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No on SB1274 HD1 – Health Plan Lobbyists Pushing Calvin Say and Shan Tsutsui Around?

Twelve years ago, the Hawaii legislature passed a law that gives individuals a level playing field against rich and powerful health plans, an effective defense against the types of behavior Michael Moore chronicled in “Sicko.”   With that law, patients and their families have won the right to have the insurance commissioner order their health plans to pay for emergency heart surgery for a 2 ½ month old infant, emergency bladder surgery for a middle-aged man with a highly aggressive bladder cancer, a bone marrow transplant, chemotherapy for cancer and other diseases, radiation therapy for prostate cancer, various diagnostic tests for cancer,  and more. The medical care in all of these cases was prohibitively costly, but life-saving.

Health plans are lobbying very hard for S.B. 1274, which uses Obamacare as an excuse to throw out that law, repealing the consumer protections those patients used to win their cases.  On questioning this week by Representatives Cynthia Thielen, Barbara Marumoto, Sylvia Luke, and Gilbert Keith-Agaran, the Abercrombie Administration official responsible for S.B. 1274 admitted that he does not know whether Obamacare requires Hawaii to repeal its strong and effective consumer protections because he did not bother to find out before asking Senate President Shan Tsutsui to introduce it.  He pronounced Hawaii’s existing law “great” and admitted that SB1274 is simply the bare minimum protections Obamacare required the states that did not have them to enact.

The Representatives insisted that there is no reason why Hawaii consumers should not have greater rights than those Obamacare minimums, and they sent the Abercrombie Administration official back with instructions to come up with a draft that preserves all of the rights in Hawaii’s existing law.  That position was also taken on the Senate side.  In a March 3 interview on “Town Square,” Sen. Josh Green told Beth Ann Koslovich and her audience of over 60,000 Hawaii consumers should not have to give up their rights under Obamacare.  Sen. Suzanne Chun Oakland has also said she believes Hawaii consumers should be able to have their stronger protections, and requested that I provide a draft of S.B.1274 amended to put back in our existing consumer protections.

The health plans are continuing to lobby Speaker Calvin Say and Senate President Shan Tsutsui hard to send the present version of SB1274 to the Governor for his signature, and have even threatened to sue me for informing the Legislature that they have lost 80% of the cases under the old law.


Senior Golf Pro Conrad Lawrence Driving Long for Europe Using Social Media to Get Him There

Now this is cool.  I have a friend of mine that I consider to be one of the coolest people around that just happens to be a +3.5 golf pro in Los Angeles.  His name is Conrad Lawrence and he has called the world of Golf his reason for staying happy health and comic!

Conrad is shooting for a European golf school in July to qualify for the Senior Golf Tour but he needs a little financial boost; so what does he do?  HE GOES VIRAL!  LOL!  I have to say that Conrad’s idea of taking his quest viral so no sign of being a senior.  To me that is what it takes to punch forward with your desires when you embrace new ways of just getting some of your friends to help you out.  Love it……

Conrad not only has a YouTube video with the quest but he also opened up a Facebook fan page to get it moving.  It looks like he’s just started the fan-page and he is already getting support.

Conrad has a pretty intense base of very cool friends that has started to donate a few dollars to getting Conrad to Europe to get to this “Q School”.  For myself, he gets my dollars too.  I have to admit, sometimes you just have to reach out and ask for an assist.  I think he’s only looking for 7k to get this going so it looks like he just might make it.  But at the end of the, Conrad still has to shoot the some great scores to make the cut – I’m pretty sure he will.  CONRAD LAWRENCE FTW!  (FTW means For The Win for you old farts)!  🙂


George Clooney, Alexander Payne and The Descendants, Exposing Hawaiian Culture For The Better

George Clooney The DescendantsWell it looks like there might be some hope for Hollywood to have gotten some of Hawaii Cultural information correct.  As we know, Director Alexander Payne and George Clooney came to Hawaii in 2010 to shoot The Descendants; a book written by Kaui Hart Hemmings.  The Descendants started off as a  “dramedy” (drama/comedy) but word has it that it’s a tear-jerker that might release around November.

I actually watched from afar some of the shooting and the hard work creative people on the crew did to get the Hawaiian aspect of the story correct.  The breakdown of the film is that “Matt King (Clooney) is an indifferent husband and father of two girls forced to re-examine his past and embrace his future when his wife suffers a boating accident off of Waikiki. The event leads to a rapprochement with his young daughters while Matt wrestles with a decision to sell the family’s land handed down from Hawaiian royalty and missionaries”.

