Dear Hawaii: Aloha! You Can Be A State, Or You Can Be A Country. Pick One.

Surfer Hawaii

This was news to me: in the World Surf League and in international surfing competitions generally, surfers from Hawaii can represent island, or the United States. If they represent Hawaii, they are not regarded as representing the U.S.

Surfing will be an event in the Summer Olympics in Tokyo, and the option of just representing Hawaii will disappear. Hawaiian surfers will represent the United States, since, after all, Hawaii is a state. This, believe it or not, is causing outrage and consternation in the Aloha State. Two of the four Americans on the team, John John Florence (above) and the four-time world champion Carissa Moore, were born and raised in Hawaii and are accustomed to competing under the state flag. Moore is doing so again this month as the global tour holds major events in Australia.

Across the islands, on cars and on porches, Hawaii flags fly upside down, signifying distress. “Hawaii has had so much erased history,” said Duane DeSoto, the 2010 longboard world champion, told the New York Times. “Surfing prevailed against the possible suppression into oblivion. It endured the challenge of being exterminated at one time. And now it needs to be a source of Hawaiian pride.” Another surfer said, “In surfing culture worldwide, everybody looks at Hawaiian surfing as different. Even California surfers look at Hawaii different. But the Olympics see us as the same.”

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Monday Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 3/1/2021: Soccer, Evasion, A Drunk Driver And A Rewind

That clip has nothing to do with ethics, but it makes me laugh every time I see it, and then makes me angry because John Belushi threw his life away.

1. Not that I need more reasons to avoid watching soccer, but the U.S. Soccer Federation’s National Council formally voted to repeal a policy that required players to stand for the National Anthem. That’s right: athletes representing the United States of America are now permitted to show disrespect for the nation they are representing while appearing in foreign countries, in which such useless grandstanding as taking a knee during the Anthem are meaningless and confusing to non-American audiences. At the Zoom meeting in which the vote was taken, USSF president Cindy Parlow Cone embraced Rationalization #64 (“It isn’t what it is”) by caliming that the policy repeal wasn’t in any way intended to disrespect the flag or the military. “This is about the athletes’ and our staff’s right to peacefully protest racial inequalities and police brutality,” she said. “So I urge our membership to please support our staff and our athletes on this policy.”

She’s an ignorant fool, or she’s lying. The team has no “right” to protest on the playing field, before or during games, while representing the United States. This is just more cowardly woke capitulation. Anyone who says they are protesting racial inequalities and police brutality should be asked to specify 1) exactly what inequality they are protesting, 2) what instance of police brutality, and 3) how their grandstanding accomplishes anything that substantively addresses the issues.

2. Regarding Donald Trump’s speech at CPAC…I don’t want to have to write all this stuff all over again. If Trump tries to make another run for the Republican nomination, or, worse, launch a third party bid, he will be causing incalculable damage to the nation purely to satisfy his own ego. Go back to the posts here when he announced his short-lived candidacy in 2012. This is one reason I am hoping he takes the route of running for a House seat to exact his revenge. He’ll do less damage there, and Andrew Johnson will have some company in the history books for returning to Congress after being impeached.

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Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 7/2/2019: Monkeys, Howlies, Nikes, And The Great Tag Hoax

Gooooood Morning!

1. Talk about a newspaper column that is exactly the opposite of the truth! The Times had an essay in its “Review” section this Sunday with a title that gave me a shock: Want to Be Less Racist? Move to Hawaii”

The headline would have been more accurate if it read, “Want to live in the only state with lawful and open racial discrimination? Move to Hawaii!” Hawaii gives special benefits to residents with full or partial Native Hawaiian ancestry. There is a special  Hawaiian registry program which verifies an individual’s Native Hawaiian ancestry, so the favored race can receive such goodies that are unavailable to other racial groups as buying land for a home at only $1 a year,  low-interest loans, and admission for their children to the elite Kamehameha Schools.

