Saturday, March 31, 2012


iPhone streaming video is just more deja vu

by Larry Geller

My mind is easily blown by today’s communication technology. Most recently: a live stream from an iPhone from Occupy Hilo Media (@OccHiloMedia) did it. Here I am, sitting in an apartment on Oahu, but attending a talk given in some grassy field in Hilo.

The penetration of iPhones is so high that most anyone can do this. I’m thinking of all the meetings I attend where we used to struggle about how to include those from the Neighbor Islands. Excuses are getting thin, folks, if I can listen to a talk delivered outdoors on Hilo, but no one can figure out how to do the same in the opposite direction. Excuses, excuses. Just get an iPhone.

Now, the sound from Hilo is hard to hear even though the iPhone does a good enough job of it. I have to crank it all the way up on my computer because the speaker is at a distance. That’s ok for now. In the future, I bet people will find ways to get better sound. That will give newspaper and TV reporters a run for their money. iPhone users will learn how easy it is to bring a tripod or even a monopod to steady their camera. Good enough will give way to near-perfection.

This is happening now. Within my lifetime. That’s what blows my mind.

Flashback: it’s 1985 in Tokyo, Japan.

GE and NEC Corporation had long been in talks about starting a joint venture company in Japan. NEC’s trademark was “Computers and Communication” or “C&C,” and the JV was to be called “C&C International,” which demonstrated the high expectations and commitment of NEC management, that they would share their identity with a foreign company by allowing the C&C to be used. I was to be senior vice president and a director of this new little company.

But how to get publicity for it? It wasn’t that the news would miss the story. After all, two of the world’s largest companies were getting together, but there were many joint ventures of one kind or another. I was wondering how to make a splash. What would get us off with a big blast?

There were no iPhones then, just to put things in perspective for younger readers. Rather, we still had bulky telex machines. Email was coming in slowly on in-house networks. News still clicked in on wire services delivered by clunky teletype machines at newspaper offices and in the lobbies of some major hotels. The foreign correspondents’ club still had many manual typewriters. Long distance phone was still expensive. There was no Internet.

NEC was a leader in teleconferencing. They regularly used video teleconferencing equipment internally, though it was too expensive for most other companies to try. NEC had leased international lines into their local office in the States right near the GE office. Aha.

So I proposed that GE and NEC executives sign the final agreements via teleconference. GE executives would take a short drive over to the NEC office. That was really radical. It should be a winner in the press.

And it was. We got the splash we expected. The event was covered by every major newspapers in Japan and many we had never heard of. It was everywhere.

To set it up, we held a preview so that photographers could come into the semi-dark teleconference room and take test shots. No one knew how to expose for both the bright screen and the participants around the table. This way they could run off a roll or two of tests and have the film developed in time for the real event. As a result, newspapers across the country were guaranteed a picture showing the foreigners on the screen and NEC executives in the room.

No one had to get on a plane [secret: some NEC engineers did fly over to make sure all the equipment was working and to coordinate]. The documents were signed on one side, passed into an attached fax machine, and we could watch as the paper was extruded, signed and returned on the other end.

Everyone was thrilled with the new technology.

You’ll be interested to know that each still frame scanned from top to bottom in about 10 seconds, and then was transmitted while the next frame was scanned, etc. The international circuit could do only 9,600 bps.  Any iPhone these days puts that to shame, of course.

Yes, we had slow scan teleconferencing but it was mind blowing to most people nevertheless.

All of the NEC senior executives at the time were older folks. I suspect they’ve gone on to that great Akihabara in the sky, well before iPhones and streaming video became commonplace. I’m reminded by their example that Steve Jobs had no corner on innovation. If he’s up there, he’s no doubt sipping nectar with NEC’s Dr. Kobayashi, perhaps with iPhones to translate. It was Dr. Kobayashi’s idea originally, back in those relatively dark ages.


Rail nightmare—stuck up in the sky without power

There has been a public outcry by state officials and customers to find out why it took nearly 19 hours for power to be restored for all but 2,200 of Hawaiian Electric's 291,000 customers on Oahu. Half of the island's customers were without power for more than 14 (10/20/2006)

by Larry Geller

Honest—I woke up this morning wondering what it would be like to be 50-80 feet up in the air in a sealed metal Honolulu rail car with no power, going nowhere. Would it get stifling hot during the day? Would passengers panic after dark? Would the thing lurch to a stop or just glide slower and slower? Do the brakes suddenly set if the power fails?

If no one is driving it, who do you ask for information? For help?

I haven’t researched anything to find out if this is a realistic fear. Maybe they will have backup generators.

Nor am I a transit-phobe—I rode the New York subways for years and have even jumped down to the tracks on a few occasions to retrieve something or other (no, you’re not supposed to do that, but I was a kid, and whatever it was seemed important to get back) (including someone’s glasses once, which as luck would have it, landed right on a rail). But thinking of being stuck up in the sky for a couple of hours in a sealed tube packed with passengers while HECO winds up their generators does make me sweat a little.

Clearly, for a grade-level transit system, someone just opens the doors and everyone who wants to walks outside. The rest party. At least, there would be no panic and screaming. Possibly: “Gee, we’re stopped. What happened?” Or at worst: “I’m gonna be late! Get this thing moving!” Or: “Anybody got some beer?”

Up in the sky on Mufi’s elevated rail tracks, it’s a different story.

I know what triggered this. Last night the fluorescent light in the kitchen was blinking for no apparent reason. This happens on Oahu. Or more likely, I need to change the fluorescent tube. But Kauai just experienced a full-island blackout, right?

Before we left New York we lived in a co-op apartment project that had its own electric generator. I understand they made it through the various giant East-Coast power outages unscathed.  As will the small but increasing number of people with solar panels on their roofs as they listen to the screams of riders on the train overhead, if there are no backup generators hooked to the system.

I hope there is backup. No doubt Doug Carlson will aim one of his daily emails at this article, explaining how it is not a problem. Or maybe he already has covered the issue. I wouldn’t know, I don’t bother to open his emails. I wonder how many people still do.

This isn’t a research article. It’s more psychological. I’m sure others have their own rail nightmares. This was just one of mine.

Update: There is this article. Yeah, if the power fails, they’ll make you leave the train via a walkway up there in the sky. Sure. And the trains will have backup batteries for lights. Hope they maintain those batteries. Sure. Why do I so much not want to be up there in a power failure?


We told you so: Rail jobs won’t necessarily be our jobs

The jobs won't go to people living here now, it will take [an] influx of out-of-state workers to build Mufi's rail. That's a windfall for developers, who will find an easy market for the houses they will build and sell to the workers.

by Larry Geller

The pull-quote above is me, so I’m quoting myself. Sorry, I just can’t help it. It’s from a 2008 article Rail a boon to everyone but us (2/18/2008).

It’s already beginning:

Seven workers from Utah-based company Boart Longyear are performing soil sampling work at Kualaka’i Parkway, better known as North-South Road in Kapolei.

Kiewit Corp., which has already secured three rail contracts worth $1.06 billion, hired Boart Longyear as a subcontractor.

Kiewit won contracts for the first two phases of the elevated rail system’s guideway, as well as a shared contract with Albert C. Kobayashi Inc. to build the system’s maintenance yard.

When KITV4 News requested the total number of mainland workers currently on Oahu, as well as how many out-of-state workers are expected during construction of the rail project, Kiewit refused to disclose the information.

