Maybe bookies can help budget
It's time to call in the bookies as we "flASHback" on the week's news that amused and confused:
• State tax collections were 9 percent below what the Council on Revenues predicted, ballooning the budget deficit. We'd get more accurate forecasts from the Chinatown betting line.
• It's rumored that President Obama plans another Hawai'i family holiday. That would add a special touch to our celebration of the Twelve Furlough Days of Christmas.
• Lt. Gov. James "Duke" Aiona tried to broker a deal on school furloughs while Gov. Linda Lingle was traveling, but nobody answered his call for a meeting. Now he knows why Lingle had to go to China to get a little respect.
• The Honolulu Police Commission is under fire for adding names to the list of finalists for a new chief turned in by its selection committee. The City Council will meet Monday to try to fix the dispute — unless the fix is already in.
• Legislators questioned what distorted values could cut monthly state payments to poor, disabled people from $450 to $300 in this economy. Perhaps the same distorted values that gave legislators a 36 percent pay raise?
• The state's "Recreational Renaissance Plan B" drew sharp criticism in hearings around the state. Now we know what the "B" stands for: bupkes.
• Hawai'i's primary election date may have to move up under a new federal law. That'll make it more convenient for the majority to get not voting out of the way earlier.
• Surveys ranked Honolulu No. 100 out of 200 "best performing" cities and Hawai'i the 19th-worst state in fiscal health. You know, we've been at the bottom so many times that mediocrity looks strangely good.
• KHNL owner Raycom Media Inc. denies that its newsroom merger with KGMB is a "sale" despite its payment of $22 million to KGMB's owners. Isn't that what hookers say when they do transactions in "roses"?
• The Walt Disney Co. is remaking Mickey Mouse with a hipper image. If they give him too much of a clue, the Council on Revenues will have to find a new numbers cruncher.
And the quote of the week ... from 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge A. Wallace Tashima in upholding school furloughs: "What's the least bad of all the choices?" One clue: The U.S. education secretary called our choice the most "mind-boggling."