Anecdotally, I can also state that the only time in my life that I felt I was the target of racial epithets was in college, when the Hawaiian contingent frequently derided me and my white room mates as “howlies,” a disparaging Island term reserved for anyone who is not a native Hawaiian. I will always remember my 6’5″ roommate Dave ending the practice by saying to the two main offenders, “If I ever hear that word from any of you again, I promise that I will shove you, Howie, directly up Reggie’s ass, head first.  Are we clear on that?”

Dave never bluffed, and seldom joked. That was the last time we were called “howlies.”

2. Nike is not just scum, but cowardly, sniveling scum. Nike Inc. cancelled a U.S.A.-themed sneaker featuring the Betsy Ross American flag because Head NFL Kneeler Colin Kaepernick, a Nike endorser, told company officials that he and others felt that the  historic flag is an offensive symbol because of its connection to an era of slavery.

The Air Max 1 USA had been designed for release in celebration of the July Fourth holiday, and scheduled to go on sale this week. The heel of the shoe featured a U.S. flag with 13 white stars in a circle, the original flag created during the American Revolution and known as the Betsy Ross flag.

Wow! How racist can you get!

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Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 1/17/19: The “Why?” Edition

WHY is it a good morning?

1. Why are some people missing their ethics alarms? A family member owned a horse as a pet, and when the horse got old and infirm sold it to a slaughterhouse for dog food. This caused a long-running rift with the Alexandria branch of the Marshall clan, in which my wife will capture spiders and gently release them into the wild while singing “Born Free.” However, the family horse-trader is a saint compared to Fallon Danielle Blackwood, 24, a veterinary student in Alabama, who offered shelter for rescue horses only to profit by secretly selling the animals to Mexican slaughterhouses.   She was arrested on a similar charge last year in North Carolina.

Though the current charges involve just  13 horses, Stolen Horse International, a nonprofit that helps find lost or stolen horses, says Blackwood may be behind the disappearance of dozens more. Her MO was to  reach out to those in need of help caring for their horses and offer the equines  a loving home at her farm near Boaz, Alabama.

Well, I hear veterinary school is expensive…

2. Why do the news media and the public let Democrats get away with the “immoral and ineffective” talking point? I discussed this in detail here. The latest to use the self-contradictory rhetoric was Rep. Ilhan Omar (D., Minn.), who denounced President Donald Trump’s “quest for a racist and sinful big wall” between the U.S. and Mexico during a speech on the House floor, and followed up with a tweet calling the wall “hateful and ineffective.” Now it’s “sinful” to enforce the borders, is it? How does someone make the argument that border security is “racist” and simultaneously claim that they are in favor of border security? If trying to keep illegal immigrants out is sinful and racist, how can the claim that border security is desirable be anything but hypocrisy?

This argument depends on listeners not paying attention, being complicit in an open borders strategy, or having the IQ of a mollusk.

3. Why do people this inept keep getting elected to Congress? At a Washington reception billed as a “celebration of Asian-American and Pacific Islander (API) members of the 116th Congress,” Hawaii Democratic Rep. Ed Case said that he felt like “an Asian trapped in a white body.” How awful! Trapped in a white body! Yechh! Pooie!

Pandering to racists is a bi-partisan activity, especially in the Aloha State, where hostility to whites is open and palpable. Continue reading

The Unknown Ethics Hero Of The Hawaii False Alarm Fiasco

The story of the day was that this…

went out to cellphones across Hawaii on Saturday, setting off widespread panic .

Oopsie!  Nearly 40 minutes after it was issued, the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency cancelled the alert, which was a false alarm. The explanation was that somebody pushed the wrong button during a shift changeover.

“The public must have confidence in our emergency alert system,” the Aloha State’s governor, David Y. Ige, said. “I am working to get to the bottom of this so we can prevent an error of this type in the future.” Then, as he appeared on live TV answering questions from a reporter, a small, thin, middle-aged man standing with the governor said (I am quoting from memory),

“This was my responsibility. It should not have happened,  and we will be making sure this cannot happen again, and will make certain that a new system is installed that requires two separate human verifications before a warning is sent out.”

