Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Obama Wants to Arm Libyan Rebels

President Obama announced yesterday that he may decide to arm Libyan rebels. What is wrong with this picture asides from the fact that only the day before, he proclaimed in a nationally televised speech to me and you and a war weary nation that the US is handing off the operation of the no-fly zone to the UN security forces to our collective sigh of relief? It doesn't take a 4-star general to assess that the rebels are out gunned by Colonel Ghadfi. Ghdafi has a larger weapons arsenal and billions of dollars at his disposal to buy more weapons along with hiring foreign mercenaries to snuff out the rebels with impunity. Whereas, the rebels have the equivalent of cork guns. You don't throw a civil war and show up with cork guns, not to mention ignore the dire situation when the corks run out. The revolution in Egypt was successful in large part because the Egyptian activists "studied the nonviolent tactics of Serbian and Ukrainian youth movements [ that overthrew Slobodan Milošević ] In the summer of 2009, Egyptian activist Mohammed Adel traveled to Serbia to take a course on strategies for nonviolent revolutions." Not so impromptu as it all might have seemed er releasing the genie in the bottle. Instead, somebody did their homework. The Egyptian activists knew before hand that if their protest rallies ever escalated into a military confrontation that Mubarak would trounce them. The Egyptian activists did themselves a favor. By extension they did the US a bigger favor. I'll go out on a limb and predict that the Egypt's April 6 Activists will be presented with the Nobel Peace Prize. Yea, like Obama received in 2009.

If you know the answer please clue me in, but what puzzles me is why Obama doesn't feel that the French, Italian, British, et al. shouldn't find it as morally urgent to arm the same Libyan rebels, and instead gather together a coalition among these nations to achieve the same ends, not withstanding the UN resolution that defines the humanitarian mission to protecting Libyan civilians not necessarily securing regime change by ousting Ghadafi. For the past few days, Obama has been mired insisting that the US won't, then the US will, but the US won't, type of public bulletins. Obama's latest "not rule out arming the rebels," appears to be a preamble to a done deal. Meanwhile, it's to the world's benefit that Ghadafi doesn't win the civil war because for one there'll obviously be an embargo imposed on Libya in the aftermath and oil prices will spike even higher in a not so distant future, so a Ghadafi victory spells bad news for anyone who drives a car. Honk if you like. Obviously, aiding the rebels with US weapons alone won't fortify the rebels enough to bring down the more powerful Ghadfi's army, but who knows with these things. That's primarily why Republican Party strategists are fumbling around to what degree to criticize the President's worthy goal. The Repubs don't want to be like the office worker who didn't chip in to buy the winning lottery ticket even though the odds of a rebel victory at this moment appears about the same.

The Lay of the Land

I happened to look down from my lanai (balcony) at 4am in the morning, and I see this person snoozing on the Ala Wai. Weather's great, undoubtedly. In all probability, Mr. Anonymous was bar hopping earlier in Waikiki and consumed too many alcohol beverages. For one, he bedded down right under a street lamp instead of the darker sections between two adjacent street lamps. Felt too lazy to get up and turn off the light switch. By the time he wakes up, Justin Beaver will have re-married already. Btw, it was a balmy 72° at 4am (weather bureau) and actually felt warmer. No chance of snow tonight.

Monday, March 28, 2011

The Onus

Another Hawaii Five-O tonight .... another re-run. What's up with that? Wasn't it just the other month that there was two Hawaii Five-O re-runs in a row. No can, la dat. On top of that, CBS removed the Five-O re-run video's from their website. So if you're late turning on the tv, 9pm HST, to watch Hawaii Five-O, you've missed out on the murder which happens at the very beginning of every episode.

I watched part of Obama's speech to the nation in which he justified his intervention in Libya establishing NATO's no-fly zone. It boils down to essentially a damned if you do, damned if you don't, type of situation and electing the lesser of two evils about which course of action to undertake, abeit, with this situation, if you tossed a coin up in the air to decide between Door One or Door Two, the coin would land on the floor straight up. Well, not as simple as that. Did Obama make the right choice? The bottom line is that you can't bring tens of thousands of dead Libyans back to life had Ghadafi rained down genocide upon them as he seemed ready to do. The victims would be dead permanently. But (paraphrasing).... "stained America's reputation permanently"....?? "While other nations may be able to turn a blind eye to atrocities, America is not like that"....?? Just when did Ghadafi become this merciless dictator? Yesterday? It's not the scenario of the snake that escaped from the Bronx Zoo. Apparently, it remains inherently the US's manifest destiny to save the world or peril having a bad conscience. Of which there have been numerous encores and undoubtedly enough to follow. Somehow, Italy, and France, et al., a stone's throw across the Mediterranean Sea from Armageddon, aren't faced with the same dilemma. It doesn't appear neither that Russia nor China want a piece of the action. They avoid these situations like the plague. Is it then more of a strategy of positioning your nation to stay out of these quagmires? America wrote the book on how to get into military quagmires. Catch-22 on how to exit. It's almost amounts to an addiction, don't want to be an addict, but as soon as the next opportunity arises, back to the same drugs for the same high. Random thought .... would the Libyan rebels, if they win their civil war, will the Libyan liberators send a brigade of troops to Afghanistan to support US forces in the spirit of things? Whoopsie, it is sacrilegious for a Muslim nation to fight alongside infidels against a fellow Muslim nation. However, by the same virtue, isn't Ghadafi's army, Muslims who fight against Muslims rebels who would have been annihilated without air support from Nato, if you get the gist.

