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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, January 7, 2009

VOLCANIC ASH
Words of wisdom for Isle politicians

By David Shapiro

I'm hard on our public officials sometimes, but I know what stressful jobs they have.

That's why at the start of a new year, I like to bury the hatchet, smooth ruffled feathers I've caused and show how I really feel by sharing warm sentiments drawn from our sharpest minds.

If recipients misconstrue my meaning and take offense, I offer them the wisdom of J. Russell Lynes: "If you can't ignore an insult, top it; if you can't top it, laugh it off; and if you can't laugh it off, it's probably deserved."

And of course, they can find solace in knowing they're important enough to be on the list.

To President-elect Barack Obama: "Democracy is a process by which the people are free to choose the man who will get the blame." Laurence J. Peter

To Gov. Linda Lingle: "We're going to move left and right at the same time." Jerry Brown

To Lt. Gov. James "Duke" Aiona: "He is not only dull himself; he is the cause of dullness in others." Samuel Johnson

To former Gov. Ben Cayetano: "Politics is not a bad profession. If you succeed there are many rewards, if you disgrace yourself you can always write a book." Ronald Reagan

To U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye: "Retirement at 65 is ridiculous. When I was 65 I still had pimples." George Burns

To U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka: "Right now I'm having amnesia and deja vu at the same time. I think I've forgotten this before." Stephen Wright

To U.S. Rep. Neil Abercrombie: "In politics, an absurdity is not a handicap." Napoleon Bonaparte

To U.S. Rep. Mazie Hirono: "Women who seek to be equal with men lack ambition." Timothy Leary

To former U.S. Rep. Ed Case "If at first you don't succeed, try again. Then quit. There's no use being a damn fool about it." W.C. Fields

To Senate President Colleen Hanabusa: "No man's life, liberty or property are safe while the Legislature is in session." Judge Gideon J. Tucker

To House Speaker Calvin Say: "The word 'politics' is derived from the word 'poly,' meaning 'many,' and the word 'ticks,' meaning 'blood sucking parasites.' " Larry Hardiman

To House Minority Leader Lynn Finnegan: "A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort." Herm Albright

To State Auditor Marion Higa: "Get your facts first, then you can distort them as you please." Mark Twain

To Mayor Mufi Hannemann: "He is a self-made man and worships his creator." John Bright

To City Councilman Rod Tam: "The problem with political jokes is they get elected." Henry Cate VII

To anti-rail activist Cliff Slater: "A fanatic is one who can't change his mind and won't change the subject." Winston Churchill

To Schools Superintendent Pat Hamamoto: "If you think education is expensive, try ignorance." Andy McIntyre

To attorney and former Bishop estate Trustee Gerard Jervis: "I don't drink these days. I am allergic to alcohol ... I break out in handcuffs." Robert Downey Jr.

To former state tourism chief Rex Johnson: "To err is human and to blame it on a computer is even more so." Robert Orben

To University of Hawai'i football coach Greg McMackin: "There is nothing that a good defense cannot beat a better offense. In other words a good offense wins." Dan Quayle

To former UH coach June Jones: "All I've ever wanted was an honest week's pay for an honest day's work." Steve Martin

David Shapiro, a veteran Hawai'i journalist, can be reached by e-mail at dave@volcanicash.net. His columns are archived at www.volcanicash.net. Read his daily blog at blogs.honoluluadvertiser.com.