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Grassroot Perspective – Jan. 16, 2003-Alternative Minimum Tax Will Cancel Bush Cuts for Many Families; Balance Sheet; Mackinac – Looks at Michigan's Unemployment Situation

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Dick Rowland Image ‘Shoots (News, Views and Quotes)’ – Alternative Minimum Tax Will Cancel Bush Cuts for Many Families As President Bush’s tax cuts of 2001 phase in over the next few years, the tax relief many middle- and upper-income families were anticipating will be offset by the alternative minimum tax. That is the warning contained in a new study from the Urban Institute-Brookings Institution Tax Policy Center. The alternative minimum tax (AMT) was originally designed to assure that wealthier Americans with many deductions did not escape paying taxes of some sort, and as recently as three years ago fewer than one million Americans were subject to it. But if nothing is changed, by 2010 about 36 million taxpayers will face its complex provisions. *When the Bush cuts become fully effective, 85 percent of taxpayers with two or more children will be forced off the regular income tax and onto the AMT system. *It will largely affect families with incomes of $75,000 to $500,000. *Under AMT, many deductions are denied — including those for children, the taxpayers themselves, and for state and local taxes. *Married couples are 25 to 30 times more likely to be subjected to it than single people — which tax experts call “a nasty marriage penalty.” The study concludes that almost any remedy to the problem will cost the Treasury hundreds of billions of dollars or require raising taxes elsewhere to compensate for the losses. Although the White House is reportedly aware of the problem, no action is expected anytime soon. Source: David Cay Johnston, “Study Says Middle Class to Lose Much of Bush Tax Cut’s Benefits,” New York Times, Sept. 19, 2002; Leonard E. Burman, William G. Gale, Jeffrey Rohaly and Benjamin Harris, “The Individual AMT: Problems and Potential Solutions,” Sept. 18, 2002, Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center. More details see www.ncpa.org Daily Policy Digest 9/19/02 – Balance Sheet Clark County, Nevada, has decided not to outlaw lap dances at local strip clubs. Local officials started with a rule that dancers could get no closer than six feet to their fans. But they reversed their position after hearing that such sedate offerings would drive business to nearby lap-dance-friendly Las Vegas. GRIH Comment: Let’s see, how to apply competition in Hawaii: Why not allow outlying communities to incorporate and reduce counties to counties? Or, allow private enterprises to operate door to door transit service with same subsidy as government transportation receives? Wow! You could expect some real charge. ‘Roots (Food for Thought)’ Like the rest of the country, Michigan is working its way out of what turned out to be a relatively mild recession, with unemployment still rather high. For thousands of Michigan families, the recession won’t end until new jobs open up — and job creation usually doesn’t pick up until the very end of a recession. Fortunately there is something Congress can do to speed the process. The Federal Unemployment Tax Act (FUTA) requires employers to pay a tax of 0.8 percent on the first $7,000 earned by their employees. This tax does not fund unemployment insurance — the actual funds that go to the unemployed are collected through a separate state tax. Funds collected under FUTA are returned to the states to cover the costs of administering their unemployment insurance systems. At least that’s what’s supposed to happen. As it turns out, the federal government is keeping most of this FUTA revenue. Researcher William B. Connerly, Ph.D., of the American Institute for Full Employment in Klamath Falls, Ore., recently discovered that only 47 percent of FUTA taxes actually go to running state unemployment insurance programs. The rest stays in Washington, where it has the effect of making the budget surplus look larger than it actually is. Michigan fares better than most states on this deal, but of the $246.6 million Michigan employers pay in FUTA taxes annually, only $134.9 million — a little more than half-comes back to Michigan’s unemployment insurance system. The Bush administration has proposed a hefty funding cut for FUTA, from 0.8 percent down to 0.2 percent. In effect, this would leave the states to cover the costs of their own