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Ian Lind • Online daily from Kaaawa, Hawaii

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Time for Kahuku High School to drop the “Red Raiders”

September 2nd, 2014 · 12 Comments

This is probably sacrilege to fans in the tightly-knit football community in Kahuku, but isn’t it time for Kahuku High School to get rid of its Red Raiders imagery?

The controversy over the Washington Redskins has called national attention to the dispute over the names and logos of teams that a growing number of people consider fundamentally racist in nature. It should prompt a review and reconsideration of Kahuku’s nickname and logo.

There’s a lot of information available from the group, Change the Mascot, which has been the most visible proponent of a name change for the Washington team.

The same debate is going on in New Hampshire, where Belmont High School is being asked to drop it’s “Red Raiders” name.

From an editorial in the Concord Monitor:

For decades there has been a national push to purge the nation of race-based team names. One effort, Change the Mascot, led by the Oneida Indian Nation, has sponsored research into the effect the stereotypes used in team names and mascots have on Native American children, a population that starts life at risk. Researchers found that being confronted with such mascots decreases the self-esteem of Native American youth and depresses the mood of a population already suffering poverty and an increased risk of suicide.

For traditionalists who believe that changing names like Indians or Redskins is giving in to the forces of political correctness, we say consider the response of retired Merrimack Valley art teacher Dan Dalphonse to Monitor columnist Ray Duckler. A decade ago, Dalphonse was a leader in that school’s campaign to change MV’s team name from the Indians to the Pride.

“What other races are used as a mascot? I wouldn’t want to be the Merrimack Valley Negroes or the Merrimack Valley Jews,” he said.

The first thing a viewer encounters on the Belmont school’s website is a stylized Native American. Now imagine if that image were of a bearded Hassidic Jew, a Mexican in a sombrero or an African with a spear.

Another organization, Students and Teachers Against Racism, frames the issue this way:

Our myths and legends that the Native people were bloodthirsty killers are perpetuated by the mascot. These myths are what psychologists deem “dehumanization”, which is necessary in any war to justify the killing of people. Team names such as Red Raiders, Red Men, and Redskins maintain these disrespectful names. In other wars, we can remember the names used for Germans, “krauts,” Japanese were “Nips”, etc. But when wars are over we drop those names and show respect once again for people who are not our enemies. We have never dropped those names and perpetuate a war like attitude towards Native people by the continuance of those names.

So what about Kahuku and its Native American warrior/Red Raiders logo? How does this discussion get started?

→ 12 CommentsTags: Kaaawa · Politics

Nearing the anniversary of that dog attack on the beach

September 2nd, 2014 · No Comments

MitsyThis is Ms. Mitsy, the “small dog” involved in the attack last September that left me with a shortened a finger on my right hand. In just a few weeks, the one-year anniversary will roll by (see “not just another day at the beach,” my blog post following the incident).

Mitsy is just fine, having recovered from her injuries. My finger, on the other hand, is still (hopefully) in the process of “adjusting”. The wound healed relatively quickly, but the nerves in the finger are taking much longer to calm down and adjust to the new reality. It’s a bit of a nuisance, makes accurate typing a little more difficult than it used to be, but, as I keep saying, it could be worse.

In the meantime, this is the period of the year where there’s enough light during our early morning walks to get pictures of the many friendly dogs across Kaaawa. By sometime in November, I’ll have lost the early morning sun, and the dogs will have to wait for several months before their next round of internet fame.

–> See all of today’s Kaaawa Morning Dogs!

→ No CommentsTags: Dogs · Kaaawa · Photographs

Labor Day, the 8-Hour Day, and Honolulu’s 12-hour “solution”

September 1st, 2014 · 14 Comments

It’s Labor Day.

Originally, Labor Day was celebrated on May 1, which is still recognized as International Labor Day. And it was intimately intertwined with organized labor’s struggle to reduce working hours and achieve an 8-hour day.

That’s why I was so irritated by Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s recent trumpeting of his plan for a regular 12-hour work day as some kind of breakthrough in working conditions for the city’s emergency medical personnel.

“Twelve hours is less than a 16-hour day, so it’s a good thing,” the mayor seemed to be arguing.

But it seems to me city workers took a big step backwards with this adoption of a standard 12-hour work day as the city’s solution to the real problem, chronic underfunding of an essential public service.

Here’s an entry from the Encyclopedia of Chicago History:

When the Chicago labor movement emerged in 1864, the eight-hour day quickly became its central demand. Exhausted by 12 to 14 hours a day of work, six days a week, workers throughout the city and state organized to secure a law limiting the workday to eight hours. In 1867, the Illinois legislature passed such a law but allowed a huge loophole that permitted employers to contract with their employees for longer hours. Trying to eliminate that option, Chicago labor called for a citywide strike that began on May 1, 1867, and practically shut down the city’s economy for a week. When the strike collapsed, the law collapsed with it and workers were left unprotected.

In the 1880s, the issue resurfaced and became the key demand of a movement that shook the city and the nation. In 1884, the Federation of Organized Trades and Labor Unions—predecessor of the American Federation of Labor—urged American workers to observe an eight-hour day beginning May 1, 1886. Implying direct rather than legislative action, the eight-hour movement united skilled and unskilled workers of all nationalities. Chicago anarchists, trade unionists, and the Knights of Labor, despite the coolness of their national organizations, actively promoted and profited from the movement, and made Chicago its national center.

