Potty ban renewal reflects priorities
You can tell the kind of week it was by the story that grabbed me as I sat down to "flASHback" on the news that amused and confused:
• Gov. Linda Lingle extended for two years a six-year-old ban on public urination and defecation in Downtown Honolulu. If folks held it this long, they can wait a little longer.
• The Legislature didn't make the ban permanent because police couldn't say how many citations they issued. Who'd want to count the tickets after recipients used them as toilet tissue?
• The legislative report said the potty ban was enacted "after full and free discussion." When lawmakers get into their area of expertise, they dig deep.
• Lt. Gov. James "Duke" Aiona said all the pieces are in place to end public school furloughs. All the pieces except common sense, good judgment and aloha for our keiki.
• Hawai'i is one of the worst providers of state-funded preschool, a report said. We like to get an early start on leaving our children behind.
• Another report criticized us as one of 13 states that tax the working poor deeper into poverty. What choice do we have if we want to afford 36 percent pay raises for our legislators?
• An investment attorney asked why state officials still give Citigroup millions in business after its broker sold us $1 billion in bad securities, saying, "If you want to show you are upset, let your money do the talking." Hawai'i leaders let our money go walking.
• Neil Abercrombie called gubernatorial rival Mufi Hannemann a "wimp" for not stating a position on civil unions. When Abercrombie promised to elevate the campaign, I didn't realize he meant issue-themed insults.
• Lt. Gov. James "Duke" Aiona and Sen. Norman Sakamoto face ethics complaints for attending a religious convention in Argentina. Hawai'i pols are so dull. South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford got in trouble for visiting Argentina to hook up with his mistress. Our guys get pinched for going to church.
• The state hopes to attract visitors and revenue by adding wedding chapels near boat repair facilities at Ala Wai Harbor. It'll guarantee repeat visitors when the marriage has to go into dry dock.
And the quote of the week ... from John Henry Felix on his new cemetery in East O'ahu: "The wonderful thing about cemeteries is they're recession-proof. People don't stop dying during a recession." It seems Felix, who's also CEO of health insurer HMAA, has us dead or alive.