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SureFire Powerpak

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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: surefire.com/firepak

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GoalZero & Sunjack reviews

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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 Illuminationgear.com 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.

Earth Day 2017

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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.

04221970
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

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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:

Playbook4Teens
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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Riseup

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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?

timrobiblogpic
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

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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.

    wakeupwithpurpose

  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

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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.

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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

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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

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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 (futuristspeaker.com).

“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.
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Future of Work

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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

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Movement Model of Behavior

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


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The Censorship of the Cancel Culture

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Amazon

In the beginning of the aftermath of Twitter and Facebook’s censoring of the story about Hunter Biden and the provable collusion between then-Vice President Joe Biden and a Ukrainian oil executive – all facilitated by Hunter, the issue of censorship is front and center.

Twitter and Facebook hide behind the shields afforded them both by the First Amendment right to free speech on the one hand and the protection from litigation granted to social media outlets under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act on the other.

These controlling and arrogantly run outlets are running rough shod over the dissemination of information free from consequence or accountability.

Several Senators have called the CEOs of Twitter, Facebook, and Google on the carpet, but I put it to you – and to them – they should include Amazon…and here’s why.

Black author and documentarian Shelby Steele has produced a raw but necessary documentary titled, “What Killed Michael Brown,” examining the charge of systemic racism in the United States. It centers on the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri in 2014, two years before President Trump took office.

But Steele’s submission to have his documentary offered on Amazon, one of the biggest home entertainment outlets in the world, was denied. Amazon said Steele’s offering, “doesn’t meet Prime Video’s content quality expectations and is not eligible for publishing at this time. We will not be accepting resubmission of this title and this decision may not be appealed.”

I am embedding the trailer here for your examination.

Whether you agree with Steele’s premise or his conclusions is beside the point being made here.

If we, as a nation, continue to be socially engineered by social media and media companies that employ censorship, propaganda by omission, and the obstruction of a free exchange of ideas, then we are not only doomed, freedom and liberty are lost to the ages.

We stand at a moment when Orwell’s 1984 is not only upon us, it has been hybrid with The Hunger Games and we are living it: the redefinition of words and phrases, the institution of classes, justice applied by demographic, rigged elections, and a sensationalist, corrupt media.

If we are to have a second revolution or a second civil war in the United States it needs to be on the battlefield of ideas and the fight must be for freedom of thought, speech, ideas and expression.

To lose this battle it to lose the Republic, and that means to lose it all.

Springboard to Asia

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Indonesian Sunset

Author’s Note: I returned to Hawaii in June 1998 after two and a half years with UNICEF – six months in Fiji and two years in Cambodia. The East-West Center, located on the UH campus in Honolulu, had graciously provided me with an office to edit 20 years of personal journal entries while contemplating my next adventure. My landlords also welcomed me back to a quiet, refurbished apartment – with spectacular views up to steep mountains and deep valleys, misty with passing showers and rainbows, and down to the sea, sunsets and the lights of Waikiki – indulging in the artist’s lifestyle in the beautiful Hawaiian Islands.

Hawaii was the perfect refuge. But, even ‘paradise’ can become a bit ordinary, and the time had come for a change of scenery. So, once again, the ‘Land of Aloha’ was the springboard to Asia as I ventured off into the exotic hideaways and popular tourist havens of the Far East with none other than Gary – my old buddy from our Western Samoa days.

He’s a former semi-pro footballer, body-builder – not totally gone to fat, but complete with gold chain and perpetual grin, chuckle and lust for good times, especially with ‘the babes and a few beers.’ What a trip! It was quite exhausting trying to keep up the pace with Gary – too damn much beer, a steady stream of women, and no sleep!

Map of Southeast Asia, Wikipedia Commons

Gary had left a successful career as an educator to travel overseas and experience different cultures. He decided he would “rather have a passport full of stamps than a house full of stuff and a big bank account.” Having traveled widely and lived and worked in several developing countries, Gary understands the profound impact total immersion in another culture can have on one’s world view and outlook on life.

As the Senior Field Officer with the Western Samoa Red Cross Society, Gary poured his heart into his work, which included organizing events and raising funds tirelessly for a range of international youth health and development programs. He credits his overseas experiences for having helped him develop greater empathy towards other nationalities, particularly developing countries, which made his personal problems seem tiny by comparison. Gary has also clearly had a thirst for adventure, and claims that “if I didn’t have some crazy travel stories to tell, then I did something wrong.” So, here are a few of those ‘wild and crazy’ stories.  

Our night flight over the Gulf of Siam was lit up with the lights of fishing boats positioned in patterns – as if we were flying ‘over’ the stars. It was an eerie but beautiful sight as these constellation-like patterns dotting the sea below merged with the horizon and the night sky filled with the ‘real’ stars and constellations. In Bangkok, we joined a couple of my Thai friends on several occasions for some nice dinners out with plenty of good local food and drink. Before heading home each night, we would drop Gary off at Patpong Road – Bangkok’s infamous ‘Entertainment District’ – where he continued the festivities well into the night.

Street vendor selling dried squid, Thailand

From Bangkok, we headed to Bali, Indonesia – and to Kuta Beach, a popular tourist area, where we enjoyed tons of delicious and incredibly cheap local food and drink. We soaked up the fresh air, sun and surf, and joined the lively parade of nocturnal revelers that filled the streets, restaurants, bars and cafes at night. The delicious grilled tuna steaks, avocado shakes and cute local waitresses were not to be forgotten.

I crashed early each evening and let Gary carry on into the night, taking full advantage of the bar scene and vibrant night life, beside himself with pure pleasure. Unfortunately, he claimed to be unable to remember a few nights – too drunk. However, he did recall waking up at least once with a broken condom – man! Anyway, I did my best reminding him to be careful.

Jim with a group of Balinese Dancers, Bali Island, Indonesia

The weather was blazing hot in Bali, and also at the Gili Islands – a group of three tiny islands located  off the coast of the nearby island of Lombok. It was the height of the rainy season and the humidity was stifling. But the boat trip to Lombok Island and then by bus through the dense jungle, past traditional villages and finally aboard a small, local boat to the Gilis was thrilling. Automobiles and motorized traffic are prohibited on the Gili Islands, so the preferred method of transportation is by foot and bicycle or the horse-drawn carriage called a cidomo.

