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Abercrombie bemoans ‘lolos’ without mentioning ‘birthers’

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I was on a panel the other night in the old courtroom at the Judicial History Center when the acoustics got the better of my aging ears. I apologized to the audience, "I’m a wonderful listener but I can’t hear."

Just like Gov. Neil Aber­crom­bie, except he doesn’t apologize for it.

Which is a good introduction to our "flASHback" on a week of news that seemed all Neil all the time as the state absorbed the tsunami fallout and a worsening budget crunch.

» Abercrombie rallied Hawaii to be aggressive and not lie down in the face of fears about falling Japa­nese tourism and sagging state revenues. Good for him. In these times we need a leader who sees his tin cup as half full instead of half empty.

» The governor assured residents and visitors that Hawaii is in no danger of nuclear drift from Japan and has a monitoring station to detect radiation increases. It’s a simple system in which they put Lt. Gov. Brian Schatz on the roof and sound the alarm if he starts to glow.

» Abercrombie, who promised "without equivocation" while campaigning not to raise the general excise tax, said this week he’s "flexible" on the matter, then issued a statement that it’s not currently under consideration. He’s certainly flexible on the definition of "equivocation."

» Civil Defense is concerned that many residents who live outside the tsunami danger zone unnecessarily headed for higher ground during last week’s scare. The new phone books will include instructions on curing premature evacuation.

» State Sen. Donna Mercado Kim, known for her bare-knuckled probes of administrative misdeeds, said she might run for retiring U.S. Sen. Daniel Aka­ka’s seat. As long as she doesn’t use her subpoena power to make voters turn out for her.

» A scientific study said sharks sink to incredible depths to search for food in a phenomenon called "yo-yo diving." Basically, it’s the same instinct that drives legislators to hunt for free tickets to charity dinners.

» As Hawaii’s gasoline prices became the first in the nation to hit $4 a gallon, Mayor Peter Carlisle and the City Council are still considering raising the city gas tax. They say it’s a core government function to make bad situations worse.

» Presidential hopeful Donald Trump said he doubts President Ba­rack Obama was born in Hawaii and that it doesn’t make him an idiot. That’s true. He was an idiot long before he joined the "birthers."

And the quotation of the week … from Aber­crom­bie: "There were a few lolos out there. … Aside from those folks, everybody else paid attention." Now there’s an economical use of words when the same comment can serve as an assessment of both our tsunami response and the first half of the legislative session.


David Shapiro can be reached at or

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