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Batten down the wallets, here come the legislators

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The political winds are gusting and the local job market is soaring as we "flASHback" on the week’s news that amused and confused:

» A series of cold fronts buffeted the state with high winds and heavy rain for much of the week. It’s nature’s traditional way of reminding us to hide the valuables and secure the children before the Legislature blows into session.

» Majority Democrats still haven’t organized the state House less than a week before the start of the session. They figure a legislative food fight is as good a way as any to pass the time while they wait for Gov. Neil Abercrombie to figure out the state budget.

» Embattled House Speaker Calvin Say is holding talks with Democratic dissidents who oppose him to work out a power-sharing agreement. The prevailing side gets to share power with the HGEA.

» The eight-member GOP caucus offered to break the stalemate in Say’s favor without conditions, but he’s been slow to accept. You know your popularity has hit bottom when dangling a free hambone won’t get the other dogs to play with you.

» Local Republicans, who have fought bitterly among themselves since their election losses, have invited Newt Gingrich of "Contract with America" fame to speak at their Lincoln Day dinner. Maybe he can help them write a contract with reality.

» State Senate leaders proposed to end the invocations traditionally offered by clergy before floor sessions after complaints about the separation of church and state. So it’s official: They seldom have a clue; now they won’t have a prayer, either.

» A member of the state fireworks task force said looking for illegal aerials is like finding a needle in a haystack. Good comparison, if it’s a needle that explodes in fountains of color and leaves a trail of smoke back to where it was launched.

» The task force recommended using explosives-sniffing dogs to help law enforcers ferret out black-market rockets. Perhaps they should consider guide dogs to point out those trails of smoke.

» Diagnostic Laboratory Services Inc. reported that the number of Hawaii employees testing positive for marijuana use increased 30 percent in the last quarter of 2010. That’s one way for a depressed job market to finally hit a new high.

» The University of Hawaii said students’ personal data will remain vulnerable to computer breaches unless it gets $1.9 million more for online security. Now there’s an inspiring recruiting slogan: "Go to college; lose your identity."

And the quotation of the week … from Big Island Mayor Billy Kenoi in a letter to state legislators: "The unavoidable truth is we now have a county government that we cannot afford." He’s hoping the state government we can’t afford will bail him out.

David Shapiro can be reached at or


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