April 9, 2011

Let Them Buy Hybrid Vans

Justin Katz

In his NRO column, this week Mark Steyn mentions President Obama's response to an audience having to do with lowering the price of gasoline:

He was asked a question by a citizen of the United States. The cost of a gallon of gas has doubled on Obama's watch, and this gentleman asked, "Is there a chance of the price being lowered again?"

As the Associated Press reported it, the president responded "laughingly": "I know some of these big guys, they're all still driving their big SUVs. You know, they got their big monster trucks and everything. . . . If you're complaining about the price of gas and you're only getting eight miles a gallon — (laughter) . . . "

That's how the official White House transcript reported it: Laughter. Big yuks. "So, like I said, if you're getting eight miles a gallon you may want to think about a trade-in. You can get a great deal."

Glenn Reynolds has noted that the Associated Press has still scrubbed the exchange from the record. Luckily, one can find the video on YouTube, and even cue right up to the question, as I've done in the following embed:

What's interesting is that the president visibly forces himself to step back in his commentary when he goes on:

Obama: You may have a big family, but it's probably not that big, so... How many you have, ten kids, you say? Ten kids? [Pause for a stunned expression and probably a bit of lip biting.] Well, you definitely need a hybrid van, then.

No doubt, even folks who disagree with President Obama on just about everything would pull back from endorsing a ten-child family unless the parents can afford it. But that's pretty much the point: Doubling the fuel bill on the car by which the large family gets around reduces affordability. Moreover, it reduces affordability for a family already in particular circumstances, and it's not inconceivable that the family size resulted from adoptions meant to rescue the children from worse.

To declare that the father should spring for a large, expensive hybrid vehicle is to skirt the question, to put the blame for difficulties on the asker, and to impose government priorities on a highly diverse population — diverse not only in the liberal meaning of multiracial, but in the more significant (more conservative) meaning of varying circumstances and priorities.

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Obama's been taken care of his whole miserable life.
He wasn't filthy rich like Chafee,Kennedy,or Whitehouse,but he was coddled and protected and he doesn't know what a hard day is.
Nor do some local fools posing as "experts"like Asen and Jerzyk.
Bunch of coddled eggs.
This president is an arrogant,empty suit fool.Lazy as hell too.Always on vacation,or golfing,or sucking down a cocktail.

Posted by: joe bernstein at April 9, 2011 5:57 PM

What a hip president.

Posted by: Dan at April 9, 2011 6:13 PM

Or a shoot-from-the-hip president...

Posted by: Justin Katz at April 9, 2011 6:17 PM

Completely missing from this response is any sort of helpful suggestion for those of us who

1) cannot afford to trade in or

2) are alREADY getting good gas mileage.

Posted by: Monique at April 9, 2011 7:14 PM

Just wondering what happened to that "I am suffering too" post from last night?

Posted by: Swazool at April 9, 2011 7:46 PM

The reason that gas prices are so high is because Bush is buddy-buddy with all the executives in the oil business. Bush was an oilman before he became president so he's paying back favors to all his oil friends who helped him gain the presidency.

Wait, what? Bush isn't president anymore? Hmm, then I have no idea why the price of gas is so high.

Sure makes the left look pretty dumb with their old "Bush the oilman" rants of 6 or so years ago.

Posted by: Patrick at April 9, 2011 8:16 PM

Yup, he definitely screwed up there. Not every family is going to fit into a 4-seat hybrid.

But somehow I doubt that high fuel prices are the *one thing* breaking the bank on a family of 10 kids and what I can only assume includes 2 adults. Please.

We also still pay some of the lowest gasoline prices in the world. Complain about out high corporate taxes, you have a leg to stand on. Complain about our poor public school performance, you have two legs to stand on. Complain about THIS though?:


And I'll remind you that the vast majority of democratic industrialized nations pay twice if not three times the price we pay for a gallon of gas.

Maybe we need to implement "No Gallon Left Behind", and get us up-to-speed with the rest of the world ;)

Posted by: jparis at April 9, 2011 8:23 PM

Oh, and just to respond to what Patrick typed as I was writing: I'll be glad to personally speak to any liberal you know who really thinks that the reason gas prices have ever been high has had *anything* to do with a President's connection to big oil.

The price of gas is high because it's a commodity subject to the forces of supply and demand -- and because a large portion of it comes from very volatile parts of the world. The U.S., with all its vaunted wealth and power, does not control the price of gas -- OPEC does, and these days, they *barely* do at that.

Posted by: jparis at April 9, 2011 8:32 PM

Obama as a baby, young child and later in life as a teenager grew up in rented apartments. I believe he is the first President of the United States to do so. He certainly knows what it is like to grow up on the not so elite side of the railroad tracks even though his grandmother and grandfather who raised him after his mother and father died managed somehow to send him to the exclusive private Punahou School in Honolulu. As Justin inferred he might be a shoot-from-the-hip president.

First Lady Michelle Obama is quoted saying; “You can't really understand Barack until you first understand Hawaii.”

We who live in Hawaii can almost read Obama like a book because he was raised with Hawaiian values and the State Constitutional mandate of Aloha.

As far as gasoline prices are concerned, President Obama has nothing to do with the increase in price of gasoline. It’s all pure speculation of the Wall Street and world investors which is no one person controls.

