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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Saturday, August 1, 2009

The suits, the slur and the silly

By David Shapiro

State labor talks turned weepy and a football coach did his bashing off the field as we "flASHback" on the week's news that amused and confused:

• Two public worker unions added "emotional distress" to their legal complaint against Gov. Linda Lingle in the labor dispute. I was about to say "for crying out loud," but it sounds like they already are.

• Hawai'i County Council members have to redo much of their work since June 16 after a judge ruled they violated open-meeting laws. They're trying to sell the do-over as overtime to earn those 22 percent pay raises they collected.

• The National Republican Congressional Committee named Councilman Charles Djou one of its "Young Guns" in his campaign for Congress. They'll give him the bullets when he learns to aim away from his feet.

•The state health director officially certified that President Obama is a native-born son of Hawai'i. Now when detractors question the legitimacy of his U.S. birth, he can officially say, "Ainokea."

• University of Hawai'i football coach Greg McMackin is in deep trouble for slurring gay people in a comment about Notre Dame's pregame dance at the Hawai'i Bowl. The only way he gets off the hook is if Obama generates sympathy by calling him stupid.

• UH hopes to inspire interest in the upcoming football season with commercials in which fans boogie before the camera and proclaim, "I'm a Warrior." The director had to scrap plans to have McMackin judge their dance steps.

• Pacific Wings is charging Kalaupapa residents $492 round trip for the 10-minute flight to Kaunakakai, and its chief exec called them "cheap props" in his fight with the state. Even a saint like Damien would have trouble turning the other cheek on this bunch.

• More people in Hawai'i are doing volunteer work, but they're putting in less time, a new report says. You know it's a mean economy when even do-gooders are getting their hours cut.

• Travelocity's Roaming Gnome is in town, to show solidarity with the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile against the Outdoor Circle's war on corporate symbols.

And the quote of the week ... from Coach McMackin: "What I was trying to do was be funny, and I wasn't funny, and it's not funny. Even more, it isn't funny to me." Hey, he stole my standard answer to complaints about this column.