Shibai was originally a Japanese word meaning a theatrical performance. In Hawaii, it's come to mean any display or hypocrisy; in practice, it's pretty much interchangeable with the word "bullshit."
The legislature is accusing Lingle of shibai for, among other things, withholding our tax refunds until next year in order to balance the budget until she's safely out of office. Lingle is accusing the legislature of shibai for making budget cuts it can't legally make: "For instance, Lingle said the House took out budgeted money from her office to fund required vacation payouts for workers who will leave the Governor's Office with her in December. It also removed $100,000 in transition funds from the governor's budget.
''This is not possible; it is shibai,' Lingle complained."
I think both sides are guilty as charged. But the real losers aren't Lingle or the legislators. They're us.
The state gets to keep our tax refunds until next year? Do we at least get interest while they're using our money?
And we have to pay former Lingle Administration members for their vacations after they're out of office? That really grates, personally. A few years ago, when I left the University of Hawaii, I was told I wouldn't get paid for my accumulated vacation and sick leave unless, at some future date, I was employed again by the state of Hawaii. I think the legislature should immediately pass a bill making the same true for all state employees, including Lingle's patronage employees.
And I think they should pass another law, making it a crime to commit shibai while in public office, with fines of $5,000 to $100,000, depending on the severity of the offense.
With such a law in place, we'd solve our budget deficit in no time.