In Hawaii the prices are already nearing the $5 per gallon mark and we are proud of it! Meaning the state alternate energy initiative (reduce imported oil 70% by year 2030) is getting a boost to drive the creation of alternate energy state-wide infrastructure to support alternate energy vehicles powered by hybrid, all electric and hydrogen fuel-cell energy.

Automobile manufacturers are already shipping alternate energy vehicles to Hawaii and with the combined state and federal $12,000 rebate off MSRP price plus an additional $500 for all electric home charging station we are chomping at the bits to get back to paying approximately 20 cents per gallon mileage depending on the make, model and alternate energy power of the vehicle.

We have one of the best public transit system in America ranked best in the nation and are adding a $5.5 billion 20 mile commuter high-speed light rail system to it. I have a $30 unlimited travel 24/7 yearly transit pass when I don’t need to drive my car saving mileage (36/mpg) and fuel. I only manage to get 5,000 miles a year on my car but there is a cost benefit that must be calculated in changing over to a new alternate energy vehicle.

We already expect imported oil to reach $200 per barrel and $6 per gallon gasoline in the U.S.A.

Instead of complaining, pointing fingers and sitting on your thumbs the mainland better start contingency planning or $100 per quarter to one-half tank will become a reality.

Posted by: Ken at April 9, 2011 8:32 PM

I liked the part about "we didn't do it with a law, we got the labor unions, manufacturers and evironementalists to agree"

As far the labor unions and manufacturers go, I think it is fair to say that the government had them by the throat at the time. It was "agree", or go out of business.

Posted by: Warrington Faust at April 9, 2011 9:43 PM

"Wait, what? Bush isn't president anymore? Hmm, then I have no idea why the price of gas is so high."

Duh, Patrick! Bush still controls the price of gas via the Halliburton Oil Futures Manipulator Machine.

Posted by: Monique at April 10, 2011 8:17 AM

Ken-Reagan grew up in a working class environment in DixonIL.
Ever been there?
I have and it's not Hyannis.And it's not Hawaii.
In any event I wasn't referring to Obama's economic background,but his socialization.
In spite of the fact that his father was a piece of crap who abandoned him(there is never an excuse to abandon your child)and his mother was a hate-America White guilt burdened perpetual student,his grandparents(who were in the banking business and didn't exactly live in a tenement)made sure barry got cared for and attended a top notch school.
His first experiece with hard decision making that had real consequences is as President.And it shows.
BTW Nixon grew up in modest surroundings as did Eisenhower.
How about Truman?
Gerald Ford?
Get your facts straight.

Posted by: joe bernstein at April 10, 2011 8:37 AM

Typcical clueless marxist. No wonder he and Chafee are so fond of each other.

Posted by: Tommy Cranston at April 10, 2011 9:51 AM

The thing that got me about President Obama's answer to the man with 10 kids is that it was very clear he had never even conceived of the idea that it might be possible for a person to have a real need for a vehicle that large and inefficient up until that moment, and even when the thought first came into his head, he was having trouble wrapping his head around the fact that he was meeting somebody who didn't conform to his expectation. Everyone who knows a large family like that has at least a vague idea of the logistical challenges they face getting kids to church or school, and what kind of vehicle that might require. Obama had no clue, and while to his credit he figured it out on the spot, it does him no credit to never have conceived of it in the first place. Families that large are not the norm, but they are common enough that even if you don't know one personally you're sure to have seen one in a book or movie or on the news, and done the passenger seating math.

Posted by: Wacky Hermit at April 10, 2011 9:53 AM

It's a good thing Hawaii has that wonderful transit system because the roads suck. I once spent 4 hours trying to get from Point A to Point B on Maui. Traffic was immobilized due to a fire.

We finally gave up and got off the road and were lucky enough to find a hotel room with one bed. After renting 4 cots we were all able to sleep after a fashion.

What happens when a major disaster requires the mass evacuation of the residents, when there is only one road? And that one inadequate?

I also resent the fact that certain citizens, specifically native Hawaians, have certain rights that other citizens don't have. The same principle as segregation Certain

Posted by: miriam at April 10, 2011 10:01 AM

In Hawaii the prices are already nearing the $5 per gallon mark and we are proud of it!
Posted by Ken at April 9, 2011 8:32 PM

Rich leftists like you are maybe "proud". How about working people who have to drive to work everyday and don't own a house free and clear-how "proud" are they?
More importantly, how proud is Real America going to be to pay $5 a gallon gas?
Progressive politicians may find out in November of next year.

Posted by: Tommy Cranston at April 10, 2011 10:02 AM


hybrid's don't save money. not even on gas, in any meaningful way.

Posted by: apetra at April 10, 2011 10:18 AM

Obama must know my brother-in-law who thinks oil companies drilling for oil is some kind of scam. What does my brother-in-law do for a living, you might ask? Why, he's a lawyer. Yeah, I thought it was funny too.

Posted by: Buck O'Fama at April 10, 2011 11:01 AM

RNC'd better save that Youtube video. Google owns Youtube, Obama owns Google. The segment will be scrubbed soon.

