WEDNESDAY, JULY 30
Add Senator Ted Stevens of Alaska to the list of corrupt members of Congress (bringing the count to, I believe, though I should check my figures, all of them). Stevens was slapped with seven felony counts for, sigh, allegedly covering up some $250K in kickbacks from an oil company lobbyist. But don’t worry about Ted, he’s still got friends in high places, including our own Senator Daniel Inouye, who told an Associated Pres reporter that “Ted Stevens remains my friend. I believe in him.” Added Inouye, “In our legal system, a man is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.” True, although I’m thinking we need to change that to: non-Senators are innocent until proven guilty.” But that would let members of the House and the Executive branch, not to mention state and county officials, off the hook, wouldn’t it? Better just assume everyone in government is guilty—you’ll be right more often than you’re wrong.
THURSDAY, JULY 31
Here’s one for those who believe in cosmic convergences and other such impossible-to-prove yet fun-to-parse phenomena: It’ll be interesting as the election unfolds to see if good news for County Councilman Mike Victorino coincides with good news for his boy, pro ballplayer Shane Victorino. So far, signs point to yes. Exhibit A: Just days after the filing deadline dust settled and Mike stood unopposed for his Wailuku-Waihee-Waikapu seat, Shane banged out three hits, drove in three runs and launched a solo homer as his Philadelphia Phillies beat the Washington Nationals to move into first place in the National League East. Overall, for the month of July: Victorino the younger, .315 AVG., 7 HR, 20 RBI; Victorino the elder, a shoo-in for re-election. Coincidence? You decide.
FRIDAY, AUGUST 1
From the moment that whole anthrax scare hit back in 2001, I knew eventually it was going to come out that it had nothing to do with Islamic fundamentalists or international terrorist cells and was in fact the work of some lone wacko, quite possibly with ties to the U.S. military. And even though I can’t prove I knew any of that—and could in fairness be accused of crowing over some not-too-impressive 20-20 hindsight—I’m still gonna say it: I told you so. As has been widely reported, Bruce E. Ivins, a high-ranking military scientist who specialized in bio-defense, committed suicide just as the Justice Department was preparing to charge him in connection with the anthrax mailings. Making the case even more twisted, officials have theorized Ivins’s motive may have been to test a cure for the deadly poison. Pretty sad all around, and further proof that events the current administration tries to ham-fistedly tie to the “war on terror” in an effort to ratchet up the national fear level and justify their ill-conceived foreign wars are always more complicated than they appear. Here’s the real question though: does this revelation raise or lower that stupid color-coded threat-o-meter?
SATURDAY, AUGUST 2
Relatively good news for farmers, unequivocally bad news for drought-plagued Hawaii: Maui County and the rest of the state have been declared disaster areas by the feds, as reported in The Maui News. That means island farmers can now apply for low-interest government loans to help ease the strain brought on by lost crops. That’ll help, but long term the one and only solution (beyond water usage regulations, which are important but don’t fully address the fundamental issue) is clear—we need rain.
SUNDAY, AUGUST 3
Ask and ye shall receive. While it wasn’t enough to reverse the drought, a nice steady rain did fall today. A lot of it was dumped near my house in Wailuku, leading to a downed line and subsequent power outage. Deprived of TV and Internet and the ability to mix booze in the blender, my wife and I went for a stroll around the neighborhood. We weren’t the only ones with that idea; lots of folks took the unexpected electricity deprivation as an opportunity to stretch their limbs. We saw kids rollerblading on the sidewalk and running around in the wet grass engaged in various youthful activities. Someone started playing a piano (presumably by candlelight) and the notes wafted out into the balmy evening air. It was nice. And it reminded me how, in our technological age, simple creativity and spontaneity are almost always relegated to the back burner. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not ready to give up my laptop and hi-def tube just yet—in fact I’m pretty sure I experienced some mild withdrawal symptoms for the several hours I was forced to go without them—but sometimes it’s nice when nature compels you to resort to Plan B.
MONDAY, AUGUST 4
So it looks like the rain is helping a bit, with the trade winds carrying in moisture from some offshore tropical storms. But, The Maui News reports, any gains to the water table are being offset by a bump in usage—to the tune of 900,000 gallons a day over the past week. Man, a few raindrops come trickling down and suddenly everybody forgets we’re dealing with a shortage, with months of summer weather still to come. Say it with me now: c-o-n-s-e-r-v-e. In other news…Continuing our exclusive Victorino Watch 2008: Shane, comes off the bench to launch a three-run shot that ends up being the difference in the Phillies’ 5-4 win over St. Louis; Mike, still running unopposed. OK, this is officially redundant.
TUESDAY, AUGUST 5
Last week we reported on a promising survey out of Oahu, which showed that about 60 percent of residents there would support a rail line if the matter were put to a vote. Apparently, among the other 40 percent are some rather vocal individuals calling themselves Stop Rail Now. The Honolulu Advertiser reports that members of the organization, who are seeking to get an anti-rail ordinance on the November ballot, made a big show of delivering two boxes full of signatures to the city clerk’s office, even though they’d been informed they were too late to file. Hey, a bit of political theater can be amusing, and obstructionism is at times the best and only safeguard against foolish endeavors (not saying the rail is a foolish endeavor, just speaking generally). But it’s always slightly sad to me to see people devoting so much of their life and energy (they even printed up matching T-shirts fer chrissakes!) to making sure that something, especially something like a public transportation system, isn’t accomplished. MTW