There It is Again....

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Obama and His Libya War

Bruddah Obama is scheduled to deliver a speech this Monday explaining to the nation his decision to support the UN no-fly zone over Libya. In reality, "UN" is just a transactional label. The US always shoulders the heavy lifting in any of the UN's humanitarian missions. For example, of the 175 cruise missiles launched at key Libyan military installations, only 6 were non-US military cruise missiles. Obama's main reason for Monday's speech is to justify his use of the US military without first asking for and acquiring a formal declaration of war from Congress. According to the constitution (since 1973), a president can legally deploy the US military for wars under 60 days duration without a full congressional hearing, so forth.

I don't believe Obama's critics have the upper hand in this controversy. After all, Obama lectured as a constitutional law professor at the University of Chicago, so he's himself an expert on constitutional law and I would think well versed on the how the constitution applies to the limits of presidential powers. The 60 day clause, itself, is confined to imminent threats to the US homeland or our citizens abroad. Obviously, a civil war in Libya does not constitute an imminent threat to the US. However, without a no-fly zone, Ghadfi would have massacred a lot of his countrymen. Granted, preventing genocide from taking place in a foreign country is not genuinely part and parcel of the 60 day clause, but I believe Obama is nonetheless entitled to a pass on the issue of arguably bypassing Congress by virtue that the alternative of standing by and allowing genocide to run it's course would have been an imminent threat to America's standing as the official caretaker of the world.

True, there are numerous nations in the world that the gov't have been and still are killing off their people like flies through one instrument of extermination or another, but the situation in Libya has arisen as part of the wave of the democratic revolution erupting in that Middle East region, which makes a genocide in Libya stand apart to the world's other killing fields. In addition, Obama can claim that he was simply fulfilling the America's obligation as a member of NATO who implemented the no-fly zone under the UN Security Council's umbrella. If that doesn't calm his critics, than Obama can still fall back on his penchant for being clueless. Or at least appearing clueless in the face of major issues. Gitmo. Afghanistan. BP oil spill. Health Care Reform.

Some members of Congress would like to make the most of this opportunity by impeaching Obama. The critics from the Republican Party realize that with next year's presidential elections, Obama, who had the least Washington DC related experience among all the candidates running for president in 2008, will now have the most experience under his belt on his 2012 credentials. Understandably, it is imperative that the Republicans bring down Obama now. By Sunday if they would have it their way. Otherwise, things look bleak for the Republicans to reclaim the White House in 2012. Mind you the same Republican critics accusing Obama of abusing presidential powers never muttered a word against Bush's indiscretions. Specifically, any time the constitution inhibited Bush's whims, Bush invoked the presidential privilege of submitting a "signed statement" which had the effect of excepting the president from a congressional law that limited the powers of the president in the relevant area. The problem with this, is that, the "signed statement" was signed by the president himself. Essentially, the president signed his own excuse slip.

The question in my mind because I care so much for world peace and watch too much 24-hour news channels is, "Just who are the Rebels that are opposing Ghadfi, and will the rebels have enough generosity to share power with the People if they defeat Ghadfi?" However, the question is moot, because as things stand, Ghadfi will annihilate the opposition. Ghadfi has way more fire power at his disposal, while the rebels are groups of disparate tribes whose only true unity will be sharing the same jail cell when the dust settles. Another question....why is Libya important asides from the prospect of becoming the newest Middle East nation to convert to democracy? Libya is ranked 19th in the list of oil producing nations in the world. However, Libya has the 9th most proven oil reserves globally and sweet crude grade which yields more gasoline and less tar. Why then does the nation with the 9th most proven oil reserves produce relatively so little oil in light of the world's growing demand for oil? They simply don't need the extra revenue with the size of their population. Libya has only 7.5 million people. New York City has more residents. Ghadfi could bribe off the revolters by offering every Libyan man, woman, and child a $1000 a month stipend for life which is a lot of money in Libya.

