Monday, December 31, 2007

177. Santa Claus Congress

The CNMI House voted to give Rota $500,000 dollars for start-up costs of their casino. Merry Christmas!

But I'm feeling decidedly like Scrooge. $500,000 is a lot of money that could do more good used elsewhere, like at PSS or DPS or CHC.

The large majority of people in Saipan voted against casinos. And the CNMI's overwhelming majority of population is in Saipan.

So if the people of Rota want a casino, which THEY voted for, let them pay for it themselves. Bah Humbug!

Friday, December 28, 2007

176. Waves of Migration

This article from HALFWAY DOWN THE DANUBE is interesting to ponder as it discusses the assimilation of Chinese in the Philippines. We have an increasingly diverse population, with more Koreans and Chinese calling the CNMI home than ever before. So it makes sense to look at how our neighbors have assimilated foreign-born residents. We're not the only ones with waves of migrants.

On a similar note: While in Hawaii a few years ago, I went to the public library, which had a whole series of pamphlets in the children's section, entitled things like "Japanese in Hawaii" and "Chinese in Hawaii" and "Portuguese in Hawaii." These each told the story of migration of people from a foreign country into Hawaii, where they came from, the circumstances at the times of migration, and their contributions to Hawaiian life.

I'd like to see our Humanities Council undertake a similar project for the CNMI.

Friday, December 21, 2007

175. A List to Consider

Thanks to Samatakah (Princess Always Learning) for noticing this list on another blog. Attributed to "Cole" (but I don't know who that is).

Bold indicates what you've done. Or you could, as Smatakah has done, comment and explain and discuss and analyze. And have fun.

01. Bought everyone in the bar a drink
02. Swam with wild dolphins
03. Climbed a mountain
04. Taken a Ferrari for a test drive
05. Been inside the Great Pyramid
06. Held a tarantula
07. Taken a candlelit bath with someone
08. Said “I love you” and meant it
09. Hugged a tree
10. Bungee jumped
11. Visited Paris
12. Watched a lightning storm at sea
13. Stayed up all night long and saw the sun rise
14. Seen the Northern Lights
15. Gone to a huge sports game
16. Walked the stairs to the top of the leaning Tower of Pisa
17. Grown and eaten your own vegetables
18. Touched an iceberg
19. Slept under the stars
20. Changed a baby’s diaper
21. Taken a trip in a hot air balloon
22. Watched a meteor shower
23. Gotten drunk on champagne
24. Given more than you can afford to charity
25. Looked up at the night sky through a telescope
26. Had an uncontrollable giggling fit at the worst possible moment
27. Had a food fight
28. Bet on a winning horse
29. Asked out a stranger
30. Had a snowball fight
31. Screamed as loudly as you possibly can
32. Held a lamb
33. Seen a total eclipse
34. Ridden a roller coaster
35. Hit a home run
36. Danced like a fool and didn’t care who was looking
37. Adopted an accent for an entire day
38. Actually felt happy about your life, even for just a moment
39. Had two hard drives for your computer
40. Visited all 50 states [No, but I did try, and got a pretty big lead.]
41. Taken care of someone who was drunk
42. Had amazing friends [Still do!]
43. Danced with a stranger in a foreign country
44. Watched whales
45. Stolen a sign
46. Backpacked in Europe
47. Taken a road-trip
48. Gone rock climbing
49. Midnight walk on the beach
50. Gone sky diving
51. Visited Ireland
52. Been heartbroken longer than you were actually in love
53. In a restaurant, sat at a stranger’s table and had a meal with them
54. Visited Japan
55. Milked a cow
56. Alphabetized your CDs
57. Pretended to be a superhero
58. Sung karaoke
59. Lounged around in bed all day
60. Played touch football
61. Gone scuba diving--I don't swim, so despite the lovely location, I haven't done this. But I've snorkeled at Managaha, in the 80's, 90's and 2000's, which I've been told by some is better than diving in many places in the world!
62. Kissed in the rain
63. Played in the mud
64. Played in the rain
65. Gone to a drive-in theater
66. Visited the Great Wall of China
67. Started a business--well a not-for-profit day care.
68. Fallen in love and not had your heart broken
69. Toured ancient sitesMany, but my favorite being Nan Madol.
70. Taken a martial arts class
71. Played D&D for more than 6 hours straight
72. Gotten married
73. Been in a movie--do Dad's home movies count?!!
74. Crashed a party
75. Gotten divorced
76. Gone without food for 5 days
77. Made cookies from scratch
78. Won first prize in a costume contest
79. Ridden a gondola in Venice
80. Gotten a tattoo
81. Rafted the Snake River--no, but I've rafted the Cheat River!
82. Been on television news programs as an “expert”
83. Gotten flowers for no reason
84. Performed on stage
85. Been to Las Vegas
86. Recorded music
87. Eaten shark
88. Kissed on the first date
89. Gone to Thailand--not yet.
90. Bought a house--no, but I built a house.
91. Been in a combat zone
92. Buried one/both of your parents
93. Been on a cruise ship
94. Spoken more than one language fluently
95. Performed in Rocky Horror
96. Raised children
97. Followed your favorite band/singer on tour
98. Passed out cold
99. Taken an exotic bicycle tour in a foreign country
100. Picked up and moved to another city to just start over--well, not really to "just start over" but that was the effect.
101. Walked the Golden Gate Bridge
102. Sang loudly in the car, and didn’t stop when you knew someone was looking
103. Had plastic surgery
104. Survived an accident that you shouldn’t have survived
105. Wrote articles for a large publication
106. Lost over 100 pounds--I've probably done this, but not all at once!
107. Held someone while they were having a flashback--not flashbacks, but hallucinations
108. Piloted an airplane
109. Touched a stingray (cheating-at an aquarium)
110. Broken someone’s heart--maybe.
111. Helped an animal give birth
112. Won money on a T.V. game show
113. Broken a bone
114. Gone on an African photo safari
115. Had a facial part pierced other than your ears
116. Fired a rifle, shotgun, or pistol
117. Eaten mushrooms that were gathered in the wild
118. Ridden a horse
119. Had major surgery
120. Had a snake as a pet
121. Hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon
122. Slept for more than 30 hours over the course of 48 hours I've been that sick.
123. Visited more foreign countries than U.S. states
124. Visited all 7 continents
125. Taken a canoe trip that lasted more than 2 days
126. Eaten kangaroo meat
127. Eaten sushi Hasn't everyone?!
128. Had your picture in the newspaper
129. Changed someone’s mind about something you care deeply about
130. Gone back to school
131. Para sailed
132. Touched a cockroach
133. Eaten fried green tomatoes
134. Read The Iliad - and the Odyssey
135. Selected one “important” author who you missed in school, and read
136. Killed and prepared an animal for eating I'm assuming fish count.
137. Skipped all your school reunions
138. Communicated with someone without sharing a common spoken language
139. Been elected to public office
140. Written your own computer language
141. Thought to yourself that you’re living your dream
142. Had to put someone you love into hospice care
143. Built your own PC from parts
144. Sold your own artwork to someone who didn’t know you
145. Had a booth at a street fair
146. Dyed your hair
147. Been a DJ
148. Shaved your head
149. Caused a car accident
150. Saved someone’s life