[KITV, Out-of-state workers already on the rail job, 3/29/2012]

These days “jobs” has become simply a mantra to draw voters. Like the jobs to be created building a pipeline to bring Canadian shale oil to Texas ports for export, the figures quoted are basically pipe dreams. (sorry)

The imported workers, if they stay a while or permanently, require housing, and they drive cars. Yup, bringing in people for whatever reason drives up the cost of rentals, housing, and adds cars to the roads.

Building a railroad requires specialty jobs that can’t be found here. But as KITV discovered, even soil sampling has been outsourced.

We are a very gullible people, it seems.


Thursday, March 29, 2012


High-tech private networks support social movements

by Larry Geller

The ability to communicate has become essential to social movements from Iran to Egypt to Occupy in the USA. At the same time, governments are both spying on and attempting to limit access to the Internet and cellphone networks as they mount campaigns against their own populations.

I’ve wondered, for example, why there is not greater use of encryption for both voice and data transmissions? Why are we communicating via telephone in essentially the same way as Alexander Graham Bell did? We know the NSA can and does spy on domestic conversations. Certainly, they could break simple encoding given their vast computer power, but it would be much more time-consuming if the voice and data were not transmitted in plain text.

A Time article describes another approach. Why not have independent networks that Big Brother cannot shut down, or possibly even spy upon?

The article Occupy the Internet: Protests Give Rise to DIY Data Networks (Time, 3/28/2012) describes two possible approaches. One involves setting up a parallel digital network, the other uses small drones in border-crossing swarms.

Both schemes are intriguing. Check out the article. I particularly liked how the drones are so independent that

They recharge themselves autonomously, flying to a battery station when they run out of power.

Cool. Possibly invincible. A government can’t scramble a flock of F-16s to take out a swarm of microscopic drones flying at low altitude. Oh sure, they’ll find a way eventually. I can imagine government drones sent out to chase down and devour these pesky interlopers.

Some private drone technology is already here. A Swiss company has been selling them for some time. Others can hover outside your window, even come inside and visit you if you’ve left the screens open.

This video is two years old. Who knows what these little drones can do by now.


Thanks to John Temple

by Larry Geller

Civil Beat announced this morning that Editor and General Manager John Temple has been tapped by the Washington Post as one of two new managing editors.

First, a great big Thank You to Temple not only for his leadership and fine writing while at Civil Beat, but for leading a revival of journalism in Honolulu.

The scene was pretty bleak before Civil Beat arrived (and dropped its paywall). 

Colbert's little fish

Like the little fish at the end of The Colbert Report, Honolulu’s Star-Bulletin unexpectedly jumped out of the murky water and devoured its larger and supposedly more powerful competitor, the Honolulu Advertiser. At this point, the Star-Advertiser has hidden its news and writers away from Internet readers with a rigid paywall.

At the same time, Civil Beat added staff and expanded its scope. CB fearlessly tread where neither our newspapers nor the vast wasteland of TV news would dare to go. Under Temple’s leadership, Civil Beat became (and still is) very much a bright light in the dismal fog.

CB gives us hope. Whether or not our expectations were met, the fact is that we had and still have expectations for Civil Beat, but hardly any for either newspaper or TV journalism. John Temple has built a firm foundation on which Civil Beat can continue to build. The only direction for Civil Beat is “up.”

I’m already hearing some “So what’s wid dis?” but it doesn’t matter. Temple will leave Hawaii after a job well done. He will be missed.

Speaking of expectations, I hope that in searching for Temple’s replacement, perhaps Pierre Omidyar will consider local candidates for the job. A local pilot has an advantage in navigating local waters. Without meaning any criticism, I think that it’s important that local news be generated by local writers. And we have them, at every level from fresh college graduates with talent to proven newspeople with years of experience. Civil Beat could do to look even more like the people it serves.

So Bon Voyage to John Temple. They better throw a really big party for you.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012


Contemplating violence? Who, us?

by Larry Geller

Civil Beat reporter Chad Blair posted a comprehensive article this afternoon which includes copies of the Kokua Council and League of Women Voters complaints: Sen. Roz Baker Blasted Over Hearing Conduct (Civil Beat, 3/27/2012).  It even has a picture of me!

SgtAtArmsSpeaking of pictures, the shadowy and out-of-focus figure at left is the Senate Sgt. At Arms, lurking in the hearing room on Friday. Sorry about my cheap cameraphone. Now, I doubt that he has much of a personal interest in who sits on the Hawaii Health Connector board. It’s also the first time that I’ve seen “protection” called to a committee hearing. And while generally a nice guy, afterwards several of us discussed our feelings of intimidation—he was obviously there to control us advocates. Why intimidation? The news of a settlement for an assault situation he was involved in was fresh in our minds:

BREAKING NEWS! State settles suit by protester for $100,000

On April 29, 2010, activists Mitch Kahle and Kevin Hughes were assaulted by Ben Villaflor, the Senate Sergeant-At-Arms, and State Sheriff's Deputies, for objecting to unconstitutional Christian prayers used to begin each session of the Hawaii State Legislature.

[Left Rite Left quoting Star-Advertiser, Activists Assaulted At Hawaii State Capitol, 3/15/2012]

So who called him in?? Hmm?? And why did Senator Baker need this kind of protection? Would he have violently removed any of us if she asked him to? (Actually, I could use a nice settlement like that…).

I submit that the presence of the Sgt. at Arms contributed to the hostile conditions of the meeting that two of us complained about.


How to report on Hawaii Health Connector issues I’m involved in as an advocate?

by Larry Geller

It’s been quiet here because I’ve been busy. And also because I am not sure what to do with my dual role.

With my other hat on, as president of an advocacy organization, I’m working with several other consumer organizations to try and bring consumer representation to the Hawaii Health Connector, which, Supreme Court willing, will set the conditions for bringing insurance to Hawaii’s uninsured, currently numbering an estimated 100,000.

In setting up Hawaii’s health exchange, the devil is in the details. For example, should there be one risk pool for everyone (ensuring lower premiums) or should insurers be allowed to split the pool? If that happens, big corporations have the advantage and the little person is stuck with higher rates. 

As it is now, the board of the Connector, the only one set up as an independent non-profit in the entire country, is exempt from sunshine and ethics laws. And it is infested with insurance company representatives, including HMSA’s chief lobbyist (couldn’t the Governor have found someone else in HMSA to appoint other than their lobbyist??).

Now you see my problem. As a responsible representative of the advocacy organization, I could not say something like the paragraph above.

So what to do?  For the moment, while I ponder this, I’ll link to articles in the commercial media. For example, Richard Borreca’s column this morning,  New health board is off to an uncomfortable start (Star-Advertiser, 3/27/2012). I can only quote a snip. If you subscribe to the paper, please check the editorial section for the complete article.

Borreca has a way with words:

Last week the permanent board members, the same big insurance reps included, were approved by a Senate committee and appear headed for final confirmation.

At the same time, moving at counter purposes, the House is readying a bill that would forbid insurance reps on the board. The insurance reps could serve as advisers and make recommendations, but not vote.

Imagine if the state decided to set up a hamburger board that would proscribe how many and which hamburgers you could eat.

If the board’s majority was made up of McDonald’s, Burger King and Jack in the Box, any cheeseburger-loving soul would see that as a conflict. Especially if the burger boys set up the ethics rules guiding how the burger commission operated.

Yup, that’s where we are.

More later.