Posted by: ic at April 10, 2011 11:46 AM

Ken-saving the best for last-how about Bill Clinton?
He grew up in a trailer trash family-his mother slept around;his father booked early on;his brother was a druggie.great f**kin' early life he had.
Now,I don't like the guy,but to give the devil his due,he made it to being a Rhodes scholar on his own;he was an AG,a Congressman,and a Governor.
THEN he became President-and no one gave him a phony Nobel prize as a housewarming gift like this punk got.
Barry wouldn't make a pimple on Clinton's ass for competence.
Clinton's personal weaknesses kept him from his potential.

Posted by: joe bernstein at April 10, 2011 1:29 PM

I don't see what is offensive about this video. Obama is not responsible for the current gasoline prices. He is suggesting that we need to prepare for a future of dealing with a finite supply of fuel and rising cost. Moving to electric and gasoline fuel efficient vehicles is the goal. How is this not a conservative plan for us to continue to enjoy the freedoms associated with our personal expression regarding transportation? I am like most of you spending more at the pump for my pick up truck and for fuel for my boats. I would be in a worse situation with one of my work boats if the outboard manufactures had not greatly improved the fuel efficiency of its motors. The cost of these new models were high but the saving over the years have balanced out that initial price. And the reduced pollution of the traditional two stroke engines has been a plus also. This is the direction we must take.

Posted by: Phil at April 10, 2011 6:21 PM

Phil is right in that Obama is not at all responsible for the price of gasoline. Of course, I am pretty confident that is a Republican President was in the exact same circumstances and responded in the same way, that Phil would have a different reaction - something along the lines of 'profits for big oil companies while hurting the middle class'.

Posted by: msteven at April 10, 2011 7:12 PM

joe Bernstein,

I was just pointing out that Obama grew up not in elite neighborhoods and his family never owned a house or condominium but rented either 2-bedroom cottages or apartments nowhere near the luxurious tourist section Waikiki Beach.


The Island of Maui does not make up the 8 Hawaiian Islands. Maui is rural and agricultural but Condé Nast Traveler Reader’s Poll has voted Maui Best Island in the World 16 years and Best Pacific Island 17 years causing a lot of movie, TV, stage and music artists to purchase second homes there. On all Hawaiian Islands no paved road or highway goes completely around the perimeter of any of the islands. However there are unpaved roads that locals can take if they are driving a 4-wheel drive. Rental car agencies restrict tourists to driving on paved roads only. Maui does have a public transit system but it is not like the transit system on Oahu which was ranked best in nation twice.

Since I’ve been living in Hawaii we’ve had two tsunamis. Evacuation is very orderly even moving the tourist out of potential harm’s way. One thing Hawaii does that Rhode Island does not do is print complete Disaster Preparedness and Evacuation instructions including inundation zones and shelter locations in the first 50 pages of the telephone books. Right now the 1.4 million state population plus 100,000 plus tourists clear all island evacuation zones within 5 hrs. Hawaii Civil Defense would like to get that down to 3 hrs.

The plantation owners with the help of the United State Marine Corps. forcefully overthrew the sovereign nation and monarchy of Hawaii locking the queen up until she abdicated the kingdom to prevent bloodshed.

The United States does not recognize native Hawaiians like native Indians and eskimos.

When the United States stops its segregation policies against native Hawaiian you’ll most likely see some of those extra rights you talk about diminish but for now not being native Hawaiian myself (being born and raised in RI) I’m enjoying some of those extra perks and I pass them on to my mainland visitors.

Tommy Cranston,

Why do you think I have an unlimited 24/7 yearly $30 transit pass? The public transit systems that operate in Hawaii are excellent! The buses are mostly full all the time and they are on time. You can spend the day on Oahu circling half the island (about 110 miles) for as little as $2 bus fare. As a matter of fact, the public transit system of the The Big Island of Hawaii 4028 sq. miles about 3 times the size of RI is totally free island-wide! People in Hawaii either walk or take the bus because it is the cheapest way to travel.

Like I said the high price of gasoline is driving the state-wide push to get in place the alternate energy fueling infrastructure. A Nissan Leaf gets 100 miles to the charge which cost at current Hawaii electric rates $1.80. Average daily drive in Hawaii is 40 miles. By next year 2012 on Oahu the full infrastructure to support electric vehicles and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles should be pretty much in place.

I can’t wait to see the gasoline prices on the mainland get to what they are in Hawaii. Sharing the pain!

Posted by: Ken at April 10, 2011 7:13 PM

I have owned and driven big trucks because I have to. Some of you people though-- I don’t get it. You drive your little children around in these mammoth ridiculous ugly excuses for a car... that should be your problem... but you want to escape responsibility. Republicans......... can’t trust them.