WOW! Continue reading

The Attorney General’s “Island In The Pacific” Gaffe

I guess we’re going to have to get used to this sequence over the next 4-8 years (yes, 8: at the rate the Democrats are disgracing themselves, President Trump may stick around):

1) President Trump and/or one of his surrogates, spokespersons or appointees make a carelessly worded statement

2) Democrats, activists and the news media intentionally, wilfully and maliciously interpret it in the worst way possible under the convetions of the English language

3) They widely represent the statement to the public as expressing malign thoughts intent and principles

4) The Trump-related speaker, being rhetorically-challenged to begin with, fails to clarify the confusion and makes himself or herself look worse the more he tries.

5) Nobody, almost literally nobody, bothers to examine the statement from an objective point of view.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions said last week, referring to the Hawaii -chambered federal judge Derrick K. Watson, who last month blocked Trump’s revised temporary halt on travel from sslected terrorist-rich Muslim countries just before it was to go into effect,

“I really am amazed that a judge sitting on an island in the Pacific can issue an order that stops the president of the United States from what appears to be clearly his statutory and Constitutional power.”

It was an off-hand remark on conservative talk show host Mark Levin’s radio program, but it immediately provoked ridicule and attack. Sessions didn’t know Hawaii was a state. Sessions doesn’t respect Hawaii.  President Trump doesn’t like Hawaii. Just a few minutes ago, I watched ABC’s George Stephanopoulos confront Sessions about the remark. Sessions’ humina humina reply: “Nobody has a sense of humor any more.”

I understood the meaning of Sessions’ statement to Levin the minute I heard it, because I thought the same thing at the time of the judge’s ruling: Hawaii is the weirdest place for Trump’s order to be litigated, since the state  is uniquely insulated from the illegal immigration problems facing the other 49 states, has never had anything close to a terrorism attack, and has a negligible Muslim population. The particular problems that the President’s order purports to address is an abstract one for Hawaiians, more than any other state. Sessions’ comment was rueful, intended as irony (to a friendly interviewer), and none of the vile things it was subsequently accused of being. Continue reading

Dear Rockettes: You Are Professionals And Americans…Act Like It.


Asked about whether he would perform at the January 20 Inauguration or its subsequent official celebrations in Washington, D.C., country music super-star Garth Brooks said, simply, “It’s always about serving. It’s what you do.”

Right answer. This marked him as a professional, a patriot, and an adult (or perhaps as a lying hypocrite, since for whatever reason, he is not performing). The opposite reaction of so many of his show business colleagues mark them, in contrast, as divisive, arrogant, ignorant and unprofessional jerks.

Performers fit all the requirements for being regarded and respected as professionals, who are those who use their skills and talents for the benefit of humankind and society. The traditional definition adds that professionals do this service at some personal sacrifice, a virtue that most doctors and many lawyers can no longer claim. Performers, however, are largely impoverished, devoting their lives to making people gasp, laugh, weep, cheer or most important of all, think, because they love what they do, and understand the importance of art to society and civilization.

It is as unprofessional for a singer, dancer, juggler or actor to refuse to entertain audience members whose politics or character they oppose as it is for a doctor to refuse to treat them, for a lawyer to refuse to represent them, or a clergyman to  withhold from them spiritual guidance. The problem unique to performers as professionals is that they are not educated to appreciate their responsibilities like typical professionals, nor do their professions exercise any ethical oversight. As a result, we get the current display of divisive and ignorant grandstanding over performing—or not performing— at Donald Trump’s inauguration.

In Honolulu, Hawaii, yet another partisan and bigoted establishment has ordered anyone who voted for Trump to take its business elsewhere, as a local cafe posted a sign that reads: “If you voted for Trump you cannot eat here! No Nazis.” It has become clear that if many progressives have their way, their efforts to divide the nation into the Good and the Bad, with the fairly elected President of the United States as the defining feature of the latter, will shatter societal bonds coast to coast like nothing the U.S. has seen since the Civil War. The sooner the Angry Turned Vicious Left comes to its senses, the safer and healthier we all will be.