Thursday, December 20, 2007

174. Holiday Cheer

I can't believe it's already December 20th!

I'm not ready. I haven't written my Christmas cards yet. I haven't decorated the tree (although I did get the lights strung onto it last night). I have no presents. I haven't yet BAKED!

I haven't been this behind for the holidays in years. Everything will be wonderful, I'm sure. So I'm not stressing about any of this--too much.

From my many years of experience with these holidays and especially my extensive experience with being behind on the preparations and fun, I do have a few tricks up my sleeve (well, it's the tropics, so no sleeves, but you get the idea). So at the end of the work day today, I'll be off to buy some "starter" cookies. And cheese and crackers, olives and other appetizer/party goodies.

I already have the wine. :-)

Happy holidays, everyone. And here's wishing for peace on Earth.

Monday, December 17, 2007

173. The New CNMI Labor Law (P.L. 15-108)--part 2

I'm still tracking through the new labor law, and I'm still on the purposes. (Part 1 is posted at Post # 160.) There are some good statements in the purposes with which I agree, and a few more subtle assumptions with which I disagree.

On the good side, these statements:
"...a minimum wage rate may not be sufficient to attract citizens and permanent
residents to take a job for which they are qualified."

And this:
"Wage rates will not rise so long as cheap foreign labor is available."

And this:
"The Commonwealth has the responsibility to provide fair employment conditions
for foreign nationals, to use their labor for the purposes of economic growth
and stability for which it was intended, and to regulate labor practices in
order to protect against potential abuses."

But then the law seems to eschew the most obvious means of addressing these issues: 1) a higher minimum wage; 2) a real and enforced moratorium / limit on the number of foreign workers in the CNMI; and 3) application and enforcement of all federal labor laws; promotion of unions; and, most importantly, treatment of all workers equally.

The purposes section promotes the idea that locals need to have less competition to get the jobs they "should" have, and those jobs should be the ones for which they are "educated"--the management and professional jobs.

Some of the problems in this part of the purposes section:

"The Commonwealth's goal is to establish a regulatory environment so that jobs
are available for its qualified high school, college, and graduate school

The market place generally favors the more educated worker with higher wages, but the under-educated (those who have dropped out of school before getting a high school diploma) can contribute valuable skills and labor to a healthy economy. They should not be ignored. The policy of the government should not continue this prejudice against blue-collar work!

Another problematic statement of purpose:
"If the job is reserved for citizens and permanent residents, then the
competitive economy will cause the wage rate to rise to a level that citizens
and permanent residents find acceptable."

The CNMI Labor Department has failed to classify jobs for the past 25 years, and has allowed employers to hire foreign workers at minimum wage for jobs like accountant and engineer! We do not need to "reserve" jobs for the CNMI local residents to push up the wage. We do not need to perpetuate a two-tiered system of labor-with local workers in designated (high-paying) segments and foreign workers in the other (low-paying) jobs. This type of system invites abuse. The preference for U.S. and permanent resident workers is legitimate and needs to be enforced. But we need to enforce that preference in all job categories, and not create a two-tiered system of labor. We need our work force to work together, not separately.

There is another way of addressing the issue of artificially depressed wages in professional, management, and skilled jobs. Besides increasing the minimum wage-which encourages greater participation by everyone in the labor market, the CNMI Labor Department can set ranges/brackets of reasonable wages that must be offered for certain types of jobs if foreign workers will be used. This is less problematic on an equal protection basis than barring foreign workers outright from jobs. If our minimum wage is 50% of the U.S. minimum, then the range for an accountant's position could be 50% of what accountants earn in the U.S. When the job is advertised, resident workers can see the potential for greater earnings than minimum wage. This doesn't make us competitive or on par with the lure of the U.S., but is does provide for a balanced and consistent wage structure. And this benefits everyone. Many people who live here want to stay and willingly earn less than in the U.S. in exchange for the many beautiful and beneficial offerings the CNMI offers. The resident work force that is attracted to the higher paying jobs in the local economy can get these jobs if they want.

And yet another problem in the statement of purpose:
"The overall guiding policy with respect to foreign national workers is to
provide for a stable work force and protect due process rights without creating

It is that last bit--without creating entitlements--that I find troublesome. Our government has let in a huge number of alien workers over the past quarter century. They are not automatons, robots, who work and earn their pay and have no human life. They are people, with relationships, children, ties to our community. This bit of the purposes ignores the reality that has already occurred from the decisions of our leaders to allow this long-term alien population in the CNMI. Their children are U.S. citizens, born here. The children have entitlements that are shared by all U.S. citizens. These children, upon reaching 21, can petition their parents into the U.S. for green card (immediate relative) status. These children will vote in CNMI elections.

The fear that our local island population will be over-run by a "foreign" resident population is misdirected at the alien population. Our leaders have ensured this result by their decisions of the past, despite warnings, despite encouragements to have moratoriums on hiring foreign workers. It it too late to take back the CNMI from the natural consequences of the decisions CNMI Chamorro and Carolinian elected officials have made.

When I first arrived in the CNMI, we had a "permanent resident" law included in our CNMI code. It was repealed, on much the same thinking as now proposed in P.L. 15-108--the idea that the way to protect a cultural heritage is to deny others equal political status. This does not protect culture of any worthy kind. It only promotes evil.

