Muslims…

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The (local) deficit reduction debate

The Hawaii Tax Review Commission spent $180,000 on a mainland consultant’s report that suggested raising the excise tax, hiking sin taxes, and taxing pensions, which Hawaii does not currently do. (Note: A response is added at the bottom of this post. HMD) Lowell Kalapa of the Tax Foundation of Hawaii,…

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What is Fed stimulus, and how does it work?

QE3 sounds like a cruise ship, but is Wall Street parlance for the third round of “qualitative easing,” the Fed stimulus plan that everyone thought Ben Bernanke would announce Thursday. What is qualitative easing and how does it work? And if you prefer, we can drop the “how” and make…

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“The Perfect Day” vs. the actual day

It’s been months since Bernadette has needed to use my main home computer – she has her own – but today when I began to work on the next morning’s reports I found she has downloaded a copy of “The Perfect Day,” from “You: Being Beautiful,” a 2008 book by…

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Stink eye for solar power tax credits

A national report Monday morning says solar power installations are running double the pace of last year, based on second quarter data, and the total number of installations is now enough to power a million homes. In Hawaii, what has been driving solar panel installations, according to the several rapidly-expanding…

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The big, big money in this year’s election campaigns

Super PACs – political action campaigns that have a freer hand in their political ads than the actual campaigns do – have raised millions of dollars to support or attack candidates for Congress and the White House. This kind of fundraising has doubled since a favorable Supreme Court ruling in the…

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The Euro crisis: Will this week see action at long last?

Peter Gauweller is going to try to throw a spanner into the Euro debt crisis plan this week. A spanner is the European term. We Americans say “monkey wrench.” Either way, we’ll see if he can stop it. Gauweller is a member of the German legislature – one of Angela…

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The new jobless report and our crazy global economy

Who would have thought that President Obama could be hurt by a decline in the jobless rate? But that’s precisely what appears to have happened today. The U.S. unemployment rate fell from 8.3% in July to 8.1% in August, not because fewer people are unemployed, but because fewer people are counted in…

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Music Post: The other legacy of Arnold Schoenberg

In 1908 Arnold Schoenberg, in his early thirties, was working on his second string quartet and a song cycle when his wife left him for a younger man. To the song cycle he added the first entirely atonal art song. For the final movement of the quartet, Schoenberg wrote the…

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The new health care debate

National discourse on health care reform changed today. From this day forward, anyone who wants to propose or attack any health care policy proposal will need to tell where he stands on a report by the Institute of Medicine, part of the National Academy of Sciences. The report made an…