Dialing Back The Frequency But Not The Content

Researching and writing this column six days a week makes me a bit of a slave to my computer and the internet. I’d like more time for my YMCA gym-and-swim, some long moped rides deep into Oahu neighborhoods I’ve never visited, more visits to the Uluniu Swimming Club cottage in Laie, and some leisurely travel if Mr. Virus ever goes away.

So I’m dialing back the Bob Jones Report to Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Other days only if events seem to demand some quick pushback. Such as Donald Trump leading an army of Texans in an assault on the White House!

Also, that day between columns will give readers more time to digest my facts and opinions and compose thoughtful comments. Right now, readers have barely ingested one of my columns before a new one appears.

This is a demanding hobby, being a publisher, editor and writer. I’m always mindful that what goes out on the internet stays there forever. So I try to avoid serious mistakes (an occasional misspelling or improper grammar don’t count) and appreciate it when a reader finds an error, alerts me, and I can do an edit-correction for the record.

You’re my reader audience. If you click on “subscribe” you’ll get an email alert when a new column appears. It’s free so far. I’ve been reluctant to mess it up with advertising.

The Report gives me much more freedom to explore sensitive topics than I ever got at MidWeek. There, I had to keep advertisers’ sensitivities in mind. Also parents who apparently didn’t want their children too learn too much. Or adults who didn’t want their set ideas challenged.

The Report gets great readership. Does it change anything? Maybe not right away. But it’s one engine for revving up people’s set conceptions of the world around us.

Please set aside some Monday, Wednesday, Friday reading time.


We Need This Guy As Police Commissioner

Every Friday when I tune in for Blue Bloods on CBS, I wonder why we can’t have a Frank Reagan (Tom Selleck) as Honolulu police commissioner rather than the mamby-pamby,  go-along-and-get-along people we’ve had sitting on our multi-member, volunteer police commission.

Having a citizens committee makes a lot of people happy, but if those members just pick the same old lame police chiefs, refuse  to confront the police union on critical matters of public accountability, then what’s the sense? We get members such as Max Sword and Steve Levinson. Nice, good people. I know them both. But when push came to shove, they let the shove push them in the direction of being steam rolled and paying a crooked police chief to leave!

Maybe we need one, strong, highly-qualified, dignified fighter as Police Commissioner, picked by the mayor and the City Council, paid, and given Frank Reagan-like powers to move around and terminate HPD district leaders. He would way outrank the chief of police — the current one having turned out to be pretty spineless. Besides, she was the principle in that police-retesting (a cheat system) scandal, so why was she made chief?

Honolulu is johnny-come-lately in requiring police officer records of service and disciplinary records to be made public on request. Oh, no, somebody might dislike their family members if we did that! So the union got away with calling officer Darren Cachola “a good cop” who deserved retention when in fact he is a very bad cop and should not currently be on the force. It’s an insult to good police behavior. It’s a stain on HPD. Why should the public obey a cop who’s record is being a drunk and abusive?

Setting up a strong police commissioner would not be easy. He/she needs to be impeachable by the Council if he/she misfires as a leader. Carefully vetted with the assistance of the FBI. Put out there for public comment. Looked over by the Hawaii Bar Association. Yes, by SHOPO, too, but that would not be a deciding factor. Just one commentor.

The City Council can do this. First we need to sideline chief Susan Ballard. Then pick a strong, no-cheat-background chief, maybe even from the mainland for a fresh start with no SHOPO history.

Start serious consideration of having a police commissioner rather than police commissioners.


Have We Given Distance Learning A Fair Test?

A question I’ve been asking myself (and not getting a satisfactory answer) is whether so-called “distance education” can succeed for secondary school students.

So far, the national tests show children doing classes at home, in YMCAs or other by-computer sites are proceeding fine with reading but falling behind in math.

Some educators say young children need in-person schooling. But that’s because we’ve always had it in the modern age. What would the testing show if we had 5 or 10 years of data for comparison?

One of the things that interviews with young students revealed is the anxiety they feel when they can’t go out more, interact more with other young people. They feel imprisoned.

