Sand and surf on Waikiki Beach.
By Andrew W. Griffin
Red Dirt Report, editor
Posted: June 30, 2012
HONOLULU , Hawaii – Looking out over Ala Moana Park here in Honolulu from the 16th floor of the Japanese-owned Hawaii Prince Hotel Waikiki, you can’t help but think about life, particularly with a cocktail in one hand.
Oh, it’s trite, perhaps, but on such a beautiful Saturday afternoon on the final day of June, and knowing your countrymen are on the mainland – baking or avoiding crazy storms with names I don’t even understand (and I earned my Weather Merit Badge as a Boy Scout!) – suffering in stifling heat, it’s great to be here where it is perpetually 85 degrees and sunny. Life on the Hawaiian Islands is different, where local columnists in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser bemoan the decline in the “shaka” gesture amongst travelers on the road. “Hang loose” and “Aloha.” Still, driving around Oahu, taking in the sights (love the beautiful beaches and waves on the North Shore) and being with loved ones can’t be beat. Yeah, Hawaii feels about 20 years behind the times in some respects, but hey – those palm trees, beaches and beautiful sunsets are as you imagine they would be.
So, as your Red Dirt Reporter sits here far from home, looking at the water and sky, the cares of the world seem so, so far away. Oklahoma is in my heart, but the friendly lilt of “mahalo” is a tropical treat to the ears.
Sure, sipping a margarita and dipping a toe in the surf as the surfers hang ten nearby, I’m not completely unaware of the crazy events of the Summer of 2012, a crazy summer if there ever was one. And yes, it is a political year. The day we headed to Hawaii was the primary election in Oklahoma. There were some surprises, for sure. U.S. Rep. John Sullivan, a good man and a good congressman, was defeated by an upstart war vet named Bridenstine. We don’t know much about the man, but we’ll see how he conducts himself. It was the biggest defeat of an incumbent in that particular election.
And on the local level, we saw some State House races that raised an eyebrow. For instance, what is with the victory that State Rep. Aaron Stiles achieved? The stories we have heard about Stiles would fill a phone book. We did a feature on his opponent, a guy named Jensen. A good guy but his teacher pay concerns may have turned off the harder, tea-party elements. Stiles, with his hair-trigger temper, bizarre social behavior and dismissive attitude, is not the guy east Norman needs representing it at the Capitol. Not that Wallace Collins, the yellow-dog Democrat, was any better. Collins is a cantankerous loudmouth who has further marginalized an already marginalized Democrat Party in Oklahoma.
Anyway, I’ll leave it at that. Bigger fish frying this past week included the Supreme Court’s support of Obamacare. Reading the local Star-Advertiser, and this being the president’s home state, they were head over heels over the ruling. Hawaii has some sort of similar health-care system on a state level and the Hawaiian media took it as a confirmation that they had done the right thing. Aloha! When I asked a local what they thought of newly-elected Gov. Neil Abercrombie, I was told “the Hawaiians get stuff done for the Hawaiians.” Sure, there was a knowing tone of bitterness. It’s the same over much of the world, I suppose.
The locals are also suspicious of corporate bigwig Larry Ellison, he of Oracle, coming in and flat-out buying the island of Lanai. The islanders are totally in the dark as to what Ellison wants to do with the island. Oh, and I see Las Vegas-based airline Allegiant is starting a route between Sin City and Honolulu. Good to hear. Shows me that United Airlines – they of the “friendly skies” – has some healthy competition. As Hunter S. Thompson noted so many years ago: “Flying United, to me, is like crossing the Andes in a prison bus. There is no question in my mind that Pat Nixon personally approves every United stewardess.” And then this: “There is something in the corporate manner of United Airlines that reminds me of the California Highway Patrol, the exaggerated politeness of people who would be a hell of a lot happier if all their customers were in jail – and especially you, sir.”
Meanwhile, we’re wondering if Attorney General Eric Holder, he of “Trentadues and Trentadon’ts” infamy, will be sporting the orange jump suit and enjoying three hots and a cot sometime soon. The man is a criminal and he knows it and the country knows it. Seeing that pathetic stooge David Axelrod defend Holder made this iron-bellied, ink-stained wretch wanna … retch! Holder is one of many problems this dictatorial administration has. Look at Big Sis Napolitano. She looks (and acts) like a sadistic prison warden is some bad-girls-in-jail porno. She and that other shrew, Kathleen Sebelius, are bad news. Yet they go so well together in a sick, sad way. Obama? When he’s not sneaking off and pretending to work (Got time to lean, got time to clean, Barry!) he’s making an ass of himself when the Teleprompter is out of reach. And don’t get me started on Crazy Old Joe Biden. Ol’ Hair Plugs knows he’s going down with that leaky, rat-filled ship and he’s too batty to care. And Jay Carney? The man is a liar and is paid well to make things up as he goes. He’s that insufferable, know-it-all kid who got swirlies in junior high, and deservedly so.
But talking about such things only reminds me of all the insanity I’m missing back home. Frankly, as Red Dirt Report nears it’s fifth anniversary on July 4th, a little break is sorely needed. We have been going and going and going for lo these five years and each year only gets better. Sure, there are things that could be done to make it a little zippier and a little fancier, but we’re pretty happy with the way things are right now. Not that changes won’t come – they always do – but we have seen our numbers grow tremendously, particularly in the past two months. We are looking to add some writers in the coming months and make Red Dirt Report the top news blog in the Sooner State.
Copyright 2012 Red Dirt Report