Archive for May, 2007

By feature contributor Ms. Reef Rashbreastfeed jesus

For the most part, I appreciated the article by Cecil Adams (“The Straight Dope”, May 5-18, which appeared in the Hawai’i Island Journal … and is published in many alternative weekly papers around the country) in favor of breastfeeding for healthier babies, but I couldn’t stop myself from focusing on how he (and we as a society) continue to reinforce the rationale of many in our country that formula feeding is acceptable. This will only change as we all become more informed and help to support breastfeeding and breastfeeding mothers, and as our media stops making counter-productive statements.

Cecil’s statement that “newborns occasionally fed formula will survive,” is one case in point. The fact is that babies exclusively fed breast milk for the first six months of life have fewer illnesses and less severe illnesses. And yes, I’m not a breastfeeding Nazi… I can see that a baby who is fed formula on occasion will not die, but why take tgoddess isis nursing horushe risk of formula feeding at all which will increase the risk of SIDS, hypertension, diabetes, obesity, asthma, high cholesterol, allergy, vision deficits and more (nevermind the mother/child bond intrinsic to the process). For the very small percentage of women that are unable to or think they are unable to breastfeed, there is help for them in the form of medications and herbs to enable production of milk or to enhance production of milk, lactation consultants that can help women through the hard times, and the resource of milk banks which can ship breast milk to anyone, anywhere, with a doctor’s prescription. The WHO states that breastfeeding is best, the second choice is the mother’s own milk expressed and given to the infant in some way, the third is the milk of another human and the fourth and last choice is artificial baby milk.

If a multinational company developed a product that was a nutritionally balanced and delicious food, a wonder drug that both prevented and treated disease, cost almost nothing to produce and could be delivered in quantities controlled by the consumers’ needs, the very announcement of their find would send their shares rocketing to the top of the stock market. The scientists who developed the product would win prizes and the wealth and influence of everyone involved would increase dramatically. Women have been producing such a miraculous substance, breast milk, since the beginning of human existence… –Gabrielle Palmer, in The Politics of Breastfeeding, London: Pandora Press, 1988

Cecil further reinforces formula-feeding by telling women “good luck trying to solely breastfeed and hold down a job.” While for some it may be harder to express milk and bring it home from the office, it is by no means impossible. I know a woman who works in the forest fencing out pigs in Pohakuloa Reserve that took her cooler and breast pump with her into the field and would stop during her hikes at the appropriate fullness and express her milk, bringing it home later just to make sure that her children had the best she could give them. It is not impossible, it just takes determination. There are many resources available on the internet if you need help along the way – a good one is my sister’s site at thebfclinic.com .internation breastfeeding logo

Formula feeding is the longest lasting uncontrolled experiment lacking informed consent in the history of medicine. — Frank Oski, M.D., retired editor, Journal of Pediatrics

Cecil failed to mention the reason that the rate of breastfeeding in the ’50s “had dropped to 20%” was due to the newly developing formula industry and the pressure put upon women through the physicians and hospitals in those times, which (despite a slight reintroduction to breastfeeding) are still prevalent today. Formula companies constantly push their products on doctors and hospitals in the form of freebies to be the first to market themselves to the parents. Formulas are made to be cost-effective for the formula industry and are full of hydrogenated/low-quality oils, poorly absorbed nutrients, intestinal irritants and micro-deficiencies, not to mention based on dairy and soy which are two of the most common allergens for children, but also the cheapest most available source. (As well there are legitimate concerns with hormones, estrogens, and other factors which render the substitutes improper replacements). Breast milk, however, is a dynamic fluid with over 1000 different nutrients (specific to human beings), and it changes in composition throughout the day and throughout the course of lactation. It provides for the baby the specific nutrients that are needed at each age and in each situation. Formula will never be able to compete with that!

Would you go to the bathroom to eat your lunch?…As a rule, if you have a right to be somewhere with your baby, you have a right to breastfeed,” says Elizabeth Baldwin, a Florida attorney and La Leche League leader who is a national expert on breastfeeding and the law.

breastfeeding baby talk cover

Cecil also says that “you risk society’s wrath if you publicly suckle your kid.” Wow…if that doesn’t help reinforce the fear of breastfeeding, I’m not sure what does. Potential mothers that haven’t yet been through this process, let me reassure you now. I breastfed both of my children (for three years each) in public as needed, without anyone ever even looking at me funny. Maybe I just never cared enough to notice other’s attitudes. Yes, there may be the few who are uniformed, uncomfortable, or those with problems with their own sexuality, that may look on in disgust or even make rude comments, but why emphasize fear that society is truly against breastfeeding mothers (“society’s wrath…”)? This perpetuates the promotion of the breast as sex object while downplaying it’s proper purpose as the method for our children’s healthiest start in life. If a woman has modesty issues due to our country’s fascination with breasts, then they have the option to make themselves more discreet and wear a shawl or remove themselves from public view – but mothers have the right to breastfeed anywhere and should stand up for themselves if anyone tells them otherwise and feel supported by society to do the right thing!

breastfeeding protest hilo libraryThis week, our nursing mothers in Hilo went to have a “nurse-in” at the Hilo Public Library, which recently got some press when a librarian told a mother to go somewhere else to nurse, as there were young boys nearby that may be distracted. Despite Hawaii Law stating one can not discriminate against nursing mothers, the library’s position prior to the nurse-in was that they allow mothers to breastfeed but only if they breastfeed discreetly (i.e. hide in a corner somewhere or go to the bathroom — like every breastfeeding mom is just dying to pop one out and show the world). But after public response to their public position starting filtering in, the library soon changed their tune and their policy. It’s interesting that in this day and age mothers around the country -from the YMCA to Starbucks- (and even around the Americanized world) still have to protest for such a simple right.breastfeeding ad only six months

It is high time that society changes its social attitudes and explains away breastfeeding myths. Why are kids distracted by a breast in the first place? As one Hilo mother put it, “It’s time to heal our breast-repressed, breast-obsessed culture.” Breast-feeding is the most healthy option for our children. It is also a self-sustainable action, with no bottles, containers, washing or waste (unless you pump and bottle feed which may increase the need for dental work in the future, but at least save in doctor’s expenses with healthier constitutions). It saves over $1000 per baby in just the first year in feeding costs. And it can be done anywhere, at any time, without any preparation. Let’s start to make things right by being informed when we speak and then saying the right things to help women instead of perpetuating the repression.

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surfer girl hairWith search engines leading people who are trying to get “Surfer Girl Hair” to my article essentially detailing how to avoid it (“Secret Hair Tips for the Surfer Girl”), I decided I might as well publish my own recipe for the look. Likely a “How To” appeared on some trendy web site inflicting fads on experimental youth. Surfer girls whose hair turns dry and brittle from the daily effects of salt and sun may not understand those who want to purposefully put their hair through such abuse. And similarly, like the new tanning salon that opened up in our little Hawai’i town, I would find it absurd for anyone who has sun/ocean access to try to capitalize on one piece of the puzzle, going for “the look” instead of the experience and the multitude of benefits one can enjoys from surfing, swimming, etc. But I do have sympathy for those who simply can’t get the look the natural way – because of location, finances, etc. – and I’d do anything to help you avoid harsh bleaches and chemical hair products!

SophiaNaturally, my hair is so dark brown it’s almost black, but as a surfer it lightens up with highlights that go all the way to bright blonde (as opposed to lemon juice natural sun and sea coloring seems to skip the icky orangy phase). It’s the combination of the salt and sun that creates the look. Ocean water is on average 3.5% salt – though salinity is effected by evaporation, precipitation, and ground water or river water entering into it. I know the more salty and sunny the surf spot, the quicker my hair fries. On the East sides of the Hawai’i islands, with its abundance of river mouth breaks and more rain and clouds to block the sun, the condition of my hair doesn’t get quite so affected. On the West side though, with less fresh water and more desert-style environment, I can get “Surfer Girl Hair” in just a few sessions.ocean water salinity map

Ingredients (approximate):

* Sea Salt – 2 heaping tablespoons

* Water – 2 cups

* Oil (olive or coconut or whatever you have lying around) – 1 tablespoon

Heat water on the stove; pour in the salt and stir. Turn off heat, let cool to warm. Shampoo your hair (do not use conditioner) and it dry. Pour solution over hair (if you have long hair, saturate it as much as possible by first dunking hair into a bowl of the solution). Do not rinse; towel dry. If you have curly or slightly thick or dry hair that can handle some oil, put roughly one tablespoon of the oil into your palm, rub hands together, then cover outer layer of hair (avoid bangs or you’ll get zit-faced). Oil attracts sun rays and holds in heat and helps cook it better.

blue crush hairIf you don’t have access to a xenon lamp (ehem), simply go out in the sun (do not put hair in a rubber band if you can avoid it). Even if it’s overcast, some rays that provide general light are coming through. The closer to the equator the better. but the goal is to try to get as much sun as you can. Though it may take longer than your average Hawai’i surfer girl, you should see the effects. If you are going to be lying out in the sun at all (wear natural zinc sunscreen), then splay your hair out as much as possible. The hair that dries fastest and gets the most exposure seems to be the hair that bleaches out the most. And after it dries, wet hair again with a spray bottle that contains some salt water mix. Stop once you get the streaks/highlights you want and invest in some good conditioners. Also, as this is all designed to destroy the hair ;) we recommend adding some omega/flax oils to your diet, which seems to help keep hair flaxen!

There are also a bunch of products that have come on the market recently, which can add to the look: goops and sprays designed to give you that “sexy, salty, wind-styled texture”. No dough for new product? Use a little of your conditioner or gel mixed with a touch of jojoba, argan, coconut or other oil you happen to have in the kitchen. If you simply don’t wash your locks too often and let it get a little gunky,Chelsea Charges Surf throw in a dash of sand, stick your head out the car window – be creative – you can achieve your own carefree surfer look. (Disclaimer: once it crosses the line into rastafari dreds we can’t helpya.)

So, that’s it. But hey, if you ever decide to cruise Hawai’i to charge some waves and go for the natural surfer girl style… give us a buzz!

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mocha kittyYou or your loved one enjoy a mocha in the morning? Ready to score some points while saving some of the excess cash you’re spending for your “specialty” coffee at the local coffeehouse? Instead, maybe it’s time to use that money towards creating your own quality coffeehouse right in your kitchen. Here’s a recipe to get you started; a Hawai’i-style gourmet brew without too much hassle (don’t be scared off by the amount of type; it’s simple but I’m certifiably long-winded).


* Dark Organic Coffee Beans – Even if you could care less if you get some concentrated chemicals in your coffee mug every morning, buy organic because it improves the ecosystems of farms, increases biodiversity, and preserves water quality. And any surfer knows how much it sucks surfing in agricultural residues after a nice rain. Why dark? Those who like mochas usually appreciate the rich flavor found in dark “French” roasts. Despite what most people think, dark coffee is less acidic. Try to avoid the over-cooked Starbucks brand coffee beans that are roasted to bitter. If you can’t find good beans locally (Kona purchased anywhere but in Kona can be quite expensive, yes?), there are many organic coffee growers/roasters online (look for Certified Fair Trade -meaning no slave labor- and Shade Grown). Purchasing whole beans direct from a reputable roaster means you will get it fresh with the most flavor. Better yet get green beans and roast yourself. Of course never buy pre-ground coffee -organic coffee bag coffee grinders are cheap but can demolish and heat the beans. Splurge on a burr grinder if you can, or if you’re broke-ass just grind as needed at your local store. I think the old hand grinders are cute and sometimes way more efficient.

nativas cacao* Raw CacaoNavitas Naturals organic cacao is delicious and processed at low temperatures to maintain nutrients and vitamins. Cacao is high in magnesium, vitamin C, and higher in anti-oxidants than red wine and green tea. This company is committed to social and environmental business practices, working directly with farming communities and supporting native organic farmers and farming methods. (Sure, you can also get some Ghiradelli.)

* Raw Sugar – Look for sugars, like Coconut Secret, that are not heat processed.

