WEDNESDAY, Aug. 16
Yippee! U.S. Senator Daniel Akaka (D, Hawai`i) and U.S. Representative Ed Case (D, 2nd District) are finally going to debate each other! We’ve got to wait until Aug. 31 to see it, and then we’ve got to watch PBS, but on the whole, this is probably a good thing. The voters just haven’t seen enough of the two Democrats arguing with each other over the War in Iraq (Case is for, Akaka’s agin); the environment (both are for it, though Akaka voted to drill for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge); and Hawaiian Sovereignty (both are for it, though Akaka’s been ripping Case’s sincerity, which Case denies). But mostly, we will all finally be able to put this ridiculous debate over whether to have a debate behind us. “We are interested in participating in something that will be informative, even and dignified,” Akaka spokesperson Elisa Yadao says in today’s Honolulu Star-Bulletin. Dignified? If Akaka wants to participate in something “dignified” then he better get out of the Senate. Hell, one of Akaka’s own colleagues, Senator George Allen (R, Virginia) just made an ass out of himself by publicly calling an Indian-American man a “Makaka,” which is either a monkey or a racial slur directed against African-Americans—take your pick as to which is more “dignified.”
THURSDAY, Aug. 17
Wearing a bright orange polo shirt, beige cargo shorts and a gray beard, lefty columnist, author and island timeshare owner Robert Scheer spoke for nearly two hours tonight at Maui Booksellers in Wailuku. Scheer is the guy who got Jimmy Carter to say in a 1976 Playboy Magazine interview that he had “lust in my heart”—those of you who didn’t live through this have no idea how big a deal it was at the time—and he was at the small bookstore reading from and signing his newest book Playing President, which is a collection of thoughts on every U.S. President going back to Richard Nixon. Before a crowd of nearly 50 people, Scheer said some interesting things which for space reasons I’ve chosen to radically condense into the following quote : “I think the [Bush Administration] is part of a process that destroys common sense, that destroys responsibility. Nixon went to great pains to say [to me] that [Ronald] Reagan was not a ‘right wing kook.’ Carter is the best ex-president we’ve ever had [but] he was a shitty president. I don’t want to go light on Reagan, but there’s no question there was a there, there. He had a sense of reality. Same thing for George Bush’s father—he actually played the game of baseball, rather than just cheerleading. I teach 600 students a year at USC. They’re great, but we’ve made them stupid with our testing process. My students [also] have absolutely no sense of history. The reason we have international terrorism is to have an enemy. What was Hitler’s pitch? What was Stalin’s pitch? We’re besieged by enemies! And they ended up getting their own people killed and their treasure wasted. Where is the patriotism in that? We learn about countries when we invade them and when we leave we don’t care. We don’t even know how many poor people we have because they don’t even keep the stats anymore. Democrats should take a page out of the Republican playbook and support people of principle. In a parliamentary system, you don’t get a total doofus in power because you have to prove yourself to your peers. The parliament in Iraq has unanimously voted to support Hezbollah. The whole parliament—it’s the only thing they’ve agreed on. [Bill] O’Reilly said I’m the most irresponsible journalist in the whole world. I think I’m going to put that on the back of the book.”
FRIDAY, Aug. 18
SATURDAY, Aug. 19
Wait, he’s talking about George W. Bush, president and commander-in-chief of the most powerful nation in history.
SUNDAY, Aug. 20
Yeah, I’m scared, too.
MONDAY, Aug. 21
So the Honolulu Advertiser has a big story today on campaign signs. “Hawai`i law prohibits the placement of political signs on any public property, including median strips, sidewalks, fences and rights of way,” said the story. Come on! This is Hawai`i! We’ve got to have signs lining every street corner and chain-link fence in the state! Do you really think posting signs on privately owned walls, fences and yards will do the trick? If not for the signs, what kind of campaigns would he have? You want a bunch of candidates walking down your street and knocking on your door? I didn’t think so.
TUESDAY, Aug. 22
Just finished reading a report from the group Housing for the Local Person (HLP) on a series of talk story sessions on affordable housing. Hey, if you ever feel that life is just going wonderfully, read something like this. “Housing on Maui is priced far beyond the budgets of many of the people who shared their stories at a series of five sessions held around the island in June and July,” stated the report, which was mailed to County Council Housing and Human Concerns Committee Chairman Danny Mateo. “What is affordable housing for you?” read one survey question given to all participants. “Ability to pay for housing without having to sacrifice food, gas and other necessities,” said one resident. A single mother told of moving her family 17 times in 20 years. Another participant from Kihei offered that “We would be very happy in a small two-bedroom plantation-style home that is under $250,000 [but] they don’t exist.” How many more elections do we have to suffer through before those who win finally start holding land developers accountable for this?
Anthony Pignataro’s latest book, Archipelago of Doom: How Hilary Duff, That Guy Who Played Goober on The Andy Griffith Show and I spent our Summer Vacation, is not currently being optioned by Random House. MTW