Each of the three idyllic islands has its own unique character. The two smaller islands offer peaceful tropical island retreats. But of course, and at Gary’s bidding, we opted for the larger and more heavily touristed “Party Island” – and that it was!  Beer flowing, music thumping, mushrooms – people tripping, partying all night. This would have been my last choice – so it was a different experience for me. But we had fun, and Gary was stoked!

Gary and Jim staying with Marie (center front) and some friends at her villa in Saigon

From Bali, we flew via Bangkok to Ho Chi Minh City (which is still referred to by the locals as Saigon) and were hosted by Marie, my Viet Kieu (French Vietnamese) friend at her beautiful French villa. Gary and Marie hit it off immediately talking import-export business, and Marie proved to be an excellent host and tour guide. She took us into the countryside and through the Mekong Delta region, along hidden canals through Cholon District (Saigon’s Chinatown) for nighttime shopping – including visits to her businesses, and to local markets, war museums and to the immense network of underground tunnels at Cu Chi. We had a great time!

‘Comrade’ Gary (and ‘Uncle Ho’ pictured above) at the Cu Chi Tunnels, Saigon, Vietnam

On to Hanoi, we headed for the congested madhouse of the city’s “Old Quarter” alive with beeping horns along the narrow, winding streets choked with a chaotic tangle of motorbikes and bicycles, and the ever-present pestering touts. Gary was nearly robbed and became totally lost that first night. I was enjoying a second bowl of noodles (Pho) when we became separated. But Gary managed to survive, especially with a Big Mac or pizza fix, whenever possible.

Best of all, it was really neat to experience it all through Gary’s eyes – like seeing everything for the first time. Otherwise, I would have been bored with just the familiar tourist stuff to do. Finally, we concluded our whirlwind three-week Asian tour with a trip to beautiful Ha Long Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which features thousands of steep, limestone karsts and isles in various sizes and shapes rising dramatically from the dark, green water.

Jim at Ha Long Bay, Vietnam

Travelling by bus from Hanoi through the countryside to the coast, we enjoyed good fresh air, amazing scenery and later, a boat ride through magnificent Ha Long Bay. So, after a dozen or so years of talking about it, we had finally managed our adventure through Southeast Asia! These good times stoked the adventure fires for more, which would lead to our South Asian travels in India, several years later. (Stay tuned for those stories, coming soon!).

Soon after Gary left Hanoi for the States, I met Thanh Huyen, a local newspaper reporter who wanted to practice her English. We shared the next several days and delightful evenings together in Hanoi’s historic city center, sipping chilled avocado smoothies and eating Pho by the shores of Hoan Kiem Lake – brilliantly lit up with lamp lights that shone across the water.

Jim and Thanh Huyen in Hanoi, Vietnam

Despite my nearly complete exhaustion following the full blast travels with Gary, I tracked down some of my aid worker friends in Hanoi who soon talked me into undertaking a more serious job hunt there. Indeed, upon walking into the UNAIDS Vietnam office, I was offered a short contract to do a rapid assessment of HIV/AIDS counseling and social support needs, which took me throughout the country from Hanoi in the north to Saigon in the south.

As I was finishing the intensive UNAIDS assignment, I interviewed one last key informant before leaving Saigon for Hanoi. She and her three Australian colleagues had just been sacked from an Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) women and child health project based in Saigon, and the Australian government was under pressure to put a new team of international consultants in place. So, despite not being Australian (they must have been desperate!), I was offered a position on the Project – and it just felt so right!

Ngoc Son Temple, Hoan Kiem Lake, Hanoi, Vietnam

Back in Hawaii, I was also considering a position with the Hawaii State Health Department, but eventually opted to make the break for Vietnam. A familiar pattern of transition was once again playing itself out – each time, setting me free to take a new direction. This time, a whirlwind trip around Southeast Asia had set the scene for the next exciting chapter to open!

Stay tuned for more stories, coming soon!

You can read more about Jim’s backstory,  here and here.

Academic Leadership

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Recently, the University of Hawaii announced that it was going to take steps to combat the anticipated budget shortfall caused by our economic shutdown and the consequent drop in tax revenues.

Effective November 1, it will be paying its executive and managerial employees a lot less.  Most of these employees, including chancellors, deans and some directors, will see a reduction of 9.23%.  If after that reduction the employee is making more than $200,000, the portion over $200,000 will be further reduced by 11%.

University of Hawaii President David Lassner is taking a 20% hit to his own salary, which is now $395,004.

Those reductions are forecasted to save $2.2 million in fiscal year 2020-2021, and $3.4 million per full fiscal year that the reductions remain in effect.

That is an example of leadership in the face of the COVID-19 crisis we all face.

In the meantime, state lawmakers and the Governor are proposing two-days-a-month furloughs for all state workers (except perhaps for first responders), which would if implemented save the State 10% of payroll costs.  The furloughs are proposed to last for four years, which is how long it is forecasted to take before state government revenues reach pre-pandemic levels.

As expected, the government worker unions are not expected to take this lying down.  “Your negotiations team met last night to discuss these developments and stands ready to advocate strongly for you at the bargaining table in the weeks ahead,” one of them told its members.

In a month, the votes of the people of Hawaii will be counted and we will have a freshly elected set of people to represent us both in our state capitol and in Washington, DC.  These folks will be considering the furloughs and “other options” when the 2021 legislative session starts up in January.

“Other options” will naturally include taxes, or “revenue enhancement” as some politicians would say.

One option that has been actively talked about is suspension of general excise tax exemptions, similar to the two-year program that was in effect between the middle of 2011 and the middle of 2013.  The Legislative Auditor’s office saw fit to price out those same exemptions, using 2018 data, in its Report No. 20-05.  That way, lawmakers can picture how much extra money may come in if they decide to suspend the exemptions again. 

There are a number of takeaways for you as a voter.

