Sunday, March 26, 2023
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    Hawaii needs to avoid massive unemployment tax increase

    By Keli’i Akina

    For Hawaii employers, it’s deja vu all over again.

    Just like they were a year ago at this time, the businesses that provide jobs to the state’s civilian workforce are in danger of having their annual unemployment taxes skyrocket, which, in turn, could cripple Hawaii’s economy just when it is starting to get back on its feet.

    Last year, the tax was supposed to more than triple, until the Legislature finally stepped in to ease the pain. This year it could increase by more than double, from an average of $825 per employee to $1,768.

    The tax is legally required to increase because of all the demands on the unemployment system caused by the coronavirus lockdowns, which at one point saw more than 200,000 Hawaii employees out of work.

    Many of those employees are still out of work, still drawing unemployment wages and still depleting the state’s unemployment fund reserve, as the state’s emergency restrictions on businesses approach possibly their third year.

    When the reserve drops, Hawaii employers are expected to make up the difference.

    Last year, the Legislature passed a law that froze the unemployment tax rate for employers at the Schedule D rate — a slight increase from the pre-lockdowns rate, but far less than the catastrophic Schedule H hike that would have otherwise automatically gone into effect.

    Unfortunately, the bill was little more than a stop-gap, addressing only 2021 and 2022. Now, as 2023 approaches, Hawaii businesses are once again in a pickle.

    Since the lockdowns began, the state has paid out $6.5 billion in jobless claims, leaving the unemployment fund with only $123 million.

    In order to keep the fund up last year, the state funneled $800 million from the federal government into it, then cleared that debt with an equivalent amount of federal relief funds. Still, the fund is still far from the $1.3 billion reserve that is deemed adequate for a year’s unemployment claims.

    Thus, if the Legislature doesn’t intervene again, the state unemployment tax will soar up to Schedule H — the highest rate — for 2023. That’s an increase of 114%, more than enough to affect hiring decisions or prevent struggling businesses from surviving the lockdowns.

    Hawaii was one of the states hit hardest by the coronavirus lockdowns, especially given their effect on tourism. Yet, we’ve seen some positive trends, with the economy growing faster than some predicted, leading to higher state revenues. In fact, the state budget currently has a $3 billion surplus, at least a portion of which could be used to shore up the unemployment fund.

    In a recovering economy, the last thing you want to do is introduce a massive tax hike. Instead, you want to embrace policies that grow the economy. That’s because the state can gain far more in revenues from an economic bump than from trying to wring more tax dollars out of already-strapped Hawaii businesses.

    The Aloha State’s private sector has had to overcome so much in the past two years. Many businesses have had to close their doors forever. Others are barely holding on, hoping that the worst is behind us.

    There are many ways that the Legislature can address this problem. One could be to introduce another rate freeze, to give officials time to reexamine the law and its automatic tax increases.

    What we should not do is levy yet another heavy burden on Hawaii’s businesses and disrupt our state’s economic recovery.

    Keli’i Akina is president and CEO of the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii.

    Grief as deep as you Love

    Grief is a complex human emotion. It can produce love, anger, confusion, depression, anxiety, regret—well you get what I am saying.

    Humans seem never prepared and not in the least taught how to cope and resolve grief. Like anger, another confusing human emotion, there are few common sense coping strategies or tactics to deal with the cascade of emotion.

    Grief is as ignored as peace-making—we devalue and sabotage peace-making in our lives.

    Grief, Anger, Jealousy act on humans like a water/mudslide. It seems we can only guess at the onset, where it will go, or how to cope with the sheer force of these emotions. Mostly, we lash out and hurt others in our expression of a fundamental human emotion.

    If I take the meta-view, to look at my life as an observer would, at the thousands of cascading emotional episodes, contemplating the trauma creating the triggers, in the light of the deaths of so many friends, it is clear, what we take for real is not permanent.

    From the perspective of our own death, and the wisdom of our meta-view, our existence is unreal, just as our solid material world is not real, at least in the light of timelessness and eternity.

    Rainbow bridge over Hawaii

    A wonderful poet, Hafiz once spake so, “To take for real that which is ephemeral, is like the ravings of a madman.”

    Yet as I watch those I’ve walked beside, friends, colleagues, citizens, frenemies, who have been around me, pass across the rainbow bridge, I see it as a promise and a warning to be in alignment with your highest purpose, or be in fear and regret.

    Choices are our greatest power

    The warning: Those who seek to “rule” their worlds are distracting you from creating your world through your choices, narrowing your sense-of-power to better manipulate you by their words and decisions.

    The promise: When what you think, say and do are in alignment, there you will find happiness. Happiness and a collaborative co-creative world that benefits the many not the few is a choice. Choose carefully, think focused, visualize the thought forms of what you prefer, and then act to choose it in the material world.

    Align>Ask>Accept>Act>Receive is the promise

    It’s not the journey that crowns you but the end.

    As day turns to night, like flowers, we are here, then gone, so are also our lives in the broad span of time. We are soon forgotten, even if we are famous.

    So, make the most of your one wild and crazy life.

    Robert Kinslow is a coach, consultant, change agent and sustainability expert. Connect with him here or LinkedIn

    SureFire Powerpak

    Mobile video light review

    When it comes to a video light, I used to lug heavy camera gear around to capture the funny, meaningful or downright awesome moments that can spontaneously arise during the days of our lives. Since the cellphone revolution, my camera has become my choice mostly for it’s light weight, flexibility of use and features, and reasonably fast time of operation.

    Let’s say an important moment is emerging, I reach for my cell and in a second or two am ready for the moment to present. Or, perhaps a moment is in full swing, in a few seconds, I’m recording without having lost much of the meaningful moments.

    A serious impediment to night-time photography, recording those “dark moments,” is the cellphone camera itself. Cell cameras are notorious for their poor low-light performance, making low light spontaneity unable to be visually recorded. Also, cell flashlights have limited range and focus. External video lights can be cumbersome and lack flexibility. So, if I’m holding a light and trying to focus/exposure, AND point-n-shoot, frame the image, I’m not going to get optimum results.

    SureFire video light and mobile case
    The video light mounted on a iph6

    FirePak video light

    Along comes the FirePak video light, charger and flashlight. SureFire’s design strategy is simple enough, integrate a phone case with rechargeable storage and 2 high-performance mobile LED lights with enough lumens designed for video for 16:9 video frames in a form factor compatible with multiple sizes of phone cameras. USB and micro-USB ports allow charging your cell phone from the charger, or an included cable can be used to recharge the FirePak video light. SureFire says it has an effective range of up to 50 feet and while the light does travel that far, usable lumens land in the mid-range.

    When I picked up the FirePak for the first time, I was struck by the wedge shape that fit comfortably in my hand. At first, the squished wedge shape looks cumbersome. Pick it up and it feels completely different. If you can imagine a drip coffee cone with the tip cut off and both sides squished flatter into an oval shape, you can imagine the shape of this flashlight. The FirePak slides smoothly under the molded rails of the phone case snapping securely onto a stop that positions the LED lights in two positions with respect to the iPhone camera.

    SureFire video light and mounting case
    Features of the video light and mobile case

    The durable case is built for rugged use (not moisture or water) with a 4-level light switch and distinct illumination levels. Design-wise the features are functional while dramatically expanding your performance—as a video light or a back-up battery.

    LED lights create enough lumens for 16:9 video frames

    When I switched it on, the double LED “eyes”  emitted two blinding rays of light, even at the lowest setting. I wondered when I might use that much light? However, once you turn it on at night, you discover the benefit of blinding light.

    At the highest setting the bulbs create significant heat, so don’t be surprised when you touch it. As an illumination device, there is enough light to do fine work, like reading or repairing, too. A distinct setting for faces for interviews would be a good user feature, just in case you are listening, SureFire?

    It’s kinda tough to steady the cell when the light is installed on the case because of the extra weight and thickness requires your normal hand position to block the LEDs. Your hand size and strength will discover what position is best for you. I had to adjust as shown in the pictures below. It’s quite difficult to switch on/off the light without shaking the image. Shooting vertically is difficult for the same reasons, so you’ll have to learn how to control the frame with two hands.

    SureFire video light
    Normal hand position for mobile recording

    SureFire video light
    You may have to modify your hand position for this video light

    If I were a DP on a film using cell-phone video, and this light, I would make sure there were several on charge at all times. No one wants to wait for your only battery to charge. A question a newbie DP might ask is: How long will one last? So, test your equipment before shoot day, OK?

    Charging the unit

    Charging the unit was problematic, as my first attempts failed, due I believe to a mismatched charger plug. Initially, I began charging the Firepak using a USB port built into a small power strip. After two days, the blinking red light indicated it was not fully charged, though I thought it might be close to fully charged, so I began to charge my cellphone at 5%. I recorded the time and charging rate at 10% intervals but at 57% the FirePak fully discharged and stopped charging the cell battery. I reached out to Rob Kay of Guns and Tech, he suggested using a direct charging plug and trying again. Once I plugged it into a 2A charger direct to the plug, it charged up overnight.