Monday, March 21, 2011

The Middleman

I was busy at work the past week and the Ides of March passed by without much fanfare. Union wages with $500 per day on weekends. Week days with comparable pay. Not too shabby, but therefore, no computer. Once you get on the computer there's a clear and ever present risk that you might end up still on it late into the morning hours. At daylight, you drag ass, and no if's, and's or butt's, about it, you get your ass kicked off the job. I just couldn't restrain myself from the previous sentence. Self-censor it yourself if it offends your sensibilities. Other than that, nothing substantive to report on except the job was a slam bam pace to finish up the project on schedule and the project is indeed done. And done well, if I may add myself. Oh, is it only me, or is a pound of margarine more expensive than a pound of butter at the grocery store?

The problem with a "few" carpenters, and won't mention names, is their lack of money management skills to a point where....this female carpenter at work, "I like drink soda for lunch, but I no mo $1.50 for the soda machine." That's not a rhetorical statement. It packs an agenda. Meaning, "Like, go and find the $1.50 somewhere else, LOL." Well, I only had a credit card but nonetheless, "I tell you what, the soda machine does accept credit cards, so I'll buy a soda for you, especially for you, when I buy mines at lunch." It's still a full two hours before lunch. No more than a ½-hour later, lo and behold, Female Carpenter is back informing me of a deal she just struck up to procure cigarettes fully aware that we both ran out of cigarettes for the rest of the day. She decrees that if I also buy a soda for the carpenter that she happened to be working with....

Apparently, the carpenter that Female Carpenter is working with, didn't bring one dollar bills to work. The soda machine doesn't accept denominations above one dollar bills. Of material, that aforementioned carpenter has cigarettes. As a standing rule, I pay 50¢ for every cigarette that I bum off from a fellow carpenter. Female Carpenter explains...."Well, since a bottle of soda costs $1.50, a bottle of soda equates to three cigarettes at 50¢ a cigarette by that exchange rate. Like, huh? How did I get to be a party to this transaction. But still, just about when I'm this far away from commending her, Female Carpenter spouts, "Now we get cigarettes to smoke." WE. Do the math, yourself. "I buy the cigarettes, not to mention the bottle of soda for you, and now, WE get to smoke the cigarettes that I get to buy. WE, didn't buy the cigarettes, and WE ain't smoking the cigarettes." Female Carpenter is a renown bi-polar in the trade quite famous for her frequent erratic outbursts, so I'll skip the details how that went over with her.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

17th Annual Honolulu Festival Parade

The Japanese make up most of participants in the Honolulu Festival, and it's difficult to be in a festive mood in the wake of the earthquake and tsunami, but today's parade was still a go. I've seen a video today on the tv of refugees at a meal station and there was a layer of snow on ground. Unimaginable situation. There'll surely be more first person videos to surface. Where could you upload those videos with power out everywhere.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Painting Update

The painters are still at it spraying our apartment building. Again, our building is the only high rise in Waikiki that has been spray painted instead of roller-brushed. Ever. And for obvious reasons. Just take a look at the overspray problem in the photo above. Our apartment manager said that the painting crew will perform a general clean-up once the painting stage is completed. The more they spray, the more overspray to scrape off, if that even begins to make any sense. What is not too reassuring is the lack of enthusiasm shown by the apartment manager to reconcile the overspray issue. According to the manager's grand plan, the painters are suppose to clean off solely the overspray on the top rail of the railing. The spindles aren't part and parcel of the same cleanup. The above pic is of the vertical post of the railing. Meanwhile, the rest of the narrower spindles are speckled to the same degree.

I think I know what's behind the manager's lack thereof. I'm inclined to believe he personally selected this painting contractor's bid which was half as much as other reputable painting companies. Probably thought that he had a feather in his hat having saved the apartment association a bundle and felt prematurely fuzzy all over. Unfortunately, the cleanup cost would exceed the painting contractor's low bid, itself, and the painting contractor would lose money in the process. Litigation is inevitable when, not if, the painting contractor balks at his obligation. Like the painting contractor will politely agree to take a lost without unleashing an army of excuses in defense of his wallet. Obviously, the situation will not bode well with the building manager's grand illusion as a financial genius to say the least. Meanwhile, he quoted the cost of the cleanup at $40 per apartment lanai (belcony). I mentioned perhaps, $100, but realistically, it's more like $200 per apartment lanai if you expect a professional quality cleanup.

