The Week in Review
December 13, 2007WEDNESDAY, Dec. 5
It's in the early afternoon, and I'm sitting in my Wailuku office. I'm trying not to think about the rain that's drenching the state, the little droplets of water falling from the ceiling into three wastebaskets placed on and around my desk, that all email and Internet access suddenly and mysteriously cut out about a half hour ago and especially the condition of my Kihei apartment, which is possibly flooded and certainly without power until at least midnight. Thank goodness I've got today's wonderful Honolulu Star-Bulletin story "LSD bust nets Maui couple" in front of me. Apparently, a couple from Paia (surprise) got busted by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) in Santa Cruz (another surprise), along with 20 grams of LSD—enough for "200,000 doses," according to the paper. "This alarming amount," DEA agent Javier Pena told the paper, "could provide every citizen of Watsonville with four doses each." Watsonville, eh? A town comparable to Wailuku in size and population? That is shocking. What's even more shocking is that the DEA still considers LSD-related anything to be "alarming." Is this what's become of our vaunted War on Drugs? Did we suddenly wipe out meth, crack and old-school cocaine, allowing us to focus on what the Central Intelligence Agency once considered a possible mind-control interrogation drug? Don't know if you've noticed, but Rolling Stone this month has an astonishingly good story titled "How America Lost the War on Drugs." The story lays out in nauseating detail how we as a nation have thrown away $500 billion and 35 years of effort to fight drugs, which remain to this day "cheap and plentiful." I'd check out the story if I were you—especially if you live in Watsonville.
THURSDAY, Dec. 6
Oh, boy! Today I got a press release from the Washington, D.C.-based Alliance for Worker Freedom! If you've never heard of the Alliance, it's because they're one of those far right-wing pressure groups who not only think On the Waterfront was a documentary, but that it's still applicable today. They can barely get recognition from Fox News, which probably explains why they faxed today's release on their annual state-by-state "Worker Freedom" report card to little ol' me. And it doesn't look like the Aloha State did very well: "Hawaii scored 0 out of 10, earning the state a 'F,'" according to the press release from "Director of Policy" Brian M. Johnson. "Hawaii is turning its back on working citizens and alligning [sic] with Big Labor and union-thugs at every chance." Yeah, Hawaii will do that. Good thing we've got the Alliance to stand up for us working slobs. Yeah, stick it to Big Labor and their incessant demands for fewer firings and more modest cuts in health benefits! Screw union-thugs and their poorly-attended informational pickets!
|Is this your idea of "Worker Freedom?"|
FRIDAY, Dec. 7
It must be Finals Week, because I'm getting state-by-state report cards from everyone. The latest comes to us from two groups—the Better Government Association and National Freedom of Information Coalition—which for some reason want to make it easier for citizens to get documents and records from governments. Anyway, their latest report card on state responsiveness to freedom of information requests gives Hawai'i another big fat F. "The tools available to citizens to enforce their rights under state FOI laws are, with rare exceptions, endemically weak," says a press release on the report card. "A stunning 38 states earned F ratings, with the rest scattered between C and D. The results are dismal, the details depressing even to hardened FOI observers who knew the national situation was grim." I'd like to think that our state officials will gasp at these findings and make it easier for people to get information—which was, after all, created at taxpayer expense—but given the fact that we can't find a way to keep our roads from flooding when it rains, I doubt this will be a high priority for our elected officials… Oh wait, before I go: did you happen to see the front page of today's Maui News? There's a teaser at the top of the page for a story on the anniversary of the 1941 Pearl Harbor attacks that says, I kid you not, "Pearl Harbor upended lives." Who knew? When I pointed this out to my pal Ron (who served in the navy—ours, I think), he explained that "Pearl Harbor would've gotten more press and national empathy had not the Second World War started at almost the same time."
SATURDAY, Dec. 8
Oh wow, look at this: an "unknown amount of sewage" spilled into the waters off North Beach at Ka'anapali this week, according to today's Maui News. The spill, which occurred very close to the Lahaina Wastewater Treatment Plant, led state health officials to tell people to stay out of the ocean. Given the fact that this spill comes just three weeks after our cover story "Change the Channel!" (Nov. 15, 2007) about West Maui Preservation Association's findings of significant bacteria readings in that very same area, can state officials please do a complete bacteria survey of Honokowai Channel and the surrounding waters? Is that too much to ask?
SUNDAY, Dec. 9
Woohoo! Even with all the rains that drenched us this week, the drought that's plaguing Upcountry and South Maui is still on! I was getting worried, but county Water Supply officials offered the reassurance in today's Maui News: "I'm still asking people to conserve," county water director Jeff Eng told the paper, "not just because of the waterline breaks [from the storm], but just because it's raining and it's in wintertime we tend to lose track of what we need to do year round."
MONDAY, Dec. 10
Feeling better now?
TUESDAY, Dec. 11
I can't decide who is more at fault for all this—LSD dealers or union thugs. Really, the blame could go either way.
Anthony Pignataro wonders if the Writers Guild strike means the end of television as we know it, and whether this is a bad thing. MTW
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