Browsing articles in "Editorials"
Mar 7, 2013

White House to Sell Vegetables to Local Grocers

When it was reported that the White House was cancelling the “spring tour” season, our intrepid reporter wanted to look into other savings the President and his family were prepared to make in light of the sequester.

First of all, its important to know that the Easter Egg Roll will proceed as in years past.  The one minor change this year is that children are being asked to bring their own eggs.  The White House estimates that this will save the country 18 cents per person attending the egg roll, a White House tradition since 1878.  The number of people expected this year, selected by an online lottery system, is 35,000.  Total savings is estimated to be $6,300.

The White House will also begin selling vegetables from its garden to local grocers.   The White House chef told reporters that they are currently giving 1/3 of the vegetables to organizations that serve people in need.  Now, instead of having vegetables from the garden, the Obama family will take up a diet of kimchee and rice so that the remaining two thirds can be sold at a premium to area grocery stores.    

In order to distinguish them from other vegetables, the White House vegetables will be branded “The White House.  America’s House.”   Currently a contest is underway for developing a logo for the vegetables from the White House garden.  The winner will be able to bypass the lottery and come to the Easter Egg Roll.  What’s more, an egg will be supplied for rolling purposes.  Other entrants will receive the pleasure of knowing that someone at the White House may have seen their design. 

America looks forward to other savings being made by the White House — doing its part for the sequester — and everyone in these United States of America is being encouraged to make their own savings as a contribution to the nation’s staggering debt.  The money you save can be donated to the America’s newest 501C3, The Super Sequester Pac, organized to raise funds to offset the cuts of $85 billion.   Corporations can donate as persons, but expectations in this area are low.


Feb 28, 2013

If “Being Civil” means shutting up, then…

Lindsey Graham had a bit of a dustup with a metropolitan police officer regarding whether our current laws for gun control wouldn’t be enough if we enforced them properly.  The officer fought back, with facts on his side and said that “paper prosecutions” wouldn’t do the job.

Diane Feinstein felt she had to interrupt and instruct everyone to “be civil.”  Had the two not been on the precipice of a fight we, the citizens of this country who pay Feinstein and Graham to work on our behalf, would never have seen that clip, never known that Graham was continuing his job as a mouthpiece for the NRA… If “being civil” means saying nothing, not getting riled about guns and their terrible place in our country’s day-to-day life, then I would like to see a lot less “civility” and a lot more direct honesty in our exchanges over such important subjects.

Lindsey Graham and Diane Feinstein work for us.  They work for that father who lost his child, “the only family” he had left.  They work for the ER doc who reminded them that people in Tuscon, Aurora, Newtown — people everywhere — know we have a serious problem with guns.  They work for that metropolitan police officer.

The people in Congress seem to have forgotten that they work for us.  They don’t work for the NRA, appearances to the contrary.  They don’t work for the other lobbyists who grease their palms.  They work for us.  At least they are supposed to work for us.

Feb 21, 2013

Oblivious in 1965


I was still in high school when the Voting Rights Act of 1965 was passed.  I am quite sure it did not enter my privileged consciousness in any profound way –and neither did the Civil Rights Act which was signed into law by President Johnson in 1964.

As it turns out. in order to insure the passage of these two bills, Johnson used all of the considerable tool case he had acquired in the Senate, knowing all the while that he was giving up the South for the Democrats for the foreseeable future.

Ironically, Johnson had been “re”-elected in 1964 by Republican widows who owned stock in electric companies — owing to his having been involved in the concept of wheeling power across grids to prevent blackouts and use electricity to maximum advantage.    In July of 1964, Johnson asked Congress for $45.5 million in order to link the Pacific Coast and the Southwest in a massive power-sharing grid.  Republican widows everywhere took notice.

Back on topic.  The Voting Rights Act was passed by Congress on August 5, 1964 and Johnson signed it into law the next day.  It was again powered by Johnson’s adroit political skill and underscored by the public revulsion at the recent violence in Selma, Alabama.  The Voting Rights Act enforced the fifteenth amendment to the constitution, some 95 years after it had been passed.

“Because the Voting Rights Act of 1965 was the most significant statutory change in the relationship between the Federal and state governments in the area of voting since the Reconstruction period following the Civil War, it was immediately challenged in the courts. Between 1965 and 1969, the Supreme Court issued several key decisions upholding the constitutionality of Section 5 and affirming the broad range of voting practices for which preclearance was required. [See South Carolina v. Katzenbach, 383 U.S. 301, 327-28 (1966) and Allen v. State Board of Elections, 393 U.S. 544 (1969)]

The law had an immediate impact. By the end of 1965, a quarter of a million new black voters had been registered, one-third by Federal examiners. By the end of 1966, only 4 out of the 13 southern states had fewer than 50 percent of African Americans registered to vote. The Voting Rights Act of 1965 was readopted and strengthened in 1970, 1975, and 1982.” (from

I only learned these things when I was in college and afterwards:   it horrifies me to think that Republicans in this country are now trying to undermine the critical accomplishment of the Voting Rights Act, through both gerrymandering (something I learned about in high school, but with no “real world” examples) and “voter I.D.” laws.