1.         Vote.

2.         Vote for people who you think will represent your interest as a taxpayer in the bloody battles – um, I mean deep policy discussions – that are sure to arise.  The public worker unions will have representatives.  You as a taxpayer should have one too.

3.         Vote for people who you think will exercise sound and independent judgment when they are being called to take the votes that come out of those deep policy discussions. 

4.         Vote for people who you think will exercise true leadership to get us out of the economic mess we are in.  Such as that which has been shown at the University of Hawaii.

Blangiardi’s Own Words and Actions Come Back on Him

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Blangiardi

And then there were two.

The biggest vote-getters in the mayoral race turned out to be the two new, “fresh” faces, to quote Keith Amemiya in his oft-repeated self-description.

Neither candidate has any solid experience in government and much has already been said about Amemiya’s connections and Blangiardi’s steamroller-style of running a business.

Inevitably, with only two candidates left to duke it out, we dig deeper into their lives. Doing so has produced revelations about Blangiardi.

Civil Beat’s Christina Jedra already introduced us to Rick’s 1980s Bank Fraud Scheme that resulted in a bankruptcy.

Decades before he became head of Hawaii News Now, Blangiardi was taken in by a shady real estate scheme that ended with a federal investigation and Blangiardi’s declaration of bankruptcy. “We were the victims, not the perpetrators,” he told Civil Beat.

A sales manager for KGMB at the time, a 1985 affidavit confirms that he received $1,500 in exchange for buying and mortgaging a condo on behalf of real estate broker Sam Daily, essentially acting as a straw buyer for the realtor.

He fraudulently obtained loans from a bank in Kansas, according to the suit which alleges he was one of several individuals who were paid $1,500 to act as straw borrowers for people who could not secure their own loans.

When the loans went unpaid. The bank was declared insolvent and shut down. The FDIC lawsuit demanded $100,000 to pay back the loan plus penalties and interest from Blangiardi.

At the same time, he was a limited partner in two companies: Haiku Partners and Haiku Holdings, which were run by the people who were running the scam. According to federal bankruptcy records, the companies were a “tax shelter.”

At the time, Blangiardi was a licensed real estate broker. It is difficult to imagine that he did not understand the actions he was taking, but he says he was a victim.

“The evidence undercuts Blangiardi’s claim that he was a blameless victim, said Mike Manning, a well-known Arizona attorney who discovered the fraud and represented the FDIC,” in the case, wrote Jedra.

“‘It was a sophisticated scheme that had a lot of soldiers, a lot of captains and a few generals,'” Manning told Civil Beat. “‘Blangiardi was one of eight to 12 (people) in Honolulu who made knowingly false statements under oath… That’s hardly an innocent dupe.”

Clearly, Honolulu has an abundance of fraud, which the federal government is investigating on rail and the Kealohas. Everyone has an agenda before the City. Money-making schemes abound at taxpayer’s expense. The City is set to embark on a huge building spree to stimulate the economy. The rail has yet to finish amidst an investigation to discover how it became perhaps the most expensive project in US history. Will he be able to discern shady characters and resist their ploys?

We got another hint of his character during the poorly-attended Facebook debate with Local 5. Blangiardi showed his fangs like an attack dog. It was not pretty.

Blangiardi has had addresses in Kahala, Black Rock and currently resides in a Honolulu penthouse, some of the best real estate on Oahu. He is truly wealthy.

He is married to retired financial executive Karen Chang, who recently set a record for selling her oceanfront home for $19.8 million.

Through his own words and actions in the rarified air of a senior executive, Blangiardi seems oh-so out-of-touch with the rest of us.

At one point during the Local 5 debate, Blangiardi sought to call out Amemiya by accusing him of not attending fundraiser functions, saying he had never run into him “in ballrooms.”

If Blangiardi had spent any time doing his homework on his opponent, he would have quickly discovered that Amemiya is not just handing out checks to charity and raising funds. He is out there handing out food to kids who need hot lunches. He is standing on the front lines with his wife Bonny, the CEO of aio, LLC.

He has also appears dismissive and ever so out-of-touch in the areas of homelessness and sexual harassment.

Blangiardi has a wealth of public documentation. He came into our living rooms through his “Local Connections” segment on HNN for years. While the majority of Station Managers and CEOs in television news stay the hell out of the news, he couldn’t help but put his two cents in. He had to tell you how to think. So now, as Candidate Blangiardi, we have a lot to draw on and here are some examples.

In a Local Connection segment entitled Clean Campaigns, during the 2018 gubernatorial election, Blangiardi seemed to dismiss the allegations of domestic abuse against candidate Clayton Hee, saying, “The fact that decades’ old domestic abuse allegations were brought up against Hee is a signal that this will be a hard fought race. And we can expect aggressive tactics.”

Along the same lines, Blangiardi seemed to dismiss sexual harassment charges against former House Speaker Joe Souki, implying that sexual harassment is not worthy of a criminal matter in a Local Connections segment entitled “Souki’s Retirement.”

“That’s why the women who complained did so to the state ethics commission rather than the usual agencies that enforce civil rights laws. And that’s appropriate,” he opined.

For the countless numbers of women who have endured unwelcome touching, inappropriate comments, pay-to-play bosses and other gender-based dehumanization, it is insensitive, to say the least. From a man’s point of view, Blangiardi implies that all should be forgiven. After all, these are not really crimes. No harm, no foul, right? He didn’t put himself is the shoes of the victim. Instead, he put himself into the shoes of the perpetrator.

When a man, especially one in power, puts the moves on a woman, it creates an unsafe environment that is threatening, sexualizing and degrading. If there is a significant other at home, it becomes even worse. If the income is essential to survival, it is unthinkably cruel.

He has also championed Caldwell’s “Compassionate Disruption,” stating that it’s a fight worth fighting. “Compassionate Disruption” is Mayor Caldwell’s answer to getting homeless off the streets of Waikiki by combining outreach and assistance programs with enforcement sweeps of homeless camps. It is unclear how much assistance gets accomplished but it is clear that sweeps move homeless camps to some other sidewalk, at least temporarily.

