What Does it Mean to be Local in Hawai’i?

Civilbeat has been exploring that question.

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How would you guys answer this? Here’s my first attempt:

An Idea for Professional Sports League During the COVID-19 Pandemic

  • NBA could have all the teams live in one community and play games in one arena. The teams would be separated for the most part from the rest of the community. The NBA could “rent” hotels or convention centers for whole season. The personnel would have to either not leave or be screened somehow. Or, perhaps the NBA could “rent” staff from hotels, restaurants, trainers, etc. and have them travel with the league.
  • It would be cool if fans could attend, but how could you insure they didn’t carry the virus? If cities created pop-up communities (like the idea above), the maybe the people living in these pop-up communities could attend the games.
    • One alternative: Create a segmented screen that would be in the stands. Individual fans could broadcast their reactions at home. Could they also connect and combine all the sounds made by the individual fans? If this were an episode of Black Mirror, holograms/avatars representing each fan could be sitting in the stands.
    • Fans could pay to be in virtual stands. As a benefit, maybe they could ask questions to coaches and players—and they would be the only ones to have access to this. They could receive a program from the game, maybe autographed items, etc. Basically, this would be a way for the league to make-up for lost revenue.
  • Alternative to fans: NBA and other leagues could charge a fee for streaming?
  • To benefit multiple cities, the NBA could stay for a month in one city. (Remember all the teams would be living there.)
  • Logistics may be too difficult, but the NBA could think of shortening the season and running a modified version during the summer or at least make plans to do this next year. Also, in a shortened season, it would be cool if they had a Final Four type format—do or die, one game playoffs—maybe letting everyone in.
  • Downsides
    • NBA players would be away from their families for a long time, unless their families could accompany them. (With schools being out, it might be feasible.)

NFL should be thinking about this already. The NFL has way more players, though, so this would be a challenge. One cool side effect is the economic benefits—to the city they’re in and/or the staff they bring.

Could this concept apply in other situations? For example, what about musicians? Theater? Movies? I liked the idea of a group setting up in one city/community and hiring or generating a lot of economic activity as a result.

Possible Future Challenges and Opportunities for U.S. Communities During the COVID-19 Situation

We’re living through a crazy time. I recently read an expert (current NIH director, I think) say that we may be 8-11 days behind Italy. That is, Americans will eventually experience what Italians have been. Rationing of medical resources, which the Italians have been doing, is what worries me the most. I say this to communicate that I think we’re in a dire situation.

I want you guys to know that because I’m about to discuss something that may seem insensitive or foolish. Namely, I think the pandemic has created (possibly) unique opportunities, and those who think imaginatively can use this time to be very productive. I’ll give some examples in the comments section.

Why Average Americans Should Care About Helping Ukraine

Part of the current impeachment hearings involves Trump withholding congressional approved military aid to Ukraine, who is now engaged in a war with Russia. (My understanding is that Russia invaded and has annexed Crimea, which is a territory in Ukraine.) I think most Americans can agree that this act of aggression is wrong, and I think they can understand, on some level, that withholding aid to a U.S. ally like Ukraine, in their current situation is troubling. However, I’m not sure most Americans understand how helping Ukraine is in the interests of average Americans. I was going to write a post to make a case for this, but I think the following Time article is a good start. Here’s a key excerpt:

…an effective Ukrainian defense against Russian aggression raises the cost of that aggression and (crucially) raises the perceived cost of future aggression.

A Russia that can simply walk over Ukraine is a stronger Russia – a nation that one day may feel emboldened to take even greater risks to secure regional dominance and strain the western alliance. A Russia that is bogged down in a fight against a well-armed foe is less likely to seek another fight – especially a fight with much higher risks.

In my opinion, what the author, David French, is talking about is a lesson from World War II–namely, when one country invades or annexes another, that act of aggression must be rebuffed quickly at the beginning. If not, the aggressive nation will likely act aggressively in the future–until another country(ies) push back hard. The thing is, if you wait too long, the initial aggressor might become really powerful–powerful enough to be a threat to the U.S. In the case of WWII, the U.S. eventually had to join the war–paying a significant price in blood and treasure.

Instead of sending U.S. troops to fight in a massive war, wouldn’t it be better to arm Ukrainians, helping them stop Russian aggression before it escalates? I believe this is one reason helping Ukraine–in terms of helping them defend themselves against Russian aggression–matters to average Americans.

There’s also another, more abstract, but no less important, reason. And I’ll try going into that in the next section later.

House Impeachment Inquiry Thread

Thread to discuss the House of Representatives impeachment inquiry. Public hearings started today.

References and Resources

The Just Security website has page with links to transcripts of public testimony. See below.