    All in all, this unit is a good buy for those who want to expand their video capabilities to low-night-time conditions. It is small and powerful enough to have in your toolbox, just in case. It is durable and useful for most cellphone recording situations. And, it serves well as a flashlight illuminator during emergencies and when you might need a torch to light your path.

    Whether you already have a youtube channel, are a budding professional videographer, or just want the firepower to be able to record life’s dark moments, FirePak is an excellent choice for all. You can see the FirePak in action at the manufacturer’s website:

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    GoalZero & Sunjack reviews

    Portable Powerpack Solar panel reviews

    As everyone who lives here knows, Hawaii is no stranger to power outrages. The last big storm that came through knocked power out on the North Shore for half a day, yet that of course would be child’s play, if we got hit by something the magnitude of Iniki or Irma. As we all know, it’s just a matter of time.

    So, how to charge our devices, in this event? Not everyone can afford a gas-powered generator (at least $1000) much less deal with the hassle of storing fuel. There are a few fixes that will at least keep small devices like your phone, pad, flashlight or radio powered up.

    The first option, and the least expensive, is to stock up on batteries. The industry standard for modern flashlights, radios, lanterns, etc is the 18650 Li-Ion battery. Get yourself a battery charger to keep them topped off.

    If you want to charge devices such as tablets, cell phones, etc., you’ll need to get some type of powerbank, essentially a battery with ports that allow you to charge any USB-based device. I’d suggest, opting for a portable solar panel which can assist in charging small devices, and keeping powerbanks topped off. There are a number of them available for backpackers or home users.

    Input: Solar panels with charging cable arrangement. Output: Panel—>Powerpak—>Phone is the correct order

    Goal Zero Venture 30 Solar Kit

    With a little research, I soon came upon the weatherproof GoalZero Zero Venture 30 portable power-bank phone, tablet & solar panel combo. It is a compact kit that includes storage and recharger. The kit is designed for the backpacker or traveler but anyone with charging needs in an emergency can benefit from this system.

    Designed to charge point-of-view cameras, tablets, phones and other USB compatible devices, it’s 28 Wh (3.6V 7800 mAh) rechargeable battery can be coupled with a Nomad 7, 13 or 20-watt solar panel. Together they weigh a little more than 1-½ pounds. Built for travel or backpacking, for home use, it’s a bit under-powered.

    Output kit showing cable types and solar panel chaining feature

    The battery unit has been designed to be weatherproof (light rain not submersion) and shock-proof (moderate impact resistance) and can remember charging profiles of the devices you connect. The battery can be placed into a protective shipping mode designed to avoid self-discharge during periods of storage. For natural disasters, fully charging the battery and then placing it in storage mode for future use, is recommended prior to the event. Such a practice extends battery life significantly. The manufacturer claims “hundreds of life charging cycles” for the battery. The battery has two USB ports each capable of dishing out 2.4A each just like a plug version would. Apple, Android and Windows devices compatible with the output cables above.

    This system included a 7-watt panel. While a standard 2A USB plug-in source can charge the battery in as little as 5 hours, charging times will vary from 16-hours with the 7-watt panel to 6-hours with the 20 watt panel. Priced accordingly, an innovative aspect of this kit is up to 4 solar panels can be chained together via the chaining input port.  Remember, battery and device charging times will depend on both the panels capacity, the angle of the sun to the panels, and the amount of sunlight available in your geographic location.

    Test setup: Input (solar panels) and Output (cable types): Panel—>Powerpak—>Phone is the correct order

    During periods of use, charge the battery fully first, then connect to the battery and charge your devices is the recommended use cycle. And, don’t forget to place the recharger in storage mode before you put it away for future use. Prior to an emergency, I suggest a dry run with the devices you plan to use before the emergency occurs so you understand the limits and capabilities of your Venture 30 Solar panel recharger kit.

    SunJack 14W solar charger with 1o000mAh battery pack retails for $169 and is a good bet for camping or home use.

    Sunjack 14W Portable Solar Charger + Powerbank

    Another solar panel/powerbank combo we tested was the Sunjack 14W Portable Solar Charger + Powerbank.

    The solar charger has four panels and when folded is about the size of an Apple iPad. It folds into a rugged nylon case, which can be quickly unfolded and hung up to face the sun. A mesh pouch on the rear holds the charging port and cables, the devices to be charged, and the battery pack. It has a series of grommets along the edges of the panel so that you can easily attach it to your backpack.

    The panels provide up to 14W of 5 volt USB power under a bright sun ideally producing 2,000mAh every hour. That means you can recharge the powerbank that comes with it in about 4 hours (under a bright Hawaii sun).

    Sunjack’s powerbank includes Qualcomm’s “Quick Charge 3.0” technology, which speeds up charging appreciably if the device on the other end (in this case my phone) also has “Quick Charge” capabilities.

    The panels provide up to 14W of 5 volt USB power under a bright sun ideally producing 2,000mAh every hour. That means you can recharge the powerbank that comes with it in about 4 hours (under a bright Hawaii sun).

    According to the experts I spoke to at 1.5-2Ah is the minimum acceptable usable panel output.

    Otherwise, charging your powerbank, or anything else, will take a full day. The Sunjack 14 W system, which retails for $149 (with the power bank) is a good place to start. You could also consider their 20W kit with 2 lithium battery packs, for $169.

    The Sunjack’s 10,000mAh Advanced Powerbank, which comes with the solar kit (or sells separately for $29) has three ports, the standard USB, the micro USB and the new USB-C. What I really like is that it comes with Qualcomm’s “Quick Charge 3.0” technology. This means if you have a phone or other device that is “quick charge” compatible (such as my Samsung 7) this little unit will charge your device (according to the manufacturer) up to 80% faster.

    A mesh pouch on the rear holds the charging port and cables, the devices to be charged, and the battery pack. (Courtesy Tim Yan photo)

    Whether it’s 80% or 59% faster is anyone’s guess but it’s fast. My cell phone was charged in about 20 minutes. In an emergency situation this could be crucial.

    I’d certainly recommend this nifty little combo from SunJack.

    The takeaway on this piece is the larger solar charging unit you can afford, the better. What’s more, if you can get a combo that comes with a fast-charging powerbank, assuming your devices also have this capability, get one.

    Editor’s Note: Rob Kay contributed to this article

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    Earth Day 2017

    Screen Shot 2017-04-21 at 11.10.37 AMHow many of you remember the first time you saw our Earth? This view of ourselves embedded in a living planet, wrapped in oneness, exploded into our collective consciousness.

    Did you know soon after this view of our whole planet was available to us, the modern global environmental movement was birthed?

    “Once a photograph of the Earth, taken from the outside, is available, a new idea as powerful as any in history will be let loose.” – Sir Fred Hoyle, 1948

    For many Americans, perhaps the entire human population, this picture has sparked a collective shift about our planet. For the first time in history, we saw that we are all on a canoe—one race of islanders afloat in a sea of space.

    This photo was taken from Apollo 8 on Christmas eve 1968 while scouting for a moon landing site. The crew lost radio contact with NASA going around the back of the moon and took this photo when they re-emerged from the dark side of the moon.

    Imagine… as they rounded the moon’s edge, they saw our Earth some 240,000 miles away—glowing in deep blue framed by white clouds—embedded in seemingly empty space. The surface features in the foreground are on the eastern limb of the moon as viewed from our planet.

    Astronauts Frank Borman, Jim Lovell and William Anders had become the first humans to leave Earth orbit, entering lunar orbit on Christmas Eve 1968. In a historic live broadcast that night, the crew took turns reading from the Book of Genesis, closing with a holiday wish from Commander Borman: “We close Screen Shot 2017-04-21 at 11.07.03 AMwith good night, good luck, a Merry Christmas, and God bless all of you—all of you on the good Earth.”

    “You develop an instant global consciousness, a people orientation, an intense dissatisfaction with the state of the world, and a compulsion to do something about it. From out there on the moon, international politics look so petty. You want to grab a politician by the scruff of the neck and drag him a quarter million miles out and say, ‘Look at that, you son of a bitch.” — Apollo 14 astronaut, Edgar Mitchell

    As a species we had ventured beyond our Earth’s atmosphere into the sea of emptiness around our planet home. It was the first mission to leave Earth orbit and these were the first astronauts to see the Earth as a whole. Now we have the meta-view, a view of ourselves as one system, held together in space with no one to save us and no one more responsible than us for our shared destiny.

    Within 2 years of publication of this perspective, 1970, the modern environmental movement was birthed, the first Earth Day was held, and the Federal Clean Air and Clean Water Acts were passed by a Republican, Richard Nixon, who clearly recognized the values of conservation, of clean air and water to all our people.

    In 1970, with nine staff members and a $125,000 budget, a Washington, D.C.-based group organized the Environmental Teach-in, which would become became the first Earth Day.

 With then senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin as their champion, the staffers brought together volunteers in dozens of cities and college campuses around the country.

    Judy Moody and Denis Hayes on April 22, 1970 with the first Earthday teach-in banner in the background

    Hayes, who had dropped out of Harvard Law School the year before to join Senator Nelson’s project, also chaired the Earth Day anniversary celebrations in 1990 and 2000. 
”[Hayes was] the one who did the unglamorous, wearisome job of starting it up,” Ralph Nader told the New York Times in 1990. “[Hayes] is an orchestrator of environmental events which were national … and now are global.”

