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

Asteroid may beat health care to Earth

By David Shapiro

We'll start and finish with a look skyward as we plant tongue in cheek and "flASHback" on the week's news that amused and confused:

• Mauna Kea astronomers have determined that the asteroid Apophis will miss Earth in 2036, but could be on collision course in 2068. I hope the health care debate is settled by then.

• President Obama became the first Hawai'i-born winner of the Nobel Peace Prize. We'll be impressed when he wins "American Idol."

• A City Council committee agreed to a special property tax class for owner-occupants, paving the way for big rate increases on everybody else. Think of it as the condom in political safe sex.

• Gov. Linda Lingle wants to talk with county leaders about taking over state responsibilities. Council members are nervous about costs, but Mayor Mufi Hannemann thought she'd never ask. He's itching to take over all of her responsibilities.

• Some 1,500 gallons of sewage seeped out of a manhole in front of The Queen's Medical Center. The city is spinning it as a contribution to aromatherapy research.

• Schools Superintendent Patricia Hamamoto said teacher furloughs that drop Hawai'i students to 163 instructional days, lowest in the nation, violate no law because "there's no law that says how many days kids go to school." No technicality left behind.

• On a positive note, Hawai'i schools are best in the country at banning campus sales of junk food. The kids need all the healthy sustenance they can get to overcome their junk education.

• The Hawai'i GOP is recruiting candidates for 2010 with the slogan, "You Like Run?" The most common response is: "As far from Linda Lingle as I can."

• Honolulu was voted the top U.S. city for romantic escapes, but ranked near the bottom for good theater. After all that romantic action, who has the energy to go see a play?

• "Whatever" tops the list of the most annoying words in a national survey. After the past few days, I'd say "humidity" is the word I'd most like to hear less of locally, but whatevahs.

And the quote of the week ... from space shuttle astronaut Brian Duffy after speaking to local students: "Space is a great way to tie them to studying, because we use everything you learn in school to fly in space."

Hawai'i public school graduates know all about functioning in a void.

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 blog, Volcanic Ash, at www.HonoluluAdvertiser.com/Blogs.