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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Saturday, March 13, 2010

Governors present, future and fictional

By David Shapiro

We barely make it past the bustling Capitol as we "flASHback" on the week's news that amused and confused:

• Gov. Linda Lingle was in Las Vegas attending the Republican Jewish Coalition's national winter leadership meeting. Basically, it was a tea party with a nosh.

• There are reports on the Big Island of normally tiny coqui frogs growing as big as tennis balls. To visualize what this means, picture Neil Abercrombie at Mufi Hannemann's size.

• Abercrombie described the endless battle between Hannemann and Gov. Linda Lingle over O'ahu rail transit as a "kind of caged death match." Personally, I wish they'd just get a room already.

• Hawai'i's election for governor is eight months away, but CBS cast an early vote in its "Hawaii Five-0" remake by giving the governor's role to actress Jean Smart. I don't hear anybody accusing them of typecasting.

• We had to coop up the keiki and tie down the dogs with Hawai'i under high-wind advisories and gale warnings. It happens every year when the Legislature hits the crossover deadline.

• Legislators are pushing to allow "compassion centers" to sell medical marijuana, which would be taxed at an uncompassionate $30 an ounce. Lawmakers hope pot smokers will forget about the tax once they flick their Bic.

• Legislators are also moving to crack down on noise from leaf blowers and mopeds. They've got the monopoly on high-pitched whining in this town.

• The House passed a spending bill that would give public schools $50 million to end furlough Fridays, but cut $70 million from elsewhere in the schools budget. Watch and learn, kids. The math may escape you, but you can make a good living running a shell game.

• State senators are trying to thrash out new rules to control shark feeding. The City Council faces a similar challenge on Rod Tam's meal expenses.

• Fish have mysteriously reappeared in the reflecting ponds at the state Capitol. The most amazing part is that it's the least fishy thing going on in that building.

And the quote of the week ... from Rep. James Tokioka on why he thinks Hawai'i can't afford a special election to replace Abercrombie in Congress: "Last year was one of the toughest years we've had. I believe there's no fat. There's no fat in the budget now." Funny how Tokioka and his buds in the Legislature found enough fat for their 36 percent pay raises.