“While the ACLU has usually prevailed in these kinds of lawsuits against the city, this might be a fight worth taking for the mayor,” he said (Local Connections: Compassionate Disruption). In the years since compassionate disruption has begun, most of the people who are homeless for economic reasons seem to have found shelter. Those remaining on the street are usually chronic. If not mentally ill or drug addicted, they stubbornly cling to a lifestyle that is a blight on the larger community. Perhaps the courts will agree that compassion can only go so far and a little more disruption is called for. This is a much less sympathetic population than those that occupied Kakaako three years ago.”

It appears that the courts do not agree. While adjudication continues, however, Caldwell continues to move homeless from one sidewalk to another.

If Blangiardi should become mayor, it could indicate the position he will take on homelessness, which has only become more severe as the pandemic crisis worsens and more residents find themselves unemployed. Let us hope our county, state and federal leaders can find a solution to keep people in their homes until we can have our jobs back.

Blangiardi expressed bias in favor of government over the people in a Local Connections entitled “Protesting Projects in Hawaii,” implying that protests in opposition to TMT, the Kahuku wind farms and the Waimanalo sports complex were a”random” example of “lawlessness” by Kapu Aloha because they were legally permitted.

Saying so doesn’t make it right. Questions about community outreach, fairness and the integrity of the process abound. The cultural, archaeological and spiritual significance of these locations has been largely ignored or overlooked by the process. Blangiardi acknowledges that there is a deep distrust of government – but fails to acknowledge the original sin of stealing the Hawaiian kingdom out from under the Hawaiian people to exploit the land. As usurpers, what rights do the occupiers have? And who benefits the most from the projects?

Peaceful demonstration is not lawlessness – it is our duty and our right as citizens to engage in civil disobedience when we perceive that our government is wrong. Participation in civic affairs should be encouraged, especially for those in the Native Hawaiian community. More needs to be done to reach out and engage this community in decisions that effect them. One cannot overstate the corruption and deceit that has brought us the Kealohas and the rail project, to our shame. This is not a time for business as usual in Honolulu. A new leader must acknowledge that transparency, community engagement on all levels and civic responsiveness are going to be paramount in regaining the public’s trust.

Blangiradi wants to run the City and County of Honolulu like one of his for-profit television stations. “The mayor is the CEO of the city. The job is to lead and to manage – people, money, resources,” he writes on his website. “I’ve spent a career doing exactly that, in companies both here in Hawai‘i and larger companies on the mainland.” He touts his Mainland business experience as being so much more significant than anything hard working local people do in our islands. “$50 million is a rounding error,” where he came from, Blangiardi told Hawaii News Now in July, after re-assuring them that he was “born to be a football coach.” So does Blangiardi want to be Mayor or the University of Hawaii’s next football coach?”

Finally, on a personal level, Rick Blangiardi was successfully sued by his ex-wife, Kathleen Franklin, to meet his obligations for the postsecondary education of his eldest son according to the agreement made in the dissolution. Together, the couple have three children.

It was this son, Matt, with whom his wife was pregnant, that inspired him to leave his football coaching position at the University of Hawaii, according to the published legend, and to find his calling in television.

Divorced in 1991, Kathleen got custody of the kids while Rick went on a nationwide career jaunt.

They agreed to provide for the kids college, establishing bonds with staggered maturities that were each child’s personal property to be used to finance their education. Rick was to pay any amount up to the amount of in-state Washington tuition that was not covered by the trust.

Five years later, when Matt enrolled at the University of San Diego, Kathleen had to take him to court to get him to cough it up. And when it was found in her favor, they had to go to appeals court.

The estimated expenses were $22,000 for room and board, exceeding the $10k in the trust. The estimated cost of in-state tuition was $8,100.

First, he said that he owned their bonds. The court disagreed. After conceding that point, Blangiardi would not respond to Kathleen’s requests that he follow up on the terms of the divorce decree and pay the additional $8,100. She filed a trial court action in Washington State Court to enforce the terms of the decree and obtain a declaratory judgement confirming his responsibility for his own kids’ college expenses.

Rick challenged the court’s findings that “he had acquiesced in Matt’s decision to attend USD.” But the court disagreed because he had helped him with the application. The court also ordered him to provide an accounting of the children’s trust accounts over concerns that he had stated that the accounts were his property.

Significantly, Rick attempted to have the action dismissed on procedural grounds by taking a position that if she wanted to sue him, Kathleen needed to bring action and make his son a party to the action! He tried, in other words, to force her to bring her son to court to sue his own father! The court had none of it.

Blangiardi was required to maintain a life insurance policy as per the divorce decree to guarantee maintenance and support in the case of his death, which he had not done. The court found entirely in favor of Kathleen and against Rick, including lawyers’ fees.

This incident, though it is extremely personal, leaves a very bitter taste. There are of course, two sides to every story. But it is a record of a bilious family situation that is a stain on a man’s character.

Blangiardi has been married three times. His current wife of about two years, Karen Chang, is a retired financial executive who was a Caldwell appointee to the Police Commission, a position she resigned just prior to Blangiardi’s candidacy announcement.

It was brought to the attention of the Hawaii Reporter that a previous version of this story may have had inaccuracies or incomplete truths that may have unfairly misrepresented the facts. These details were added and published without the permission of the original author of this story. The Hawaii Reporter apologizes to Mr. Blangiardi and asks contributors and editors to ensure information is factually based.

Standardless Spending

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We are feverishly trying to spend federal dollars for the common good and busily preparing for a historic election.  There are, however, other huge projects in the wings where government agencies are setting up to spend record-setting amounts of money in public-private partnerships. 

One of them is the Aloha Stadium project, which we have previously written about.  Another is the Honolulu Rail project, which has often been the subject of press coverage

Assuming (with some foundation) that the procuring agencies for these projects want to keep their discussion under wraps, does the public have a right to make them disclose details before a deal is reached and papers are signed?

Sadly, the answer appears to be no. 

