Saturday, December 7, 2013

Faleomavaega back in action?

On Thursday, December 5, A group of 27 Members of Congress, mostly members of the radical leftist Congressional Progressive Caucus, jointly sent a letter to President Obama asking him to halt deportations. The letter, largely lost in other news emanating from Washington, grabbed our attention because one of the signers was American Samoa Del. Eni Faleomavaega. A day earlier, a high level State Department official opened his testimony before the House Asia Pacific Subcommittee by addressing "Chairman Chabot, Ranking Member Faleomavaega, and distinguished Members of the Subcommittee." So maybe he is back on the job in Washington. That certainly would be welcome news for American Samoa since there are critical budget issues that will be addressed next week and in mid-January. But shouldn't our local media being telling us Faleomavaega's status? Except for a smattering of stories about his sudden illness in November, evacuation from the island and arrival at Tripler Hospital in Honolulu, there has been a virtual blackout of news coverage except one vague statement out of his office saying he was to be moved from Tripler to the Mainland for rehabilitation (not recuperation or convalescence). Rehabilitation suggests stroke and indeed there have been rumors to that effect running rife on the island. It has been rumored that he was in a coma when he was evacuated and remained in one for some time at Tripler, which is why he could not be moved. It also has been rumored that the stroke left him partially paralyzed and unable to speak. Unless I missed it, none of our papers or radio stations has even confirmed that Faleomavaega was moved or where he was moved. Presumably, if he signed the letter and attended a hearing last week, he was moved to Washington. But shouldn't his office say so and shouldn't the media report it? Since the stories out of Washington (none played here) seem to indicate all is fine, he apparently has made a remarkable recovery with great speed. Of course, his office said he was expected to make a full recovery, even though they did not indicate what he was suffering from or how long his recovery would take. Since his subcommittee is considering two important pieces of legislation regarding China and Burma next week, perhaps our local reporters can at least confirm that he will be participating in the session to vote on the bills--since he is the Ranking Member and does have a vote. The fact that a challenger already has announced he intends to run for Congress is another indication that Eni may have recovered since the timing of such an announcement would not be welcome down here in a culture that treats serious illness with great deference. So perhaps this candidate for the seat has been advised of Eni's condition even if the rest of us are being kept in the dark. In carrying the announcement, none of the media made any reference to Eni's illness at all. If all is, indeed, well, you wouldn't know it from his website, though. The latest news release he has posted is an attack on the local Republican party dated October 8 and the section entitled "In The News," is totally blank. At least his latest release is newer than his website photograph, which is at least 20 years old. There is nothing posted on his Facebook page later than announcement of an appearance he was to make in September. On Twitter, there simply are no tweets at all, old or new. In any event, the Foreign Affairs subcommittee streams the subcommittee meetings live and since next Wednesday's session is scheduled for 3 p.m., it will be a reasonable 9 a.m. down here, not the middle of the night. We will be watching to see if Faleomavaega takes his seat next to the chairman if we can find a decent enough internet connection down here to play the streaming.

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