* Coconut Milk – Available at most grocery stores. Check the Asian Foods section for unsweetened, premium, first pressing, organic. Avoid the low-fat version. If you’re in Hawai’i or have some spare coconuts lying around, you can make your own fresh coconut milk.

coconut fresh* Rice Milk – (I like vanilla; organic will keep you GMO-free). Only problem is isn’t doesn’t froth well. The new Hemp milks are yummy and nutritious, but shake well – they have a tendency to separate and bead up and don’t look as appealing in the mug. Probably the most rich option is almond milk. They spray almonds with LOTS of pesticides, so definitely look for organic!

* “Pumpkin Pie” spices. 

* Filtered water for coffee brewing is best

Make two shots of espresso or a strong coffee. Though the process of making coffee is ultimately important, that’s another recipe for another time. Many “Mr. Coffee”-kine coffee makers suck and with the advent of much better machines for a decent price it’s silly to not spend more on something you use every day. Many swear by the tried and true cowboy coffee. Others love the French Press. Still others prefer vacuum or cold brew for a no-acid coffee that’s kind to the belly. I like the stove-top percolators or espresso machines. But one thing’s for certain, if your coffee sucks, you’re going to end up back at the coffeehouse.

Mocha CreamWhichever you decide, while the coffee is brewing, fill a saucepan with approximately 1 cup rice/hemp milk, couple tablespoons whipping cream or half and half, couple tablespoons of coconut milk (per mug) – I’m firmly opposed to measuring; just eyeball it. A big mug is important. Put approximately one full teaspoon of raw sugar (sweeten to taste), and a full teaspoon of cacao in your mug. Add a small amount of hot coffee into the mug while stirring; mix well! Then add the remaining espresso or coffee to 1/2 to 3/4 full, and fill the rest of the mug with the hot milk mixture. Top it off with whipped cream. Dash with pumpkin pie spice, or better yet grate some nutmeg and cinnamon yourself. The spices have a warming quality that are great pre-surf – and compensate a little for coffee’s tendency to deplete one’s Protective Qi, which can cause one to get cold more easily (just don’t use cinnamon every day as too much can irritate the stomach). You can also top off with some shredded coconut, chocolate syrup or shaved cacao.

That’s it. So now, get on it – surprise your loved one with a mug of this yumminess in the morning. Just make sure to go surf… or whatever you do… to burn off that crazy buzz! xo

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GIDGETYou know, before Gidget came out in the late ’50s, there were supposedly only 5,000 surfers in the world. With that and the beach blanket bingo era to follow, by 1962 it’s been estimated a whopping 100,000 took to the waves. Today how many might there be? Millions?

My first bit of interest in surfing came in the form of a Flipside Magazine (hi Al, miss you) borrowed from some high-school surf punks as well as paddling out being my only other option besides waiting for hours on the beach gossiping with my girlfriends while our boyfriends surfed (yuck!). Yet, I will never deny the inner girly-tomboy inspiration acquired from the Gidget character, especially Sally Field’s TV version. Heck, the first spot I ever surfed (or got tossed around by waves at) as a teenie-bopper was Malibu and every once in a while I’ll disturb myself by unconsciously verbalizing words like “Toodles.”

But do we really need another major motion picture about the subject? After Blue Crush, can the water get any more crowded? (hmm, interesting to note, some of the most popular surf movies in history are about women – whassup with that?) How many more over-commercialized surf flicks does the universe need created by non-surfers in Hollywood trying to cash in?surf’s up

“Okay. I get it. This is where you tell me that “locals rule”, and that Yuppie insects like me shouldn’t be surfing the break, right?”

Capitalizing on the public’s love of computer animation and cute animals (Lilo & Stitch, Happy Feet, March of the Penguins) and promoted happily by certainly well-paid surf industry powerhouses (Kelly Slater and Rob Machado who provided lead voices), the consumer public is supposed to embrace Surf’s Up! as the movie to take the kids to this summer. But this animated feature that “goes behind the scenes of the high-octane world of competitive penguin surfing” and is based on the concept that (move over dolphins) “penguins invented surfing”… is not the new surf movie I’m talking about.

“You’re sayin’ the FBI’s gonna pay me to learn to surf?”

point break two

Point Break screenwriter Peter Iliff has found the only way to get a director’s credit is to write a script with his directing job tagged onto the contract. To the casual dismay of Point Break fanatics, this means a Point Break 2. In this 20-years-later scenario we will see (so far as it’s been reported) Bodhi indeed not dead, and has been instead playing bad boy and surfing, no doubt, hurricanes in the Asian Pacific (can’t you just picture him doing tow-ins with Laird). Patrick Swayze, with star power draining accordingly over time, doesn’t have a lot of other projects lined-up and is tentatively committed to this one. But there will be no “Johnny Utah” (and no James Cameron producing) – the flick will be funded and filmed in Asia and star a largely Asian cast. And the new lead character is supposed to be a ex-pro surfer turned Navy Seal tracking down a “criminal gang” and star a new Keanu. As reported in Variety:

It is really important that this film stands on its own two feet and we will be looking for a young male action star at the same stage in his career as Keanu (Reeves) was….

“Young, dumb and full of cum”

While you’re waiting for Point Break 2 to come out, you might be able to experience the ultimate ride “Point Break Live!” (a play based on the movie which I believe originated in Seattle many years ago, but has been showing as recently as a few weeks ago in New York). A new Keanu is picked every time, and the message on their MySpace better explains the qualities one must possess to play such a role like the dynamic Reeves:

To represent Keanu Reeves, an actor must be untrained and unrehearsed. He must be pushed from place to place by production assistants. He must read his lines (not seen until the play’s in progress) from cue cards. Only thus can that irresistible Reeves vacancy be emulated.

kalani robbOh, my. Well, in my personal opinion, if they’re going to make this work, I think they should hire retired pro goofy-footer Kalani Robb, as he’s always seemed to me a cuter Keanu. Plus he won’t need to be trained how to surf, has an Asian-Hawaiian look (like Keanu), and the absolute worse case scenario can act as well as Keanu… and I love him. Oh Rob, remember that day you were jogging down the beach with your dog..and I had my dog… and you barely paid any attention to me… sigh… and then that time, out in the water, at Pupukea, you were so mellow letting me catch as many waves as I wanted..even though you probably didn’t even notice I was there… what, oh, you did notice me…you wanna go grab some sushi…well, sure… mmm…. Oh, sorry, daydreaming again…. Rob even has a filmography and likely an Actor’s Guild card and, ah, shoots, he’s staring in a surf/horror movie coming out this year called Pipeline (“the water is filled with limbs…”). Well, out of all the surf movies coming soon to a theater near me, that’s one I’ll go see.

“Fear causes hesitation, and hesitation will cause your worst fears to come true.”

Now the question is, will Point Break fans flock to the potentially B-grade flick in hopes the writing might include genius one-liners like the ones weaved throughout the original. Or should we avoid the movie and preserve our imagination. That we don’t know if Bodhi died or somehow survived the huge waves at “Bell’s Beach” – and is possibly out there, somewhere, bullying for truth and the human spirit and manifesting the adequate funding required to live the ultimate surfer lifestyle (of course, today one would have to rob a lot more banks to stay afloat as a beach bum with a healthy quiver). Though there is little controversy about the matter, maybe people are just afraid to admit to their caring either way about the film’s legacy. One reviewer did go on the record, “Sounds like an all-around bad idea to me.” Yeah, “Part Two”‘s have the power to be such a bummer, dude.

“If you want the ultimate rush, you gotta be willing to pay the ultimate price….”

As far as more surf movies go, we can only hope for the best. Often the pure essence is only found in the well-produced small, independent variety, made by people who live to surf, and surf to live. Do all surf movies have the potential to increase the number of surfers in the water? Sure, very likely. Then again, we can all be greedy over the waves. But when you see the look on the face of a kid who just rode a wave for the first time in his or her life, you don’t mind so much. We know aloha is part of sharing it with the rest of the world. And perhaps the future core of conservation and environmental consciousness will be inspired by the fresh generation of groms who connect with the ocean and have a deep desire to keep it healthy (maybe throw in a few engineers to make some successfully breaking artificial reefs to satisfy the growing surfer communities – and encourage growing sea life). So, ultimately, I don’t mind the flux of surf movies – but if filmmakers are throwing so much money at it my only request is that they please make some that are really good too.

“Surfing’s the source man… it’ll change your life, swear to God.”

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Dog Food RestaurantThough animals of all smells tug at my heart-strings, I am officially one of those cat-people who one day turned into a dog-lover; even the title Coconut Girl being a dedication to my girl dog, who looks absolutely ridiculous running around the beach with a coconut twice the size of her head clutched in her chops. But almost like a new mother worried whether she’s taking proper care of her newborn, it seems I know very little in terms of exact specifics regarding proper dietary care of doggies, relying foremostly upon instincts and smiles. For example, I don’t believe any creature should subsist solely on processed foods (e.g. packaged dog foods) – they don’t do it in the wild – though expert thoughts on the matter seem to insist otherwise. I’m not into encouraging begging, but sharing my burger with my dog makes us both happy and sometimes we both need a little fresh meat (though hormone-free hamburger cooked rare may be best for her). On the other hand, I thought avocado -a favorite treat for dogs here in Hawai’i as it’s found in such abundance- would be nice for her fur. So it was kinda a bummer when, experimenting with Stumble! (and realizing it is a cool tool for exploring undiscovered web sites), it sent me stumbling upon a page called Moore’s Haven and their list of “Bad Foods For Dogs”. Low and behold, amongst the first few entries, there it is, avocado:

Avocado contains a toxic element called persin which can damage heart, lung and other tissue in many animals. Avocados are high in fat content and can trigger an upset stomach, vomiting or even pancreatitis. The seed pit is also toxic and if swallowed can become lodged in the intestinal tract where it may cause a severe blockage which will have to be removed surgically. Since avocado is the main ingredient in guacamole, be sure and keep your dog out of the dip.

Hope the Dog Food Isn’t ContaminatedTypically this is only an issue if you happen to live next to an avo tree and your dogs are gorging on the fruit, otherwise a little added to meals here and there are recommended by the best doggie naturopaths and nutritionists.

So with that, a little more research, and some inspiration from the recent pet food recall, we give you the top ten ways in which you might be innocently poisoning your doggy with bad food choices:

1) Avocado (as previously mentioned)

2) Baby food and Onions. I used to give baby food to my cat when she was getting older and it was hard for her to eat/digest regular cat food. On occasion, thinking she might like it, I’d give some of the organic chicken variety to my doggie. Ooops. Dogs can not eat onion powder. Onions can cause hemolytic anemia destroying a dog’s red blood cells and causing lethargy and breathing difficulties (check for pale gums). Fortunately, toxins will pass but in large doses could require a blood transfusion. Garlic isn’t recommended either but since it’s used in smaller amounts problems are less often noticed.

3) Dairy Products. My girl is an Atkins dog; preferring her fats and proteins. For treats, she loves a saucer of creme every once in a while. Organic yogurt or kefir – yum! We eat bread only when covered in cheese or butter. Even last night while watching The Sopranos where Tony kills Christopher (man oh man… fun having a TV while house-sitting), we enjoyed some high quality Monterey Jack together. Now I know I can’t handle too much dairy, but didn’t realize she couldn’t either; assuming that hard-core tummy that comes pre-installed on these beasts can break down most any food it can swallow. It’s the lack of the lactose digesting enzyme, lactase. Seems cheese and yogurt require less of it so limit minimal dairy consumption to those.

4) Chocolate. That’s the one food most everyone knows dogs shouldn’t have, but don’t know exactly why. Ill effects are caused by theobromine, a cardiac stimulant, which can make the dog hyperactive, increase heart rate, and cause death especially when combined with exercise. It also acts as a diuretic which can lead to dehydration. How much chocolate can equate to an overdose? Depending upon the dog’s size, even an ounce or two can be fatal! And note: cocoa powder and cooking chocolate (dark as opposed to milk) contains more of said substance and is therefore more toxic. Sickness might not come on immediately, but death can follow within 24-hours.Dog Eating Avo

5) Bones. This is another one most people know about, but it is hard to prevent your pooch from sniffing out barbecue remnants at the beach or park. Many think it’s only the chicken bones because they splinter. But all cooked bones are hazardous because they become brittle and splinter and have sharp edges. One vet told me he’s had to put his hand down the throat of hundreds of dogs over the years, to get the full piece of short-rib bone that easily becomes lodged. Though raw bones (completely uncooked, which you can usually find in the refrigerated section at a feed or pet store) are typically considered safe and beneficial to the dog’s teeth (not to mention their disposition) too many might cause constipation due to high calcium content.