Remember, we aren’t even operating with a full deck of laws.  Our Governor has found fit to suspend a 20-page-long list of statutes in the name of coping with the COVID-19 pandemic.  That’s because one of the emergency powers statutes, HRS section 127A-13(a)(3), gives the Governor the power to suspend “any law that impedes or tends to impede or be detrimental to the expeditious and efficient execution of, or to conflict with, emergency functions.”  The suspension is supposed to expire in 60 days, but nothing prevents the Governor from making another proclamation on the 59th day saying that we are still in an emergency and the laws are suspended for another 60 days – we are on the 13th such proclamation so far. 

One of the casualties has been the State Procurement Code, HRS chapter 103D.  The Code was suspended in full.  Another is HRS chapter 92F, the law governing public access to government records. That one used to be suspended in full, but in May the Governor relented a little, and said that agencies only had to acknowledge receipt of a public records request; deadlines were ripped up so agencies didn’t have to respond to the requests, or produce documents, until they were good and ready. (Anyone want to take bets on when that will be?)

Technically, that means agencies don’t even have to go through any competitive bid process. They can just spend money and sign contracts. 

What if you are a taxpayer who wants to know how tens of millions of taxpayer dollars are being spent?  Pretty much out of luck there.  “We need to give agencies the maximum flexibility and resources to respond to emergency conditions,” they will probably say.  Which means they don’t have time to be bothered by pipsqueak members of the public.  So, after acknowledging your request for information, they can put it in a side drawer somewhere, where it may never see the light of day again.

What about if you bid on one of these projects and you are told that your bid wasn’t selected?  Can you contest the decision like many companies did in the past?  Well, no, the law authorizing bid contests (part VII of the Procurement Code) has been suspended too.  We need to give agencies the maximum flexibility and resources to respond to emergency conditions.

But what do Aloha Stadium and Honolulu Rail have to do with the pandemic?  We need to give agencies the maximum flexibility and resources to respond to emergency conditions.  Do the Aloha Stadium Authority and HART engage in emergency functions whatsoever?  We don’t care, we need to give agencies the maximum flexibility and resources to respond to emergency conditions. 

I am okay with allowing agencies to buy things for pandemic response.  If some government official were to certify that the purchase was related to the pandemic, I would look the other way if the agency wanted to cut some corners in the procurement process.  But ripping up the whole procurement law and allowing multi-billion dollar purchases to skate?  Please!  Doesn’t it sound like anarchy here?  Can we stop the insanity?

FIVE WAYS TO LOOK BETTER IN YOUR PHOTOS TODAY

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by Esther Lambright

Whether it’s a full-on portrait shoot or a quick snapshot, I think we can all agree that we like to look our best in photos.  And while selfies might seem like the thing for most, others (like me) employ their Instagram spouse to always get the right angles. In any scenario we all want the best, so I’ve put together 5 tips to enable you to capture your best side no matter the occasion. Mix and match these tips to level up your photo game immediately.

#1 SMILE

It’s the first on our list and possibly the most obvious if you want to capture naturally vibrant expressions.  A genuine smile spread across your face gives your photo the power to truly connect you with the viewer. Are you someone who doesn’t know how to naturally smile when you’re in front of the camera? Think about something that makes you laugh or brings you joy. Allow yourself to experience those feelings in your body and exude the natural radiance of that feeling from your face.

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#2 Create Angles & Triangles

Using your arms and legs to create space and accent your natural body line adds a pleasing dynamic to your photo. Bend your knee, pop a hand on your hip, and play with your hair. All of these give a sense of natural movement while also creating lines for the viewers eyes to follow.

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#3 Chin forward and down!

When it comes to eliminating the dreaded ‘double chin’ this is one of the best solutions.  My clients often refer to it as the ‘chicken neck’ . It feels a bit awkward, but try it out and you’ll see that it is perfect for slimmer neck and cheeks. Simply extend your chin straight out in front of you and then drop it down slightly. This will also open your eyes to the  camera and slightly slim your cheeks and jaw.

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#4 Camera angle matters!

The angle of your camera also has a huge impact on your image. Example 1: For a more confident pose, hold the camera below eye level and angel up slightly. This is great for full body shots and for making you look taller.

Example 2: For a slimming effect, bring the  camera above your eye level and angle down slightly.  Now your eyes and face become the main focus, giving your photo that friendly, girl-next-door feel.

#5 Body language

Finally, the way you own the space you’re in matters. It’s a powerful way to level up the way you show up and are captured in photos.  If you want to be cute, own your cuteness.  If you’re going for a confident look, then be confident.  If you want to portray joy, feel the joy bubbling up inside of you.  Flirt with the camera and it’ll flirt back, love the camera and I promise it will love you more and more!

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As you can see, these tips are simple and I know if you try them you will see just how effective they can be.  If they help you elevate your photo and selfie game I’d love to hear about it. Tag me at #capturedimagery when you post to Instagram. Have fun implementing these ideas into your photos.

Esther Lambright Patterson is a portrait photographer and the  founder of Captured Imagery, a photography studio on the island of Oahu. It is her mission to give an opportunity to each person in front of her camera to be seen, celebrated and documented. For more information about this article, her business or anything photography related please contact her via email esther@capturedimagery.com or her website www.capturedimagery.com

Photos by Captured Imagery

Will Masks Replace Bras as the New Clothing of Oppression?

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While the health impacts of COVID-19 are still unfolding, the cultural impacts of the pandemic are already underway. And the most visible change is the liberation of the breasts, along with the imprisonment of the face.

For any readers who do not know about the health hazards that breasts face these days, you should know one of the biggest hazards is wearing tight bras. Since the invention of bras, there have been doctors warning about these tight garments and their link to breast disease, including breast cancer. 

For example, Dr. John Mayo, one of the founders of the Mayo Clinic, wrote in the article “Susceptibility to Cancer” in the 1931 Annals of Surgery, that “Cancer of the breast occurs largely among civilized women. In those countries where breasts are allowed to be exposed, that is, are not compressed or irritated by clothing, it is rare.” A bra patent in 1950 stated, “Even in the proper breast size, most brassieres envelop or bind the breast in such a fashion that normal circulation and freedom of movement is constricted. Many cases of breast cancer have been attributed to such breast constriction as caused by improperly fitted brassieres.”  (Taken from Dressed to Kill: The Link Between Breast Cancer and Bras, Second Edition, (2018) Square One Publishers, NY.)

