Really, More of a Shelbeyville Idea

How about a little round-up of Hawaii-type news?  No?  Too bad, here we go . . .

Sadly, the bid to save the Honolulu Star-Bulletin (and the integrity of journalism in Hawaii) has failed.  Though the proposal put forth by Sam Slom and Malia Zimmerman was the “last bid standing,” it didn’t meet the undisclosed (and presumably ridiculously high) asking price demanded of the owner, Black Press of Canada.  (Is it me or is that a strangely ominous name for a news organization?  I thought Canadians were supposed to be nice, not gloomy and forbidding.)  This means a few things: 1.) A bunch of people in Hawaii just lost their jobs; 2.) Honolulu just became a one-newspaper town; and 3.) We’ll be depending more than ever on the good folks at Hawaii Reporter for an alternative source of news.

Stressed out budgets in Hawaii are about to see one more hit to their pocketbooks, as the “barrel tax”–possibly the worst outcome of an already abysmal legislative session–raised from $.05 to $1.05 a barrel of imported petroleum.  As is always the way, these legislative efforts to rake in revenue will hit the little guy the most.  Especially on an island where nearly ever single thing that we consume has to take a long trip just to get here.  The new tax means that we should be seeing a rise in gasoline, electricity, food, and delivery prices shortly.  In other words, nearly everything.  The Governor had vetoed this tax, but was overridden by the legislature.  Perhaps we should just be grateful that they haven’t figured out how to tax Aloha spirit.  Yet.

Things are still pressing forward on the $4billion Honolulu Rail project–one suspects the fell hand of Lyle Lanley.  (“What about us brain dead slobs?/You’ll be given cushy jobs/Monorail, Monorail, Monorail!”)  Of course, one hates to drag things like logic and feasibility studies into an ambitious government project, but there’s a first for everything, so why not give it a shot.  The Grassroot Institute of Hawaii sponsored an economic study of the plan, which demonstrated a drop in tax revenues.  It would be good to see the legislature push for a legitimate economic impact study.  It would be even better to see a study that took into account any pending legislation that would radically alter Hawaii’s social and economic structure–like, say . . . oh, I don’t know . . . the Akaka Bill.

Hey, as Hawaii marches on towards economic implosion, someone ought to be standing athwart history, yelling, “Ahem!  You guys! Are you really sure this is a good idea?  Guys?”

And as a closing note, for those who need a little remediation on today’s pop culture reference–and for those who are just annoyed that the Monorail Song is now stuck in their heads, here you go:

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