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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Saturday, February 20, 2010

Of frogs, ducks and other Isle quacks

By David Shapiro

Noisy varmints and ailing fowl lead our "flASHback" on the week's news that amused and confused:

• Sen. Clayton Hee sounded an alarm about the growing coqui frog problem on O'ahu's Windward side, punctuating his point by playing a tape of shrieking pests. One of my blog wags thinks he recorded it at the Senate's daily croakus.

• Because of budget cuts, the Lingle administration may discontinue testing dead birds for lethal viruses. No point checking the pulse of lame ducks, either.

• House Speaker Calvin Say wants to balance the budget by selling state lands that are "not essential to the public health, safety and welfare." Well, the Capitol would make a swinging karaoke megaplex.

• Former Bush administration political czar Karl Rove is here next week to headline a $125 dinner and a $2,500 breakfast to raise money for local GOP candidates. When breakfast costs that much more than dinner, you know what goes on in between.

• Does anybody know what Rove is doing for lunch? At those rates, we could all meet at Zippy's and clear half the state deficit.

• State elections officials say they probably won't be able to hold a special election by May 1 to replace Neil Abercrombie in the 1st Congressional District. They need time to print ballots, hire staff and get voters used to the idea of letting Dan Inouye name the winner.

• The state Ethics Commission warned legislators not to accept $200 tickets from lobbyists for an Inouye testimonial dinner, but there's no ethics problem when lobbyists give lawmakers $2,000 cash for their campaigns. You know you've been around Hawai'i politics too long when that logic starts to make sense.

• A national report ranked Hawai'i the happiest place to live in the United States. I guess there are some advantages to a poor education.

• University of Hawai'i regents pressed athletic director Jim Donovan for a timetable on when UH sports can pay off their $10 million debt and become profitable. When Halema'uma'u freezes over?

And the quote of the week ... from deputy state budget director Barbara Annis on mistakes by health trust employees that put hundreds of state and county retirees into the wrong insurance plan: "They've been working long hours. They've done as much as we could expect any employee to do." So they admit that screwing up is the best we can expect from the state?