6) Cat Food. Every once in a while my dog just won’t eat her food. I try to switch it up, between formulas she prefers, usually the ones that have lamb as the first ingredient and rice instead of wheat. But once in a while I’ll feed her some kitty food. Doesn’t seem too bad if that’s not what the dog is subsiding on. The main issue seems to be that it does not supply an adequate formulation to satisfy a dog’s nutritional requirements, as well being too high in protein and fats and potentially contributing to added weight gain for the pet.

7) Macadamia Nuts. Another food common in Hawai’i, therefore can be a big concern. On many occasions I’ve had to warn people to not give my dog MacNut Crusted Mahi-Mahi or Ono leftovers (since my Mama Udy makes the best!). As few as six nuts can cause elevated temperature, accelerated heartbeat, tremors, even paralysis. Best to avoid nuts in general, because their high phosphorus content may lead to bladder stones.

8) Liver. Another one I wouldn’t assume, especially as many dog foods and treats contain it. It’s just a caution about eating too much, the reason being its high Vitamin A content. Fatty Meats are also usually the scraps we indulge our pet with; what’s wrong with those? Well, they may love us with all their heart for it…but it’s bad for their heart! As well, excess may cause loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, pancreatitis and gastroenteritis (specific clues include whimpering or restlessness).

9) Moldy or Spoiled Foods. Dogs are the ones who usually get the leftovers we no longer want. But when the foods sit in the fridge awhile, we usually assume it’s still fine for the animal. But don’t let it get too old! It seems mold contains toxins that can cause tremors or seizures in which case medical treatment is required. Spoiled foods can cause food poisoning which might lead to vomiting, diarrhea and shock.

10) Commercial Dog Food. Yes, the very food made especially for dogs can be killing your dog. And it’s not just the cheap dog foods found in grocery stores, the so-called “premium”, “gourmet”, “natural” or “preservative-free” (often produced by these same companies) can be just as bad. The recent recall should be warning enough about the limited controls of byproducts and industrial chemicals in pet foods (Cornell University of Veterinary Medicine which is studying the foods because of this incident says they are finding more things in the pet food that shouldn’t be there, “but identifying what they are is a long process”).

Iams PosterWhen we look at the history, commercial dog food came into existence in the 1930s with cereal companies looking for something to do with their rejected grain – wheat, rice and corn that failed USDA inspection because of mold, rancidity, and other contaminants (disregarding the fact dogs digestive systems aren’t built to break down grains of any sort and that they usually have some allergic reactions). With the meat industry facing a similar dilemma (mainly the 4D meat – diseased, disabled, dying or dead, but also including capitalization of road kill, euthanized animals [collars and all], plastic and styrofoam wrapping of spoiled grocery store meats, urine, feces, hair, feathers, beaks, etc…), the idea of mixing the rejects together and calling it “pet food” was born. Reminding one of the promotion for formula over breast milk, disregarding the consumers best health interests, marketing firms took it from there.

Dog Food SecretsFor more info check out Dog Live, which recommends feeding homemade dog foods for your loving companion. A few other sites worth checking out: The Dog Bowl, Shirley’s Wellness Cafe, Dick Van Patten’s Natural Balance, The BARF Diet, RawFeed, and Better Way Health (these include raw food diets to purchase or prepare fresh for dogs). A few ways to help clean up the industry: The Petition for Pet Food Reform, another Petition to Hold the Pet Food Companies Accountable, and Peta’s Iams Cruelty site. You can also write to The Center for Veterinary Medicine and FDA about your concerns. To learn more about the pet food recall, check in with the FDA’s site which provides info on all pet food companies involved and the Timeline of the Pet Food Crisis on Wikipedia which includes corporate cover-up, varying causes of recall, and recent release for human consumption animals who were fed this tainted food.

Finally, besides a proper, high quality diet for you and your pet, to live happy and healthy make certain you get plenty of exercise, water, and most importantly, cuddles! xo

9/21/08 Update: This link for Peta, with updated info… Another Pet Food Recall – Is Yours on the List? Another example, of why, if you truly luv your dog or cat, you pay a little extra $/attention to what you are feeding them. Find a reliable, socially responsible, pet-loving company who makes food that is healthy and that your pet loves!

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good bad kittyI’m housesitting. It’s a nice and needed respite because I’ve been living in a tent in a rat-infested plantation house with termites to the extent that every once in a while you notice the wall crumbling to dust. Despite the sound of it, I am forever grateful to my friend for making his home available to me, because homelessness sucks even if you are in Hawai’i (the concept of “living on the beach”: coconut tree, beach shack…kinda lost in this modern world). And the nights I did have to sleep in my little putt-putt with my broken back were uncomfortable reinforcements of pain killer psychosis and suicidal tendencies.

See, this ungrounded state is a result of an injury which left me unable to work for much of a year (sure, sure, the symbolic, astrological, spiritualized purpose of the accident itself has much deeper roots…but rhyme or reason aside, the event leaves you in disarray). If you aren’t from a rich family or have a chunky savings account, and after you quickly, effortlessly run through all your resources, you soon realize the impossibility of living on $400 a month plus $240 in food stamps. What can one buy with $400 exactly? Rent? You’re lucky if you find a room for that much – and if you do your options here usually include a basement or trash-can frat house or some ramshackled cabin in the boonies. And then you have not one more penny for, god-forbid, medical bills, rehabilitation… never mind regular expenses like car, phone, utilities, pet food, credit card bills…. As far as food expenses go, anyone who lives in or has visited Hawai’i comprehends the futility of discount shopping when, for example, a carton of orange juice costs upwards of $8 (fatal when calculating in organic, non-GMO vices and desired satisfaction of cravings) – no, there are no Trader Joe’s and they don’t take food stamps at most of the farmer’s markets either.

But enough of this negative thinking – people just don’t want to hear it, even if it is the truth. Today there is an avoidance of anything that smells of negativity. Boy, all us realists are just percolating, waiting for The Secret* backlash that will surely come, as bottled up “negativity” finds no friendly place to exist in this “all-good” world. It’s like when the “politically correct” thing first became big late ’80s, and your dictionary had to change and quick or you were looked down upon, sued, fired, hated…. I recall one occasion, for example, reacting aloud to someone with the pre-p.c. common adage You’re so gay (okay, valley girl-common but none-the-less). Anyway a gay acquaintance in our group became mortified and reacted in a very aggressive way. How dare you! Now, he knew many of my friends were gay (I was in San Francisco visiting them for cryin’ out loud), that I’m not homophobic, but he was so tuned-up to react to keywords that the reality was besides the point. Maybe other people used that saying to round-aboutly demean gay people (I get offended when people use “girl” to put down guys for example – though on that note perhaps he should have been offended by people calling homosexuals “gay” at all). Personally, I never once thought the saying had anything to do with “gay” people. I wouldn’t be able to replace the word “gay” in the phrase (e.g. You’re soo homosexual). And since when did one group earn the right to words like “gay” to the point you have to tippy-toe around your own vocabulary? Heck, homosexuals can use whatever word they want, make up new words to describe themselves uniquely, but “gay” is a common word with many definitions in the dictionary before you get to “homosexual”.

All I’m saying before I so rudely rambled away with my thoughts is that, like P.C. then, we’re getting a little S.C. (secretly correct) and perhaps going a little overboard with the whole no negative campaign. Because people individually and as a social collective are emotionally (not rationally) determining just what is negative or bad and what is not, and the range seems to opt towards extremes. And I’d hate to say something and be interpreted incorrectly or not related to or totally dismissed, because people have a neurotic need to block out or close themselves off to anything that can be deciphered as remotely negative. Now that, to me, feels bad. Trends like this always seems to go too far. My friend’s kitty is a perfect example.

See, kitty-sitting comes with the two-week housesit. The meow meow is barely a speck, a shadow, a puff that can sit in the palm of your hand. My friend recently found this kitty at her house and took her in, ’til it peed on her bed, but essentially she now takes care of the kitty and therefore claims the self-entitled human right to name said kitty. And taking personality and behavioral issues into account – the peeing, clawing and otherwise rowdy behavior – she named the kitty “Bad Kitty.” When she told me, I didn’t even question the matter; Bad Kitty seemed like a perfectly understandable even adorable name for a cat. But she explained that she was having some resistance from people around her, as far as them calling her kitty by her proper name. Somehow the word “bad” just isn’t positive enough or “S.C.” One of the tenants that rents from this friend seemed dramatically disturbed by the whole thing. “No, no, nooo,” the girl whined with her air-head boppin’ side-to-side, “you can’t call her Baaad Kitty, you have to call her Gooood Kitty.” “But her name is Bad Kitty,” my friend declared in response. Trying to maneuver the scenario with a more upbeat twist, my friend then elaborated, “my kitty is bad-ass!” The girl thought for a minute, going through the motions of wholesome contemplation but twas useless, ultimately her mind was made up. “No, no, no” she repeated, “Gooood Kitty.”

So I’m thinking it’s just this tripped-out hippie who avoids “bad” vibes like the shower, but my friend said she brought her new kitty to the local vet and no one at the vet’s office – vet included – would call the kitty by its name. “They call her BK” my friend told me, kinda perturbed but at a loss. They insinuated her needing to rename her kitty, but since she resisted they simply did it for her. BK, I thought, isn’t that short for Burger King? (hmm, the last burger I got from there was pretty negative!)

Right now as I type, Bad Kitty is being especially “bad”, jumping on my head, on my keyboard, adding lines and spaces and distracting my focus. I toss her here and there but she’s back in a poof, a shadowy black flash, and is indeed bad-ass. And I’m in this nice house and for a moment my environment isn’t reflective of or aggravating my negative state. Maybe a few of these double negatives are actually joining together, in a transformative alchemy, to create some more positives. Surely we need these fucked up, shitty, horrible, evil, rotten, lame, boring, stupid, bad, bad-ass words and feelings and events and even people for any of the positive ones to truly exist; perhaps consciousness and understanding and even a lighthearted sense of humor makes them not so baaad. I was never looking for perfection in my life, just a healthy balance, sure, of positive and negative I suppose. I’m not worried, cause if a little blip, a dot, a dusky happy-go-lucky ruffian like Bad Kitty can overcome or transcend the negativity in her life, then I surely can too.

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* the “it” film and book of the moment, with it’s semi-new age no-negativity campaign and Da Vinci code aesthetic providing your answer to the Secret (secret laws and principles to the universe – foremostly the laws of attraction or as some critics state a re-packaging of “The Power of Positive Thinking”) and how to use them to have “everything you’ve ever wanted…living life to the absolute fullest. That means happiness, health, and total abundance and freedom, every day.” Basically sold as the answer to having the life all rich, successful, happy people knowingly lead. The essence of this solution stemming from the idea that one must think and visualize good thoughts; avoid bad ones.

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food poisoning benefitsThe other day, this guy mentioned how he’s had food poisoning twice in his life and how awful it was. He was going through the gory details as if he thought maybe I wouldn’t understand. All I was thinking was, twice in your life?! You’re so lucky! I’ve probably had it twice in the past year! So, maybe I do have a sensitive stomach. If there were a way in which it wouldn’t cause utter hideous pain, I could get big bucks using this stomach of mine as, perhaps, a device to test restaurant food quality or sanitary environment or something. The scale could range from amount of cramping, how many hours or days it lasted, how many times I yelled, “Get the #$&% out of here!” to anyone in the house who asked through the bathroom door, “are you okay?”…etc….