One last bit before I close this long post:
"It is the intent of the Legislature that this Act shall not apply to persons
admitted to the Commonweatlh as tourists, or to persons employed illegally, i.e.
without the approval of the Department of Labor, or to those persons employing
others illegally in the Commonwealth unless specific provision has been made

The CNMI government is painfully aware that we have a human trafficking problem. Despite their repeated efforts to cover up current abuses and their insistence that the problem is a thing of the past, we keep seeing this. Especially in the sex industry--today's story is Club Jama. We've had the Red Heart Lounge, and the StarDust and Star Light nightclubs and others--all in the last two or three years.

When girls and women are trafficked into the CNMI they are almost always brought in as tourists, and then forced to dance naked or prostitute, kept locked in barracks or escorted everywhere they go.

Before P.L. 15-108, these girls and women could file labor complaints. And the Labor Department was fairly good at investigating. Now trafficking victims can't get this help. I think this is just another means the CNMI government is using to hide the reality of human trafficking in the CNMI. Workers, whether lawfully employed or tricked into unlawful employment, or foolish enough to agree to unlawful employment, are still laborers and deserve the protection of labor laws. It's not enough that the government may take up the case for the trafficking victims. They need easy access to a complaint mechanism that other workers have, too.

I'm not impressed by the purposes of P.L. 15-108. A law built on this foundation cannot be a good labor bill for the CNMI.


Friday, December 14, 2007

172. SCROOGE 2007 on stage

Here are a few of my photos of the SCROOGE performance from 12/13/2007:

It's not too late to catch this seasonal favorite. Last show is set for Sunday at 3 PM at P.I.C. (Charley's Cabaret). Tickets are $15 for adults; $10 for students and includes a dessert selection during intermission. If you are member of Friends of the Arts, tickets are $12 for adults (no discount for students). Student thespians can get SRO tickets for $7. All paid tickets will be stamped and are good for a 25% discount for dinner at the Magellan (same day). And FOA members are invited to dine at the Magellan for just $15 (instead of the usual $34).
'Tis the season to be merry!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

171. The Myth of the Lazy Local

Donald (sorry for earlier mistake) Cohen hints at it in his letter today. Anthony Pellegrino included it in the assumptions made in his column earlier this week. We hear it all of the time--islanders, that is, the Chamorros and Carolinians of the NMI, don't want to do the work that has been handled by the foreign workers, because they're lazy!

I beg to differ.

This is a stereotype like the "shiftless Negro" of last century, or the siesta-taking Mexican--both prominently featured at times in America. It's a false icon that has worked its way into the dialogue and needs to be challenged.

I've been here 23 years. I know people in most segments of the community. I work with Chamorros and Carolinians in my office on a daily basis. They're not the exception. They represent the excellent quality of workers that exist in the local community. And although I work in an office, it's not all paper work. There are times when we all pitch in to haul water, clean the office, repair our dilapidated surroundings. In the past we've moved locations. And everyone, especially our local staff, has worked hard at these jobs, too.

We've all seen islanders sweat and endure hours and hours of hard work on their local farms, or preparing for fiestas and other events. This is real work. We know Chamorros and Carolinians who have moved in droves to the mainland U.S.A. for better jobs.

There is no lazy gene in the local talent pool. When the motivations are there, islanders work as hard as anyone else.

The problem is the issue of motivation. What U.S. citizen wants to work for a mere $3.55 / hour? (And that represents a raise from the $3.05 that prevailed as minimum wage until July 2007!) If islanders value their work at a higher rate than $3.55 / hour it doesn't make them lazy; it just means that they are fortunately not as desperate as the impoverished foreign contract workers who will accept any low pay. If the local islanders are moving to the mainland for jobs (which they are), they're not expecting to laze about. They're working hard, but getting higher pay that their work deserves.

I've heard complaints from Saipan employers about their local staff taking off for funerals and family needs. I've known locals who gave up their jobs for these types of reasons. All to whom I've spoken at these times seem ignorant about the federal law, the Family Leave Act. We could do with some better education on this law and the protections it affords. We could use a local law that extends this act to all employers, including the small ones. Then there would be fewer problems with these personal issues.

Just because foreign workers have fewer rights, less status and are more vulnerable, they complain less. That doesn't mean the local worker is a bad employee.

Of course there are some who will not work no matter how high the pay or good the opportunities. These people exist in all cultures. But they are a small minority.

So let's stop assuming that Chamorro and Carolinians do not want to do the hard work, the construction jobs, the farm work, the cleaning and service jobs. And let's stop pretending that it's all about "training." There is some training needed, especially for construction, but that can be met with voc-ed classes and on-the-job training the same as in the mainland.

We don't need special rules to get locals into the workforce. We don't need special opportunities and more expensive "training."

What is lacking is "motivation." And motivation could be instantly supplied with a higher minimum wage, one comparable to that in the mainland U.S.A., exactly what has lured hundreds and possibly thousands of locals to the mainland in the past few years.

What we have instead of sufficient motivation is this foolish, slow adjustment of minimum wage that is designed for failure. It's designed to cost employers just enough to cause problems and not provide enough boost to workers to make a difference--so that it can be shut down and stopped, and the further increases can be scuttled. And it is designed so that suppressed wages at the horribly low amounts can be continued.

With higher wages in the private sector, the local population will step up and WORK! Employers will be less tempted by cheap foreign labor, which won't be as cheap any more. Those foreign workers who remain in the CNMI will be treated better, too, at least economically, with higher wages. And everybody will win. Those earnings, in whole or in part, can be spent here, or saved here, and help restore our economy.

So please, everyone--including our elected leaders here, and our community and federal leaders-- stop assuming that locals do not want to work in real jobs. Stop assuming we need labor laws that grant special privileges to our local population. Our elected leaders especially need to stop pushing for desk jobs and management positions for locals. Let's honor all work--not just with "labor day" and recognition that the leader of our Christian community was himself a carpenter. Let's honor it with a living wage and the courage to treat people who have blue collar jobs as important, contributing members of our community.

We have a diverse community, and a range of talents, skills and interests even among our local populations. Let's embrace this diversity. Let's provide the motivation for work by everyone, in whatever jobs are needed to be done. That motivation would be higher wages, decent wages, a "living wage."

And then let's see who is "lazy."

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

170. SCROOGE dress rehearsal

The full cast donned costumes and did a full dress rehearsal Monday.

Here's one photo from the dress rehearsal (featuring Anna Rose, along with others). This is a scene shown to Scrooge by Spirit of Christmas Future, where his belongings, having been filched, are sold to Joe the Pawnbroker, and this is the most happiness Scrooge has brought into the world.

