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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Saturday, March 27, 2010

By the numbers, school's still out


By David Shapiro

Perplexing words, befuddling numbers and a whole lot of shoveling highlight our "flASHback" on the week's news that amused and confused:

• Gov. Linda Lingle and the Hawaii State Teachers Association unveiled competing plans to end furlough Fridays in the public schools. The governor offered "neener-neener-neener" and the teachers countered with "nanny, nanny boo boo."

• After saying in January it would cost $69.3 million to open the schools on 24 furlough days, the Board of Education and teachers union are now demanding $92 million to open on 21 furlough Fridays. It's scary that these are the people teaching our kids how to count.

• Legislators are pushing the schools to consolidate furlough days for the convenience of parents and students. Under the plan, the Easter holiday would be extended until Christmas.

• The Legislature is also getting in on the education action with a move to ban candy and ice cream sales at Hawai'i public schools. So how are the poor kids supposed to carbo load for their extended weekends?

• In politics, Senate President Colleen Hanabusa, a top defender of the 36 percent pay raise state lawmakers received, claimed in a congressional campaign ad to have cut legislative pay. Did she learn this situational math in law school or from Dan Inouye?

• Mayor Mufi Hannemann and former U.S. Rep. Neil Abercrombie bashed each other for bailing out of their old jobs to run for governor. Just what we need to fix our economy and schools, a six-month fight over who left the door open.

• Lt. Gov. James "Duke" Aiona got strong support in his campaign for governor from TV evangelist Pat Robertson, who declared, "Aiona what an attractive man!" Win or lose the election, the LG is a shoo-in for Mr. November on the "700 Club" swimsuit calendar.

• Lingle says "it's possible" she'll run again for public office in future. I'm sure they must have a neighborhood board in Dreamland.

• The City Council is proposing to seize the cars of johns out cruising for prostitutes. Hey, if this works, can we impound the rides of lobbyists cruising political fundraisers?

And the quote of the week ... from House Speaker Calvin Say on the Lingle administration's request for emergency funds to pay Quest bills: "How do I fill the $40 million hole?" If you're the state, with an $80 million shovel.