The fact is bra-free women have about the same risk of breast cancer as men, while the tighter and longer the bra is worn daily, the greater the risk of breast cancer, with 24/7 bra users having over 100 times higher risk when compared to a bra-free woman. 

For a century, bras have been causing discomfort, disease and death. But cultural standards and financial interests often trump commonsense and the instinct for self-preservation, as the bra industry continually pushed-up their bottom line.  Surviving in our culture as a woman demanded wearing a bra, at least to work, even if it killed you. 

In the meantime, a powerful and rich breast cancer detection and treatment industry has grown, offering pink ribbons, fun fundraising marches and bra-art competitions, frequent radiation of the breasts with mammograms to detect tumors once they appear, “preventative” surgery of removing the breasts before they get cancer, more radiation to kill tumors, chemotherapy, and an endless promise to find a cure, while insisting there is nothing to the bra-cancer link, which is the true hope for prevention.  

Even the bra industry admits that most women wear bras which are too tight, and this makes worse the constriction caused by these breast-shape-altering garments. When pressure is applied to the breasts by the bra to change their shape, it results in reduced circulation in the breasts, and resulting disease. Red marks and indentations in the skin left by bras is a sign of constriction and lymph-stasis, a condition that can lead to breast pain, cysts, and cancer.  To read how bras can cause cancer, see my article, How Bras Cause Lymph Stasis and Breast Cancer

But the unprecedented lockdown created novel cultural conditions. Living and working from home is a different reality than having to go to work.  While many bra-using women can’t wait to get home from work to take off their uncomfortable bra, for women working at home there is no real excuse for having to be uncomfortable in a bra all day. And some women have ditched the bra altogether. 

To see this cultural shift, and the positive take on this new trend, simply do an Internet search of the terms, “Braless” and “Bra-free”.  It’s the new fashion trend. Comfort is in, constriction is out. 

Years of sales propaganda that created the bra industry and breast obsession that feeds that industry are being challenged by the new desire for comfort. That is a great outcome of the pandemic. Women are starting to consider their comfort, and are asking whether they need to wear bras in the first place. 

Interestingly, articles about the new bra-free trend discuss the feeling of freedom and improved health from not wearing bras. But the link between bras and breast cancer is still censored. Despite dozens of studies internationally which show a bra-cancer link, the cancer industry has been resisting this research and issue, since it challenges their current approach which ignores bras. It’s as embarrassing as ignoring smoking when researching lung cancer, which, of course, the cancer industry did in the 1950’s, when doctors promoted smoking.  

This reveals a truth about public health policy. As the pandemic has shown, public policy is political. Advice to wear masks or not, for example, has changed throughout the pandemic. Information about whether the virus is airborne or not has changed. The benefits of certain treatments has been controversial, too. And the push for a vaccine is rife with disinformation and distrust. While health experts try to consider the “facts” when coming up with guidance for public health policy, we have seen how facts can be reinterpreted, ignored, or invented to achieve a given public policy goal. For another example, see my article, Beef Over Red Meat Advice Reveals Medical Corruption

It should also be noted that bras cause more than breast cancer.  We are conducting an ongoing International Bra-Free Study, with participants from over 36 countries, and the preliminary results of the study are astounding. Bras can harm the entire body, affecting body temperature, breathing, digestion, menstruation, melatonin levels, and more. 

Were it not for the lockdown, women would still be suffering due to bras. Now, they are freer than ever before to liberate their breasts from the bounds of bras. 

But there has been a trade-off. Women were freed of the necessity of wearing a bra. But we all are now forced to wear a mask.

Masks have now been mandated in most places, changing the face of all interactions in our culture. Now, instead of women rushing home to rip off their bras, everyone is rushing home to rip off their masks. 

I must give a disclaimer here. I hate masks. I can’t comfortably breathe when wearing one. And I feel very uncomfortable trying to communicate with people in masks. 

Communication is difficult enough when you can look a person in the face and talk. But when you can’t see their lips or nose, you lose the ability to “read” important information. I don’t know how people who are deaf or hard-of-hearing deal with not being able to lip read those in masks. Maybe they just stop communicating. 

And you don’t have to be deaf to not talk with masked people. There is something socially rejecting about being in masks. Everyone is treated as a potential vector of disease. If you wanted a way to disintegrate a society, then put everyone in masks. 

Of course, we who have been raised and have lived in a culture where you could see someone’s full face find masks more difficult to accept than a child being raised in our new pandemic culture. For such children, being masked will become the norm. They will grow up feeling naked without a mask. And people will be shamed if they go out in public without covering their face in a mask, just as women have felt shamed about their breasts and being in public without a bra. 

We are exchanging face shame for breast shame. Nobody will care if your breasts are not in a culturally-defined shape, so long as your face is covered. 

You may think that the mask mandate is temporary. It will not be, in my opinion.  The reason for masks is to prevent infectious disease. While the current focus is on COVID-19, we are continually facing an annual influenza season. And public officials are warning about future pandemics. Why wear a mask now, and then expose yourself to infectious disease once COVID-19 is under control? And will it ever be under control?

To drive home their point of wearing masks, public officials have created a germ-phobia that is conditioning children into believing that they can kill someone if they don’t wear a mask, or be killed by someone who is brazen enough to be bare-faced in public. 

Of course, given the high demand for masks is creating a huge mask market. Billions of people will be masked. Landfills will be filled with discarded masks. 

This brings up the issue of mask disposal. If masks are supposed to catch virus particles and other pathogens emanating from the noses and mouths of people, then shouldn’t we consider these masks to be biohazards? If someone is infectious, so is their mask. Should masks be treated as biohazard waste? 

Masks will add to the environmental problem of waste management, as face masks, which are really “face-diapers”, are thrown on the sides of roads, negatively impacting wildlife, and into landfills with soiled baby diapers and adult diapers. 

