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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Saturday, February 28, 2009

Lingle and Aiona were out of town?

By David Shapiro

Many of Hawai'i's top stories played out in the nation's capital this week, so we'll start there as we "flASHback" on the week's news that amused and confused:

Gov. Linda Lingle and Mayor Mufi Hannemann were all smiles after meeting President Obama at separate White House sessions on the economy. Now if Obama would introduce them to each other, we could get some work done.

Budget director Georgina Kawamura was acting governor while Lingle, Lt. Gov. James "Duke" Aiona and Attorney General Mark Bennett were all out of town. Be honest, did anybody miss them?

Both sides said they were "cautiously optimistic" after the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments in the ceded lands dispute. If they'd really been cautious, they would have worked it out and never let it get this far.

More than 15 hours of emotional testimony on civil unions concluded with the Senate Judiciary Committee in a deadlock. What a perfect tribute to marriage: an interminable argument that settled nothing.

A search by a Mainland firm that cost $90,000 ended with former Democratic Party Chairman Mike McCartney being picked to head the Hawai'i Tourism Authority. Gosh, it's getting expensive to put a fig leaf on patronage.

It's still legal to send text messages and play video games while driving after the City Council upheld Hannemann's veto of a proposed ban. While Super Mario is saving the princess, I hope he doesn't run over her grandmother.

City legal fees to fight mounting complaints about our decrepit sewage treatment system have surpassed $9 million. It's what you get when you hire lawyers instead of plumbers to deal with leaky pipes.

Tax collections to pay for Honolulu's planned rail transit system are still running behind expectations for the year. At this rate, we'll only be able to afford a train that goes halfway to nowhere.

The state auditor found "a culture of disregard" for procurement laws in the Department of Education. I thought they saved their disregard for teaching kids to read.

New whale studies off of Maui indicate that male humpbacks prefer the company of large females. What choice to they have but to go big? They're WHALES.

And the quote of the week ... from University of Hawai'i athletic director Jim Donovan on his department's financial woes: "I would sort of describe it as I'm trying to save the ship from sinking and then I'll start thinking about winning the war." I hope the strategy works better on the budget than it did against Notre Dame in the Aloha Bowl.

Reach David Shapiro at (Unknown address).