    Like Earth, Hawaiian islands are remote and surrounded by a sea that restricts passage, yet, unlike Hawaii, humans do not have ships bringing food or water to Earth. There is no Planet B. We have no other home nor do we have alternative sources of food and water.

    BruceJustinAlGore1999LtrEarth day 1970 celebrations in Hawaii were led by Bruce Justin Miller and his team at University of Hawaii. The events of the first Earth Day, were called the First National Environmental Teach-In. While I do not have any pictures from that day, I ran across this letter written from Al Gore to Bruce and his team in 1999.
    [Click on the pictures to expand them into larger sizes for reading or to download.]

    And, these micro-fiche snippets from Star-Bulletin and Honolulu Advertiser, are illustrative of the energy and interest of folks then. Thanks to Dave Atcheson.

    HonoluluAdvertiser_EarthDay1970In the Honolulu-Advertiser article was an a column advocating green practices. Notice it mentions the UH Earth Day event, and proposes ways for islanders to reduce waste by using reusable bags, making laundry soap, reducing car miles, and eliminating toxic cleaning products, and pesticides, such as DDT, etc.

    Yet, here we are almost 50-years later debating those same ideas, because fossil fuel businesses have such a stranglehold on politics and people, we still cannot believe we can change our behaviors, it seems.StarBulletin04221970

     In the second article from the Honolulu Star-Bulletin, dated April 22, 1970, a prophetic quote from scientist, Dr. J. Murray Mitchell Jr. who said, “…The release of increasing quantities of carbon dioxide and thermal pollution into the atmosphere threatens to change global weather and melt the polar ice, flooding wide areas. Man may begin to notice the change by the end of this century.”

    For many GenX’ers, perhaps even Boomers—ahead of our time—that our society is still _talking_ about changing our behavior, almost 50-years later, reducing our waste and footprint on our only planet—still talking and not doing—induces major depression and climate angst. Yet, it is also the driving force for social improvement of our continued advocacy. As the 50th anniversary approaches of that moment when a picture of our Earth shimmering in space changed us forever, why not get involved with the Earth Day Network?

    Riseup folks, we are much better than we have been programmed to believe! Stand up for the Earth on which you stand.

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    Preparing for the Future of Work

    Future of Work is Here

    Each generation’s ability to advance their own destinies and contribute positively to subsequent generations is dependent on their awareness of how important it is to be future focused. The hourglass of time does not stop running, and it will take all of us, starting now, to imagine and work our way beyond the past we and our ancestors have created, yet where many surprisingly find ourselves stuck.

    Look… the future is coming for you. Can you imagine a future-focused—worst and best-case scenario—a scenario largely dependent upon what we do now?

    Starting with a pragmatic understanding of reality, as it is today—this moment—is crucial to effectively create our dreams in the future. It has been said, if you are anxious, you are focused too much on the future. If you are, regretful or depressed, too much on the past. If you are content, then you are present focused. Too much of one and you are stuck!

    Near Future Scenario
    Anyone Born after 2000 and Today’s High School Students

    man-76196_1920Scenario…The year is 2025. Hawaii, like most of the U.S., has accelerated their shift to a model relying upon extended family groups. College debt has continued to rise and further compromised meager savings; increased long-term debt has become an unsustainable challenge for many parents and students, alike. Little attention has been focused on what courses and degrees will result in work (or jobs) for these youngsters who have grown up in an age of uncertainty. The poor have grown poorer, educational systems have not kept up with emerging market-driven needs and the middle-class, especially has continued to erode. The U.S. world educational ranking grade remains at a “C” – i.e., the bottom of the middle of the pack.

    A different scenario…The year is still 2025.

    Ostock-exchange-911608_1920ur educational institutions have responded to the revolutionary needs of students and provided them with expert guidance as to the set of courses that will ensure their best options in the future. Likewise, college costs have been eased by the inclusion of more virtual courses taught by world-renowned educators who inspire as well as instruct. Targeted technical knowledge, specific skills, flexibility and lifetime learning are now embraced by highly diverse mainstream workers. U.S. world educational rankings have risen to a “B” and we are on our way to an “A” ranking.

    Now, today, ask yourself:

    The Playbook for Teens is co-authored by Hawaii Wingman, Carleen MacKay, who is the originator of a series of work-focused playbooks for several generations.
    • Are your children’s schools teaching robotics and new technologies at every age and level – from kindergarten on? Do you know?
    • Are you involved with your children’s teachers – challenging them to advocate for continuous improvement in teaching methodologies?
    • Have you read Playbook for Teens on Amazon? Might you inspire high-schoolers with the real-life stories of people, just a few years older than they are; people who can demonstrate winning game plans that will matter to their own futures.
    • Are you building blocks for future-focused viable careers by helping your children to find opportunities to learn well beyond the classroom walls?

    The future will be determined by what we teach our children today

    Pivot to the Pacific, into YOUR future.

    workforcewingmentaglogoWe are your Wingmen

    Reach out to your favorite wingman—we are multi-generational coaches. You will benefit from our proven 8-Step process. Let us guide you to what you need to know and do in order to advance your career in a time of hyper-shift. We can help you implement a plan that will work for you the day after the day after tomorrow.

    Look us up on LinkedIn:  Carleen MacKay :: Rob Kinslow
    Authors, Speakers, Emergent Workforce Experts

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    What’s your calling?

    What motivates you to get out into the urban world to stand and speak for positive vision of the future?

    My inspiring brother, Blue eyes Tim Kinslow

    In 2007, as he lay in the hospital, his body succumbing to the ravages of chemo and cancer, my younger brother called me out. I was there with about 30 of his family and friends. Tim had been sitting quietly in his bed, propped up, yet with his head lowered, listening to the muffled banter from everyone. I was over at the door, opening and closing it softly so that the sudden sounds would not jar him, as he loved quiet stillness.

    Suddenly, he raised his head, looked me in the eyes from across the room, and asked, “What are you doing over there, Robbie?”

    Continue reading the rest of the story…

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    Future of Work Trends

    Think about five short years from now, UNLESS something radical changes…

    By 2021…

    1. The old will be older and broker and millions, in this fastest aging of U.S. States, will increase dependence upon younger generations amid overburdened social and healthcare systems that are ready to plunge our economy into a state-of-disaster.
    1. Gen “Z” will be out in full force – half won’t be ready and many more will be denied access to specific skills and competencies the future demands. Increased negative economic and societal challenges will increase major differences. In Hawaii, for example, college costs will continue to rise much faster than subsequent wage growth.


    2. Hawaii’s workers will not be in the full-time, “job” workforce. In the private sector, needed skills, competencies and talent will be used when needed, if needed and as often as needed. The race to a safe haven in the public sector will be overtaken by underfunded pensions. Our ability to pay for the last of the “lifetime” jobs, already standing on shaky ground, will be vulnerable to changes you might not want to experience.

    Yet, IF we straighten up and fly right… support our people,

    By 2021…

    1. Old age will be re-defined and Kupuna will be encouraged to continue to contribute to the world of work – well into their 70’s, perhaps 80’s. Likewise, a shift to emerging active aging programs, such as health-focused Blue Zones project, will prove beneficial to all.generation-z_infographic
    1. Gen “Z” will have many more opportunities to learn at modest costs. Much of this learning will be online and will be augmented with the dedicated help of pensioned, older folks who will have the time and interest to actively mentor the most challenged of Gen Z’ers. And, by the way, the youngest among us will also mentor up to help Gen Y, X generations learn what they have to teach.
    1. We will all learn to manage our work lives as our businesses – not as simply jobs! We will embrace lifetime learning, a term that, once-upon-a-time, was simply granted lip service. We will grow our careers, re-align our lives in line with our own changing interests and changing technologies, re-boot old interests and help others to succeed.

    We are your Wingmen

    Look us up on LinkedIn:  Carleen MacKay ::  Rob Kinslow

    The Science of Consciousness & Healing

    I want to share a little-known secret for improving your quality of life, achieving deep healing and radiant health… even living longer… and better.

    stream-1106336_1920(1)It’s not a new super-food.

    It’s not a new yoga practice.

    And, it’s certainly not a new pill…

    It’s your own consciousness.   

    Consciousness is the “x-factor” behind deep healing, radiant health and living a long, productive life — even as you advance into your 60s, 70s, 80s and beyond!

    Yes, health and longevity originate in human consciousness and finds expression in body, mind, heart and soul.

    If you’re curious about WHY this is so and, more importantly, want to discover tools you can use to shape your health and happiness, connect with Dr. Marilyn Schlitz. Marilyn has been at the forefront of fascinating and game-changing work in consciousness research, integrative medicine, longevity and healing. She brings more than 30 years experience and study with leading-edge scientists, healers and shamans.ConsciousnessHealing_intro_skyscraper

    On Saturday, July 23, she will present a fascinating FREE online event: Using the Power of Your Consciousness for Healing: Discover the X-Factor in Creating Radiant Health.