unemployment insurance systems, while the remaining FUTA funding would cover functions such as loaning money to states that exhaust their unemployment funds, or providing money for 13-week benefit extensions in states with high unemployment. The FUTA tax cut would save Michigan employers over $184 million annually. Even if the state government were to hike unemployment taxes to make up its administrative costs, employers would still come out ahead, to the tune of around $50 million annually (the $184 million saved minus the $134.9 million it costs to run Michigan’s system). What would be even better would be to eliminate FUTA altogether. The reason: Making the states come up with the funds to run their own unemployment insurance systems is likely to make those systems more efficient. A basic tenet of sound public policy is that nobody spends someone else’s money as carefully as he spends his own. And the Michigan Unemployment Agency (MUA) is a perfect example. In 2001, the MUA paid out more than $1.6 billion. If past years are any guide, more than 10 percent of the funds paid out were not properly payable under Michigan’s unemployment law. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, 10.35 percent of the monies paid out of the state’s unemployment insurance funds in 2000 were overpayments. Because states like Michigan administer their unemployment insurance with federal FUTA tax money, there is no pressure to use the money efficiently. Making the state Legislature responsible for funding the Michigan Unemployment Agency would mean that the agency and its budget would be under the control of elected officials from Michigan, rather than being monitored from afar by one-size-fits-all-minded bureaucrats in Washington. State lawmakers are more in touch with the unemployment situation in Michigan, and are more responsive to the needs of job seekers and employers. This would translate into closer scrutiny and more flexibility in how the fund is administered. As things now stand, Michigan’s unemployment insurance program is being run in a way that wastes taxpayer dollars. Being laundered through a large federal bureaucracy weakens accountability and provides little incentive for efficiency or innovation in the handling of state unemployment insurance funds. While it is a relatively small item in Michigan’s budget, the FUTA tax is aimed at the heart of Michigan employment. It is levied directly on employers and goes up every time new workers are hired. Now is a perfect time for Congress to cut the cost of hiring new workers. Lowering or abolishing the FUTA tax would be a good way to start. (Paul Kersey is labor research associate with the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is hereby granted, provided the author and his affiliation are cited.) Above article see http://www.mackinac.org ‘Evergreen (Today’s Quotes)’ *More enforcement? Nobody knows what’s in the code. Who can make heads or tails of this: “Line 20b(1). – You must complete this line if there is a gain on Form 4797, line 3; a loss on Form 4797, line 12; a loss on Form 4684, line 35, column (b)(ii). Enter on this line and on Schedule A (Form 1040), line 22, the smaller of the loss on Form 4797, line 12; or the loss on Form 4684, line 35, column (b)(ii). To figure which loss is smaller, treat both losses as positive numbers.” We should junk the code and start over. Replace it with a simple, single-rate system that has generous exemptions for individuals. – Steve Forbes on IRS Tax Code 12/9/02 *Completely disrupt the Republicans by saying “yes” to a flat tax. Can you imagine? In one stroke this would tar the Republicans as lap dogs for special interests. The Dems have always said that about Republicans — but never to much effect. This time the charge would stick to the Republicans like poo-poo on Vibram. It would take a generation to wipe it off. A flat tax is fully within the Jeffe
rsonian principles of the Democratic Party. It is moral (a flat-rated tithe is referred to in the Bible’s Leviticus) and populist. Everybody would pay the same rate! No billionaire would get to play the system with pricey legal help. – Rich Karlgaard, Forbes 12/9/02 “Advice to Democrats” ”See Web site” http://www.grassrootinstitute.org ”for further information. Join its efforts at “Nurturing the rights and responsibilities of the individual in a civil society. …” or email or call Grassroot of Hawaii Institute President Richard O. Rowland at mailto:grassroot@hawaii.rr.com or (808) 487-4959.”

