POSTED: 1:30 a.m. HST, Mar 26, 2011
The Legislature trimmed the number of bills under consideration to about 600 from 3,224, but the "all clear" siren has yet to sound as we "flASHback" on another week's news that amused and confused:
» Legislative leaders said they're open to all ideas for regenerating the state's fortunes. Here's one from the great Tom Lehrer that still seems relevant: "Two, four, six, eight; time to transubstantiate!"
» A bill to establish a state-run ferry system similar to the ill-fated Hawaii Superferry passed a Senate committee. There's no better way to learn from failure than to fail again.
» The House Judiciary Committee shelved a bill to make attorney general an elected office because it didn't draw much public interest. As if anything that involves going to vote draws public interest in Hawaii.
» The House is putting its mark on a Senate bill to allow lawmakers to take free meals and other gifts from special interests. The latest version would require lobbyists to have their mothers pack bentos for legislators during late-night conference committees.
» Hilo Rep. Jerry Chang fell victim to an online scam that sent bogus emails to 850 of his contacts saying he was stranded on a trip to London and needed $2,800. The message puzzled his lobbyist friends, who thought they'd already paid for the trip.
» The House gutted a bill to help students buy school supplies and replaced it with language legalizing poker tournaments in Hawaii. No wonder public schools are in trouble when our lawmakers are more concerned with inside straights than straight A's.
» Gov. Neil Abercrombie renewed his pledge to bring Hawaii inmates home from mainland prisons without heavy spending on new correctional facilities here. The trick is in managing the escapes.
» The state and counties might offer minifurloughs to government employees to sweeten new labor contracts. Former legislator Rod Tam proposed that benefit for public workers years ago. He called the concept "naps."
» The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said the world's oldest wild bird, a 60-year-old albatross named Wisdom, survived the tsunami at Midway Atoll. That's great news. It's heartbreaking to see any creature perish before he's old enough to represent Hawaii in the U.S. Senate.
» Waipahu High is taking ninth-graders with failing grades to the homeless encampment at Keaau Beach Park to see what could become of them. If they're still failing in the 10th grade, they'll be taken to the Legislature.
And the quotation of the week … from U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood on Oahu's $5.5 billion rail project: "We don't do projects unless they're done by the book. … This project is being done by the book." The plan to pay for it comes straight out of "The Book of Common Prayer."
David Shapiro can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or blog.volcanicash.net.