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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Saturday, December 26, 2009

The flub, the sub, lots of hubbub

By David Shapiro

This is the last "flASHback" of 2009, so let's review the year's news that amused and confused:

• Mayor Mufi Hannemann blamed a state typo for the EPA's $1.2 billion crackdown on O'ahu sewage treatment. The memo meant to say there's CRAB in the water.

• Pearl Harbor was excited about the arrival of the submarine USS Hawai'i. Next year we get our state's other namesake ship, the USS Ainokea.

• Reacting to "Bodies The Exhibition," state legislators outlawed the public posing of cadavers. Some people can't take a little competition.

• Emotional testimony on civil unions ended with the Senate Judiciary Committee deadlocked. What a fitting tribute to marriage: an interminable argument that settled nothing.

• Tax collections to pay for Honolulu's $5.5 billion rail system ran far below expectations. At this rate, we'll only be able to afford a train that goes halfway to nowhere.

• The state sought public input on who should get priority for flu vaccine. The most common response was, "Besides me?" Beyond that, it was "Ainokea."

• The Senate passed a bill to allow Hawai'i prison inmates to vote by absentee ballot. They figured the cons are uniquely qualified to judge political talent.

• A swarm of Democratic lawmakers jockeyed for position in the race for lieuten-ant governor. Never have so many fought so hard for the right to contribute so little.

• Lawmakers said the Supreme Court overstepped its power by shutting down the Hawaii Superferry. Justices did seem to be playing God when they summarized their ruling, "Thou shalt not sail."

• Gov. Linda Lingle signed a law reserving the "Made In Hawai'i" label for products that are 51 percent locally produced. Products must be 100 percent made in Hawai'i to be stamped "Ainokea."

• Teacher furloughs shut our public schools 17 Fridays a year, reducing us to the fewest teaching days in the nation. For us it's Every Child Left Behind.

• The rest of the country took note of our muted observance of the 50th anniversary of statehood. Only in Hawai'i do we celebrate statehood in a state of confusion about whether we want to be one.

• One study said Hawai'i is the nation's No. 2 consumer of pornography after Utah, and another said we're the second happiest state also behind Utah. The obvious lesson is that it makes you happier to watch your porn sober.

• Rep. Neil Abercrombie said Hawai'i inspired President Obama's health care plan. They should name it Aino-Care.