Of course, masks will create their own health problems. Some people wear masks tightly, which digs into the skin behind the ears and around the mouth.  Some dentists are warning of “mask mouth”, with associated bad breath and tooth decay. Not everyone changes a mask as frequently as needed, breathing into the same mask for days. Touching the face to repeatedly reposition the mask increases the likelihood of touching your face with dirty hands. 

Naturally, the burgeoning mask market will make masks fashionable. The mask is a new billboard for your face, allowing slogans and a special type of facial branding. This gives new meaning to the expression, “Read my lips”.

This mask trend can also have impacts on the cosmetic industry. On the one hand, women would need less lipstick if their mouths are covered. On the other hand, when they take off their masks their faces will be even more noticed, so they may have lipstick on for those time when they unmask. Eye make-up may see some changes, too, as the eyes become the most expressive part of the face. Eyebrows and foreheads will also get more attention, so expect some plastic surgeons to start pushing for eyebrow lifts and forehead botox.

Dentistry may also be affected. Why would people pay for a million-dollar smile when you can’t see their mouths? Cosmetic dentists are probably grinding their teeth with worry.

Masks have also added to the difficulty of people finding friends and a mate. Masks put the kibosh on public flirtation, assuming anyone still had the guts to try striking up a conversation with a stranger these days. Nowadays, when you say someone is “hot”, it will be assumed they have a fever and have COVID-19. 

Children will accept these changes with ease. They have not had years of seeing other people’s smiles and frowns. Infants will need to develop their ability to identify facial expressions by looking at computer screens and images of people, not by looking at people in the real world. Maybe they will notice greater nuance of emotion in the eyes and forehead. Most likely they will be afraid of people, since we are all potential agents of disease and death.

At least women will be free to have comfortable and healthy breasts. Less breast cancer and other breast diseases, but more mental illness, alienation, and face acne from masks. 

Here’s a suggestion. Instead of throwing your old bra into the landfill, cut it in half and use it to make two masks. You’ll help save the environment from all the new face diapers. 

Veto of the “Revolving Door” Bill

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On September 15, Governor Ige released his final list of bills he is vetoing from the 2020 legislative session.  The list included House Bill 2124, which some people have called the “Revolving Door Bill.”

Currently, the State Ethics Code, in HRS section 84-18, says that after leaving state employment, a person may not represent a client for compensation before that agency for 12 months after employment.  It does allow a former state agency employee to become a lobbyist and represent clients before the Legislature, or to represent clients before another state agency.

The definition of employee in the ethics code is broad and includes members of volunteer boards and commissions.  Thus, a volunteer member of a State Board of Taxation Review can’t practice before the Department of Taxation for the duration of the person’s term and for one year afterward.  Tax professionals thinking of joining the Board of Review may find it tough to have their practices restricted for multiple years, which makes it hard to find qualified people to be on that type of volunteer board.  We have written about that problem before; that problem still is unresolved.

HB 2124 apparently is targeted at people who go from an agency to being a lobbyist or vice versa and wants to make sure that there is no appearance of corruption or impropriety.  Under the bill, a variety of elected and appointed positions, including most department heads and all members of the:  OHA, agribusiness development corporation, campaign spending commission, Hawaii community development authority, Hawaii housing finance and development corporation, Hawaii tourism authority, and public utilities commission, will not be allowed to represent clients before the legislature or any executive branch agency for the 12-month period after leaving the State.

The Governor vetoed the bill because the “additional restrictions imposed on volunteer board and commission members who fulfill an important role in protecting our community through their service without compensation will make it significantly more challenging to attract and recruit the most qualified individuals for service on boards and commissions.”

Many of the people at whom the bill was directed, elected officials and department heads, are compensated and are not volunteers, so the objections in the Governor’s message are largely inapplicable.  But it seems to us that the bill is flawed for a different reason:  it goes too far.  The bill is not concerned with preventing corruption, for there are different laws making corruption illegal.  The bill addresses the appearance of corruption.  If an agency director’s job ends in November and he turns out to be a lobbyist in January, it may seem like something fishy is going on (the appearance) although nothing of the sort is happening (the reality). 

Ethics laws exist to promote trust in government, and the avoidance of impropriety, in appearance as well as in fact, is important to that objective.  But that must be balanced against the reality of the talent market.  For the position of Director of Taxation, for example, we probably want someone who knows about our tax laws.  Probably the most common way to acquire that knowledge is to work as a tax professional.  If we are going to tell potential candidates for such a position that they won’t be able to work in their chosen profession for five or nine years after taking the job, many candidates will rightfully wonder about how they are going to feed their families after their limited term ends.  The bill will make the economic pain more difficult to avoid, which may well result in more candidates walking away. 

If we want to have talented people leading our departments and populating our commissions, we should make their exit strategies easier, not harder.  Perhaps if we attract more talented people, we will move toward restoring trust in our government – more than would be possible by heaping restrictions and prohibitions on those people (especially volunteers) who have a genuine desire to help our lot through government service.

Govs. Abercrombie and Waihee on Leadership

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On Tuesday, September 8, the Tax Foundation was pleased to welcome former Govs. Neil Abercrombie and John Waihee III to the first ever virtual annual meeting of the Tax Foundation of Hawaii.

During the Zoom meeting, we had a free-flowing discussion of topics, sometimes tightly connected with taxation and public finance, and sometimes loosely connected.  Many of the twists and turns in the discussion were driven by audience questions.

One of the central themes of the discussion was the COVID-19 pandemic and the economic fallout from it.  The governors zeroed in on two principal drivers of our government’s response, namely structural capability and leadership.

Structural capability reflects the ability of government to respond to new things.  Gov. Abercrombie mentioned that during his term in office he was worried about the State’s information technology infrastructure and tried to implement significant changes to it.  Changes did happen, but vestiges of older technologies stubbornly remained – such as the two fax machines that the Department of Health’s contact tracing program has relied on to receive reports of new and suspected cases.  Structural capability also reflects the ability of people in it to respond with creative, out-of-the-box thinking, such as the COVID-19 testing effort in the Interstate H‑3 Harano Tunnels spearheaded by Deputy Director of Transportation Ed Sniffen.