    During this exciting event, you’ll…

    • Receive a more complete picture of how healing really happens through consciousness
    • Discover the power of expectancy in creating pain and discomfort (and what you can do to shift it)
    • Recognize the importance of loving relationships in any healing process
    • Receive insights into the remarkable new findings that show you can consciously influence your genetics, as well as your endocrine and immune system

    I invite you to join me for a mind-expanding hour on how to use the power of your consciousness for health and healing. 

    True holistic health is so much more than managing your weight and cholesterol and hoping for the best… Marilyn will show you how you can work with your consciousness to achieve a quality life. Register here

    be-1358282_1920Using the Power of Your Consciousness for Healing you’ll receive the latest scientific insights that demonstrate the power of your thoughts, emotions and relationships in shaping your health and happiness.

    You’ll also be given simple practices to apply in your daily life.

    If you can’t listen live, you’ll receive a downloadable replay of the event.

    Questions? Answers? More posts by the author.
    If you like my posts—even if you don’t—why not contribute to helping spread the word?
    Thanks in advance for caring and sharing this post on your social media sites.

    Disclosure: The link in this post is an affiliate, which means I receive a small commission if you clicknpick. Affiliate link or not, my promise is to only recommend and link to resources I believe will add value to your life and/or work.


    Let’s talk about the Future of Work

    Enough about the past; let’s talk about the future of work.

    How, when and where will we work? 21stCenturywork

    We are already working full-time, part-time, on-demand, temporarily, once-in-awhile… from home, from our car, a train, plane or automobile and from across town or across the world. We work for free, for a fee, for ourselves, for the good of others, for learning and/or for the fun of it! We gain-share, bargain or are paid an hourly rate.

    The speed of change is accelerating. Within a year or two, few people will ask the question we are asking.

    The more you have to offer the changed market, the more choices you’ll have to work in any – or all – ways we have just highlighted.

    The more you prepare to meet the demands of change, the more adaptable you’ll be. The more you will be able to accommodate swiftly moving life circumstances and interests.

    What are a few of the most recent changes that have affected how, who and where some of us will work in Hawaii in the near future?

    hand-1112469_1920First, take a look at the on-demand world and you’ll soon have help with everything from Spring Cleaning to furniture packing. Haven’t heard about the hundreds of on-demand companies in Hawaii? Take a look at how many home food delivery options are a short 808 call away. Want a glass of wine with your dinner? Google “home wine delivery – Honolulu.” Prepare to see well over 150 home delivery options. Your favorite food and wine will be on your table within 24 to 48 hours.

    These, and many other firms are delivering services and goods in new ways that will affect you—including, how you work, where you might work, or… how you shop!

    The tip of an iceberg of change is floating your way. Keep looking. A new option will emerge tomorrow or the very next day. We’ll keep you posted to many of the changes.

    Speaking of changes… here’s one to watch: reasonably long-term jobs with a good company began to change in the 1970’s and ‘80’s. Such jobs are now only one way of working and if trends are to be believed, also diminishing in numbers.

    The On-Demand, Hyper-Shift, Work from Anywhere Economy is here. Everyone is now a business – including you!

    It’s time to learn how to run You, Inc.
    But, it’s a bad idea to solo,
    at least until you are ready to fly without a wing-man.

    Ask us how we can help you to prepare for a future that matters. Let’s #makeworkbetter, ok?

    Look us up on LinkedIn:  Carleen MacKay :: Rob Kinslow :: Fabian Lewis

    Story of a Freelancer

    Story of a Freelancer
    by Carleen MacKay
    :: Rob Kinslow

    In our April 5th post, we introduced you to the new world of work, to “Freelancers,” or people who work on behalf of organizations when and wherever needed.

    pexels-photoBy 2020, according to a raft of experts, 40%+ of American workers will be “freelancers” in all sectors of the economy. Other experts predict the number may be as high as 50% by 2020.

    Situation: This is the story of a real-life person. Our freelancer is someone who migrated from a dozen years of full-time work where he had been designated the “Employee of the Year” to being laid-off and forced to taste the painful and “Unexpected Freedom” of freelancing.outsource-1345109_1280

    Goal: Although he submitted resumes for numerous full-time editorial and corporate communications positions, the response rate was low to non-existent. He was further encouraged to pursue freelancing by the lack of interest among prospective new employers, who tended to view his extensive experience and knowledge, not as an asset but as a negative option. Especially, when considered against hiring recent college graduates for a fraction of the salary, our story-teller felt he wanted or his experience deserved. He discovered the world of hiring in the new decade is not about experience and capabilities, but about casting ones portfolio within the needs of prospective clients. He learned to explore and market for this new business of freelancing.

    Actions: He undertook face-to-face networking activities, while simultaneously expanding his LinkedIn profile and building a network of 500+ contacts. He accepted freelance opportunities that did not pay well, simply in order to gain experience. He began building a portfolio of work samples.

    As time went by, he became adept at turning in quality work on tight deadlines, which drew the attention of new clients. Soon he landed two or three “anchor clients,” giving him a solid foundation of steady work at a respectable wage which, in turn, led to several large-scale web content projects.

    By the end of his first year as a freelancer, entrepreneur-696966_1920he began to reap the benefit of client recommendations and word-of-mouth referrals.

    Consequences: Our freelancer is now established in a successful freelance business. Not only does he have the comfort of working from home, his daily schedule allows time to play tennis and swim laps at his neighborhood club. He is no longer dependent upon a single company for his earnings, but instead works regularly for a wide range of clients – most of whom he has never met in person and with whom he stays in contact via various online modes of communications.

    Lesson: Our freelancer learned the value of persistence by making strong use of online platforms and staying in touch with prospective clients. She has become adept at establishing his brand, at creating sales documents, at maximizing his profile on LinkedIn as well as at leveraging various social connections online as well as in person. He learned to set boundaries to client requests for uncompensated hours in order to prove his worth. Eagerness to work should not be over-used to extract uncompensated commitments or outcomes.

    Credible experts predict that the workplace may be dominated by Freelancers in the next decade. Here’s a snippet, summarizing these predictions, from Thomas Frey (

    “Virtually any company that cannot find ways to do things more efficiently and reduce costs will not survive. Business colonies are an organic process of matching labor to projects for the exact duration of the contract.  No more, no less.”                                                                                                                        

    Do you want to learn how to Freelance? Ask us for help!

    Look us up on LinkedIn:  Carleen MacKay :: Rob Kinslow

    Would you like to learn about another way to work in the 21st century?

    Look for our next post…

    Questions? Answers? More posts by the author.
    If you like my posts—even if you don’t—why not contribute to helping spread the word?
    Thanks in advance for caring and sharing this post on your social media sites

    Future of Work

    Did you know? The Future of Work is HERE and NOW…

    Jobs are disappearing from the future of work

    The world is saying no to many traditional jobs these days.  Take a look at the truth of Work. Ensure you have a Future of Work

    • No political party can promise you a job. At best, they attempt to create platforms that will encourage business success, thus (presumably) encouraging hiring.

    • No private sector organization will hire you full-time, if you’re not needed full-time.

    • No public sector organization or institution can afford to ignore their enormous pension debts by continuing to hire as they have in the past.

    Layoffs are the future of work

    • No large company is any safer, than any smaller company in terms of providing job security. The Fortune’s 100 companies (the largest employers) have had more than double the number of layoffs than non-Fortune’s 100 companies.

    • No, invention is not a birthright. New technologies have created thousands of new jobs, while causing the loss of thousands.

    Future of Work is YOU

    • No end is in sight for the economic unrest that the world is facing. Economic unrest works for and against “jobs” in this country as elsewhere.

    • If pension-less workers do not continue to work, in some capacity, later in life, our economic system will be challenged to cope.

    • No, we cannot afford to overlook the aging of America. There are millions of Americans age 65 and older. Put this in perspective, in the United States there are more people 65 and older than in each of the entire Canadian and Australian populations. This demographic will double by 2030. More than 30% of the US workforce is 50+ years young.

    • No, the U.S. workforce is no longer competitive in the high-demand areas of mathematics and the sciences. Our children are fragmented into the haves and have-nots; our boomers are under-prepared for new massively disruptive challenges, retirement requirements and longer work lifetimes.

    What are you willing to do to win your battle for the Future of Work? Will you find new ways to work? Can you see opportunities embedded within the many threats? Will you dare to do something different than experience dictates?

    Join us now, fasten your space-suits, summon your reserve of courage for there are many, and often better, ways to work beyond the old world of the familiar. Let us tell you the stories of the pioneers of the future who have turned tomorrow’s threats into today’s opportunities!

    Visit us at NewWorkForceHawaii and explore stories of inspiration written just for YOU.

    Or, contact us via our LinkedIn Profiles:

    Carleen MacKay ::  Angelica Lewis :: Fabian Lewis :: Rob Kinslow

    Leadership Learning from the Wheel


    Learning from the Wheel of Life
    Figure 1: Movement Model of Behavior

    Leadership Learning:

    According to my Native heritage, teachings and wisdom, recognition of Our ancestors, who’ve prepared the path of life for us, must be acknowledged. My teachers and mentors inspired me to leadership. Our relationships can include those with those who have gone before and those yet to come. Honoring and acknowledging those on whose shoulders we stand, connecting and communicating with our past and future, are fundamental practices of sustainable development. Me, you, we are all a bridge between the ancestors and those yet to come. Leadership from Learning is key.

