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

Mayor Kenoi’s latest escapades call attention to potential ethics issues

Billy Kenoi, the lame duck Hawaii County Mayor, just can’t catch a break these days. His lawyers’ attempts to get criminal charges thrown out before trial was rejected, and then a video surfaced in which the apparently inebriated mayor liberally tosses out F-bombs in a rambling toast of sorts during an after-hours social event at a conference on Kauai.

The Hawaii Congress of Planning Officials Conference was held this week at the Grand Hyatt at Poipu, Kauai.

Civil Beat posted a video of the scene on Thursday (“Profanity-Laced Video Shows Mayor Partying Hard At Conference Party“). It’s a cringeworthy episode, and it’s hard not to feel sorry for the guy as he steers what’s left of his political train into another very big ditch.

Reporter and blogger Joan Conrow (Kauai Eclectic) identified the source of the video.

Though CB branded the video like it was its own, it was actually lifted from the Facebook page of Jonathan Scheuer, a member of the state Land Use Commission. So curious, that CB fails to note the one thing that actually is interesting about this shtick: a public official secretly taping other public officials.

To his credit, Scheuer deleted the two videos he’d taken at the event, and issued a FB apology:

First, the regular folks at the party did not expect to be videoed, even if the videos were not primarily of them. Second, the videos may have given some people the wrong impression that all we do is drink and party at this conference. This was one after-hours gathering at a three-day conference that is digging deeply into many substantive issues that face our islands. I am friends with many, many people at this conference, and many planners around the state, and they are some of the most dedicated people I know. I really regret having posted the videos for those reasons, and apologize to my planning colleagues for the harm this may have caused. I am sorry. 🙁

Conrow is critical of Civil Beat’s use of the Kenoi video.

Though the video has absolutely nothing to do with anything, and isn’t even entertaining, reporter Chad Blair justifies it because “Kenoi has been accused by criminal prosecutors of using taxpayer money to buy, as the prosecutors put it, “exorbitant amounts of alcohol.”

Uh, except that’s totally irrelevant, since no taxpayer money was used to host the after-hours Kauai Hyatt hospitality suite where the toast occurred.

But Conrow is wrong when she says “the video has absolutely nothing to do with anything,” although it’s not Kenoi’s self-destructive monologue that’s of public interest.

It seems to me that there are many potential ethical pitfalls in a setting like this which brings Hawaii’s government and corporate planners together under the sponsorship of many of the same development interests these planners are called on to regulate in their official capacities.

According to Civil Beat:

Kauai County spokesperson Sarah Blane told Civil Beat on Thursday the party was “an informal social gathering that was held after the formal program of events.”

The food and drinks were paid for by “event sponsors and individuals,” Blane said in an email. “The county did not make those purchases.”

…The conference was sponsored by some major corporations who do business in the state, including Kaiser Permanente, D.R. Horton Hawaii, Alexander & Baldwin, Kamehameha Schools and R.M Towill Corp.

The three-day conference included an evening of music and dance which boasted “prizes for best costume!”, a “Casino and Karaoke Night”, and a mid-week golf tournament at the Po‘ipu Bay Golf Course.

“There was also a giveaway contest of three Apple Watches or a two-night stay at the Four Seasons Resort Oahu at Ko Olina,” according to Civil Beat.

So forget Kenoi’s F-bombs. The real issue is ethics. I don’t know about you, but when our public planners are enjoying themselves to the booze and prizes provided by corporate sponsors who they will be called on to regulate when they return to their day jobs, I think that’s a serious concern. And that golf tournament? Did any of the government planners or board and commission members have their entry fees paid by friendly lobbyists? Were development and real estate lobbyists among those registered for the conference? Will all these activities be disclosed?

I hope staff of the State Ethics Commission take a good close look at the various issues raised. At minimum, it would be useful for everyone to have the commission’s guidance on how an organization like the Hawaii Congress of Planning Officials can avoid ethical issues when planning this kind of government-industry gathering in the future.

Feline Friday: Duke & Romeo still palling around

Duke & Romeo

Hey, it’s Feline Friday. I may have been a little tardy giving the cats their weekly moments of fame, but here they are.

The stars this week are Romeo and Duke, or should it be the other way around? The point is that these two really are hanging out together. It’s either incredible jealously, each insisting on sharing in whatever the other might be getting, or they are genuinely enjoying their own company.

This week’s pictures include four of the fabulous duo, taken at different times and different spots over the past week, waking or sleeping, it’s all the same.

–> Click here to see the rest of today’s Friday Felines.

Not a great end for my week

It hasn’t been a real good end of the week. I got a message last night that my sister has more health issues that need addressing, although this morning it looks like perhaps not as serious as I had thought. But still worrisome and involving things I’ll have to follow-up on.

Then my quest to deal with cataracts hit a snag. I had an exam and consultation with one of Straub’s surgeons yesterday, and came away less than satisfied. I was given the impression they do not offer the full range of options in their cataract surgeries, aiming instead for the plain vanilla solutions that are mostly covered by insurance and avoiding the more specialized or premium options. That’s fine, except I really wanted to get a sense of the range of options available, so that I can then choose the one that offers the best in my particular case. Straub didn’t deliver that. So I’ve made an appointment with one of the other doctors recommended by several people in comments here, but that means another six week delay. I’m unhappy about that, but have to be patient.

I’m short of cat photos this week, so Feline Friday will be a bit delayed today.

And to top it off, the Interior Department’s announcement of the final version of its proposed rule on Native Hawaiian governance means I’ll have to wade through the fine print of the final rule to see what’s there.

In the meantime, you might want to listen to all or part of the Town Square program which aired last night on Hawaii Public Radio (“Media Coverage During Elections“). We didn’t get many calls, but our discussion raised quite a few interesting issues.

This week on Town Square, looking at how the media and reporters in particular cover political campaigns. Does local and National media coverage generally enlighten or confuse voters? Do reporters focus on things that help us make informed choices or do they just look for scandal and controversy? We’ll take up these questions with award-winning investigative reporter and columnist Ian Lind, long time Hawaii journalist Denby Fawcett, and Honolulu Civil Beat reporter Nick Grube.