Archive for May 2005

Review: Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith

Thursday, May 26th, 2005

Stars: Ewan McGregor, Hayden Christiansen, Natalie Portman
Rated: PG-13
Executive Summary: Definitely not a feel-good movie, but it doesn’t disappoint either.
Pineapples: 9 out of 10 (excellent)

Middle Finger Over Manhattan?

Thursday, May 19th, 2005

Indra Nooyi, the CFO and president of PepsiCo, made some remarks at the commencement exercises at Columbia University’s business school. She compared the major continents of the world to the fingers of a hand. North America, and especially the U.S. got the coveted position of…middle finger. Says Nooyi, the middle finger "anchors every function that the hand performs and is the key to all of the fingers working together efficiently and effectively." However, when used inappropriately…you get the picture.

Nooyi’s speech made some waves. She was forced to give a clarification and to make her prepared speech public (PDF). However, given our track record in foreign policy under President Bush, Ms. Nooyi does have a point.

Then comes word that Donald Trump thinks that the Freedom Tower to be built near Ground Zero is utterly ridiculous, and is strongly advocating that the falled twin towers be replicated, taller and more durably.

With all of this, a4g of Point Five puts forth his vision of what the "Pepsi Towers" would probably look like on the skyline of Manhattan…

Star Wars: Not Worth Losing Sleep Over

Wednesday, May 18th, 2005

My friends are excited about Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. They’ve been talking about it the past few weeks. In fact, they’re all gathering together at Dole Cannery to catch the 12:01 a.m. May 19 show, just a few short hours from now.

I’m being anti-social. I’m not joining them.

If Only It Were That Easy

Wednesday, May 18th, 2005

Satirized Tom Burka (via Linkmeister):

George W. Bush retracted the Iraq war today, saying that it had been based on information from an unreliable source and that the original premises for the war were wrong.

I only wish it were that easy. We’ve done more damage than Newsweek did with their ill-fated story.

A Radical Movement in My Own Backyard

Tuesday, May 17th, 2005

Kailua is not known for being a very hip place. It’s all-American suburbia, out in the middle of the Pacific. Sure, there are windsurfers at Kailua Beach and festivals every so often, but first and foremost, it’s a bedroom community for Honolulu.

Moreover, it’s a district that is one of the few places in Hawaii that sends Republican legislators to the Democrat-dominated Legislature. (Which makes it an interesting predicament for me…being a blue person in a red area of a blue state in a red country. But I digress.)

This is hardly an area where you’d expect radicalism. Nevertheless, there is a subversive movement happening, right in my backyard. There are no violent protests or anything, but it centers over otherwise innocuous papaya and lilikoi plants.

Should There Be a Limit to Hate Speech on Blogs?

Monday, May 16th, 2005

Richard Silverstein has a problem. One of his posts on his self-described “progressive but critical Zionist” blog attracted the attention of some anti-Zionists, one of whom left the equivalent of cyber-graffiti.

Understandably, he’s miffed, not only at what happened, but by the response by Six Apart, the company that makes Movable Type and runs the Typepad blog service on which his blog runs.

Review: Monster-In-Law

Sunday, May 15th, 2005

Stars: Jennifer Lopez, Jane Fonda, Michael Vartan
Rated: PG-13 for sex references and language.
Executive Summary: A female version of Meet The Parents, but not quite as funny.
Pineapples: 5 out of 10 (fair)

Finally, Something To Cheer About for Hawaii Schools

Friday, May 13th, 2005

Hawaii is lagging behind in No Child Left Behind. Or so you’ve been led to think. It’s no secret by now that we have a lot of schools that need extra help to meet NCLB standards, and many of them are in so-called “restructuring.” Having a lot of schools in dire straits means our system is failing, right?

Not necessarily, say two Stanford University researchers. Paul E. Peterson and Frederick M. Hess contend that our situation is not necessarily a symptom of a failing system, but a result of having set high standards for our kids to meet.

The results of this study were front page, above the fold, in today’s Star-Bulletin. Its bottom line was that Hawaii just missed the top 5 (yes, the TOP 5) in rigor for its standards, when its proficiency test numbers are compared against the state’s results of the National Assessment for Educational Progress in 2003 and graded on a curve. State proficiency levels ranged from 5% above NAEP (for #1 South Carolina) to more than 36% above (the average level).

The Poster Child for Anti-Diplomacy

Thursday, May 12th, 2005

Yes, it’s not a judicial nomination, and technically it wouldn’t be subject to the all-but-imminent nuclear option. But if ever there was a time for Democrats to go all out to filibuster, the time is now.

Today the Senate Foreign Relations committee voted 10-8, along party lines, to send John Bolton’s nomination to the Senate floor. However, the committee sent it to the floor, minus the favorable recommendation.

Unlike Bush’s judicial nominees, for whom Republicans are all but united, the idea of the pull-no-punches Bolton as U.N. ambassador is giving several GOP members heartburn.

Damned If You Do, Damned If You Don’t

Tuesday, May 10th, 2005

It’s not easy working for a health insurance company these days. And with what’s going on in the news, both nationally and here in Hawaii, it is downright difficult working for the largest insurer in the state, as I do.

Here in Hawaii, if HMSA so much as coughs, it makes front page news. And if it even thinks about how much it will take to cover ever-rising healthcare costs, it gets hit on all sides.

HMSA made a profit? What are they asking for another rate increase?

HMSA lost money? What are they doing with our insurance premiums?

Talk about damned if you do, damned if you don’t.