WASHINGTON — When a white, Catholic-school boy wearing a “Make America Great Again” cap is shown staring down a Native American Vietnam War veteran, sending the media scrambling for their pitchforks and torches, one might want to pause and stroke one’s chin.
The longer the shutdown continues — it’s entering its fifth week, with no end in sight — the tougher it is for the roughly 800,000 unpaid federal workers and an estimated half a million unpaid federal contractors to make ends meet. Yet those of us who are still collecting wages in the private sector are being hurt too, and to a much greater extent than the Trump administration had previously acknowledged.
On Jan. 10, I was driving up Alli Drive by Poncho and Lefty’s restaurant when a police officer blatantly jaywalked basically right in front of my car while he was within 15 feet of a visible crosswalk, so when he crossed the street I rolled down my window and simply said, “an officer jaywalking” in a surprised and somewhat disappointed tone.
I have been playing volleyball at Keauhou Bay since 1975. Back in the day, it was an isolated oasis of white sand surrounded by kiawe and monkey pod. Fishing boats needing repair were hoisted on a cable hanging from one of the two ancient monkey pod trees behind the volleyball court. The cable is still there, but only one tree remains.
What a grim sign of the times: According to the National Safety Council, Americans are now more likely to accidentally die from an opioid overdose than an automobile wreck. The council’s analysis of preventable injury and fatality statistics from 2017 concluded that Americans had a 1 in 96 chance of dying from an accidental opioid overdose over their lifetimes. The odds of dying from a motor vehicle accident were 1 in 103.
We are being told that just half the yearly tax revenue dedicated to the land fund will make all the difference for a balanced budget and provide all the perquisites that had gone missing the last decade or so. This is as the county budget has grown by about 40 percent to over a half-billion dollars during the current administration’s tenure, just as it did in its former tenure from 2000 to 2008.