Huge news this week for all you Mazie Hirono fans out there. The former lieutenant governor who got beaten by Linda Lingle in the 2002 governor’s race, Hirono is just one of many, many candidates fighting for U.S. Congressman Ed Case’s 2nd District seat. Somebody powerful must have noticed her, because EMILY’s List—the pro-choice, 100,000 member political action committee—just endorsed her. “She has the political experience and the dedication to her work to fight for what is best for her community,” EMILY’s List President Ellen R. Malcolm said in a press release. “[S]he is our best opportunity to retain this historically Democratic seat. EMILY’s List recognizes the importance of this race, and our membership will lend all its considerable strength to seeing that Mazie Hirono is victorious.” This is a big deal not only because the 2nd District is an open congressional seat that has to stay Democratic if that party wants to end Republican rule over the House of Representatives. See, EMILY’s List doesn’t mess around. If their polling shows that Hirono is likely to win the Democratic Primary—and it does—then you can pretty much take it to the bank because EMILY’s List isn’t known for just throwing around money.
THURSDAY, June 15
I’m not really sure, since all the details aren’t in yet, but given today’s very preliminary news reports and headlines, I think President George W. Bush’s decision to designate the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands as a National Monument—which will restrict access and end all fishing in the environmentally delicate region—is the first thing he’s done since he took office in 2001 that isn’t stupid, evil, corrupt, moronic, stupid, anti-democratic, tyrannical, idiotic, stupid, poorly-articulated or all of the above. But like I said, all the details aren’t in yet.
FRIDAY, June 16
Today the guy who’s running for U.S. Senator against fellow Democrat Daniel Akaka—U.S Representative Ed Case (D, 2nd District)—voted with 255 other representatives—the vast majority of whom were Republicans—to approve House Resolution 861, which among other things “declares that it is not in the national security interest of the United States to set an arbitrary date for the withdrawal or redeployment of United States Armed Forces from Iraq” and that “the United States will prevail in the Global War on Terror, the noble struggle to protect freedom from the terrorist adversary.” The resolution is non-binding, but it forms a critical part of the Republican’s master plan to retain control over the U.S. Congress. Practically drowning with patriotic glory and jingo fever, the resolution proudly shouts to the world that the U.S. will never back down in Iraq, even though the Pentagon is right now this second working out the final details on withdrawing most—but not quite all—of the American soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines currently fighting in Iraq. They should announce the plans sometime before the big vote in November. This way the GOP can trumpet steadfast resolve, even as the generals are heading for the exits. And thanks to guys like Ed Case, the Republicans can call the whole thing “bipartisan.”
SATURDAY, June 17
Ahhh… Ed Case. Fascinating guy. Looking over his 2006 Congressional Report—the glossy full color flyer he sends out every year—“prepared, published and mailed at taxpayer expense”—to tell us what a great U.S. Representative he is. Bulleted under the headline “109th Congress (2005-2006) Highlights,” Case listed a modest 60 of his “efforts,” including but not limited to “Advocated for full federal funding of state and local homeland security obligations,” “Sought adequate funding of veterans obligations,” “Opposed use of [Social Security] trust fund for non-Social Security purposes” and “Opposed unauthorized and warrantless wiretapping/surveillance of American citizens.” Yeah, these things are all great, but don’t they fall under the bare minimal obligations of our nation’s elected representatives? Do we pat the judge on the back when he boasts that never in all his years on the bench did he ever send a man he knew to be innocent to the gas chamber? We’re happy for him, but we also expect such behavior from every man and woman who wears the black robe. Then why should we cheer Case when he says he “opposed” illegal wiretapping by the National Security Agency or “advocated” that the federal government spend all the money it said it was going to spend on protecting its citizens?
SUNDAY, June 18
MONDAY, June 19
Okay, maybe I’m coming down a bit hard on Congressman Case. He did oppose any oil drilling in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR)—something Senator Akaka has long supported and voted for. And he’s tried to get the federal government to investigate Big Oil for alleged “monopolistic behavior and gas price gouging.” No way the Bush Administration is going to all any real snooping around that, but still, it was a nice gesture. And he’s voted against raising the debt ceiling—a routine move in the Congress whereby a bunch of supposed “fiscally conservative” Republican representatives get together and vote to spend more money than they’re legally allowed. Oh, what’s this—Case’s Highlights brochure also says he’s “appeared in national media in D.C., New York, Chicago and elsewhere to focus attention on [the] budget crisis.” National media?! What a brave guy, being so willing to go on coast-to-coast television to tell the American people that we’re in a budget crisis. Love him or hate him, you can’t question that he’s U.S. Senate material.
TUESDAY, June 20
Hey, today’s online Pacific Business News says gas prices are dropping! In fact, the price of crude oil has dropped to less than $69 a barrel, which in turn has driven down prices at Maui’s pumps to something insane like $3.61 a gallon. How utterly glorious.
Anthony Pignataro does not eat cold eels and but does occasionally think distant thoughts. MTW