I’ve put the election in my rearview mirror by voting absentee, but as a public service to those still pondering the choices, here’s a "flASHback" on the week’s news that amused and confused:
» Gubernatorial rivals James "Duke" Aiona and Neil Abercrombie pressed each other for details on how they’d balance the state budget. I keep confusing which candidate favors smoke and mirrors and which prefers shells and peas.
» Abercrombie derided as a waste of time Aiona’s call for an audit to track the Department of Education’s $2.4 billion in annual spending. Those Democrats never run out of new applications for "don’t ask, don’t tell."
» Aiona accused Abercrombie of negative campaigning after his supporters spread information about Aiona’s ties to a controversial religious group. The Republicans will strike back by stepping up their negative praying.
» Abercrombie celebrated an endorsement by Barack Obama, while Aiona claimed the support of University of Hawaii football mascot Vili the Warrior. Talk about a contrast. One is an admired local son who symbolizes the best of Hawaii to the nation. The other is president of the United States.
» Our baby-faced candidates for lieutenant governor are split on whether they’ll run for governor in the future; Democrat Brian Schatz admitted he’d like the top job, but Republican Lynn Finnegan thought they should put first things first. Like getting out of diapers.
» Gov. Linda Lingle visited Honolulu Hale to cast her last walk-in vote as governor. She tried to keep walking, but her security detail called her back, saying, "Sorry, Governor, you’ve still got 45 days to go."
» A woman was arrested for allegedly hitting her boyfriend with a coffee mug during an argument over finances. Since when is it a crime to re-enact a Charles Djou-Colleen Hanabusa debate on stimulus spending?
» Board of Education candidate Brian Yamane said he’s more confused than when he started about money needs in the schools and asked, "Is there a map they’re following?" If the candidates need a map for their confusion, voters need an atlas.
» Candidates and political parties are trying to figure out how they can best appeal to swing voters who remain undecided. Lower their voices?
» UH President M.R.C. Greenwood isn’t moving into the College Hill manor after a $372,000 renovation and expects to keep a $5,000-a-month "temporary" allowance to rent elsewhere. I’m sure students are happy to study in dilapidated classrooms so their leader can upgrade from a mansion.
And the quote of the week … from Mayor Peter Carlisle on the homeless problem: "What we’ve done right now is made a system where it’s virtually a lose-lose every time when we deal with it." It didn’t take him long to figure out what local government does best.