The California Department of Health Services gets close to 27,000 reported cases of food poisoning each year. Because there are many more cases of food poisoning that are never reported, the actual number of food poisoning cases per year is unknown. The annual incidence of food poisoning nation wide is estimated to be as high as 80 million cases, with 300,000 hospitalizations, and 5,000 or more deaths annually.bunny barfing

The only time in my life I had an official hospital stay – meaning not some stitchable cut or contusion or broken bone sports-related visit to the ER – was the after-effects of eating a BLT at the House of Pancakes in Agoura, California. I was maybe ten-years-old but recall the day: my team winning our soccer game, the drive to the after-game family meal, ordering and eating my food…and then it fades to black. I was out for about a week, they told me I almost died, and the only part of the actual hospital stay I remember was how absolutely stoked I was to wake up to the gift of a Mattel Handheld Electronic Soccer game. By the time I left the hospital I fit into my four-years-younger sister’s pants (my mom having grabbed the wrong ones).

There are important differences in terms of food process hazard control among the three phrases that describe the various forms of foodborne illness, which are: 1) food poisoning (a chemical poison or natural toxin in the food, not made by a microorganism), 2) food infection (food containing living, vegetative pathogenic microorganisms that multiply in the body to cause diarrhea as well as other forms of illness such as vomiting, fever, etc.), and 3) food intoxication (specifically, either Staphylococcus aureus, Bacillus cereus, or Clostridium botulinum multiplying in the food, thus making toxins).

mattel soccer

I always remember where I got the food and what bathroom I ended up in. And despite wisps o’ wisdom from numerous folk regurgitating ol’ wive’s tales that it takes at least 12-24 hours before you feel the effects - it’s certainly not always the case (for me rarely the case). Depending on the bacteria or toxin involved, I almost always feel it very shortly after eating the food. The last few incidents: Costco (already cooked) crab – it’s a risk I no longer take; Caesar’s salad – seems innocent enough, ’til I ate one at that cute little pizza place in Volcano Village – recommend trying the pasta instead. It always feels like you’re dying, or maybe the closest a non-birther might get to the feeling of giving birth – one of those extremes. Usually they are smaller bouts of course – and likely go under the more accurate title of foodborne illness. Like the one today. What was I thinking ordering fast-food chili, fries and a chocolate malt? I’m learning though. I know now that one of the worst things one can do is try to keep it down. Just like when one has been “inflicted” with a bad case of alcohol poisoning. The minute you know you went too far, that the world feels as if it’s spinning at a variablefood bacteria and tilt inconsistent with reality and your body can’t handle the turmoil…you need to throw it up! To get the poison out of your system A.S.A.P. The sooner it’s expelled the better you will feel. So I did it, went to the bathroom, swallowed a couple charcoal pills with as much water as I could manage and within minutes all good.

Most cases of gastrointestinal symptoms are due to viral infections and are not true cases of food poisoning. Diagnosis of true food poisoning is difficult because of the many organisms found in different kinds of foods and varying incubation periods. The delay between consumption and appearance of the first symptoms is called the incubation period. This ranges from hours to days (and rarely months or even years causing certain diseases), depending on the agent, and on how much was consumed. If symptoms occur within 1–6 hours after eating the food, it suggests that it is caused by a bacterial toxin or a chemical rather than live bacteria. After eating food contaminated with bacteria, it multiplies in the stomach and the bowels. Some bacteria give off a toxin when they multiply. Vomiting and diarrhea are the body’s way of eliminating the toxin.

I mean I felt really good. Even though the cramps hurt and I hate that feeling of the uncontrollable cold sweat, in some respects the end results of this toxic elimination are something similar to a cleanse. I mean, people are spending hundreds of dollars for colonics, thousands on detox retreats, downing Master Cleanses, popping herbal remedies, choking on irritating icky-tasting psyllium fiber…. Just like “medicines” that act as poisons in large doses but cure in low ones, contaminated foods that don’t injure the body might in fact offer some benefits. Maybe purposefully eating foods that induce a purge or flush can be seen as similar to a cat (well, my cat-like dog does it too) who eats grass to cause them to throw-up their hair-balls. An unconventional nutritionist friend of mine used to actually tell me it was good to eat raunchy food every once in a while – that the body actually craved it. Perhaps “raunchy” can even be added to the controversial list of “flavors”: sweet, sour, bitter, salty, astringent/umami, pungent/spicy, kokumi/”mouthfulness”, the newly added “fatty” [maybe the last two are related]. From Aristotle to modern and alternative medicines, there are varying perspectives as to the types of flavors, their effects and how often and in what proportion they should be ingested. Why not raunchy as a flavor that has digestive and purification indications. And what if raunchy was turned into an actual “spice”, to be added to your food let’s say once a month, just enough to run it through the system. Like a fuel treatment or Drano, something that blows out all the piping. Used too much it could damage, but once in a while, in small amounts, clears up any clogs!

An estimated 55% of food poisoning cases are caused by improper cooking and storage of foods, and 24% by poor hygiene (not washing hands before handling food). Only 3% of cases are from an unsafe food source. About 20 organisms can cause foodborne illness.

six tastesAccording to Ayurvedic beliefs, we’re supposed to “allow our unique constitution to determine the proportion of tastes we eat. The body naturally desires tastes that balance its doshic makeup and shuns tastes of an aggravating nature. In this sense, things are made pretty easy for us: If we simply follow our natural inclinations, we are led to the proper foods.” What if I made that u-turn to Kozmic Kones because subconsciously my craving was for the raunchy flavor that my current constitution desired. Maybe I was constipated and didn’t know it. Perhaps other bacteria or virus, an on-coming stomach flu let’s say (though most “stomach flu” is really a “food poisoning”), was breeding in my gut, and this expelled the lot of it. Surely every situation is unique, but if we were better clued-in to our personal, physical needs, might we realize a small bout of food poisoning could have positive results? So, maybe sometimes it’s not so bad to leave your food out a little longer than recommended. On occasion you could try your chances at a beef enchilada from the cheap, grimy local Mexican place. Maybe just a few bites though, keep it regulated, and always know where the nearest bathroom is!

Not all food poisoning organisms cause vomiting as a symptom but almost all organisms cause diarrhea. Blood in the stool is seen in several types of food poisoning and is considered a serious symptom. Abdominal cramps are common, even if vomiting is not present. Fever is infrequent but may be seen. Contact a physician if a fever or bloody stools are present.

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Warning: Please consult your doctor before giving yourself food poisoning or eating at places where food poisoning is likely. Comprehension of sarcasm will help you with this process. Throw up at the first sign of an unhappy tummy. Keep charcoal on hand. Food poisoning is not a joke; diarrhea is a killer. Make certain you rehydrate, replace electrolytes and reintroduce healthy bacteria (acidophilus). • Whatcha might try if truly clogged up but don’t want a the full purge experience: hemp seeds, flax seeds (buy whole and crush in coffee grinder and add to smoothie or atop salad – eat your greens!), flax oil, slightly green bananas, slippery elm bark (pills or tea) or as far as pills go the one that seems least harsh and most effective are rhubarb (great if you’re constipated because of medication you are taking, and/or when traveling -instead of opting for the Montezuma’s Revenge – even we won’t go there!)…. And don’t forget what every momma knows – rub da belly! Chi Ni Tsang!



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element cycleI’d been enjoying some extra bed time while getting over a bug, when I had this annoying nightmare. In it my MacBook was catching viruses off the internet. Could have been guilty download conscious, but I balance out such thievery with the reality that I wouldn’t buy any music even if I didn’t get it free. Suppose I was too spoiled receiving a never-ending supply of LPs and CDs for review during my music critic days. But as for movies, I have no excuse but boredom. Though I like animation, it’s highly unlikely I would have paid to see Happy Feet in the theater – unless I had some friend’s kids to take. And the lowly street or swap meet vendor is not losing out on my money either, ’cause doubtful I would ever purchase the Seinfeld-style “filmed in the audience” version from them. But there it was, the only full-length feature flick that didn’t stop half way whining “need more sources”; a low res Happy Feet inserting its avi self into the “shared” folder on my laptop. Shot by someone less artistic than Kramer, who didn’t even bother sitting front and center, or worry if his jacket might be covering the lens for a few minutes, and hand-held the thing – shaky-cam late ’90s style – for the full 98 minutes.broken surfboard

I know my dilemma – this fear of infliction – has less to do with guilt than it has to do with solidity. Living away from family, without a real permanent home, flowing through life, “riding the waves” so to speak, you have a tendency to utilize whatever is around you, to create structure; a sense of grounding. And I know it sounds silly perhaps, but my Mac has somehow become a symbol of such. Sure it’s not without its foibles, like any close friend, boyfriend, (in)animate object, but point is that I need to feel as though I can count on it; that it’s dependable, reliable. Yes, even though I know it can go at any time…it’s like one’s life, solid yet still vulnerable. Maybe that’s why when anything happens to my computer I get emotionally stirred. I count on it too much, to hold my thoughts, my dreams, facilitate my ability to work and create; a conceptually steady entity in an all-too fluctuating world.

Part of this sentiment is that when it’s healthy and working at its best, I work at mine. The flipside, the one I dread, like when the body breaks down and you end up lazy with sniffle-itis, is a fear of my Mac crashing, bringing up unhappy memories of lost files, documents, recalling the hours and weeks of work -poof- disappearing….

solid molecular structureEmphasizing these moments, of a pondered stability, I’ve had equally traumatizing dreams of grabbing my surfboard and at first it seems solid, and then it kinda flops and folds and doesn’t keep its shape. My last nightmare of that sort was disturbing, as I tried hopelessly to mold the board, as if it was Play-doh, into something ridable so I could paddle back out. Those who surf (more than they work ;) ) understand the trauma of anything bad happening to their board, particularly if they can’t afford to just go out a buy a new one. Yes, almost like an addict not able to get their fix, or someone living in the outskirts having their car break down, or an earth sign unknowingly being dosed with acid – you lose the thing you depend upon so much. Things that offer continuity, solid ground; the anchor that keep one from blowing in the wind, or getting lost out at sea.

Surfers can be such a scattered breed, as we indulge to no end in the water element, it’s important to keep such cogent things about us. In the water, our foundation comes in collective and varying forms: our health and fitness; the strength we feel as we killed that last wave; of the fact that there is land that we can see; G-d we can feel; spiritual renewal that we experience; that we have our families, loved ones, pets waiting for us; a nice home…to go home to. Even a job or an appointment or somewhere to be after our session offers up some structure to our daily lives. But otherwise, it is the surfer’s gear that is the actual physical components that enable ourwater element adrenaline-based liquid reality: surf shorts, bikini, wet suit, surf wax, sunscreen, leash…and most importantly our surfboard. And that board, it really needs to be solid. It’s gotta float! So, to end up with a board that’s acting more like water…doesn’t work! Water won’t float on water…it disperses into itself.

The whole fear of the mutability of the surfboard, and I believe initial cause for such nightmares, first began while trying to support a local, East-side, Big Island shaper we’ll just call “escobar”. I purchased a couple of his boards. He seemed to be getting them out on time (a big deal in Hawai’i!) and I liked the shapes. Unfortunately what I didn’t pay enough attention to was the reason why all the kids who had his boards had them duck-taped around the edges and why they were flooding the used surf board racks in town; guess he hadn’t mastered a little thing called the glass job (for those unknowing souls that’s the coating -fiberglass cloth plus resin- that seals in and protects the foam and gives the board its “glassy” finish). Problem is, what’s the use of a good shape and getting the board in the specified time frame when the glass job sucks!

It had barely been a month since I’d had the board and the rails were already crumbling like old feta and on top of that there were tiny pookas covering the bottom from not saturating the cloth enough. But the one moment that still shakes my core to this very day was when I was putting my board into the back of my car and as I was sliding it over the seat, pushing it in, my thumb actually went into it! It was as if the molecular structure altered. My reliance on the congruity of the object shocked my system. Buuuut… if my surfboard is not a solid, what is? Ah, okay, I’m being dramatic you think, but honestly, for a broke-ass surfer, the incident was a true rug-pulled-out-from-under-you moment. When all is not what it seems and you have no control. Besides being physically injured and unable to surf, it’s those times when there are waves but you don’t have a board when a surfer comprehends his or her true dependence and vulnerability.patched mac

There I was, sent adrift, having spent my surfboard fund on something that was carelessly created and disintegrating before my eyes. My season of winter surfing – my exercise, my challenge, my release, my daily opportunity to clear the mind, focus, renew – potentially ended just as it was beginning. Aren’t there any guarantees in life? At least those things for which I pay my hard-earned bucks should supply to me the illusions of solidity that they are intended on providing; from surfboards to Apple computers.