Well, the good news is that there seemed to be some real care taken to make sure that the authenticity of the Hawaiian angle of The Descendants is as good as it can be.  Production Design headed by Jane Ann Stewart and Art Director T.K. Kirkpatrick (huge fan of both their work on Family Stone as well) seemed to have done a great job on the film as far as authenticity of the historical representation of ancient Hawaiian artifacts.  I watched as they meticulously studied Hawaiian history to get it right (thank God)!  As well, casting director John Jackson really dove into the Hawaiian culture during the film.  I recall him wanting to really understand the history and the CORRECT meaning and annunciation of the Hawaii language before he began casting.  Second unit director Tracy Boyd was a very powerful part of the productions as it was his gig to round up and shoot the authentic shots of everything Payne needed as the primary crew did their work. I so look forward to this film!

Alexander Payne is a killer director and writer in my eyes.  I know that the core of The Descendants is NOT about the Hawaiian Culture but judging from his past success in his films, perhaps this film will power through the best of the releases all the way to the top for 2012 Oscars, taking some Hawaiian culture with it.  But as in most cases, when Hollywood ads it’s sparkle to a story, sometimes the authenticity of a subject matter that is sensitive to native people around the world, the truth gets lost in the cracks of entertainment.

So soon we will see if Payne and creative team got it right.  But I have a funny feeling that those who are educated about cultural Hawaii and the history of the Ahupua’a will pleased.  The Descendants should be released sometime in Autumn 2011 (I think).  Let’s keep our fingers crossed for a great film from Alexander Payne and George Clooney because a major part of Hawaiian culture gets to go for the ride and show the world much, much more about Hawaii’s history; and that’s always a good thing!


Punk Ass Chef Shouts out some Aloha With Spam-A-Doobie! Stoner Food FTW!

Punk Ass Chef

Punk Ass Chef - Korn Holeyo

Okay this is great.  While I was looking up some spam videos on YouTube, this guy (Punk Ass Chef) just uploaded a recipe called the Spam-A-Doobie.  At first I thought is was a cook who was just poking fun at beloved Spam, but it was even better.  This guy manages to come up with an insane snack from Spam and old pizza crust.  He even adds a bit of spinach for that health feel-good thing.

He seems like a real-time stoner with essence of tweaker – but maybe that’s how the character is developed (or not).  But why Real Time Aloha is writing about it is his cool shout out to his friends in Hawaii.  He actually took a page from the local Spa, Musubi and twisted it into his very own Spam-A-Doobie.  LOL!

Funny thing about this guy is that I can detect that he has cook chops.  He talks about blanching the spinach though he called it “flashing”.  He also brings into the video the use of all the frick’n condiment packs that are bursting out of most of our drawers.  But just when you think you’ve seen it all in the video the end is epic funny!!  Totally blooper sic at the end but is it because of the Spam-A-Doobie or because he just gaffed!

KHON AARP Debate, Charles Djou Too Stiff, Colleen Hanabusa Sounds Akamai

Okay, spent time listening to the KHON, AARP debate between Charles Djou and Colleen Hanabusa.  Short and sweet here.  I’m an independent and I’m still listening.  But man, Charles Djou sounds way to crafted and stiff with his responses.  I guess the over-coaching is at a point of diminished returns for Charles Djou.  On the other hand, Colleen Hanabus was sounding very Akamai and AARP friendly.  Not to say that she doesn’t carry the same type of political rhetoric of her party, Hanabusa really talked to the people.

I sat next to my friends that were in the AARP curve that felt Hanabusa was at least giving them some idea on how and why things were happening in all the bills that have been passed or pushed.  My republican friend cringed most of the time and said “damn, he’s killing us with his sterile pitch.”  You tell me….  I’m still listening.  I haven’t made up my mind.

Hawaii Yelpers Have Much More Aloha Even If They’re Yelping Negative Reviews

If you live here in Hawaii and you own a business, there’s a good chance that there might be a review on you on a site called Yelp.  Yelp is a site where anyone can join and share their experiences with a restaurant, bar, service, school etc…  You name it, it can be Yelped about – good or bad.  If you haven’t already and you own a business, you should see if anyone has posted a review about your company – Go Get YELP!

Here in Hawaii, I have been tracking various local Yelpers for a social media study that I’m prepping for a client to see what the percentage was of out-and-out “haters” versus organic reviewing.  As well, my study thus far is showing me that there is no real “brand mobbing” in Hawaii compared to other places I have checked out.  (Brand mobbing is when a team of Yelpers gang up on a business……in most cases as a ploy to blow-down the business). 

