Proving the value of investigative reporting

It’s an amazing time for investigative reporting.

Sometime back, I commented here that President Trump has a lot to learn. In particular, I observed that barring certain reporters or publications from his press conferences wouldn’t do anything to block their ability to report on his administration.

And that’s certainly been proved to be the case with the reporting “war” between the Washington Post and the New York Times pushing all the large national news organizations to up their reporting games!

This past week was an amazing whirl of investigative revelations.

And we’re the ones who benefit!

And beyond the news, good commentary about the news. For example:

NY Times: “Washington Post, Breaking News, Is Also Breaking New Ground

CNN: “Journalism’s epic week: surprises, scoops and a newspaper war “The Washington Post’s Marty Baron on the Importance of Investigative Journalism

Aljazeera: “The increasing importance of investigative journalism

Anyway, it’s Saturday. Have fun out there.

Feline Friday: Romeo’s on a roll

We may be traveling, but the Feline Friday show must go on!

Luckily, I came prepared with photos taken prior to our departure for the San Francisco area. This week, Romeo was very much in evidence and willing to strike a pose or two. The result is that he’s over-represented in the week’s photos.

He’s the cat most likely to stroll over to the basket of toys, fish around in it, retrieve a favorite, and start batting it around the room. Other times I’ll notice him laying alongside a chair while reaching under it to pull out a toy and start a new game. Less frequently, Annie will go into the toy basket, but it’s usually just to check out what’s there, and not to start a game of her own.

In any case, here’s the week in photos. Just click below to see all the pictures.


Feline Friday: May 19, 2017

Cat Grooming? Really?

Cat Grooming? Here’s another thought on this Feline Friday.

One of our destinations on Thursday was the Pick of the Litter Thrift Shop, operated by Peninsula Humane Society & SPCA in Burlingame. We found it easily with a little assistance from Google Maps. There’s a municipal parking lot right next door.

It’s a great thrift shop, and we’ve found it on previous trips. Usually there are animals for you to interact with, hoping to be adopted. They’re back by the book section, and a very nice feature of this store.

Across the street I noticed the big sign on a storefront, “Groomingdales, Dog & Cat Grooming.”

Really? Cat grooming? If our cats are any indication, that must be a business struggling to develop and clientele.

I don’t believe that any of the cats that have ever lived with us over the past 40+ years would ever submit to anything like grooming. In a strange place? With people they don’t know? No way. Perhaps if they were drugged, but even then it would be a struggle to drag them out from hiding places and into the light. I just don’t think it would work.

Does that mean there’s something wrong with our cats? With us? Are there enough of those big, passive, show cats, the ones you see featured in photos of cat shows, to keep a place like this in business?

I was going to go in and ask them about the cats they groom at Groomingdales, but thought better of it. Best leave it a mystery.

Have any of you taken your cat to a groomer? I would be interested.

Discussion of depleted uranium hazard prompts “disorderly conduct” complaint

Hawaii County police this week read longtime peace activist Jim Albertini his rights prior to questioning him about a disorderly conduct complaint filed by a Hilo charter school.

The complaint was made by the principal and secretary of Connections Public Charter School, who reportedly were “alarmed” by a telephone call last week from Albertini, according to Albertini’s account of what he was told during questioning by the police.

Albertini first learned of the complaint on Monday, when he was contacted by a Hilo Police Officer C. Sugimoto. He voluntarily appeared at the Hilo Police Station the following day for questioning.

“Officer Sugimoto first read me my rights and I signed a consent form to be questioned. Officer Sugimoto then told me that I was being investigated on a possible “Disorderly Conduct” complaint filed by Connections Public Charter School (PCS) Principal John Thatcher and the school secretary, Candy Alverado,” Albertini later reported.

The complaint was apparently prompted by Albertini’s telephone call to the school last Friday, during which he requested the email addresses of teachers who took their students to an April 20, 2017 Earth Day event at the Pohakuloa Training Area, a public relations event sponsored by the U.S. Army.

Albertini and others have been calling public attention to the potential hazards posed by the previous us of depleted uranium during military training at Pohakuloa going back to the 1960s. They contend that conventional radiation monitoring does not adequately protect the public from the health effects of potential inhalation of microscopic particles in dust or smoke created by weapons training during military maneuvers.

Albertini said he spoke with Alvarado during his call to the school last week, “and explained his concern to get information to teachers and parents of students about the dangers of inhaling Depleted Uranium (DU) oxide dust particles possibly being dispersed by heavy artillery live fire which was taking place at Pohakuloa on April 20th.”

“Ms. Alverado was very pleasant and gave me the email addresses of two teachers plus the bus driver who went to Pohakuloa Earth Day events,” Albertini said.

According to state law:

§711-1101 Disorderly conduct. (1) A person commits the offense of disorderly conduct if, with intent to cause physical inconvenience or alarm by a member or members of the public, or recklessly creating a risk thereof, the person:

(a) Engages in fighting or threatening, or in violent or tumultuous behavior; or

(b) Makes unreasonable noise; or

(c) Subjects another person to offensively coarse behavior or abusive language which is likely to provoke a violent response; or

(d) Creates a hazardous or physically offensive condition by any act which is not performed under any authorized license or permit; or

(e) Impedes or obstructs, for the purpose of begging or soliciting alms, any person in any public place or in any place open to the public.

It’s difficult to see that Albertini’s contact with the school secretary by phone, or subsequent email addressed to others, could possibly be construed as disorderly conduct as defined by law.

A Hawaii Supreme Court decision in February 2017 narrowed the application of the law.

In that decision, the court ruled disorderly conduct “is limited to conduct which is itself disorderly,” and “the offense requires that the defendant engaged in fighting, threatening, or violent or tumultuous behavior.”

Clearly, Albertini’s conduct included nothing of that sort. So why did the police take action on the school’s complaint in a manner that appears aimed at discouraging free speech and open discussion of a controversial but important matter? The police department should be held to account on this.