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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Saturday, January 10, 2009

Obama mania rolls right along

By David Shapiro

flASHback If nothing else, President-elect Barack Obama is making history for the longest drumroll leading up to his inauguration. He again tops the week's news that amused and confused:

  • Obama will hang out with The Amazing Spider-Man in the comic's next issue. That's a change from the years of George W. Bush playing Robin to Dick Cheney's Batman.

  • The new president will attend 10 inaugural balls and the Hawai'i State Society still hopes he'll come to theirs. He should enjoy the balls while he can. Who knows what he'll have left after a few months on the job.

  • Local students who got passes to the inauguration said it felt like winning the golden ticket to Willy Wonka's chocolate factory. I hope that's not a sign Obama's Washington is turning into Loompaland.

  • Gov. Linda Lingle bowed to the Supreme Court and replaced five University of Hawai'i regents with new nominees. The new guys will go to work as soon as somebody can pry them from the governor's clenched teeth.

  • Sen. Will Espero wants to let imprisoned felons vote by absentee ballot to promote civic duty. Makes sense. There's a natural affinity between politics and the criminal element.

  • The Judiciary and the Office of Hawaiian Affairs were upbraided by Senate Ways and Means Chairwoman Donna Kim for failing to cut their budgets. The judges asserted their sovereign rights and OHA pleaded nolo comprende.

  • Supreme Court Chief Justice Ronald Moon wants to delay his speech to the Legislature this year and save it until 2010, when he faces forced retirement. Those lawyers always want more time for their closing arguments.

  • Private-jet landings at the Kona Airport are down 18 percent from last year. The planes must have been pressed into service to haul bailout money from Washington back to corporate headquarters.

  • Hawai'i teen pregnancy is rising at one of the fastest rates in the nation, just behind Alaska. How can any state beat Alaska when they've got Gov. Sarah Palin's 17-year-old daughter leading the way?

  • An overheated lamp destroyed the neon sign at Cafe Duck Butt karaoke bar. That news short-circuited my brain. You can write your own punch line and send me your zinger at dave@volcanicash.net. I'll publish the best ones on my blog.

    And the quote of the week ... from City Council Chairman Todd Apo: "The public deserves a council that is stable, understandable, and that provides a level of collaboration and leadership in its lawmaking and policy setting." And until we get the council we deserve, we'll keep making do with the council we have.

    David Shapiro's columns are archived at www.volcanicash.net. Read his blog, Volcanic Ash, at http://HonoluluAdvertiser.com/Blogs.

    Reach David Shapiro at dave@volcanicash.net.