Macs never really had viruses. Well, Apple may have had the first official wild viruses on their floppy bootable antique Lisa machines, and that one the Mac publisher released as a prank on its own readership to prove viruses could happen, but most of the Mac viruses were really just weirdnesses. Like the altered date setting that was actually some Apple programmer embedded issue, which surely made sense to them somehow but I still don’t understand why I needed to be bothered with wasting time struggling to find the most current version of a document because they were all mixed up with 1904 dates; fooooey! The Finder might get corrupt, or the system would need to be reinstalled, or SuperClock would go koo-koo. I recall many font conflicts, renumbering fonts, and having one Helvetica that would print and another that wouldn’t. But they weren’t really viruses, more like corruptions. Besides minor inconveniences, usually at the output place, it’d be fine.Mac vs. PC guy

Today most of these Mac “viruses” are mainly vulnerability issues (often for Microsoft software – and for which we get regular automatic updates). Still, from alarmist articles (written by PC users) to conversations (with PC users) they always like to inform you, “Well, they’re coming.” The viruses for the Mac are coming. Ergo, why use a Mac because you only think they are safe. Ergo, I will stay sick and infected and fighting off viruses with my Windows machine ’cause at least I know what I’m dealing with (it’s kinda like an unhealthy person using the “Well, we’re all gonna die anyway” as an excuse for bad lifestyle choices). Yet, they have been saying the same thing for years. It’s not that I don’t understand the potentiality of infliction some day, that I should use protection, especially as Mac market size increases and as Apple keeps egging hackers on with their superior “we’re impenetrable” verbiage, but do I really need to live with that problem now? Do I need to add any instability to my day-to-day life? As the headline of one article stated: “Windows vs. Linux vs. Mac OSX – Ignorance is Bliss” … it is bliss. It’s also nice that I never have to reinstall my system, wonder why I can no longer print or connect to the internet, or have to bring my machine in for regular antibiotic treatments like most of my PC-using friends.

On Apple’s web site they boldly state:

By the end of 2005, there were 114,000 known viruses for PCs. In March 2006 alone, 850 new threats were detected against Windows. Zero for Mac. While no computer connected to the Internet will ever be 100% immune from attack, Mac OS X has helped the Mac keep its clean bill of health with a superior UNIX foundation and security features that go above and beyond the norm for PCs. When you get a Mac, only your enthusiasm is contagious.

Drew Barrymore Mac Guy Justin LongMacObserver explained away much of the “Big Mac Attack” articles and these so-called Mac viruses in a piece, dated in computer world terms, but still holding true: Mac Viruses By the Numbers – Word Macro: 553, Classic Mac: 26, OS X: Zero. And of course, there are the commercials that explain Mac vs. PC in a more simplistic symbolism: of the kinda geeky but casually hip creative guy (played by actor Justin Long – Drew Barrymore’s new boyfriend) vs. the repressed conservative nerd business man. (What, you didn’t really think Drew was going to date the loser using a cheap clunky bug-ridden Dell?!?). Sure, in this “PC” world, I also am more apt to naively trust in the Mac guy….xo one laptop per child computer

Hey, it’s not that I don’t have my problems with Mac (see article “Apple Computers: My Long-term Love/Hate Relationship” – and I’ve had a few more since then, that keep me on the edge of nervous [still confident a few pow-wows with Steven J. we could clear this all up! Honestly, I don't know why he still won't take my calls!]). And I can only imagine most surfers – with their sun, sand, wet lifestyle – would only feel completely secure the day they invent the 100% waterproof, sand-resistant, ding-proof version of their laptop (maybe a fully loaded “sports” model? Perhaps once they start some healthy competition with XO in the “One Laptop Per Child” campaign they’ll put more cash back into “rugged, durable, child-friendly” adventurer model).Intel Tablet Surfboard

I want my MacBook to thrive amongst a little sand and sea, as it does while rummaging through Limewire. Ultimately, I feel more safe on a Mac – not having to worry that my new ridiculous version of Happy Feet is the idiocy that might render my computer and I terminally ill. And though I’m all about supporting the local shaper, I need to find the ones that also support me. My surfboard must keep me afloat and enable many many awesome surf sessions, as well as handle simple events such as being slid into the back of my car. And just as I don’t want to deal with virus protection software that requires me to approve every move I make on the internet, I don’t want to have to ride a too thick ‘n’ floaty epoxy in order to avoid dings. I want that feeling of security while not being confined by it… or compensating performance. Enjoy the water without overindulging and becominghappy feet waterlogged. Appreciate the comfort in structure as much as I relish absolute freedom. I know I have vulnerability issues – we all do – but I don’t want to let my need for feeling safe and secure keep me from expanding into the unknown or leave me fearful of jumping into the abyss.

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free tibet protester“I find hope in the darkest of days, and focus in the brightest. I do not judge the universe.” -Dalai Lama

Local man Riki Pestana-Torres has been trying to find hope in what he considers dark days for Hawaiians. He has been protesting for Hawaiian sovereignty since the late 1960s. Maui residents may be familiar with his decked out truck, displaying the words “In Loving Memory of Old Hawaii Nei, Destroyed by The American Dream” and a long pole sticking atop with the Hawaiian flag wavering upon it…upside down; the international maritime signal of distress. With the Dalai Lama in town, one might see impetus to take advantage of the attention to issues such as peace and compassion and making things “pono” (making things right).

Despite the logistical challenges of staging the blessing of the stupa shrine with hundreds of guests at the Dharma Center‘s tiny premises, the event flowed seamlessly, infused by the guest of honor’s calmness. -The Maui News

Dalai Lama Action in Hawai’iRiki, like thousands of others not only from Hawai’i but from around the world, congregated to hear the Dalai Lama speak while he was in Maui this April. So it seemed ironic that during the ceremony for the new Pa’ia Peace Stupa (a smaller gathering than the one to occur later that and the following day at the War Memorial Stadium), Riki was told by police officers present that he had to move his truck which was legally parked on the street nearby. This wasn’t because he was blocking the event or because cars were not allowed to park there; no one else was told to move. One might presume it was considered an eyesore, antagonistic, or offended someone. Casually decked out in his red surfer shorts and slippers, besides the signage he wasn’t actively protesting anything, and he wasn’t told to leave. But he was told that if he didn’t move the truck, he would be arrested. He moved it about a block down the road, but apparently that wasn’t far enough and was told again that he needed to move it. Though an ardent activist, he complied. “I used to get arrested all the time,” Riki stated while showing off his beautiful young son, “I can’t afford to anymore.” In the end he moved his truck all the way down the road. While the situation in Hawai’i is different from what happened in Tibet, there are some similarities: of a people losing by force the control of their homeland; a people still hoping for peaceful resolution.


Though Chinese historians insist it began in the 1200s with the incorporation of Tibet into the Mongolian Empire, it wasn’t until 1904, when a British led Indian military force took Lhasa, that China made its first clear statement that it was sovereign over Tibet. Through British intervention and occupation (mostly designed to monitor Russian influence), both Britain and Russia eventually agreed to allow China to negotiate on Tibet’s behalf. Taking advantage of a Chinese revolution, Tibetans attacked a Garrison stationed there, forcing Chinese officials to sign the “Three Point Agreement” which enacted their surrender and expulsion. The Dalai Lama at that time condemned the Chinese intention “of colonizing Tibet under the patron-priest relationship” and declared, “We are a small, religious, and independent nation.” Tibet and Mongolia are said to have signed a treaty in 1913 recognizing each other’s independence; however there is no documentation of this. After much fluctuations between efforts to control certain territories, distraction on the part of China because of civil war and then the anti-Japanese War, China -though not maintaining utter authority- never relinquished their claims. Tibet established a Foreign Office in 1942 and in 1946 sent congratulatory messages to China and India regarding the end of World War II. The mission to China was given a letter addressed to the Chinese President stating, “We shall continue to maintain the independence of Tibet as a nation ruled by the successive Dalai Lamas through an authentic religious-political rule.”communist china

Doubtful that proclamation sat well with the Chinese, when the Communist Chinese government came into power it wasted little time before asserting its authority. After the People’s Liberation Army entered Tibet, crushing resistance by an ill-equipped Tibetan army, the Tibetan resistant movement began. In 1956 open fighting broke out, and with rebellion largely sponsored by the CIA there were successes, until rebels were forced to retreat into Naples. This inevitably led, in 1959, to the flight of the Dalai Lama and some 80,000 refugees to neighboring countries with some claiming upwards of 87,000 Tibetans slaughtered; over 6000 monasteries destroyed. The People’s Republic of China imposed a treaty on the Tibetan Government which declared Tibet to be a part of China, albeit enjoying a “large degree of autonomy”. They claimed Tibet entered into this agreement voluntarily and even went as far as to say that the Dalai Lama, his government and people welcomed it. As documented on the web site http://www.tibet.com:

The facts show a very different story, leading to the conclusion that the so-called “Seventeen-Point Agreement for the Peaceful Liberation of Tibet” was never validly concluded and was rejected by Tibetans. The Dalai Lama quotes Tibetan Prime Minister Lukhangwa as having stated: ‘It was absurd to refer to the terms of the Seventeen-Point Agreement. Our people did not accept the agreement and the Chinese themselves had repeatedly broken the terms of it. Their army was still in occupation of eastern Tibet; the area had not been returned to the government of Tibet, as it should have been.’ [My Land and My People, Dalai Lama, New York, Fourth Edition, 1992, p.95]“

The Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties states that treaties between countries signing them are binding, unless they are imposed by force or a country is coerced into signing the agreement by the threat of force. In which case, China’s claim on Tibet breaks international law. Despite this and occassional protest by foreign governments, all national governments (UN included) recognize China’s sovereignty over Tibet and not the Dalai Lama’s government, the Central Tibetan Administration, in exile in India. The CTA considers China an illegitimate military occupation, and that Tibet is a distinct nation with a long history of independence, an independence which they seek to restore to this day.


“I hea kakou e noho ai?” “Where will we live?” The crowd shouted their answer: “I ka mauna!” “In the mountains!” -James Keauiluna Kaulia, President of Hui Aloha ‘Aina, speaking at an Anti-Annexation Rally in Hawai’i, 1897, warning that annexation would take resources away from the Kanaka Maoli.

hawaii flag sovereigntyWhen the Dalai Lama spoke, you could sense a longing as he mentioned his exile of already almost 50 years. For Hawaiians, even though they aren’t living in exile, many feel similarly, as they are being slowly forced out by increased costs of living (estimated to be 30-60% higher than the national average, while per capita income is consistently less than the national average). There is despair as we see an end to fishing villages, small family farms, small businesses being replaced by franchises…. In 2005 nationwide study, Hawai’i ranked 47th (bottom of the list) for affordable housing, with the home ownership rate ranked at 48th, indicative of widespread speculative investment. Land and homes that have been in families for generations are being taken away because of inability to pay property taxes as property value assessments soar (despite new tax exemptions which prove inadequate relief for an inconsequential number of qualifying natives). After which, many of these and the new homes built are becoming part of the “second-home market” of more affluent people from elsewhere or to satisfy burgeoning military housing needs (military, including family and retired personnel, equating almost 20% of the population).

