Monday, May 29, 2006

Jack Johnson

I love Jack Johnson’s "In Between Dreams" CD—along with anything by COLD PLAY it’s one that my son John and I can always agree to listen to in the car. I’ve talked to friends about how much I love Jack’s song “Good People,” and what a great campaign song I think it would make. At one point John told me that his high school teacher knows Johnson and might be willing to approach Jack on my behalf. It’s been in the back of my mind ever since, but I had an experience today that caused me to decide to take action sooner rather than later.
After dropping John off for his driving lesson today at Kahala Mall I was under the overpass on Waialae waiting to make the U-turn and head back up toward my house (for sale, by the way.) A young boy selling the Star Bulletin came up to me and asked if I’d buy a paper. Supporting these young entrepreneurs is one of the only reasons I’d buy from a street vendor, and on a Sunday or a holiday like Memorial Day it seems especially fitting to do so. I took the paper but when I checked my wallet I had only a $20 bill. The young fellow was not disappointed when I apologized and offered the paper back, and after quickly determining that he did not have enough change to break the bill he said: "I see you have a Jack Johnson CD; I like him too so I’ll let you keep the paper for free."
I was surprised, but thanked him and said, “OK. I’ll pay you next time.”
The youngster gave me a big smile and replied “Oh sure. There’s always a next time. Have a good day.”
Well, 15 minutes and a trip through McDonald’s drive-thru later—I bought only 2 side salads, I swear—I was back at the same stop light where I found the boy and his buddy sitting down for a rest. I hailed my new friend and held $2 out the window. As he came up to me grinning I said “Do you like Jack Johnson’s song about where all the good people have gone?” He nodded and I said, “Well, I’ve met one today, and I want to say that someone with an attitude like yours will go far in the world. It’s been a pleasure doing business with you.” He was still calling “thank you” as I rounded the corner and drove away.
So, Jack, what do you think? Would you be willing to talk to me about letting me campaign for Congress using your song?

Adoption rights

I recently sent the following reply to a student who claimed to have been taught in a college class that the homes of homosexual couples are "disfunctional"--she justified her opposition to "gay adoption" on that basis. Here's my comment:

A recent PBS program (Frontline?) looked at a same gender couple in Florida who were allowed by state law to provide foster care for a very unfortunate young girl. The girl thrived to the extent that it convinced social workers to place an older sister with the homosexual couple. Because adoption by gay individuals is forbidden in Florida (not to mention marriage or civil unions) the couple were forced to go to court to try to convince a judge to grant them permanent custody in order to decrease the likelihood of some intervenor trying to take away their foster "daughters" based solely on the couple's sexual orientation. Finally they were successful after much time and expenditure of money. From the PBS coverage, the family's home environment seemed far from disfunctional and the girls obviously loved "Dad" and "Daddy" very much. The courts and social welfare agencies found a way around a Florida policy that other states have rejected. Since the days when Anita Bryant led a crusade to stop Florida communities from passing laws to prohibit discrimination against gays, Florida has been one of the hard line states when it comes to these kinds of issues. It's one of the reasons I'm proud to live in the Aloha State, and would never consider living in Florida longer than it took to establish voting rights in a presidential election year.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Notice / Disclaimer

Very little that will be found at this site is in any profound way original. This is not simply due to the universally acknowledged fact that nothing under the sun is "new"; much of what you will find in my writing is consciously or uncon-sciously "borrowed" from those upon whose shoulders we all stand. This is not plagiarism as such, since readers have been forewarned. There's a reason that every email message which I send to my students at Hawaii Pacific University (Military Campus Programs) bears the following words of Helen Keller:

"Knowledge is happiness. [It is knowing] the great heart-throbs of humanity
through the centuries; and if one does not feel in these pulsations a
heavenward striving, one must indeed be deaf to the harmonies of life."

All my life I have had a deep thirst for "information"-- knowledge, if you will. As a small child the enforced "naptime" ritual was for me the closest thing I could conceive to the the endless tortures of Hell. It wasn't long till I began to have similar issues with the eternal 'boredom' of the Heaven that was described to me. In my lifetime of readings that has omitted few schools of thought or realms of imagination, I have occasionally have come as close to paradise as I believe it is possible to get in our temporal sphere. Thanks to GOOGLE it far easier today for me to try to track down an idea/concept from the media I constantly expose myself to: books, periodicals, and websites, as well as television and radio, not to mention the innumerable enlightening exhanges I have daily in my professional, social, political, and spiritual discourse. For the purposes of this blog, and the congressional campaign it has now become a part of, I will not take the time to track down and attribute my borrowings. Rather, if I come up with some "pearl" which I truly believe to have originated in my head in some sense, I will label it as such. Should you discover the likely source of anything not so labeled, please share it with the readers of the "Teachlaw" blog. We look forward to hearing from you.

Sunday, May 14, 2006


Your comments are desired on some notes I jotted down yesterday in a few precious minutes of spare time; you do have to create a username, etc., but it can be as anonymous as you wish. Here is a short list (in "slogan format") of challenges I have met and causes I have supported in my career in the law, politics, and business over the past 30 years:

When the powers that be wanted to bypass Kaua`i’s 55 foot height limit for hotels and condos—Mike fought it.

When community members and leaders wanted to form a new United Nations Association to support the work of the U.N. and reform it--Mike helped and served as a founding member on Kaua`i.

When Native Hawaiians needed the Office of Hawaiian Affairs and Hawaiian Homelands reforms—Mike helped in fight at the 1978 Con Con and the Hawaii State Legislature.

When victims of Agent Orange needed compensation for their disabilities—Mike fought for them.

