WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 15
The final presidential debate is in the books and now, at long last, we enter the home stretch of what has been without question the longest political marathon in U.S. history. I’m not going to parse this one too much, because it really came down to Obama playing it cool and McCain trying not to lose his. One question though: Is Joe the Plumber in any way related to Joe Sixpack? (I mean other than the fact that they’re both insultingly transparent caricatures invented by cynical spin doctors to manipulate the mythical Average American Voter?)… In other, related, news: An old friend of Maui Time turned me on to a dispatch from Colorado’s Greeley Tribune regarding our own dear Gov. Lingle. Stumping for the GOP ticket on the Mainland, Lingle had some choice words for Obama in response to a joke statement he made about how he’s from the West because “Hawaii’s about as far west as you can get.” Apparently feeling no qualms about throwing her own state under the bus, Lingle, according to the Tribune, told a group of Republican volunteers Obama’s comments were “a stretch,” adding, “Hawaii is a very different part of America.” And that’s…a bad thing?
THURSDAY, OCTOBER 16
Well, this was kind of predictable: Joe the Plumber isn’t really a licensed plumber. Oh, and he’s not named Joe. According to multiple sources, the man John McCain referenced no less than two dozen times last night is actually named Samuel J. Wurzelbacher, a registered Republican who does plumbing work under his employer’s license—which puts him on shaky ground under Ohio state law—and owes $1,200 in back taxes. And Joe, er, Sam, you can thank Mr. McCain for the fact that those mildly embarrassing but pretty unremarkable bits of information went from small private concerns to national media fodder overnight. Man, this campaign keeps finding ways to get weirder… In other news: Congrats to Maui’s own Shane Victorino, whose Philadelphia Phillies are headed to the World Series. A local boy on baseball’s biggest stage, living out the dream of every kid who ever picked up a bat and glove. Pretty cool.
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 17
When people have less, less people give. I guess that’s the sad moral of a story in today’s Maui News about how the economic downturn has led to a drop-off in donations to the Maui Food Bank. Some of the items the Food Bank needs most are canned meats, fruits and veggies and pasta, cereal and rice. And, of course, cold hard cash always helps, too. For more info, call 243-9500 or visit mauifoodbank.org.
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 18
So this is a few days old, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that the Superferry is headed for the Hawaii Supreme Court. Well, not the actual ferry (though that’d make for one hell of a Jerry Bruckheimer-esque climactic action sequence). Rather, the state’s top judges will consider whether launching the vessel before an environmental impact statement was completed was a bad idea. (Hint: yes, it was.) Grab your life vests, could be choppy waters ahead.
SUNDAY, OCTOBER 19
Sometimes it pays to pull back and state the obvious. Like: this place is freakin’ incredible. When you can while away your weekend, as I did, by soaking up some sun on a near-deserted stretch of sand and bobbing in the warm halcyon waters of the Pacific then trek up through the mist to a 10,000-feet above sea level vantage point where you’re literally looking down on the clouds—well, that’s called paradise. The best part (or I suppose the worst part if you’re an economist or struggling retailer): other than a couple gallons of gas, it didn’t cost a thing… He gets it: A lot of people have made a big deal about Colin Powell endorsing Obama on Meet the Press. While that is certainly newsworthy (and springs another gushing leak in the rapidly sinking U.S.S. McCain) I was more blown away by something Powell said re insinuations that Obama is a Muslim. After touting the many followers of Islam who have done great things for society, Powell told host Tom Brokaw: “The really right answer is, what if he is?” Doesn’t make up for his ill-fated years as the Bush Administration’s errand boy and his horrific performance selling the Iraq invasion to the U.N., but it helps. The question now: Is Powell just trying to clear his conscience, or is he angling for another Cabinet stint and a shot at redemption?
MONDAY, OCTOBER 20
Just got around to watching Sarah Palin’s much-ballyhooed appearance on Saturday Night Live. The verdict: meh. She wasn’t terrible and didn’t completely embarrass herself (which the McCain camp defines as: success) but she also did nothing to alter the perception that she’s a vacuous political puppet trying to get by on her saucy librarian looks and fake small town charm. The whole thing had to be pretty weird for Tina Fey, who in addition to mocking the Alaskan Governor with her spot-on impression has made some scathing public remarks about Palin’s qualifications, or lack thereof. In the end, it was a wise move for Palin to act like she’s in on the joke, even though I suspect she still doesn’t get it.
TUESDAY, OCTOBER 21
Walk-in absentee voting begins today at three Maui County locations: the County Clerk’s office in Wailuku; the Lahaina Civic Center; and the Mitchell Pauole Center on Molokai. You have to be registered and have a photo ID to vote. For more info, call the county election office at 270-7749 or visit Hawaii.gov/elections. To recycle the phrase variously attributed to Al Capone, Richard J. Daley and William Hale Thompson, “vote early and vote often.” (Note to any high-ranking government officials who may be reading this: of course we’re kidding and would never condone election fraud. Also: why are you reading this?) MTW