What does it mean?

July 29, 2005

Akaka for All

Amritas frequently talks about the proposed Akaka Bill (last time here). In short, it proposes to create a tribal authority for aboriginal Hawaiians, similar to American Indian tribes. The most absurd thing about the bill its definition of "Native Hawaiian":

NATIVE HAWAIIAN
(A) IN GENERAL.—Subject to subparagraph (B), for the purpose of establishing the roll authorized under section 7(c)(1) and before the reaffirmation of the political and legal relationship between the United States and the Native Hawaiian governing entity, the term ‘‘Native Hawaiian’’ means— (i) an individual who is 1 of the indigenous, native people of Hawaii and who is a direct lineal descendant of the aboriginal, indigenous, native people who— (I) resided in the islands that now comprise the State of Hawaii on or before January 1, 1893; and (II) occupied and exercised sovereignty in the Hawaiian archipelago, including the area that now constitutes the State of Hawaii; or (ii) an individual who is 1 of the indigenous, native people of Hawaii and who was eligible in 1921 for the programs authorized by the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act (42 Stat. 108, chapter 42) or a direct lineal descendant of that individual.

In other words the one-drop rule. Anyone, with any native Hawaiian ancestor, is eligible, even if it's one great-great-great-great grandparent (making you one sixty-fourth native Hawaiian). This is a recipe for an ever-expanding native Hawaiian population. What happens when most residents of Hawaii are "native Hawaiians", with the rest being a legally underprivileged minority? How about if all the special rights and privileges then switch over the new minority?... what shall we call them... perhaps, Harijan?

It seems to me that this is probably unconstitutional, to establish by law a race-based privileged class. (Indian tribes were established by treaty between the US and sovereign Indian nations, which I presume is the difference.) However, I am sympathetic to Hawaiian desires to promote their culture, and I have a solution that would not be unconstitutional: Give the same rights to everyone.

What would happen if all residents of Hawaii had the right to form communities to protect their culture? (You know, other people have culture too.) These communities would have the right to form schools (maybe even, gasp, universities), found museums, fund sporting activities, and in general create an infrastructure for preserving and promoting their culture. Funds would come from the Hawaiian state budget for these activities, on a per-capita basis. (In other words, if the state spends $X per person on these activities, and there are N people in the community, the community would get a budget of $X * N.)

I think that such a program would create an exciting and valuable diversity for all Hawaiians, substantially increasing their freedoms, choices, and quality of life. "Native Hawaiians" included.

PS: If you think this is a sneaky way to introduce choice and competition into government, you are right. I would love to be able to choose my government!

Posted by David Boxenhorn at 01:17 AM  Permalink | Comments (1)
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Trackback from Independent Sources, Aloha, Now Get Off My Island! or Hawaiian Bingo Anyone?:
The facts are not in dispute by either side, Kamehameha Schools in Hawaii grants a preference to boys and girls of pure or part aboriginal blood. Stated another way if you are of Asian, African American, American Indian, German, Spanish, Italian, Cuba...

July 27, 2005

Mostly-accurate portrayal of my life

Whenever I know something about the story, I see that they got it wrong. Look what they did to my friend Brian Blum (also here):

For the past three years, I have been writing a decidedly non-political weblog called 'This Normal Life'. My goal has been to present slices of what passes for 'normal life' in today's troubled Israel.

I have very deliberately avoided presenting any particular political or religious point of view, and have turned down a number of offers for interviews with the international media, always afraid that my neutrality as an author would be compromised.

So it was with no small amount of trepidation that I agreed to be profiled in the San Francisco Chronicle. The reporter actually found me through my blog, and said he was writing a series of articles about the real people behind the headlines living their normal lives in the Middle East. As a former San Franciscan, I would be perfect, he assured me.

With a pickup line like that, how could I say no?

Imagine then my shock when I read the headline of the article about me that appeared in Sunday's SF Chronicle (July 24): 'Settler Hopes for Peace to Take Root.'

More:

When I first started writing 'This Normal Life', I approached the Chronicle, my hometown paper, and suggested that they print my blog as a weekly column. The editor I spoke with said the only way they could do that is if they gave equal time and space to a contrasting Palestinian viewpoint.

I argued, to no avail, that my writing was not political; it was just charming little stories about daily life from an expatriate San Franciscan.

So now, when I see a headline describing me as a settler, I have to wonder ― was that the result of a complete lack of awareness by the headline writer as to what the term 'settler' connotes? A deliberate attempt to spice up the story ― to say 'look, here's a real settler who supports peace, isn't that special?'

Or was it something even worse ― a not-so-hidden political agenda to radicalize a simple Israeli?

Whatever the intention, the words are loaded and the result tarnishes Stannard's mostly-accurate portrayal of my life.