Posted by: David S at April 10, 2011 8:20 PM


Phil is right in that Obama is not at all responsible for the price of gasoline. Of course, I am pretty confident that is a Republican President was in the exact same circumstances and responded in the same way, that Phil would have a different reaction - something along the lines of 'profits for big oil companies while hurting the middle class'.
Posted by msteven at April 10, 2011 7:12 PM

you can assume anything about me that you wish. Here's something interesting from the Library of Congress:

Tax Preferences for Sport Utility Vehicles (SUVs):
Current Law and Legislative Initiatives
in the 109th Congress
The surge in domestic popularity of large sport utility vehicles (SUVs) since the
early 1990s has stirred a debate over what steps the federal government should take,
if any, to mitigate their effects on the environment, highway safety, traffic
congestion, and U.S. dependence on foreign sources of oil. Legislative activity in the
108th Congress expanded the scope of the debate to include the ways in which the
federal tax code encourages the purchase of heavy-duty SUVs, primarily for business
use. In May 2003, Congress passed a measure (the Jobs and Growth Tax Relief
Reconciliation Act of 2003) that raised the maximum expensing allowance under
section 179 of the Internal Revenue Code (IRC) for these vehicles to $100,000 from
May 2003 through the end of 2005; the American Jobs Creation Act of 2004 lowered
the allowance to $25,000, as of October 22, 2004.
This report examines current federal tax preferences for SUVs and legislation
in the 109th Congress that would alter them. It will be updated to reflect subsequent
legislative activity addressing the preferences.
One way in which the federal tax code can influence the purchase of heavy-duty
SUVs for business use is through the tax treatment of depreciation for these vehicles.
Under current tax law, the depreciation of passenger cars is treated less generously
than that of light trucks (including many SUVs). Passenger cars, which are defined
as motor vehicles weighing 6,000 pounds or less, are considered so-called listed
property — and thus subject to annual limits on depreciation allowances. By
contrast, light trucks, which are defined as motor vehicles weighing more than 6,000
pounds (with some exceptions), are generally depreciated under a different and more
favorable set of rules. For example, SUVs considered light trucks are eligible for a
maximum expensing allowance of $25,000 in the 2005 tax year, but the maximum
first-year depreciation allowance in the same year for a passenger car under IRC
section 280F is $2,960. As a result, a business taxpayer can realize a greater
reduction in the after-tax cost of a vehicle by purchasing a heavy-duty SUV instead
of a passenger car of comparable value.
The federal tax code also encourages the purchase of heavy-duty SUVs by
excluding them from the gas guzzler excise tax. The tax is levied on domestic sales
of new automobiles with relatively poor fuel economy ratings. It is paid by
manufacturers and importers. All light trucks, including all SUVs, are exempt from the tax.

Posted by: Phil at April 10, 2011 8:44 PM

Ken-And all I was saying is that Obama doesn't hold the patent on having a hard early life compared to some other Presidents.
He is clearly the most inexperienced man to become President in modern memory.
As far as I know he never went to a public school.
I knew when I saw the whole fuss being made over him after the election that the country was in for a letdown.
Hillary Clinton is just as bad theory-wise,but she's a smoother operator with more savvy in backroom negotiations.
F**k 'em both anyhow.
Hopefully the Republicans won't pick some nitwit like Sharron Angle to run.

Posted by: joe bernstein at April 10, 2011 9:00 PM

David S-In New England all wheel drive makes sense given our weather,but it's not the most economical type of vehicle.
I have a small SUV,but I also have a 12 year old 6 cylinder car that gets great mileage.You gotta maintain a vehicle-it's that simple.
And really,do you believe only Republicans drive around in big cars,SUV's,etc?I notice plenty of liberal bumper stickers on BIG clunkers.
Just check out the East Side-home of the limousine liberals-they didn't get that tag for nothing.
You aren't going to see that prick Sheldon in a little sh*tbox.

Posted by: joe bernstein at April 10, 2011 9:07 PM

joe Bernstein,

Obama did not attend public school in Hawaii but attended the very prestigious Private Punahou School K to 12. He did attend public school, the Basuki Elementary School, in Jakarta, Indonesia from 1969 to 1971 while living with his mother and stepfather.

Obama’s first dumb move was to run for president with the country in the meltdown state it was in. The Democratic Party should have left the state of the nation to the Republican Party.

Obama’s second dumb move was to try and bring Hawaiian values and Aloha which he was raised on to the mainland. Just doesn’t work. Its dog eat dog especially in Washington, DC. I spent over a year living in Washington temporally attached to Defense Information Systems Agency. Homeland Security HQ is now located in my old Naval Command HQ which I spent many days walking the hallways as a civilian specialist.

Obama’s third dumb move was early on to report he was going to be a one term president and now he’s going to run for reelection.

As far as fuel efficiency is concerned, I use to drive in RI 4-cylinder Subaru 4-wheel drive cars till I switched to Jeep Grand Cherokee with 6-cylinder for more stability during winters and more camper towing power for summer.

Light crude oil is trading at $113 per barrel and Brent crude oil is trading at $126.12 per barrel as of today. Over the long term most of us watching the market expect oil to hit $200 per barrel.

The rise in oil prices have not been fully passed on by the oil refineries to the consumer as of yet. Hawaii already has regular gasoline priced at $4.76 per gallon (my bank gives discount cards you can swipe at the pump lowering per gallon cost plus I still have over $500 in free gasoline cards from when I purchased my car from dealer). We will see $5 per gallon and probably raise closer to $6 a gallon before these price spikes due to Middle East unrest are over.

The mainland better brace itself for HI gasoline prices and get used to it because the prices will not go down.

2012 State of HI will have infrastructure in place for public parking lots and garages to have alternate energy electric charges installed and hydrogen pumps added to existing gasoline stations in support of electric vehicles and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. GM Chevy, Nissan and Tesla are already shipping vehicles to HI and over 270 are already registered and on the roads in Oahu.

