It’s Week 156 in the great Try To Piss Off U.S. Senator Daniel Akaka (D, Hawai’i) Contest and the entries are just pouring in. The latest appears in today’s Pacific Business News and concerns Akaka’s “opposition” to some of his colleagues’ plan to further emasculate the federal Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), which is supposed to regulate publicly traded corporations. “To be more effective, the [SEC] boards must be strengthened and made to be more independent,” Akaka told the paper. Unbelievable. The Bush Administration is actually trying to demolish the SEC from within, and Akaka is using words like “effective.” Have you seen Chris Cox, the Republican congressman from Orange County, California who is slated to take over the SEC? That guy never met a tycoon he didn’t like. He’s spent his congressional years creating loopholes for corporations, getting rid of corporate disclosure requirements and making it tougher for shareholders to sue companies that screw over investors. He’s also put together tax breaks for companies that move their operations overseas. Yeah, Akaka’s worried about the SEC being “effective.” Maybe he should concentrate on it staying “existent.”
THURSDAY, June 30
Well, it’s finally happened. We all knew this day would come, yet precious few of us made adequate preparations. Now we all have to face the consequences for our lapses. Really, we are all victims of our own hubris—our unwavering views that life here was somehow different from everywhere else on the planet, and that problems and troubles that plague the rest of the world would never reach our tranquil shores. I’m speaking of course of the decision to have officials from the Transportation Security Agency (TSA) begin screening all passengers flying out of Kapalua Airport. Well, all passengers flying planes capable of carrying at least 19 passengers, but you get the idea. No more will that terminal—such as it is—have the laid-back feel of a Midwestern bus depot. No more just letting anyone roam through the terminal while waiting for the plane to land. Perhaps this even means the end of their easy and efficient baggage claim system of simply pointing to your bag on the cart so the airline guy can pick it up and hand it to you. TSA officials are actually saying the new security procedures could add “10 to 15 minutes” to travelers’ waiting times. Astounding.
FRIDAY, July 1
Don’t know if you folks have noticed it, but the world is coming to an end. Yup—Armageddon, Judgment Day, Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse—the whole nine yards. Found out the other day when the Maui County Office of Economic Development sent me a press release saying that the NBC television network might locate their new program Three Wishes on Maui. According to the release, no less a celebrity than “five time Grammy award winning recording artist Amy Grant” will host the show. Oh yeah—Amy fucking Grant: Christian pop music’s answer to a question I don’t recall anyone asking. And here I thought she’d retired and moved to Branson, Missouri with the rest of the recording industry has-beens—my mistake. In any case, the show will “spotlight small communities or individuals with inspiring or touching stories to tell.” Some of the “storylines” NBC wants include “struggling inventors, reuniting friends and families, good Samaritans, soldiers or military family sacrifices, and medical miracles.” “The show wants to help deserving people,” said Maui County Film Commissioner Benita Brazier in the release. “[I]n Maui County we are just brimming with people who go beyond the call to volunteer or help others less fortunate than themselves.”
SATURDAY, July 2
Amy Grant… what happened, was Celine Dion unavailable?
SUNDAY, July 3
The state Division of Forestry and Wildlife has declared open season on stray cows and goats in some of Maui’s more remote forests. Seems they’re sick of the godless beasts eating up all the native plants. Because some of the animals are grazing in pretty much inaccessible portions of state forests, state officials will be organizing aerial hunts. Woohoo! Gunships! And they’ll be packed with hunters! We may not be able to fly from Kapalua to Honolulu without getting a pat down, but that doesn’t mean state officials can’t schedule a few harmless strafing runs against wild cows. They’ll need that firepower, too, because the animals know what’s up. Trust me. I swear that today a cow stared at me with great menace as I drove out of Polipoli State Park. I’m telling you people, the animals know. That cow meant business. If I’d gotten out of my car, who knows what would have went down.
MONDAY, July 4
In yet another sign that government is selling its soul to private industry, the University of Hawai’i has announced a catalog of “naming rights”—stuff all over the university that, for the right amount of money, will be named after somebody. “If you’re a Punahou alum or if you went to USC or Harvard, everything is named,” UH Foundation president Donna Vuchinich told the Honolulu Star-Bulletin, apparently forgetting that all those schools are private and UH is public. In any case, the Star-Bulletin was nice enough to publish the naming rights catalog in today’s paper. Items range in cost from a paltry $1,000 to get a seat in the Paliku Theatre named after you or someone you love to the $7 million needed to name the Phase I building housing the Culinary Institute of the Pacific. Names for just about everything are for sale over at the already-named John Burns School of Medicine: Center for Clinical Skills ($2 million); Auditorium ($2 million); Computer lab/classroom ($500,000) Reception areas ($35,000) and even the outdoor lanai ($1 million). Other bargains include the Paliku Theatre costume shop ($75,000), Culinary Institute gift shop ($200,000) and the Culinary Institute showers ($300,000).
TUESDAY, July 5
I wonder how much it would cost to rename Kapalua the Daniel Akaka Airport and Goat Shooting Range?
Anthony Pignataro spent five years developing a revolutionary new kind of paperclip, only to see it stolen by his lying, cheating, no-good assistant. MTW