When the builders of H-Power wanted to eliminate scrubbers that would lower emission of pollutants--Mike joined the fight to ensure environmental safeguards.

When it was time to fight Hawaii’s dysfunctional judicial selection system—Mike fought for justice.

When some in the scientific community joined the energy industry in opposing the Kyoto treaty's controls on greenhouse gas emissions--Mike joined the fight against global warming and climate change that threatens Pacific Island peoples and millions around the globe.

When the Attorney General attacked the Constitutional Amendments passed by the people of Hawaii in 1996—Mike fought to uphold them.

When help was needed by victims of fraud, abuse, neglect, negligence, homelessness, harassment, natural disasters, bureaucracy, police violence, and government indifference and over reaching-- Mike fought for them in the Courts.

When it was time for Americans to stand up and be counted in opposition to Neo-Con plans for launching a pre-emptive war and the occupation of Iraq--Mike has stood firm in opposing the disastrous policies of the Bush administration.

Mike will continue to fight for Hawaii and its people in the U.S. Congress.

Fight for our future. Vote for Mike Salling for U.S. Congress.

A new face / A strong voice.
Mike Salling for U. S. Congress

I was just having fun with this, but your input would be helpful when it comes time to design a brochure and mailers for the campaign. For most of these "bullet points" a Hawaii Supreme Court citation can be supplied, along with dates, etc. Please share your comments, insights, and reactions. Be brutal!

Mike / Misha

Wednesday, May 10, 2006


The campaign for 2nd District Congress seat is picking up steam. Wherever I go these days it's more and more likely that I'm speaking to someone who knows about my decision to run. In addition, I'm increasingly likely to be willing to share the big news with those whom I encounter at random; for example, Nancy Hedlund wished me well today when she came into the Teaching and Learning Center (TLC) at HPU looking for Mike Dabney and I asked what congressional district she lives in. It's not my district but I got the feeling that Nancy would vouch for me if ever called on to do so. What an ego booster that was! I had lunch with another HPU colleague (a Political Science instructor) who said the following: "I'm proud of you Mike, and I congratulate you for making the effort. I support your candidacy 100%." This is a person who has worked for U.S. senators and presidents, whom I have not known long but have been very open with regarding my past personal and professional experiences.
So... please do as the prior post asks and give me your thoughts. They will be taken into consideration.
With aloha,

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Your input is desired

The reaction to my letter in the April 28th Honolulu Advertiser (see previous post for the link) has prompted me to share with a few close friends my desire to enter the race for Ed Case's open seat (the second congressional district--rural Oahu and the neighbor islands.)
Reactions have been primarily positive; there have been strong negatives which I will consider carefully up to the filing deadline. I think the negative views are of primarily two kinds. Some folks are aware of my prior disappointments and bouts of depression and don't want to see me suffering that way again. I strongly believe I'm in greater danger of that if I fail to act on my desire to change my life, work for the common good, and continue to explore boundaries and my own limitations. I feel strongly that an opportunity exists for me now and for the people of Hawaii as well. The chance for the voters to choose a representative with a new face and a strong voice such as mine mayl not come along again any time soon.
The second kind of reaction troubles me less, although it comes primarily from individuals whose opinions and experience I have great respect for. It has come in the form of the suggestion that my entering the race is a bad idea because I have not solicited or received the blessing of Hawaii's "political leaders." I have in fact solicited opinions from members of the Congressional delegation, and I await eagerly their replies; however, I happen to believe strongly as Ed Case does that no one should be bound to await sanction from "on high" in order to seek election to any public office. My initial reaction to Ed Case's announcement of his candidacy was that the timing was bad, given the need to hold on to every congressional seat and obtain control of the House of Representatives for the Democrats. As I said in a letter that my friends at the Advertizer were kind enough to publish at that time (in expurgated form) when Hawaii's Dems fight among themselves, the Republicans win. The tragedy of Ed's challenge would be if he succeeded in knocking Dan Akaka from the ticket, but lost the race to a strong(and yet to appear) Republican candidate. Likewise, Bob Hogue or Quentin Kawananakoa might end up grabbing the congress seat and cancelling out Neil Abercrombie in a "censure" or impeachment vote.
I also felt (and said very publicly in my letter) that no one has a better chance to achieve passage of the "Akaka Bill" than the grand old man himself. Students of Hawaiian history know that we celebrate the birthday of Prince Jonah Kuhio Kalanianaole today because of his legacy as a beloved member Congress (without a vote) who convinced the federal government to set aside lands taken from the Hawaiian Kingdom for the "rehabilitation" of the Hawaiian people. There are those in Hawaii who would like to see the Hawaiian Homelands program opened to all residents of the state. This is the great threat that those of of us who are concerned with the future of the Native Hawaiian people (and the Aloha State) are ultimately most worried about. This is the bottom line of the Akaka bill as I see it, and there needs to be widespread understanding ot the issues involed and debate about them at all levels of our state, and in the Congress and White House.
Now that the race for the Second District seat has become a free for all and a kind of crap shoot among a list of well funded and high profile kamaaina, as well as a few malihini like me, I figure that my entry into the race cannot increase the likelihood of any Republican victory in November, and will definitely increase the chances that there will be a robust debate about issues like sovereignty, the Iraq war, Global Warming, the "GWOT", drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, homelessness, protection of our civil rights, etc.
This thought fills me with excitement. When the doubts and fears pop up I examine them and put them aside to sleep on. So far every morning that I wake up my desire to follow the motto of my son's high school alma mater grows stronger: "IMUA" !

Let me hear your ideas, reactions, and "mana`o".
Mike / Misha