Performers, as professionals, are supposed to understand that they have a higher calling than restaurant owners. They are here to bind society together, for what we all experience in a diverse audience brings us closer in sentiment, emotion, empathy and enlightenment. For performers to decide to excise certain audience members from that process is madness, as well as a betrayal of their mission and art. Continue reading

Keihanaikukauakahihuliheekahaunaele Ethics

Janice Keihanaikukauakahihuliheekahaunaele , singing her name.

Janice Keihanaikukauakahihuliheekahaunaele , singing her name.

In Hawaii, a woman named Janice “Lokelani” Keihanaikukauakahihuliheekahaunaele has been ordered by the government to change or shorten her name because the Department of Motor Vehicles system can’t accommodate her 35 letter last name.

Ms. Keihanaikukauakahihuliheekahaunaele  says this is disrespectful to Hawaiians, which is true, but it’s worse than that. This is government encroachment on individual freedom at its most insidious and objectionable. A citizen ordered by the government to change her name, her public identity, to accommodate an inadequate bureaucratic system? Not in the United States of America. Here the government has to accommodate her. This is not and never can become a one-size fits all nation, where non-conformity is penalized with stares, taxes and the lack of a driver’s license. Today Keihanaikukauakahihuliheekahaunaele , tomorrow, Marshall. How dare they? We are all Keihanaikukauakahihuliheekahaunaeles now!

I’m serious, by the way.

But it is kind of funny.


Pointer: James Taranto

Facts: Huffington Post

Graphic: Fark


And You Thought “North West” Was A Terrible Name To Give A Kid…

Alkapone and his namesake

Alkapone and his namesake

Being the daughter of Kanye West and Kim Kardashian is handicap enough, one would think, without having to go through life branded with the name “North West.” But in the annals of self-indulgent and reckless child-abuse-by-birth-certificate, what the rapper and the whatever-the-hell-she-is inflicted on their love child is small potatoes compared to the cruel and horrible name affixed to this unfortunate:

From Hawaii News Now:

“Big Island police have charged the man arrested in connection with a carjacking Wednesday night in Hilo. Alkapone Cruz-Balles, 19, who has no permanent address, was charged late Friday afternoon (July 19) with first-degree robbery and unauthorized control of a propelled vehicle…A Hilo man was ready to get into his car at the Target parking lot of on Puainako Avenue when police say Cruz-Balles brandished a weapon and threatened the victim. Police say he then took the keys and took off in the car….”

“Alkapone Cruz-Balls?” Continue reading

Sen. Inouye And The Duty To Leave

A distinguished life, missing one important act of leadership

A distinguished life, missing one important act of leadership

Washington D.C. and Hawaii are awash in tributes to the late Senator Daniel Inouye, who died last week, in office, at the age of 88. This is as it should be. Inouye was a historic figure in his state, a war hero (a Congressional Medal of Honor recipeient, in fact) , a statesman, in in all respects, from every source I’ve seen, the epitome of an honorable U.S. Senator and a good man.

But he stayed too long at his job. This is an obvious statement, since he dropped dead while still committed to filling his position for four more years. In 2010, Inouye ran for office knowing that he would be 92 when he finished his term. In this he was irresponsible, just as his former colleagues Robert Byrd, Strom Thurmond, Jesse Helms and many, many others were irresponsible before him. Senator Inouye even allowed himself to become President pro tem of the Senate, placing him third in line to succeed to the Presidency, after the Vice President and Speaker of the House.

We do not need term limits: if the voters, as they do, choose to keep electing representatives on the basis of nostalgia, or laziness, or fear of change, or loyalty, that’s democracy, just as it’s democracy that they elect officials for no better reasons than the fact that they had popular or successful grandfathers, parents, and spouses. The presumption in democracy is that we elect leaders who are better qualified to assess our best interests than we are, and that means that we should be able to trust them to know when it’s time to take themselves out of the active process of governing, and to remove from us the opportunity to irresponsibly confer power on those who are no longer fit to wield it. Continue reading