We’ve got less than eight months to go before the State of Hawai’i Primary Election, and the fight over which Democrat gets to run for the U.S. Senate is really heating up. On one hand we have the incumbent, Daniel Akaka, the 81-year-old fan of both Native Hawaiian Recognition and drilling oil in Alaska’s frozen Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). It’s often hard to tell which position gives him more grief. And on the other hand—the one that always gets us into trouble, according to that well-known voice of wisdom and rationality called Gilligan—we have Congressman Ed Case. Case is, well, what political science types call a “back-bencher.” He’s running against Akaka because he says Akaka is old and ossified (my words, to be fair, but you get the point). Well, now Akaka is striking back, telling the Honolulu Advertiser that if he doesn’t get reelected, Native Hawaiians can kiss his recognition bill goodbye. “It has been my bill,” he told the paper in a story running today. “I’ve been the one that has been pushing it. Also, all the commitments, well, many commitments that have been made have been made to me. And so when I go what happens to those commitments?” If Akaka is saying that only he—of all the American people—can get his Native Hawaiian Recognition bill through Congress and into law, then by all means, vote for Case.
THURSDAY, Jan. 26
In a brilliant counter-move to her own brilliant bullshit move two weeks ago, Chicago talk show host/Hana land-owner Oprah Winfrey “confronted” Million Little Pieces author James Frey on her own show today about why he’s such a big fat liar. “It is difficult for me to talk to you because I really feel duped,” she told Frey, whose book wasn’t a mega-bestseller until Oprah went on the air and urged her billions of listeners to gain strength from his courageous tale of “redemption” from a life of crime and drug abuse—virtually all of which, according to the investigative website The Smoking Gun, was made up (the part about him being a loser drug addict seems to be legit, though). Anyway, Oprah also said it was wrong of her to defend Frey a few weeks ago on the Larry King show—at that time she said revelations that Frey seemed to be cynically making up stories about him supposedly assaulting cops and going to jail just to write books were “much ado about nothing.” Anyway, she now says that wasn’t a good idea because it gave people “the impression that the truth is not important” (to say nothing of the impression that Oprah was more concerned about her own credibility and popularity than some book she was pushing). But now all is right with the world, especially since Frey’s publisher—that would be Doubleday—says future editions of the book will have an “author’s note” addressing the fabrications. Future editions—is this a great country or what?
FRIDAY, Jan. 27
Beware, foie gras lovers out there (you know who you are). Today state House Bill HB3012 and state Senate Bill SB2686—both prohibiting “the force feeding of birds”—passed their respective first readings. The House bill comes to us courtesy of Maui’s own Chris Halford (R, 11th District) while state Senator Suzanne Chun Oakland (D, 13th District) served up the other. Both would make it illegal to shove that awful tube down geese throats, which seems to be the critical process in foie gras production, though Chun Oakland’s bill would also prohibit goose liver sale in the state of Hawai’i.
SATURDAY, Jan. 28
I can’t believe they cancelled Heather Graham’s sitcom Emily’s Reasons Why Not after just one episode. I mean, sure, the name sucked. And the show was a blatant rip-off of Sex and the City, except instead of being about a hot single columnist with lots of hot friends who sometimes get naked because the show was airing on HBO, Graham’s character was a hot self-help book publisher with lots of hot friends who don’t ever get naked because the show was airing—okay, aired—on ABC. But come one! Just one episode!? We’re talking Heather Graham here—she’s like the hottest woman in the solar system! This is why I never watch television.
SUNDAY, Jan. 29
Did someone say television? Oh yeah, that was me. Anyway, it looks like Akaku, the great county public access cable channel that lets you watch education programs about the refraction of light, gavel-to-gavel coverage of local planning and Maui County Council hearings and slightly spacey programs about UFOs and the peace-loving aliens they contain, might be going the way of Heather Graham’s television career. According to yesterday’s Maui News, the state Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs (DCCA)—by far the wildest and craziest of all the state departments—has just ruled that all public access contracts need to go out to competitive bid. And just to make things interesting, since it’s possible Akaku could lose its contract after it runs out this June, the DCCA wants to hold on to half of the station’s funding this year. No word on who might take over from Akaku this summer, but you can be sure it won’t be ABC.
MONDAY, Jan. 30
It’s taken months and months, but the state Democratic Party has finally put forward a candidate to run against Republican Governor Linda Lingle. His name is former state Senator Randy Iwase and he’s already got one tremendous advantage over Lingle: no one has a clue who he is.
TUESDAY, Jan. 31
Speaking of not having a clue, this weekend Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Ed Case sent out a press release titled “Steady As She Goes!” saying he’s already won two online polls. With the internet geeks who rarely if ever vote solidly behind him, can victory be far off? Stay tuned next week when we’ll find out how the all-important corpse and out-of-state vote is going.
Anthony Pignataro would love to know why everyone smiles and nods every time he mentions that he was born in the Year of the Rat. MTW