Friday, March 23, 2012


We can have everything

By Henry Curtis

On March 22, 2012 ThinkTech, HVCA, and Hawaii Business Magazine sponsored a luncheon at the Plaza Club.

The Governor addressed the crowd, followed by a panel of landowners/developers and a second panel on existing and planned places for youth (Powwow, Fresh Cafe, Loft in Space, and the art hui R&D) featuring slam poetry events, art murals, free parking places, and community meeting rooms.
The Governor later spoke at the end of the event that there was room in the new Kakaako for all of this and more.

Tony Ching, Executive Director of theHawaii Community Development Authority: “This is not a 'plan, announce and defend' approach ...The community should have an understanding of what we want for our community."

Here is what Governor Abercrombie said yesterday

At some point we are going to, after the Legislature's over, we're going to have, a big community meeting, I've got to figure out what kind of venue, maybe we will even do if over a couple of  days even, if there is enough interest. So that we can, get across to everybody what it is that we plan to do here. People have heard me say that, I would like to see a third city develop and that's the approach I'm trying to take is a kind of metaphor for, what we intend to do here, all the way from Kewalo Basin out to Kalihi. So that obviously goes beyond the HCDA itself.”

A question was asked by a member of the audience: Would you describe your group or business as thriving currently? Do you believe that as HCDA and  other master plans go through, this will improve the current situation, or their delicate momentum can be in jeopardy with these changes?

Governor Abercrombie responded: “That's exactly why I wanted to get Boards that were going to be responsive.  People have said to me, before, you know editorially and so on, well if the Governor gets his way, then we will lose the continuity of these Boards. That's exactly what I want to get rid of. I want to break the continuity of these Boards that have seen us, as second or third rate, that has always said that Hawaii's got to be behind, that Honolulu has to be behind. We have a Board now with the HCDA, and the reason that I picked that Board and the people on it, is that their innovative, they're going to be totally supportive of this. ...

One of the things I said when I talked to people about who ...I was going to name to the Board. Are you going to support, the arts? Are you going to support, the very foundation that we have of creativity and innovation, in the State. We've sat down with Kamehameha Schools. We've sat down with the owners, right? Well, our vision is the same. The great thing, about being in Hawai`i today is, is we can do this. It's the same thing that's going to happen with Symphony Space. ...when you talk about what's going to happen in Kakaako, the Board of HCDA, and the staff of HCDA, is going to be supportive of genuine mixed use, genuine  seeing to it  that this doesn't become, just some possibility where the infrastructure goes in and then it gentrifies itself right out of existence.

That's not going to happen. The thrust of this is going to be, that this is going to be the most exciting, urban project, not just in the United States, but we intend to make it a beacon, for the world in terms of understanding our native culture, and understanding what innovation and young people are all about, who want to live and work there and have an  integrated community, from all levels, from the little keiki right on up to the kupuna, and that's what's  going to happen in Kakaako. And this Board, and this staff, is going to be supportive of that across the board.

Everything that has been stated today, everything that has been mentioned today, all of the collaboration, all of the innovation,  all of the exciting possibilities are going to be absolutely supported, by the HCDA Board, and by the staff. I can guarantee that for the next seven years at least.

# # #


Star-Advertiser editorial sides with consumers on health board appointments

by Larry Geller

I’ll have to say it looks good in print. A Star-Advertiser editorial this morning (Friday, 3/23/2012) both reflects and even extends the consumer position on reforming the critical board that will guide health care delivery in Hawaii starting in 2014.

Redo model

The editorial calls for the complete redo of the way the Legislature set up the Hawaii Health Connector, the board that will determine the policies and the rules that govern how those without health insurance can purchase policies under the Affordable Care Act.

The paper’s support should boost the spirits of consumer groups that will continue to oppose the Governor’s appointments of insurance company representatives to the board. The next step will be testimony at a 9 a.m. hearing this morning at the Legislature.

A snip:

The ideal solution would be a broader revision of Act 205, one that would both allow for industry consultation on the creation of health plans without conflicts among the voting members, and for the public to be engaged.

[Star-Advertierser, Redo health exchange model, p. A17, 3/23/2012]

Advocates have based a recommended amendment to Act 205 on California law that bars insurers from serving on a health connector board due to conflicts of interest. The Star-Advertiser editorial suggests the California model for the whole thing:

A group of public-interest organizations has rightly sounded an alarm about how Act 205, which enabled the setup of the exchange, passed last year without sufficient scrutiny and debate.

A better model would be one similar to the California Health Benefit Exchange, described as an "independent public entity within state government."

The consumer groups will be holding a rally at the State Capitol rotunda at 8:15 this morning. The hearing on the Governor’s appointees begins at 9 a.m. in room 229. [Disclosure: I am president of Kokua Council, one of the consumer groups pushing for reform]

The Chair of the Committee on Commerce and Consumer Protection, Senator Rosalyn Baker, has circulated emails strongly supporting the three insurance company appointees. So it is important that those who care about how the Affordable Care Act will benefit Hawaii consumers turn out for the hearing to express their views to the committee before a a vote is taken.this morning

Thursday, March 22, 2012


Police traffic sting demonstrates that police ignore violations, endangering lives

by Larry Geller

Police said the Traffic Division's Solo Bike Section issued 81 citations for speeding, two for excessive speeding, 60 for no-fault insurance, 46 for driving without a license, 21 for seat-belt violations, 12 for child restraint violations, nine for electronic mobile device violations and 269 for miscellaneous violations.

[Star-Advertiser, Police issue 500 traffic tickets on Leeward Coast in 5 hours, 3/20/2012]

This article raised several questions for me:

1) When are they going to get around to doing the same thing on Vineyard Blvd., near where I live? They could probably issue about the same number of tickets, and mostly for speeding, not stopping or blinking on a turn, crosswalk violations and cell phone yakking.

2) Of course, now that they’ve hit the Leeward Coast the other day, they won’t be back for quite some time. So the violations over there will go on.

and most important…

3) The fact that they could issue so many citations shows that enforcement of traffic laws has been essentially non-existent. Pedestrian and driver safety has been ignored by the HPD.  If drivers knew that the laws would be enforced, the police would not have been able to nab so many violators in this one sting.

The intersection near where I live has been identified by the AARP as one of Honolulu’s most dangerous, yet you never, never see police enforcing the traffic laws at this intersection. Drivers know this.

Last week, just one block away, I saw four cars turn left after the red arrow had come on, and one car in the center lane decided it would be a great time to turn left also. So he turned left from the center lane on a red arrow.

How can they get away with this? The chances of a cop catching them are zero.

As the Honolulu police demonstrated with their sting, the enforcement we deserve, we’re not getting.


A history of the Occupy movement–so far

… and of course, the best is yet to come. Silly headline, I suppose. But history changes quickly, so catch this version before Big Brother changes it.

In the fall of 2011, New York's Zuccotti Park grabbed the world’s attention as the hub of Occupy Wall Street, a movement that set off a chain of rage against the country’s financial and political elite.
Even in the face of police repression and media ridicule, the movement mobilised thousands of people fed up with the deep economic divide in the US. And within two months hundreds of Occupy Wall Street camps swept across the country changing the political discourse in the US.
"People were upset about the economy, people were upset about the foreclosure crisis, people were upset about the bailouts, and about the fact that it looked like elected officials were working for big business rather than for the people who they’re supposed to be working for," says activist Max Rameau from Take Back the Land.
Fault Lines tells the definitive history of Occupy Wall Street from its early days through the movement's rapid spread up to the brutal crackdown by state authorities.