Grassroot Perspective – Jan. 16, 2003-Alternative Minimum Tax Will Cancel Bush Cuts for Many Families; Balance Sheet; Mackinac – Looks at Michigan’s Unemployment Situation

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Dick Rowland Image ‘Shoots (News, Views and Quotes)’ – Alternative Minimum Tax Will Cancel Bush Cuts for Many Families As President Bush’s tax cuts of 2001 phase in over the next few years, the tax relief many middle- and upper-income families were anticipating will be offset by the alternative minimum tax. That is the warning contained in a new study from the Urban Institute-Brookings Institution Tax Policy Center. The alternative minimum tax (AMT) was originally designed to assure that wealthier Americans with many deductions did not escape paying taxes of some sort, and as recently as three years ago fewer than one million Americans were subject to it. But if nothing is changed, by 2010 about 36 million taxpayers will face its complex provisions. *When the Bush cuts become fully effective, 85 percent of taxpayers with two or more children will be forced off the regular income tax and onto the AMT system. *It will largely affect families with incomes of $75,000 to $500,000. *Under AMT, many deductions are denied — including those for children, the taxpayers themselves, and for state and local taxes. *Married couples are 25 to 30 times more likely to be subjected to it than single people — which tax experts call “a nasty marriage penalty.” The study concludes that almost any remedy to the problem will cost the Treasury hundreds of billions of dollars or require raising taxes elsewhere to compensate for the losses. Although the White House is reportedly aware of the problem, no action is expected anytime soon. Source: David Cay Johnston, “Study Says Middle Class to Lose Much of Bush Tax Cut’s Benefits,” New York Times, Sept. 19, 2002; Leonard E. Burman, William G. Gale, Jeffrey Rohaly and Benjamin Harris, “The Individual AMT: Problems and Potential Solutions,” Sept. 18, 2002, Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center. More details see www.ncpa.org Daily Policy Digest 9/19/02 – Balance Sheet Clark County, Nevada, has decided not to outlaw lap dances at local strip clubs. Local officials started with a rule that dancers could get no closer than six feet to their fans. But they reversed their position after hearing that such sedate offerings would drive business to nearby lap-dance-friendly Las Vegas. GRIH Comment: Let’s see, how to apply competition in Hawaii: Why not allow outlying communities to incorporate and reduce counties to counties? Or, allow private enterprises to operate door to door transit service with same subsidy as government transportation receives? Wow! You could expect some real charge. ‘Roots (Food for Thought)’ Like the rest of the country, Michigan is working its way out of what turned out to be a relatively mild recession, with unemployment still rather high. For thousands of Michigan families, the recession won’t end until new jobs open up — and job creation usually doesn’t pick up until the very end of a recession. Fortunately there is something Congress can do to speed the process. The Federal Unemployment Tax Act (FUTA) requires employers to pay a tax of 0.8 percent on the first $7,000 earned by their employees. This tax does not fund unemployment insurance — the actual funds that go to the unemployed are collected through a separate state tax. Funds collected under FUTA are returned to the states to cover the costs of administering their unemployment insurance systems. At least that’s what’s supposed to happen. As it turns out, the federal government is keeping most of this FUTA revenue. Researcher William B. Connerly, Ph.D., of the American Institute for Full Employment in Klamath Falls, Ore., recently discovered that only 47 percent of FUTA taxes actually go to running state unemployment insurance programs. The rest stays in Washington, where it has the effect of making the budget surplus look larger than it actually is. Michigan fares better than most states on this deal, but of the $246.6 million Michigan employers pay in FUTA taxes annually, only $134.9 million — a little more than half-comes back to Michigan’s unemployment insurance system. The Bush administration has proposed a hefty funding cut for FUTA, from 0.8 percent down to 0.2 percent. In effect, this would leave the states to cover the costs of their own unemployment insurance systems, while the remaining FUTA funding would cover functions such as loaning money to states that exhaust their unemployment funds, or providing money for 13-week benefit extensions in states with high unemployment. The FUTA tax cut would save Michigan employers over $184 million annually. Even if the state government were to hike unemployment taxes to make up its administrative costs, employers would still come out ahead, to the tune of around $50 million annually (the $184 million saved minus the $134.9 million it costs to run Michigan’s system). What would be even better would be to eliminate FUTA altogether. The reason: Making the states come up with the funds to run their own unemployment insurance systems is likely to make those systems more efficient. A basic tenet of sound public policy is that nobody spends someone else’s money as carefully as he spends his own. And the Michigan Unemployment Agency (MUA) is a perfect example. In 2001, the MUA paid out more than $1.6 billion. If past years are any guide, more than 10 percent of the funds paid out were not properly payable under Michigan’s unemployment law. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, 10.35 percent of the monies paid out of the state’s unemployment insurance funds in 2000 were overpayments. Because states like Michigan administer their unemployment insurance with federal FUTA tax money, there is no pressure to use the money efficiently. Making the state Legislature responsible for funding the Michigan Unemployment Agency would mean that the agency and its budget would be under the control of elected officials from Michigan, rather than being monitored from afar by one-size-fits-all-minded bureaucrats in Washington. State lawmakers are more in touch with the unemployment situation in Michigan, and are more responsive to the needs of job seekers and employers. This would translate into closer scrutiny and more flexibility in how the fund is administered. As things now stand, Michigan’s unemployment insurance program is being run in a way that wastes taxpayer dollars. Being laundered through a large federal bureaucracy weakens accountability and provides little incentive for efficiency or innovation in the handling of state unemployment insurance funds. While it is a relatively small item in Michigan’s budget, the FUTA tax is aimed at the heart of Michigan employment. It is levied directly on employers and goes up every time new workers are hired. Now is a perfect time for Congress to cut the cost of hiring new workers. Lowering or abolishing the FUTA tax would be a good way to start. (Paul Kersey is labor research associate with the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is hereby granted, provided the author and his affiliation are cited.) Above article see http://www.mackinac.org ‘Evergreen (Today’s Quotes)’ *More enforcement? Nobody knows what’s in the code. Who can make heads or tails of this: “Line 20b(1). – You must complete this line if there is a gain on Form 4797, line 3; a loss on Form 4797, line 12; a loss on Form 4684, line 35, column (b)(ii). Enter on this line and on Schedule A (Form 1040), line 22, the smaller of the loss on Form 4797, line 12; or the loss on Form 4684, line 35, column (b)(ii). To figure which loss is smaller, treat both losses as positive numbers.” We should junk the code and start over. Replace it with a simple, single-rate system that has generous exemptions for individuals. – Steve Forbes on IRS Tax Code 12/9/02 *Completely disrupt the Republicans by saying “yes” to a flat tax. Can you imagine? In one stroke this would tar the Republicans as lap dogs for special interests. The Dems have always said that about Republicans — but never to much effect. This time the charge would stick to the Republicans like poo-poo on Vibram. It would take a generation to wipe it off. A flat tax is fully within the Jeffersonian principles of the Democratic Party. It is moral (a flat-rated tithe is referred to in the Bible’s Leviticus) and populist. Everybody would pay the same rate! No billionaire would get to play the system with pricey legal help. – Rich Karlgaard, Forbes 12/9/02 “Advice to Democrats” ”See Web site” http://www.grassrootinstitute.org ”for further information. Join its efforts at “Nurturing the rights and responsibilities of the individual in a civil society. …” or email or call Grassroot of Hawaii Institute President Richard O. Rowland at mailto:grassroot@hawaii.rr.com or (808) 487-4959.”