In 2008, around there, the manager selected an inept tile man on the cheap to re-tile the lobby level floors. What a butcher job. Tiles crooked. Some corners of individual tiles sticking above the flat surface. I actually took the tile man aside and told him, "I'm in the trades myself. So, just between you and me, this is the way I suggest that you resolve the issue. Renegotiate your bid with the apartment association, so they pay you to fix your own mistakes. You're the low bidder by a large margin and the association can absorb the relatively low cost overrun. Either that, or the apartment association hires another tile man who is absolutely new to the layout with no guarantee that things wouldn't end up even more screwed up." Well, Mr. Inept Tile Man didn't take my worldly advice. But it's a free country. The gist of this is that apartment manager already screwed up big time trying to improve the common area of the apartment building only to end up accomplishing the diametrical opposite.

Honolulu Festival's Fireworks Display Cancelled

The Japanese make up the large majority of the visitors who have flown in for this weekend's 17th annual Honolulu Festival and as a show of respect there'll be no fireworks finale off Waikiki beach this year following Sunday's grand parade down Kalakaua Ave. (main drag). The fireworks were extra special this year, something about being under the direction of the City of Nagaoka that sets off one of the best fireworks shows in Japan. Under the present circumstances, a large portion of the Japanese contingent might not have full time jobs when they return home. And to return home, they have to re-book a departure which is sure to take a few days with the current backlog of flights. Not that Hawaii's troubles has any comparison, but the financial impact on Hawaii visitor industry will be in the hundreds of millions, even a billion dollars, as the number of Japanese visitors to Hawaii is sure to start to decline significantly in the coming months.

Saturday's Tidbits

That's former Hawaii radio broadcaster Kamasami Kong. Apparently, he's been living in Japan for a few years now. He was on CNN giving a first person account to CNN's Suzanne Malveaux about Japan's devastating earthquake. Podcast, here. The video takes too long to load, and Sypke quality anyways. Kamasami Kong was also on Bill O'Reilly on Friday. It seems that he's the unofficial point man for both major news channels.

This screenshot of the tsunami inspires thoughts of the Waikiki inundation zone. That green structure in the upper left hand corner of the photo is a dock crane to indicate the height of the tsunami surge. Waikiki is moated off by the Ala Wai canal on its inland boundary. A tsunami surge would simultaneously rush upstream and we'd be swamped from two fronts. Waikiki was mostly rice fields, before that taro farms, in swamp land, later filled in for where we stand now, that is, we're barely 2 feet above sea level at the highest elevation. And the Waikiki Zoo. In the back of my mind, I always wondered about the neighborhood if the lions and the tigers escaped their habitats and roamed the streets.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Friday Tidbits

Happy Aloha Friday. The cable clips that I ordered online arrived in the mailbox today. $2.90 online, $8.00 if bought locally. Free shipping with the online order. I think the cable clips are manufactured in China simply because there's no "Made in China" printed anywhere to be found on the package. These identical cable clips, 6 per set, sold locally, are usually labeled in English. These didn't even have English subtitles. Are they knockoffs? The factory mixes diced cardboard in the plastic for filler material. No that was with dim sim. At any rate I decided to check out the manufacturer's website and found 64-Gigabyte flashdrives sold for $16.00. 64-Gigabytes! Under the Kingston brand which I guess like any merchandise nowadays originate from China. The only catch is that you have to buy 10 flashdrives together. But you already knew that.

I was in Safeway in the morning and a cashier announced on the PA system, "No waiting in line on checkstand #9." I still had a few items to buy so I replied back to the PA system, "No thankyou." Than about 5 minutes later, another cashier on the PA system, "No waiting on Checkstand number something something." It's the sheer lack of customers. Many can't afford to buy groceries nowadays. Cashiers will be outta business if this keeps up.

8.9 Earthquake and Tsunami

This is yet unconfirmed, but all the water you see remaining in the wake of the tsunami in northeastern Japan....the lake hasn't receded because the elevation of the land along the coast has sunk below sea level and water has already seek it's own level. It's bad enough to have no warning that a tsunami is a minute away, but imagine if the land itself sinks, the height of the tsunami surge would increase in direct proportion. That part of the coastline would remain permanently submerged. But Japan is a resilient nation, for example, after the Kobe earthquake, and you don't get a sense of despair that as bad as the situation is, to the same degree had a 8.9 magnitude earthquake and tsunami impacted a less modernized nation. Easy for me to say, from here, of course. And that's in regard to the long term situation not the immediate days. But there's absolutely no looting taking place. That type of mentality. The 17th annual Honolulu Festival kicks off tonight which has a couple thousand Japanese visitors and performers who have flown in for the event, and undoubtedly a large portion of the Japanese contingent would have flown home if the Japan airports were open. Kinda difficult to celebrate. Remember Kamasami Kong, the Hawaii DJ? Apparently, he moved to Japan, and he was on Piers Morgan Tonight Bill O'Reilly giving a first person account.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Thursday Tidbits

