How weird is it when NY Times columnist Tom Friedman, not known for any progressive tendencies, writes another scathing column highlighting the no-nothing nature of the Republican Party candidate, and the conservative Arizona Republic newspaper endorsed the Democratic Party presidential candidate for the first time since it began publishing in 1890.

Both write simply that Donald Trump is unqualified.

In his Times column, Friedman wrote:

My reaction to the Donald Trump-Hillary Clinton debate can be summarized with one word: “How?”

How in the world do we put a man in the Oval Office who thinks NATO is a shopping mall where the tenants aren’t paying enough rent to the U.S. landlord?

NATO is not a shopping mall; it is a strategic alliance that won the Cold War, keeps Europe a stable trading partner for U.S. companies and prevents every European country — particularly Germany — from getting their own nukes to counterbalance Russia, by sheltering them all under America’s nuclear umbrella.

How do we put in the Oval Office a man who does not know enough “beef” about key policies to finish a two-minute answer on any issue without the hamburger helper of bluster, insults and repetition?

And he proceeded on, point by point, from there.

And here’s just part of the Arizona Republic’s take on the presidential race.

Make no mistake: Hillary Clinton has flaws. She has made serious missteps.

Clinton’s use of a private email server while secretary of State was a mistake, as she has acknowledged. Donations to the Clinton Foundation while she was secretary of State raise concerns that donors were hoping to buy access. Though there is no evidence of wrongdoing, she should have put up a firewall.

Yet despite her flaws, Clinton is the superior choice.

She does not casually say things that embolden our adversaries and frighten our allies. Her approach to governance is mature, confident and rational.

That cannot be said of her opponent.

Clinton retains her composure under pressure. She’s tough. She doesn’t back down.

Trump responds to criticism with the petulance of verbal spit wads.

That’s beneath our national dignity.

Read the newspaper’s full endorsement here.

But, of course, the danger appears to be that enough voters, including some progressives and former Bernie supporters, could feel alienated enough to see Trump’s lack of qualifications as a virtue.

For those Bernie supporters who are still deciding whether to vote for Clinton in the end, I recommend this recent column by Shaun King in the New York Daily News (“KING: If you don’t vote against Donald Trump, we may all soon regret it“). Thanks to Bart Dame for the link, and for his comment (“What Shaun says. Ditto. To every detail.”).

Polls show that this campaign is more about voting against a candidate than it is voting for one.

I am that dude and I hate it. I’m voting against Donald Trump far more than I am voting for Hillary Clinton. I even hate writing this column because I am just not a fan of Hillary. To this day, I still believe that Bernie Sanders would have absolutely mopped the floor with Trump.

But that’s not where we are.

We are 45 days away from electing either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump as the next President of the United States.

I have 99 problems with Hillary Clinton, but I am 100% sure that she is a significantly better option than Donald Trump.

If you don’t see that, you are either lying to yourself, delusional or woefully misinformed.

PBS Hawaii erects new paywall

After getting enough of the post-debate commentary Monday evening, I turned to PBS on our Apple TV and went looking for an older episode of Antiques Roadshow to pass some time.

And discovered PBS has erected a paywall around content that was previously available, including Antiques Roadshow. Their posted explanation doesn’t identify exactly what is behind the paywall. For now, I guess you have to select something and see if it’s restricted.

But previously broadcast episodes of Antiques Roadshow, formerly available, are now safely guarded behind the new paywall, which they call the PBS Hawaii Passport.

Okay, it’s not unexpected that PBS would eventually experiment with the paywall routine, even while others, like Civil Beat, have recently moved in the opposite direction by making their content free and open.

But I wish PBS would just be honest about it. They need the money. Fair enough.

Instead, the new paywall is being described as a “benefit” to viewers.

Introducing a new benefit to PBS Hawai‘i supporters that provides extended on-demand access to quality PBS programming.

The problem with this statement is that these archives were previously available online and on platforms like the Apple TV. Now they are restricted to donors of $60 or more.

So I quickly went to the PBS Hawaii website, donated the necessary $60, and expected to receive the information needed to jump the paywall.

Not so fast. The website asked for my “activation code.” None has been received. As a backup, it asked for my email address used when I donated. I entered it. But then PBS returned another error: “That email address is not in our system.”

So for the time being, I’m unable to jump the paywall. Hopefully this just represents growing pains for their paywall system. I’ll just see what happens next

Obliteration of Thomas Square history apparently already underway

The city’s ignorance of history is no excuse for destroying the heritage of Thomas Square. This is an instance where the mayor needs to step forward and take action to save this highly symbolic piece of island history.

Thanks to Doug Matsuoka for reminding us of the situation in a Facebook post last week.

