This Week in Review
August 10, 2006
WEDNESDAY, Aug. 2
The Republicans are really worried they're going to lose the U.S. House of Representatives to the Democrats this November. Know how I know? They just told me by bashing three progressive Democrats running for the not-so-progressive Ed Case's 2nd District congressional seat. "Would Brian Schatz Vote Against Hourly Workers?" screamed the message from the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC)—the main lobbying force trying to get as many Republicans elected to the House as possible. Four minutes later, an identical email—this time sporting Mazie Hirono's name instead of Schatz's—came in. Five minutes after that, they attacked Colleen Hanabusa. Each message was identical, insisting that voters "deserve to know" if Schatz/Hirono/ Hanabusa would have voted for House Resolution 5970, which passed the House on July 29. "Among other items, the legislation would increase the federal minimum wage to $7.25 an hour over three years," said the NRCC email. "Additionally, the bill would provide permanent estate and gift tax relief." See, this whole email thing is a great big bunch of bullshit designed to mess with a key congressional race. HR 5970 is a big bill—183 pages long, in fact. Of that, the first 180 pages deals with "estate tax" relief (letting rich kids keep their inheritances tax-free) and a host of other tax credits, subsidies and giveaways to the wealthy. Only on page 181 does the bill get around to raising the minimum wage, which seems to have been tacked on solely so Republicans could hammer Democrats. By the way, both Case and 1st District Representative Neil Abercrombie voted for the bill, but 22 Republicans actually voted against it. If the NRCC sent nasty emails denouncing those guys, I didn't receive them.
THURSDAY, Aug. 3
He may not have been ridiculed by the NRCC, but Democratic Kauai state Senator/2nd District candidate Gary Hooser sure knows how to get headlines. "I believe that Gary Hooser deserves to represent us," said Graham Nash of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young fame in an Aug. 2 Hooser press release. Calling Hooser "the real deal," Nash—who's identified in the release as a "legendary singer-activist"—praised Hooser's integrity, commitment to his constituents and Hendrix-like ability to play a Stratocaster with his teeth. "We have to remain vigilant about what kind of leaders we are sending to Washington," said Nash. "These men and women affect our very lives." No word yet on who Crosby, Stills and Young plan on endorsing.
FRIDAY, Aug. 4
Today I bought 13.4 gallons of what drivers used to call "cheap" 87 Octane gasoline. At $3.59 a gallon, the grand total came to $48.10. What's more, as long as public transportation on the island remains a sketchy, difficult alternative to driving, I will do this again and again and again. Is there a person on this island—or world, for that matter—who's surprised that companies like Tesoro, which operates an oil refinery on Oahu, has in the second quarter once again posted record profits? In the spring, Tesoro made $326 million in profits, up from a paltry $184 million in the same quarter from 2005. Good thing Congress refused to impose any kind of windfall profits tax on the oil companies. It would break my heart if I found out they couldn't rake in record money during these times of Middle East war and misery that have done so much to drive up the price of petroleum.
SATURDAY, Aug. 5
SUNDAY, Aug. 6
Joe Zuiker will run for you! And not just for the 2nd Congressional District, either. Joe Zuiker wants to run—I'm talking physically here—from Haleakala to Makawao to Kihei to Wailuku to Lahaina. He's apparently not taking any "special interest money," so Zuiker plans to run around the island telling people about his ideas—the war in Iraq is a disaster, massive budget deficits will harm future generations, out of control spending in congress and other nutty stuff. "Zuiker has pledged to run his ideas from the mountains to the sea," said a Zuiker press release sent out today. From the mountains to the sea? Yeah, I suppose that's impressive, though it would be something to watch him run from the sea to the mountains.
MONDAY, Aug. 7
So Makena State Beach now closes at 6 p.m. Citing a spate of assaults and problems, state Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) officials decided this weekend that both Big and Little beaches will close before sundown from now on. And you know what this means: a whole lot of pissed off naked people. "I feel like my church is being ripped away from me," Essence Satterfield, 23, of Makawao says in today's Maui News. According to DLNR officials quoted in the story, the whole decision was based on a "public safety issue" centered on repeated claims of assaults and robberies after dark. While I don't doubt this is true, there's another solution that doesn't seem to be getting any airtime: keep the beach open as usual, but post a few DLNR rangers, lifeguards or state sheriffs there. Of course, that's not going to happen because it would require a lot of money, and we all know the Lingle Administration hasn't exactly thrown a lot of money toward the DLNR. But it's cool—who said the public needs to use public beaches anyway?
TUESDAY, Aug. 8
Crude oil costs $77 a barrel? Paris Hilton says she's going to remain celibate for a year? Mayoral candidate James "Kimo" Apana tells The Maui News that he won't accept any corporate contributions? DLNRnow says the naked hippies can stay at Little Beach until sunset? I really wish people would tell me sooner that the world has ended.
Anthony Pignataro just now discovered the exciting world of Sprunch. MTW
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