The University of Hawai’i at Manoa has agreed to stop genetically modifying taro, sayeth the Associated Press today. Their reason is simple: heat from Hawaiian activists who claim taro is their ancestor. After a series of very vocal protests, the University decided to cave, ultimately figuring that screwing around with the genetics of the great ancestor of the Hawaiian people probably wasn’t good public relations. This is, of course, great news, but let’s think about it. In Europe popular outrage against Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) led to laws requiring the labeling of all such products. In addition, considerable scientific study and research has accumulated showing that we really have no clue as to the long-term consequences from genetically modifying stuff. Of course, UH—like the whole nation—does nothing with all this scientific evidence. But when word spreads that taro is sacred in Hawaiian mythology, the school freaks out and shuts down its super taro outfit.
THURSDAY, May 26
In a revelation about as surprising as Britney Spears announcing she’s now with child, the Pacific Business Journal reported today that just 50 percent of registered voters in Hawai’i bothered to show for the 2004 election. Of course, our state wasn’t a “swing state”—ie, a state that could have gone to either George W. Bush or John Kerry so one or both of the candidates actually visited—but people are still going to wring their hands and complain that war-torn Iraq had a higher voter turnout rate. See—I just did.
FRIDAY, May 27
Boy it’s nice taking the afternoon off.
SATURDAY, May 28
Concerning Maui’s most famous haole corpse—that would be Charles A. Lindbergh, buried in Kipahulu since 1974—a new book alleges that there was more to the nickname “Lucky Lindy” than people ever suspected. According to today’s AP’s writeup on Rudolf Schroeck’s The Double Life of Charles A. Lindbergh, the man who first flew solo across the Atlantic fathered three kids with a Munich hatmaker, two with her sister and another two with his German private secretary. Damn, when did the guy ever get a chance to fly? Then again, they don’t call it the “cockpit” for nothing. In all seriousness, neither the Lindbergh Foundation nor Lindbergh’s surviving American family would comment to the AP on the new book. But there’s plenty of historical evidence that Lindbergh really dug Germany—especially in the 1930s. In 1938, Lindbergh accepted the Service Cross of the German Eagle from Luftwaffe chief Hermann Goering. Lindbergh also publicly opposed our fighting Nazi Germany because “the white race” wasn’t in peril. Lindbergh, who counted anti-Semitism among his hobbies, also felt that the Nazis were too strong anyway and there was nothing we could do about them smashing Western Europe.
SUNDAY, May 29
Maui’s dead last among the state’s counties in terms of returning plastic bottles! Woohoo! The AP said today that people on Kauai have gotten a nickel back on a whopping 41 percent of the plastic bottles they’ve bought, with Big Islanders redeeming 35.6 percent of their bottles, Oahu residents taking back 25.4 percent and little old Maui County bringing up the rear with just 23.2 percent redemption. Now I don’t know why the people on Kauai kick ass (relatively—state officials want 80 percent redemption rates) and we on Maui suck, and what’s more, I don’t care. This whole “get a nickel” back from a plastic bottle is a stupid half-assed attempt at pretending that Hawai’i recycles. People in the 1960s got a nickel back from returning glass bottles, and that was when a nickel could buy you lunch or something. Besides, we’re a chain of islands in the Pacific with extremely limited space! We need full curb-side recycling of everything: plastic, glass and every form of paper we churn out. What is the frickin’ holdup?
MONDAY, May 30
It’s Memorial Day! It’s a solemn day when we remember our fallen servicemen and women, mostly by letting the kids have the day off. But today I want to honor and remember all the people who didn’t die in a war that was thankfully never fought. Of course I’m speaking of an all-out total nuclear war between the U.S. and the Soviet Union. Thanks to the Federation of American Scientists (FAS), we now know that our leaders all through the Cold War were preparing to fight a mighty big war—one that would have killed a great many people. In response to a FAS public records request, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) finally released its 1990 “Nuclear Attack Planning Base”—a massive “credible estimate” of the “potential physical effects” stemming from a nuclear war with the Soviets. Put simply, FEMA determined that a Soviet nuclear strike would kill outright 129.1 million Americans—roughly 53 percent of the nation’s population in 1985. That figure, which is more than 20 times the number of Jews killed by the Nazis during World War II, doesn’t account for the number of Americans who would die from nuclear fallout. Breaking down the deaths by state, FEMA found that nuclear blast damage would kill 619,880 people in Hawai’i, which was roughly 59 percent of the state population in 1985. On the plus side, they calculated that the risk of anyone out here dying from radiation fallout was “low.”
TUESDAY, May 31
A new report put out by the Washington D.C.-based Center for Public Integrity says that Hawai’i Republicans raised an astounding $2.25 million in the run-up to the 2004 elections—more than a million bucks more than the state Democrats’ $1.04 million. The state GOP turned around and spent $2.39 million during the election (I’m assuming they had some money in the bank to account for the discrepancy), which was again more than a million more than the Democrats. What’s shocking here isn’t that the Republicans beat the Democrats so badly in the money arena, but that they still got their asses kicked in the elections. Sure, Republicans held onto their 20-5 minority in the state Senate but they also lost five seats in the state House, dwindling to a pathetic 41-10 minority.
Anthony Pignataro held the NBA’s season-high disqualifications record until the 1952-53 season. MTW