BY SEN. SAM SLOM – Happy Hannukah! Today is the 2nd of 8 days of Hannukah, The Festival of Lights. Adam Sandler’s great “The Hannukah Song” still brings a smile after all these years. Light your candles. Celebrate!

Merry Christmas. SBH wishes you, your family and employees the merriest of Christmases Sunday. Many politicians-and politically correct retailers and organizations-still fearful of saying, “Merry Christmas,” opting for the bland “Happy Holidays” instead. (The U.S. House forbids Congressmen from saying Merry Christmas on any franked mail). The war on Christmas continues and is picking up speed. Sad. Hey folks, we’re celebrating Christmas, not just placating atheists and jihadists, and not just celebrating the retail sales racked up.

Emergency! The announcement by the Hawaii Medical Center – East and West hospitals – sent shock waves through Hawaii, especially on O’ahu’s Leeward coast. Attempts to stave off bankruptcy and closed doors with a California investor failed. The hospitals’ emergency rooms were closed, no new patients are being accepted and the transplant program is shutting down. The Queen’s Medical Center has begun application to begin an organ transplant facility. Meanwhile, other hospitals are already overburdened but will be used in the interim to assist HMC patients while attempting to find a reasonable solution.

SBH Conference Coming Soon. The Wall Street Journal’s John Fund keynotes the annual SBH business conference, the first major economic conference of the New Year, and will be joined Wednesday, January 11 (Ala Moana Hotel, 8 am – 2 pm) by Supreme Court CJ Mark Recktenwald, Hawaiian Airlines CEO Mark Dunkerley, demographics expert Dr. Wendell Cox, ALEC’s Jonathan Williams, computer guru Peter Kay and leading Hawaii business owners. Call Darlyn (808-396-1724) for information and reservations.

No New Taxes? The Abercrombie Administration submitted its budget Monday with” a renewed commitment to providing a secure and promising future for Hawai’i.”  The balanced budget seeks to achieve a healthy surplus, incorporates savings achieved through solid fiscal management, funds high-priority programs, and does not rely upon any tax increases.   Governor Neil Abercrombie and Budget & Finance Director Kalbert Young announced that a number of New Day priorities will move forward due to “the solid foundation laid in the past year.” Meanwhile, the Legislature is expected to propose new taxes and increased social welfare spending.

Cruisin’ American Safari Cruises, whose Safari Explorer was blocked by protesters from docking in Molokai In late November, announced yesterday that an agreement has been reached between the cruise line, state and federal authorities and local groups. The Safari Explorer plans a return to Molokai in January.

Kim Chee. The death of North Korean dictator and wacko, Kim Jong Il, who died last Saturday, is being mourned over a 11-day period. (They DO have professional government mourners in North Korea). Not to worry: there is always another Kim Jong waiting in the wings. The military actually rules North Korea.

Chow Time. Long time football coach Norm Chow (USC, BYU) is the newest UH football head coach, succeeding Greg McMackin who “retired” earlier this month. Chow, well known in Hawaii, came out on top of more than 40 applicants. Salary and contract details not available yet. Acting interim coach, Rich Miano had sought the position.

Flight Delayed. President Obama had his annual holiday trip to Hawaii delayed by the dysfunctional Congress. He was set to go but criticism from Mitt Romney and other Republicans about his costly, 17-day vacation in Hawaii, slowed him down. The First Lady and daughters did arrive here and are staying in Kailua since last Saturday. Hawaii Reporter updated the true taxpayer costs of the annual Hawaii trek to more than $4 million. The original story was picked up by Drudge Report and Rush Limbaugh. How’s that hope and change coming?

Galloping Gallup. The latest Gallup Poll reports that 64% of the public consider Big Government the biggest threat to the country in the future, easily surpassing Big Business and Big Labor.

Fill ‘Er Up. More than 60% of those surveyed by Rasmussen support the building of the Keystone Pipeline, the subject of Congressional debate.

Walled In. the State has a contract with NORESCO, LLC, to implement energy efficiency improvements in public buildings, including the State Capitol. As part of this effort, NORESCO installed glass doors on the second floor of the Capitol in two locations last Friday:  The purpose of the doors is to enclose the inner hallway and enable occupants within the corridor (rooms 205 to 215) to open their office doors without compromising energy efficiency. This is the first area in the Capitol to be enclosed; additional doors will be installed over the next few weeks.

Blonde Uprising. Award winning Hawaii, Hawaii’s first electronic daily newspaper begun 9 years ago, still is free. Hawaii Reporter’s Malia Zimmerman reports daily (M-F) on the Rick Hamada Show, KHVH radio on 830 AM at, 7:40 am. Malia also reports on Kauai’s KKCR with Sandy Brodie on Tuesday mornings, on the station’s “Morning Paper.” She will report the news behind the news for you.

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