First performance was Tuesday, and went very well. There should be photos in tomorrow's newspapers, thanks to the photog who came to the performance.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

169. Bah Humbug!

It's that time of year again, when the demands for holiday revelry ramp up and productivity at work plummets. You can say "Bah Humbug" with the likes of Scrooge, or you can just enjoy the moment!

To help decide where you might fall on the cranky meter, and to push toward the light-hearted and much more enjoyable seasonal spirit, I encourage you to take advantage of the many opportunities on stage this month.

A sampling (and by no means a complete listing):

The MHS student productions (sophomore class project and MURDER WELL REHEARSED) will be staged at the drama studio (D 101, on Saturday night and Sunday afternoon). Cost is just $1.00 and is open to all.

Glushko's Academy once again hosts the NUTCRACKER, on stage at the Nikko Hotel, with dancers from Russia, Japan and Korea, along with Saipan students.

Music concert (Saipan Winds?) at PIC on Sunday afternoon.

And SCROOGE--the musical, an FOA production, will be on stage at Charley's --Pacific Islands Club (PIC) on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday--12/11, 12/12, and 12/13 at 7 PM. Cost is $15 and includes a dessert buffet. Or see it for the cost of a canned good donation on Friday at the Kagman Community Center (also at 7 PM). If your evenings are booked, you can catch the final performance, a matinee on Sunday, 12/16 at 3PM at PIC (also $15 with dessert buffet).

After the intensity of the past few months, and the demonstration against the recently-enacted labor bill (the march is set for Friday 12/7 at 4:30 PM from Minatchom Atdao / Kilili Beach), a little light-hearted fun is just what we'll all need.

Saturday, December 1, 2007


MCS Theatre Club staged an innovative version of THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS, the Tim Burton story of Jack Skellington's ambitious attempt to move away from his job as Pumpkin King of Halloween Town, and take over Sandy Claws' duties for Christmas. The MCS version was amusing, entertaining and showcased the diverse and impressive talents of the students.

Some photos (which are not as impressive as the show, sorry).

167. The Cybils Awards 2007-part 1

It's time for the Cybils Awards. These are awards for children and young adult books nominated by the internet community for awards, and then short listed by a committee. Then we may get to vote on the final award--that's still coming up.

I'm too late posting this to encourage any of you to nominate your favorite books of 2007. ( I did slip under the wire with a few nominations of my own.)

But if you click the Cybils in the side-bar, you'll find out what books others have nominated and how you can participate in voting.

It's also a great place to look for Christmas presents for kids in your life. These are books recommended by readers. The lists, in a variety of categories from fantasy to fact, poetry to picture book, include a wide array of selections. While I'm familiar with some (or have at least read reviews of them in Horn Book or other places), there are some new discoveries, too.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

166. On a Lighter Note--Bad Sex Awards

Thanks to Wrytten Wyrd and Janice Harayda for spreading the word about the Guardian's recent award for the 2007 worst passage about sex in a "literary" form.

The winner: Norman Mailer--The Castle in the Forest. Just too funny! He's got "the Hound," battering ram and piety all tied up in one paragraph.

Some of the other contenders stretch imaginative phrasing to the limit: "keyhole in the door", "streamers of heat", "tropical fish" butt, "private geometry," all made me smile. But my personal fave: "a powerful ethnic muscle scented by bitter melon." HAHAHAHA! That last from ABSURDISTAN by Gary Shteyngart.

Click the title of this post if you want to read more! ROFLMAO!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

165. On Resolutions

Tuesday's newspapers reported on a proposed House Resolution, signed by Stanley Torres and 8 other members, to castigate Ron Hodges for opinions he expressed publicly.

It is the representatives who should be castigated and censured for their tactics of intimidation and repression.

As reported, the resolution gives a nod to the First Amendment. Obviously the representatives have heard of the right to free speech and freedom of the press. Equally obvious, they don't understand what these mean.

I don't know Mr. Ron Hodges personally. I've read his letters in the paper, like many other people have. His letters stand firmly for the protection of human rights, whether the humans are citizens or not. He finds fault with our government leaders and others in the community for failing to accord basic human dignity to their fellow workers who happen to be aliens. And he has expressed frustration at what he perceives as unfair treatment.

I often agree with his sentiments, if not with the details of his proposals. And his "spit in the soup, graffiti everywhere" tirade was one of those expressions of frustration that I disagreed with. As did others who wrote in response with reasoned and heartfelt opinions.

Mr. Hodges responded to their objections, also with reasoned and heartfelt considerations.

This is what the marketplace of ideas is all about.

TO OUR REPRESENTATIVES: We are smart enough to hear ideas and think about them intelligently. We don't need you to protect us from ideas that you find offensive.

I find the Representatives' statement that Mr. Hodges should "not avail himself of island living anymore"--i.e. go back where he came from-- far more offensive than anything he said, and a good example of racism and bigotry in office, trying to stamp on constitutional rights.

I hope the resolution is not passed. And I will never again vote for any of you who sign or vote in favor of these kinds of resolutions.

It's time you worked on the problems of the CNMI. And the solution is not to abuse your legislative privilege to chill the expression of free speech, to attempt with your "resolutions" to silence those of us who point out what we feel is wrong. The solution is to identify the problems and find ways, within the constitution, to address them.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

164. Novel Zone--no time to blog!

National Novel Writing Month--November--is no time to blog!

I'm at 47,000 words on my most recent novel, thanks to the blitzkrieg of NaNoWriMo. My back aches. My wrists are sore. My eyes feel like dried up bits of pain in my face. And my characters keep going off on tangents instead of getting on with the story so I can wrap things up by 50,000 words.

Looks like I'll still be writing into the 60's. Aargh.

So although there are some rants and drones that have come to my brain at times during the last few days (especially today, with our illustrious congressmen passing a resolution to stifle free speech and invite another haole American to "go back where he came from"), they'll have to wait.

Must novel on!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

163. ROBERT'S SNOW-Online Auction Now Taking Bids

RACE FOR THE CURE. The online auction of snowflake ornaments painted by children's book illustrators has started. The first round of ornaments being auctioned are on the block until 11/23/2007 (EST, I think).

This is a chance to donate for a good cause and get a unique and beautiful remembrance in return. I encourage everyone to check it out, and bid, if you can.

You can see some of the snowflake ornaments featured in my earlier blog post, Blogging for the Cure , but the full assembly is at the Robert's Snow link (i.e. title of this post).

