WEDNESDAY, Nov. 7
Isn’t the state Legislature just adorable? State Auditor Marion Higa, too. Isn’t the way they’re running around, trying to get to the bottom of the politics behind the Superferry just precious? They actually think that they can find out exactly what Governor Linda Lingle and Attorney General Mark Bennett discussed in the months leading up to the approval, and then disapproval, of Hawai`i Superferry, Inc. We shouldn’t blame them—it’s their job to cut through the misleading, contradictory statements, get to the bottom of big controversies and, yes, even ask for inconvenient records like any legal advice Bennett gave Lingle—which may or may not exist—on whether the Superferry needed to conduct an environmental review before starting up. “I also think that the attorney general has to realize that he’s not just the governor’s attorney,” state Senator Jill Tokuda (D, 24th District) said in today’s Honolulu Advertiser. “[H]e’s the Legislature’s attorney, too.” Well, not quite: “The Attorney General is the chief legal officer and chief law enforcement officer of the State of Hawaii,” is how the office’s mission statement puts it. That means we, the collective citizens of Hawai‘i, are ultimately his clients. The Attorney General’s job is to provide legal representation for OUR interests. Sure be nice if he—and the rest of state government—remembered that.
THURSDAY, Nov. 8
Tiny story posted on the Pacific Business News website about how the corporate empire otherwise known as HMSHost Corp. will open a Sammy’s Beach Bar & Grill—along with a Burger King, Jamba Juice, California Pizza Kitchen ASAP and yet another Starbucks—at Kahului Airport early next year. Developed “in partnership” with Sammy Hagar, Sammy’s, according to an HMSHost press release, will offer “classic American fare with an island twist while relaxing in a casual, beach-inspired atmosphere” and will showcase “signed memorabilia from Hagar’s own personal collection.” While this sounds suspiciously like Stinger Ray’s, which is already located in the airport—except for the part about the Hagar stuff hanging on the walls—I don’t think anyone cares. See, HMSHost owns Stinger Ray’s (as well as Burger King, Jamba Juice, CPK and Starbucks). In fact, the company runs the concessions in 104 airports around the world and owns an astonishing 375 retail and food brands, including—but not limited to—A&W Root Beer, Baskin Robbins, The Body Shop, Brookstone, The Cheesecake Factory, Chili’s, Cinnabon, Cold Stone Creamery, Dunkin’ Donuts, Estee Lauder, Foodland, Godiva, Haagen-Dazs, Kenneth Cole, Krispy Kreme, Land’s End, Lapperts Ice Cream, Liz Claiborne, Mrs. Fields, Naked Juice, Oakley, Outback Steakhouse, Panda Express, Pizza Hut, Quiznos Subs, See’s Candies, Sunglass Hut, Ruby’s, Tommy Hilfiger and Wendy’s. Oh, and the San Diego Zoo. And the Rock ‘N Roll Hall of Fame & Museum. “I am pleased to have the continued dedication of HMSHost in the revitalization of Kahului Airport’s dining and beverage concessions,” none other than Governor Lingle said in the HMSHost press release. Man, are there any giant corporations that don’t please Lingle?
FRIDAY, Nov. 9
The U.S. Justice Department is now worried about civil rights? The same part of government run until recently by a guy who refused to admit that waterboarding was torture? Whaaaaaa?! Did the Earth and the moon and all the planets suddenly spin out of their orbits? Apparently, though, this is the case: “Hawai‘i is one of 18 states that have been sent a letter by the federal Justice Department over compliance with a civil rights law,” reported the McClatchy-Tribune News Service today. Amazingly, the “civil rights law” is the old Motor Voter law that makes sure minorities can vote. Something’s up, people. Something bad. Nothing good can come of this—the Bush Administration, at its best, merely ignores civil rights. As long as it’s not actively undermining them, I think we’re okay. But now they’re going to enforce them? This scares me.
SATURDAY, Nov. 10
As if we don’t have enough to worry about, a Maui Dive Shop boat spotted—and photographed—what seems to be a floating, errant torpedo in waters a few miles offshore in the Humpback Whale Sanctuary. The photo of the barnacle-encrusted weapon—whether it’s live or not is impossible to determine—appeared in today’s Honolulu Advertiser. What’s more, the accompanying story says that though the dive shop boat spotted the torpedo and radioed its location, the U.S. Coast Guard failed to find it, which means it’s still somewhere out there, floating free and alone in the giant, lonely ocean…
SUNDAY, Nov. 11
Almost makes you want to root for the little torpedo, doesn’t it?
MONDAY, Nov. 12
Yesterday was actually Veteran’s Day, but everyone’s taking today off, so it’s a good as time as any to address it. Yes, there is good news coming out of Iraq these days: American and Iraqi casualties are down, and Baghdad seems to be quiet. Now whether this is due to the recent “Surge” (which will soon end), the move by some Sunni insurgents to suddenly ally themselves with the Americans against Al Qaeda or simply because sectarian militias and death squads have simply run out of victims is hard to say. What’s easy to say is that there are still parts of Iraq that are extremely violent, Shiite death squads all but control Iraqi security services (the British basically abandoned southern Iraq to them), the Iraqi government remains a mere puppet of the U.S. occupation—it’s so weak they can’t expel the private mercenary corporation Blackwater USA, even though they’ve killed many, many innocent Iraqis in questionable actions—and millions of Iraqi refugees continue to flood nearby nations. Oh, and nearly 50,000 U.S vets of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and recent surveys show that 200,000 veterans were homeless last year—more than a quarter of the total American homeless population. Sounds like barbecue time to me!
TUESDAY, Nov. 13
This just in: HMSHost, Corp. just bought Veterans Day, the U.S. Justice Department, waterboarding, civil rights and that old torpedo floating around the humpback whale sanctuary.
Anthony Pignataro has halted all work on his latest script—an R-rated action thriller about sponges—until the Writers Guild of America strike ends. MTW