Like the rising gas prices? Glad to hear it, because they’re going to be with us for some time. In fact, today’s Pacific Business News report says they’ll rise even higher! You should believe them, too, because they say all the proof is in a new U.S. Department of Energy report—and you know those guys would never, ever lie about something sacred like the price of oil. “Continued steady world oil-demand growth, combined with only modest increase in world spare-oil production capacity and the continuing risks of geopolitical instability, are expected to keep crude-oil prices high through 2006,” the report says, according to PBN. The key phrase in that was, “continuing risks of geopolitical instability.” That’s U.S. Government-speak for “the Bush Administration’s foreign policy.” See, it turns out that a bloody quagmire in Iraq and secret plans to nuke Iran kinda spooked the oil market, which helped drive up prices. Way up. And since we’re still fighting a losing war in Iraq and threatening to “take out” Iran’s nuclear facilities, those prices have nowhere to go but up.
THURSDAY, Apr. 13
So state Representative Joe Souki (D, 8th District), who represents Wailuku and Waiehu, wants to know if the proposed Superferry will cause any trouble. “I just would like to see what kind of potential problems, if any,” he said in today’s Honolulu Advertiser. Now I know Souki is not a dumb man, because he’s managed to get himself elected to office since 1982, and a dumb man certainly couldn’t sustain that kind of political career, and yet what Souki just said is a very dumb thing. See, many months ago a lot of community and environmental activists agitated for a full environmental review of the proposed Superferry. They wanted to look at the potentially increased traffic, pollution and invasive species contamination the superferries were going to bring. And you know what? Guys like state Representative Joe Souki kept their mouths shut during the fight and never publicly demanded a review, and the Superferry, Inc. people were able to fight it until the courts finally ruled that no such review was necessary. Now we have no review, which means no answers as to what “problems” the Superferry might bring to Hawai’i. Satisfied, Joe?
FRIDAY, Apr. 14
See the front page of The Maui News today? That shot of the ramshackle “tear down” in Wailuku that’s selling for $350,000? For realtors, news like that reinforces the view that they live in a golden age, a time they’ll be recounting to their grandkids decades from now. For the rest of us, especially young people with families who want their children to grow up with a dog and a backyard and maybe one of those complicated spring-loaded baseball hitting machines they market towards the “Serious T-Baller,” they’re pretty much out of luck.
SATURDAY, Apr. 15
Woohoo! Tax Day!
SUNDAY, Apr. 16
Today the Honolulu Advertiser saw fit to update us on the progress of the still-unfinished nuclear-powered attack submarine USS Hawaii. See, it’s called Hawaii! Isn’t that cool! They’ve named a new $2.4 billion warship after our lovely state. And it’s only 90 percent complete. The Pentagon is so thoughtful. Anyway, the Advertiser more than returned the generosity in its story. The new submarine “will be a key player for missions in waters increasingly prowled by potential enemy submarines,” the paper breathlessly reported. “With it will come a greater ability to deliver commandos close to shore, and ever more quietly counter the threat of foreign diesel submarines.” This talk of enemy submarines prowling the world’s oceans makes for great spy novels, but not newspaper copy. See, the U.S. already has 73 nuclear-powered submarines, not counting the five—including the Hawaii—that are currently under construction. Of those 73, 14 are equipped to carry 24 Trident II D-5 nuclear missiles, any one of which is capable of killing a few million people. As far as the rest of the world is concerned, mighty Iran—you know, the country we keep casually talking about attacking?—currently has six diesel-powered submarines, which though quiet, lack our nuclear boats’ depth, speed, range and ability to stay underwater indefinitely. Even China, which fields 74 submarines, has just seven nuclear-powered boats. As far as the rest of the world is concerned, it’s not hard to imagine where most people think the “threat” lies.
MONDAY, Apr. 17
We’ve still got months and months—five months, five days to be exact—before the Hawai’i state Primary Election, and U.S. Congressman Ed Case (D, 2nd District) is already throwing around mud in his bid to unseat U.S. Senator Daniel Akaka (D, Hawai’i), recently derided by Time Magazine as one of “America’s Worst Senators,”the “master of the minor resolution and the bill that dies in committee.” But Case is threatening to do the worst thing a politician can possibly conceive of, unless Akaka gives into his demands immediately and unconditionally: “Senator Akaka has not gotten into a joint appearance with me since the day I announced my candidacy,” Case told a crowd today at Hawai’i Pacific University, according to the Associated Press. “I’m going to keep talking until the people make their choice. At some point, he’s going to have to respond.” Is Case bluffing? Or has he gone mad with power? Could he conceivably keep flapping his gums until Akaka relents and agrees to a debate? And what’s more, could the rest of us survive such an onslaught of relentless, unforgiving, unending campaign speech? Oh Akaka, please debate Case now—while we still have time!
TUESDAY, Apr. 18
And now for something a little more serious. Today, we stand at the threshold of correcting an old injustice, and we need everyone to help out. You see, Hawai’i lacks an official fish. Sure, once we had the Humuhumunukunukuapua’a, but its “official” status was revoked in 1990 after a nasty scandal that’s well known and needs no elaboration here. But now, there’s a bill in the state Legislature to give the Humuhumunukunukuapua’a back its mandate from heaven. Call your representatives, people!In fact, call Case and get him to talk abot this!
Anthony Pignataro is one of the last people on Earth who haven’t read The DaVinci Code. MTW