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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.


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!


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.

Senator Daniel Inouye Knows Aloha, Knows Ohana, Knows Politics and Knows How To Throw A Good Democratic Party!

You know, very few times in one’s life can you look out into the political landscape and be in the presence of a legendary politician.  What makes a legendary politician?  Just look at the life of Senator Daniel K. Inouye.  Simply amazing.  To me, he’s the Audy Murphy of Politics.  With all the issues that he has championed through his political career, the constant undertone was about the people, not the pockets.

But you don’t need a small-time blogger to tell you that.  What this post is about is seeing how Senator Daniel Inouye can really throw a great, local style democratic ohana party!  Someone sent me this video and I had a smile on the whole time.  Though I’m sur that some of the guests saw it as a public-opp to spin, it looked like everyone genuinely had a blast.

Watching  the other democratic candidates that are in races against each other have a blast like kids in a bouncy-house, or Ramin eating contest or other events, it looked like it was a perfectly represented platform of what Senator Daniel Inouye is capable of; getting people together and making it happen.   It was the “A” list of politicians for sure!  LOL – Watching Norman Sakamoto pounding the Taiko Drums or Kirk Caldwell jamming Saimin – Good times!

I saw Candidates from each major administrative position there.  It’s like watching bloopers of films and TV stars.  T o see these candidates as real people brings a sence of humanity to the otherwise publically myopic world of political figures.  This video is genuinely a great feel-good presentation.

See for yourself – I VOTE Senator Daniel Inouye FTW!  Oh, for those of you who don’t understand what FTW means – “For The Win”  🙂


Hawaii Hit Band Kapala Takes You On a Waimanalo Jam, 96795 – Top CD in my Collection Right Now!

I dabbled around in the music industry for almost 30 years.  Played a little guitar, help a few artists get there demos straight and actually made $1.50  🙂  My ears are tuned in for looking, listening to new music that breaks the barriers of ho-hum tail-chasing no hit worthy noise.  I FOUND ONE – Kapala!

I got their début CD “Imprint” when it released and was so set back at how the music did what music is supposed to do, take you one a theater-of-the-mind ride from reality; the perfect escape.  I was quickly drawn to the contemporary track called Nani Hanalei; full chicken skin.  Guest chant by Keali`i Reichel and the music arrangement took the Aloha to another level.  Even my daughters who listen to current kid pop/hip hop love it (phew, thought their sonic ear taste was doomed).

Next track and to me, one of best arranged and produced tracks on the CD is 96795 – Which is the zip code of Waimanalo.  Along with this track is the bands first produced video (see below).  As well, what a line-up of musicians!  All these guys are some of Hawaii’s most well known. On the top music promotions site ReverbNation, Kapala has held down the #1 spot in Top World local artists for weeks.

All that being said, I’ll shut up and spread the Kapala Aloha.  Check out their profile on ReverbNation to learn more about Kapala.  Below are a couple of videos and a link to their FaceBook Fan page.  Mark my words, though Kapala is made of some of Hawaii’s best, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.  They will leave a legacy if they keep releasing music like this!


Surfrider Spirit Sessions Hawaii, Mentoring Change with Surfing Lessons, Environmental Awareness and Water Safety

I get asked quite often to take part with local Non Profits.  In 95% of the cases, I deliver with Social Media contributions but with the Surfrider Spirit Sessions in Hawaii, I had to jump in full-on.  Almost any surfer will tell you that surfing is a life changing lifestyle.  It’s a way of thinking, living and honoring ones personal abilities to play in the ocean. 

The Surfrider Spirit Session’s is a program built around supporting Kids at Risk.  These kids are challenged everyday in their environment to stay out of all kinds of trouble but one thing they have in common is that they have gotten themselves into the court system.  As they are placed in different programs to get support, Surfrider Spirit Sessions adds a powerful element to their program; surf lessons and water/land environmental education. 

I prepped a special video for you to check out Surfrider Spirit Sessions at work 


As a new mentor all I can say is that it’s a great feeling to get these kids in the water every Saturday for a couple of hours and watch the light up with their daily achievements.  The look in their eyes when they are turning to catch their first wave to the smile on their face when the paddle back and can’t believe that they actually surfed is amazing.  To give these kids a few hours of escape time from the daily challenges and at the same time boost personal confidence is priceless, but it is a non-profit  🙂 


Kaena Point Uproar, Off-Road and Camping In Jeopardy – A Generational Failure?

Kaena Point, in Mokuleia Oahu,  is one of the last wide open spaces that people on Oahu can “freely” use recreational vehicles, camp, fish and be a part of generational family gatherings.  But for every word in the previous sentence there is an opposition growing towards the free use of the land based on what’s happening to the Aina itself.

The sad thing for me and what’s going down in Kaena Point is that maybe only 15% of the visitors are disrespectful to the land but 100% of the land users could be affected by new rules/laws.  Another thing that has been real troubling to me is that this issue IS a local issue that can’t be blamed on outside influences.  No rental cars can make the trip to the top of Kaena Point – only local folks with the trucks can get up there.  So maybe we need local folks to step up and police the few that have no respect for the land.  Not so much in a vigilante kind of mission, but in an educational mission.

You know how at most animal parks where you can let your dogs run off a leash freely?  Well, at most of those parks the have distribution points that have bags for dog poop.  Maybe something like that will aid the issue of trash that only a few leave behind.  And as for the land scaring that some activist are talking about that is directly related to off-road vehicles, I say bull-shit.  Unless the state and activists can come up with a positive use for the land and be able to management in a trustworthy way, let the people play with their toys under their own risk of injury/death.  As land is being taken away and over developed, outdoor motor enthusiasts are getting cornered out…..then what?

Is this a generational failure in not handing down respect for the land?  What do you think is the best for managing the issues at Kaena Point?

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