While our beloved Republican Governor Linda Lingle is shilling Hawaiian tourism to the incredibly bureaucratic and repressive Chinese government—Communist authoritarian or not, they’ve got the creditor side of our massive trade deficit—our Republican Mayor Alan Arakawa is working hard to bring Kyoto here. Of course, I’m speaking of the 1997 Kyoto Protocol—that detailed list of ways industrialized nations can cut greenhouse gas emissions to reduce global warming. Arakawa is the 139th mayor to sign the U.S. Mayors Climate Protection Agreement. “With escalating oil prices worldwide, this gives us an opportunity to start exploring options that were too expensive before,” Arakawa told The Maui News. Now Arakawa’s action is a bit unusual for a Republican, considering that President George W. Bush has long opposed Kyoto. And nothing summed up our fearless leader’s thinking better than his quote to the Washington Post way back on April 24, 2001: “First, we would not accept a treaty that would not have been ratified, nor a treaty that I thought made sense for the country.”
THURSDAY, May 19
Here’s reason #352 on why being a lawmaker totally kicks ass: exemption from public records laws. The Associated Press reported today that Susan Jaworowski, the attorney for the state Senate Democrats, has advised her clients that they don’t have to release jack to the public, even if someone wants to see letters on official Hawai’i State Senate letterhead. The state Office of Information Practices disagrees, but admits that they have no power to compel the release of such documents… Twenty-six-year-old former Maui Time Weekly contributing writer Gannon Gilmore managed to get himself into the history books by being the first guy in line at the Maui Mall to see Revenge of the Sith, according to today’s Maui News. Hey, speaking of Maui’s paper of record, someone needs to step up and explain the following headline: “Chief angry repeat felon was loose.” There’s no way I’m going to get sleep tonight, wondering about things like how the angry repeat felons go about choosing their chief and whether there’s such a person as a chief happy repeat felon.
FRIDAY, May 20
Checked today’s email and found that with great fanfare and bravado Governor Linda Lingle has announced that she has released $821,000 in state funds so Lahainaluna High School can finally get a working fire alarm. “The new fire alarm system at Lahainaluna High School will help ensure the safety of students, teachers and staff in the event of a fire,” Lingle is quoted as saying, boldly glossing over the fact that the students, teachers and staff remain in a school completely lacking a workable fire alarm. And it’s not like people just realized that a high school was in such trouble. In fact, the fire alarm issue came up during the Mar. 17, 2005 Governor’s Maui Advisory Committee Meeting. “The project will start when school ends in June,” read the official minutes. “It was mention[ed] if this was a new school the Fire Department [would] not allow this school to open.” But now that’s all being taken of, leaving the state free to deal with Lahainaluna’s next most pressing problem: drinkable water.
SATURDAY, May 21
That stretch of bumper-to-bumper traffic running from the McGregor Point Lighthouse to Launiupoko this afternoon—did that work for everybody?
SUNDAY, May 22
Hawai’i is totally missing out on the big military-industrial complex bucks just flying out of Congress, and we have Representative Neil Abercrombie (D, 1st District) to thank for it. According to today’s Honolulu Advertiser, Abercrombie convinced his colleagues on the U.S. House Armed Services Committee to give a measly $32.2 million in war pork to our state’s valiant defense contractors. The big winners included Honolulu-based Atlantis Cyberspace, Inc., which got $3 million to develop some Starship Troopers-type computer simulator for infantry. Oceanit Defense Systems over in Waimea scored $5 million to “continue developing technology” to detect missile launches. And Kaneohe-based Alaka’i Consulting and Engineering got $3 million for “research” into remotely detecting explosives. Now come on! Where’s the big aircraft carrier building contracts? The new stealth cruise missile program? What’s going on—the U.S. has become the most powerful empire in history and Hawai’i is stuck programming computer games?
MONDAY, May 23
Enough talk of Abercrombie and his meager haul of war pork. What about our own congressman, U.S. Representative Ed Case (D, 2nd District)? Looks like he’s taking some heat, too, for his proposal to convert 137,000 square miles of the Northwest Hawaiian Islands into a marine refuge. Now, that’s a huge refuge—it’s 12,000 square miles larger than Norway. And because it would be a “refuge,” there would be no fishing in the zone. And that would be bad, says the Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council in today’s Advertiser. They’d much rather have the archipelago designated a “sanctuary,” which would allow some bottom fishing to continue. “We’re talking about 112,000 square miles of ocean and only a few boats,” Council Executive Director Kitty Simonds told the Advertiser. “These boats do not harm the habitat.”
TUESDAY, May 24
Broke down and saw Revenge of the Sith at the Maui Mall last night. Who wouldn’t like a movie about a good republic that gets twisted into an evil empire? But then this morning I read the latest issue of the Federation of American Scientists’ Secrecy News. The newsletter contains a brief on a May 18 Congressional Research Service (CRS) report on “quasi governments”—so-called public-private hybrids that are all the rage these days across the U.S. They maximize things like “results” while eliminating quaint notions like “public accountability.” The report was less than reassuring. “There is nothing modest about the size, scope, and impact of the quasi government,” wrote the CRS. “Time will tell whether the emergence of the quasi government is to be viewed as a symptom of decline in our democratic government, or the harbinger of a new, creative management era where the purported artificial barriers between the governmental and private sectors are breached as a matter of principle.”
Anthony Pignataro has spent over a decade analyzing geopolitics, macroeconomics and military strategy, yet still eats canned food. MTW