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Thursday, April 24, 2014         

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State politics potpourri smells like mean spirit

By David Shapiro

POSTED:



The governor locks the Judiciary and legislators open the doors to an empty House as we "flASHback" on the week's news that amused and confused:

» Defying the state open-records office, Gov. Neil Abercrombie continues to shroud his judicial selections in secrecy by withholding the names of Supreme Court candidates. His memory of the Age of Aquarius is getting so fuzzy that he thinks the theme song was "Let the Monkeyshines In."

» The Legislature is considering bills by Rep. Scott Saiki and Sen. Carol Fukunaga to ban kids from buying toy guns. Our lawmakers are living proof that you don't need real bullets to shoot yourself in the foot.

» Under a pilot project this month, visitors can tour the House chamber even when legislators aren't in session. It'll attract the same people who enjoy watching zoo keepers clean up after the chimps while they nap.

» Rep. Marcus Oshiro sought to ban loud car stereos, complaining, "All you hear is this boom, boom. Boom, boom, boom, boom. That's all you hear." Perhaps Marcus should try switching to decaf before trying to run an entire industry out of business.

» The Senate Health Committee voted down a "death with dignity" bill for terminally ill patients. It's a trifecta of misery: The state wants to tax their pensions, cut their Medicaid benefits and force them to stick around to endure it.

» The governor is proposing to slap a 10-cent tax on a can of soda and double the tax on beer to the highest rate in the nation, while the city considers jacking up water rates. They can't squeeze taxpayers any more, so now they're dehydrating us.

» Honolulu City Council members demanded an apology from radio host Rush Limbaugh for mocking China's president. I'm guessing Chinatown residents would rather the Council direct its ire at the rats, pimps and drug dealers on their streets.

» Most residents of Mayor Wright housing remain without hot water as the Hawaii Public Housing Authority pipes in tepid excuses. Looks like it's going to take a judge to remind the pencil pushers what hot water feels like.

» A state panel wants to know what's taking so long for the Myron B. Thompson Academy to get to the bottom of the principal's hiring of relatives for jobs at the charter school. Her uncle is trying to fit the investigation into his schedule.

And the quotation of the week ... from Senate Ways and Means Chairman David Ige on a bill to raid special funds to balance the budget: "There are lots of areas that are obviously not good ideas. There are many provisions that are unconstitutional; there are many provisions that may violate federal law." In other words, a typical bill in the Hawaii Legislature.

David Shapiro can be reached at volcanicash@gmail.com or blog.volcanicash.net.






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