The right to vote is a core value of this country (no taxation without representation) and the republican legislatures which are trying to modify its power are hoping no one will notice.  A lot of this went on before the 2012 election, and it will only get worse in 2014 if Americans everywhere don’t realize that with regard to some of our most basic rights, this country is now way off the mark.

I was oblivious in 1965.  But no longer.

Feb 11, 2013

Potential Losses in Funding to Important Medical Research

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) have been in the news lately because serious research on gun violence, which would be under the NIH’s purview, has been minimal in the recent past because of the NRA.

The so -called sequester would make it almost impossible to initiate any funding for research on gun violence, regardless of the national outrage after Newtown.  Funding for the NIH will be cut by about $2.5 billion if the sequester is actually enforced.   This represents roughly 8% of the NIH budget, and would be made in addition to any other cuts made in the regular funding process for the coming fiscal year.

Federal investment in medical research has been decreased every year since 2003.  The cut NIH faces in th event of the sequester would revert funding to 2004 levels, and cause a 2,300 reduction in the number of NIH grands and a potential job loss in the United States of 33,000.

The cost to economic activity in our country would be a reduction of $4.5 billion.  This directly affects research on all of the “big” diseases and most certainly on the more obscure diseases which are nonetheless important.

Everyone knows someone with an incurable disease.  Only increases in funding have the chance to find cures.  If you want the NIH to recover its funding levels, inflation adjusted and increased — write to your Congressmen and Women and your Senators.  Tell them to erase the sequester, start from scratch and support the needs of the American people

Feb 4, 2013

Waikiki’s Tallest Building Yet To Come???

Last week an announcement was made that Ritz Carlton has entered into a partnership to erect the tallest building in Waikiki.  On Kuhio Avenue, the new Ritz Carlton (if it happens) will be a combination hotel, condo and retail building.  Mixed use, as they call it.

In 1972 I got a job in the advertising department of Sheraton Hotels in Hawai`i.  Located on the 4th floor of the newly built Sheraton Waikiki, it was the headquarters of Sheraton in Hawai`i, five in Waikiki and two on the Neighbor Islands.  It was completed in 1971, and built pre- Japanese ownership by the Kyo-ya company.

Print advertisements for Sheraton shouted ” Four of the Five hotels on Waikiki Beach are Sheratons.”  The other hotel was the Outrigger, and although the Halekulani was still open as a cottage-style hotel, it is officially on Gray’s Beach and so Sheraton excused it from Waikiki.

At the time, the twin-tower Hyatt Regency Waikiki had not been built.  Later, when the Hyatt opened and occupancy did not match Waikiki standards, we joked that the Hyatt keep lights on in both towers and claimed that occupancy was 90%.  (I think they really did).

Another inside joke was “Stay at the Sheraton Waikiki because it’s the only place in Waikiki where you don’t have a view of the Sheraton Waikiki.”  In lots of ways that was true; it sat close to the Royal Hawaiian (built in 1927 and known as “the pink hotel”) and appeared as a vulture of a building, about to take off and flap its wings towards Diamond Head.  At the time, it boasted that it was the biggest hotel in Waikiki (it was) and Sheraton’s meme was “As the Sheraton Waikiki goes, so goes Waikiki.”  In other words, if it was full, the others could be too.

The Sheraton Waikiki appeared on the scene as more and more repeat visitors came to Hawai’i but the business of tourism was largely still a group travel business.  The Japanese travel market was opening up and groups of Japanese followed toour leaders with bright flags around the hotel.

In 1992, the City Council imposed an absolute cap of 32,000 hotel rooms in Waikiki, to be reviewed every five years.  Until 2004, the cap remained in place because there was no call for new buildings in the 1990s and after 9/11.  Today, the Hilton Hawaiian Village is easily the largest hotel in Waikiki (although it, too, is not “officially” on Waikiki Beach.

Now comes Ritz Carlton, in a partnership to build not only the tallest hotel in Waikiki, but possibly the tallest building in Hawai`i.  The City Council has approved a height of 350 feet, although the current regulations at the DLNR (Department of Land and Natural Resources) allow only 300 feet.  As one council member said, “we approved it, now it is up to the DLNR.”

It hardly seems that Waikiki needs another highrise, and it also seems like we are on a slippery slope to becoming the island of Manhattan on a small strip of land with the ocean lapping at the shores of an ever-crowded beach.  Waikiki gets the lowest satisfaction ratings of all Hawai’1 resort areas, but it is still the most important resort area for tourism (in terms of dollars generated).

As travellers from all areas of the world increasingly visit the islands of Maui, Kauai, Lanai, Molokai and Hawai`i, it seems like O`ahu should be worried about building another place in Waikiki that will dwarf the landscape.  350 feet on Kuhio Avenue, away from the beach under the Ritz Carlton moniker.  Really?



Gloria. Circa 1955.

Gloria. Circa 2012.

Other than working for the American Red Cross in Korea for two years, Gloria Garvey has lived in Hawai`i since 1971. Her opinion and other writing has appeared in: The American Philatelist. Honolulu Weekly, The Honolulu Advertiser, The Honolulu Star Bulletin, The Star Advertiser, Hawai`i Reporter, Pacific Business News, Island Scene, The Design Management Journal.

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