Politically Wrong-The Neglected Truth Behind Taiwan?s Political Index Ranking

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Recently, a Globalization Index released by A.T. Kearney/Foreign Policy Magazine ranked 62 countries in the areas of economics, personal contact, technology and political integration. In each of the first three categories, Taiwan ranked consistently well — 29th for economics, 30th for personal contact, and 17th for technology. However, for the category regarding political integration, the Globalization Index ranked Taiwan an unfair 62nd, resulting in an overall ranking of 34th. The truth behind the political integration ranking needs to be unveiled. Situated at the Asia-Pacific crossroads with limited land and natural resources, Taiwan has been recognized for its successful economic development, democratization and globalization. It has also received well-known appellations throughout the world, such as being one of the four “Asian Dragons” and the “Taiwan Experience.” Through the hard work of its 23 million proud and diligent people, Taiwan is now an outstanding example of economy and democracy: it has the 16th largest economy and is the 14th largest trading nation in the world. Brown University ranks Taiwan’s e-government as the best in the world and the World Economic Forum ranks Taiwan 3rd in global competitiveness. In terms of democracy, Condoleeza Rice, the U.S. National Security Advisor, praised Taiwan during a lecture at the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research in New York last October as one of many countries that “show that freedom manifests itself differently around the globe and that liberties can find an honored place amidst ancient traditions.” These examples attest to the fact that when given the chance, Taiwan has the ability to develop its economic, technological and democratic potential despite the many obstacles it faces. Nevertheless, the international political environment, especially the political pressures from China, continues to suffocate Taiwan. According to the magazine, the political variables of the Globalization Index are determined by a country’s membership in international organizations, participation in U.N. Security Council missions and diplomatic relations with other countries. However, due to China’s ruthless and merciless political blockade, Taiwan remains the only country in the world excluded from the United Nations and its specialized agencies. Therefore, Taiwan cannot develop formal diplomatic ties with other countries, let alone participate in U.N. Security Council missions. Moreover, Taiwan does not have the equal political opportunities afforded the other 61 countries in the Globalization Index, and such unfair criteria explain why Taiwan ranks last in the Globalization Index’s political integration category. The exceptional situation of Taiwan’s exclusion from the U.N. and other international organizations is not only contrary to the universality principle of the U.N., but also creates a critical gap in the global network that is crucial for the fight against terrorism and against AIDS, two issues that are so important today. Despite these political challenges, however, Taiwan still shows its eagerness and willingness to participate in the international community. For example, after years of hard work, Taiwan is now a member of World Trade Organization and is ready to further connect itself to the global trading system. Also, following the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, Taiwan provided $20 million (U.S.) in financial and humanitarian assistance to the victims and their families. Taiwan has also pledged its support to the United Stated in its fight to combat international terrorism by announcing Taiwan’s cooperation, under Resolution 1373 of the U.N. Security Council, to combat terrorism. What’s more, in the event that military action against terrorism becomes necessary, Taiwan has pledged that it will afford the U.S. and its allies clear passage through Taiwan airspace. Taiwan also has joined the global fight against AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria by donating $1 million to the United Nations Foundation last December. These are only a few examples of Taiwan’s unrelenting efforts to carry out its full duties as a member of this global village. That is also why U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell acknowledges Taiwan as a “success story,” noting that Taiwan has a resilient economy, a vibrant democracy and is a generous contributor to the international community. The Globalization Index figures for Taiwan released by A.T. Kearney/Foreign Policy Magazine provide important statistical information for governments and academicians around the world to recognize Taiwan’s success in the globalization of its economy, personal contact and technology. Moreover, it is also high time for all members of this global village to realize the fact that Taiwan has continued to be treated unfairly in the international political arena, made especially evident by its isolation from the U.N. and other international organizations. In a world of accelerating interdependence, no country should be left out. Taiwan needs the World, and the World needs Taiwan. ”Raymond Wang, Consul General, Taipei Economic and Cultural Office, can be reached by phone at 808-595-6374, by Fax at 808-595-6542 or by mail at 2746 Pali Highway, Honolulu, HI 96816.”

Excessive Baggage?

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Haoli Makahiki Hou. It’s never too late for that. Let’s all hope that 2003 will be a happy and prosperous one.

With amazement I have followed the recent articles about our #1 revenue producer, tourism. To me it appears that the “Old Boy’s Club Left Over” is suddenly working its brains off but is coming up empty and therefore is panicking.

The Hawaii Visitor and Convention Bureau is sounding off old bytes on Lilo & Stitch, claiming “happily” that the first year for $1.7 million was a success. Does that mean more children have visited Hawaii? Have they brought with them their parents? At the same time the Hawaii Tourism Authority is complaining that the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism is not providing sufficient data to implement effective marketing strategies. And HTA’s Frank Haas is sounding off that new marketing strategies will focus on higher spending markets. Then HTA’s chief thinker, Rex Johnson, sounds off and is complaining that the HVCB is not spending its provided $33 million wisely. Huh?

Although there is not sufficient data, which in fact is missing because of missing results from the HTA, the L&S claim is made by the HTA but HTA is failing to specify its findings. Johnson’s sidekick Haas suddenly is focusing on additional markets after having failed for 10 months to implement necessary strategies on Europe and other markets that had been neglected for years. It appears the HTA and HVCB is meandering with the flow of markets that would have visited Hawaii anyway.

Finally DBEDT will receive its long overdue facelift and will become what we expect of it. “King” Seji Naya writing children’s books about Business & Tourism is now in the past. I applaud Gov. Linda Lingle on her choice for new DBEDT director, Ted Liu. It will not be an easy task so please let’s all be patient. The new administration has to overcome 40 years of mostly mismanagement. And after 40 years we finally have a governor who understands business and aloha. Let’s all roll up our sleeves and provide as much assistance as possible to make us all successful again, as a team effort.

I am still waiting to see what marketing strategies the HTA wants to implement to accomplish its goals. The HTA budget stands but it only states what is needed, not how to make things happen. So my suggestion is to close HTA. With the new DBEDT and a cabinet level position of Director for Tourism, we will be a lot more cost effective. No more Lilo & “Stitches.”

The money set free can support other programs.

We have offered our expertise, advise and twice our ideas were taken by the HTA but wasted. No one within the HTA appears to have proper professional qualifications to justify their positions. It is time to focus on markets that have been largely neglected because no one understands their specific mentalities or their languages.

At the same time the HVCB should be carefully scrutinized to value its effectiveness. A bidding process should begin to find a qualified agency that can best market our beautiful state. No more it is whom you know and not what you know.

”’Dieter Thate is owner of Dieter’s Tours and Kimapa Hawaii since 1993. He can be reached by e-mail at:”’ mailto:mail@kimapa.com ”’Visit his Web site at:”’ http://www.kimapa.com

Excessive Baggage?

