WEDNESDAY, Aug. 3
Have you ever hiked through Wainapanapa State Park and felt a sudden urge to eat at Weinerschnitzel? How about a craving for In N Out burgers while standing in the Iao Valley? Experienced a mad desire for Kentucky Fried Chicken while hanging at Kaumahina? Have no fear—the state Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) has taken a survey and they’ve heard your cries for help and they’re going to act. Immediately! “The survey results surprised us because we had no indication that the public wants food concessions in State Parks,” DLNR chairman Peter Young said in an Aug. 2 press release. Surprised or not, Young moved swiftly to give park visitors a chance to shell out money for overpriced hot dogs and Cokes. “We have received inquiries from people interested in operating mobile food concessions at our facilities,” he added. “The fact that we have both the possible vendors and the public interest in food concession opportunities makes for a win-win situation.” No word yet on who might “win” the big park concession contract.
THURSDAY, Aug. 4
So George W. Bush feels the need to remind the nation that we’re at war. “Make no mistake about it,” he told 2,000
people yesterday gathered in some hotter-than-hell pit called Grapevine, Texas, presumably for no other reason than to hear the Great Enunciator’s wit and witticism. “We are at war.” Before you laugh—the U.S. has been “at war,” at least in Iraq, since March, 2003—remember that Dubya is in the middle of a five-week vacation. Reward for a job well done, I presume. He takes a lot of vacations, by the way—again, he deserves it, given that unemployment is way higher than when he took office way back in 2001 and many thousands more U.S. troops have been killed and wounded than in all the eight years of his predecessor, Bill Clinton, who I think we’re still required to hate because he got a blow job in the Oval Office. But I digress… Bush probably hasn’t seen a paper lately, what with all the brush he has to clear off his ranch and all. Besides, he’s pointedly mentioned on numerous occasions that he doesn’t read newspapers even during those days when he’s actually clocking in at the White House. Perhaps one of his aides had just tapped him on the shoulder and whispered in his ear that 21 U.S. Marines had been killed in three days outside a Western Iraqi town that previous news reports seemed to suggest was quiet. For a man with Bush’s attention span, this would seem to be quite a shock. And since he seems to be the nice sort that automatically assumes the rest of the world is as ill-informed as he, it’s only natural for him to want to remind us—the people who pay the taxes and fill the uniforms that make his wars possible—that we’re still bleeding and dying over there. Message received, el hefe! Message received!
So the test scores coming out of Hawai’i’s junior high and high schools are still sucking, according to today’s Honolulu Advertiser. Back when I was growing up, schools that sucked were just schools that sucked. But now, in this golden age of Bush’s No Child Left
Behind plan, schools that suck get turned over to the state or, worse, get privatized. So everyone’s all in a twitter over our public schools’ seeming inability to get with the program, so to speak. One explanation, put forward by state schools superintendent Pat Hamamoto in the article, is simply that Hawai’i’s standards are too high and should come down to “realistic” levels. This argument carries a certain beauty: the fed imposes strict standardized requirements on every school in the nation, but Hawai’i can’t meet them because our pre-No Child requirements are too high, so the solution is simply to lower our standards to meet the new federal standards. Right? I’m confused, probably because my school left me behind.
Did you know that 60 years ago, U.S. Army General Carl “Tooey” Spaatz—who commanded the Strategic Air Forces in the Pacific—demanded a written order from his bosses in Washington to drop nuclear weapons on Japan? Guess he was concerned future American leaders might try to distance themselves from the attacks, which ended up killing a couple hundred thousand civilians—mostly women and children—in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Hey, I’m just saying.
MONDAY, Aug. 8
So the Honolulu Star-Bulletin ran a very nice Associated Press story today titled “Nation’s genetically altered corn supply has roots in isles” that mentions all the work Kauai and Oahu are doing on super corn but didn’t even mention any of Monsanto Hawai’i’s genetically modified corn production in Kihei. Plus, the story totally glosses over the fact that the corporation Mera Pharmaceutical wants to start manufacturing genetically modified algae here as well! According to the July 27, 2005 Honolulu Weekly, numerous citizen groups are lining up to fight the introduction of potentially invasive super algae into our state. Ahh, the wonders of science—will the magic never die?
TUESDAY, Aug. 9
By now most of you who drive or just like to hang out at gas stations because you get off on the smell of high octane have realized that the price of gasoline is steadily climbing to ever greater heights. In fact, where Maui County gas prices are concerned, we keep hearing the phrase “highest in country.” And that’s cool, don’t get me wrong: Maui should be tops in something, as long as it doesn’t involve deadbeat dads or people who respond to email messages from mysterious Nigerian diplomats offering huge sums of money. Stupid fake promises of riches… Where was I? Oh yes—oil. So today’s Maui News has a big story by the AP on various explanations of oil’s current,
astounding $64/barrel price. And it’s a fascinating story, especially since the writer managed to list a half dozen reasons, not one of which was the raging war we start atop the massive Iraqi oil fields. Bravo!
Anthony Pignataro fondly remembers the time when he used to write really pithy things here. MTW