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Brief asides


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POSTED: Tuesday, July 21, 2009

OH, SO CLOSE

Win slips from Watson

Obviously, the naysayers had it all wrong. Tom Watson, two months away from his 60th birthday, had made a perfect drive on the final hole, and all he had to do was hit a short iron to the green and two-putt for his sixth British Open. So close. Instead, he hit it over the green, then past the hole, and his putt back looked like a product of the “;old geezer”; that Watson called himself. Facing a glum press corps after losing the playoff to Stewart Cink, Watson said, “;This ain't a funeral, you know.”; It sure felt like one.

DRIVING DISTRACTION

Do try this at home

As Oahu drivers learn to cope with the city law limiting the use of cell phones on the road, they might want to play an online game that clearly illustrates the dangers of distracted driving.

The New York Times, in a story accompanying the interactive feature, outlines the well-documented risks of distracted driving, including research showing that drivers using phones are four times as likely to cause a crash as other drivers, and that hands-free devices like those allowed under the Honolulu law do not eliminate the risks.

LOW TURNOUT

There must have been better things to do

Even having a historic, homegrown candidate in the presidential race couldn't bring Hawaii out the voter-turnout basement, according to figures released yesterday by the U.S. Census Bureau. About 131 million people nationwide reported voting in the 2008 election, an increase of 5 million from 2004.

Turnout varied widely by state. Minnesota and the District of Columbia, each with voting rates of about 75 percent, led the nation; Hawaii and Utah were at the bottom, with turnouts of about 52 percent each. Democrat Barack Obama, who was born in Honolulu and graduated from Punahou School, easily won his home state as he became the nation's first black president.