I now get 36 mpg but pay about $150 a year in dealer maintenance costs. I don’t drive more than 80 miles on any given day so a MSRP $32,780 Nissan Leaf would cost me $20,780 after state and federal rebate plus additional off for car trade-in and $500 rebate for home charger installation. Electric vehicles don’t have all the lubricants as a regular car has so my maintenance costs and hazardous waste disposal would also drop. At current electric rates to charge the Leaf for 100 miles costs $1.80 and with the State of HI public charging infrastructure (powered by alternate energy wind farm and solar photovoltaic farm already operational) in place if I need a quick charge there will be 50,000 public chargers installed all over the this island.

Alternate energy vehicles make sense living on an island. On Oahu I can only drive 44 miles long by 30 miles wide or about 50% size of RI. Island of Maui is about ¾ size of RI and the Big Island of Hawaii is 3 times the size of RI with longest straight line drive of 100 miles shore to shore.

Posted by: Ken at April 10, 2011 10:58 PM

Tommy Cranston,

You have no idea and don’t know if I am Rich left, Rich Right, Rich Middle, Republican, Democrat, Tea Party, Middle Class or Poor but I’ll tell you one thing, I did my time working various jobs over 40 years in RI, homework, invested in my own retirement and health care taking charge of my life, future and I was able to retired early! I paid off my RI house mortgage, built up equity and sold my house at the peak of the housing boom (got my asking price and extra) just before the market crash. Retired to HI and paid cash for my 24/7 gated/guarded condominium on a private road in between walking distance to two professional 18-hole golf courses, 2-heated adult only swimming pools, 2-heated children swimming pools, 2-Jacuzzi whirlpools, tennis, basketball courts and private putting green with beach and ocean sunset views from living and dining rooms, 300-400 ft. waterfall views from bedrooms, average year-round daily temperature 78 degrees, no humidity, sunny; cheaper than living in Woonsocket, RI and property taxes are only $300 a year because state and city believes in helping and respecting senior citizens (age 50 and up) with added bonus of retirement income totally exempted from HI state income tax, no property tax on cars, trucks, motorcycles and boats; sales tax at 4.5%.

Living in HI doesn’t automatically mean the person is rich! HI happens to be one of the top 10 states to retire to base on taxes per Kiplenger.com. Yes every week in the newspaper over 11 residences are listed sold for over $1 million and up. Yes we have a current residential property for sale for $80 million, 2 bed room condominiums asking price $20 million and HI is listed as the state with the most millionaires living in state that can hand you $1 million in disposable cash at any time and yes Donald Trump sold out all 617 condominiums in his new tower sight unseen in Waikiki Beach at the height of the recession in 8 hours for $700 million but we also have people that are homeless, working 1, 2 and 3 jobs to make ends meet. One of HI’s billionaires is donating $6.5 billion this year to HI social services non-profits to support people in need. Most all of us living in HI give back to the community in some way or form.

HI won back the distinction of having the most expensive average state-wide property in the nation from CA because the housing meltdown because did not affect the HI housing market like it did on the mainland. People on HI are very conservative and go for fixed 20 and 30 year loans not exotic loans.

HI normally has the highest gasoline prices in the nation and we are especially proud of that because we become the price gauge for rest of nation (but local banks give customers bank discount cards to swipe at gasoline stations to reduce per gal cost). HI is the most imported oil dependent state in the nation even though there are a lot of natural resources in the state there is no natural oil or natural gas in HI. However HI is the only state in the nation to manufacture artificial natural gas from oil refinery waste and natural organic waste pretty much fixing and stabilizing HI’s natural gas prices.

During President George W. Bush administration he designated HI to be the poster child working with the U.S. Department of Energy becoming the real-time living laboratory to showcase to the rest of the 49 states how to utilize natural alternate energy resources and various alternate energy systems working in harmony to reduce imported oil costs plus reduce carbon foot print. State of HI has an abundance of alternate energy resources.

If it is a pipe dream, design, concept, proof of concept, proof of commercial grade and volume, residential system, commercial system and hybrid systems related to alternate energy it is being tested in HI. HI is the only state you will find General Electric Co. testing the smart grid real time on a real operating utility electrical grid with a wind farms attached. HI is the first state in the nation to require all newly built single family residences after 1 Jan 2011 to have solar hot water heaters.

Under Governor Linda Lingle (R) the HI State-Wide Alternate Energy Initiative was written and passed into law with general public, business, military, education and tourism signing off accepting the initiative to reduce Imported oil 70% by year 2030 through 40% alternate and 30% efficiency means. As HI get closer to meeting its goal the state’s $12.4 billion per year tourism industry will add alternate energy ecology tours and vacations to the inventory. HI is already marketing ideas to China.

What has RI done to bring in new companies, tourism and promote alternate energy in RI that lowers your price of utilities and gasoline?