Posted by David Boxenhorn at 05:01 PM  Permalink | Comments (1)
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July 10, 2005

Hitting Bottom

Q: How many psychiatrists does it take to change a light bulb?

A: One, but the the light bulb has to want to change.

I don't reject psychiatry in general, in fact I think that there is a lot that can be learned about human nature by reading the literature (mixed in with a lot of self-serving speculation). However, I have seen a lot of people invest a lot of time and money in the psychiatric profession without any observable results. The bottom line: most people want to be freed of the hardships caused by their problems (loneliness, lack of career success, etc.) but are unwilling to pay the price of changing. The reason for this, as I have said before (though not lately), is that nothing is more associated with our sense of self than our worldview, thus changing it is almost literally like dying. The price of change is death, and most people are willing to pay it only when they have utterly despaired of life. As they say in AA, you have to hit bottom before you will change.

I have been busy lately, and unfortunately haven't been able to respond to the London bombings in a timely fashion. My belated reaction: When will we hit bottom? When will they hit bottom?

The Germans and the Japanese hit bottom after World War II because they were utterly defeated by their enemies, and because being successful conquerers was central to their self image. The Islamists are also "proud warriors", and they won't hit bottom until they understand that as warriors they are utter failures.

On the other hand, we, too are suffering from the delusion that the Islamists are angry at us because we aren't being nice enough to them. A critical number of Americans hit bottom after 9/11, enabling the US to (more or less) change course, but it doesn't seem to have happened in the rest of the world, and as far as I can tell, many Americans have fallen off the wagon, again.

I know what it will take for them to hit bottom. What will it take for us?

Posted by David Boxenhorn at 10:24 PM  Permalink | Comments (3)
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Trackback from Hatshepsut, A little on terrorism:
Here is an interesting and thought provoking post....

July 07, 2005

Judge-Penitents

The next time I hear someone proclaiming with glee their membership in a despised group, class, or race, saying "we are bad, we are evil, so we should..." (or some such thing) I will remember this

Albert Camus named them judge-penitents, because they indict themselves only to condemn others; and he hated them as much for their moral cowardice as for their hypocrisy; because they declared themselves in fellowship with the guilty yet presumed to retain the rights of judgment and condemnation. Their's was an arrogance of existential proportions.

Posted by David Boxenhorn at 09:32 AM  Permalink | Comments (0)
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July 04, 2005

The Gettysburg Address - N'um Getisburg

Pillage Idiot points out that today is also the anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg, and links to an image of the Gettysburg Address in Hebrew. I didn't like that translation very much (what I could read of it, it was a real strain for my tired eyes, though it is pretty cool that the Library of Congress had one in its exhibit) and went looking for another. I found this beautiful translation:

 נאום גטיסבורג

19 בנובמבר 1863

לפני שבע ושמונים שנה הולידו אבותינו על יבשת זו אומה חדשה, אשר הורתה בחרות וייעודה האמונה כי כל בני האדם שווים נבראו.

עתה נתונים אנו במלחמת אזרחים גדולה, לבחון אם אומה זו, או כל אומה אשר זו הורתה וזה ייעודה, תיכון לאורך ימים. נפגשים אנו בשדה-מערכה גדול של אותה מלחמה. באנו להקדיש חלקה משדה זה כמקום מנוחה אחרונה לאלה אשר נתנו כאן את חייהם למען תחיה אותה אומה. אכן ראוי ונכון הוא כי כך נעשה.

אולם, במובן עמוק יותר, איננו יכולים להקדיש – איננו יכולים לקדש – איננו יכולים לרומם – קרקע זו. האנשים האמיצים, חיים או מתים, אשר לחמו כאן קידשוה מעל ומעבר לכוחנו להוסיף או לגרוע. העולם כמעט לא ישים לב, אף לא יזכור לאורך ימים, את אשר אנו אומרים כאן, אך הוא לא יוכל לעולם לשכוח את אשר הם עשו כאן. לנו, החיים, מוטב כי נקדיש חיינו למלאכה הלא-גמורה אשר אלה שלחמו כאן החישו עד הנה באצילות כה רבה. לנו מוטב כי נתמסר כאן למשימה הכבירה הניצבת עדיין בפנינו –  כי ממתים דגולים אלה נשאב משנה מסירות לאותה מטרה אשר למענה נתנו הם את מלוא מסירותם – כי נתחייב כאן חגיגית כי מתים אלה לא לשוא היה מותם – כי אומה זו, תחת שמי אדוני, תזכה ללידה חדשה של חופש – וכי ממשלה של העם, על-ידי העם, למען העם, לא תכלה מן הארץ.

