Tag Archives: politics

Are You Suffering From Popcorn Brain?

It’s time for a distraction from the political scandals and debt arguments.  CNN.com has posted an article which questions our addiction to technology, most notably, our time spent online.

The main concept of the piece is that we are too wired with our technology that our brains are unable to process all that we are doing.  Our constant use can basically fry the brain and reduce the size of the thinking part of the brain.

Do you think we spend too much time online?  What is the average amount of time that you spend online every day?

Click here for the full CNN article.

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Special Comment: Seizing the Moment

Cross-Posted with Young Writer’s Block
The calendar has flipped to the new year yet we are stuck with the same issues facing America’s young adults.  The past two years have been a brutal one for every American.  Jobs are scarce, homes are being foreclosed, and the economy is moving at a snail’s pace.  What are we to do?  The answer may be simpler than we all want to admit.  Millions of 20-somethings are nearing the end of college or have become newly minted graduates.  To those whom have finished school, my congratulations.  My girlfriend is one of these new grads.  She is faced with uncertainty in the job market and the chance her nursing degree will be relegated to a care home rather than a hospital.  For those of us still in school(myself included), we are scratching for money at every turn and desperately trying to keep from drowning in course work.
So how do our problems offer a solution to fixing our lives?  The answer is two-fold.  The first hurdle requiring our attention is the enthusiasm gap we are seeing in the political arena of our country.  Sure, 2008 was an amazing time for young voters as we rallied behind the Obama campaign.  However, where were we this past November?  Perhaps too busy with the new Call of Duty or Grand Turismo game?  We sat on our hands while the noisy few got their way.  Politics too confusing?  Shut it!  Politics is nothing more than a tug of war between differing views.  Politics too dirty?  Please!  Nothing in life is pristine.  Politics are the epitome of our lives.  Your vote doesn’t count?  How about you say that to the candidate in Hawaii who lost by less than twenty(not a typo) votes!
The fact of the matter is our generation has the potential to make a huge impact on the direction of the country.  The last time any generation had the opportunity was the baby boomers.  This generation must take the lead to bring the country out of the duldrums and into the strong wind of success.  With this power, we can make tremendous gains in health care reform, immigration reform and education reform.  There is no telling the possibilities of this generation.  Don’t believe me?  Just log into your Facebook and remember the 20-something Harvard student who created the whole thing!  If we do not pressure our elected officials, if we do not stand up and fight, we will lose our best chance to move our society forward.
The second hurdle goes hand in hand with the first.  Taking part in elections is great.  Everyone should exercise they right to vote.  However, during those times between elections, we must always keep an eye to our communities.  It is imperative that we stay connected with those around us and understand the needs of everyone within our community.  This means knowing what types of businesses are needed, what areas require road work as well as other issues requiring our attention.  Too difficult for you?  It really doesn’t take much to do your part.  Most areas have a monthly neighborhood board meeting.  If you can’t attend them in person, at the very least try and subscribe to meeting minutes which can be emailed.  These meetings are where citizens have the chance to share their concerns or complaints regarding their community.  Another way of getting involved is to pick up a copy of the local paper or other publication.  Many times these papers have listings of community events as well as important news regarding the area.
Seems simple enough right?  It is amazing how simple tasks can add up and make a difference.  We must not sit idly by as the country moves along.  Now is the time to step up and take control.  Now is the time we take ownership of our actions and take responsibilty.  Once we have done that, the rest will fall into place.  It is easy for us to be complacent and do nothing.  It requires us to care if we really want change.  However, the simple act of caring can do so much.  If we fail to seize this opportunity, there will be nothing left for us to hold on to when we are old and gray.
Ryan Adverderada
Founder, Desperate America Report

2010 in review

Here is a review of 2010 for this site.  First of all, thank you to everyone who made 2010 such an amazing experience.  I started this blog back in March of 2010 in order to push people to get involved with government and politics.  All the comments, emails, and messages really push this site forward.  Once again, thank from the bottom of my heart!

-Ryan Adverderada

Founder, Desperate America Report

The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 8,900 times in 2010. That’s about 21 full 747s.

 

In 2010, there were 131 new posts, not bad for the first year! There were 26 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 3mb. That’s about 2 pictures per month.