    Figure 1 shows how you may exemplify leadership learning. Read more here, or connect with me on LinkedIn

    Why not contribute to helping spread the word?
    Thanks in advance for caring and sharing this post on your social media sites

    “Letters From Home”–homage to the classic USO shows at Windward Community College on April 26

    From January – May 2023, Erinn Dearth and Dan Beckmann will be traveling the entire country performing one show in each of the United States as the singing and dancing sensation called Letters From Home. Letters From Home was founded in 2010, featuring music from the soundtracks of WWII, Vietnam, and beyond. This vaudevillian-style singing and tap-dancing duo has honored our veterans, active military heroes, and their families by uniting the nation through music.

    The show’s idea came from Pat Dearth, a veteran of the United States Coast Guard. Since its inception, Letters From Home has performed over 900 shows across the country. A documentary on the group produced by “Our State” Television (David Hardy) won an Emmy award in 2015. Erinn and Dan performed in Normandy for the 75th Anniversary of D-Day. They sang the National Anthem at sunset on June 6, 2019, on Omaha Beach.

    Letters From Home returned to Europe in May 2022 to perform for WWII Veterans touring in The Netherlands and Belgium.

    A nationwide tour has long been a dream of Letters From Home’s founder, Erinn Dearth, and during the pandemic it became more of a calling than ever. “The show is high-energy and should make everyone smile,” said Dearth, “but it’s also a message of hope for a country that is a bit divided at the moment.” Dearth hopes that those who come to see the show will walk away with a song in their hearts and a new perspective on patriotism.

    Dan Beckmann, the other half of the pair, is also an accomplished professional photographer. He will document the tour in a photo blog and direct a documentary of the 50-States tour.

    One of the tour’s sponsors is Footsteps Researchers, a global team of military researchers who help their clients retrace the footsteps of those who served in WWII. Footsteps Researchers founder, Myra Miller, will serve as Tour Manager. She is very excited to meet veterans across the country and thank them for their service. Myra says, “We want to pack the venues with young and old alike to share the fun of the energetic performances of Letters From Home!”

    She noted that performances will be free of charge to all veterans.

    Veterans who would like to request a free ticket should email with the name the ticket should be reserved under. The ticket will be waiting for them at Will Call the day of the performance”

    Letters From Home: Reviving Patriotism with Erinn Dearth & Dan Beckmann

    All 50 venues across the United States have been secured for the tour and tickets are now available. To view the tour route or to purchase tickets in the state nearest you, visit

    For more information on Letters From Home, to set up interviews, or for high resolution photographs, please contact Erinn Dearth at

    San Francisco’s award-winning dance troupe, Nā Lei Hulu i ka Wēkiu, presents MĀHŪ

    Two performances only at Leeward TheatreMarch 25th and 26th, 2023

    Kumu Hula Patrick Makuakāne and his award-winning dance troupe, Nā Lei Hulu i ka Wēkiu, present an entirely new show, MĀHŪ, for two performances only. Na Lei Hulu’s newest production features some of the most well-known māhū artists in Hawai’i today, including Hinaleimoana Wong-Kalu, Kuini, and Kaumakaʻiwa Kanakaʻole. The performance schedule is as follows: Saturday, March 25th at 7:00 p.m. and Sunday, March 26th at 2:00 p.m.

    Artistic Director Patrick Makuakāne says, “We are showcasing some of the most engaging Hawaiian māhū artists of our time, each of whom possesses a unique vibe and persona which arouses a distinctive choreographic approach generating hula that feels fresh, possibly forbidden, and slightly dangerous. Each song, dance and luxuriously sequined garment was chosen as a deliberate opportunity to be extravagant, or at the very least pleasurably provocative. No fillers allowed.”

    Reserved Seating:
    Regular Price: $40 – $60
    Pre-Show Reception: $25 Upgrade
    Pre-show Reception includes an upgrade to the ticket. Early entry into the Black Box Theatre. Enjoy light refreshments, including some of Kumu Patrick’s favorite desserts, and meet a māhū or two! Tickets are available at

    About Nā Lei Hulu i ka Wēkiu

    Founded in 1985, Nā Lei Hulu i ka Wēkiu (“the many feathered wreaths at the summit, held in high esteem”) is committed to teaching and preserving Hawaiian culture through hula while building and nurturing a vibrant community. It has a performance group of nearly25 dancers and offers classes to students in the beginning and intermediate levels.  The organization holds educational workshops throughout the year in Hawaiian language, history, and arts and crafts. The company has performed in locations throughout California, and in New York, Las Vegas, New Orleans and Honolulu.  For further information on Nā Lei Hulu i ka Wēkiu, visit    

    About Kumu Hula Patrick Makuakāne

    Patrick Makuakāne is a Kumu Hula, choreographer, dancer, director, raconteur and succulent fetishist who finds inspiration within the space between tradition and innovation. Born and raised in Honolulu, Hawai’i, he studied with two of Hawaiʻi’s revered hula masters, Robert Uluwehi Cazimero and Mae Kamāmalu Klein. In 2003, he received the title of Kumu Hula through a traditional ʻūniki ʻailolo ceremony curated by Mrs Klein. He is theFounder and Director of the Hawaiian dance company and cultural organization, Nā Lei Hulu i ka Wēkiu of San Francisco, and is known for his creativity and ground-breaking theatrical performances. While a passionate preservor of tradition, his artistry also crafts a provactive treatment of tradition that leaps forward in meaningful and surprising ways.  He appreciates how dichotomy can be a powerful tool to create work, especially as it relates to upending misconceived notions regarding hula. This has resulted in productions exploring colonization and the current US occupation of Hawaiʻi, hula as community builder in San Quentin State Prison, and Native Hawaiian transgender artists,  In 2022, was given a special Lifetime Achievement Kulia i ka Nuu Award from the Honolulu Kumu Patrick Chamber of Commerce of Northern California.  He was a recipient of the prestigious Hewlett 50 Arts Commission in 2020, supporting the creation and premier of 50 exceptional works by world-class artists. 2019 brought a Dance/USA Fellowship with an emphasis on dance for social change. San Francisco Arts Commission presented him with a Legacy award in 2018, recognizing his long-term commitment to educating the broader community on the importance of culture in the arts. As the former artistic director for the San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival, Makuakāne is a passionate advocate for equal representation and funding for the global dance community. He currently serves as the spiritual and cultural advisor for the Native Hawaiian Religioius Spiritual Group at San Quentin State Prison. His latest projects are writing and choreographing a musical based on the renowned epic tale of Hi’iakaikapoliopele and developing/directing a Hawaiian language opera based on the life of Native Hawaiian patriot Timoteo Haʻalilio for the Hawai’i Opera Theatre.

    There’s never a bad time to cut taxes

    By Keli‘i Akina

    Wednesday was Gov. Josh Green’s 100th day in office, and I think it’s safe to say his honeymoon period with voters and the Legislature has come to an end. 

    When he took office in January, the state was looking at a budget surplus of about $2.6 billion, and there was a lot of excitement about his proposal to hand Hawaii taxpayers what his administration said would be “the largest tax reduction in the history of the state.” 

    But now, with a recession looming, the job market flattening and inflation continuing to eat away at our purchasing power, the initial flurry of excitement for the governor’s bold “Green Affordability Plan” has faded and some politicians are even suggesting that Hawaii cannot afford tax cuts right now. 

    Keli‘i Akina

    The implication is that the state will need its surplus cash more than Hawaii taxpayers, who are so strapped by Hawaii’s high cost of living that they have been leaving the state in droves over the past six years.

    The result is that Green’s GAP plan is in danger of being watered down as legislators narrow their focus to just a few of the governor’s proposed tax credits. 

    Meanwhile, the governor and mayors have not been shy about bigger budgets and spending requests. Green recently rolled out a plan that involves more than $1 billion in additional spending; Honolulu’s budget is up by 6.3%; and Kauai is contemplating a 20% budget increase. 

    No doubt these ballooning budgets are being justified by the fact that tax revenues are still healthy. But the fact is, even with the reduced revenue projections, the state is still expected to have a surplus. 

    In addition, this year’s higher real estate assessments guarantee more tax revenues for the counties, and the tax relief proposed thus far would be either only temporary or still less than the expected increase.

    In other words, our lawmakers have money to play with and they don’t want to give it up. 

    But a look at the economic forecast makes it clear that playtime is over. If Hawaii lawmakers really want to help residents weather the coming economic storm, they need to provide relief to their constituents now — and not through new “free” programs or massive government housing or entertainment projects.

    A recession is exactly the time to cut taxes and regulations. Not only do tax cuts help people directly by letting them keep more of their money when they really need it, they also send the signal that Hawaii is open for business.

    Given that we have been experiencing an exodus of entrepreneurs and professionals for more than half a decade now, that’s a signal that is long overdue.