According to Wikipedia:

Labor Day was promoted by the Central Labor Union and the Knights of Labor, who organized the first parade in New York City. After the Haymarket Massacre, which occurred in Chicago on May 4, 1886, U.S. President Grover Cleveland feared that commemorating Labor Day on May 1 could become an opportunity to commemorate the affair. Thus, in 1887, it was established as an official holiday in September to support the Labor Day that the Knights favored.

So this official Labor Day holiday was adopted to try to diminish the influence of the more radical wing of the labor movement, it seems.

From there, though, it took decades longer for American workers to win an 8-hour day.

Again from Wikipedia:

The United Mine Workers won an eight-hour day in 1898.

The Building Trades Council (BTC) of San Francisco, under the leadership of P.H. McCarthy, won the eight-hour day in 1900 when the BTC unilaterally declared that its members would work only eight hours a day for $3 a day. When the mill resisted, the BTC began organizing mill workers; the employers responded by locking out 8,000 employees throughout the Bay Area. The BTC, in return, established a union planing mill from which construction employers could obtain supplies — or face boycotts and sympathy strikes if they did not. The mill owners went to arbitration, where the union won the eight-hour day, a closed shop for all skilled workers, and an arbitration panel to resolve future disputes. In return, the union agreed to refuse to work with material produced by non-union planing mills or those that paid less than the Bay Area employers.

By 1905, the eight-hour day was widely installed in the printing trades – see International Typographical Union (section) – but the vast majority of Americans worked 12-14 hour days.

On January 5, 1914, the Ford Motor Company took the radical step of doubling pay to $5 a day and cut shifts from nine hours to eight, moves that were not popular with rival companies, although seeing the increase in Ford’s productivity, and a significant increase in profit margin (from $30 million to $60 million in two years), most soon followed suit.[11][12][13][14]

In the summer of 1915, amid increased labor demand for World War I, a series of strikes demanding the eight-hour day began in Bridgeport, Connecticut. They were so successful that they spread throughout the Northeast.[15]

The United States Adamson Act in 1916 established an eight-hour day, with additional pay for overtime, for railroad workers. This was the first federal law that regulated the hours of workers in private companies. The United States Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the Act in Wilson v. New, 243 U.S. 332 (1917).

The eight-hour day might have been realized for many working people in the U.S. in 1937, when what became the Fair Labor Standards Act (29 U.S. Code Chapter 8) was first proposed under the New Deal. As enacted, the act applied to industries whose combined employment represented about twenty percent of the U.S. labor force. In those industries, it set the maximum workweek at 40 hours,[16] but provided that employees working beyond 40 hours a week would receive additional overtime bonus salaries.[17]

And so it goes on Labor Day 2014.

→ 14 CommentsTags: Labor · Politics

Seeking advice on what to do with a vintage fir floor

August 31st, 2014 · 5 Comments

This is a purely personal post. No politics, no media, no criticism.

We’re considering refinishing an old, 1940-era wood floor. Well, to be more precise, finding someone to refinish it. We’re told it’s vertical grain fir. It looks its age right now, with some areas of damage.

One flooring installer advised just getting rid of it and laying new flooring on top of it, but we’re worried that this was just for the sake of the installer’s convenience.

Looking online, it appears that if we lived in Seattle, there would be multiple contractors ready to work with the old fir floor and restore it.

If the floor can be saved, we would prefer to take that path. But we don’t know the pros and cons of restoring and refinishing this kind of relatively soft wood floor.

So we’re looking for a recommendation of someone locally we can rely on to give us an opinion on whether it’s worth restoring this particular old floor.

Any and all suggestions would be appreciated!

You can leave a comment here, or email me.

→ 5 CommentsTags: Consumer issues

Columnists split on UH football fans

August 31st, 2014 · 4 Comments

The University of Hawaii football team surprised more than a few observers by staying tantalizingly close to the University of Washington’s nationally ranked Huskies in the season opener.

I don’t usually comment on sports, but a reader pointed to an interesting anomaly in the Star-Advertiser’s coverage of the game.

His comment: “…read the first few graphs of Reardon’s and Lewis’ columns today. Makes you wonder if they were at the same game–and who’s editing the paper.”

So I did. And, yes, it does.

Here’s Ferd Lewis (“Hawaii’s long-lost defense shows up in season opener“):

The chant rolled through Aloha Stadium like claps of rising thunder: “Dee-fense! Dee-fense!”

For the first time in years it was again a rallying cry of the University of Hawaii football faithful, not some longshot prayer to the heavens.

And for the better part of 3 hours and 20 minutes of a fiercely contested Saturday night game, the Rainbow Warriors responded with an inspiring effort that made a crowd of 32,197 stick around to the bitter end of a 17-16 loss to 25th-ranked Washington and applaud the effort.

And then there’s Dave Reardon’s take on the same event (“Effort has players believing they can play with anyone“):

Here’s what I don’t understand. Why were people, obviously University of Hawaii fans judging by their attire, streaming out of Aloha Stadium with 2:40 left in the game and UH down by just one point?

Washington had the ball at its own 29, first-and-10, and the Rainbow Warriors had all their timeouts left. This game was by no means over, especially considering the way the UH defense had stifled the Washington defense the entire second half.

So were fans bailing out, or staying to the bitter end?

Was the glass half full, or…?

→ 4 CommentsTags: Media