Once again, the State of Hawai’i’s legislature leads the nation in introducing bills regulating Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs). So says a new report put out today by the Pew Initiative on Food and Biotechnology, which I originally thought was a hate group but apparently isn’t. Go figure. Anyway, some of the bills include disclosing GMO crop fields—currently carefully guarded corporate secrets—and doling out liability for GMO-related injuries. None of this stuff passed of course, but still, it’s the thought that counts.
THURSDAY, June 22
Looks like Maui County Council Chairman G. Riki Hokama just fired a shot across the proposed Hawai’i Superferry’s bow. It’s not a particularly powerful shot, but it is very accurate. According to a completely legal but utterly toothless resolution Hokama plans to introduce at an upcoming County Council hearing, the good chairman wants a delay in letting the big Superferries into Kahului Harbor until the whole Harbor Master Plan has been updated to include the boats that will haul passengers, automobiles, U.S. Army trucks and who knows what else between the Hawaiian Islands starting sometime next year. He also wants a full environmental impact study on all this. According to today’s Maui News story on the resolution, Hokama says this is necessary because “questions remain regarding the impact of the Hawai’i Superferry operation on traffic circulation, potential county costs, existing harbor users and other concerns.” Yeah, that’s all great Riki, but where were you last year when locals were blown out of the water when they sued to get a full environmental review? Isn’t it a little late to start agitating for big Superferry study when the state’s already shelling out money?
FRIDAY, June 23
So I guess that war in Iraq is going real swell because 86 U.S. Senators voted yesterday to kill an effort to get just about all American soldiers out of Iraq by July 1, 2007. Just 13 senators—including our own Daniel Akaka and Daniel Inouye—voted to stop “staying the course” and end the war. “Absolutely the worst possible thing we could do at this point would be to validate and encourage the terrorists by doing exactly what they want us to do, which is to leave,” thundered a visibly emotional but non-gun-toting Vice President Dick Cheney on CNN. Senator Majority Leader and presidential hopeful Bill Frist (R, Tennessee) agreed, calling the withdrawal plan a “cut and run” move. Got it—any mention at this point of withdrawing U.S. troops from the bloody stalemate that is Iraq would embolden the terrorists and evil-doers. No more talk of withdrawals.
SATURDAY, June 24
Oh wow, look at this: The New York Times is reporting today that General George Casey, who commands all U.S. troops in Iraq, has drafted a plan to pull most American units out of Iraq by the end of 2008, with the first cuts beginning this September. No word yet on whether Cheney and Frist have denounced Casey’s withdrawal plan as just another “cut and run” move, but I’m sure they will shortly… Hey, and while I’ve still got your attention, what’s with todays’ Maui News? On the front page we’ve got a big Associated Press story headlined “Whole pigs, goats next ‘big’ thing in barbecue” about a growing trend in roasting whole animals on massive backyard grills, but on Page A6 there’s a Knight Ridder story on how a new poll shows that one out of every four Americans has no close friends. So I guess all that whole hog grilling is being done by the 75 percent of us who have pals we can confide in, right? Or are we simply becoming a nation of loners who sit on our couches watching The Simple Life while chowing down on immense quantities of pork? Apparently, according to the National Barbecue Association (NBA)—yeah, I didn’t know they existed either—it’s the former. “Doing a whole hog lends a festive atmosphere to things,” NBA Executive Vice President Don McCullough is quoted as saying in the AP story. “Everybody wants to see it. It’s like watching a wreck.” That friends, is the quote of the year.
SUNDAY, June 25
MONDAY, June 26
Akaka won’t debate him—would you?—but our beloved U.S. Representative Ed Case (D, 2nd District) is forging ahead with his campaign to unseat the 81-year-old U.S. Senator. In fact, Case just released his 12-point “Agenda for a better America, better world,” which isn’t exactly the Queen’s English but I think we all get the idea. Anyway, Case’s “Agenda” is as modest as his backbencher career in the House. First off, presumably because this is the easiest, quickest thing he could do once he becomes 1/100th of the Senate, Case wants to “Balance Our Budget.” “We must run our country’s finances just as we would our personal and business books,” he said in a press release today. Manage the national treasury as if it were our own—isn’t that what exploded the federal budget deficit in the first place? But I digress: Case also wants to do stuff like “Secure Our Homeland,” “Lead Our World,” “Protect Our Earth,” “Fulfill Our Promises” and “Care For Ourselves.” No word yet on why Case didn’t include “Nurture Our Universe” and “Smite Our Evil Alien Overlords” to his agenda.
TUESDAY, June 27
Lot going on in the county, what with the County Council getting squeamish over all them building permits they’ve approved and the Paia minibypass road finally opening, but I would be remiss if I didn’t point out today’s CNN story on conservative talk radio host Rush Limbaugh. Court-ordered to avoid all prescription drugs—Rush allegedly gets a little too much relief from the OxyContin—Limbaugh got the shaft at Palm Beach International Airport after Customs agents found a bottle of Viagra prescribed to someone other than Rush Limbaugh in his luggage as he was returning from his Dominican Republic vacation. It’s hilarious, and horrific at the same time. Much like Limbaugh himself, Isuppose, except for the hilarious part.
Anthony Pignataro’s new 732-point “Agenda for a Better Something or Other” is due out in the fall. MTW