The Gettysburg Address

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate -- we can not consecrate -- we can not hallow -- this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us -- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

UPDATE: Well, maybe I'm making a fool of myself, but I can't help trying my hand at improving the text above:

לפני שבע ושמונים שנה הולידו אבותינו על יבשת זו אומה חדשה, אשר הורתה בחרות וייעודה האמונה כי כל בני האדם שווים נבראו.

עתה נתונים אנו במלחמת אזרחים גדולה, לבחון אם אומה זו, או כל אומה אשר זו הורתה וזה ייעודה, תיכון לאורך ימים. נפגשים אנו בשדה-מערכה גדול של אותה מלחמה. באנו להקדיש חלקה משדה זה כמקום מנוחה אחרונה לאלה אשר נתנו כאן את חייהם למען תחיה אותה אומה. אכן ראוי ונכון הוא כי כך נעשה.

אולם, במובן רחב יותר, איננו יכולים להקדיש – איננו יכולים לקדש – איננו יכולים לרומם – קרקע זו. האנשים האמיצים, החיים והמתים, אשר לחמו כאן קידשוה מעל ומעבר לכוחנו להוסיף או לגרוע. העולם במעט יכיר, ובמעט יזכור, את אשר אומרים כאן, אך לעולם לא יוכל לשכוח את אשר עשו כאן.  הרי לנו, החיים, להיות כאן מוקדשים למלאכה הלא-גמורה אשר אלה שלחמו כאן החישו עד הנה באצילות כה רבה.  הרי לנו להתמסר כאן למשימה הכבירה הניצבת עדיין בפנינו –  כי ממתים דגולים אלה נשאב מסירות מוגברת לאותה מטרה אשר למענה נתנו הם את מלוא מסירותם – כי נתחייב כאן שמתים אלה לא מתו לשוא – כי אומה זו, בסיעתא דשמיא, תזכה ללידת חופש חדשה – וכי ממשל העם, על-ידי העם, למען העם, לא תכלה מן הארץ.

Posted by David Boxenhorn at 09:12 PM  Permalink | Comments (7)
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Trackback from Soccer Dad, Haveil Havalim #28:
Jews in odd places: Critical Mastiff offers his Thoughts on Batman Begins. If you're planning to see the movie, though, beware there are spoilers. In honor of the anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg, Pillage Idiot presents the Gettysburg Address...

Happy 4th of July

Happy Birthday to the USA! Here is what I wrote last year. Amritas reminds us that that is not the only thing that happened on this day. On July 4, 1976 - 200 years after the United States of America achieved independence, Israelis rescued 100 hostages:

1976: Israelis rescue Entebbe hostages
Israeli commandos have rescued 100 hostages, mostly Israelis or Jews, held by pro-Palestinian hijackers at Entebbe airport in Uganda.

At about 0100 local time (2200GMT), Ugandan soldiers and the hijackers were taken completely by surprise when three Hercules transport planes landed after a 2,500-mile trip from Israel.

About 200 elite troops ran out and stormed the airport building.

During a 35-minute battle, 20 Ugandan soldiers and all seven hijackers died along with three hostages. 

I was only 13 at the time, but I clearly remember the exhilaration I felt on that day. More here.

Posted by David Boxenhorn at 03:30 PM  Permalink | Comments (0)
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July 03, 2005

The coming nuclear showdown with Iran

Kenneth Timmerman in the Jerusalem Post:

From my own reporting from Vienna, it is clear that the IAEA board lacks the political will to put Iran on the carpet for repeated violations of its safeguards commitments, despite repeated urging from US Ambassador Jackie Wolcott Sanders.

Instead, European delegates such as Germany's Friedrich Groning, have scolded Sanders for breaking the "Vienna rules" by pressing for a hard line on Iran, and have attempted to turn the closed-door meetings into a forum for insulting President George W. Bush.

On Monday, German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder met with Bush in the Whie House, urging him to make new concessions to the mullahs - the European "response" to the election of Ahmadinejad. The West cannot bar Teheran from the peaceful use of nuclear energy, "even though some might not like that," Schroeder said.

Schroeder's logic goes something like this: The Islamic Republic has cheated repeatedly with the IAEA. We really wish they wouldn't do this, so every time they cheat, we get a little nicer. Now, with a new hard-line president, it's time to get really nice. Why not acknowledge the inevitable? Iran is going to get nuclear weapons, so we'd better get used to that idea if we want to achieve peace in our time.

The Bush administration has rightly rejected this logic. But the US also knows that it will not be able to count on Germany, Russia, China or former ally, France, should Iran's case go to the United Nations Security Council for sanctions.

We don't have very much time to get this right.

Israel has been fearful of this for decades. I hope that the proper authorities are on top of this.... I hope...

Posted by David Boxenhorn at 10:10 PM  Permalink | Comments (0)
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Trackback from Fresh Bilge, Deterrence:
An Israeli weblogger is worried about Iranian nuclear breakout --...