How about older, high school students? Some typical comments gathered in a California survey:

What I miss is the support that school actually gives. The way distance learning is set up we have two Zoom classes every day in which they assign work that is due a week later. On Thursday, we have one class and on Fridays, the Zoom classes are just clubs or extracurriculars that want to have a meeting. I personally feel that I am not learning in these Zoom classes.”

Every day, I feel less motivated to do my work. At first, when this distance learning started. I thought the work was going to be easier. Then, as time passed everything just fell apart. I’m behind in all of my classes and it’s nearly impossible to catch up. I can’t do the work on my own.”

But keep in mind that we’ve only been at this distance learning thing for not quite one year. Educators are learning new techniques. Leaving gtime for social media interaction. Breaking classes into three and four student “rooms” to discuss class subjects — similar to the way adult seminars are using Zoom discussions.

These smaller groups can help provide additional support around specific courses or topics. They can connect with peers who have some level of affinity to their same course of study. Or having the same problems with math.

What troubles me is that rather than wait out a decent period of distance learning results, a vehement argument is being waged by some to pit distance education against traditional face-to-face education. What is in dispute should not be whether distance education is ideal, but whether it is better than receiving no education at all during times like this of an international emergency.

We’re seeing through long-term studies that it works fine for college students. Can it be tailored to work for grades 1-8? 

I’m among those reluctant to toss in the towel and give it up until we know more than we know from Hawaii’s so-far-very-short school shutdown period.


I Prithee Begone; For Faith, Thee And I Shall Never Agree.

I’d hope every voting age American (and those on the cusp) would listen to this telephonic coup attempt by President Trump. If it were not certified accurate by the Washington Post, I’d suspect a fake. Can any U.S. president be that blunt about overturning a valid election to keep himself in power?


The elections of 1876, 1888, 1960 and 2000 were among the most contentious in American history. In each case, the losing candidate and party dealt with the disputed results differently but constitutionally.

In 1876, Republicans nominated Ohio Gov. Rutherford B. Hayes, and Democrats chose New York Gov. Samuel Tilden. Tilden seemed to win. But due to widespread allegations of intimidation and fraud, the election boards invalidated enough votes to give Hayes a 185-184 majority in the Electoral College. Republicans, in return for getting Hayes in the White House, agreed to an end to Reconstruction and military occupation of the South. Hayes had an ineffective, one-term presidency. 

In 1888, Democratic President Grover Cleveland of New York ran for reelection against former Indiana U.S. Sen. Benjamin Harrison.  In  a recognized vote-buying scandal, Cleveland won the national popular vote by almost 100,000 votes. But he lost his home state, New York, by about 1 percent, putting Harrison over the top in the Electoral College. Cleveland did not contest the Electoral College outcome and won a rematch against Harrison four years later. 

Then we come to the 1960 election pitting Republican Vice President Richard Nixon against Democratic U.S. Sen. John F. Kennedy. The popular vote was the closest of the 20th century, with Kennedy defeating Nixon by only about 100,000 votes. Many Republicans cried foul. While Republican-leaning newspapers proceeded to investigate and conclude that voter fraud had occurred, Nixon did not contest the results. He ran for president again in 1968 and won.

In 2000’s election, the national media discovered that a “butterfly ballot,” a punch card ballot with a design that violated Florida state law, had confused thousands of voters in Palm Beach County. Many who had thought they were voting for Democrat Al Gore unknowingly voted for another candidate or voted for two candidates. Gore ended up losing the state to George W. Bush by 537 votes – and, in losing Florida, lost the election.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Congress had set a deadline of that date for states to choose electors, so there was no more time to count votes. Bush was the beneficiary. Gore conceded the next day.

Donald Trump is not conceding. He’s saying “we won big.” He says as evidence “look at my rallies, 25,000, 30,000 people. My opponent — about 100. They’re already waiting in line for me for my Georgia rally Monday” [Jan 4].

If Trump were the president or chairman in Venezuela, North Korea, Bolivia or the Ivory Coast, he’d just declare himself the winner, the military would back him, and that’s that. It’s what the citizens of many countries have come to expect and accept.

But here? Every living former Secretary of Defense has signed a letter saying Joe Biden is the winner and the election is over.

Donald, it’s over brah! Get thee gone!


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