0

Haoli Makahiki Hou. It’s never too late for that. Let’s all hope that 2003 will be a happy and prosperous one. With amazement I have followed the recent articles about our #1 revenue producer, tourism. To me it appears that the “Old Boy’s Club Left Over” is suddenly working its brains off but is coming up empty and therefore is panicking. The Hawaii Visitor and Convention Bureau is sounding off old bytes on Lilo & Stitch, claiming “happily” that the first year for $1.7 million was a success. Does that mean more children have visited Hawaii? Have they brought with them their parents? At the same time the Hawaii Tourism Authority is complaining that the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism is not providing sufficient data to implement effective marketing strategies. And HTA’s Frank Haas is sounding off that new marketing strategies will focus on higher spending markets. Then HTA’s chief thinker, Rex Johnson, sounds off and is complaining that the HVCB is not spending its provided $33 million wisely. Huh? Although there is not sufficient data, which in fact is missing because of missing results from the HTA, the L&S claim is made by the HTA but HTA is failing to specify its findings. Johnson’s sidekick Haas suddenly is focusing on additional markets after having failed for 10 months to implement necessary strategies on Europe and other markets that had been neglected for years. It appears the HTA and HVCB is meandering with the flow of markets that would have visited Hawaii anyway. Finally DBEDT will receive its long overdue facelift and will become what we expect of it. “King” Seji Naya writing children’s books about Business & Tourism is now in the past. I applaud Gov. Linda Lingle on her choice for new DBEDT director, Ted Liu. It will not be an easy task so please let’s all be patient. The new administration has to overcome 40 years of mostly mismanagement. And after 40 years we finally have a governor who understands business and aloha. Let’s all roll up our sleeves and provide as much assistance as possible to make us all successful again, as a team effort. I am still waiting to see what marketing strategies the HTA wants to implement to accomplish its goals. The HTA budget stands but it only states what is needed, not how to make things happen. So my suggestion is to close HTA. With the new DBEDT and a cabinet level position of Director for Tourism, we will be a lot more cost effective. No more Lilo & “Stitches.” The money set free can support other programs. We have offered our expertise, advise and twice our ideas were taken by the HTA but wasted. No one within the HTA appears to have proper professional qualifications to justify their positions. It is time to focus on markets that have been largely neglected because no one understands their specific mentalities or their languages. At the same time the HVCB should be carefully scrutinized to value its effectiveness. A bidding process should begin to find a qualified agency that can best market our beautiful state. No more it is whom you know and not what you know. ”Dieter Thate is owner of Dieter’s Tours and Kimapa Hawaii since 1993. He can be reached by e-mail at:” mailto:mail@kimapa.com ”Visit his Web site at:” http://www.kimapa.com

From Finding Your Own Way to Sneaking a Peek

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“Suzanne Gelb Image”

”Rudeness in Front of the Children — What Can I Do?”

Q: Dear Dr. Gelb:

I am feeling quite angry right now. Last night our family was to go to a dinner party after church. Because of a busy afternoon we had 2 cars and I, with one daughter, was to follow my husband, driving with 2nd daughter, to the dinner because he knew where to go and I did not. In the space of maybe 4 miles he managed to zip through a yellow light, leaving me at the red light and then turn Right at a red light even though the sign said “No Right Turn on Red,” again leaving me behind. The first time he pulled over and waited for me, the second time I had to call his cell phone to find out where he was.

This type of behavior is typical and I am working at accepting the limitations of this relationship. Sometimes, however, the rudeness, especially in front of our children, makes me quite angry. I don’t think there is anything I can do … is there?

Stranded

A: Dr. Gelb says:

Dear Stranded:

It is always interesting to me when people expect someone to change their behavior, even though experience tells them that this is unlikely to occur. This is not unlike the situation you describe. One explanation for this could be that when someone is aware of the limitations of another’s behavior (in your case it sounds like it was almost predictable that your husband would behave irresponsibly and not wait for you) and the person with the awareness does not change their attitude toward this behavior (i.e., anticipate it and work around it), what tends to occur is an unpleasant experience (such as the one you describe) that tends to feed a martyr image. This is a subtle concept. Specifically, this behavior offers one an opportunity to continue to see the other person in a negative light and then to martyr (suffer) over it. Why martyr? For some, this offers a sense of solace when they get sympathy from others for how bad things are, or even just feeling sorry for oneself tends to offer some people a temporary sense of consolation.

Those who have freed themselves of this type of “poor me” approach have considered a positive resolve — not for the other person necessarily, but for themselves. If I were in your situation I believe I would opt for not in the future agreeing to follow the irresponsible individual in a car. I would buy myself an inexpensive map, know where I am going, and let go of this false dependency that I have on the irresponsible person.

”Inappropriately Curious — How Can I Fix This?”

Q: Dear Dr. Gelb:

I’m a 41-year-old male and I am happily married. My wife and I have a good sex life. We don’t quarrel, we don’t fight, and I couldn’t be happier with my family. However I feel so ashamed because when I’m in a public place or restaurant and my eyes catch female legs under a table, and I must be honest that when they spread their legs, especially with a dress on, and I hope it is ok to write the next part, but I need to say that I get curious and gaze at their crotch. I’m afraid I’ll get caught sneaking a peek.

Dear Sneaking A Peek:

I suspect that you are probably not the only person who experiences what you describe. For many people this type of behavior is simply a natural curiosity. For others it can be a morbid curiosity (e.g., a type of curiosity that was not fulfilled during the early years), depending on the conditioning they experienced during childhood about sexuality. Where guilt and shame are experienced, the curiosity is more likely to be of the morbid type. Here, a few sessions with a competent sex therapist could possibly free one of these inhibitors.