[Al Jazeera, History of an occupation, 3/20/2012]

Click the link to read this article. Or here is their video. Click the thingy in the lower right for full screen.


How to write testimony opposing insurance company participation in Hawaii’s health exchange

by Larry Geller

I should have written this earlier, my apologies.

In looking over the material in the newspaper or on the web asking that people submit testimony for tomorrow’s hearing asking the Senate committee not to confirm three insurance company appointees to the Hawaii Health Connector, it’s hard to tell who these three people are. The hearing notice only identifies them by name. It’s not like a wanted poster, where you’d be able to associate a name with the crime, for example.

Testimony should have been submitted by 9 a.m. today, but late testimony is accepted. So here’s the gang that needs to be removed. You can click on the GM number (Governor’s Message) to take you to a page where you can just type in some testimony, or send something longer by uploading a file.

GM625 Jennifer Diesman (HMSA)

GM624 Joan Danieley (Kaiser)

GM628 Faye Kurren (Hawaii Dental Service)

(a fourth, Harris Nakamoto, has withdrawn his nomination)

To submit testimony, just click on the link, and then click on the blue “Submit Testimony” button at the top. It’s easy! 

Do you really want the near-monopoly insurers to set rules and policies for the health exchange? I didn’t think so. So please send in some testimony.

It’s gonna be a tough fight. Your testimony is needed. The Chair of the committee seems strangely devoted to having HMSA and the other insurers in control of this board, which is charged with designing the health exchange which will make health coverage available to everyone in Hawaii.

As the Star-Advertiser pointed out:

There are 21 states that either prohibit or are in the process of blocking insurers with expertise in designing health plans, from actually being board members, according to the Primary Care Association, a group that advocates for community health centers. Other states have hired independent actuaries who previously worked for an insurer but no longer have a connection to the company, or economists and consultants. Insurers also serve as advisers in other states that prohibit them from sitting on the board.”

[Star-Advertiser, Red flags raised over setup of insurance exchange, p.D1 3/18/2012]

So this raises questions about the Chair, Sen. Rosalyn Baker’s, expected strong support for keeping the foxes in charge of designing the henhouse.

The consumer groups do recognize the expertise that health insurers bring to the table, but it should be a side table. The groups have recommended that the Hawaii Health Connector create an advisory board to take advantage of insurers’ expertise. [Disclosure again: I’m president of Kokua Council, one of the consumer groups pushing for these changes.]

If an advisory board is created, it would be open to all insurers, which should encourage competition. If HMSA doesn’t like that, they can duke it out with the others over in the corner someplace. The point is to give consumers a choice.

There will be a rally in the Capitol Rotunda at 8:15 tomorrow. If you can come, you can also go up afterwards to room 229 and give your testimony in person if you like. There should be signs available, or bring your own.

If you want to take an extra step, please call committee members to ask that they vote against the three nominees. Here are the phone numbers. Don’t worry, the Senators don’t answer the phone themselves, you usually get to leave a message with a staff member. If you’re a constituent (if you live in their district), good to say so.

Sen. Brickwood Galuteria 586-6740
Sen. Clarence Nishihara 586-6970
Sen. Malama Solomon 586-7335
Sen. Sam Slom 586-8420
Sen. Josh Green 586-9385
Sen. Brian Taniguchi (Vice Chair) 586-6460
Sen. Rosalyn Baker (Chair)

and here’s the list again. You have to ask them to vote “no” on each of these:

GM625 Jennifer Diesman (HMSA)
GM624 Joan Danieley (Kaiser)
GM628 Faye Kurren (Hawaii Dental Service)

Hawaii is the only state to have set this board up as an independent non-profit, which seems to exempt them from the Sunshine Law and ethics laws. Why? Unlike many other states, they have put insurers on the board. Why?

And why should we leave it that way? It’s time to make some changes.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012


Hawaii legislators gone wild—stop them today

by Larry Geller

Run, do not walk, and read Ian Lind’s article posted yesterday: “Gut & replace” bill poses broad threat to environmental regulation (, 3/20/2012). This bill comes up for a hearing this morning .

Note to legislators: I think your vote on SB755 (see below) should be widely known to the public. I’ll post it here, and again in November. And a “yes with reservations” is still a “yes.”

I don’t think I’ve seen anything quite like this. Laws that were hard-fought to put in place are being thrown under the bus this session with the potential of a slew of exceptions.

Why? Do we have too many power-hungry leaders in charge of committees this session? Is there something in the State Capitol water supply?

If we just sit here behind our computer terminals, the protection of state sunshine and environmental laws that have served us well will be lost.

Legislators seem also to be disregarding testimony if it is not delivered in person. They just turn the page after the chair reads a name. I know this happens. I spoke to a Senator who said he never read testimony. I kid you not. Others pay no attention to the bills before them and are not even present in the hearing room until called for a vote, which is directed by the chair with a “recommendation.” They may vote on an amendment that they have never seen. This happens all the time.

The most urgent citizen action is SB755, to be heard this morning. The bill is a threat to Hawaii’s environmental protections. It is a sad case of “gut and replace,” in which the language in a bill that has made its way through the Legislature up to this point is suddenly chucked into the committee’s garbage pail to make way for a new bill that the public has never heard. I suspect that the use of “gut and replace” as it has been with SB755 may be unconstitutional, but it would take some big buck$ to challenge the practice. The hearing notice is here. You can call or email members of the committee and ask them to defeat this bill.  Presumably, the Chair is in on the con.

I believe killing this bill today would also kill the original text, which was a gambling bill. Could this be the intention of House leadership? It’s been done before.

Today’s Star-Advertiser has an article on this bad bill. If they’ve noticed, it must be serious.

Your next reading assignment is An Open Letter In Defense of Hawaii’s Environment… (, 3/20/2012), which points to a petition. The wording of the petition is below, I’m sure they won’t mind. Please consider signing on.

Also note that if any of these bills pass, they are likely to be signed by our formerly-liberal Governor.

There must be something in the water.

The petition:

An Open Letter In Defense of Hawaii’s Environment & Open Government to Hawaii State House of Representatives, State Senate, & Governor Neil Abercrombie:
We vehemently protest certain undemocratic measures taken by the State House of Representatives, Hawaii State Senate, and Governor Abercrombie to dilute basic sunshine and due process laws that protect the public. Our island canoe is heading in the wrong direction.
Certain legislators have introduced measures which severely shut out the public and due process. These actions disfranchise citizens, corrupt public policies, and undermine democracy. This is not pono.
Numerous evolving bills, including SB 2927 SD 2, SB2873, SB2012,, HB2154 HD2, will exempt state and county government actions and development from Hawaii’s laws which protect and preserve our unique island home through careful analysis, including social, economic, cultural, historical, coastal, marine, and other environmental impacts. This removal of these checks and balances will cause injustice and create undue burden at various levels, including our economic prosperity, quality of life, sense of place, and long-term sustainability. (
Certain legislators’ eagerness to circumvent or skirt legal requisites in order to fast-track development projects, without first considering inevitable impacts on the overall environment and public participation, show an alarming lack of understanding in core democratic principles. No entity should be above or exempted from the laws that protect us all.
While some legislators are hasty to deny due process and participation to the public, they are careful “to provide indemnity for any county, its officials, or employees for actions taken regarding “exceptional planning projects”. This action is wrong; public servants will be accountable to no one.
We unequivocally protest these anti-public legislative attempts to subvert open government. We call upon each legislator to show civic courage – to independently review, boldly vote, and truly enact the people’s business within the core democratic tenets contained in the Hawaii Revised Statutes 343 (Environmental Review), Hawaii Sunshine Law (HRS 92), Coastal Zone Management 205A (SMA), and county zoning and planning.
The line of demarcation must be clear - the People’s right to know and the right to equitably participate in public policies with legislative decision-makers in a fair and open process are not negotiable.
Growing Supporters of this Open Letter include Hawaii Thousand Friends, The Sierra Club, Defend Oahu Coalition, Save Sunset Beach Coalition,Save O’ahu Farmlands Alliance, Hawaii SEED, Friends of Makakiko, Country Talk Story, Livable Hawaii Kai Hui.