Monday, November 19, 2007

162. The Saipan Tribune Advertises--Hilarity Ensues

I laughed out loud when I read this advertisement (copied verbatim) in the Trib today (see page 22).

Attention all fresh college graduates
Do you love to write? Ever considered pursuing a career in
We are looking for fresh college graduates (associate or bachelor's degree)
with strong English writing skills, is willing to be trained to become a news or
sports reporter, and is ready to put in the hard work necessary to become a
professional reporter.
Interested? E-mail your application letter, resume, and a writing sample

I can't help but wonder who will be doing the training, and whether punctuation and grammar will be on the agenda! And let's make sure there are no stale college graduates applying! haha!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

161. NaNoWriMo Write In

There's a NaNoWriMo Write-In this Sunday at 2PM at Coffee Care.

If you're writing your novel this month, or thinking about it but haven't yet started, come. Bring your laptop and be ready for some word wars! Or at least have an extra plot bunny or two to share.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

160. P.L. 15-108. Our New "Labor" Law: What It Says; What It Means; and What I Think About It. PART 1.

P.L. 15-108 is 71 pages long. So I'm going to comment on bits and pieces of it, as I plow through it. These are my initial thoughts. I may revise them as I get to other sections of the law. I may re-think my positions and analysis as information or other comments come to light.

And because the bill is 71 pages long, I won't comment on everything. I haven't formed any strong feelings based on the coverage yet. I've been somewhat amused by all of the back-and-forth debate, wondering how much of it is just over-reaction and how much is warranted.

So here goes--my first foray into P.L. 15-108:

I got to the bottom of page 1 without screaming. Already I didn't like what I was reading. The law begins as most laws do with a statement of "findings" and "purposes." These are often instructive in how the language of the law should be interpreted, so I like to read these.

But this one starts with a purpose of achieving more employment for resident workers. That would be good. But I didn't like the "finding" written into the law that Chamorros and Carolinians should get even more preference than U.S. citizens and U.S. Permanent Residents for training and hiring. I think the notion that such preference is desireable goes against the fundamental freedoms of our U.S. and CNMI Constitutions that provide for equal protection.

And I didn't like the inference that locals should be groomed for management only jobs. I'm not fond of the prejudice against blue-collar work. It crops up again and again here. I don't think it makes economic sense. It runs directly counter to what economists (quoted in our local papers from sources like Wall Street Journal and other reputable business-oriented publications) are saying is the bedrock of an economy that can grow and thrive. And I find the prejudice against blue-collar work morally offensive.

So by the bottom of page 1, I'm not liking this bill much.

At page two, I found this:
The Covenant envisioned the employment of foreign nationals in the Commonwealth in order to create an economic base that would provide the citizens of the Commonwealth the economic opportunities and standard of living that their counterparts on the mainland are able to enjoy because of the vast area and large population from which communities on the mainland may draw employees.

What does this mean? It sounds to me like we get rich off the backs of cheap foreign labor. And we don't dirty our hands with the work ourselves. And that's our glorious vision for the CNMI.

And this purpose is "esteemed" because it's written into our Covenant. It's a bedrock principal!

I've read the Covenant. I've read the committee reports that constitute the legislative history of the Covenant. No where is there any such purpose stated.

The Covenant provided for local control over immigration in order to avoid problems with too many foreign nationals coming into a small community. The worry was not that we needed labor to sustain our industry; we could get that with U.S. controlled immigration. The worry was that the U.S. controlled immigration would not be responsive to our small, local issues and would allow foreign labor to overrun the island and change its character.

How do I know this? I wasn't here then, but as I've said, I read the reports. None of the reports--the House Committee Report (#94-364), the Senate Committee Reports (#94-433, 94-596), the Marianas Political Status Commission Memorandum, the Administration Memorandum, all assembed in a handy Section By Section Analysis prepared by Herman Marcuse of the Department of Justice--mention anything about providing cheap foreign labor so the locals could use them to raise their standard of living. The only comment about the reason for local control over immigration is this, from the Senate Committee Report, echoed in the Administration's Memorandum:

The Immigration and Naturalization Laws (subsection (a) [of Covenant sec. 503]. The reason this provision is included is to cope with the problems which unrestricted immigration may impose upon small island communities. Congress is aware of those problems. See, e.g., Alien Labor Program in Guam, Hearing before the Special Study Subcommittee of the Committee on the Judiciary, House of Representatives, 93d Cong., 1st Sess., pp. 19-25.

The vision of the CNMI's founding fathers was local control of immigration to limit the numbers of foreign workers. How badly did we screw up? Our government let in unlimited numbers of foreign workers, and we are overrun. And now our local population is a minority in its own place. That was exactly what the Covenant was supposed to protect against, but didnt work out.

So the "vision" now espoused in this latest law, because we can't admit that we made mistakes and didn't live up to the real vision, is one that our Legislators have concocted, not one that was built into our Covenant.

And it's an awful vision.

With this vision, I see the people of the CNMI standing on the backs and necks of the poor foreign workers. While the people of the CNMI enjoy middle class life, the foreign labor eats the dust on the floor.

That's what these words say to me. That's what is hidden in the text of the purposes. That we must have a social stratification, where locals are the owners and managers and foreigners are the peons.

And it's wrapped up in red, white, and blue--saying that this is what they have in the U.S. and we want it too!

And that's another distortion. In the mainland U.S., all people can enjoy the benefits of the large populaton and industry that can be built with it, but all people are entitled to be treated equally, too. The workers in those factories are U.S. citizens who organize into unions and bargain for better wages and benefits. The owners can't deport them when they complain.

The stated purpose of P.L. 15-108 is designed to keep foreign workers in subjugation to us.

Is there some other reading of this purpose? Is it just a neutral saying that we need foreign workers because we don't have enough local labor force to maintain industries?

I don't think so, because then it would say that we are employing foreign workers to help us create an economic base, where all people in the CNMI could enjoy a better standard of living.

The specific design of this purpose puts the workers on the economic base side and the locals on the enjoying a better life. There's no shared work and no shared benefit. That's by design.

As a purpose for a law that governs how we live, we should be striving for a higher, more ethical way of life. This island is filled with "Christians." Christ argued for a living wage, not exaltation of locals over foreigners. Not special preferences at the expense of others. Christ was a blue collar worker--a carpenter.

