Tuesday…Checking your warranties, poll finds low support for energy conservation, Neil’s all atwitter, Big Island media monopoly, Memminger on Kaaawa, and a resurrection

Blogging the Democratic National Convention was alreadly looking complicated, then came yesterday’s announcement that Barack Obama’s big speech on the last night is being moved to Denver’s Invesco Field at Mile High, a 75,000 seat stadium. Pepsi Center sounded daunting enough. The stadium? Sounds like a royal mess of crowds running headlong into security, and all those folks bent on disrupting the show now given an even bigger target. Great theater, I’m sure, but perhaps a bit too hard to control.

Credit Larry Geller (Disappeared News) for discovering that the fine print in warranties on consumer amitems sold locally aren’t valid in Hawaii. In a post last week, he describes going to buy a computer monitor from Best Buy. The warranty on the first one they chose isn’t good in Hawaii. His second choice turned out to be covered, but you would have to pay shipping to and from the mainland in order to get a warranty repair. How many of us read the fine print on those warranty cards before buying? I know I usually look at the box and its typical single line of warranty info. Obviously this is a big mistake.

And I thought Americans were learning from this oil crisis. Not so fast. Survey results released yesterday found a strong majority of voters oppose a national 55 mph speed limit as a fuel saving measure. And if you think the younger generation is more conscious of sustainability and such, these data would appear to be a disappointment.

Men oppose the lower speed limit by a 69% to 25% margin. Women are more evenly divided—50% oppose the lower limit but 42% are in favor. Age differences are even more dramatic. Among the youngest voters, those under 30, opposition to the lower speed limit is at 76%. Just 17% of the under-30s like the idea of a lower speed limit. Among those in the 50-64 age bracket, 54% are opposed and 41% are supportive. However, among senior citizens, 50% would like to see the lower speed limit and 40% are opposed. Those fifty and over were driving during the first Arab oil embargo and have memories of the first time a national speed limit was imposed.

And that’s not all.

Forty-six percent (46%) of voters say that reducing the price of gas and oil is more important than protecting the environment. Thirty-eight percent (38%) take the opposite view.

This certainly does not appear to be good news.

A Twittering Congressman Abercrobie? That’s no joke. Really. His presence on Twitter follows Neil’s new blog, and a campaign web site moving into media big time.

The Baltimore Sun announced last week that it will be dropping its daily business section, with business news to be mixed into its general news coverage.

And here’s an excerpt from testimony by Peter Serafin on the recent demise of Hawaii Island Journal.

Stephens Media owns the only two Web presses on this island, where they print the Trib-Herald and West Hawaii Today. Lane Wick, HIJ’s previous owner, approached Stephens with a contract job to print the Journal. Their response: We’ll only print the Journal if you sell us a controlling interest. As a believer in independent journalism, Wick turned them down. With the new publisher, it was the same story – we won’t print you unless we own you. The Journal continued to be printed in Honolulu at the Star-Bulletin press.

Although they couldn’t buy us, Stephens still wanted a monopoly. A year and a half ago they launched Big Island Weekly, a copycat paper specifically created to drive the Journal out of business. They pursued a strategy similar to the one go! airlines used against Aloha Air. Sell the product – be it advertising space or airline tickets – below cost, and make up the shortfall with cash infusions from the parent company on the mainland. Since the local company has to actually earn the money it costs to operate, keep it up and you’ll eventually drive them out of business.

Did you notice Charlie Memminger’s Ode to Kaaawa buried in a correction last week? He wrote:

Honolulu Lite Department of Corrections: In a recent column on the best free attractions in Hawaii, a reader suggested the “Mormon Temple in Kaaawa,” which we duly included in our Top 10 list. I then heard from about 23,639 members of the Hawaii Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints informing me that the beautiful temple in question actually is located in the bustling metropolis of Laie, which, I believe, is about 326 feet north of Kaaawa.

Keeping towns on that stretch of the Windward coast straight (i.e., Kaaawa, Punaluu, Hauula, Laie and Kahuku) can be confusing to some. (I believe the slogan for that part of the island is “More Vowels Than People.”) But we regret the error. If you find yourself in Laie, you definitely should visit the Mormon Temple where, I believe, the congregation sings such old spiritual favorites as “I Left My Corazon in Kahaluu” and they dance the “Malaekahana Macarena.”

And those of us on Haahaa Street in Kaaawa certainly understand the “more vowels than people” viewpoint.

High PraiseAnd check out this little bit of Kaaawa.

We spotted this bug, identified as a 1965 Beetle, just a block or so from home. A second Bug is also being slowly resurrected. If it comes out of the process as well as this one, they’ll sure make quite a pair.

Just click for a better view.

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