Certain legislators have introduced measures which severely shut out the public and due process. These actions disfranchise citizens, corrupt public policies, and undermine democracy. This is not pono.

Again, you can sign the petition here. I have, please you do also.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012


It’s nice to win one—House committee stands up for consumers—but your testimony still needed

by Larry Geller

[See: “Fox” news—uprising in the henhouse as consumer groups move to take back Hawaii healthcare (3/19/2012)]


(image snipped from KHON 6 p.m. news 3/19/2012) (your friendly blogger at the podium)

It was a long slog, but it is nice when the legislature, even one key committee, agrees with consumers instead of with big business. It does happen, and it happened yesterday. It involved lots of community organizing, speaking with some legislators, writing testimony, and attending a hearing for most of Monday.

It was great to work with a group of people so dedicated to standing up for consumer rights.

Here’s the media release prepared late last night.

Today the House Committee on Consumer Protection and Commerce adopted significant amendments to SB 2434, SD1, HD1, to provide greater consumer protection and public transparency for Hawaii's health insurance exchange board (aka the Hawaii Health Connector). With Vice-Chair Ryan Yamane presiding, the Committee agreed with consumer advocates to exclude insurers from the Connector due to concerns of financial conflicts of interest. The amended bill will require the Connector board, which operates as a non-profit, to implement rules similar to Hawaii's sunshine law. The committee removed language that split the individual and small business markets which consumers argued could lead to higher premiums.

“This is a milestone for consumers, small business and the uninsured. The Committee transformed SB 2434, which was stacked for insurers, into a pro-consumer bill,” said Hawaii Coalition for Health spokesperson Rafael del Castillo.

The full Senate will be considering confirmation of Governor Abercrombie’s nominees to the Connector board on Friday, March 23rd. The list includes representatives from three health insurers--HMSA, Kaiser Permanente, and Hawaii Dental Service.

Consumer advocates are asking the public to call the Governor and Senate members to urge them to eliminate the insurance representatives from the appointee list.

It’s not a done deal yet. You can bet that the insurance reps and lobbyists also stayed up late last night, plotting countermeasures.

The media release calls for public action. What is really needed is testimony for the Friday confirmation hearing against each of the three insurance company appointees to the Hawaii Health Connector board. It’s easy to do. Just click on the left near each name and then push the Submit Testimony button at the top of the page. Again, the hearing notice is here.

I have some sympathy for the problems poor Governor Abercrombie is having with his nominees, but it would be great if he would replace these three names.

Or, if he would just ask them to withdraw. In order to spend more time with their families, of course.

You can call his office and make that request at 586-0034. Don’t worry, the gov himself doesn’t answer the phone.

[Speaking of the governor’s problems with his appointments, Star-Advertiser columnist Richard Borreca listed them up in his article today, Instability has become constant for governor (Star-Advertiser, 3/20/2012).  If you subscribe, have a look at that article.

After reading through Borreca’s list, I don’t think the gov would mind much if he had to withdraw three more names, it would just be a drop in the bucket. Yeah, things have been that bad.]

Just in case he doesn’t do it, though, please consider submitting even short testimony on the three insurance-industry nominees who have such a clear conflict of interest. They will be replaced with consumer advocates if the revised bill becomes law.

Monday, March 19, 2012


“Fox” news—uprising in the henhouse as consumer groups move to take back Hawaii healthcare

by Larry Geller

A press conference is scheduled for 1 p.m. today (Monday, 3/19/2012) at the State Capitol rotunda by a coalition of consumer groups bent on nothing less than saving Hawaii’s health care system.

It seems that Hawaii has put its near-monopoly health insurers on the board of the Hawaii Health Connector, the organization charged with setting up the benefit package under the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010. The insurers greatly outnumber the single consumer representative.  This board is tasked with setting up the “Exchange” that the Act provides as a marketplace for those without insurance to purchase policies. Purchase is mandatory, with penalties for those who don’t buy and federal subsidies for those with low incomes to do so.

Board members representing insurance companies have a clear conflict of interest since they are involved in shaping policies and rules that will impact the profits and revenues that their employers receive.

In reality, the foxes are designing the henhouse from ground up.

From the press release:

Consumer advocates oppose the nominees representing Hawaii Medical Service Association, Kaiser Permanente Hawaii, Ohana Health Plan, and Hawaii Dental Service because they will have a direct financial stake in the Exchange’s decisions. Membership on the board should be restricted to organizations whose primary mission is consumer focused, advocates say. The consumer advocates amendments to S.B. 2434 create a non-voting advisory committee made up of all insurers.

Hawaii is the only state to have established its Health Connector as a private non-profit organization governed by a state-appointed board of directors. This board, the Hawaii Health Connector, operates in the shadows because it does not appear to be subject to Hawaii’s Sunshine Law (open meetings law and open records law). An interim board has been meeting under agendas that do not meet the requirements of the Sunshine Law. The interim board is to be replaced by a permanent board of essentially the same people.

Fox guarding hensThe coalition wants to evict the foxes from the henhouse and let consumers begin the work of designing a system by and for its beneficiaries, instead of as a profit center for the already-too-big insurance companies.

It proposes to keep insurers involved by allowing the board to set up an advisory council composed of any insurers who wish to participate, not just the largest, in order to encourage competition in the provision of services to healthcare consumers.

[I need to disclose that I am president of Kokua Council, one of the organizations participating in today’s event.]

Organizations agreeing to support an amendment to change the law and to object to Governor Neil Abercrombie’s board nominations include Hawaii Coalition for Health, Advocates for Consumer Rights, Kokua Council, Progressive Democrats of Hawaii, Americans for Democratic Action/Hawaii, ,AARP Hawaii, United Self Help, Mental Health America of Hawaii, and Hawaii Disability Rights Center.

An amendment to change the law has already been submitted in testimony to the House health committee, which made changes in the board two years down the road. Two years is too late—the henhouse will be in operation by then. The community-proposed amendment is based on the California law which prohibits insurers from participation.

Hawaii has also not submitted an application for a grant to establish a consumer protection ombudsman.

After the press conference a hearing will be held by the House Committee on Consumer Protection and Commerce on SB2434 SD1 HD1 at 2:00 p.m. in Room 325. Click on the link to see the bill that advocates would like to change, and to read more in the prior testimony. Submitting your own testimony is very easy – just click on the link near the top of the page.

Anyone can come to the 1 p.m. press conference and then to the 2 p.m. hearing which follows. You don’t have to submit written testimony in order to speak at the hearing.

On Friday March 23 the Senate Committee on Commerce and Consumer Protection will hold a confirmation hearing for all 11 of the governor’s nominees to the Exchange – including the four nominees in question. In order to support or object to the nominations, it’s necessary to submit testimony on each one in the hearing notice. Again, this is easy to do, though it does take a bit of clicking.