HI broke ground for the $5.5 billion 20 mile elevated high-speed light rail commuter system the state has been collecting a ½% surcharge on general excise tax for the past 4 years. Estimated 12,000 new jobs and associated support jobs are being created. Oahu unemployment has dropped to 5.2%. There is no gambling or lotteries in HI due to it being against the law. Walt Disney Co. citing that fact is completing an 800-room themed resort/spa/convention center/timeshare this year that will employ 1,100 new jobs and has informed HI it will start 15 day cruises from LA to HI and the islands in 2012 with the Disney Wonder cruise ship bringing over an additional 2,400 visitors to the islands.

What you do not realize is the state of HI is proactive. The state has completed a full environmental impact study and sustainability study on the state projected out to year 2050. We know what needs to be done and what the projected impacts and ramifications might be. We worry about what is going on within the state boarders not what other states are doing.

What has RI done? RI needs to refocus!

HI has plenty of people struggling to survive day to day. HI instituted health care reform over 40 years ago and now has the lowest health care costs in the nation and is closest to having 100% of the 1.4 million state population (under the current census HI gained population) covered under some type of insurance. No one is turned away.

HI many years ago started modernizing its public transit system and continues to replace inefficient buses with high mileage efficient modern diesels for long range routes and hybrid for inter-city routes with regenerative breaking. HI public transit system has been ranked best in nation 2-times. The bus fares ($2 or purchase yearly transit pass) are very low and affordable covering all of Oahu which has 80% total state population living on this island generating 70% GDP but only 30% of the island land is developed.

Tommy Cranston you can sit back and complain all you want or point fingers, label people with your outrageous stereotype names but in the end, state of HI took action to provide for its energy independence and stabilize its workforce and RI and cities/towns didn’t. We are moving over to alternate energy vehicles which provide 100 miles per $1.80 electric charge and up to 300 miles per charge for $2.80. If you can’t afford a new car there is always the public transit system with addition of the new commuter high-speed rail for $2 one-way.

As I said we in HI are proud of our gasoline prices now nearing the $5 mark (actually $4.76 for regular); I hope it hits $6 before all is said and done and these prices migrate onto the mainland and all other 49 states. You know the old saying; “You can pay me now or you can pay me later”! Sit on your thumbs complaining and making accusations is not going to bring the gasoline price down for you. OPEC, Wall Street and international speculators control the price not the president of the U.S.A. If you haven’t done anything or the state and city hasn’t done contingency planning or anything to mitigate it like the president indicated suck it up and learn to live with it and pay through the nose!

Posted by: Ken at April 11, 2011 2:13 AM

Ken-someone here brought up the issue of preferences for native born Hawaiins-what's up with that?
I know of no other state that does it.
Native American sovereignty on reservations is altogether different-the result of treaties.And those reservations are nothing to write home about.
Do you have masses of illegal aliens accessing benefits and health care in Hawaii?
I know INS had a district office there,but I think the agents dealt mainly with criminal aliens.
It takes a few bucks to get to Hawaii while you can get on the Peter Pan bus in NY or the "Chinatown" bus for very little and come to RI where Kate Brewster will get you right on the parasite list for benefits.
Or,if not her,Kate Brock.(something about the name Kate,hmmm?)
You have expostulated about Hawaii more than James Michener but you overlook the inapplicability of the island lifestyle to the continental US and the system of legalized discrimination.
Oh yeah,how did Barry attend that school if he's not at least part native Hawaiian?
BTW when Barry first got in,he tried to f**k the veterans receiving VA healthcare-he backed down fast when the major veterans organizations confronted him at the White House-as usual his cojones deserted him,but it doesn't alter his nefarious intentions.
governor Gump will wind up backing down on the Bristol home.
I still think recall could be based on his tax cheating with regard to the 11 vehicles and his real estate tax scam.
How does one "live" in Providence and vote in Warwick?
The guy likes to impersonaate Mr.Clean,but like many other filthy rich trust fund scum,he thinks he's above it.
I don't think even Sheldon pulls that crap.

Posted by: joe bernstein at April 11, 2011 6:22 AM

we in HI are proud of our gasoline prices now nearing the $5 mark (actually $4.76 for regular); I hope it hits $6 before all is said and done and these prices migrate onto the mainland and all other 49 states.
Posted by Ken at April 11, 2011 2:13 AM

Make no mistake about it: those of us on the Right want $6 a gallon gas as soon as possible. Hyper inflation and a double dip just in time for the doomed re election campaign of Barry Sotero, graduate of one of Indonesia's finest madrasses.
1/20/13 End Of An error

Posted by: Tommy Cranston at April 11, 2011 8:40 AM

Why is it David S's or anyone's business what a citizen buys and drives with his own money? If someone feels he needs an SUV and pays for it all himself, what gives the Leftists the "right" to limit his choice?

David's post is a perfect example of the Leftist attitude: If I don't want something, I want to prevent anyone else from having it.

How does that differ from the attitude of a Kadhafi, a Lenin, or you-know-how-with-the-square mustache?

Posted by: BobN at April 11, 2011 9:23 AM

Phil, ... and your point is that the cause of all this gas utilization and gas-hog vehicles are laws by Republicans. The Democrats have been working OT to override this travesty and no Democrat owns an SUV (unless they are forced to by evil big business). It's all the Republicans fault.

You're as fair and reasoned as Rush or Michael Moore.

