A Crash Course in Hawaiian History

(Note: This is the second installment of a three-part series discussing recent legal and political challenges to the Kamehameha Schools and other institutions designed to benefit the native Hawaiian people. Read parts 1 and 3.)

January 17th, 1893 is an unmemorable date for many, but an important one for many Hawaiians. It was on this day that the nation of Hawai’i came to an end.

At the direction of a 13-member committee formed by members of the immensely profitable sugar industry, John L. Stevens, the United States minister to Hawai’i and an unabashed annexationist, ordered 162 troops from the U.S.S. Boston ashore. Queen Lili’uokalani, desiring to prevent bloodshed, temporarily abdicated her throne to the United States:

“Now, 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.”

Members of Congress and President Grover Cleveland both acknowledged that the overthrow was illegal and immoral at the time. However, due to the lobbying of the planters and a number of issues related to the timing of elections, the overthrow was never reversed. A few years later, a treaty of annexation was ratified by the Senate and President McKinley.

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Attacking the Trust

(Note: This is the first installment of a three-part series discussing recent legal and political challenges to the Kamehameha Schools and other institutions designed to benefit the native Hawaiian people. Read parts 2 and 3.)

Last Thursday my alma mater, Kamehameha Schools, was sued by “an unidentified non-Hawaiian student.” The school was founded by Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop, the last direct descendant of Kamehameha I, via a trust established by her will.

The results of this lawsuit will have lasting and profound implications for every native Hawaiian and Hawai’i resident alike.

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Little Miracles

It continues to amaze me just how perfect God’s handiwork actually is.

Have you ever thought about exactly how incredible human memory is? Through chemical processes we haven’t begun to comprehend, the brain can filter sensory inputs continuously, discard unimportant ones, and file the rest in an incredibly efficient manner.

Our use of memory, according to Ruben and Stewart in Communication and Human Behavior, Fourth Ed., is divided into two processes: recall and recognition. The recognition ability, which allows us to rapidly and automatically retrieve information related to our current situation, is astounding. This is why most of us don’t touch a hot iron – we know from past experience that it hurts.

While this may seem simple enough, consider this: topics like this are the exact problems undertaken by computer scientists with concentrations in AI. This is why colleges like MIT and companies like Microsoft funnel millions of dollars into research, and why continuous attempts to introduce intelligent software agents into our daily lives fail – nobody’s figured out how to teach a computer to learn.

Trust me, God is pretty smart. I’m constantly amazed with the intricacy of His universe and its processes.

735 Thousand

National Do Not Call Registry LogoThat’s the number of people who signed up for the National Do Not Call Registry on the first day. (Think eight numbers every second.) The web site is still getting hit hard enough that availability is intermittent.

The telemarketers are worried that this will devastate their businesses. I’m not particularly worried about their profits. In fact, I don’t expect the 80% decrease in the number of calls that the FTC claims.

The reason is simple: there’s enough exemptions in the law to drive a tank through. Long-distance phone companies, banks, airlines, and insurance companies can still call, provided they don’t use a professional telemarketing agency. Political organizations, charities, and telephone surveyors can all call, as can any company you’ve given money to in the last 18 months.

That’s a lot of loopholes.

(Logo courtesy Federal Trade Commission.)

No Disassemble!

GLADIATORRemember Johnny 5 from Short Circuit? It was the automated laser-armed U.S. military robot that got struck by lightning and turned into a peace-loving hunk of metal with the help of a lady named Stephanie.

Call me crazy, but I don’t think there’s that much hope for GLADIATOR. It was tested today at Schofield Barracks, and it doesn’t look very receptive toward the idea of peace. The video I saw showed it armed with about eight machine-gun turrets. It made short work of the target.

According to the UGV/S JPO, GLADIATOR is “a tele-operated/semi-autonomous ground vehicle for remoting combat tasks…” (emphasis mine).

I really don’t like the words “semi-autonomous” in that description. I don’t relish the idea of an armored vehicle with guns being given the ability to think for itself. That’s a little too futuristic for me.

I’m not worried about the machines rebelling against humanity or anything else silly like that. I just hope this trigger-happy robot can spot terrorists better than these guys. (I’m sure they’re just doing their jobs, but it doesn’t make sense to search elderly women just to be politically correct – I think the TSA is profiling and doing searches of the elderly in a misguided attempt to keep the anti-profilers, like me, happy.)

I think I want GLADIATOR disassembled.

(Photo courtesy UGV/S JPO.)