This Week in Review
October 05, 2006
WEDNESDAY, Sept. 27
Our Primary Election results are barely certified and the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) has already pulled their long knives on Mazie Hirono, the Democratic candidate for Hawai`i's Second District seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.
"At a time when the U.S. is fighting a War on Terror and challenging
the nuclear ambitions of Iran and North Korea, Mazie Hirono's call for
the creation of a Department of Peace
is a chillingly dangerous admission about how out of touch she is with
protecting our nation," NRCC spokesman Alex Burgos said in an email
sent out yesterday. "Hawaii's Second District deserves a representative
who will work every day to protect them from the terrorist threat, not
a big government peacenik who's oblivious to the fact that we are a
nation at war." The proposed Department of Peace—which actually dates
back to 1792—is "chillingly dangerous?" More chillingly dangerous than,
say, the current Republican congressional efforts to eviscerate the Nuremberg war
crimes precedents that the U.S. pushed for in the late 1940's? In fact,
the GOP is so emphatic about exempting the U.S. from any international
war crimes or humanitarian laws that Republicans recently squashed an
insurgency among U.S. Senate Republicans led by John McCain
(R, Arizona)—an ex-naval aviator who was himself beaten and tortured by
the North Vietnamese Army in open defiance of international laws
banning the brutalizing of prisoners. It's a pathetic commentary on the
state of contemporary National Security politics in Washington, but
Hirono could actually cement her legacy in Congress by doing nothing
else but fighting Republican efforts to legalize torture and war
crimes, which will do little for our nation's protection but much to
expose our own troops to torture should they get captured.
THURSDAY, Sept. 28
FRIDAY, Sept. 29
So The Maui News tells us today that the proposed Superferry
is "on schedule." Aren't you all happy to hear that? Of course, we'll
all have to "make some adjustments" once the big boats start tying up
at Kahului Harbor—what they
are exactly, the paper doesn't really say beyond the fact that the
giant auto-ferries will cause "some impact" on nearby Ka`ahumanu Avenue—but
isn't making ill-defined and ambiguous adjustments just a part of life?
Of course, the Superferry will be "very painful for a lot of
people"—but by "a lot of people," they actually just mean "travelers
who pick up a plant from tutu's garden on another island." For the rest
of us, nothing but good times, says Superferry director Terry O'Halloran. That's because "he believes the operational problems are being worked out." And who wants to question that? Those luddites
at a recent public hearing who "reverted to a demand" for a full
Environmental Impact Statement? Hogwash! "The issue has already been
litigated," the paper tells us, implying that those people should just
shut their pie holes. As for those pansies worried that the super-fast
Superferry will drive over humpback whales, The Maui News itself
assures us that "Whales will be avoided as much as possible." See! "As
much as possible." Isn't that just super?
SATURDAY, Sept. 30
Speaking of the Superferry, big investor Maui Land & Pineapple Co. sacked 50 employees, reports today's Maui News.
Next week they'll, as the paper puts it, "involuntarily terminate"
another 25 workers. And the future probably holds "unspecified further
layoffs." The reason? All that new, glitzy pineapple packing machinery
boosted by The Maui News a few weeks ago just needs less people to
operate it, though ML&P boss David C. Cole
says the company will still employ about 1,200 people. Now if you're
like me, this is absolutely outrageous: "involuntarily terminate?"
Couldn't The Maui News come up with a better euphemism for "fire?" Come on!
SUNDAY, Oct. 1
Guess what! The good people at Haleakala National Park would just love to "involuntarily terminate" the proposed $175 million solar telescope for Science City. "It is the National Park Service's
contention that this draft [environmental impact statement] falls far
short in adequately evaluating the numerous cumulative adverse impacts
to our resources, our visitor experiences and our overall operation,"
park Superintendent Marilyn Parris said at a public hearing in Kula this week, according to today's Maui News.
This is the highest profile opposition yet to the proposed scope, which
proponents insist will bring increased scientific knowledge of the sun,
public education and jobs. Ignoring the last benefit—nuclear weapons
production creates jobs—there's no question that the scope will help
science, but the key issue Maui residents are increasingly raising is
whether we want to help science by traipsing around sacred Hawaiian
land and on top of endangered flora and fauna. Then again, if we
worried about that all the time we wouldn't have any telescopes or
Superferries or pineapple canneries.
MONDAY, Oct. 2
So I'm driving into work this morning and I hear on Hawai`i Public
Radio that the number of people in the state using federally funded food stamps
has fallen dramatically in the last five years—20,000 people dropped
off the roles since 2001. Fantastic, I naively think, figuring that
this is part of some wonderful welfare reform program the state
implemented. Wrong: "State officials and advocates for the poor say
there are probably several factors at play in the participation drop,
including red tape involved in applying for food stamps," reported the Honolulu Advertiser
today. Red tape. Somehow, Hawai`i is now leading the nation in making
the food stamp application process so monumentally difficult and time
consuming that thousands of people are deciding instead to just
struggle without them. In fact, things are so screwed up on Maui, the Advertiser
reported that there are two food stamp application offices in
Makawao—don't ask—but none in either Hana or Lahaina. This is
outstanding—our federal government can throw billions of dollars into
the ever-growing money pit that is the War in Iraq, but it can't find a
few paltry thousand to open a food stamp application center in Hana or
Lahaina. But don't worry: George W. Bush will only be our president for another two years, three months and 18 days.
TUESDAY, Oct. 3
But we're still the richest nation on earth, right?
Anthony Pignataro is out of his mind if he thinks his new nickname "Tony the Pig" will get him chicks. MTW
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