While I stayed on top of work via conference calls and blackberry we toured the island of Oahu and spent time with a fraternity brother's family who is stationed there with the US Marines. Semper fi!! Overall the time spent in Hawaii was more vacation than work so a successful journey. As for my speaking engagement I was a guest speaker for the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii's (http://www.grassrootinstitute.org/) , which is a free market think tank for Hawaii, monthly center right, leave us alone coalition meeting known as the "Calabash". My topic was on "Political Correctness -- the anti-don'ts" which we thought was a very witty play on words. No need to give my readers all the details of my presentation so let me summarize -- government takes our money and tells us how to live so they can keep us alive longer just to keep paying more in taxes so the government can have more resources to control our lives even more....................you get the idea.
Beyond the speech and our personal touring I noted several observations regarding life in Hawaii which I outline below in no particular order:
- The laid back island attitude is alive and well - some of the drivers reminded me of past trips to the Caribbean
- Hawaii's traffic congestion could be improved simply by having drivers take "drivers' education refresher courses" since the left lane of freeways are to be used by drivers that are going faster than other drivers!! Move to the right if you don't care when you arrive at your destination so the rest of us can get on with our lives please :-)
- Hawaii's public schools are broken and yet they are taking money away from the charter school system -- this will only reduce what little competition the "old school" schools have today.
- In an effort to reduce their traffic congestion the Honolulu City Council (and county government it appears) is debating whether or not to build a train system. The major problem that I noticed is that you have city council members voting on which train technology should be used -- rails, rubber wheels, or magnetic levitation -- instead of choosing winners and losers the council members should develop general transportation policy not pick and choose what their toy train should look like.
- Speed limits on their freeways vary substantially. You will be driving in a posted 45 miles per hour are which changes to 60 miles per hour and then to 50 then back to 45 miles per hour all within 10 or 15 minutes of driving thus you never allow for an even flow of traffic given all this acceleration and deceleration.
Well enough public policy discussion. Regarding fun activities I can cite the Dole Plantation tour as a highlight and my tour of the Marine base was eye opening since I learned that the US military is still flying Vietnam era helicopters to fight the current war in Iraq. Yes the helicopter may work well and taxpayers save money but I have to think about the computers I have used over the last 20 years -- the Apple II I used in high school have zero capability compared to my current Sony Vaio lap top which comes complete with multi media functions. We fought in Vietnam nearly 40 years ago so imagine the technological changes that our current soldiers are not benefiting from today. We could probably end the war in Iraq faster if we modernized our Armed Forces.
On a personal note I finally completed an item on my "bucket list". I finally took surfing lessons and discovered that I am not as limber as I was back in high school!! Since I am left handed the instructor taught me to surf left-handed which is known as "going goofy" in surf lingo. I actually tried to surf goofy style and right handed but only succeeded in flying off my board and hitting the water hard. No cracked ribs but a wake up call for me to take more yoga or Pilate's classes.
Surf's up (and so is our tax burden),