He wrote:

The City & County of Honolulu is erasing the Hawaiian flag from Thomas Square… The pathways in Thomas Square are designed to look like the Union Jack in Honor of Admiral Thomas who restored Hawaiian sovereignty back in 1843. You can still see the design in the Google Earth image.

But this last Sunday… check the pano. No paths. They’re fertilizing the paths away, disappearing even the memory of Hawaiian Sovereignty. WTF?

The top photo from Google Earth shows the design of Thomas Square. The Union Jack design is still clearly visible.

Thomas Square

But in the photo below, taken just over a week ago, the paths and the historic design are being obliterated. Click for a larger version of the photo.

Desecration

This isn’t esoteric Hawaii history. Do a quick online search for Thomas Square and you’ll find numerous references to the importance and significance of the British flag design.

Read Denby Fawcett’s recent column in Civil Beat, which is an excellent review (“Denby Fawcett: Tap The Brakes On Thomas Square Proposal“).

Earlier, Thomas Square was identified as one of our most threatened history sites in a 2014 Honolulu Magazine review (“The 8 Most Endangered Historic Places in Hawai‘i“).

From the article:

Thomas Square is Hawai‘i’s first official public park, dedicated in 1850 by King Kamehameha III for British Rear Adm. Richard Thomas. During a ceremony in 1843 on the plot of land now bearing his name, the admiral restored the sovereignty of the Hawaiian Kingdom after British subjects unlawfully seized the Hawaiian government. It was during that ceremony that King Kamehameha III spoke the famous words that would become the state’s motto, “Ua mau ke ea o ka ‘?ina i ka pono.” Nearly 90 years later, additional features would be added to the park, including a central water fountain, radial coral pathways arranged in the pattern of the Union Jack and the Beretania Street Promenade, designed by landscape architects Catherine Jones Thompson and Bob Thompson. The park was placed on the National Register for Historic Places in 1972 based on its political significance.

WHAT THREATENS IT?
In his 2014 State of the City address, Mayor Kirk Caldwell listed the restoration of Thomas Square as one of his top priorities, says Curtis Lum, spokesman for the city Department of Planning and Permitting. “His vision is to see Thomas Square emerge, once again, as a crown jewel and, with the Blaisdell, become a more active gathering place that anchors a vibrant arts and cultural community,” Lum says. While concrete plans have not been developed, one proposal discussed in April includes designing a bike path through the park, box planters and hard pathways. The concepts “were not based on restoring the features and characteristics from the historic period, but rather would erase most of the landscape architecture designed by Thompson and Thompson,” says Kiersten Faulkner, executive director of Historic Hawai‘i Foundation.

WHAT CAN BE DONE?
The public should make its opinions known. The city has made no decisions on Thomas Square’s future, says Lum, but the public will be asked for its feedback during the various phases of planning.

The city expects to complete an environmental assessment of the project soon, and public comment will be essential.

I find it sad that Mayor Caldwell, who benefits from a large property tax exemption due to the historic designation of his residence, is turning a blind eye to the far more significant history of Thomas Square.

Come on, Kirk. The city can certainly renovate the park without destroying its historic character. Show some leadership.

Setting up for this afternoon’s presidential debate

Whatever your tastes, you’ll almost certainly be able to tune in to this afternoon’s presidential debate through a medium of your choice.

Wired.com has a fine rundown of the many ways to watch the debate, whether on one of many participating broadcast channels, online streaming, or via social media (“How to Watch the First Presidential Debate“).

One online effort worth a special mention? PBS NewsHour and Microsoft have created an interactive site where you can check out presidential debates since 1960, filtered by specific topics or by year. Mon dieu, Mondale!

And, of course, over here on WIRED’s live blog we’ll have our entire fact-checking team working to judge the veracity of the candidates’ claims about WIRED issues like science, automation, and cybersecurity.

And Wired won’t be the only place for fact checking.

PolitiFact will have 18 fact-checkers working Monday’s first presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. The best way to follow along is by watching the live Twitter stream below, which will provide you fact-checks in near real-time starting at 9 p.m. E.T. by relying on our database of nearly 13,000 fact-checked claims.

Anyway, the debate is scheduled to run from 3-4:30 p.m. Hawaii time.

And The Late Show with Stephen Colbert (CBS) will be going live right after the debate wraps up. That’s probably one worth watching, too.

A Sunday morning walk on the beach

Click on the photo below to follow along on our early morning walk. It turned out to be a beautiful day, and both dogs and people enjoyed themselves. I failed to get pictures of all the dogs. They were just too active and quite a few just refused to slow down for the camera.

A Sunday morning walk