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Ian Lind • Online daily from Kaaawa, Hawaii

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East-West Center lands former Harvard fundraising executive

September 15th, 2014 · 6 Comments

The East-West Center appears to have scored a big coup with the hiring of Paul T. Keenan as acting head of its fundraising arm, according to word spreading among EWC supporters.

Keenan is expected to take over the reins of the East-West Center Foundation, which operates as a private nonprofit organization. He comes to the foundation after 15 years at Harvard University, the last six years as Senior Associate Dean and Director of Development for the Faculties of Arts & Sciences. He left that job in June 2014.

An EWC representative confirmed Keenan’s appointment as acting director of development. It is, at least for now, a temporary and part-time (65%) staff appointment. He begins work next week.

The foundation position had been filled on an interim basis by the center’s director of external affairs, Karen Knudsen.

Without the congressional clout of the late Senator Dan Inouye, who was widely credited with staving off repeated GOP attempts to pull the plug on federal funding for the EWC, private fundraising is likely to play an increasingly important role in keeping the institution alive and growing. The EWC Foundation is the key to that effort.

Keenan’s most recent Harvard position is described on his LinkedIn profile:

Chief development officer for the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS), including Harvard College, Graduate School of Arts & Sciences, and School of Engineering & Applied Sciences, overseeing 150 professional and administrative staff and an annual operating budget of $16 million.

Set overall strategic direction for fundraising at largest school within Harvard, including planning and executing $2.5B capital campaign for FAS, as largest single part of $6.5B university-wide campaign. Surpassed $1B in commitments prior to launch and greater than 50% of goal by end of year 1 of public phase.

Keenan has extensive experience in Asia, and has been publicly credited with landing a $15 million donation to Harvard back in 2006.

Keenan is also president of his own consulting firm, Keenan Associates, which consults with universities and nonprofit organizations. In an announcement last month, Harvard said it would be maintaining a consulting relationship with Keenan Associates.

Keenan is the long-time partner of Daniel Grabauskas, the executive director & CEO of the Honolulu Rail Transit Project.

→ 6 CommentsTags: Education · Politics

One of those mornings

September 14th, 2014 · 2 Comments

It was one of those rare, clear mornings in Kaaawa. The horizon, typically at least partially obscured by clouds on a normal morning, was absolutely clear.

On mornings like this, it’s hard not to see the green flash, and we did. It was the second green flash in a week.

I did a quick look back, and the same thing happened last year at virtually the same time. Last year, we saw the 2nd flash on September 5, so we’re about a week off in 2014.

The top photo was taken as we walked past Swanzy Beach Park.

The bottom photo was taken just seconds before we saw the “flash”, and shows the overlapping outlines of Molokai and Maui in the distance.

Swanzy Beach Park

Molokai & Maui

→ 2 CommentsTags: Kaaawa · Photographs

Victims denial of abuse needs to be put in context

September 13th, 2014 · 17 Comments

It looks like this case of apparent domestic abuse in a public place by a Honolulu police sergeant isn’t going to fade away quickly. That’s good, because it it seems to me there are lessons here for the news media, as well as everybody else.

Here’s an excerpt from the Hawaii News Now story broadcast earlier this week when the case was first reported.

A recently-promoted Honolulu Police Department sergeant with a history of domestic violence accusations is under internal investigation after a security surveillance video surfaced showing him apparently beating up his girlfriend in the Waipahu restaurant where she works.

But the girlfriend told police investigators and Hawaii News Now it was a “misunderstanding” and the two were “just playing around.”

The video showed off-duty HPD Sgt. Darren Cachola — an 18-year police veteran — appearing to assault the woman, who says her name is Deberah.

She’s a manager at Kuni Restaurant in Waipahu that had closed for the night when the incident happened about 10:20 p.m. Monday.

The video showed him repeatedly punching her as they moved through at least two rooms at the restaurant. Co-workers can be seen coming to her aid.

HPD has temporarily removed Cachola’s police powers and started an investigation after a citizen provided HPD the video Tuesday.

“The knee-jerk reaction for myself was, this guy needs to be arrested, and needs to be brought to justice as a police officer,” said HPD Chief Louis Kealoha. “But when you step back and compose yourself, then you think what needs to be done.”

But his girlfriend told police internal affairs investigators Wednesday afternoon this was all a misunderstanding.

“I hit him first and we were just playing. There was no danger, no injuries, no problem,” Deberah told Hawaii News Now.

She told officers who were called to the restaurant she did not want to file a police complaint.

She said she stayed at his house the night of the incident at the restaurant.[Emphasis added]

The woman is quoted in a straightforward manner. Nothing wrong with that. But, if not put into context, these quotes could cause the reader to question whether there really was an incidence of abuse.

