I guess it was inevitable that U.S. Senator Daniel Akaka (D, In Name Only) finally went and did something completely and laudably progressive. I’m speaking of course of the Downed Animal Amendment—or Amendment 1730, as those Senate madcaps call it when the sun goes down and the tourists go home. This little number, which finally passed this week, keeps livestock that’s literally too sick to walk from getting ground up into a Quarter Pounder with Cheese. One of the advantages of Akaka’s amendment, according to today’s press release from the vegetarian activist group Farm Sanctuary: decreased risk of getting Mad Cow Disease-tainted beef in our beloved food supply. I for one say that it’s about time someone took a stand and denounced Mad Cow Disease in all its forms. For too long, Mad Cow Disease has benefited from too much good press, and damn it, that has got to stop.
THURSDAY, Sept. 22
So is it a new rule that it makes it illegal for hardworking taxpaying citizens to ship gasoline on commercial airliners? What safety Nazi came up with that? I’m just asking. I mean, hypothetically, suppose a guy goes to Los Angeles for a week’s vacation and while he’s there he visits a gas station or two and realizes that those bastards are paying just $2.89 for a gallon of 87 Octane. Then suppose that this guy does a little math in his head and concludes that it’s definitely worth his while if he were to ship oh, I don’t know, 50 gallons or so of the stuff back to Hawai’i and then sell it on the black market with only a slight mark-up. To me, this is called “Providing a public service in a time of national emergency.” So how come those airport know-it-alls got all up in my—pardon me—in my—whoops, did it again—in this hypothetical guy’s face and starting spewing crazy talk about “danger” and “explosions” which was strangely similar to that one time when everyone got all nervous over the oily rags and gas cans. Anyway, it was about this time that they confiscated all my—His!—drums even though he was perfectly willing to check them in rather than insist on considering them carry-on luggage which was totally within his legal rights.
FRIDAY, Sept. 23
Changes, rewrites and revisions aside, the U.S. Department of Justice isn’t buying the Akaka Bill, reports today’s Associated Press. Akaka says the Justice Department already agreed to the bill, which is great, except for the fact that they just put out an official statement saying the whole thing was unconstitutional. Hearing that, Akaka said the bill was, in fact, constitutional. Hearing that, the Justice Department put its hands over its ears and said, “La la la la la la” over and over. Then Akaka called the Justice Department a “jerk” and shoved it really hard. The Justice Department shoved back, then they started wrestling on the floor. In any case, the Senate has yet to announce when they’ll vote on the bill. Hopefully, it will be a while—the last time they tried to get a show of hands, Hurricane Katrina destroyed New Orleans.
SATURDAY, Sept. 24
Remember the Superferry? Big-ass catamarans that will carry nearly a thousand people and their too-expensive-to-drive cars between the islands? Company president John Garibaldi says the whole deal will be dead—DEAD, I say!—if all that pesky litigation demanding that his company put out a full environmental assessment doesn’t end next week. What on earth is Garibaldi afraid of? Is it possibly that recently retired Haleakala National Park Superintendent Don Reeser was right when he said the proposed Superferry would expose Maui to unprecedented invasive species contamination. Nah, it couldn’t be that—then again, without a full environmental review, how could we be sure?
SUNDAY, Sept. 25
You know, all this talk about rising fuel prices and possible shortages caused by Hurricane Rita tearing up all those Gulf Coast oil refineries has me thinking: now would be the perfect time for Dubya to make a sanctimonious speech about how we all need to start conserving gasoline and drive less and maybe even start carpooling to work. It’s exactly the sort of sneering cop-out we’ve come to expect from our brave Commander-in-Chief who’s mastered the art of “showing” leadership rather than actually “being” a leader.
MONDAY, Sept. 26
It’s a Monday, and like all Mondays, it sucks like a Hoover. So I guess it’s as good a time as any to talk about a subject near and dear to our hearts: suicide bombers. They were big news over at the third annual Asia-Pacific Homeland Security Summit & Exposition, held this weekend on Honolulu. All kinds of military, police and corporate types showed up from 33 nations—including Cambodia!—to chat up terrorism. As part of the festivities, state civil defense officials showed what terror attacks on Oahu, Guam and even our little haven Maui might look like. “This was a very informative and educational exercise,” Chamber of Commerce of Hawai’i president Jim Tollefson is quoted as saying in today’s Pacific Business News. Tollefson helpfully added that suicide bombings and attacks “will have an impact on the entire community of Hawai’i, especially the business community.” And how! In a Sept. 22, 2005 AP story on the conference, reprter Audrey McAvoy wrote that an official with security firm WFI Government Services, Inc. said all this terror fear “was generating more interest in the products he marketed.” Isn’t our War on Terror just magnificent?
TUESDAY, Sept. 27
Hey President Bush, thanks for taking my advice on lecturing working people about how they need to drive less. Now how about revoking that $6 billion in government subsidies for all your oil industry buddies the Congress passed a couple months ago? Or you could call for a windfall profits tax, so it doesn’t look so much like your buddies are making a killing off our misery. Just a thought.
Anthony Pignataro feels better now. MTW