Leadership, loosely defined as the ability to motivate people to do what you want when they might not be willing to do it without the motivation, is an ability (or lack thereof) often cited in describing a government’s response.  Gov. Waihee identified three essential aspects of leadership.  First, there must be no corruption.  If the public thinks you as a leader are doing something wrong, they will have less motivation to follow you.  Second, there needs to be openness, and third, there needs to be clear communication to the constituency of what and why.  The electorate doesn’t like to be told to shut up and do what they’re told.  They need to have some sense of not only the desired behavior but also the reasons behind it before they are able to buy in. 

The openness aspect seemed to be lacking at least in our government’s initial response to the crisis.  When the emergency proclamations giving us the stay-at-home orders and quarantining came down from the fifth floor of the Capitol, the Governor suspended in its entirety the state’s chapter of mandating public access to government records, and suspended a large part of the state’s open meetings laws.  The Governor walked back the suspensions a little at the beginning of May, but it seems that the tone and direction of the executive branch already had been set.  Not even the Legislative Auditor was able to obtain cooperation with its information gathering efforts at the Department of Health or the Department of Education.  When it is that tough for a government agency to get answers, woe be to the press and the public who are trying to find essential information.

When government is challenged in structural capability or leadership, Gov. Abercrombie suggested that a possible solution is to fill in the gap with a public-private partnership, such as is being tried with the Aloha Stadium grounds.  Of course, safeguards need to be in place to be sure that the interests of the public are protected, but many situations present opportunities for win-win situations. 

Our thanks once again go out to former Govs. Abercrombie and Waihee for such a thought-provoking discussion!

An Argument for Filling Ginsburg’s Seat Immediately

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In the aftermath of the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, tensions on both sides of the aisle are high. With a hotly contested General Election just weeks away, some in the pundit/activist spheres, conditioned by the acceptance of civil unrest in our urban areas, are calling for acts of violence should President Trump nominate his pick to fill the vacancy on the bench. The problem with this, besides the obvious, is that Mr. Trump has no choice but to deliver his nomination to the Senate for confirmation unless he is to be irresponsible to the nation’s needs and the Constitution’s mandates.

In an array of tweets, several self-important personalities issued violent threats against the country should the President and the Senate actually do their constitutional duties:

  • “If they even TRY to replace RBG we burn the entire f—–g thing down” and “Over our dead bodies. Literally,” tweeted Reza Aslan, an Iranian-born CNN host, born-again Islamist, and author.
  • “F–k no. Burn it all down,” tweeted Aaron Gouveia, author of Raising Boys To Be Good Men: A Parent’s Guide to Bringing Up Happy Sons in a World Filled with Toxic Masculinity and Father who defended his 5-year old son’s right to wear fingernail polish.
  • “We’re shutting this country down if Trump and McConnell try to ram through an appointment before the election,” tweeted Beau Willimon, a former aid to John Dean’s failed Senate bid and screenwriter who pilfered the idea for House of Cards from the British version.
  • “Burn Congress down before letting Trump try to appoint anyone to SCOTUS,” tweeted Emmett Macfarlane, a Canadian professor at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada.

If you are disturbed by the level of hatred, aggression, and complete disregard to the rule of law and the US Constitution then you haven’t been paying attention to what has been going on in the whole of America’s urban centers for the past six months.

But what both the foreign nationals and the US citizens noted above do not understand, for their constitutional illiteracy, is that there are two pressing reasons why Justice Ginsburg’s seat needs to be filled before the November election.

First and foremost, the country needs a full compliment on the US Supreme Court should there be any contest to the election results this November the likes of Bush v. Gore in 2000. A deadlocked 4-to-4 decision regarding the election of a president would send a fireball of violence into the streets of our nation, not to mention dismantle continuity of government. With our nation as divided as it is, we would almost assuredly devolve into a Second US Civil War.

But more important is that the President and the US Senate are mandated by the US Constitution to execute the workings of government. The moment a vacancy is created it is mandated that the process of filling that vacancy begin. The bad precedent that politicians have set in elongating this process is just that: bad precedent.

Article II, Section 2 of the US Constitution states, in part:

“[The President] shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur; and he shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States, whose Appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by Law…”

As you can see, nowhere in this Article, or anywhere else in the US Constitution, does it call for a period of mourning, an exception in an election year, or a hiatus due to an impending election. The US Constitution simple vests the authority and mandates its execution.

Just as when the vice president is immediately sworn in as president when a president is tragically taken from us, so too is it necessary to immediately begin the process of filling vacancies in every other constitutional branch of office and especially in the face of a critical national election. The execution of these constitutional duties is not a sign of disrespect for the recently passed, it’s a mandated exercise in continuity of government, and that is government’s obligation to its people.

Politicians would love to drag out the filling of Justice Ginsburg’s seat on the bench for political reasons; to suit their political agendas. Activists, Marxists revolutionaries, and ideologues would relish the elongation of the process in hopes that Mr. Trump loses his re-election bid so that Biden (or Harris) might nominate someone approved by the group-think, oligarchic elite of the Marxist-Progressive Left, the cabal that controls all things Democrat.

But politics is not government. Let me say that again. Politics is not government. We all have gotten so used to mistaking political acts for acts of government that we have become accepting of the falsehood that the political parties have any legitimacy in the execution of government. We have been duped into believing that politics is government, but politics is not — and never should have been — a component of government.

The shrieks of the political class who threaten retribution are the sounds of ideologues threatening the US Constitution. Politics and political operatives hold no sway over the mandates of the US Constitution. And while the Sen. Schumers and Speaker Pelosis of the Left talk about a period of mourning, that mourning must happen simultaneously with the execution of government, which means the seating of a ninth US Supreme Court justice prior to a national election.

President Washington warned us in his farewell address that politics would be the ruin of the Republic. So far, his warning has been both spot on and ignored. Where some would say the enemy is inside the gates, I put it to you that the enemy is, in fact, elected to office.