This isn’t a new problem, and there’s a lot of research on the issue of why victims often stay with their abusers. It’s context that is essential for understanding such situations.

Perhaps a short caveat should be routinely incorporated when reporting stories on abuse, something like this: “Experts say it is common for victims to deny or excuse their abuse out of a complex combination of factors, including fear, shame, and emotional or economic dependence.”

The Los Angeles Police Department’s website includes information on this issue (“Domestic Violence: Reasons Why Battered Victims Stay With the Batterers“).

Here are some of the considerations pointed out by LAPD:

• The victim loves the batterer… the batterer is not always violent.

• The victim fears the batterer, believing the batterer to be almost “godlike.” Often threats are made against the victim, for example, the batterer will kill the victim if the beatings are reported to anyone. Police, in the victim’s eyes, offer no long-term protection from the batterer.

•The victim may be economically dependent on the batterer and, not having a marketable job skill, the victim has no realistic alternative to the batterer’s financial support.

•Socialization and/or religious or cultural beliefs demand that the victim maintain the facade of a good marriage.

• Often the batterer is the victim’s only psychological support system, having systematically destroyed the victim’s other friendships. Other people also feel uncomfortable around violence and withdraw from it.

• The victim may rationalize the beatings, believing that the victim must have “deserved” the “punishment” or that the batterer was just “too drunk” to know what the batterer was doing (beliefs the batterer propagates).

• The battering takes place during a relatively short period of time. Afterwards the batterer may be quite gentle, apologetic, loving, and may promise never to beat the victim again.

• The victim may be convinced that this beating will be the last.

Hmmmm. I wonder if HPD officers are trained in these considerations? We probably don’t know, because so much of the department’s policies and practices are shrouded in secrecy.

And that’s the second point for reporting on incidents involving police officers. The reporting needs to consistently cite the lack of transparency regarding information of police abuse and misconduct. The lack of accountability is an underlying theme that shouldn’t be pushed into the background.

There’s lots more information readily available on the situation of abuse victims. Here are a few.

Time.com, “Why Women Stay: The Paradox of Abusive Relationships

Wellesley Center for Women, “Battered Women: What Goes Into the Stay-leave Decision?

PsychCentral.com, “Why Do Abused Victims Stay?

→ 17 CommentsTags: Crime

Feline Friday: Chasing the laser

September 12th, 2014 · 2 Comments

Ms. HarryFriends gave us a little present meant for the cats. It’s one of those laser pointers. Flash that red dot and cats track, chase, and pounce. It’s not the best prey, since it rather miraculously escapes every time, but it does seem to ramp up their adrenaline. I think all the cats have shown interest in the first few tries. The problem is keeping them from squabbling over the hunting rights at any one time!

Apart from that, it’s been status quo this week. Good news was that Costco has a different brand of insulin syringes at 1/3 the price of the former brand. Now if there was just a price break on the tiny bottle of insulin, which is now well over $200. They really have us over a barrel, with two cats needing the shots morning and evening.

I do have to keep a squirt bottle full of water on the table with me while working at my computer, since Romeo fusses under my chair telling me that he would REALLY like to go outside and pick a fight. I give a surreptitious squirt when he starts clawing my feet and it sends him scurrying to escape the wet.

So it goes on this warm Feline Friday.

–> See all of today’s Friday Felines!

→ 2 CommentsTags: Cats · Photographs

Sharia Law is closer than you think…The Pakistan-Pennsylvania connection

September 12th, 2014 · 2 Comments

Yesterday morning, we happened to hear an NPR story describing the situation in Pakistan, where blasphemy is a capital crime (“Activists Worry Pakistan’s Blasphemy Law Is Being Abused“).

It’s a disturbing story.

Blasphemy laws were introduced in the subcontinent during the 19th century by British colonial rulers. The aim was to damp down sectarian conflicts in what was then a land of many faith, offenders could be jailed for several years. The law was amended in the 1980s by Pakistan’s Islamist, military dictator, General Zia Ul-Haq. The change meant that defiling the name of the prophet could trigger the death penalty – a punishment the later became mandatory. The accused can be arrested without any substantial evidence; there’s no bail; there’s no punishment for deliberately making a false allegation. Human rights organizations say that more and more the laws being used to settle vendettas and target minorities.

It’s a good thing that couldn’t happen here, or so I thought.

Then I saw another news story describing a case in Pennsylvania.

A Pennsylvania teenager is facing criminal charges after posting pictures to Facebook of him simulating a sex act with a statue of Jesus.

Here the crime isn’t “blasphemy” like in Pakistan’s Islamic law. Instead, it’s “Desecration of a Venerated Object.”

Not a capital offense in America yet, but the kid could get two years in a juvenile prison, according to the news reports.

I guess that I failed to notice when very bad taste became criminal blasphemy desecration.

→ 2 CommentsTags: Crime · Politics