The busiest day of the year was November 2nd with 194 views. The most popular post that day was Two Constitutional Amendments on the Ballot for Hawaii.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were digg.com, en.wordpress.com, twitter.com, facebook.com, and healthfitnesstherapy.com.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for slovenia, desperate america, honolulu hale, adeja johnson, and dan inouye.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1

Two Constitutional Amendments on the Ballot for Hawaii October 2010

2

Honolulu City Council District 1 Candidate Websites November 2010
2 comments

3

Special Comment: Hawaii’s Public School System is Flunking! April 2010
1 comment

4

Hawaii Office of Elections Releases Complete List of Candidates July 2010

5

Who will be Hawaii’s next Governor? July 2010

Five Questions with Tara D. Coomans

I recently was asked to put together an article for the Honolulu Community College student newspaper, The Ka La. The article’s focus was on social media and its implications on politics and how it would affect young, college voters. It was interesting to see how many college students participate in some form of social media on a daily basis. The article will be posted towards the end of the month of October. I’ll be sure to post it on here when it goes to print. However, while researching for the article, I was able to speak to Tara Coomans.

Coomans is the Social Media Director for SEO and social media strategy company, ClearlyM, as well as the Head Brainstormer at Akamai Marketing.  She is part of the team of social media experts who have helped bring social media to the masses in Hawaii.  She is also instrumental to the success of the Social Media Club Hawaii.  It was at a SMCHI meeting when I initially met Tara.  She is well versed in the ways of online marketing and has been a tremendous source of information.  Unfortunately, my brief time with Tara was unable to make it on to the newspaper article.  Their loss is your gain.  Here is the five questions I put to Tara and some very interesting answers.  Enjoy!

Social Media Club Hawaii promotes engagement in social media.

Ryan Adverderada:  How far has social media progressed over the last 5 years?

Tara Coomans: Social media is really still in its infancy, look what’s happened in 7 short years: MySpace started in 2003. Facebook in 2004. Twitter in 2006. Gowalla in 2007. Foursquare in 2009. But to answer your question directly, the last five years have seen an explosion of platforms both on the web and on your phone. Mobile phone applications have done a lot for social networking because now you can be social in real life and still be social on your platform of choice. Think about it – before mobile apps we were all just being “social” while we were sitting alone at our computers. Kind of ironic, right? A lot of the current applications are all about location-based networking, letting your friends know where you are and when. What’s interesting about location-based social networking is that even businesses can see a very clear application for themselves using these tools; their application is more obvious to a non-social networker than say, Twitter. In 5 years you’ll look back on this article and there will be new platforms and new ways of using social media and the way we are using it now will likely seem very unsophisticated.

RA: How can social media help or hinder politicians/candidate in terms of connecting with the public?

TC: There’s no doubt that social media can both help and hurt a politician, just like any medium. The difference with social media is that you don’t just “set it and forget it.” Social media isn’t like advertising, its about engagement and conversation. Its an ongoing commitment of time, consideration and resources, just like any relationship. I think sometimes “conversation” makes politicians nervous – they like to set the agenda, not respond to it. Its also hard to put issues into context of in the (more) limited forms of social media. We’ve recently seen in Hawaii that simply USING social media doesn’t win elections. Engaging people (not audiences), is how to utilize social media. Using social media as a one-way blowhorn simply isn’t effective. However, for those that really learn how to engage an audience, communicate WITH not AT people the possibility exists to motivate core supporters to take action – outside of the social media format – particularly in the form of voting.

RA: How will social media change how we look at politics in America?

TC: I’m quite hopeful that social media will give more people a voice and direct access to our leaders. Social media has the potential to make our politicians more “real” to the public and thus allow the public to finally feel as though they actually know a politician, even if they haven’t “met” them. Consider our primary election – I saw a post-vote poll on why people voted for who they did, 4 out of the 5 people said they voted for someone because they met the candidate and thought they were “nice”. WOW. Imagine if a candidate could reach thousands, or millions of people in an intimate forum? Oh, wait – a candidate can, its called social media. But just like a candidate has to get out there and shake hands and kiss babies, a candidate has to get in there and start having conversations with people using social media. These conversations have to go both ways, and include listening and asking questions.

Search engine optimization (SEO) helps businesses become more visible and accessible.

RA: How will social media affect voters age 18-34?