    I often say that there is never a good time to raise taxes, and that’s true. But the inverse is also true: There’s never a bad time to cut taxes. When the state is facing economic uncertainty, a tax cut is one of the wisest moves that our leaders can make.

    Unfortunately, the governor’s campaign proposal to exempt food and medicine from the state general excise died a long time ago. And his “Green Affordability Plan” has now been split into several bills, so who knows which — if any — of them will survive. 

    We’ll find out more about his tax plan at a pair of events hosted next week on Maui and Oahu by the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii. But if I had to pick just one of the bills to succeed, it would be HB954 HD2, which would increase the personal and standard deductions for the state income tax and index both of them to inflation. 

    The rest would create or increase a litany of targeted tax credits, and as I’ve said before, tax cuts are much better than tax credits, which do not provide immediate relief, require a lot of paperwork and often go unclaimed.

    Without vocal support for real tax cuts, the most important part of the governor’s “affordability” plan will be lost. His tax reform proposals, which he described as “audacious,” were supposed to help everyone. But now, maybe not so much.

    That’s why it falls on us to demand good fiscal leadership from our elected officials. We must reach out to those who make the decisions about budgets and tax cuts and let them know that a possible recession calls for restraint. 

    With sound budgeting, reduced regulations and a few good tax cuts, Hawaii could come through a recession with flying colors and easily find itself on the road to prosperity.

    Keli‘i Akina is president and CEO of Grassroot Institute of Hawaii.

    The Case for Conveyance Tax Hikes

    We have recently passed the halfway point in the current legislative session.  Many of the more outlandish or ruinous tax proposals have fallen by the wayside.  Many tax proposals remain, mainly having to do with tax relief or credits.  There are, however, a few tax hike proposals still moving.

    In many of the past sessions, there have been proposals to hoist the conveyance tax, which is applied when real property changes hands.  In the current session, Senate Bill 362 proposes to double the tax on residential property, selling for at least $2 million, for which the purchaser is ineligible for a home exemption on property tax.  The maximum tax rate under that proposal would be $2.50 per $100 of sales price.

    The conveyance tax had its humble beginnings in 1966, where Act 10 imposed the tax at 5 cents per $100 of sales price.  It remained at that rate until Act 195 of 1993 raised it to 10 cents per $100.  The tax was raised in 2005 and 2009 to the level today.  Also, earmarks were attached to the tax.  Today, 10% of the tax, up to $5.1 million, goes directly to the land conservation fund, and half of the tax, up to $38 million, goes to the rental housing revolving fund.  The rest of the tax goes to the general fund.

    Now, let’s take a look at one prominent proponent of conveyance tax hikes and its case, in a January 2023 blog post.

    The real estate industry is one of the few sectors of our economy that has been doing well in spite of the pandemic and other economic challenges. People who own property have seen the equity value of their property increase by huge amounts over the past decade. However, our real estate sales tax policy has rates that are so low that:

    1. They do not deter investors from using the real estate market to make a quick buck buying up the housing supply and, in some cases, flipping homes, driving up the cost of housing for locals; and
    1. The revenue collected by the state from this tax is insufficient to make real progress on either affordable housing development or effective resource conservation efforts.

    By adjusting the real estate sales tax rates and lifting arbitrary caps on the amount of revenue going to affordable housing and conservation efforts, we can lower the cost of housing for residents without significantly impacting the average middle class local homeowner should they choose to sell.

    First, is there something wrong with doing financially well despite the pandemic so as to merit (or demerit) a tax hike?  The article seems to then call out people who have seen their equity in property increase over a decade, namely long-term investors, but then asserts that the tax is needed to deter short-term investors who presumably drive up prices by flipping properties.  So, who do we need to deter, long-term or short-term?  Or are we just opposed to all investment? 

    Next, the article does not at all mention the existing capital gains tax, which would seem to address both “make a quick buck” investors and those who have built up gains over time.  The conveyance tax, of course, taxes neither the long-term gains nor the quick buck.  It is imposed on the full value of the property being sold, so it is less of a fit with the problems of which the article complains.

    Then, the article argues that the revenue from the tax is not sufficient to fund either affordable housing development or conservation efforts.  But nobody ever said that one tax was supposed to solve those problems by itself.  The tax feeds special funds as well as the general fund.  The Legislature can, should, and does appropriate general fund money to deal with these issues.  Legislators put the cap on the special fund earmarks because:

    by establishing maximum amounts to be distributed to various non-general funds from the conveyance tax, this measure will make forecasts of general fund revenues more reliable, will increase legislative oversight of agencies and programs supported by the non-general funds, and will subject those agencies and programs to competition for limited public funds if the agencies or programs want more than the amount automatically distributed to their non-general funds.

    Conf. Comm Rep. No. 156 (2015). 

    We think that special funds obscure transparency in government and need to be avoided for that reason.

    Finally, we doubt the conclusion that a tax increase can lower the cost of housing for residents without significantly impacting an average local homeowner who chooses to sell.  Tax increases, by taking money out of private transactions for the government, cause the costs in those transactions to go up, not down.  Those additional costs cause secondary effects, like price increases being reflected in the tax assessed value of other properties in the area when it comes to property tax. 

    Let the debate continue!  There is no wrong or right answer here, just weighty policy questions to be considered by our elected leaders.

    Eat for Your Poop: A Nutrition Lesson from the Bottom Up


    When most of us choose what we want to eat for dinner, we think about how the food will taste and if we want that oral experience. Food connoisseurs, who are also called foodies, dive deep into the texture, aroma, chewiness, moistness, color, and flavor of food, and the subtleties of how it feels when the food goes down their throats. For most people, this is what eating is all about. Sure, it’s also about nutrition. But the major pleasure and focus of eating is on the oral and olfactory sensations created by the food, as well as the appealing presentation of the dish.

    This emphasis on food appeal leads people to eat all sorts of things that look, smell, and taste good, but which makes them feel sick. We eat for pleasure and not for nourishment or health. This leads us to putting substances in our mouths to eat which appeal to our senses, but which offend our bodies.

    As a result, people suffer from stomach upset and heartburn, intestinal bubbling and gas, and, ultimately, disconcerting poop, the kind that you hear being produced in airport bathrooms.

    As a rule, we don’t like to touch the subject of poop. Our culture is into clean and antiseptic. Poop is the antithesis of that. So we flush away this foul reminder that we are all, indeed, animals, and that, like other animals, we need to regularly poop. However, with that flush, we also eliminate the most apparent indicator of our digestive health. 

    When a chef serves up a feast, you can see all the work that went into that creation. When an anus serves up a turd, you can see the workings of the body that went into that creation.  

    By careful and educated examination of your droppings, you can tell if you are eating the right foods for your personal digestion. Keep in mind that there is more to poop than meets the eye. It is teaming with bacteria, which colonize your colon. These bacteria are part of your digestive process, since they eat what food you give them and break that down for you to absorb. This means we consume their waste products, which, when you think about it, is their poop.  

    Clearly, you would want healthy bacteria to produce the kind of bacterial waste products that are good for you, and which don’t poison you. That’s why it’s important to eat for your bacteria, as well as for yourself. Some foods may taste good for you, but may make your bacteria sick. 

    This all begs the question, what is the ideal poop? Surely, there is some room for personal preference, but it is reasonable to suggest some criteria with which we could all agree. For example, poop should hold together. This keeps it moving with your movement, and fully exiting the anus. It should be a shade of brown, smooth, moist but not wet, dry but not too caky, solid but not too dense, and moderately buoyant in the bowl. It should have an aroma that should not be too pungent or sulfurous, and just mostly smelling like shit. 

    If we agree on this ideal poop, then we need to ask how to get there. What kind of food would we need to eat to produce the ideal poop? If we could figure this out for ourselves, then we can choose a diet that makes the best poop, which means it is the healthiest diet for us, personally.

    So let’s do a thought experiment. Let’s say we want to start from scratch and design a turd from the bottom up. What would you start with to make a perfect turd?  Well, you need a substrate or matrix which can serve as a skeleton for the turd. Turds need support. And the best way to support a turd is with fiber.  This is why fiber is so important in your diet. It provides the skeleton for your turds to form. This is because fiber contains cellulose, which we cannot digest, and the cellulose fibers form a net which collects the other digestive material, like pieces of partially chewed meat and corn. If you don’t have cellulose, turds will stay small and marbly. 

    Working up from the cellulose, we need to add some body to the turd, which calls for carbohydrates and proteins. These will also hold water, giving moisture. Some fat will help it all slide down the tubes better, so try a dollop of butter or mayonnaise on top of that. 

    Hopefully, as we make this turd, we can leave out contaminants, such as pesticides, herbicides, heavy metals, and antibiotics, all of which will not only affect us directly, but will also affect our bacteria. We don’t want to give the bacteria the equivalent of diarrhea, which will cause the same in us. So we need to make this turd bacteria-friendly.

    For aroma, you add certain spices to your diet. Garlic is a familiar spice used, but experiment with basil and cumin if you are curious. Be careful with spices that can harm your bacteria, though. And apply the spices to the food, not anally to the turd. This is a bottom up model, but not in that way.