Instead of beginning a relationship of domination over the environment, indigenous people have approached the environment from a position of reverence, of equality, of respect and even worship, oftentimes treating the interrelationship with the environment as nothing less than spiritual work of the highest degree. … The use of the word “stewardship”…suggests that man is in charge, he is separate from and superior to that of which he is the steward. In the Hawaiian way, as celebrated in the “Kumulipo,” we are born on the same genealogical line as the sea cucumber, the limu, the starfish, the shark, the dolphin, the whale. We are part of, kin to, the ocean and all of its living partners. Therefore, this relationship requires the same kind of protection and respect that human relations require. -An Introduction to Some Hawaiian Perspectives on the Environment, collected and presented by Poka Laenui, Director of the Institute of the Advancement of Hawaiian Affairs

military contamination hawaii

A large source of conflict stems from military control of former crown land and parcels seized during World War II; with their total Hawai’i land use equaling 5%, while on Oahu a daunting 22%! They are continually acquiring more land despite a promised moratorium by the Department of Defense in 1990, and a declaration by Pacific Command in 1995 that it would reduce land holdings in Hawai’i. This does not include the heavy use of air space, noise, and sea presence, particularly sonar in a whale breeding ground. On top of this, they block access to beaches and mountains. The heavily protested Stryker Brigade Combat Team on O’ahu and Hawai’i Island is being called the “biggest army construction project in Hawai’i since WWII” (the plan calls for the acquisition of 1,400 acres of O’ahu and 23,000 acres on the Big Island, and networks of private trails for the 20-ton Strykerkahoolawe bombing hawaii vehicles). Operations are commencing despite lawsuits against the Army regarding environmental concerns and for not considering other sites first. The Army’s own impact studies confirm the inevitable destruction of cultural sites and serious impact on the environment due to fire, erosion, and the vehicles themselves – especially on the sacred Mauna Kea. Most of the land the military uses becomes contaminated with toxic chemicals and unexploded ordinance (and returned unusable to the public): from the now uninhabitable island of Kaho’olawe used for 50 years by the Navy for bombing practice (despite the $425 million+ spent for clean up), to the destruction and condemning of leased lands like Makua (which the Army promised to return to the banished residents six months after the war but still hold claim to abuse) and Waikane Valley to name a few. Even fish ponds that were a rich food source are no longer safe to eat from. The 2004 Defense Environmental Restoration Program report to Congress listed 798 military contamination sites at 108 installations in Hawai’i. Besides unexploded ordinances, the hazards left behind include: petroleum products, dioxins, PCBs, explosives, propellants, lead, mercury, napalm, radioactive waste like Cobalt 60 from nuclear-powered ships, and other toxins dumped into the waters, such as the almost 5 million gallons of low-level radioactive waste discharged into Pearl Harbor between 1964 and 1978 and, as admitted in disclosed military records, 8,000 steel drums containing chemical munitions including the blistering agents mustard gas and lewisite in the shallow seas off O’ahu (burning fisherman unfortunate enough to raise this toxic catch). The military repeatedly denied any use of “depleted uranium” until recently, when activists forced the Army to admit to its presence. Native ecosystems and critically endangered species (of which Hawai’i has more than any other state) are continuously threatened. Construction over the preservation of cultural sites is common. Hotels and big businesses get away with building on burial grounds, digging up bones, often without permission, some even working at night to avoid disclosure, accepting fines instead of delaying building and complying to Hawaiian’s wishes and religious beliefs (removing the iwi -skeletal remains- from their kula’iwi -homeland- is to remove them from the place where their mana was meant to flow into the ‘aina. It is considered kapu, forbidden, and causes the mana, power, of the kupuna, elders, to become lost to their decedents when removed).

taro farmerIt is estimated 80 to 90 percent of the food consumed in Hawai’i is imported, keeping people dependent instead of self-sufficient. And though famed for its agriculture, many Hawai’i exports can no longer compete with cheaper foods on the mainland and abroad. Former ag lands are left fallow in weeds and jungled cane. Sugarcane mills left abandoned, rusting metal eyesores at river mouths (preferable to filling the ocean with their sludge and water waste run-off killing coral reefs, making inshore waters uninhabitable to some fishes, and for some poor surfing conditions!) – but it seems there is never priority (or requirement) for companies to bring land back to its former state. Much ag land gets lost, due to increased farmland taxes, to the higher profit margin in real estate and development – though incentive proposals being presented this year may prove propitious. Unfortunately other “entities” are taking advantage of this situation. Now concerned residents and farmers are forced to focus energies on halting the introduction of unregulated genetically modified seeds including papaya, taro, tobacco, sugar cane, rice, barley, soybeans…and if they have their way, coffee beans (hmm, even GMO-apathist coffee lovers could be jolted into opposing the potential fiasco of premium Kona coffee farms becoming contaminated with genetically modified decaffeinated coffee beans!) care of the University of Hawai’i, Integrated Coffee Technologies, Monsanto, Dow, Syngenta, Dupont and other businesses expecting big profits. These “researchers” claim victories and accept awards, as with the case of papayas and the dreaded ring spot virus (which could have been dealt with in other ways), for effectively killing the industry, as price paid for GMO fruit is much less, and many of the farmer’s export markets, including Japan and Europe, want nothing to do with these potentially dangerous foods (seeds) – with their altered protein structures, potential allergens, imprecise technology and unknown health effects (and chance their crops could be inflicted). At the same time, the companies find no shame in suing farmers who are found to have these patented seeds growing on their lands – whether the farmers wanted them or not. With the inadvertentkauai gmo logo assistance of wind and birds, in an alarmingly short time 50% of all papayas found on the Big Island, for example, are GMO (backyard and farm papaya alike…even the non-GMO seed stock at UH has been found to be contaminated) – with the other Hawai’i islands scrambling to keep that from happening to them. As well scientists alter these seeds to be “Round-up Ready” and encourage heavy pesticide use (which we certainly have enough of here); all this during a growing consumer climate requesting, and paying for, organic produce (GMOs are not organic and could affect a farm’s organic status). Organic farmers incur increased costs to test for GMOs and protect their farms. Seeing the open door to abuse of Hawai’i lands, pharmaceutical companies have no problems introducing pharm corn engineered with yummies like blood-clotting agents, HIV and pig vaccine into this small eco-system (field tests of which were kept under-wraps until a court-ordered disclosure in 2004). Taking advantage of the USDA’s dubious lax in controls, a supportive political climate (mahalo Governor Linda Lingle – she does bring in da money!), isolation from the rest of the world (convenient if something does go terribly wrong), these companies deliberately ignore the unavoidable biotech contamination while enjoying economic perks of Hawai’i’s fertile soil and year-round growing cycle.

Natural resources continue to be used to satisfy visitor’s and big business’ needs. As Hawai’i has turned its energies towards being a playground for the rich and vacation destination for tourists it has, for many locals, become too expensive to support their family (as a result, there are now more Hawaiians living outside of Hawai’i). If they do stay, many are finding the only option is to raise their families in their parent’s home. Frustration becomes commonplace as people, stripped of their self-determination, feel lost and unable to fulfill their dreams; while at the same time they must watch their towns grow (construction with a lack of supporting infrastructure), the roads become congested with traffic, and mainlanders seemingly buying up everything around them. The last remaining campgrounds where families could spend time together – surf together, fish together, enjoy the land together – are all becoming new high-end developments, with yet another golf course, and ultimately advertised back to the people as “playgrounds for all” with small fine print including: no dogs, no camping, no fires, no ATVs…and enforced, with security and metal gates, restricting visiting hours and limiting parking (and hey, you may not be able to really enjoy these sacred spots anymore…but you can work for the millionaires who now own them! Great benefits!).

A desperate educational system, coupled with children growing up in hostile home environments as despair becomes overwhelming, leads many to fall to drugs, alcohol, and become dependent on the welfare system. Native Hawaiians reportedly have the worst social, educational, and economic indicators compared to any ethnic group in the U.S. Today, less than 20% of the land is owned by Hawaiians, while approximately 72 landowners control 95% of all the land here. In the Kanaka Maoli cosmology, the land, as a living ancestor, could not be owned, sold or defiled. By taking the land and severing the people’s ties, the ability to practice and teach their culture to future generations becomes disturbed. Forced cultural assimilation further adds to the disconnect. Ultimately, love of the ‘aina, the land, being the basis for all their customs, is where Hawaiians find their power. For them, their deep rooted longing is to have their land, their heritage, their culture, and control of their own destiny once again.

comm of public safety


Hawai’i’s story of overthrow begins in the late 1800s, during the reign of King Kalakaua. A group of planters and businessmen, wanting to secure economic and political control of the Kingdom of Hawai’i (including favorable treaties regarding sugar, the primary support of the islands), formed a secret organization called the Hawaiian League with 400 predominantly American members (compared to the 40,000 Native Hawaiians). Their original goal was to “reform” the monarchy, though the more radical members proposed the king’s abdication and even assassination. They eventually decided to create a new constitution (Hawaiians had a constitutional monarchy since 1840) seriously limiting the king’s power and, under the threat of force, had Kalakaua sign what became known as the Bayonet Constitution. With the new constitution in place, executive power was in the hands of the cabinet, with laws (including changes in the constitution) in the hands of the legislature. It also conveniently limited voting privileges for the majority of Hawaiian people as you needed to have a minimum amount of property or a high income level (Asians regardless of status or whether they became naturalized citizens were not allowed to vote at all). In turn, of course, it extended voting rights to American European citizens.

Queen LiliokalaniThe King was a mere figurehead upon his death in 1891, when his sister, Lili’uokalani, took the oath of office as monarch, including swearing to uphold the detested Bayonet Constitution. Not long thereafter she tried to take back the power, and with over 2/3rds of the kingdom’s voters petitioning to replace the Bayonet Constitution, she presented a new constitution, which she had written, to restore her power and rights to the Native Hawaiian people. At that time another group (secret as they were plotting treason), again mostly American businessmen and merchants, called the Annexation Club, were waiting for the moment to dethrone the queen and annex Hawai’i to the United States of America. Paradoxically, they created the “Committee of Safety” and claimed her efforts a revolutionary act, rallying up support for the overthrow of the monarchy. With the help of troop presence from the USS Boston (requested under the guise that American’s needed protection and assured by the American Minister in Hawai’i, John L. Stevens, that he would not protect the Queen), and confusing incidents at the Palace which inevitably allowed the Committee of Safety to enter and take control of the Government Building, in January, 1893, the Queen was deposed.

She yielded her throne under protest, with these words:

I, Lili’uokalani, by the grace of God and under the constitution of the Hawaiian Kingdom, Queen, do hereby solemnly protest against any and all acts done against myself and the constitutional government of the Hawaiian Kingdom by certain persons claiming to have established a Provisional Government of and for this Kingdom….to avoid any collision of armed forces and perhaps loss of life, I do, under this protest, and impelled by said forces, yield my authority until such time as the Government of the United States shall, upon the facts being presented to it, undo the action of its representative and reinstate me in the authority which I claim as the constitutional sovereign of the Hawaiian Islands.

In order to avoid bloodshed, Hawai’i’s sovereignty was temporarily surrendered, not to the revolutionaries but to the “superior force of the United States of America” – with the idyllic notion that the American government would right the wrong and restore her to the throne. The Queen, hoping to avoid riot, instead tried to peacefully, gracefully and intelligently appeal to the United States government for the monarchy and the Hawai’i Nation. With pro-annexation President Benjamin Harrison’s term coming to an end, the new President, Grover Cleveland, withdrew the treaty and sent Honolulu special commissioner James H. Blount, former chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, to investigate the circumstances of the revolution. The Blount Report concluded that the overthrow of Lili’uokalani was illegal, that the people were against annexation, and ordered the troops back to their ship and the American flag taken down and replaced by the Hawaiian flag. The United States Minister to Hawai’i was recalled from his post and the military commander of the armed forces stationed in Hawai’i was forced to resign. The President offered to give the throne back to the Queen if she granted amnesty to everyone responsible. Though she initially refused, stating she intended them to suffer the punishment of death (which was Hawaiian law for treason), she changed her mind a month later stating she would be satisfied with banishing them from the kingdom forever. With that the new American Minister in Hawai’i, Albert Willis, assured the provisional government of their amnesty and demanded her reinstatement. But the provisional government had no intention of admitting guilt or relinquishing power; dismissing the right of the American president to interfere in their domestic affairs and claiming that they were in no way at fault if the American forces illegally assisted the revolution.Hawaii US Marriage

On Dec. 18, 1893, President Cleveland spoke to Congress regarding the situation in Hawai’i:

This military demonstration upon the soil of Honolulu was of itself an act of war … the existing government, instead of requesting the presence of an armed force, protested against it. … But for the notorious predilections of the United States minister for annexation, the Committee of Safety, which should have been called the Committee of Annexation, would never have existed. … But for the landing of the United States forces upon false pretexts respecting the danger to life and property, the committee would never have exposed themselves to the plans and penalties of treason by undertaking the subversion of the queen’s government. … But for the presence of the United States forces in the immediate vicinity and in position to accord all needed protection and support, the committee would not have proclaimed the provisional government from the steps of the Government Building. … And, finally, but for the lawless occupation of Honolulu under false pretexts by the United States forces, and but for Minister Stevens’ recognition of the provisional government when the United States forces were its sole support and constituted its only military strength, the queen and her government would never have yielded to the provisional government, even for a time and for the sole purpose of submitting her case to the enlightened justice of the United States.

