Category Archives: Blogs

Monday miscellany

I decided to start the week by checking out a few blogs that I haven’t visited for a while. Oooh, there’s lots of good stuff out there waiting to be seen.

Horsesass.org is based in Washington State and has a caustic view of the state’s politics and, by extension, the national scene.

Check out its Friday Night Multimedia Extravaganza!, featuring links to a wide variety of items.

Buried down the list is this one: Democratic National Convention–A bad lip reading. Lots of fun here!

I then wandered over to Seattle-based Crosscut.com, which bills itself as “news of the great nearby.”

Several of the current stories sound very similar.

Examples:

Why huge cost overruns are so common in Seattle.”

Homeless in Seattle: The roots of a crisis.

As Seattle booms, we’re trashing our history.

Finally, I stopped by Crooks And Liars. Always interesting.

For example, here’s one featured story: “Memo To News Media: Consumers Crave Truth, Not Balance.”

Here’s an excerpt:

Our most popular clips and posts are not ones where we simply highlight and correct lies people tell on television. Those gain attention for sure, but they’re not the ones that people talk about, share, and appreciate.

Our most popular clips are the ones where the host or journalist takes on the lie head-on. Like when CNN’s Brianna Keilar refused to allow Trump surrogate and lawyer Michael Cohen bully her.

CNN reporter Kate Bolduan’s emotional report on the Syrian boy, Omran, whose family home was devastated by bombs was a moment of truth we all needed to see.

MSNBC’s Joy-Ann Reid had several moments this week. The video at the top where she told the Trump pastor he couldn’t come on her show and lie was a great one. Or when Trump surrogate Steve Cortes found out she doesn’t suffer fools lightly, as did Jack Kingston on Friday. Earlier last week, she also let Cortes have it for whining about “liberal media.”

Anyway, it’s a good way to start a week!

Expect irregular posts for a few days

Expect some irregularity here for the next few days.

I was unexpectedly drawn into a family emergency yesterday requiring a call to 911 for an ambulance, first responders from HFD followed by the ambulance arew, and then hours in the Straub Hospital emergency room while waiting for tests and news.

Both Meda and I are fine, but the family sometimes requires more attention, and this is one of those times.

So I’ll try my best to get a few posts done, but won’t promise to be successful.

Not quite missing in action

Yes, I missed getting a post online yesterday. Lots of reasons, no excuses.

I got dropped off downtown early in the day and spent several hours in the Circuit Court documents room, going through some case files.

When I was done, I headed for the bus and just forgot to finish the job.

One of the cases I checked on was the Hawaii State Teachers Association’s lawsuit against the State Ethics Commission over the commission’s guidelines prohibiting teachers from accepting free travel when serving as chaperones during educational trips for students.

Last week, Judge Rhonda Nishimura voided a commission advisory opinion and related memorandum issued in August 2015 spelling out its interpretation of the ethics code as applied to these educational trips.

Despite some key arguments made on behalf of the HSTA by attorney (and Congressional candidate) Colleen Hanabusa, the ethics commission declined to give any ground or to soften their position. I’ll get back to additional details of the arguments in a later post.

So after hearing oral arguments, Nishimura ruled the commission’s travel guidelines affect a broad section of the public and are not limited to a specific case or situation, are forward looking, and therefore must be adopted as agency rules, with opportunities for public input guaranteed by state law.

One key point was buried in the arguments. Hanabusa pointed out that the same issues underlying the disagreement over teacher travel and education trips are also involved in applying the gift provisions of the ethics code to legislators and other public officials.

One part of the what is at issue is the ethics commission’s interpretation of this part of the law, which provides:

Gifts. No legislator or employee shall solicit, accept, or receive, directly or indirectly, any gift, whether in the form of money, service, loan, travel, entertainment, hospitality, thing, or promise, or in any other form, under circumstances in which it can reasonably be inferred that the gift is intended to influence the legislator or employee in the performance of the legislator’s or employee’s official duties or is intended as a reward for any official action on the legislator’s or employee’s part.

HSTA repeatedly questioned how the ethics commission decides what is a “reasonable inference.”

It’s the same provision at issue, whether applied to teachers or to lobbyists and legislators.

This is dangerous territory, because prior ethics opinions about gifts to legislators have been grumbled about at the State Capitol but not directly challenged. It’s a rare elected official who wants to publicly be seen on the wrong side of ethics.

This is clearly tricky territory, especially because the ethics commission is bound by the ethics laws, which are passed by the Legislature and can be amended by them as well.

If the commission holds to its prior position, and the teachers case is ultimately pushed to rulemaking, it will necessarily open the door to challenges to the way gifts to legislators have been treated by the commission. Lobbyists and legislators may be anxious to renew that debate. I’m not sure the public wants to risk loosening of existing restrictions.

Back when people survived plane crashes into the ocean

I received an email early today from Dave O’Malley, who writes and does graphics for the Vintage Wings of Canada website.

These free stories are subscribed to by more than 14,000 people worldwide. We do this to honour aviation history and our veterans and civilian aviation heroes. Vintage Wings owns and operates 16 WWII fighters and trainers in flying condition and we fly at air shows and hold youth leadership programs and events.

He explained that he’s been searching for a photo of the old Honolulu Airport to illustrate a story about the famous ditching of a Pan Am passenger plane that went into the ocean between Honolulu and San Francisco in October 1956 after two of its four engines failed.

Amazingly, by today’s standards, all of the 31 people aboard survived.

At that time, the Coast Guard stationed a ship mid-way between Hawaii and the west coast for just such emergencies.

He requested permission to use one of my collection of photos showing Boeing StratoCruisers at Honolulu Airport in 1952. The photo shows my parents and sister, Bonnie, with the planes in the background.

My parents & sister

Check out their website and the many interesting tales!

Premature post

The best laid plans….

My schedule is totally messed up today, and I figured that I would write a post in advance and have it automatically uploaded this morning.

But when it came time to hit the “send to blog” button, I forgot to add a scheduled delay.

So…the post about the Butler Cult in Kailua, intended to appear this morning, went online Sunday afternoon.

And I won’t be back here until Tuesday.

So it goes.