This Week in Review
WEDNESDAY, May 2
May 10, 2007
THURSDAY, May 3
Look who's back in the news—it's the Akaka Bill! Today's Honolulu Star-Bulletin reports that the U.S. House Natural Resources Committee—why it has jurisdiction over Native Hawaiians, the article doesn't say—has passed the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act—and sent it on to the full House. Now don't get your hopes up, people. Democrats may control both houses of Congress, but old George W. Bush
still reigns supreme over on Pennsylvania Avenue. And he doesn't like
the Akaka Bill because, according to a posting on today's Honolulu Advertiser
website, he says it will lead to "secession," "balkanization" and
"racially isolated government." Now, as is usually the case with
statements from the Bush Administration, this is all wrong. And I don't
mean wrong as in factually incorrect, but wrong in that everything
about the assertions is absolute, mind-numbing, ridiculous nonsense.
Were it the case that the Akaka Bill would lead to Native Hawaiian
independence, then Native Hawaiian sovereignty activists like Dennis "Bumpy" Pu`uhonua Kanahele wouldn't be vehemently opposing it. "This bill basically makes the Hawaiian people wards of the federal government through the Department of the Interior, similar to the Native American Indians," Kanahele told Maui Time back in 2005. "This is not self-determination. This bill does not immediately address the issues we have."
FRIDAY, May 4
The Honolulu papers are buzzing with news that the U.S. Navy's new $2.5 billion nuclear-powered attack submarine USS Hawaii is getting commissioned this weekend. Governor Linda Lingle
even flew all the way to Groton, Connecticut to speak at the ceremony.
Am I the only one who sees astonishing hypocrisy in all this? I mean,
the U.S. military conquered Hawai`i in the late 19th century. And now
that very same military will go off and perhaps conquer new lands in
the name of these islands? Doesn't that strike anyone as just a tad
ironic? Of course, the navy has in the recent past commissioned
submarines named Honolulu and Kamehameha—the
latter carried nuclear missiles—so I suppose it's a little late now to
be worrying about this. Though I have to say that usually staid papers
like the Honolulu Advertiser
have been carried away by the hype, apparently for the sole reason that
the boat is named after our state. For instance, that paper's own
writers posted this little line yesterday on the paper's website: "Hawaii
will ensure the United States maintains undersea dominance, in both
deep and shallow waters, well into this century." Undersea dominance!
Hurray! Take that, sperm whales! We'll show you, giant squids! Your days are numbered, um, volcanic vent-hugging tube worms! You think you rule the murky depths? Not any more, you don't! Now if only we could somehow convince Al Qaeda to invest billions of dollars in ultra-quiet nuclear-powered subs, then we could defeat them, too!
SATURDAY, May 5
Caught Uncle Charlie Maxwell's radio show this morning on Fox News 900, KNUI-AM. His guest was Kaleikoa Ka`eo, an Hawaiian Studies instructor at Maui Community College,
and they talked a bit about the Akaka Bill—you know, its failings,
empty promises, hollow dreams, etc. Saying he supports the bill, Uncle
Charlie nonetheless explained that he really liked the bill's original
wording years ago—the one that allowed Native Hawaiians to challenge
the U.S. military's holding of so much Hawaiian land, for instance—but
now the bill has been "watered down" by many "scary" amendments
attached to it by Republicans.
He said backers should hold hearings on every island so Hawaiians can
testify about their support—or lack thereof. He said the bill does
nothing to address issues like ceded lands. Of course, Ka`eo completely
agreed. Now let's think about this a moment: Democratic U.S. Senators Daniel Akaka and Daniel Inouye
both support the bill. So does Republican Governor Lingle. They say it
will help the Hawaiian people. So I ask again: why do well-respected
Hawaiians like Kanahele, Ka`eo and Uncle Charlie keep saying the bill
will do nothing of the sort?
SUNDAY, May 6
In regards to today's Honolulu Star-Bulletin
editorial "Contacts with Syria, Iran indicate progress," is it too much
to ask that we stop using the word "progress" when talking about the
war in Iraq? It's a bit on the absurd side these days, considering how
hundreds of Iraqi civilians
are still getting shot and blown apart every week throughout the
country. For the same reason we should quit using "encouraging"—you
know the death rate of U.S. soldiers
in Iraq averages nearly four per day now? And while we're at it, can we
stop using the phrase "good behavior" when talking in diplomatic terms
about how other nations should act when we tell them what to do? Why is
that the U.S. reserves the right to act in our own narrow "national
interests," but it's not "good behavior" if other nations defy our
wishes and act in their own national interests? I'm asking questions
that don't have any answers again, aren't I?
MONDAY, May 7
Shifting away from matters of war and minority rights for the
moment, it's time to talk about something far, far more important: food.
We've been seeing a lot of advertising—TV, radio, bumper
stickers—telling us to buy locally grown produce, and according to
today's Advertiser, it's
working. "Hawai`i's production of fresh fruits and vegetables has
roughly doubled since the 1960's," the paper reports. And this is
great, wonderful, stupendous news, except for one small caveat: "[T]he
amount of imported fresh produce has more than tripled in the same
period." Nooooo! Once again, we've been stung by that soulless cur
known as the global economy! Will the madness—and by madness, I mean low mainland land and labor costs—ever end? But there is hope on the horizon—the Advertiser reports that state Agricultural Department is busy printing up "Hawai`i Seal of Quality" stickers for
those local growers who don't mind paying a half cent per use to tell
buyers their fruits and veggies came from right here. Hurray! The
stickers will save us!
TUESDAY, May 8
Wishing I could rest.
Anthony Pignataro can say honestly and frankly that he does not have blue eyes. MTW
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