Secret Hawai`i

By Henry Curtis

Overall grade: 74%  
Rank among 50 states: 10

Hawaii: The story behind the numbers: For years Hawaiian state lawmakers have enjoyed lavish spreads at receptions hosted by groups with business before the legislature. No harm, no foul, right? Wrong.

Hawaii gets an F triple minus in:    Is the right of access to information effective? (30%)

This 30% rating was based on the following analysis:                 

 In practice, state agencies and government officials are not exempt from access to information laws. (50%)

In practice, citizens receive responses to access to information requests within a reasonable time period. (50%)

In practice, the government gives reasons for denying an information request. (50%)

In practice, when necessary, the agency that monitors the application of access to information laws and regulations independently initiates investigations. (50%)

In practice, citizens can use the access to information mechanism at a reasonable cost. (25%)

In practice, responses to information requests are of high quality. (25%)

In practice, citizens can resolve appeals to access to information requests within a reasonable time period. (25%)

In practice, citizens can resolve appeals to information requests at a reasonable cost. (0%)

In practice, when necessary, the agency that monitors the application of access to information laws and regulations imposes penalties on offenders. (0%)

# # #

Friday, March 16, 2012


The Daily Show 3/15/2012 on the USA cutting support to UNESCO and the world’s neediest children

by Larry Geller

As most astute Disappeared News readers already know, UNESCO voted to admit Palestine as a country, pissing off the USA which seems not to want Palestine to be a country. Ok, that’s an oversimplification. But not by much.

The USA also doesn’t seem to care a whit about humanitarian assistance to the world’s neediest children. They’ve cut UNESCO funds. There seems to be a law about it. Suddenly our country cares about complying with a law. Sorry, kids.

This is an underreported story. Good thing we have Comedy Central to bring us the important news. 

Last night (Thursday, 3/15/2012) Jon Stewart skipped the usual closing interview to make space for two segments by John Oliver on the UNESCO de-funding issue.  I thought this was a great job, and since the Daily Show website permits the embedding of their videos, here it is (warning: there may be commercial messages. Disappeared News doesn’t endorse whatever it is they try to sell to you).  There should be a thingy at the lower right to click for full-screen.

The Daily Show with Jon Stewart
Get More: Daily Show Full Episodes,Political Humor & Satire Blog,The Daily Show on Facebook

The Daily Show with Jon Stewart
Get More: Daily Show Full Episodes,Political Humor & Satire Blog,The Daily Show on Facebook

Thursday, March 15, 2012


I Aloha Molokai reports and celebrates death of tax credit for industrial wind farms

by Larry Geller

It’s been no secret, though the media have quickly lost interest, that many residents of Molokai and Lanai have strenuously objected to the domination of their islands by giant wind turbines pumping power off to distant Oahu. One of the organizations in the forefront of this issue has been I ALoha Moloka`i.

I’m only one little guy over here on Oahu and can’t track issues on the Neighbor Islands very well, so I learned from a press release distributed by the organization today that the US Senate killed a tax credit for giant wind farms.

Let me just jump to their press release. Here it is:

In a big victory for the people of Hawaii, our environment, and all American taxpayers, the U.S. Senate this week killed the Production Tax Credit for industrial wind factories. This corporate subsidy, a major contributor to America's enormous budget deficits and the cause of environmentally destructive wind projects in many states, was long overdue for defeat.

Also defeated was the notorious Section 1603, which gave industrial wind developers 30% of their total budget as an up-front cash grant. Called "pocket money" this shameful subsidy guaranteed Big Wind developers more than $1 billion before they even start work.

Here in Hawaii, HECO and Governor Abercrombie continue to push Big Wind against growing popular opposition. But the PTC defeat will make their sales pitch much harder. Without these subsidies, wind factories no longer look more attractive to investors than solar or geothermal, as even industry spokesmen will admit.

Without these subsidies, Hawaiian officials and communities should be able to consider alternative energy projects on their own merits. Everyone should now be able to see that covering Molokai and Lanai with giant wind turbines and blasting cables through fragile marine habitat is neither wise nor necessary.

We will continue our efforts until the threat of industrial wind factories covering Molokai and Lanai is removed, and we send out A BIG MAHALO to all those, here and on the mainland, who worked to defeat this legislation.

Kanohowailuku Helm


Let me say that I don’t understand completely what this implies. I suspect IAH does, and I wonder what the Governor’s plans are now, and if the project will go forward anyway. I recall that we ratepayers on Oahu are supposed to pay for this project through higher electric bills. Will they be asking us to pay even more in the absence of these tax credits?


Can a city that can’t maintain City Hall be trusted to maintain an elevated train line?

by Larry Geller

They can’t keep our roads in good condition. They can’t keep paint on the crosswalks, can’t keep sidewalks in good repair, they take years to fix broken bus stop shelters. They can’t keep the hot water running or the elevators in city-owned housing. That’s our City and County of Honolulu.

And now, Civil Beat reports, they haven’t even been maintaining City Hall. Check out reporter Michael Levine’s story Lead, Mold Contaminate Honolulu Hale (Civil Beat, 3/15/2012).

Civil Beat has included some photos and the entire 184 report along with the article.

Both the City and State are part of the low-maintenance culture. It’s a long tradition. Check out this story from 2007:

Nine of 35 elevators in several public housing projects — nearly 25 percent — have been out of service for months, resulting in long waits for elderly and disabled tenants and creating serious health and safety dangers at the facilities.

At Kalakaua Homes, one of two elevators serving hundreds of residents has been out of service since March 19.

[Honolulu Advertiser, Elevator parts are available after all, 6/20/2007]

The elevator situation is a state responsibility, but it is illustrative of the culture.

That article was by investigative reporter Jim Dooley (now investigating for the on-line Hawaii Reporter). Jim had no trouble locating some parts himself.

A national distributor of elevator parts told The Advertiser that it has nine of the replacement parts in stock, priced at $500 to $600 apiece.

Back to the city. Now, a report shows that at City Hall, it appears they have let the roof leak. The place is contaminated with mold, and lead is flaking off.

Yes, Virginia, the city of Honolulu does have a maintenance division. Here is a snip from their public buildings page:

To upkeep and maintain the City's facilities, lighting and equipment through our committed, reliable, and highly qualified personnel in a cost effective manner to ensure services are uninterrupted and resources are utilized strategically to continuously improve for future needs.
We Work to Service You!

Pro-Active, Prepared and ready to Perform with Pride

I love the “four Ps” at the end. I think four Ps usually stand for “Piss Poor Prior Planning.”

Someone should ask what will be different if The Train happens. There will be escalators and elevators, not to mention complicated train signaling devices and all sorts of train-things to maintain. The whole thing will be outside, subject to the elements.

Will they actually maintain The Train? Or will it rot and rust until one day it stops?  And then, will they have the parts to fix it?

These are not unreasonable questions, and I submit that the poor condition of City Hall just underlines the concern.


“No gratitude” for the billionaire executives who are financing our elections

There’s no gratitude here for the billionaire executives, who are financing our elections.
by Larry Geller

Democracy Now reports on a demonstration at Mitt Romney’s fundraiser in New York City (snip):

Adopting the language of Occupy Wall Street, a satirical group calling themselves "1 Percent for Mitt," offered a mock defense of Romney’s candidacy.