We have a long way to go, and a lot of wrong thinking to overcome. Our legislators and Governor should hang their heads in shame for allowing this purpose to be included in P.L. 15-108.

As a small side note: I'm sure someone will say why didn't I address these comments when the bill was being considered. The simple answer is, I can't unless I receive a specific written invitation directed to me (and not the general public or general bar association, etc.). I work for an organization that has regulations prohibiting comment to influence legislation, unless specifically solicited. (And even when I receive a request, I'm sometimes too busy to put my professional time into it. This blog, I do on my own time.) Once a law is passed, it becomes fair game and I'm free to comment.

As another small note: It shouldn't take a comment from me for our Legislators to see how offensive these findings and purposes are. Or to read the Covenant and the historical documents and see what was really said, what the true purpose was.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

159. A Little NaNoWriMo Humor

As you can see, this is by InkyGirl, Debbie Ridpath Ohi. You can see more of her work here. Inkygirl

When you "nano," there are no secrets. I mean, how did Inkygirl know about my 2005 novel? It just needs a little more editing, and I'll get to that sometime, I swear.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

158. Writing that Novel

This is my third year participating in National Novel Writing Month. Each year's experience is different.

The first year, I was totally manic. I had planned a lot--had the rudiments of an plot outline, basic characters with traits figured out, and a novel "cover" with a photo of the scene. I had made a hard-copy chart to keep track of my daily progress. I had files with research on technical issues and details. And I read and posted in the NaNo forums a lot.

On top of work and home, I was busy, busy, busy. And I wrote on schedule, using the holidays to get ahead, and finished on 11/25 with 61,000+ words.

I had put out signs trying to get others to join me, but without luck. And when it was all over, I hosted my own success party where I drank with a few friends, who read out portions of my "completed" printed out novel.

That first year was a great experience. And I love that novel (which I'm still editing!)

The second year, I had planned less, but had some basics in hand. A map of my locale, some news clippings for inspiration. I'd re-read my favorite books on writing and had plumbed my new copy of Chris Baty's NaNo book.

And thanks to the efforts of our local Joeten-Kiyu Library, I had two writing buddies who came to the weekly write-ins. Joe Race finished his first NaNoWriMo novel that year. Julia Allen, then working at the library, made some progress with words on paper, but was more the organizational guru for us.

My novel that year felt flat on first reading, although I liked the beginning. I haven't gotten back to it, but I think it has potential to be worked into a worthy second novel.

This year, I haven't planned at all. I decided on my basic story back at the beginning of Nano 1, when all three books were crying to be written and I had to see which one would be written first, then second and now the third one. I start with a premise. And this year, that's all I had on November 1!

Well, that and more Saipan Nanoers! Joe Race, Nancy Nielsen, Connie Nakamura, and "Marianas Life" are all in the writing marathon for the month. Ken Kramer is thinking about it (and may have started by now).

Having buddies in the Nano online community means I have others urging me on to increase my word count. I am woefully behind this year (now about a 1 1/2 days off target), but I have a few organizational tricks I've learned over the years (like keeping a character chart as I write, so I don't forget whose eyes are grey, and who moved to Oregon and Korea and such). I also use a Chris Baty tip-- I draw--with crayons and kindergarten style. So far this year, I've mapped out one party scene and my main character's home and yard. Coffee Care has brown paper on the tables, with handy crayons available, and these are perfect for this part of the process! (Also the wireless is a nice feature!)

I've also returned to that first year necessity of writing badly--lots and lots of words on the page, to (almost) make the word count quotas. Oddly the freedom to do this adds an energy to the writing and makes it better in some ways.

And of course, I'm using the "dares" from the NaNoWriMo forums again. Nanoers dare each other to do things in their novels--like add talking squirrels and recite ridiculous lines. I love these (although I won't take the talking squirrel dare) because they add a touch of whimsy and the unexpected that can lead to better overall plotting.

It's not too late to join NaNoWriMo. There are people who write a 50,000 word novel in a week! The goal is 50,000 words and a beginning, middle and end to the "novel." There's time to do that--or at least get started.

And all I can say is I love doing this. It's a taste of the writing life, all crammed into one 30 day period. Yay!

Sunday, November 4, 2007

157. Election Results

You can get the election results here. I'm just glad the Saipan Casino Act went down in flames.

Angelo has a discussion going on about the effect of blogs on the vote. I'm sure others are licking their wounds or celebrating in style.

As for me, I'm enjoying the relaxed post-election atmosphere. The tension from the uncertainty has drained away. Good or bad, whether you like the results or not, we now know what we'll be living with for the next few years.

I personally was surprised that so many incumbents won re-election. And I would like to hear what others think is the reason?

Do we not blame them for the present predicament? Are we still having candidates win based on family size? Are the incumbents who won somehow perceived as different than the others? What's up?

Thursday, November 1, 2007

156. On Writing

This bit on writing just in from NaNoWriMo:

It's a bit like being out of control and totally in charge, simultaneously. Tom Robbins

Ah, the joy!

155. Time to Write a Novel

November is National Novel-Writing Month!

It's time to crank out a first-draft novel in 30 glorious days. This is no small feat, but it can be done. I've done it twice. Joe Race also did this last November. And so far 90,000 people world-wide have signed up to try to do it this November 2007!

You can sign up to join the madness here .

With on-line support like interactive forums, radio podcasts, and breezy letters of encouragement from the NaNoWriMo creator, Chris Baty, the experience is fun and amazingly productive.

If you're in Saipan, feel free to join me for the Day 1 writing session (November 1, of course) at Coffee Care in the evening (sometime like 7 PM). Goal: 1667 words. Remember, you can't win if you don't start, as shown on this graph from Dr.Frag of Adelaide, Australia!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

154. A Question about the Saipan Casino Act

I hope that the Saipan Casino Act will not get the 2/3rds majority of qualified voters' votes in the upcoming election.

But I have a question about the mechanics of the Act. Call it professional curiousity. I haven't been able to figure out what is supposed to happen in regards to the stock if the proposal becomes law. The proposed law, as written, seems confused and incomplete.

Article III, Section 2 says:

(a) The commission, upon this Act becoming law, shall issue the casino license only to the Northern Marianas Descent Investment Corporation (NMDIC). The license shall be perpertual.