”’Suzanne J. Gelb, Ph.D., J.D. authors this daily column, Dr. Gelb Says, which answers questions about daily living and behavior issues. Dr. Gelb is a licensed psychologist in private practice in Honolulu. She holds a Ph.D. in Psychology and a Ph.D. in Human Services. Dr. Gelb is also a published author of a book on Overcoming Addictions and a book on Relationships.”’

”’This column is intended for entertainment use only and is not intended for the purpose of psychological diagnosis, treatment or personalized advice. For more about the column’s purpose, see”’ “An Online Intro to Dr. Gelb Says”

”’Email your questions to mailto:DrGelbSays@hawaiireporter.com More information on Dr. Gelb’s services and related resources available at”’ http://www.DrGelbSays.com

From Finding Your Own Way to Sneaking a Peek

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Suzanne Gelb Image ‘Rudeness in Front of the Children — What Can I Do?’ Q: Dear Dr. Gelb: I am feeling quite angry right now. Last night our family was to go to a dinner party after church. Because of a busy afternoon we had 2 cars and I, with one daughter, was to follow my husband, driving with 2nd daughter, to the dinner because he knew where to go and I did not. In the space of maybe 4 miles he managed to zip through a yellow light, leaving me at the red light and then turn Right at a red light even though the sign said “No Right Turn on Red,” again leaving me behind. The first time he pulled over and waited for me, the second time I had to call his cell phone to find out where he was. This type of behavior is typical and I am working at accepting the limitations of this relationship. Sometimes, however, the rudeness, especially in front of our children, makes me quite angry. I don’t think there is anything I can do … is there? Stranded A: Dr. Gelb says: Dear Stranded: It is always interesting to me when people expect someone to change their behavior, even though experience tells them that this is unlikely to occur. This is not unlike the situation you describe. One explanation for this could be that when someone is aware of the limitations of another’s behavior (in your case it sounds like it was almost predictable that your husband would behave irresponsibly and not wait for you) and the person with the awareness does not change their attitude toward this behavior (i.e., anticipate it and work around it), what tends to occur is an unpleasant experience (such as the one you describe) that tends to feed a martyr image. This is a subtle concept. Specifically, this behavior offers one an opportunity to continue to see the other person in a negative light and then to martyr (suffer) over it. Why martyr? For some, this offers a sense of solace when they get sympathy from others for how bad things are, or even just feeling sorry for oneself tends to offer some people a temporary sense of consolation. Those who have freed themselves of this type of “poor me” approach have considered a positive resolve — not for the other person necessarily, but for themselves. If I were in your situation I believe I would opt for not in the future agreeing to follow the irresponsible individual in a car. I would buy myself an inexpensive map, know where I am going, and let go of this false dependency that I have on the irresponsible person. ‘Inappropriately Curious — How Can I Fix This?’ Q: Dear Dr. Gelb: I’m a 41-year-old male and I am happily married. My wife and I have a good sex life. We don’t quarrel, we don’t fight, and I couldn’t be happier with my family. However I feel so ashamed because when I’m in a public place or restaurant and my eyes catch female legs under a table, and I must be honest that when they spread their legs, especially with a dress on, and I hope it is ok to write the next part, but I need to say that I get curious and gaze at their crotch. I’m afraid I’ll get caught sneaking a peek. Dear Sneaking A Peek: I suspect that you are probably not the only person who experiences what you describe. For many people this type of behavior is simply a natural curiosity. For others it can be a morbid curiosity (e.g., a type of curiosity that was not fulfilled during the early years), depending on the conditioning they experienced during childhood about sexuality. Where guilt and shame are experienced, the curiosity is more likely to be of the morbid type. Here, a few sessions with a competent sex therapist could possibly free one of these inhibitors. ”Suzanne J. Gelb, Ph.D., J.D. authors this daily column, Dr. Gelb Says, which answers questions about daily living and behavior issues. Dr. Gelb is a licensed psychologist in private practice in Honolulu. She holds a Ph.D. in Psychology and a Ph.D. in Human Services. Dr. Gelb is also a published author of a book on Overcoming Addictions and a book on Relationships.” ”This column is intended for entertainment use only and is not intended for the purpose of psychological diagnosis, treatment or personalized advice. For more about the column’s purpose, see” “An Online Intro to Dr. Gelb Says” ”Email your questions to mailto:DrGelbSays@hawaiireporter.com More information on Dr. Gelb’s services and related resources available at” http://www.DrGelbSays.com

Political Tittle-tattle: News and Entertainment from Hawaii's Political Arena

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“Malia headshot Image”

”Opening Day Brings Colorful Characters, Food, Festivities, Empty Promises of Bi-Partisanship”

Opening Day at the state Legislature is one of the most fun and least significant days of the 60-day session, which wraps up in early May. There are opening day speeches by the majority and minority leaders from the Democrat and Republican caucuses respectively, typically filled with empty rhetoric and promises of bi-partisanship.

The saving grace is the occasional interesting proposals that pop out during these speeches, although that is rare.

Also making the whole event more interesting are the strange and unusual characters who annually make an appearance, such as the “Emperor of China,” the “King of Hawaii,” the “Condom Lady,” and the “Beehive Lady,” just to name a few. And then there is the “real” governor of Hawaii, who shows in overalls and suspenders and his two children and makes the rounds for his once-a-year filling of his larder in all of the different office offering food. It is a banner day for florists, with hundreds of flower arrangements flowing into the capitol, although there are fewer flowers this year than most.