TC: This is an interesting question. The biggest difference between younger people and today’s politicians within the context of social media is probably privacy vs. transparency. Younger people generally accept transparency as the “norm”, and they expect others to embrace transparency too. Despite (or maybe because of) intense media scrutiny, politicians strive for privacy, unless they can control the message and even then, transparency isn’t really all that common. I think this disconnect will be the most frustrating for younger voters. Younger voters who have grown up in an era of transparency (because of social media) could become very disillusioned with politicians who don’t seem to embrace this belief system. On the other hand, as politicians evolve in using social media as a two-way conversation, younger voters may very well embrace those politicians more enthusiastically. We saw this with the Obama campaign – younger voters were very excited because they felt they had a voice and someone who communicated with them. Social media has the potential to allow voters to better understand a politician and hopefully, increase the number of people voting. I’m also very excited to see how this generation of people uses social media when THEY start running for office.

RA: Ultimately, How will social media affect the everyday college student in Hawaii?

TC: Social media will continue to have increasing impact on the day-to-day life of more and more people. We’ll be more plugged into where our friends are, where they like to eat and what they think than ever before. We’ll accept that our messages/advertising are specifically targeted towards our likes and dislikes. Considering the potential of social media within University systems is very exciting, particularly on spread-out campuses as it opens doors for communication between professors, administrators and students.

Looking for contributors(Web 2.0 and Politics)

Aloha everyone! Desperate America Report is looking for anyone interested in explaining how social media will affect future political campaigns and how it is currently affecting the 2010 election season. The focus is to show how campaigns will be using a Web 2.0 presence and how we can create a larger group of voters. If you know anyone interested or perhaps would like to get involved yourself, please contact us on Twitter or Email.

Social media is an amazing tool being utilized by politicians, celebrities, journalists and every day citizens. Technology is allowing voters the opportunity to really see what our candidates have to offer and also form a dialogue.

Click here to visit Grassroots Internet Strategy.

Special Comment: Who Will Step Up For Hawaii?

There is currently a void in Hawaii politics.  There is a gap between politicians, the unions, and the voters of Hawaii.  Politics in Hawaii has become a network of friends and business partners that tend to keep away the outsiders and the underdogs.  Unions have become a large political force in the islands and many times use politicians to gain even more power.  Where are the voters of Hawaii come out in all of this?  The answer is pretty simple.  The voters of Hawaii are left holding the tab of out of control unions and politicians.  The voters of Hawaii are left searching for a better alternative but being denied by the powers in place of a viable alternatives.  Who will help the people of Hawaii?  Where will this help come from?  What needs to be done by everyday citizens?  Let’s try to take a crack at those questions here today.

The first question that needs to be addressed is the matter of finding WHO will help Hawaii’s citizens.  Are we searching for a group or a single person?  Will the Tea Party of Hawaii step in and make a difference?  Will the Hawaii Coffee Party get off the sidelines and step up?  The Tea Party has already held a few protests at the state capitol and have already garnered the support of some elected officials, most notably, Rep. Kymberly Pine.  The Hawaii Tea Party has also began to pressure candidates to answer questions.  Perhaps the Tea Party will continue to make strides forward and will one day become a major player in Hawaii politics.

Will the Hawaii Coffee Party step up and be a difference maker?  The national Coffee Party USA is still only a few months old but steadily gaining steam with campaigns aimed at getting to the voters and collecting their ideas and opinions on various topics.  The Coffee Party USA has a convention set for September and has already made splashes with some politicians in our nation’s capitol.  However, the local Hawaii chapter is conspicuously absent from the fold.  Having canceled a meeting with US Rep. Mazie Hirono, the Hawaii Coffee Party has not voiced any intentions to take part in one of the many Coffee Party USA events.  Perhaps the lack of organization is a result in the group being new in the state and still searching for its leaders.  However poised to make a difference, the Hawaii Coffee Party does not seem ready or willing to really help Hawaii’s citizens at this time.

Where will the great hope come from?  Perhaps the answer lies only in our own yards.  Perhaps the key to all of this is the citizens of Hawaii.  It seems odd that nearly every poll addressing the effectiveness of Hawaii’s government leaders show low support yet those same leaders continually get reelected.  Where is the change?  It seems an obvious place to start is with the actual electorate.  Hawaii voters tend to vote with their gut rather than their heads.  What is needed is honest debate about the policies and politics of Hawaii.  Voters need to research candidates and ask questions of the people running for office.  The notion of voting for a particular candidate because he or she is a nice person is horribly ignorant.  That type of thinking led to the current state of affairs for both the country and the state.  People need to vote on merit.  Forget about religion, ethnicity, status and where the person is from.  Instead, focus on the candidates politics.  Focus on which candidate posses similar views on important issues.