"Richard Thanyou": "I’m here today to tell these hippies that they should buy their own politicians, that’s the American way. There’s no gratitude here for the billionaire executives, who are financing our elections. Some countries can’t even hold elections. I think a little gratitude is in order. Some of my one-percenter friends are here to tell these hippies what’s up. I’m hoping there’s not a clash, but I think in the marketplace of ideas, we’ve shown, the one-percenters will always prevail, whether it’s Mitt Romney or Barack Obama in 2012. The system is rigged for us. It’s class war, and we’re winning."


It’s baaack… that expen$ive radar dome continues its Hawaii vacation

by Larry Geller


I don’t know why this thing fascinates me. It’s so big, so round, so white, so powerful… and it is totally wasted by being parked at Pearl Harbor instead of doing what it was designed to do, track missiles off the icy cold coast of Alaska. What happened—are there no more missiles to track? (Were there ever?)

I hope, at least, its crew is enjoying their prolonged stay in Honolulu.

This radar is so powerful that it is reported that it can track a baseball on the East Coast from where it sits on the West Coast.  Could it call strikes and balls at Yankee Stadium? At least, high flies?

According to a newspaper article, it “will be available for missile tracking purposes if it is needed.” Sure. Are they going to keep it plugged in and running in Pearl Harbor? Not likely, it would likely interfere with communications. So do we wait for N. Korea to launch before sending it out? Obviously, that wouldn’t work.

The radar cost about $1 billion dollars. That was taxpayer money, of course.

It would be great if there were a use for it while it is here. Could it roast large batches of ‘huli-huli’chicken? if aimed just right?

Could it catch a few red-light runners?

Maybe it could help find lost balls at the golf courses.

How about locating  schools of fish to catch? Could the government sell ads to be placed on that shiny dome? There has to be something it could do to earn its unemployment benefits.


Oahu likely in denial about hospital crisis—what if we have a real emergency?

" ‘They have worked very diligently, 24 hours,’ she said of the staff. ‘The breathing tube was removed (on Wednesday). He is awake and kind of feisty.’

Stem is waiting to be transferred to Oahu for reconstructive surgery, but there are no hospital rooms available, she said.

by Larry Geller

The sun is shining right now (well, right here, anyway, it could be pouring in Kailua). But there are no tornados, no hail. No roofs ripped off. It’s a beautiful day, with no crisis in sight.

Good thing, too. If there were one, could we cope?

The pull-quote above is from a story on the first page of the Local section of today’s Star-Advertiser, Kauai resident suffers flesh-eating bacteria (Star-Advertiser, 3/15/2012). He can’t be sent to Oahu for treatment because there are no hospital rooms available. Maybe I should put that in bold-face: He can’t be sent to Oahu for treatment because there are no hospital rooms available.

Farther back in the Local section, on the bottom of page B3, is news that might have been on the front page instead of Potholes Plague Isle Roads, the editor’s pick as the most important thing happening at the moment:

Hospitals diverting ambulances Tuesday were the Queen's Medical Center, Straub Clinic & Hospital, Kuakini Medical Center, Kaiser Moanalua Medical Center, Pali Momi Medical Center and Wahiawa General, Ireland said.

The number of hospitals diverting ambulances has fluctuated from two to six in the past five days, and each has been diverting patients off and on, with the exception of Kahuku Medical Center, [Dr. James Ireland, city Emergency Medical Services director] said.

[Star-Advertiser, Oahu hospitals divert ambulances, 3/15/2012]

These diversions, of course, are due to the closing of Hawaii Medical Center West in December.

HMC West, serving West Oahu, was the second busiest hospital in the state (the Queen's Medical Center is first) with 17 ambulances going there a day, Ireland said.

Ireland said ER beds at one hospital were filled with hospital patients who couldn't get a regular room.

So our ER beds are filled with patients who couldn’t get rooms, like the man on Kaui still being eaten by flesh-eating bacteria.

Another very troubling snip from this article:

Clairmont said there were no neighbor island patients awaiting transfer to Oahu hospitals on Wednesday.

Compare with the story two pages earlier that Oahu hospitals couldn’t accommodate this one guy.

Suppose one of the recent tornados had caused widespread injury. Where would they have piled the hospital patients now in the ER to make room for sudden emergency patients?

We also have no insight into how many patients might have died or otherwise been impaired due to the longer ambulance ride from central Oahu to the medical core in Honolulu. In particular, suddenly difficult childbirth situations must deal with heavy H-1 traffic to get to Kapiolani Hospital.

In December I sent several emails, including one to Toby Clairmont, director of Emergency Services for the Healthcare Association of Hawaii, and probably Hawaii’s foremost expert on emergency medical services. I received no replies. But then, this is only a little blog. He was quoted in the S-A article, but the issue wasn’t about our emergency preparedness in the event of a tsunami, storm, or other natural or man-made emergency.

Now, not receiving emails does not suggest that there is a crisis. But it does leave me with a number of newspaper and other media reports that suggest there is a valid question begging to be answered.

If disaster struck, media coverage up to this point suggests we are not prepared. I wonder if a real reporter might take up this subject. Suppose two dozen or fifty people were in need of emergency hospitalization. If there is no bed for one guy from Kauai in need of help, what will happen to many?

Unless the question is asked and answered, no one should feel that public safety is assured on Oahu or in Hawaii.  And one more question: The Governor has declared a state of emergency for lesser issues, should not the second busiest hospital on Oahu have been kept open?


Obama administration Office on Women’s Health to team up with anti-choice Curves to promote Women’s Health week

by Larry Geller

Go figure.

When Obama was Candidate Obama he supported women’s right to choose. It’s right there on his web page: Yes, women-agenda.

Now his Office on Women’s Health is tapping Curves, headed by CEO Gary Heavin, a leading anti-abortion advocate and funder, as a partner in promoting Women’s Health week.  Poor choice.

Maybe he just missed this one. The alternative press has noticed, so let’s see if he makes any changes. But don’t hold your breath. This president has been very flexible with his promises.

Heavin, a born-again Christian, has been outspoken about his opposition to abortion over the years, and has given hundreds of thousands of dollars to organizations that support so-called crisis pregnancy centers that aim to discourage women from seeking abortions. "There's nothing healthy about abortion," he told Today's Christian in a 2004 interview. "I'm not afraid to tell the truth." He was also critical of abortion in an interview with Women's eNews in 2004 that also noted Curves was one of the first companies to pull support from Susan G. Komen for the Cure over the grants it provides to Planned Parenthood for breast cancer screenings—an issue that's been in the news quite a bit of late:

In 2002, however, Heavin flexed his financial muscle by pulling support for the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation's fundraising events, such as Race for the Cure, because he opposed the foundation's support of Planned Parenthood.

Curves also drew some attention in 2009 for partnering with the American Family Association's radio programs, a pro-life and anti-gay group

[Mother Jones, Obama Administration Partners With Anti-Abortion Magnate's Gym, 3/14/2012]

What does Curves get out of this deal? Plenty. According to the Memorandum of Understanding uncovered by Mother Jones, every Thursday in National Women’s Health Week will be National Curves day, and more:


[For you namephreaks out there, isn’t Heavin a perfect name for a born-again Christian?]

For those unfamiliar with Curves, it is a women-only fitness center franchise chain that has grown hugely across the country. It can be found in shopping centers and strip malls across suburban America. The 30-minute circuit-training design has proven immensely popular. And part of its profits go to fund anti-choice causes through the activities of its CEO. Go figure.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


Honolulu police stage 3 a.m. raid on Occupy encampment, confiscate belongings

by Larry Geller

Honolulu police hid under cover of darkness and raided Occupy Honolulu at 3 a.m. this morning (March 14, 2012). The early-morning raid assured that no media would be present to report on the police action.

