Lost in all the debate over whether the Akaka Bill will actually lead to Native Hawaiians bugging out of the U.S. of A is any discussion on why locals would want to pack up the American Flag. It all seemed so nonsensical to me—the U.S. enjoys outstanding standard of living, universal suffrage and complete and unfettered access to big box retail outlets. But then I was looking through some newspapers this weekend, and suddenly I got the feeling that everything would be better if I was a Native Hawaiian. For instance, yesterday Republican House Majority Leader Tom “The Hammer” DeLay got indicted and may have to go to “The Slammer.” He’s up on charges of conspiring in 2002 to channel corporate contributions to state GOP candidates, which is illegal. He’s a Texas fixture, and it’s doubtful he’ll serve time even if he’s guilty. Who wouldn’t want to live in a nation with such a stellar federal government?
THURSDAY, Sept. 29
Did someone say “stellar federal government?” That’s so cool, because today I got a letter from the Blue Dog Coalition! Oh boy, Oh Boy, OH BOY!!! For the longest time I’ve been waiting for them to write, and now they finally have. For you heathen out there who don’t know, the Blue Dogs are Democrats—like our very own Ed Case!—who believe that championing traditional Republican issues like balanced budgets and fiscal conservatism is the path to success. Okay, so they’re, well, pansy-asses. But they have hearts of gold. That being said, their letter “urged” President George W. Bush to “call an emergency bipartisan budget summit to address the nation’s added fiscal burden in the wake of Gulf Region reconstruction efforts.” Oh my God—demands like that will push Dubya right to the line. Maybe even over it! Seriously, this is not right. What the hell took this crew so long to figure out that the federal budget had exploded? We’ve always known Bush was going to bankrupt the country. Remember during the 2000 campaign how he was calling for tax cuts even though the economy was strong? Then when the economy turned south, he said the solution was tax cuts? Hey Blue Dogs: unless your summit will teach Bush high school economics, we’re doomed.
FRIDAY, Sept. 30
Did someone say we’re doomed? Well, apparently the Superferry isn’t doomed. In fact, the Honolulu Advertiser is reporting today that it just scored its second court victory against those evil, evil environmentalist groups that keep insisting the proposed inter-island auto ferry submit to a full environmental review. You know, since the state is spending $40 million on Kahului Harbor expansion to accommodate the thing. Anyway, this ruling by U.S. District Court Judge Helen Gillmor hopefully means we don’t have to listen to any more of the Superferry officials’ super whining about how these lawsuits have put the project funding in jeopardy. Unless, of course, the environmental groups appeal…
SATURDAY, Oct. 1
Did someone say “appeal?” Well, here’s something that isn’t that appealing: No matter what anyone tells you, Tequila is not your friend.
SUNDAY, Oct. 2
Did someone say “friend?” I have a few of them, none of which thankfully are in prison. But more than a few people around have friends and relatives in the slammer, and they should really take a look at today’s fascinating story in the Advertiser on our state’s addiction to shipping our felons to mainland prisons. The piece does a great job showing how state officials quickly turned a “temporary” 1995 decision to ship 300 inmates out of overcrowded Hawaiian prisons to Texas into official policy, resulting in a situation where nearly half of our state’s prison population now resides in Oklahoma, Mississippi, Arizona and Kentucky. One professor quoted in the story compares the situation to the old days, when governments exiled inmates to penal colonies—except in this case, all these prisoners will someday return to our fair islands. The story goes on to point out how state officials have no new local prisons planned, but completely fails to address the heart of the matter, which is why Hawai’i is producing so many new cons. You know, the increased popularity of jailing drug users as well as handcuffing judges with “mandatory minimum” sentencing requirements can’t be helping.
MONDAY, Oct. 3
Did someone say “mandatory minimum?” I wonder what the minimum sentence is for money laundering. I’m curious because the AP just reported that a Texas grand jury has just added that charge to Tom “The Hammer” DeLay’s indictment. It’s hard to convey just how earth-shattering the idea of a Texas—TEXAS!—grand jury throwing the book at The Hammer truly is. After all, DeLay used to be an exterminator, and he approaches politics with much the same attitude.
TUESDAY, Oct. 4
Did someone say “wow?” That’s all I can say about U.S. Senator Daniel Akaka’s comments to the Honolulu Star-Bulletin today about Dubya nominating his longtime crony Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court. “I am hopeful that careful scrutiny of Ms. Miers’ record will reveal a woman whose understanding of the Constitution is that of a moderate rather than that of an extremist,” Akaka told the paper. He’s kidding, right? She chaired the Texas State Lottery Commission for six years and worked as Bush’s personal attorney—how “moderate” could she be?
Anthony Pignataro really wishes the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, which he loves even though they have a stupid, stupid name, would beat the hell out of the New York Yankees in the American League Division Series. MTW