    Finally, there is size. While we generally have a culture of bigger is better, except when it comes to electronics, turds can get too big to pass, especially if studded with corn. Turds are not really a one-size-fits-all thing. And if the colon is too packed with turds waiting to leave, the congestion can cause constipation. So to limit colon crowding you need to limit food immigration into your mouth.

    At this point, you should have the makings of a great turd. Now is the time for your personal experiment with your poop planning. Try eating a diet that you consider adequate in fiber, protein, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, minerals, and water. Don’t eat too much, but enough to feel satisfied. Then, over the next 24-48 hours, check your turds. Are they ideal? Do they smell okay? Is it a poop you are proud of creating? If not, your poop is telling you that you need to change your diet.

    The point is to use your poop as a guide. Turds will tell. And maybe someday, as the science of poopology advances, people will wisely eat for turd health, as well as for oral pleasure. The food will still taste good. But it will not just excite the eyes, ears, and nose. It will also excite the bacteria who feast on it all, giving us healthy, happy turds which we can flush with pride.

    Remember, it’s not just what goes into your mouth that counts. It’s also what comes out of your ass.

    The Hawaii Social Media Group 808 Viral has added some new faces to their cast.

    You might recognize some familiar faces on 808 Viral.

    Nine cast members from the recent production of Happily Eva Afta have decided to take their talents from on stage to online.

    “808 Viral has been the source for people to come together and share funny and engaging Hawaii content. It was always the mission to showcase Hawaii talent, so we decided to make some changes and add some new folks to the cast with acting and comedy experience,” said director Daniela Stolfi-Tow.

    That Cast includes actor and comedian Daryl Bonilla, know for his role as Keao in the indie film Beyond Paradise and the Bank of Hawaii “That’s My Bank!” guy.

    “I am excited about bringing my comedy to a whole new audience. People who knew me before now get to see more of me and those who don’t know me will get to be introduced to me and my comedy. Hopefully too much Daryl isn’t too much Daryl.”

    Also joining the cast is actor, comedian and battle rapper Big Mox, former Augie T Show cast member Kohl Smith, and actor/comedians Jarod Bailon, Leimomi Herrell, Kenny Kusaka, Rayton (Ray) Lamay, Kapena Q, and Kalia Ehulani Kamalamalamaonalani Ongolea. Also coming on board will be several special commentators covering local events and cultural issues that are important to the community.

    “The first video we shot went really well. To see something we shot in 3 hours reach over 200,000 people in 2 days blew their mind a little I think,” laughs Stolfi-Tow. “They are starting to get recognized at the store. It all happened really fast but they seem to be adjusting.”

    Many aspiring actors and comedians know that social media is a medium they have to get used to.

    “I see it as another way to be creative and that’s exciting. And if it brings more eyes and bodies to my live shows even better. It’s a huge thing now. In social media if you have 1000 people following you that’s awesome. If you have a 1000 people following you in real life you call the cops.”

    To follow 808 Viral go to:
    You can catch Daryl Bonilla, Kenny Kusaka and Ray Lamay at Anna O Brien’s, Wednesday August 9, 2017 at 8 pm. Facebook Event Info


    Hilo author Leslie Karst’s delectable memoir of Ruth Bader Ginsburg

    One doesn’t usually conflate “Hilo” with “U.S. Supreme Court Justice” but in this case it’s a matter of fact.

    A heartfelt story of simultaneously searching for delicious recipes and purpose in life, Justice is Served is an inspiring reminder that it’s never too late to discover—and follow—your deepest passion.

    When Hilo author Leslie Karst learned that her offer to cook dinner for Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and her renowned tax law professor husband, Marty, had been accepted, she was thrilled—and terrified. A small-town lawyer who hated her job and had taken up cooking as a way to add a bit of spice to the daily grind of pumping out billable hours, Karst had never before thrown such a high-stakes dinner party.

    Justice is Served

    Could she really pull this off?

    Justice is Served is Karst’s light-hearted, earnest account of the journey this unexpected challenge launched her on—starting with a trip to Paris for culinary inspiration, and ending with the dinner itself. Along the way, she imparts details of Ginsburg’s transformation from a young Jewish girl from Flatbush, Brooklyn, to one of the most celebrated Supreme Court justices in our nation’s history, and shares recipes for the
    mouthwatering dishes she came up with as she prepared for the big night. But this memoir isn’t simply a tale of prepping for and cooking dinner for the famous RBG; it’s also about how this event, and all the planning and preparation that went into it, created a new sort of connection between Karst, her partner, and her parents, and also inspired Karst to make life changes that would reverberate far beyond one dinner party.

    Leslie Karst

    By Leslie Karst
    She Writes Press | On Sale April 4, 2023
    Paperback: $17.95 | eBook: $8.99 | ISBN-13: 978-1647424589
    • An intricate blend of food memoir, celebrity tell-all, and law biography.
    • For readers who enjoyed Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner, Julie and Julia by Julie Powell, Save
    Me the Plums by Ruth Reichl, and books about RBG.
    • Timeless themes and universal issues such as the search for one’s life purpose, women’s rights, and
    joy in the mundane.


    Advance Praise:
    • “Home chefs and Ginsburg fans will find this culinary adventure exquisitely delectable.” —Kirkus Reviews
    • “An entertaining, engrossing page-turner that documents months of planning and soul-searching . . .. an extraordinary evening with the Ginsburgs and Karst’s renewed resolve to find a vocation that she ‘truly loved—as much as Ruth did the law’.” —Foreword Reviews
    • “The highest of recommendations for this unique and gorgeously written recipe for happiness. Surprising, captivating, and as delicious as a perfect meal, I love this book beyond all reason.” — Hank Phillippi Ryan, USA Today bestselling author of Her Perfect Lie
    • “[A] delectable page-turner . . . part memoir, part culinary odyssey, and part historical account of an extraordinary evening. I was salivating from beginning to end.” — Reyna Grande, author of A Dream Called Home
    • “delicious and delightful. . . . Whether you love food or the law—or both!—you will savor every page.” —Adam Winkler, author of We the Corporations, National Book Award finalist
    • “[A] captivating chronicle of one woman’s commitment to the law, to the culinary arts, to family, and to finding her life’s purpose. . . . Karst has masterfully woven her own story with that of the beloved Supreme Court justice, creating a narrative of two inspiring women whose paths cross for one special night.” —Elizabeth McKenzie, author of The Dog of the North and The Portable Veblen
    • “Leslie Karst’s celebration of women’s progress wrapped up in the tale of one stupendous and lifechanging dinner is . . . chef’s kiss. Quietly patriotic, passionate, and oh-so readable, this book is a feast.” —Catriona McPherson, Anthony and Agatha Award-winning author of In Place of Fear

    • “A literary meal that’s heartwarming, suspenseful, humorous, and entertaining. . . . An absolute delight.” —Ellen Byron, USA Today bestselling author of the Cajun Country and Vintage Cookbook Mysteries
    • “Leslie Karst delights and tempts your appetite in this lovely memoir. . . . Justice is Served is a dish you’ll savor and enjoy.” —Maddie Day, Agatha Award-winning author of the Country Store and Cozy Capers Book Group Mysteries
    • “Leslie Karst’s account of preparing a home dinner for a very distinguished guest—and nine others, including the security detail—is refreshingly candid, and studded with telling nuggets from RBG’s life and work. Entertaining, informative, and recipes included!” —Harold McGee, author of On Food & Cooking and Nose Dive
    • “[T]his lively read…deftly interweaves the life and achievements of the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Karst’s quest for meaningful, satisfying work in life, and the pleasures of connecting at the table. The book is a romp from cover to cover—and, just like a great meal, left me ready for more.” — Karen Shimizu, Executive Editor, Food & Wine

    Leslie at Pu’uhonua

    About the Author:
    The daughter of a law professor and a potter, Leslie Karst waited tables and sang in a new wave rock band before deciding she was ready for “real” job and ending up at Stanford Law School. It was during her career as a research and appellate attorney in Santa Cruz, California, that she rediscovered her youthful passion for food and cooking, at which point she once again returned to school—this time to earn a degree in culinary arts. Now retired from the law, Leslie spends her days penning the Sally Solari culinary mystery series, as well as cooking, gardening, cycling, and singing alto in her local community chorus. She and her wife and their Jack Russell mix split their time between Santa Cruz and Hilo, Hawai’i

    Governor’s redevelopment plan for Aloha Stadium on right track

    By Keli‘i Akina

    It’s not easy being a governor when criticism can come from every quarter, no matter what you propose. 

    That’s why I want to commend Gov. Josh Green for attempting to cut in half the cost of redeveloping the old Aloha Stadium on 25 acres of land in Halawa.

    Under the old plan, the state would have contributed $400 million toward construction of a 35,000-seat stadium that would have been designed, built and maintained for 30 years by a private partner, but the state would have been the operator.

    Over the duration of the contract, the state then would have repaid the private company for its share of the construction and maintenance costs for a total taxpayer tab of about $800 million.

    The governor’s new plan attempts to cut that cost in half by reducing the size of the stadium to 20,000 seats and having the private partner operate the stadium instead of the state.

    We look forward to hearing more concrete details to many lingering questions, such as what happens after 30 years, and whether the private partner will be tasked with any additional responsibilities.