Following the formalities, there is entertainment in the Senate and House chambers. And then hordes of lobbyists, union workers, small business people, media and hungry visitors go from office to office, tasting the fancy spreads, meeting with legislators and riding the extremely slow elevators to the fifth floor of the capitol to the governor and lieutenant governor’s offices.

There also will be many a meeting and alliance formed by people hanging over the railings of the four upper floors of the square-shaped building that is hollow in the middle, allowing the four sides to face each other and those who hang there to keep tabs on one another.

While today most people act kindly toward one another, that ends pretty quickly once the food is put away. Tomorrow marks the day the real work begins, particularly for those who are fighting for true reform in the business climate, many who have been fighting for this reform for the last 40 years. Tomorrow also marks the day where the term “bi-partisanship” will become meaningless, and the Democrats and Republicans will return to their caucuses and the majority party, still in control of the legislative branch, will figure ways to ignore and kill off Republican bills.

”Good Cop, Bad Cop Strategy Used on Lingle”

The Democrat majority in the House and Senate already are taking a page from the police department’s playbook in handling the first Republican governor in 40 years. The strategy: good cop, bad cop.

Senate Democrats are being extremely kind to Gov. Linda Lingle, saying little negative about her proposals or about the budget proposal her new budget director unveiled yesterday before the Senate Ways and Means Committee.

However, the House Democrats are on the attack. The House leadership already has attempted to stop Lingle on several fronts, even the simple proposals she wants to implement, such as changing the time of her State of the State address to 6 p.m. instead of 10 a.m. so more people can attend after work. Other proposals she’s made have been given the cold shoulder by some in the House majority party and they have attacked her on the news.

Maybe the Democrats in the Senate are just nicer than the House leadership, or maybe it is part of the strategy of ensuring Lingle doesn’t get her proposals through or get re-elected. Their actions will speak louder than words this session.

The media isn’t helping Lingle either. Already KITV News promoted a story last night on the governor “backing off” on her campaign promises, specifically her tax reduction proposals. Being at the same press conference as KITV and other reporters, and sitting through the entire presentation by Georgina Kawamura on the budget, never did the governor “back off” on her proposals. In fact, she refused to talk about her proposal in too much detail until her State of the State address next week Tuesday.

During the presentation of the operating budget, Senate Ways and Means members questioned Kawamura on the effect of the governor’s plans touted in her gubernatorial campaign to eliminate taxes on food and medical services beginning in 2005. Senate Ways and Means Chair Brian Taniguchi says Democrats estimate that the reduction will result in between $160 million and $240 million “tax revenue loss” for the state, while Kawamura has the figure closer to $30 million beginning in 2005. She would not give specifics, so Senators were not sure if the $30 million was attributed to food or medical or both, saying they will have to wait for details.

Senate Republicans look at any tax exemption for food and medical, not as a “loss,” but as more discretionary income in the hands of the Hawaii families who earned the money in the first place.

The state’s annual operating budget is around $3.5 billion, while special funds total around $3.5 billion. This will be the focus of the Legislature, although the media and others will attempt to shift the attention from how much the government is actually extracting from island families by regurgitating issues that come up every year such as physician assisted suicide and gambling.

”Lingle Appoints New Two New Cabinet Members”

Gov. Linda Lingle has nearly completed selecting her 16 cabinet members, though Democrats in the Legislature say they are surprised it took her so long. Lingle says she didn’t want to “settle” for appointees who might not have been the right person for the job. She also waded through hundreds upon hundreds of resumes, trying to select appointees who aren’t the usual suspects that have circulated from government appointment to government appointment for the last 40 years under a Democrat-controlled administration and Legislature.

The new appointees are Peter Young, businessman currently a deputy director in the Big Island county, who will serve as the director of the Department of Land and Natural Resources. Young will take over an agency famously hostile to small businesses, specifically those businesses in the boating industry. In fact, the Department of Land and Natural Resources has contributed to many a small businesses going out of business –

Political Tittle-tattle: News and Entertainment from Hawaii’s Political Arena

0

“Malia headshot Image”

”Opening Day Brings Colorful Characters, Food, Festivities, Empty Promises of Bi-Partisanship”

Opening Day at the state Legislature is one of the most fun and least significant days of the 60-day session, which wraps up in early May. There are opening day speeches by the majority and minority leaders from the Democrat and Republican caucuses respectively, typically filled with empty rhetoric and promises of bi-partisanship.

The saving grace is the occasional interesting proposals that pop out during these speeches, although that is rare.

Also making the whole event more interesting are the strange and unusual characters who annually make an appearance, such as the “Emperor of China,” the “King of Hawaii,” the “Condom Lady,” and the “Beehive Lady,” just to name a few. And then there is the “real” governor of Hawaii, who shows in overalls and suspenders and his two children and makes the rounds for his once-a-year filling of his larder in all of the different office offering food. It is a banner day for florists, with hundreds of flower arrangements flowing into the capitol, although there are fewer flowers this year than most.

Following the formalities, there is entertainment in the Senate and House chambers. And then hordes of lobbyists, union workers, small business people, media and hungry visitors go from office to office, tasting the fancy spreads, meeting with legislators and riding the extremely slow elevators to the fifth floor of the capitol to the governor and lieutenant governor’s offices.

There also will be many a meeting and alliance formed by people hanging over the railings of the four upper floors of the square-shaped building that is hollow in the middle, allowing the four sides to face each other and those who hang there to keep tabs on one another.

