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Brief asides


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POSTED: Wednesday, December 30, 2009

HOT SPOT

Mainland politicians discover the virtues of Hawaii

Hawaii is getting to be quite the center of the high- powered R&R universe.

Politically, they don't come any more major than the president—and of course, Barack Obama and his family are enjoying the beauty of his home state during a 10-day vacation. When not at their luxurious Kailua beachfront compound, Obama's been spotted on the Luana Hills golf course, Alan Wong's restaurant and Marine Corps Base Hawaii at Kaneohe.

Sarah Palin, the former Republican vice presidential candidate and current best-selling author, has come and gone—quicker than expected after she was photographed on the beach wearing a Sharpie'd-out McCain cap.

Now comes word that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a California Demo-crat, left, is vacationing on the Big Island at the posh Four Seasons Hualalai.

Come one, come all. Leave bipartisanship at the airport. Hawaii welcomes all political bigwigs.

SMOKE ALARM

New Year's Eve a good time to lay low for some

It's the night before New Year's Eve and conditions are ripe for a perfect storm—of smoke. There will be fireworks and sparklers—lots of them, if tradition prevails. Then there's the dry weather and, especially, the vog already in the air. Some parts of the state, notably the Big Island, have drought conditions, which would only feed erupting brush fires.

The risk potential has spurred Hawaii County fire officials to urge people to use more than the usual amount of caution when setting off fireworks. They also are advising those with respiratory and other health problems to remain indoors during peak fireworks use periods.

Good advice for everyone out there. Keep safe, be safe.