(i) The NMDIC shall be a profit corporation established in accordance with the laws of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.
(ii) The incorporators, directors, officers and shareholders of the NMDIC shall be persons of NMD.
(iii) NMDIC shall issue shares of common stock duly subscribed in Five Hundred Dollar (US $500.00) par value per share and preferred stocks duly subscribed in one dollar ($1.00) par value per share to natural NMD persons only.
(iv) No natural person of NMD shall own more than one (1) share of common stocks and twenty-five thousand (25,000) of preferred shares.
(v) Any natural person of NMD, who is eighteen (18) years of age or older may subscribe to only one share of common stock and not more than twenty-five thousand (25,000) preferred shares of NMDIC, and pay for such share in an installment amount to be determined under a share subscription agreement with NMDIC. Each common stock shareholder shall be entitled to one vote during shareholders meeting or other events and business of NMDIC. However, for the purpose of computing, declaring and paying dividends per share to be paid, it shall be based only on fully subscribed and paid share.
(vi) Authorized Stocks. NMDIC shall authorize number of capital stocks to meet the current and growing NMD population in the Commonwealth pursuant to this Subsection.

So my first and basic question is what happens to a person's stock when he or she dies? Can it only be inherited by someone who is also NMD? What if all heirs already have their own one share? Or there is no NMD heir? Is it bought back and the money paid for it inherited? Does the share disappear?

The whole thing about the number of stocks also seems financially troublesome. Is there a fixed number of shares, open for purchase, or is it that all NMDs have a right to purchase one share of common stock?

It seems as if any and all NMDs have a right to buy into the NMDIC. It seems as if the number of shares will constantly fluctuate and increase with population. But if that's the case, then as NMDs reach age 18, they can automatically purchase a share of common stock, constantly diluting the shares of those who already have one.

Or will it be that as fewer and fewer people meet the 25% NMD blood requirement that there will be fewer and fewer who are eligible to own the stocks?

On a different note, and issue: the people who control the NMDIC can let friends and family have a share without paying, to give those friends and family a vote at (important) meetings. Do they have to let all NMDs have the same access to an unpaid share? Isn't it interesting that people can vote without paying for their share?

Anyone with ideas, feel free to clue me in.

153. Love is warm puppy breath!

Thanks to Betty Miller and Angie Wheat, who are sending around a list of descriptions about love, written by little kids (ages 4 to 8). This one comes from the list:

'Love is when your puppy licks your face even after you left him alone all day.' Mary Ann - age 4

If you need a little more love in your life, I can help. I have six adorable puppies up for adoption. They were born on October 1, 2007, are certified Saipan boonie dogs, and need good homes.

Contact me here (or use my e-mail in the profile). I'll try to post photos, just in case you need a little more convincing.
P.S. These cute little puppies have all been given away now. And surprisingly, I'm missing them. (I thought I'd just be happy to have less to clean up, less demand for feeding and keeping them from getting roughed up by the bigger dogs. Wrong.) But I am glad they've found good homes, elsewhere than my own!

Monday, October 29, 2007

152. A Word from our Election Commission

Greg Sablan sent me this with a request to post on the blog. So here goes.

The Commonwealth Election Commission has received reports that there are individuals informing our citizens and registered voters that a “yes” vote means “no” for some of the questions on the November 3, 2007 general election ballot.

There are seven (7) questions for Rota and for Saipan and the Islands North of Saipan, and six (6) for Tinian and Aguiguan, that require a yes or no vote. The questions are all found on the right-hand side of the ballot and they are for the four (4) judicial retention questions and the two (2) House Legislative Initiatives and the Saipan Casino Act for Saipan and the Islands North of Saipan and the Rota Casino Act of 2007 for Rota.

For the record, a “yes” vote means that a voter is approving the question, whether it is for the initiative or for the retention of the judicial officers. A “no” vote is a vote in opposition, a disapproval, of the question.

Thus, if a voter votes “yes” on the Saipan Casino Act, for example, that voter is voting to approve the initiative. A “no” vote means the voter is not in support of the initiative.

The same goes for all the questions on the right-hand side of the general election ballot.

Anyone having more information about this issue is asked to please report the matter to the Office of the Attorney General, the Public Auditor or to the Commonwealth Election Commission.

Sincerely yours,


Executive Director



Whoever is spreading the nonsense (about a yes vote meaning no) must not think our CNMI voters are very smart. Or else they're just desperate. I trust that most (all?) blog readers already know this, but just in case, or in case you find someone else asking about this, you can say you've read the official answer--yes means yes and no means no--and give a straight answer (without thinking it's a joke).

Thursday, October 18, 2007

151. Blogging for a Cure--Robert's Snow Event

Children's writers and artists are collaborating to raise money for the Dana Farber Cancer Institute. More than a hundred well-established and new artists have each created a snowflake art piece for this year's event, and each snowflake will be auctioned on-line starting November 19, 2007.

You can read more details at Jen Robinson's blog here.

The art reminds us why children love picture books, and how a little bit of beauty can work wonders.

Here are a few samples from the many lovely choices. Whether you like dogs or cats, traditional snowy holiday scenes or tropical treasures, amusing or serene, there's a snowflake for you!

This Chillax might be my personal favorite!

But of course, I love Paddington Bear, too!

I hope everyone in Saipan with any cash to spend for the holidays will participate in this on-line auction. The treasure is not just the art, but the gift of giving.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

150. To JacketFlap Readers & other notes

I received an e-mail today that my blog is now featured on JacketFlap. I signed up for that months ago when I was doing a lot more with the "writing" part of Saipan Writer and less with the Saipan part. With election season and interesting local issues in the forefront here, I've all but forgotten the writer part of my blog duties!

But I just finished reading a mid-grade novel, RICKSHAW GIRL by Mitali Perkins and will be reviewing it in my monthly book review column.

And NEXT MONTH is NANOWRIMO! That's national novel writing month--a crazy time when you crank out a 50,000+ word novel in just 30 days.

This will be my third year participating in NaNoWriMo. Joe Race is planning on joining again this year. We both finished last year, as others fell by the wayside, left eating our dust! If anyone else in Saipan is interested, let me know. Last year, we held weekly write-ins and it worked well.

And just for some humor, thought I'd pass this on. An ordinary pack of Pokemon cards sold for more than $140 on eBay--thanks to some great writing. Read it here: A funny story on why this Mom was selling Pokemon cards on eBay. (Thanks to WryttenWyrd for the news flash!)