Posted by: msteven at April 11, 2011 9:39 AM


I'm scratching my head as to where in my comments you are seeing anything other than comments about gasoline prices and vehicle fuel efficiency. I have not mentioned either major political party. I have at times given you credit for your independent ideas expressed in your comments here and it is perplexing to me that you should react in a way that I associate with some of the closed minds that can only separate the world into halves. I wouldn't have put you into that category. But if you are moved by your dislike of my comments or me to see what is not there,then there is not much for me to do.

Posted by: Phil at April 11, 2011 9:57 AM

Let’s go back to the beginning.

“I don't see what is offensive about this video. Obama is not responsible for the current gasoline prices. He is suggesting that we need to prepare for a future of dealing with a finite supply of fuel and rising cost.”

It reminded me of how there was all this angst over the “record profits” by the oil companies under Bush’s watch and this was of course due to his policies of big business over consumers. But oil companies are now making more profits (the profit margin % is table but higher oil process mean higher $ profits) the same people aren’t blaming the President of the United States. We agree that Obama has no control over gas prices. Neither did the previous Administration.

My reaction was believing you would not have said the same thing if the person on the video anyone on the conservative side. I base this on your previous comments. If I am incorrect and you are not one of those who separate the world into halves based on political affiliation, then I apologize for my initial reaction.

I appreciate your credit for my ‘independent’ ideas.

Posted by: msteven at April 11, 2011 4:09 PM

"I base this on your previous comments."


Fair enough. I look forward to you pointing out the times when I am in error.

Posted by: Phil at April 11, 2011 5:47 PM

joe Bernstein,

There is only about 1% of the estimated 300,000 true 100% native Hawaiian blood line left in Hawaii. Most of them live on the restricted access Island of Niihau which is part of Kauai County. Hawaii was discovered in 1778 by Captain James Cook followed by New England whalers, traders and American missionaries. Hawaiians had no natural immunities to the diseases introduced by the outsiders so the population decimated to about 50,000 by early 1800s.

In 1887 the Hawaiian monarchy was overthrown by the wealthy sugar plantation owners with the help of the U.S. Marines. The queen was locked up under house arrest in the royal palace till she abdicated the monarchy to prevent further bloodshed. Former President Bill Clinton wrote a formal letter of apology to the people of Hawaii for the United States of America’s role in the overthrow of the world recognized Hawaiian sovereign kingdom. However the U.S. government still does not at this time recognize native Hawaiian as indigenous people like it does with American Indians and Eskimos.

Hawaii still maintains the palace (which had electricity and flush toilets before the White House did) and the palace grounds but there is one plot of land that was never transferred to the territory of Hawaii meaning the Kingdom of Hawaii still exists with the kingdom flag flying over it. The royal family is still recognized and the living royal princess attends to the affairs of state.

The rest of the people living in Hawaii are a mixture of blood lines some of which can be traced to over 15 ethnic origins and are referred to as Kama’aina loosely translated to a person that has lived in Hawaii a long time. Some of these blood mixes have produced some fantastic beautiful graceful women! U.S. Census Bureau indicated Hawaii is the most ethnically integrated state in the nation with over 20% of the state’s 1.4 million population interracially married.

State of Hawaii has two official languages, English and Hawaiian. There are two other unofficial languages widely spoken which is Japanese and Chinese and 36 other languages spoken on a daily bases.

A lot of businesses show hiring preference to people who can speak the English and Hawaiian languages. Some businesses even prefer employees that can speak English, Hawaiian Japanese and Chinese especially in the tourist industry.

The tourist industry has determined that Chinese visitors spend 3 times more than Japanese when on vacation so there is now an all-out push to get Chinese tourists visiting Hawaii.

Everyone living in the State of Hawaii must get a resident ID card from the State of Hawaii Attorney General’s Office. Locals or Kama’aina refer to this as Kama’aina card.

A lot of business that depend on tourist dollars also know that when there are no tourists they depend on those of us living in Hawaii so they advertise discounted Kama’aina rates along with military and senior citizen discounts. You have to show your state ID or Hawaii driver’s license and proof of senior age or a valid military ID to get the discount. Some parks that charge an entry fee allow free access to Kama’aina ID, Hawaii Driver’s License, and University of Hawaii ID (I had 2 visiting students from CT attending UH and when I showed my ID; asked the entrance booth if HU IDs counted and was told yes so they got in for free). So there are some perks to living here verses being a tourist. I purchase Kama’aina annual passes to most all the main attractions. One Kama’aina card cost me $25 a year giving me unlimited access plus free parking and huge discount when I bring mainland visitors to see the show saving a visiting couple close to $260.

There are no masses of illegal aliens accessing benefits and health care in Hawaii? Although last year they did find 3 illegal Mexicans in Honolulu. Still trying to figure that one out but they were turned in by neighborhood watch. Rents in Hawaii average $1,000 and up a month plus utilities. Nearest land to Hawaii is 2,400 miles. You’re not going to make that trip in a rowboat and 6 ½ hours from west coast is a long costly flight. Everyone entering the State of Hawaii by boat or aircraft must fill out and complete a State of Hawaii Department of Agriculture Declaration Form.

What is the penalty if you fail to declare items or provide false information and you’re caught (they do have dogs that check baggage)? The maximum penalty is $25,000 and/or up to one year imprisonment. If you intentionally smuggle a snake or other prohibited or restricted article, the crime could be classified as a felony and punishable by a maximum penalty of $200,000 and/or up to five years imprisonment. There are no snakes in Hawaii and native plants have no spikes or barbs.