Occupy Honolulu maintains a live-stream, which did catch the action as police confiscated tents and other belongings.. The video is posted on this web page and also below..

Although Honolulu's new law requires that the items be returned to their owners, there are reports that the city has refused to do so recently.

Police seized literature and art from the encampment along with tents and personal possessions while Madori Rumpungworn recited the Kanawai Mamalahoe, the Law of the Splintered Paddle, which is incorporated into the State Constitution and guarantees that all who lie by the roadside be undisturbed.

[The Doug Note, Police seize tents and personal possessions on day 130 Occupy Honolulu, 3/14/2012]

The Law of the Splintered Paddle is part of Hawaii’s state constitution and derives from Kingdom law.  Article IX Section 10 reads:  “The law of the splintered paddle, mamala-hoe kanawai, decreed by Kamehameha I--Let every elderly person, woman and child lie by the roadside in safety--shall be a unique and living symbol of the State's concern for public safety.”

Regardless of arguments that this provision is an anachronism, it remains in force in the state constitution. The assertion can be made that the newly passed municipal law, “"Bill 54,” under which the police confiscated the property of Occupy campers, directly violates this article of Hawaii’s constitution.

For those interested in the Law of the Splintered Paddle, here it is in both the original Hawaiian and in English:

The complete original 1797 law in Hawaiian:

Kānāwai Māmalahoe :

E nā kānaka,
E mālama ‘oukou i ke akua
A e mālama ho‘i ke kanaka nui a me kanaka iki;
E hele ka ‘elemakule, ka luahine, a me ke kama
A moe i ke ala
‘A‘ohe mea nāna e ho‘opilikia.

Hewa nō, make.

—Kamehameha I

English translation:

Law of the Splintered Paddle:

Oh people,
Honor thy god;
Respect alike [the rights of] people both great and humble;
May everyone, from the old men and women to the children
Be free to go forth and lay in the road (i.e. by the roadside or pathway)
Without fear of harm.

Break this law, and die.

Click the thingy at the lower right for full screen.


Update: This article was posted at and tweeted 7:12 p.m. 3/14. The Star-Advertiser posted a short “breaking news” article at 9:36 p.m. A very short mention was on page 2 of today’s (March 15) paper credited to “Star-Advertiser staff.” Of course, the original article was posted on The Doug Note at 12:49 p.m. on 3/14 after processing the video, etc.  The S-A “staff” wasn’t there. I think we need to recognize the role of citizen journalism.  Keep the article coming, Doug.

Monday, March 12, 2012


Police looking for help in child finger case, but why delay so long?

by Larry Geller

Where were you on February 12?  That was a month ago, who can remember?

Breaking news today is that fingers identified as those of a child were found in a dumpster at Kukui Gardens in Honolulu. The police are asking for help to learn what happened and the identity of the child.

I wonder why it took a month for this to get out? That can’t help in solving the case.

The police wouldn’t say how many fingers were found. That info could help identify a potential victim. Why is that info withheld?


Meeting tonight on public education reform and affordable housing preservation

by Larry Geller

Hey – the rain has stopped. It’s ok to go out now.

This evening FACE (Faith Action for Community Equity) is holding a public meeting that may interest Disappeared News readers.

FACE Accountability Assembly
Public Education Reform &
Affordable Rental Preservation

Monday, March 12, 2012
6:30-8 p.m.
St. Elizabeth’s Episcopal Church
720 North King Street


For more information:
Faith Action for Community Equity
Telephone: (808) 522-1304


Their web page currently lists who will be speaking:

FACE Public Meeting Tonight!


We will be meeting at St. Elizabeth’s Episcopal Church at 6:30PM tonight, March 12th.

We have confirmed the following dignitaries:

Mayor Peter Carlisle
City Council Chair Ernie Martin
State Senator Glenn Wakai
State Senator Jill Tokuda
State Representative Joey Manahan
State Representative Roy Takumi

We will be meeting on the issues of Affordable Housing Preservation as well as Public School Education and Legislation.

Come out and be involved!

Monday, March 12th, 6:30PM
St. Elizabeth’s Episcopal churc @ 720 N. King Street
-Public Education Reform
-Affordable Housing Preservation

Refreshments will be served

The flyer didn’t say, but parking is available not only at St. Elizabeth’s, but also at Kamakapili Church and at Kaiulani School nearby.


When will sunshine return to the Hawaii Govt?

By Henry Curtis

On March 7, 2012, a secret ocean energy meeting was held at the Ala Moana Hotel in Honolulu.

This was the first meeting of the Hawaii Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Renewable Energy Task Force sponsored by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) .

DBEDT’s Mark Glick, Andrea Gill, and Cameron Black made presentations

After the event occurred, I emailed Cameron Black, a Permitting Specialist at DBEDT’s Energy Office. He responded:  

"The Task Force focuses on demonstration and commercial facility development and permitting on the OCS.  BOEM issues sea floor leases outside 3 miles for wind, wave, current, and compressed air storage.  So, lots of project possibilities were presented.  The inter-island cable and off-shore Oahu development were topics of discussion, given the pending HECO RFP.

BOEM invited around 45 federal, state, and local government bodies, including the military, to participate.  A list of attendees should be made public soon.

Yes, all Task Force meetings are open to the public, but BOEM OCS task forces are inter-governmental only.  Guests can ask questions or provide input, but cannot be on the Task Force.   Next meeting should be May/June."

After the event occurred, I also emailed another attendee, Mary Elaine Helix, a Biologist with the Office of the Environment BOEM, Pacific Region

Yes this was the first State/Federal Governmental Taskforce Meeting. The Governor of Hawaii requested that our agency, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (in the Department of the Interior) set up an intergovernmental taskforce to discuss the potential for renewable energy in Federal waters 3 miles to 200 miles offshore the islands. Governor Abercrombie is interested in being self sufficient energy wise and substantially reducing Hawaii's dependence on tankered oil. Because of all the different laws and regulations by local, state, tribal and federal governments, this taskforce provides an avenue to coordinate, share information about different projects and needs, jointly identify and share costs for environmental studies as needed, and be aware of project applications coming into the state and federal agencies.

We are Federal land managers for the land under the ocean in Federal waters as it relates to ocean energy projects. This area off Hawaii is very deep and so many technologies would not work there. However, renewable energy is an emerging industry and the potential for floating wind or other sources is possible sometime in the future. In the meantime, Hawaii (through the University and Department of Energy) is hosting testing of some renewable energy technologies. We are anticipating that we may receive applications for research leases (different than commercial leases) in the next year off Hawaii.

Our agency will also become involved with permitting right of ways for power cables traversing federal waters that are not contained in a Sanctuary, Refuge, Park or other protected status area. DOE is preparing a programmatic EIS to look at future renewable energy including interconnecting cables between the islands and potential types of renewable energy that might tie into it. We will be a cooperating agency for that EIS to make sure that right of way issues are covered in the document. We discussed the possibility of meeting again in May or June to provide a forum for state, local and federal agencies and Native Hawaiians to discuss this EIS, and give input to DOE.  If you would like to track this process, please let me know and I can add your name to the list of folks receiving information.”

Those wishing to receive Task Force email alerts need to send an email request to
"John Smith"

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