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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Saturday, March 6, 2010

Furlough politicians, and start with Tam

By David Shapiro

We dodged one bullet but still have others to duck as we "flASHback" on the week's news that amused and confused:

• An earthquake in Chile set off tsunami alarms in Hawai'i, but after all the commotion, the waves didn't do much more than muddy the waters. Kind of like the Legislature.

• Many warning sirens around the state didn't go off because their batteries failed. That's what happens when you put the Energizer Bunny on furlough.

• Mayor Mufi Hannemann was on a flight back from the Mainland and missed the tsunami scare. The first thing he did when he got home was check the Civil Defense hat that says "Mayor" on it for Kirk Caldwell's DNA.

• Neil Abercrombie postponed his big speech to open his campaign headquarters for governor because of the tsunami alert. Too bad. Renewable energy researchers could have learned a lot about whether wind generates more power than water.

• Gov. Linda Lingle claimed state auditor Marion Higa's criticism of her administration was "shoddy," "unprofessional" and "politically motivated." It was hard to tell if the governor was getting her lines from a teleprompter or a mirror.

• Big surprise, Hawai'i's public school system didn't make the cut for millions of federal Race to the Top dollars that reward educational excellence. Luckily, the bad news came in a week when the schools had a furlough Friday to sulk about it.

• A bill under under consideration in the Legislature would scrap junior kindergarten for thousands of children in the public schools. Our keiki are never too young to get kicked to the curb.

• Councilman Rod Tam agreed to reimburse the city $13,700 for meals he wrongly billed, calling it a misunderstanding. With his record of ignorance, greed, prejudice, laziness, coveting, conceit and now gluttony, he's writing a political platform of the Seven Deadly Sins.

• Hawai'i has had twice as many bank robberies this year as at this time last year. Economists say that in technical terms, the recession has entered its "reach for the sky" phase.

• A lone coqui frog was found in Mānoa, but state biologists aren't worried about an infestation. They think it's just a straggler from the Dobelle administration.

And the quote of the week ... from Lingle after the tsunami threat passed: "It's a great day, now that it's over." I thought she'd save that speech for her last day in office.