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State definition different for ‘the land of the free’

Well, the Kaanapali vacation is over with only memories left of the exposed flesh parading up and down the beach. (My brother is such a showoff.)

So it’s back to work for another "flASHback" on the week’s news that amused and confused:

» Gov. Neil Abercrombie had to cancel plans to attend a national governors meeting in Washington because of an inner ear inflammation. He got the earache from hearing all the criticism that he doesn’t listen to anybody.

» Abercrombie and legislators remain far apart on his proposed pension tax, ending Medicare Part B reimbursements for state retirees and other measures to close a $700 million budget deficit. They’re trying to iron out their differences in a series of "nonversations."

» State senators took heat for a bill that would allow public officials to solicit free meals and receive gifts worth up to $200 from those trying to buy their support. I guess we know where the political ghost of Rod Tam came to rest.

» The Legislature took a break from floor sessions so members could get ready for next week’s crossover deadline. That’s the point in the legislative calendar when mere chaos crosses over to pure pandemonium.

» Honolulu firefighters found a large snake and four piranhas while putting out a building fire. I didn’t know the Capitol was on fire.

» Mayor Peter Carlisle’s new budget includes increases in sewer fees, zoo entrance fees and greens fees at city golf courses. He’ll get you whether you’re taking a dump, watching the elephants take a dump or dumping your ball in the bunker.

» The city is sending three Sumatran tiger cubs born at Honolulu Zoo to other facilities around the world to improve the gene pool of breeding tigers. If better breeding is the goal, I suggest we keep the tigers and ship out the City Council for genetic adjustment.

» There were reports of downtown hookers soliciting students at Central Middle School. If school lunch prices go up any higher, the kids will soon be carrying around enough cash to attract political fundraisers.

» Here’s a "flASHback" oldie from 2010, when Dan Akaka trumpeted his re-election plans: "U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka, 85, got an early jump on his next campaign, announcing, ‘God willing, I plan to run again in 2012.’ Dan Inouye will let him know soon if he’s willing."

Now, days after Inouye publicly distanced himself from Akaka’s campaign, Akaka announced his retirement, proving yet again what a blurry line it is between political jokes and political reality.

And the quotation of the week … from Council Chairman Nestor Garcia on the city’s financial condition: "We’re not as sick as we thought." I fear that might say more about his thought process than our health.

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


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