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

149. A Day Late

So Angelo encouraged all of us to post a story about the environment on October 15. I'm a day late (well, it's the 15th in parts of the world still).

And I'm just posting this link: NPR Story on the Philippines. I heard this broadcast this morning and thought it worth repeating.

I like the concept of stewardship of our earth.

Monday, October 15, 2007

148. FYI-Saipan Casino Act

One last --easy-- post on the Saipan Casino Act initiative.

EDIT: I haven't found the Saipan Casino Initiative on-line and can't link to it. But if you want a copy, let me know. I'm willing to make a few copies and pass them along.

At the debate, I complained that there was nothing in the bill that provided for INDEPENDENT regulators. Paduna said I was wrong (well, he SHOUTED that I was wrong, wrong, wrong). See if you can find any of these things:

1. a requirement that the commissioners NOT have any interest in the license-holder, casino operators or other gambling/casino interests.

2. a requirement that the commissioners NOT come directly from employment at the casinos.

3. a requirement that the commissioners NOT be able to go directly from their job as commissioners into the casino industry.

4. a requirement that the commissioners NOT have close family members with an interest in the license-holder, casino operators or other gambling/casino intersts.

5. a requirement that the commissioners NOT have close family members working in the
casino industry.

You won't. The SCA would invite the casino industry into Saipan WITHOUT INDEPENDENT REGULATION. And without independent regulation, the casino industry will be more likely to be corrupt, have illegal and unethical practices, and fail to pay over the benefits we're supposed to reap.

At the debate, the pro side insisted the Saipan Casino Act does not create a monopoly. They did this in two ways--1) saying because all indigenous could buy a share in the license-holder, there was no monopoloy; and 2) saying the indigenous compnay was only a "regulatory" monopoly.

1. See if you can find anyplace in the the SCA that permits a second company of all indigenous people to hold a separate license and operate casinos in competition to the first license-holder's casinos.

2. See if you can find anyplace in the SCA that says the indigenous company that will hold the license will be for regulation only and not for profit.

The SCA will grant THE EXCLUSIVE, and perpetual, PRIVILEGE by law to one and only one investment company for the license to operate casinos in Saipan. The company will be a business operating FOR PROFIT. This is a monopoly.

Monopolies do not have the usual market forces to help keep them in line. So not only will there be no independent regulation of the casino industry in Saipan, there will not even be market forces operating to make sure the casinos stay above-board.

There seems to be a growing notion that the appearance of casinos in Saipan would end the proliferation and prominence of poker arcades in our community. I'm not really sure how this is supposed to happen. (It was repeated over and over that casinos would be well-lit and our local people wouldn't go in there. I'm not sure the reasoning behind that analysis, either, but it would be inconsistent with the idea that demand for the poker-machines would be diverted to the casinos.) The closure of poker arcades hasn't happened in Tinian.

1. Find someplace in the SCA that changes our poker-machine laws.

One of the lures of the casino industry is the promise of wealth. But the casino industry does not create wealth--it doesn't take some natural resource and make it into a valuable product. It just packages gambling as fun and redistributes existing wealth. For the casino industry to "generate" income, people have to lose. The entire casino industry is premised on this simple fact. The machines and tables and games are all set up so that there are consistently more losers than winners.

One of the myths of the casino promise is that wealthy people play at the casinos and lose income they can afford to do without. This myth isn't entire false, which is why it is so attractive. There are wealthy people who play games at casinos and lose big money.

Will those wealthy people choose to gamble at casinos on Saipan or Tinian, rather than Macau or Singapore? I mean, really, if you were wealthy, where would you choose? I love Saipan and all of the CNMI, and I love it the way it is. I can't see casinos and neon-light as an improvement. And I can't see us ever getting to the point of being legitimately competitive with Macau and Singapore for those wealthy gamblers.

And then there are the others, not so wealthy gamblers, losing money at casinos that they can't afford. These might be tourists or residents. They might be our soldiers and sailors stationed on Guam. Casino income is a reverse or regressive tax--taking money from those most desperate to try their luck.

And while casino owners and operators usually make profits (with the notable exception of the Tinian Dynasty), people in the community don't necessarily see an improved lifestyle. This is reflected in the increase in bankruptcies in communities with casinos. This is reflected in the fact that Las Vegas has the highest rate of home mortgage foreclosures in the country right now, and a depressed housing market.

Just be sure you realize there's NO GUARANTEE in the Saipan Casino Act.

Proponents of the SCA hype casinos as "the only alternative" that Saipan has to get out of the economic slump. This is a lie. Other communities in the past--going back for centuries--have had times where they faced economic hardship. They didn't have to turn to casinos to recover. We don't either.

And just because other communities have chosen to have casinos is no reason for us to do the same. We aren't lemmings. We have a unique culture and beauty that we can develop.

We should work on building the community, rather than just building the economy. The community encompasses economic aspects, but it looks at the larger picture and works from there. I agree with Tina Sablan that we need honest government and an investment in our people and culture as a basis for promoting our fledgling economy. We should stop looking for the one-trick pony to ride (like the garment industry, EDIT-a certain kind of tourist-EDIT, casinos) and start promoting initiatives by our resident population for small and medium-sized enterprises that will build a solid base for happy community life.

Friday, October 12, 2007

147. Educating Kids about Gambling Math

I'm so glad to be finished with the official debate on the Saipan casino initiative. (And I dread seeing myself on local television!)

In a bit of follow-up research, I found this nifty site that offers a curriculum from Harvard Medical School for middle school kids on mathematics, probability and gaming--to help educate them about gambling and risk. FACING THE ODDS.

I like the bit about helping kids make the transition from "magical thinking" to "mathematical thinking." I'm not in middle-school, but it's been a long time since I took "probability and statistics" in college, so even I would like to be a student in this class!

(And now I hope to turn my blogging back to writing--and getting ready for NaNoWriMo!)

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

146. Scammers at Casinos

A letter in the newspaper today suggested that we educate ourselves about casinos. Good idea!

Good, clean fun? Better watch out.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

145. Another Casino Reflection

I blogged about my initial thoughts and analysis of the Saipan Casino Act here.

I've heard many other concerns since I wrote that article: concerns about unregulated greed and potential dishonesty; organizational, administrative, and technological incompetence; and unintended, harmful consequences on local businesses.

I share all of those concerns.

But one of my biggest and newest concerns deals with the effect on the traditional mwarmwar. I mean, what if we end up with headgear like this?