Continuing the theme of Hawaii being the happiest state in the country, I bought this battery at a local brick-n-mortar outlet for the same low price that the same battery is sold for by larger online retailers. How many times does that happen especially in Hawaii with all the extra shipping costs tacked onto everything. For local readers, I bought the battery at Battery Bill's. They only sell batteries there. Now without further ado, we get to today's what doesn't make happy. Twice today a driver in the crossing street failed to stop at an intersection that I had the pleasure of being at. Wasn't close call or anything like that, but the first incident was a could have been. That's a but glad not.

There's a four-way stop where the Diamond Head Lighthouse road intersects with the Kapiolani Park road. The driver facing me on the opposite side of the Kapiolani Park road was motioning for me to proceed since he and I was turning in the same direction to my left. So, I motioned for him to proceed instead. And naturally the driver motions again for me to proceed. You're familiar with the scenario. Meanwhile, a car traveling down Diamond Head Lighthouse road, the perpendicular street, comes cruising across the intersection without stopping or even slowing down. So me and the other astonished driver was looking at each other from across the intersection and thinking, boy, aren't we glad we hesitated for a second before entering the street.

The second running-the-intersection happened at an intersection with a bleeping stop light. The kind that's when it's red, traffic in that direction is suppose to stop. Waikiki has a lot of one way streets where you turn from a side street onto a more used thoroughfare. This incident was on a cross street entering one-way Ala Wai Blvd. Our light turns green. All the cars infront of me start making left turns onto the one-way Ala Wai Blvd. So when it's my turn up in the line, I noticed an approaching driver on the Ala Wai Blvd., perpendicular direction, not bothering to stop for his red light. Not running a red light, so to speak, because the red light had already changed to red for what must have been at least 10-seconds already. But since Ala Wai Blvd. is multi lanes, the red light runner was physically in another lane, but it seemed like a kinda lame thing to do.

You might have noticed that the first photo was a little out-of-focus. The reason is that the railing that I'm utilizing as a photography table. I think that's the term for it. Anyways, the surface of the lanai railing is beveled. It slopes to the outside direction to let water run off instead of puddling. The general idea was that I didn't especially care for my brand new battery to slip off the edge, which might happen due to the trade winds, and thus focusing wasn't a high priority item at the moment.

Last night I decided to change my official Email address that Blogspot uses for this blog. But then, today, for reasons related, I wasn't able to access the "New Post" page for my own blog. Alas, after 75 hours, at least, 75 hours of submitting and resubmitting numerous passwords, etc, I was finally able to retrieve my blog, or the specific page that allows me to submit a new post.

Earlier today, this girl on the Ala Wai had been stabbed in the leg by her boyfriend during an argument that turned violent. The incident itself didn't take place on the Ala Wai, but at where the couple lived together in the Ala Moana area. But she was walking along the Ala Wai canal to get as far away as possible from Knife Man. There must have been 20 cops, responding to the scene and even a fire truck. No Danno or cameras you understand. The girl victim was reluctant to file a report against her alleged what's it called a person who stabs you in the leg on purpose. I don't know how far the cops were able to convince her before an ambulance finally took her away.

Those two recent water main breaks we had in Waikiki. I'm beginning to wonder if the earthquake we had last week didn't shake up the plate tectonics under Waikiki. More rhyme than reason on that one.

No Can

They just about finished re-surfacing Kalakaua Ave. (main drag) in Waikiki so it'll be smoother driving on the strip before the US Post Office road as you enter Waikiki town.

Unfortunately, the cost of driving down the same stretch of road will cost you more. The gas station didn't even bother with posting the prices for Premium-gasoline and Plus-gasoline. Just last week the gas station had a separate space for Premium and Plus on the same sign. Premium and Plus are above $4.00/gal.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Hawaii Man is Named "Happiest Man In America"

That was me of course. Proprietor of the illustrious Hotel Waikiki. Of course, we all knew that. My doesn't take much to make my happy. The only problem is that it doesn't take much to tick me off. Take for example, last night's Hawaii Five-O turned out to be a re-run. It's not so much the fact that it was a re-run, or it was the second re-run in a row, but wouldn't it be polite to announce that it would be a re-run in advance, you freakin nincompoops. Now, where was I?

Monday, March 7, 2011

Water Main Break in Waikiki Town

I generally don't like to post YouTube videos, but these clips are just 16-seconds and 17-seconds long.