You Read It Before Congress Did

Don Chapman
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October 11, 2006
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* If you my read my three-part series from Korea last year as part of an East-West Center fellowship, you already knew what the U.S. House of Representatives’ Intelligence Committee learned last week from a new report: If North Korea develops a nuclear weapon, it would likely spur South Korea, Taiwan and especially Japan to begin their own nuclear programs. Last week the North said it was moving forward with plans to test a nuclear device.

* To quote Bob Woodward’s new book about the Bush administration’s management of the war in Iraq, Bill O’Reilly and Greta van Susteren of Fox News are in a “State of Denial” about their - and all of cable TV news’ - responsibility in what appears to have been copy-cat murders of school children by non-student intruders. “Does the media have that much power?” said O’Reilly, hosting van Susteren on his show. She added: “We have to report these stories. We can’t ignore them.” Perhaps that’s true, but is it necessary to make these essentially local news stories the major national story of the day? I don’t believe so. Some stories are local - police chases, for example - and should remain that way. When some people with twisted psyches see how much attention is possible by acting out their worst impulses, it may be the final, deciding factor.

* Bottom line: If a school shooting is the biggest news of the day, it says more about media reporting it than it does about what kind of a news day it was.

* Quote of the week, from MidWeek publisher Ron Nagasawa: After learning that I’d served years ago on the state judiciary’s McGruff Committee, which introduced McGruff the Crime-fighting Dog to Hawaii, and having just seen last week’s column regarding my cousin Dog Chapman the bounty hunter, Ron quipped: “Man, what’s with you and all the crime-fighting dogs?”

* I mis-read my own notes last week, and incorrectly reported that all four of the new private golf clubs in the Kona area charge a $250,000 initiation fee. At Ke’olu, the private course at the Hualalai Resort, the fee is $175,000. I apologize for the error.

* Re-doing the math, this means that the people who are members at Hualalai, Kukio and Nanea are only paying $650,000 in golf club memberships.

* By the way, I recently played Ke’olu (a terrific Tom Weiskopf design) with Hualalai’s head pro, John Freitas. A Punahou alum, he’s the son of opera diva Beebe Freitas. When I asked John if he’s a good singer, he just laughed. “No, my mom and sister got all the singing talent. I don’t even sing in the shower.” Go figgah.

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