The final question seems to have already been answered.  The key to fixing Hawaii is in the hands of every citizen of this great state.  Nothing will change unless citizens band together and take part in the political process.  It starts with informed voters and moves to electing capable individuals.  It then continues with voters staying involved in the community and letting elected officials know of any problems or concerns within the community.  The final step is really the first step.  Citizens need to keep each other and the government accountable for their actions.  If a politician is unable to help his district, the politician needs to explain the matter and the voters need to decide if someone else is needed.

The dream of a new Hawaii is not difficult to achieve.  However, it will require every citizen to do their part and make small sacrifices.  Instead of watching American Idol, how about going to a neighborhood board meeting?  A simple act like that will lead to others getting involved.  The future of Hawaii can be a bright one.  It is up to all of us to do our part and move Hawaii forward.  The waiting is over, now is the time to act.

Get Involved: Complacency is the breeding grounds for Incompetence!

Introducing the Coffee Party

Cross-Posted with Honolulu Coffee Party Examiner

On January 26, 2010 Annabelle Park sat in front of her computer screen wondering where the civility had gone in political discussion.  Growing tired of seeing the heated rhetoric from the Tea Party news coverage, she began to wonder if people were willing to come together and peacefully discuss the problems facing America and to find solutions.  It was then that the Coffee Party was started.  Initially just an open question posted to a Facebook group, the Coffee Party soon became a popular place where over 150,000 users joined the call to bring civility back into political discourse.

From a noble beginning, the Coffee Party has aimed to bring citizens from all over the political spectrum in the hopes that new ideas will be found to help the country.  A key component to the balance is the Coffee Party’s stance that there be no debates, but instead, discussion and understanding of ideas.  The movement promotes a breeding ground for independent ideas.  It is a group of people who choose to be the solution to the problem instead of just complaining about it.  On the official Coffee Party website is the clever slogan, “Wake Up and Stand Up.”

Coffee Party USA strives to incorporate people from all over the political spectrum in the hope of finding solutions to America's problems.

The Coffee Party encourages citizens to host local meetings to discuss the problems pertinent to the community.  On March 27, 2010, the organization held hundreds of localized meetings around the country.  Hawaii featured a few meetings in the Honolulu area that drew a modest crowd of about 50 concerned citizens.  It was still a big victory for organizers as the event was primarily advertised via the Hawaii chapter’s Facebook page as well as the Coffee Party web site.  Participants at the events included veterans, teachers, college students and various other concerned citizens.  There were also many Tea Party members that were in search of a civil discussion on the issues.

The Coffee Party is poised to become a force in Hawaii as well as the nation.  Citizens are looking for ways to get involved.  The Coffee Party is just what many are looking for.  Stay tuned to this site for more Coffee Party news and insight into the movement.

Get Informed and Get Involved!

Mother’s Day

It’s Mother’s Day!  Desperate America wishes all the mothers out there a Happy Mother’s Day.  Today we celebrate and honor the women in our lives that gave us the gift of life.  Today we ignore politics and the everyday grind of life.  Today we pay attention to our moms, aunts, and grandmas!  We must all thank them for their patience(even if they never seemed to have any), attention(even if they seemed more interested in Korean soap operas), and their love.  Today is a day for them!

On this Mother’s Day be sure to hug every mother you know.  Be sure to thank them for what they do and who they are.  Above all, be sure to just appreciate every mother!

Happy Mother’s Day!

Special Comment: Get Informed and Get Involved.

Quick, do you know your US Congressional District?  Do you know who are your US Senators?  Do you know who represents you in the Hawaii House and Senate?  If you were able to answer any of these questions, congratulations are in order!  The truth of the matter is that many voters in Hawaii don’t regularly follow politics.  To go even further, if it weren’t for television ads, I’d be surprised if the average voter could pick Senate President, Colleen Hanabusa out of a lineup.  Sadly we have become a people who will only get involved in our community when something drastic happens to us.  Take for instance the Furlough Friday fiasco of our public schools.  The writing had been on the wall for the last few years.  The state was operating on a budget that it could not sustain.  Parents and community members were for the most part silent during this time.  Now the situation has hit everyone and now the community has chosen to rally around the children.

