Hawaii has good reason to be proud of the men and women from the islands who serve our Nation in Iraq and around the world. They have made many lasting contributions for freedom. Email from the desert was even possible because of a Kailua soldier. Our economy will rebound from war but will it survive our Legislature?

John Zogby, a New York based pollster who Rush Limbaugh used to adore (but began to question last year), is of Lebanese descent. During the Iraq war he said, “I know my people. We are an ungovernable people. The governments that work most efficiently in the Arab world are totalitarian governments, dictatorships, simply because there would be chaos without them.”

I know some local politicos who probably feel the same way about “their” people here. How sad(dam). The Chinese communist originated “Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome” (SARS) epidemic is more of a threat than war now. KHVH radio’s Rick Hamada did it again: “T3” the anti-tax rally to protest the projected $400 million in new taxes was held at the Capitol, April 17. It was effective.

Congressman Ed Case came to share budget, education and small business information, and to listen to Hawaii’s small businesses at an SBH sponsored forum April 15. He was greatly appreciated. He then donned a No New Taxes t-shirt and joined the T3.

Local business circles don’t remember anything like the April Battle of the Banks — Central Pacific Bank, City Bank, Bankoh and First Hawaiian Bank CEOs duking it out in public over CPB’s hostile takeover attempt of City Bank, and the war of words over French ownership, and who is more “local.”

Voodoo Tower is the title of a new book by radio executive Casy Stengl. The theme is government regulation of broadcasting.

Sad: former UPW union boss, Gary Rodrigues, who is closer to a jail cell daily, says, through his lawyer Eric Seitz, that he has no money. He was convicted of theft, fraud and mismanagement of funds. Shall we have a fundraiser for him?

Congrats to the 2003 U.S. SBA Awardees honored April 30. (see p 5). Celebrate this year’s Small Business Week now!

Our good friend, former resident, and now FTC Commissioner, Orson Swindle was recognized again, winning a top national award in Heroes Magazine and for a featured article in USAToday (April 9).

Buzzwords for the current political year: “nexus” (not to be confused with Lexus); “global” “embedded.” Remember “gravitas,” “exacerbate,” and “malaise?”

What was Junior Achievement of Hawaii thinking? Since 1990 they have bestowed a great honor on living and deceased local entrepreneurs who made private market differences in Hawaii’s economy and are role models. JA dubbed them “Laureates” for the Hawaii Business Hall of Fame. Some on JA’s Selection Committee sought to include U.S. Senator Daniel Inouye among this year’s group (seriously!) When it was pointed out Inouye didn’t meet the qualifications for the award, JA decided to give him a “Special Friend of Business” award anyway at the April 24 awards banquet. Auwe!

Good news: after only 6 months, the State Ethics Commission ruled former Gov. Ben Cayetano did indeed breach ethics laws using state personnel and resources to attack Linda Lingle’s “New Beginning” economic blueprint last year. The Commission was “gravely’ concerned about Cayetano’s violations. They decided to do … nothing.

New Public Safety director John Peyton is helping the U.S. Government in Bosnia. The former FBI, CIA, law enforcement expert takes over Hawaii’s many problems June 30. He IS the man for the job. Meanwhile, some holdover employees in several departments are constantly undermining Governor Lingle.

Hawaiian Air is in bankruptcy. Again.

The Long Term Care bill is best defined as the “Lifetime Tax For One Year of Care” YOUR Unemployment Compensation tax was INCREASED already; bills passed this year (if not vetoed) will add more.

Karen Ginoza, HSTA exec, wanted to know if “malice” was at the root of a Senate Resolution that called for a full, open, examination of public union teacher benefits.

Bud Weisbrod was highlighted, in OE, the magazine of the International Society for Optical Engineering, for Bud’s pioneering aerial and underwater photography. HMSA is singling out small business for yet another double digit increase for medical insurance. It pencils out to about $300 per single employee; $800-plus for a family per month. The problem is not HMSA; it is Hawaii’s Prepaid Health Care Act (the only one in the Nation) that encourages monopolies and ever advancing premiums.

”’Sam Slom is the executive director and president of Small Business Hawaii, a small business advocacy organization, and a Republican senator representing the East Oahu district in the Hawaii State Senate. He can be reached at Small Business Hawaii at 394-1724 or at the state Capitol at 586-8424 or via email at:”’ mailto:sbh@lava.net ”’Want to get regular SBH email alerts? Send your email address to:”’ mailto:SBH@lava.net ”’See more columns at:”’ http://www.smallbusinesshawaii.org

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