He thus concluded,

… if a feeble but friendly state is in danger of being robbed of its independence and its sovereignty by a misuse of the name and power of the United States, the United States cannot fail to vindicate its honor and its sense of justice by an earnest effort to make all possible reparation.

President Cleveland then placed the matter in the hands of Congress. Their response was to administer another investigation, submitting the Morgan Report in early 1894, which managed to exonerate both Minister Stevens and the U.S. troops from any responsibility for the overthrow, and maintained that the Republic of Hawai’i was a legal government and thus entitled under international law to transfer the sovereignty of the Kingdom to the United States. Though many in the Senate disagreed, and the House passed a resolution opposing annexation, it was all in vein. In the end, Congress took no action either to restore the monarchy or to annex Hawai’i. On July 4, 1894, the Republic of Hawai’i was proclaimed and a white elite businessman (who originally instigated the call to end the monarchy) Sanford B. Dole, became President.

The destiny of Hawaii, situated in the mid-Pacific as she is, should be that of an independent nation and so she would be were it not for the policy of greed which pervades the American Legislators and the spirit of cowardice which is in the breasts of those who first consummated the theft of Hawaiian prestige. -James Kaulia, President of the Hawaiian Patriotic League (Hui Aloha ‘Aina), 1890s

anti annexation petitionUnwilling to give up, many Hawaiians and other royalists accumulated arms for a counter-revolution to restore the monarchy. In the January 1895 uprising, led by Robert Wilcox, the royalists were forced by government troops to retreat into the valleys behind Honolulu, and after 10 days of fighting, most of them, including Wilcox, were captured. Adding insult to injury, after a search discovered a cache of arms buried in her flower garden, Queen Lili’uokalani was arrested and imprisoned in a room on the second story of `Iolani Palace and allowed no visitors. She was given a document of abdication to sign and it was inferred that if she refused, several of her followers would be shot for treason. Though she would write, “For myself, I would have chosen death rather than to have signed it” the fact was she was still hoping to avoid the bloodshed of her people and was led to believe that by signing it they would be released. But she was lied to and Wilcox and four others were sentenced to death, while many others received long prison terms and heavy fines. Lili’uokalani noted that they were not executed solely because “Word came from the United States that the execution of captive rebels would militate against annexation.” The Queen was charged with misprision of treason – having knowledge of treason and failing to report it – and was tried by a military commission. Though she was found guilty and given the maximum sentence of five years at hard labor and a $5,000 fine, it was not carried out. On New Year’s Day 1896, all the royalist prisoners were freed, while she remained a prisoner under house arrest. After her freedom was restored in late 1896, she went to Washington. The president welcomed her and she expressed her appreciation for his efforts to restore her kingdom’s independence. But as his term was concluding, he could be of no further help. His successor, William McKinley, denied the Queen a meeting. Realizing the state of affairs in Washington, the Queen sent word a petition should be drafted. There was some disagreement within the political Hui’s, hence two different petitions ended up being circulated; 17,000 signatures on the Hui Kalai’aina petition calling for the restoration of the monarchy, and over 21,000 on the Hui Aloha ‘Aina Anti-Annexation Petition (which was the one presented to Congress and still exists today). Though nothing is stated about the possibility of duplicates, Hawaiians claim these petitions include the signatures of nearly all of the 40,000 Hawaiians then alive (down slightly from the 800,000 native Hawaiians only 100 years prior, before the introduction to “diseases of foreign contact”). Even half as many signatures should have been enough to express the people’s desires. Considering their efforts, traveling to each island, collecting signatures from even rural residents, and then raising funds to bring these documents to Washington, it was an impressive feat; that many who were party to this risked their jobs and welfare is rarely noted.

We are weak a people, we Hawaiians, and have no power unless we stand together….The United States is just – a land of liberty. The people there are the friends – the great friends of the weak. Let us tell them – let us show them that as they love their country and would suffer much before giving it up, so do we love our country, our Hawai’i, and pray that they do not take it from us. Our one hope is in standing firm – shoulder to shoulder, heart to heart. The voice of the people is the voice of God. Surely that great country across the ocean must hear our cry. By uniting our voices the sound will be carried on so they must hear us. In this petition, which we offer for your signature today, you, women of Hawai’i, have a chance to speak your mind. The men’s petition will be sent on by the men’s club as soon as the loyal men of Honolulu have signed it. There is nothing underhand, nothing deceitful in our way – our only way – of fighting. Everybody will see and may know of our petition. We have nothing to conceal. We have right on our side. This land is ours — our Hawai’i. Say, shall we lose our nationality? Shall we be annexed to the United States? [The crowd responds] “‘A’ole loa. ‘A’ole loa.” Never, never! -Mrs. Emma Nawahi, speaking at an Anti-Annexation Petition meeting at the Salvation Army, Hilo

Despite the unanimous opposition by the people, their request for annexation be put to a public vote was never permitted. Annexation didn’t pass then but with the outbreak of the Spanish-American War in 1898, it brought attention to the fact that, beyond simple economic benefits, the Islands were an essential strategic position in the Pacific which the United States could not risk losing command of. Though hotly debated, ultimately the annexationists won out. Congress annexed Hawai’i through a joint resolution signed by President William McKinley – despite the fact that the U.S. Constitution does not allow the taking of a foreign country through a resolution. Grover Cleveland wrote: “I am ashamed of the whole affair.”

Failing in her appeals to the American government to regain her throne, and to be compensated $450,000 for property and other losses, the territorial legislature of Hawai’i finally voted her an annual pension of $4,000 and permitted her to receive the income from a sugar plantation of 6,000 acres. With McKinley’s signing of the Newlands Act in 1898 (“Whereas, the Government of the Republic of Hawai’i having, in due form, signified its consent, in the manner provided by its constitution, to cede absolutely and without reserve to the United States of America, all rights…”, etc., etc….), Sovereignty of Hawai’i was formally transfered to the United States at ceremonies at ‘Iolani Palace with Sanford Dole as the newly appointed governor of the Territory of Hawai’i. When the Hawaiian flag was lowered, it was reportedly cut into small pieces and given to the children of the missionaries as a souvenir of their victory. To the native Hawaiians, it was a day of mourning. The Hawaiian people had lost their land, their monarchy and now their independence. To this day Hawaiians are waiting for this wrong to be made right. But if that’s the case why, in the end, did they vote for Hawai’i to become a state?

STATEHOOD!hawaii becomes 50th state

In 1954, 120,000 Hawai’i residents signed a huge newspaper scroll to petition for statehood. It was inspired, not by a Hawaiian or Hawaiian groups, but Army veteran Buck Buchwach, Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Oregon, star reporter for the “Pacific Stars & Stripes” during World War II, writer and, in later years, editor of the “Honolulu Advertiser”. He also worked at times for Dole Pineapple Co., as Frank Sinatra’s publicist, and for Harry Truman when he was on vacation – and this campaign fit well into his resume.

Another white man, John Anthony Burns, played a key role in lobbying for statehood. He’s known as the father of the Democratic Party in Hawai’i, and there are tales of him as a policeman during the war helping prevent persecution of Japanese Americans. In 1956 he was elected Delegate from Hawai’i (due to Japanese and Filipino support) and as such he played a key role in lobbying “tirelessly” for Hawai’i statehood, winning over allies among Congressional leaders and state governors, and most importantly convincing Senate Majority leader Lyndon B. Johnson (D-TX) that Hawai’i was ready to become a state.

Southern Senators – offended that Congress would afford a non-white majority territory the same rights as Americans on the mainland – originally killed the bill, though it was approved in 1959, supposedly with much jubilation and fanfare. Until the past few decades, people celebrated Statehood Day (now toned down under the title “Admissions Day”). Today you won’t see a Dixieland band or Hula dancers strolling down Honolulu streets in celebration. Many activists prefer the focus of this day to be on the option of independence. Some blame “racist Hawaiian groups”, that they’re in a state of denial, and insist that Hawaiians wanted Hawai’i to become a state, not only in 1959, but even in earlier times when Kings were in talks with the U.S. about conditions and terms to making it so. But the question is not whether some people of Hawaiian ancestry desired statehood, or voted for statehood. The question is, that if such a majority of Hawaiians wanted this, why did there need to be so many underhanded maneuvers on the part of the United States and its representatives throughout the whole process?

US school minority territories propaganda and racismAfter the annexation, Hawai’i remained a territorial possession of the U.S. for years. With the growth of the Spanish-American War, military presence continued to grow, including the Naval base at Pearl Harbor. Following WWII, Hawai’i was placed on the list of non-self-governing territories by the United Nations, with the United States as trustee. This clarification was “meant to give the people of the territory choices of how they would relate to the U.N. member and meant to break the chains of colonization which held territories within the grips of such nations.” As a result, many African countries, Pacific and Asia regions began their emergence from colonization during these years. Only a special vote, called a plebiscite, held among the inhabitants of the territory, could change that status. The requirements of such a vote requires three choices on the ballot: 1) to become a part of the trustee nation (a state); 2) to remain a territory; 3) the option for independence. This third choice -required by article 73 of the UN Charter- meant Hawai’i would no longer be a territory of the United States but return to its existence as an independent sovereign nation.

ballot to become 50th state hawaii The rules seem simple enough, yet in 1959, when Hawai’i’s plebiscite vote was held, the U.S. government decided to bend them yet again. On the ballot there were only two possible answers to the question, “Shall Hawai’i immediately be admitted into the Union as a State?” Yes or No. There was no option for independence and, according to many Hawaiians, they felt obligated to vote for the lesser of two evils. Why was this third choice not offered? Did Hawai’i not have the option to become an independent country in 1959? Indeed it did.

Not only was the option of independence not on the ballot, it was not even discussed, though the U.S. had an obligation to inform the Hawaiian people and assist them in the attainment of such a goal. Instead, statehood was actively propagandized with public funds, people were habituated to believe they were dependent upon the United States, and American political ideals were indoctrinated through the schools for years leading up to the vote. At one point, a former territorial senator, Alice Kamokila Campbell, actually filed suit to halt the spending of public funds to “propagandize and subsidize” the Hawai’i statehood campaign.hawaii becomes 50th state whites celebrating

There were a few other factors that have been brought up as to why it seemed a majority of Hawaiians wanted statehood, especially as their only other option seemed to be to remain a voiceless member of a territory. One was that most Hawaiians were told if they didn’t vote for statehood, they wouldn’t be able to collect any of their pensions or Social Security retirement money (monies they had been paying into). People in Hawai’i also wanted the ability to elect their own governor, to elect their president, to end taxation without voting representation in Congress. As well, at the time of the vote, Hawaiians were no longer a majority (as far as I can tell they were just 20% of the population), as Americans integrated and influxes of new residents – many military and military families – added to the non-native population. One only needed to live on the islands for a year to be able to vote on this issue. Based on the United States Census, the total votes cast represented just 22 percent of the islands’ population (642,000). According to lawyer and activist Poka Laenui, “These people who were or took up U.S. citizenship were all permitted to vote. But those who dared to declare themselves Hawaiian citizens, refusing to accept the imposed American citizenship, could not vote.” Meaning those who never denounced their Hawaiian sovereignty were not allowed to vote on the matter – which one might conclude would have been a vote against statehood. He continues, “The Americans controlled education, economics, media, the judiciary as well as the internal political processes, managing in these years to continually squeeze the Hawaiian identity from public life. This practice of altering the ‘self’ by maintaining control over transmigration, public education and economic dependence is familiar among colonial countries not wanting to lose their colonial possessions. France’s conduct in Tahiti and New Caledonia and Indonesia’s in East Timor, West Papua, and the Moluccas Islands are mirrors of the U.S.’ conduct in Hawai’i.”


