Sunday, October 4, 2015         


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Obamas' Christmas visit puts annual wrap on isles

By David Shapiro


The holiday lights provide a fuzzy glow as we "flASHback" on the week's news that amused and confused:

» President Obama and family will arrive in shifts for their third straight Hawaii Christmas. He's already dressed for the beach after fellow Democrats who were huhu about the tax deal, including our own Rep. Mazie Hirono, stripped him down to his skivvies.

» Restrictions were eased on tour and training flights during the first family's visit this year, but rules still ban introductory flight lessons for foreign students. We live in crazy times when the president has to be protected by security measures that would have grounded his own father.

» Hawaii Sen. Daniel Inouye was shot down in his attempt to pass an earmark-laden $1.27 trillion spending bill, including $321 million for Hawaii, before Republicans gain power. Denying Inouye his pork is like taking away Popeye's spinach.

» Gov. Neil Abercrombie promised to bring back all Hawaii inmates serving their sentences in mainland prisons. Why do we worry more about bringing our convicts home than keeping our brightest young minds from moving away?

» The governor approved the delayed environmental impact statement for the $5.5 billion Oahu rail project and Mayor Peter Carlisle was thrilled to get his train for Christmas. If only he could get Santa to pay for it.

» Abercrombie removed his jacket and hit the dance floor during a stop of his inaugural tour on Maui. Thank goodness the song ended before he could tear off his shirt and thump his chest.

» Abercrombie's defeated election foes headed for cushy landings, with James "Duke" Aiona named VP for Saint Louis School and Mufi Hannemann becoming president of the Hawaii Hotel & Lodging Association. It gives new meaning to what the late Judge Samuel P. King said after running for governor against John A. Burns: "I got lucky. I lost."

» Hannemann returned to City Hall for the unveiling of his official portrait in the gallery of former mayors. Who ever thought Hannemann and Jeremy Harris would end up hanging together?

» After Democrats all but ran the table in the recent election for governor, Congress and the Legislature, Hawaii Republicans are reported to be fighting among themselves. It sounds like a tempest in a tea party to me.

» Seven police officers charged with overtime falsification that prosecutors say caused dismissal of more than 200 DUI cases want the city to pay their attorneys' fees. It's a new legal theory called innocent until proven absurd.

And the quote of the week ... from University of Hawaii quarterback Bryant Moniz on the resilience of the Warriors in coming back after being knocked down and declared dead: "We're the cockroaches." For us old-timers, make that the Rainbow Cockroaches.

David Shapiro can be reached at or

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