The Furlough Fridays were just another in the long line of people ignoring problems until it is standing at the front steps.  In the age of information proliferation, it is absurd to think that people still go to the ballot boxes and pick the name they recognize most.  With the amount of information floating about, voters continue to blindly check a box because the candidate is a Democrat or Republican.  Hawaii, since its inception into the Union, has been a heavy Democrat controlled state.  Voters have gotten accustomed to looking for the D or R next to a candidate’s name and ignoring what the candidate may have said or done.  Hawaii voters tend to be over the age of 40 and identify with people based on emotion rather than logic.  In fact, Hawaii is the prime example of old-time politics.  It was a time where people cared more about being friends than about what was going to be done for the community.

Voting is the most important thing a citizen can do in this country.

Hawaii has seen its economy savaged by high oil prices and high taxes.  Hawaii is now one of the most expensive cities to do business in the entire world.  The problem has been compounded by the inability of Hawaii’s voters to elect people with fresh ideas and fresh perspectives.  Many older voters have expressed concerns that the younger politicians will try to move Hawaii away from the days of tight-knit communities and friendly neighborhoods.  They fear that the young people of Hawaii have no connection to Hawaii.  They are right in one regard.  Many young people in Hawaii have found it difficult to be successful here because of the old attitude towards business.  Traditional thinking is to wait patiently while the elders go about their business.  Traditional thinking stipulates that promotion will come when those at the top are ready to step down.  This type of thinking provides no room for new ideas and fresh people.  This tradition has led to a large deficit and children being kept out of school.  Hawaii is the epitome of cronies run amuck!

Vote on the issues not the amount of campaign signs.

At this point in time, the future of Hawaii hinges on the youth of Hawaii.  The future hinges on the voters that were not alive when Hawaii became a state.  These voters have the opportunity to bring about meaningful change to Hawaii.  We must take the torch from the older generation and run with it.  We must push the envelope further and further until we get what we need.  It is on us to guide our state into the 21st century and beyond.  We must work together and become a more informed society.  We must use all the resources available and ask our candidates the tough questions.  We must pressure our politicians to do the right things.

Hawaii has the potential to lead the country and the world.  The diversity of people and ideas that are found here are endless.  We can bring real change to our communities.  The key is to get informed and get involved.

Politics can be easy!

Many politicians that are in election cycles release ads that paint them in the most positive light as possible.  These ads talk about how much money has been saved over the years, or about how stricter rules have been employed to prevent fraud in a program.  These ads usually feature the politician mingling with children or having a personal sit down with concerned citizens.  The images conjure up feelings of family and community, of wanting to help people to succeed.  These images usually make us want to support the politician even if the basis of our support is rooted on good feelings.

Images of children make politicians real people

There are also those political ads that will attack the opposition or instill fear in uninformed voters that may be considering the other guy.  These ads take a page out of the cliche horror movies.  The ad features scenes with little light and ominous music.  There are usually children or a family sleeping while someone is moving around in the darkness.  Many times these ads will feature a television on with various famous real life villains giving speeches that make them look like monsters.  Are you scared yet?

So what can voters do to get beyond the political ads.  First off, if you really want the truth, make a list of what the claims of the ad is.  Does the ad claim that the person helped pass a particular measure?  Does the ad claim that a person made a particular statement?  Listing the claims that mean the most to you will go a long way figuring out where YOU stand in the debate.  Once you have listed the claims, do some research.  I don’t expect everyone to know every possible fact about a candidate.  However, everyone needs to know the basics about a candidate.  Try using google searches for basic information on the candidates.  Also look for websites that offer “at-a-glance” looks at the candidates.  These sites can be instrumental to determining if a candidate is worthy of your vote.

Every candidate will try just about anything to get a vote!

Once you have gotten the political stances and ideas of the candidates, now is when we really get into the truth of it all.  Many of the available information will quickly confirm or kill the claims made in the political ads.  However, what if the ads really make no claim.  There are ads that will make statements on what the goals of the candidate is.  These statements can be detailed or they could be excruciatingly vague.  One popular statement is to end waste.  End waste how exactly?  What waste are you talking about ending?  These questions are rarely ever answered.  So what do you do?  Simple.  Get involved in the community!  Call, email, or write the candidates personally and ask them questions that you feel are important.  Ask them to explain their plans for the community and what is the ultimate goal for their term in office.  The more we ask of our politicians, the more we can expect back from them!

In politics and life, there is nothing more important than people doing doing their best.  If we can keep the pressure on our politicians, we can then make sure that the things important to us will be addressed.  If we fail to keep them honest, we will wind up at the end of the line.  Do you want to be heard?  Get involved!