Clinton Signs Apology Act HawaiiAn apology is a good way to have the last word. -Author Unknown

Apparently, the fact that Hawai’i was taken control of illegally, therefore its annexation was illegal, and therefore is still a sovereign nation and not really a part of the United States is not even denied by the U.S. government. In 1993, Congress unanimously passed, and President Clinton signed into Public Law, the Apology Bill. It was initiated by the Eighteenth General Synod of the United Church of Christ, where there may have been unresolved guilt regarding the part that some missionaries played in the destruction of the Hawaiian Kingdom:

We acknowledge and confess our sins against you and your forebears, na kanaka maoli. We formally apologize to you for ‘our denomination’s historical complicity in the illegal overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy in 1893,’ and by unduly identifying the ways of the West with the ways of Christ, and, thereby, undervaluing the strengths of the mature society that was native Hawai’i. We commit ourselves to help right the wrongs inflicted upon you….

Though the apology was appreciated (how often does a government do that?!), the idea that it came in the form of a “Law” or a “Bill” seems distorted, in the sense that there were no plans or intentions for concrete action towards correcting the wrong. After listing the derisive acts of the United States and its ministers and stating why they felt it necessary to create this bill, Congress ends the matter with yet another unresolved conclusion: “Now, therefore, be it” and the disclaimer “Nothing in this Joint Resolution is intended to serve as a settlement of any claims against the United States.” Still there are some serious acknowledgments over the injurious effect of the theft of this land upon its citizens. Here’s some of what the Apology Bill states:

To acknowledge the 100th anniversary of the January 17, 1893 overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaii, and to offer an apology to Native Hawaiians on behalf of the United States for the overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaii.

Whereas, on January 24, 1895, while imprisoned in Iolani Palace, Queen Liliuokalani was forced by representatives of the Republic of Hawaii to officially abdicate her throne;

Whereas, the Republic of Hawaii also ceded 1,800,000 acres of crown, government and public lands of the Kingdom of Hawaii, without the consent of or compensation to the Native Hawaiian people of Hawaii or their sovereign government;

Whereas, the Congress, through the Newlands Resolution, ratified the cession, annexed Hawaii as part of the United States, and vested title to the lands in Hawaii in the United States;

Whereas, the indigenous Hawaiian people never directly relinquished their claims to their inherent sovereignty as a people or over their national lands to the United States, either through their monarchy or through a plebiscite or referendum;

Whereas, the health and well-being of the Native Hawaiian people is intrinsically tied to their deep feelings and attachment to the land;

Whereas, the long-range economic and social changes in Hawaii over the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries have been devastating to the population and to the health and well-being of the Hawaiian people;

Despite the refusal to accept accountability, many hope its potent admittance of guilt could eventually support efforts towards a more just retribution. There have been legal measures to stop the sale of ceded lands because of Hawaiian sovereign claims to those lands. At Hawaii Nation‘s web site they don’t pussyfoot around the issue, boldly and assuredly declaring, “America has done everything it can to avoid the consequences of this Bill. The inevitable result will be the restoration of a sovereign Hawai’i.” They assert that most Hawaiians want complete sovereignty, not the Akaka Bill or other “Nation within a Nation” kinds of placation similar to what was given to Native Americans. There is indeed fear that any Bill of that nature would show an acquiescence to the illegal U.S.-backed overthrow and thus, the people would forever give up any possibility of self-determining power to the U.S.


In 1993, controversial international law expert Francis Boyle came to Hawai’i to inspire the local people, that their fight was not only just, but conceivably possible. With the Apology Bill, he explained, the United States of America is “…admitting that the invasion, overthrow, occupation, annexation, starting in 1893 on up, violated all the treaties, violated basic norms of international law, and the United States Constitution…the overthrow of a lawful government…. Under international law when you have a violation of treaties of this magnitude, the World Court has ruled that the only appropriate remedy is restitution. … That fact alone, gives the Kanaka Maoli (Native Hawaiians) the entitlement to restore their independent status as a sovereign nation state. … You don’t need to petition Congress to do it. Congress has given you everything you need right here. … The United Nations Charter provides the rest of the authority to do it.” His impetus was that with the government effectively conceding that the statehood vote was meaningless, the people are not bound by it. That Hawaiians are free to determine their own fate “pursuant to the principal of self-determination.” He made it clear, from not just a hopeful but legal standpoint, “the sovereignty resides in the people.”akaka bill maui times

At that time, Boyle also urged the people “to look deeper into the carefully chosen phrases within the Akaka Bill…[which] promises a governing entity, not a government.” He pointed out that their calling it an entity is a term of blatant disrespect and relates it to terminology utilized in the Middle East. “One thing that is clear is that when Arab governments or states or people wish to express disrespect for Israel, instead of calling it the State of Israel or the Government of Israel, they call it the Zionist entity. …I’m not exactly sure then how the United States Congress is going to promote peace and reconciliation with Kanaka Maoli by giving you a Kanaka entity.” Boyle has referenced the Palestinians, who in 1988 decided on their own to “unilaterally proclaim their own state, in a declaration of independence. This eventually led to the Palestinian state being recognized today by 125 nation states in the world.” “At one point,” he reminds us, “France annexed Algeria and then determined by law that Algeria was a department of France, legally equivalent to Paris…And yet today, Algeria is an independent nation state and a member of the United Nations organization. …These same principles of international law surely apply to Hawai’i.”

But there are steps to take to creating an independent state. Hawai’i already has a fixed territory – the Hawaiian Archipelago – and a population of distinguishable people – the Native Hawaiians. “Government,” Boyle said, “is in the kupuna council, but how the people are governed has yet to be organized.” As well you need the capacity to “enter into international relations, to deal with other states, and to keep your commitments,” which means establishing diplomatic relations as an independent state. (There has already been recent recognition [Lance Larcen vs. the Hawaiian Kingdom, 1999-2001] when the Hawaiian Kingdom entered into international arbitration with a Hawaiian national claiming the U.S. violated his civil rights by incarcerating him. The case was actually to determine if Larsen had redress against the government of the Hawaiian Kingdom for not protecting him. The significance of this case being that International court verified Hawai’i to be an independent and sovereign State and the case a “legitimate international dispute”.) But it is unknown how long it might take for Hawai’i to reestablish itself as an independent state, what the consequences would be or how many states would recognize them. However, Boyle said “the plight of the Hawaiian people is generally well known in the world and there’s a great deal of sympathy. … Ghandi threw the mighty British out of India with peaceful, nonviolent force.” He made it clear that the fight, at this point, has everything to do with invoking the power of the people.

dalai lama

Today in regards to the fate of Tibet, there are dissonant views on what degree of independence is sought and how it can be achieved. To the chagrin of many Tibetan activist youth living in exile, the Dalai Lama seems to have accepted Chinese sovereignty over Tibet – seeing anything but peaceful, spiritual and intellectual efforts futile; preferring to avoid bloodshed. Today his desire is clear, for the Chinese to end their rule of terror (autonomy similar to that now held by Hong Kong) and for Tibet to become “an International Zone of Peace”. The Chinese government has shown no interest in complying, hoping when the Dalai Lama dies the problem will go away. Activist’s hopes are being sparked though, as the 2008 Beijing Olympics will provide never-before seen exposure to their plight, opening the world’s eyes to the crisis and putting unavoidable pressures on the Chinese government (even the Olympic torchfree tibet olympic games bejing embellished with the words “peace and harmony” is planned for a satiric relay through Tibet with an attempt to summit Mount Everest. True, peace and harmony running freely in Tibet is like summiting Mount Everest). “I pray that Tibet survives,” he says, “both for the welfare of our people, and to evolve as a global model of cooperation, progress, liberty and peace. The Dalai Lama was asked if it was a fruitless effort, the fight for Tibet, and after so many years did it bother him that he might not see the day when Tibet would once again be free. But he clarified that it wasn’t his fight per se, that the efforts for peace not in vein, and it would live on without him.

“The people to whom your fathers told of the living God, and taught to call ‘Father,’ and whom the sons now seek to despoil and destroy, are crying aloud to Him in their time of trouble; and He will keep His promise, and will listen to the voices of His Hawaiian children lamenting for their homes.” -Queen Lili’uokalani

The Hawaiians may not have a Dalai Lama, a single figurehead to guide them through their struggle, but they have faith and determination. Leaders and kapuna are stepping up to help achieve a sovereign state and put in place a government when that goal is achieved. And though there are some conflicts within these factions, including who are rightful heirs to the thrown, and who should be considered the reigning King, or Queen, when sovereignty is restored, ultimately regaining control of their lands and lives is the priority. “I’m not part of any group,” Riki made clear when asked if he works with Hawai’i sovereignty organizations. “But we should all work together” he insists, “that’s how they operate you know, divide and conquer.”hula at the capital hawaii

Sometimes it seems easier to look at problems that need to be addressed elsewhere. We see the oppression of people of Tibet and other parts of the world and fight causes to assist them. We listen to the Dalai Lama bring attention to troubles in his homeland, while spreading his accessible yet evolutionary words designed to inspire a higher state of existence for all humanity. And within his dream for compassion and helping others, exists a realization of how to best utilize one’s efforts. It seems obvious but sometimes we need someone to remind us, that we must first look at our immediate environment, before we focus all of our energies globally. Right now Hawaiians and concerned residents can take the Dalai Lama’s visit as inspiration to find one’s own sense of self, and then from a virtuous state help those around them. There are still rich American interests that are being served before the local people’s interests are being served – not much has changed in that regard since the days of the Bayonet Constitution. And if Riki Pestana-Torres’ experience is meant to be a symbolic incident (in an ironic setting) to show how “inconvenient truths” are dealt with, then perhaps those who were ignorant as to the depths of the struggle might be jolted out of complacency. Hawai’i is a beautiful, amazing place that anyone would be lucky to live. But that doesn’t afford a complacency to ignore the deep personal, economical, cultural, spiritual, environmental concerns, for natives and non-native residents alike. No matter a struggle for independence, we are all interdependent, we are all connected. The idea that those who stand idly by are guilty by default does come into play. There is a revolution here in Hawai’i -on many levels- that needs to occur; a message of aloha that can indeed transcend; an evolution that can manifest into a symbol of hope. It must come from within before the people here can help change their families, their communities, their islands…the world.volcano hawaii

“Facing backwards I see the past. Our nation gained, our nation lost. Our sovereignty gone. Our lands gone. All traded for the promise of progress. What would they say…What can we say? Facing future I see hope. Hope that we will prosper. Hope that once again we will reap the blessings of this magical land. For without hope I cannot live. Remember the past but do not dwell there. Face the future where all our hopes stand. Ua mau ke ea o ka ‘aina i ka pono o Hawai’i.” -Israel Kamakawiwiwo’ole

Other sites to explore: Free Hawaii, Hawai’i Nation, Hawaiian Kingdom, Hawaiian Independence Blog, Kingdom of Hawai’i, Aloha Quest, DMZ Hawai’i, Hawai’i Indy Media, ‘A’ole: No Uranium Weapons Hawai’i, Free Hawai’i Blogspot, In Motion / Hawaiian Vote, Justice for Hawaiians, Organic Consumers, Kingdom of Hawaii Reinstatement, Grassroot Institute, Tibet Fund, Free Tibet, Students for a Free Tibet. To get your free “Free Hawaii” sticker and pin go to Free Hawai’i Stickers.
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