Yea, there are some heavy hates for some of the business here in Hawaii but after analyzing the verbal framework of the comments, it’s real easy to see that most people who hit hard just had a single bad experience versus a business that is getting ganged up on.  I also find that local yelpers can be very supportive with their tone of  “advice” for the business owner in most cases even during a harsh review.  Overall, I find that 90% of Hawaii yelpers to be very straight forward.  Maybe because it’s more Aloha oriented in the fact that we all live on a small island and even under anonymity, everyone knows everyone.    That being said, I wanted to share with a messed up way a Yelper in Studio City tried to get his way.

I was recording some music in Studio City when I took a break and went to a mid-level restaurant.  I sit down with a friend, chill with a Margarita when I hear in the booth behind me some customer ruckus about poor service and food.  Okay, I get it, even I get pissed about bad service and poor food but this guy went too far.  He threatened the owner with a horrible yelp review if the owner didn’t give into his request of not being charged for more than half eaten food.  It got so bad that my friend had to stop me from getting stupid on the guy cause not only was he loud and messing up the dining experience of other customers, he started to use profanity and I was just about to tro-slippahs!  What a world-class asshole!

IMO – If you use Yelp as a social revenge towards being treated poorly, bad food, bad service etc…  that’s cool and that’s what it’s for.  You get the difference right?  If you have a great experience, you’ll yelp and return.  If you have a crap experience, don’t say anything, slam them and don’t go back.  But, if someone is going to use their Yelp power to squeeze change for a personal benefit like not paying a bill or getting a free hand-out in fear of your yelp, you completely suck.

Hawaii Yelpers for 5 Stars for consitancy…..like you care  🙂

Da Pokeman in Wahiawa – Best Ahi Limu Poke Shop Tucked Away in Wahiawa – Serving Up True Ohana Style Fresh Hawaiian Poke

Without a doubt, Poke is a staple in the diet of 85% of the residence of Hawaii.  What is Poke you say?  Poke is a raw-fish salad made with different types of fresh fish with  local spices and other ocean delicacies.  All over the state there are plenty places to buy Poke.  In the mellow town of Wahiawa, there is a place so well-known for their poke, it’s even a stop for small tourist shuttles as they make their way towards the North Shore.  This place is called Da Pokeman Fish Market.

Walk into the Da Pokeman and you know that it’s a family run shop just by the greeting you get. The place is shop-style small but huge with choices of Poke and other Hawaiian style foods like Laulau, Kalua Pig, Chicken Long Rice, Squid Luau, Lomi Salmon and yes, Poi!  The place is constant with customers and caters to party planners with party-size trays  and for lunch, they have 5 different plate lunch combos to choose from.

In most cases, when you walk into Da Pokeman, the owner William Alana is right there to serve up some Aloha with his Poke.  As the place gets packed, you see aunties and uncles pop in to help out William.  Eager to help you with the right choice, he immediately offers samples of his Poke.  And when I say “his”, he also makes the Poke right there on premise with his family.

For me, I’m a freak for Kimchee styled Poke.  After talking to William for a while, right before I left, he showed me the classic Aloha and offered me a “small” bit of his Ahi Kimchee and it was the best-est!  🙂  But don’t take my word for it, check out their Yelp! comments – pretty stellar with a 4.5 average.

When you drive through Wahiawa town on Kamehameha Hwy, stop by and just sample some of central Hawaii’s best fresh made Poke – Da Pokeman Fish Market.  It’s a great stop before you spend the rest of your day on the North Shore; Poke packed to go!

Mufi Hannemann, Neil Abercrombie Endorsements – Who Really Cares? I Don’t, Neither Should You!

For the last two months I have been hearing about endorsements of Mufi Hannemann, Neil Abercrombie and all the other candidates.  All kinds of unions, media companies, fellow politicians, athletes, business men and women, law firms and even gas station attendants.  To me, public endorsements are like sign waving and TV spots – just a re-marketing job.  It plays into the notion that the public at-large is so numb to what’s going on in their own state, politicians seem to think that endorsements help people make up their minds.  Hmmm, kind of like the Island Values Dennis Arikaka spin.  

Hawaii political endorsements, sign waving, TV and radio commercials are at the point of diminished returns.  When media groups like KHON2, StarAdvertiser and other media groups endorse politicians I have a real hard time believing that their news is fair and balanced.  But I guess that’s nothing new, right.  Can we say CNN vs. FOX.  I guess the real winners of endorsements are the media outlets because every time a candidate get’s endorsed, they cut a new commercial and spend more money buying air telling us about it.  

