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America’s real economic problem

This week I had the honor of addressing the Kailua Chamber of Commerce in Lanikai. I don’t get over to the Windward Side much because of my hours and sleep schedule and I had never been to the Mid Pacific Country Club before so I hadn’t previously known how great…

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What Gen. Dempsey said, and didn’t say, about ISIS

The headline in the New York Times this morning is, “U.S. General Open to Ground Forces in Fight Against ISIS in Iraq.” And the lead paragraph says, “President Obama’s top military advisor said Tuesday that he would recommend deploying United States forces in ground operations against Islamic extremists in Iraq…

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Where ISIS gets its recruits

Western nations understandably focus on the smaller number of citizens of Western nations who embrace the ideas of super-radical Islam, where everything in the Koran fades into the background but the killing bits, which are interpreted so wildly that ISIS executes fellow Muslims for hesitating to join their movement. ISIS…

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Borrowing ideas: Hollywood’s “original” sin

Hollywood is notorious for the “pitch meeting,” in which someone with authority to approve production of a movie or TV pilot wants to hear the shortest possible description of the idea for the production. You’re supposed to be able to describe it in one sentence, though the producer, you hope,…

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Music Post: The oboe show

We’re not absolutely sure where we got the word “oboe.” The most likely derivation, from an English point of view, is “haut bois,” two French words that can be translated as “high wind.” But there are a number of other possible explanations, mostly offered in German lands. The oboe is…

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Hawaii: A gathering place for Internet backbone lines

A New Zealand plans to build the nation’s second Internet backbone network, and like the first one it will make landfall in Hawaii on its way to the U.S. West Coast. Hawaiian Telcom this week announced it will be the landing partner of Hawaiki Cable Ltd. whose planned network will…

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The real reason for the Ukraine crisis

Russians have almost comically inaccurate ideas about what Americans want in Russia and Ukraine, and tragical effects are possible. Americans, who very likely return the favor by having a number of inaccurate views about Russia, don’t think about Russia much these days, one way or another, and indeed view the…

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Music Post: The 2nd annual all-Scarlatti show

Bach and Handel lived very different lives. Bach spent his whole life in Germany; Handel peregrinated to Italy and England and is buried in Westminster Abbey. Bach married twice and had a large brood of children including several more composers; Handel never married. Bach wrote music mostly for religious or…

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The road not taken – on Maui

I’ve always been a reluctant traveler, not wanting to go somewhere with different rules of behavior and inadvertently give offense, but I love maps, and if I’m driving around and there’s time I feel drawn to the far reaches of the map. On Maui that means, among other places, Route…

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Music Post: An easy way to approach difficult composers

One of my very favorite pieces of music is Schoenberg’s First Chamber Symphony, and I’ve sampled it often on my public radio show, but only once did I play the entire work, because it’s a difficult piece and if you’re not in the right frame of mind to approach the…