In a story that could have been headlined “Case silent on plans after upcoming primary loss,” the Honolulu Advertiser revealed today that U.S. Senator Daniel Akaka (D, Hawai’i) had something like $868,000 in campaign cash at the end of March compared to upstart primary challenger U.S. Representative Ed Case (D, Also Hawai’i), who raked in a paltry $277,000. Less than $300,000 and it’s already mid April? Ed, get out now buddy while you still can. Don’t you realize you’ve only got five months left to raise money? Five months! Sure, you’re getting some traction now from Time’s recent dubbing of Akaka as one of “America’s Worst Senators,” but sooner or later I’m going to have to mention that Time is owned by AOL/Time Warner, which is itself part-owned by your cousin Steve Case (whoops, guess it was sooner). Anyway, I’ll do what I can to bring it up now and then, but if you should pull in any favors you have now.
THURSDAY, Apr. 20
Though they probably intended it as a call to arms, the Maui Chamber of Commerce sent out an email today to its members publicizing a new resolution sponsored by Maui County Councilwoman Jo Anne Johnson that “urges the Administration to temporarily suspend the issuance of building permits for dwellings in agricultural districts.” That’s right, folks, Johnson’s resolution would end the slow but considerable construction of giant “gentleman’s estates” at Launiupoko. Not a mandate—the key word in the two-page document is “urge”—the language in it is nonetheless uncompromising. “[R]esidential subdivisions on agricultural lands typically do not provide monetary contributions to mitigate development impacts, such as money for schools or roadways,” the resolution states. “[E]xpansion of dwellings into agricultural districts continues to reduce Hawai’i’s tropical foods resources, open space areas, and agricultural irrigation previously used to replenish groundwater aquifers, among other environmental impacts.” With developers raking in so much money at places like Launiupoko, it will be interesting to see how far Johnson’s resolution gets before pro-business groups like the Chamber strangle it to death (by the way, this paper is a Chamber member).
FRIDAY, Apr. 21
And now, like every other publication in the Western World, I’m going to talk about the placenta. For too long, we journalists have been afraid to talk about the placenta, the organ that connects a fetus to its mother and gets expelled at birth. Thankfully, Tom Cruise’s recent “joke” in GQ about his wanting to fry up his newborn baby’s placenta has shattered those prudish conventions. You will find no placenta recipes here, though—you see, when I write about the placenta and/or placenta-related program activities, it’s because it concerns Governor Linda Lingle. Thanks to our good governor, it’s now legal for parents to take both their newborn baby and their afterbirth home with them from the hospital. The reason behind the law—the first in the nation!—is because Native Hawaiian tradition calls for the ceremonial burying of the placenta (‘iewe) beneath a tree, which in this era of HMOs, liability lawsuits and medical waste, is a lot to ask of your local pediatrician. The downside is that couples all over the country are going to be agitating, demanding that their state make it legal for parents to take the placenta home, presumably in something a little more solid than a Styrofoam container.
SATURDAY, Apr. 22
So the Maui County Council said no to hauling drinking water out of the Hamakuapoko Wells yesterday. Too much DBCP pesticide contamination from the old days when Maui Land & Pineapple sprayed the stuff over their crops, you know. Well, they kinda, sorta said no to the well water. According to today’s Maui News, they passed a “resolution”—much like the one on ag lands from Councilwoman Johnson—that says they’re “concerned about the issues raised in public testimony and has not been convinced of the need to sue the Hamakuapoko Wells for drinking water.” Now while the water in the wells does receive DBCP treatment, residents testifying before the council worried that some contaminants could get through and into the water supply. But seriously, what are the odds of that happening? Possibly the same as, say, the sewage system breaking down in Honolulu and dumping millions of toxic sludge into a nearby boat harbor.
SUNDAY, Apr. 23
It’s Earth Day! And as we all know, the best way to celebrate Earth Day is to all get together and denounce the Maui Arts & Cultural Center (MACC). Been reading The Maui News letters section lately? Man, there’s some real hate out there—people writing in saying they’ll never contribute to the MACC again because they’re hosting anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan tonight. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: partially informed kooks are a source of never-ending fun. See, the MACC is just the venue for Sheehan’s talk—but the group that actually sponsored her is the Maui Film Festival. I wonder if people would be lining up to attack War Memorial Stadium if that’s where Sheehan ended up speaking. Attack War Memorial! Get it? What, too soon?
MONDAY, Apr. 24
Speaking of the war against the war against the war, the Advertiser just reported that two Kaneohe-based Marines, Jason C. Ramseyer and Eric Lueken, are the most recent American soldiers to die in Iraq. They were, in Pentagon-speak, “conducting combat operations against enemy forces in Al Anbar Province.” This means 2,390 Americans have died in the war, according to the Iraq Coalition Casualty Count. So far, zero weapons of mass destruction have been found, Shiite-on-Sunni violence is killing scores of civilians every day and Baghdad still experiences regular power outages and fuel shortages. The only thing that mystifies me about Sheehan, whose son Casey died in Iraq in November 2003, is that there aren’t more like her.
TUESDAY, Apr. 25
Congressman Case? Supports the war. Senator Akaka? Against. But I’m just saying.
Anthony Pignataro’s latest book, Bear Laid Bare: The Unauthorized Biography of Smoky the Bear, is due out this fall. MTW