WEDNESDAY, June 28
I don’t normally do this, but today I’m going to cheer U.S. Senator Daniel Inouye (D, Hawai’i). That’s because yesterday he was one of the 34 brave senators who killed the Republican Party’s proposed amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would make burning an American flag a federal offense. What, didn’t you know that people burning American flags is the most pressing and important issue in the land right now? So important that we need to rewrite our constitution? Anyway, the Republicans needed 67 votes to win, but the impending election-nervous GOP could only muster 66 votes to approve this craven sop to the Republican’s caveman constituency. “This objectionable expression is obscene, it is painful, it is unpatriotic,” Inouye said during the debate, according to today’s New York Times. “But I believe Americans gave their lives in many wars to make certain all Americans have a right to express themselves, even those who harbor hateful thoughts.” For those quick to judge Inouye a commie-pinko-loving-liberal, I’d like to point out that he’s also a World War II Medal of Honor winner, which he earned for showing great bravery as he led his men even while being desperately wounded. So there.
THURSDAY, June 29
Okay, listen up folks: just got word from my good buddy U.S. Congressman Ed Case (D, 2nd District) that his campaign to unseat U.S. Senator Daniel Akaka (D, Hawai’i) is not going so well and he needs money. Lots of money. Oh, and it’s got to happen by tomorrow. That’s the deadline for the latest filing with the Federal Election Commission (FEC), and Case wants to “maximize our contributions on or prior to June 30th,” he said in a statement emailed to supporters yesterday. See, Case is running what us political science types call a “grass roots” campaign. In layman’s terms, this means Case is a long-shot outsider who can’t attract any big money, so he’s having to scrape up as many small contributions from regular citizens as possible. So far, Case hasn’t been too bad—his most recent FEC report, which he filed April 19 of this year, showed he had about $266,000 in the bank. This sounds like a lot of money, except that Akaka’s filing, which came out at roughly the same time, showed the incumbent senator had a whopping $868,146 on hand. “We will likely be out-spent by our opponent, who is supported largely by powerful special interest money not interested in constructive change for our state and country,” wrote Case, who believes the U.S. is right to “stay the course” in Iraq, in his email to supporters. “The question is whether we will nonetheless have sufficient financial resources to get our message to Hawai’i’s voters by election day and to counter the negative campaigning which has already begun and will no doubt accelerate.”
FRIDAY, June 30
There’s a provocative correction in today’s Maui News. Seems the paper goofed in getting the sponsor right on an upcoming “meet and greet” political luncheon. On June 27, the paper reported that the real estate industry is sponsoring a big shindig for former mayor/current mayoral candidate James “Kimo” Apana. Given Apana’s ironclad ties to local developers, don’t feel bad if that kind of thing makes you queasy. But have no fear! See, according to today’s correction, it’s actually Apana’s campaign that’s throwing the party for the real estate people. Don’t you feel better now?
SATURDAY, July 1
SUNDAY, July 2
Hey, remember earlier this week when I said Case needs your money? Yeah, apparently he needs your support, too. A poll released today that was conducted for the Honolulu Advertiser says 51 percent of likely voters in Hawai’i will vote for Akaka while just 40 percent back Case. Ironically, the poll said Case is more popular on Oahu than the Neighbor Islands, which make up much of Case’s congressional district… In other poll news, Governor Linda Lingle has a 46-point lead over Democratic challenger and former state Senator Randall Iwase (as well as a 46-point lead over “Don’t know/Refused to state”) and a 59-point lead over Waianae harbor master and fellow Democratic hopeful William Aila, Jr. (here, “Don’t know” did better than Aila, coming in just 45 points behind Lingle). You know, you pit “Don’t know” against Lingle head to head—you could have a pretty decent race.
MONDAY, July 3
So today I was sitting in my office doing something really important that I can’t remember right now when my boss Tommy walked in. “Did you know there’s a couple people downstairs protesting?” he asked. To which I answered, “Protesting? Protesting me?” “No, not you. The rainforest.” “They’re protesting the rainforest?!” “No, they want people to save the rainforest. They’re standing downstairs, holding a sign and some branches.” “Branches? What branches?” “I don’t know what branches. Why don’t you go down there and ask them? You are a reporter, aren’t you?” So I grabbed my notepad and went downstairs. There I found Roxanne and Amberly, two very earnest Seabury Hall students, standing in the shade by the front gate. They were spending their day not by going to the beach or the mall or by putting more music on their MySpace pages, but by good, honest agitation. In this case they were standing in front of 33 Market Street in Wailuku while holding some large tree branches they “found behind the building” and a crude piece of cardboard on which they scrawled “Save the Rainforests!!! They were here first.” They said they were going to stay there until the rainforests were saved or it got to be 2:30, whichever came first. I was about to point out that the cardboard they were holding could have come from a rainforest, but then I realized that they might counter that my notepad could have come from a rainforest, too, so I wished them luck and left it at that.
TUESDAY, July 4
In case anyone cares, Lingle has $3.17 million in the bank, and she’s already pledged to spend twice that on her campaign. Given her recent poll numbers, I don’t think that’s going to happen.
Anthony Pignataro wants to save the rainforests, but just doesn’t have the room right now. MTW