    As the governor continues to sketch out his plan, I would suggest he consider the following five ideas to ensure the project’s long-term success.

    >> Let the private partner keep the ticket sales. It’s not the role of the government to woo musical acts and sporting events to come to Hawaii. The private sector is better at doing that, especially if they are incentivized by the ticket revenues.

    >> Let the private partner bear the risk of failure. If ticket sales slump, the private partner should still be required to operate and maintain the stadium without expecting a bailout from taxpayers.

    >> Extend the contract indefinitely, beyond 30 years. Require the private partner to pay for any maintenance or rebuilding now and into the future, indefinitely. This would incentivize proper maintenance of the facility by the private partner. 

    >> Sell the stadium and naming rights to the private partner. There’s no obvious reason that the government should own it at all, especially if the private partner is running it. Let’s ensure that the government doesn’t get in the way of its success.

    >> Sell the land surrounding the stadium. The state does not have a good track record for building entertainment districts on government leasehold land. Allowing a private partner to own and manage the 73 acres of lands surrounding the stadium would ensure that it was used productively for entertainment, business or housing, and keep taxpayers off the hook.

    While not all agree that a new Aloha Stadium is the best use of taxpayer money at this time, it is clear at least that Gov. Green’s proposal to cut costs is on the right track.   

    Let’s follow through with a strategy that will give the stadium the best chance to succeed and avoid becoming another boondoggle.

    Keli‘i Akina is president and CEO of Grassroot Institute of Hawaii.

    California’s Surplus to Deficit 

    “Lucky you live Hawaii,” the saying goes.  Long-time readers of this column may chuckle at that because we have been pointing out lots of ways the government here could be improved.  But sometimes our sister States get themselves into big piles of pickles that makes our situation look a lot better by comparison.

    Take California, for example.

    California went through pretty much the same kind of budget calamities that other states did.  They also received a ton of federal aid.  They received much more than us here in Hawaii because they have lots more area and population than we do.

    In fact, last year California was projecting a surplus of about $98 billion.  That makes the Hawaii budget surplus for fiscal year 2022, a whopping $2.6 billion, look like chicken feed.

    In 2023, California’s latest government projection is a $22 billion deficit.  That, of course, means that the $98 billion disappeared quickly and then some.  According to reporting in California, the disappearance was a combination of a couple of things:  first, some of the revenue predicted failed to materialize; and second, that the revenue that did materialize was spent in a flash.  California state law required state lawmakers to spend much of the surplus on public schools and reserve accounts.  Some of it was in new spending, such as expanding health care to all low-income undocumented immigrants.  The state also made lots of one-time expenditures in areas such as homelessness and infrastructure.  And the state sent some of the money back out to taxpayers in the form of stimulus payments, just like we did.

    The result is that just one year later, California‘s state government is now planning on spending more than it is going to take in. As a result, California‘s Senate leadership is now making noises about “common sense revenue options that protect the middle class and small businesses” which, of course, means tax increases.  It’s too early in California’s legislative session to tell what’s going to happen ultimately, but you can bet it’s not going to be pretty.

    So, here at home, can we learn from California’s experience? We would certainly hope so.  There are many constituencies that benefited here from the increase in spending in 2021 while we still had lots of money. They naturally will be screaming for that amount or more money next year, or even this year, regardless of the amount of surplus we do have. While it may be tempting to make these constituencies happy by giving into their demands, taxpayers don’t have wallets of unlimited size.  That means we simply can’t satisfy everybody. We have to live within our means.

    In the meantime, we need to engage in responsible budgeting.  The public needs to be able to figure out where the money comes from and where it goes, which is nearly impossible now because of special funds and other off-budget financial devices.  We need to clean those up and make the resulting budget transparent.  We can’t continue to hide behind excuses like “the computer system won’t allow that” and “the public isn’t allowed to see budget documentation.”

    To quote the California Senate leadership, we need to “Protect Our Progress by Maintaining Commitment to Responsible Budgeting & Resiliency, Even in Tough Times.”  Hopefully, when we apply these principles it won’t drive our current whopping surplus becoming a billion dollar deficit in a single year.

    So we can be lucky we live Hawaii.

    Free-Fall – Let It Be

    Michael Benfield, one of the founders of the Green Party of England and Wales recently proclaimed “It’s too late to save the environment.” He told the BBC “I think we have succeeded in helping to educate… but we have failed in dealing with the battle for environmental survival. I’ll say to you now that it’s too late. The battle for the world’s environmental survival is, at this moment, lost.”

    The scope and scale of the solutions which he believes  necessary are simply too vast to be acceptable for any political party. The focus now, he stated, would have to be on mitigation.

    There is little doubt that the global environment is in a state of dynamic free – fall. There is also little doubt that the driving factor is sustained, destructive human activity.

    While it is important to separate fiction from fact and “wake up” to reality, expending energy on blame, emotions of guilt, remorse, belated outrage, etc. is useless and meaningless. Posturing and theatrics. It changes nothing. We have, undeniably, set a colossal process in motion. It will play out as nature seeks a new balance.

    We can, at best, as Benfield suggests, attempt to mitigate / minimize the degree and rate of destabilization by adopting more sustainable ways of living. Expecting guidance towards this end by political leaders has proven fruitless. Their focus is supporting the industrial entities that drive the degradation of the environment and finance the body politic. They are, in fact, the stewards, guardians and enforcers of the system. Neither right nor wrong, good nor bad  . . . just the way it is.

    For example: March 6 (Reuters) –

    Environmental groups sued the Biden administration on Monday to block the sale of oil and gas drilling rights in the Gulf of Mexico.

    The lawsuit filed by Earthjustice, the Sierra Club and other environmental groups in federal court in Washington, D.C., seeks to stop the U.S. Interior Department from offering up drilling rights in 73.3 million acres of the oil-rich region later this month.

    The Biden administration finalized its plan to offer the Gulf drilling rights last month and said bids are due March 28. The auction is seen as a test of industry demand for investment in the Gulf just over a year after the Russian invasion of Ukraine cranked up pressure on the administration to increase domestic supplies of oil and gas.

    A classic case of positive environmental action versus industrial opportunity for profit. No contest . . . big money calls the shot. Government bends over with a smile.

    That leaves responsibility with us as individuals who can take control of our own lives and actions.

    For instance:

    The world’s oceans are polluted by a “plastic smog” made up of an estimated 171 trillion plastic particles that if gathered, would weigh around 2.3 million tons, according to a new study. (CNN). Governments won’t force manufacturers to limit production of single use plastics . . . but . . . simple solution . . . we can stop using / buying them.

    Attempting to fix and rebalance the free – fall state of destabilized core environmental elements on a global level is, as Benfield acknowledges, a lost cause.

     As the chaos of unbalance proceeds, an infinite number of dynamically linked variables come into play, resulting in unforeseeable, unknowable and unpredictable outcomes. Nature’s return to balance is a non linear process despite our attempts to fit it into understandable, linear, sequential templates and models.

    The return  to global balance is not something we can control. What we can control is our own personal behavior. Our actions are the tools of mitigation. How we behave and act affects the degree of continued damage that the environment sustains and consequently the overall extent of ecological instability and unbalance. Waiting for political / industrial leadership to guide us to a neat fix is tantamount to waiting for the devil to open the gates of heaven.

    Ain’t gonna happen.

    The world we live in . . . what we call the human world . . . does not exist in a vacuum. It is not the whole picture. Planet earth with all of the creatures that inhabit it . . . all of the drama, history, twists and turns that make up “our world” does not exist in a separate, enclosed, isolated, or in any way, special space. We are an element in an infinite, connected, evolving universe. Every event, movement, change, etc. that occurs on earth is connected to and resonates throughout the vast totality of existence. Not philosophy, spiritual belief, religion . . . just basic science.

    It seems very likely that the accelerating free – fall and destabilization of of the world that we hold as familiar is building to a grand scale and that we are on the cusp of a dimensional or quantum change.

    An incredible, exciting time to be present and conscious . . . an epochal opportunity to awaken and leave fiction and delusion behind.

    Ixtlan by Joe Carlisi


    Joseph Carlisi – Biography     

    Born and raised in New York City, he earned BA and MA degrees in Philosophy at Hunter College of the City University of New York and then continued his graduate studies in Philosophy and Artificial Intelligence at Massachusetts Institute of Technology working under the mentorship of Marvin Minsky. Joseph worked as a part time content and copy editor for Harvard University Press (science and medicine) while attending M.I.T.     

    After ten years as a university lecturer, researcher and administrator, he started and managed an advertising / public relations firm in San Diego, CA that handled a wide range of commercial accounts. On the academic side, he published a series of seven articles on animal behavior for Harvard Magazine and two books: “A Guide to Personal Power” and most recently “Playing God on the Eve of Extinction”.

    Joseph Carlisi creates oil on canvas paintings that can be described as vivid, surreal and unexpected. His paintings have been exhibited and sold in: Honolulu, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, New York City, Miami, Tokyo, Yokohama, Amsterdam, Berlin and Salvador Brazil.

    Joe’s art is available for purchase.

    Contact him at