While today most people act kindly toward one another, that ends pretty quickly once the food is put away. Tomorrow marks the day the real work begins, particularly for those who are fighting for true reform in the business climate, many who have been fighting for this reform for the last 40 years. Tomorrow also marks the day where the term “bi-partisanship” will become meaningless, and the Democrats and Republicans will return to their caucuses and the majority party, still in control of the legislative branch, will figure ways to ignore and kill off Republican bills.

”Good Cop, Bad Cop Strategy Used on Lingle”

The Democrat majority in the House and Senate already are taking a page from the police department’s playbook in handling the first Republican governor in 40 years. The strategy: good cop, bad cop.

Senate Democrats are being extremely kind to Gov. Linda Lingle, saying little negative about her proposals or about the budget proposal her new budget director unveiled yesterday before the Senate Ways and Means Committee.

However, the House Democrats are on the attack. The House leadership already has attempted to stop Lingle on several fronts, even the simple proposals she wants to implement, such as changing the time of her State of the State address to 6 p.m. instead of 10 a.m. so more people can attend after work. Other proposals she’s made have been given the cold shoulder by some in the House majority party and they have attacked her on the news.

Maybe the Democrats in the Senate are just nicer than the House leadership, or maybe it is part of the strategy of ensuring Lingle doesn’t get her proposals through or get re-elected. Their actions will speak louder than words this session.

The media isn’t helping Lingle either. Already KITV News promoted a story last night on the governor “backing off” on her campaign promises, specifically her tax reduction proposals. Being at the same press conference as KITV and other reporters, and sitting through the entire presentation by Georgina Kawamura on the budget, never did the governor “back off” on her proposals. In fact, she refused to talk about her proposal in too much detail until her State of the State address next week Tuesday.

During the presentation of the operating budget, Senate Ways and Means members questioned Kawamura on the effect of the governor’s plans touted in her gubernatorial campaign to eliminate taxes on food and medical services beginning in 2005. Senate Ways and Means Chair Brian Taniguchi says Democrats estimate that the reduction will result in between $160 million and $240 million “tax revenue loss” for the state, while Kawamura has the figure closer to $30 million beginning in 2005. She would not give specifics, so Senators were not sure if the $30 million was attributed to food or medical or both, saying they will have to wait for details.

Senate Republicans look at any tax exemption for food and medical, not as a “loss,” but as more discretionary income in the hands of the Hawaii families who earned the money in the first place.

The state’s annual operating budget is around $3.5 billion, while special funds total around $3.5 billion. This will be the focus of the Legislature, although the media and others will attempt to shift the attention from how much the government is actually extracting from island families by regurgitating issues that come up every year such as physician assisted suicide and gambling.

”Lingle Appoints New Two New Cabinet Members”

Gov. Linda Lingle has nearly completed selecting her 16 cabinet members, though Democrats in the Legislature say they are surprised it took her so long. Lingle says she didn’t want to “settle” for appointees who might not have been the right person for the job. She also waded through hundreds upon hundreds of resumes, trying to select appointees who aren’t the usual suspects that have circulated from government appointment to government appointment for the last 40 years under a Democrat-controlled administration and Legislature.

The new appointees are Peter Young, businessman currently a deputy director in the Big Island county, who will serve as the director of the Department of Land and Natural Resources. Young will take over an agency famously hostile to small businesses, specifically those businesses in the boating industry. In fact, the Department of Land and Natural Resources has contributed to many a small businesses going out of business –

Don't Paralyze Charter Schools, Get Out of the Way, Study Says

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“Laura Brown Image”

It is “a decrepit mess almost totally impervious to reform, paralyzed by bureaucratic and political gridlock,” reports WestEd, a federally funded education laboratory that recently issued a study on the Los Angeles public education system.

While the study is not on Hawaii and doesn’t even mention our state, it describes problems in Hawaii’s local education system perfectly:

“The governance system is characterized by a set of structures and a culture that are [both] highly resistant to change, leadership constraints that impede the progress of the superintendent, a school board operating in a politically charged environment, limited school autonomy, and unclear accountability at all levels. It is no wonder that the results of past education reforms have been limited.” To be fair, the report adds that resistance to change may also be the result of “reform fatigue” — administrative burnout from an endless barrage of political education reform initiatives since the early 1980s.

Los Angeles Unified School District’s request for recommendations on optimal governance and structure resulted in one clear recommendation that Hawaii can learn from: encourage the growth of charter schools. Free from onerous rules and regulations, charter schools offer hope for accountability and student performance, the report says.

The Los Angeles Alliance for Student Achievement agreed to act as an incubator for its district’s charter schools, outlining learning goals and accountability, ensuring professional development to access best practices and making accessible data system and timely, meaningful reports on school performance.

The Alliance also worked on community outreach, as an advocate for students, as a policy development group that provided continual research and evaluation.

Meanwhile, the district must act to limit interference with charter school policy, remove budgetary red tape, provide access to services and monitor school progress, the study says.

Specifically, budgets must be decentralized and autonomy increased by allowing dollars to follow individual students. The district’s role would shift to that of service provider for schools.

Finally, the superintendent and school board must provide leadership. These are good lessons for Hawaii lawmakers, bureaucrats and educators and show it is easier to make way for charter schools’ success by getting out of the way, rather than paralyzing what has already been proven to work with the right funding and attitude.

”’For the full report, go to:”’ http://www.wested.org/cs/wew/view/rs/685

”’Laura Brown is the education writer and researcher for HawaiiReporter.com. She can be reached via email at”’ mailto:LauraBrown@Hawaii.rr.com