I guess endorsements speak to people who just wont or don’t do their homework.  People who just pick and choose their leaders based on traditional media and spin, sign waving and………endorsements.  Do your homework, please.  

Hawaii Governor, Lt. Governor (Gov), Mayor Campaigns 2010  

Who is running for Governor of Hawaii 2010  

Who is running for Lt. Governor of Hawaii 2010?  

Who is running for Mayor of Honolulu 2010? 


Guy Hess, Aloha Zen Kapiolani Park Sessions, Free Your Mind, Body and Soul – Then Kick!

I love it when great things start with grass-roots, literally!  Kailua martial arts instructor Guy Hess is testing out his Aloha Zen program on Tues/Thurs afternoons  on the back side of Kapiolani Park (archery park next to the tennis courts).  
I met Guy a year ago and immediately saw/felt an immediate peace-of-mind and confidence that I wanted to strive for.  After talking to him for a while, he humbly told me about himself and what his next mission was.  I was very intrigued.
A soft-spoken man with a powerful passion for life, Guy Hess wanted to take his years of knowledge of martial arts and combo it with his life’s wisdom to start Aloha Zen.  He wanted to share the experience of his knowledge of both body and mind but the challenge was where and how in order to not sound like just another guru.  Enter Aloha Zen in the Park.
But what I found truly compelling about Guy and his philosophy was his stern approach to working with kids as they developed within his classes.  In a truly humble way, the video below shows Guy talking about the real movement he preaches about a stable martial arts development for kids.  It’s a great video that gives both parents and young students the opportunity to see/feel what Guy Hess is all about.
The classes at Kapiolani Park are held on Tuesday and Thursday, and are one hour sessions beginning promptly at 6:00 p.m.  His Martial Arts Workout starts with an intro then blends the art of Tang Soo Do, a Korean martial art form which means “way of the open hand,” and a boot camp or cross fit type style workout.  Participants start with basic stretches, both sitting and standing, and then slowly moves into various martial arts stances which extend the body, similar to dance choreography.  The hand/eye/mind coordination then progresses and includes a variety of aerobic movement including kicks, squats, and sit-ups.  No two classes are alike and is created for participants of all ages to enjoy while improving upon their fitness abilities.
 As for his BIO: Guy Hess is an accomplished martial arts instructor specializing in Tang Soo Do and Self Defense.  With more than 25 years of martial arts education under his belt (3rd degree Black) and personal development training, he brings a different type of workout to Hawaii.  With The Martial Arts Workout, Guy has designed the class so that clients tap into their authentic self and exceed their goals by mixing the discipline of martial arts practice with that of exercise boot camp style.  Being a “student of life” and taking all of his experiences into account, brings his practice into full circle.  The Martial Arts Workout allows him to create a truly unique class for everyone and anyone looking to get and stay in shape, as well as reach a more Zen state, all while in a positive learning environment.

Dennis Arakaki, Island Values Slam Neil Abercrombie – Are Hawaii’s Christians Swayed by a Single Radio Ad?

Man is my mind lit up with thoughts after hearing that so many people are set-off by a single radio ad.  As it is so obvious that a democratic entity with a recognizable leading voice (Dennis Arakaki) releases anti Neil Abercrombie spin, it is even more painfully obvious to me that this message could do some damage to the Christian community here in Hawaii.

On the other hand, hitting back from the Hawaii Republicans, GOP Chairman Jonah Kaauwai accused ”Ken Wong of the Mufi Hannemann campaign” of trying to deceptively entice Christian voters into supporting Hannemann. He urged pastors to bar Hannemann from attending their services.  Game on!

What I don’t get is that these kinds of religious call-to-action spins sends a ripple effect down the core of the Christian community.  How?  Simple – is Dennis Arakaki saying that if a democratic conservative Christian votes Abercrombie that then he/she is now labeled as an unsuitable choice for Jesus?   How about the Christian independent?  

I always have known pastors or priests to be qualified as teachers of their religion based on the guidelines of the bible.  But I’ve also seen some pastors and priests take a stance as if they were some kind of a celebrity in corralling their parishioners into guiding personal decision-making beyond the words of the book.

As far as I’m concerned, the radio spot that proclaims Neil Abercrombie unfit due to his HB444 support or anything “unholy” is the opinion of people who have money enough to buy air time.  Dennis Arakaki has his opinion in partnership with Island Values and he went public with it.  You watch, in about 3 days, there will probably be a counter spin from another camp against the ad.  But do you think that the radio ad that Dennis Arakaki and Island Values put out really have an impact?  Or will most see it as politics as usual and ignore it?

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