The very prestigious Private Punahou School K to 12 can be attended by anyone as long as the tuition is paid. Obama’s grandmother (she was a Bank Executive) and grandfather (he was in insurance) either had some money or knew people. You are getting the school mixed up with the very very wealthy and more prestigious Private Kamehameha School which was setup by a trust fund by the Queen to educate kama’aina of Hawaiian blood heritage. Enrollment is open to everyone but preference is given to Hawaiian blood first. There have been discrimination court cases but the school has always won.

As far as bringing Hawaiian values and Aloha to the mainland, I’ll let the Hawaii Revised Statues speak for themself because this is the way we live in Hawaii and it will not work in a dog eat dog society.

All citizens and government officials of Hawai`i are obligated by law to conduct themselves in accordance with the law, while performing their duties and obligations, as well as in their day-to-day living. Likewise, those visiting our fair islands are expected to conduct themselves in accordance with Hawaiian law.

§ 5-6.5 State language. The Hawaiian language is the native language of Hawaiʻi and may be used on all emblems and symbols representative of the State, its departments, agencies and political subdivisions. [L 1978, c 207, § 1]

§ 5-7 State popular name. The name "The Aloha State" is adopted, established, and designated as the official "popular" name for the State, to be effective so long as the legislature of the State does not otherwise provide. [L 1959, JR 1, § 1; Supp, § 14-5.1; HRS §5-7]

§ 5-7.5 "Aloha Spirit". (a) "Aloha Spirit" is the coordination of mind and heart within each person. It brings each person to the self. Each person must think and emote good feelings to others. In the contemplation and presence of the life force, "Aloha", the following unuhi laulā loa may be used:
"Akahai", meaning kindness to be expressed with tenderness;
"Lōkahi", meaning unity, to be expressed with harmony;
"ʻOluʻolu" meaning agreeable, to be expressed with pleasantness;
"Haʻahaʻa", meaning humility, to be expressed with modesty;
"Ahonui", meaning patience, to be expressed with perseverance.

These are traits of character that express the charm, warmth and sincerity of Hawaii's people. It was the working philosophy of native Hawaiians and was presented as a gift to the people of Hawaiʻi. ''Aloha'' is more than a word of greeting or farewell or a salutation. ''Aloha'' means mutual regard and affection and extends warmth in caring with no obligation in return. "Aloha" is the essence of relationships in which each person is important to every other person for collective existence. ''Aloha'' means to hear what is not said, to see what cannot be seen and to know the unknowable.

(b) In exercising their power on behalf of the people and in fulfillment of their responsibilities, obligations and service to the people, the legislature, governor, lieutenant governor, executive officers of each department, the chief justice, associate justices, and judges of the appellate, circuit, and district courts may contemplate and reside with the life force and give consideration to the "Aloha Spirit". [L 1986, c 202, § 1]

Posted by: Ken at April 11, 2011 8:48 PM

Sometimes I think Hawaii needs to hire you to write the official state guidebook or something.
What I got from your encyclopedic answer is that you have sort of a unique situation there.Maybe it isn't atypical of island nations not situated close to a mainland.
The point is that RI is a wide spot on a busy road(s)so we have a whole different set of problems.

Posted by: joe bernstein at April 12, 2011 4:37 AM

joe bernstein,

Not writing any books! You are the 10th person trying to lead down that path; I’m retired!

I’ve been visiting Hawaii since 1968 when I was in the military. I’ve vacationed on all the islands over 5 years to see which one was best for the retirement life style that I enjoy.

Yes Hawaii is very unique; like no other place in the world and the local customs, Hawaii Regional Cuisine (local grown eat local), social manners, politeness grows on you. Some say it’s like stepping back into the 1950s when family life was central theme.

You can’t compare lower 48 states to life style in Hawaii just as I say you can’t take Hawaii life style and import it to the lower 48 state. When you step off the plane you’ll hear that you are now on Hawaiian time meaning slow down; we’ll get to it in time! Luggage normally takes 30 min to appear at baggage claim. People let you cut in front of them, pull out into traffic, stop for pedestrians in crosswalks and wave to you from their cars. Honking a car horn is considered rude, impolite and frowned upon. No Cranston salutes here!

After living most all my life in RI life just became too expensive and stressful living in RI even with no mortgage or car payments so I fulfilled my wife’s dream to live in Hawaii before she died. She died a happy woman!

Even though Hawaii is called paradise and has one island, the Island of Maui ¾ size of RI, Condé Nast Traveler's Annual Readers Poll has voted “Best Island in the World” 17 years and “Best Pacific Island” 16 years, Hawaii is the U.S.A.’s forward ears and eyes of the military deterrent in the Pacific.

Hawaii is ranked one of the least stressed and happiest populations in the nation. If you get angry at someone you can’t be that way for long because living 2,400 miles from nearest land requires everyone helping each other in order to survive and another great thing is everyone is treated as a minority as there is no majority race living in Hawaii nor are there any divisional ethnic neighborhoods.

Posted by: Ken at April 12, 2011 9:40 PM
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