Thursday, July 26, 2007

118. And a break from Politics--back to Harry

J.K. Rowling reads aloud from THE DEATHLY HALLOWS in a London museum while we were buying and reading in Saipan and elsewhere.

Look for my review of the book (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows) in Friday's Marianas Variety.

117. You Tube / CNN Democratic Debate, and a look Bush-side

And then there's Alberto Gonzalez, Attorney General in the Bush administration, and why, despite his lies, he can't be fired. And why we can't elect another Republican to the White House.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

116. Boycotting the bad guys

Angelo has another thought-provoking post at his blog, this time on the Filippino Consul General's argument against the boycott of Herman's Bakery. Shut-UpPinoys

Here's my own take on the matter.

The background
Herman's Bakery is the business run by a family corporation, headed by Juan Tenorio Guerrero, a/k/a Juan Pan. Other Juan Pan businesses include Western Union and MITA travel.

Juan T. Guerrero (Juan Pan) has been president of the Chamber of Commerce, head honcho of the Red Cross, a former Congressman in the CNMI Legislature, Executive of the year, and an otherwise well-recognized and respected community leader in CNMI and Guam. Herman'sHistory

But he's taken a stance against federalization , and opposed the wage hike as well. In fact he said these would be a disaster for the CNMI. PanPredictsDisaster

The call to action
For his opposition to the rights of workers, especially the alien workers, and his opposition to possible improvement in the CNMI through federalization, now there is a call for action against his businesses. A boycott. A boycott of Herman's Bakery products (which are available retail, but also used at KFC and other places), his Western Union business, MITA and any other Juan Pan business.

The call is being sent around by text messaging. (Love technology!) And it's making some waves, getting a little press coverage and prompting a call to Juan Pan himself, while he was in D.C. talking about how the CNMI doesn't need U.S. takeover of immigration and labor.

Juan Pan's response
Juan Pan, when learning of the call for the boycott, tried to paint himself as only a messenger. He said that he is just delivering the message of the Chamber of Commerce because he is its president. And that he has a right to express his own opinions, too. Don'tShootTheMessenger

What? This is a ridiculous response.

Juan Pan fully supports the Chamber's position against federalization. He's been a mover and shaker in the CNMI's effort to stop federalization, speaking out on it, predicting disaster, joining in the meetings. If he had serious qualms about the Chamber's latest position, he could have argued against it at some point. He could have begged off being the "messenger" and let someone else deliver the Chamber's position. His decision to be the one to testify is evidence of his commitment to the opposition to federalization.

And then there's the Chamber's position against grand-fathering in long-term residents. They want to say that all the years people have lived in the CNMI as alien workers doesn't count. That everybody starts over, starts on the date of the new law, assuming one is passed.

And this position, against grandfathering in our long-time resident aliens, is just nasty. Immoral. Cowardice.

the RP Consul General's mistake
The RP Consul General urged everyone to ignore the boycott because it would hurt the workers employed by Juan Pan. It's a "pressure tactic" and that makes it blackmail. And so it would be wrong.

But if you employ that logic, it would mean we could never protest anything. The Boston Tea Party (which is one of the most outrageous acts of vandalism and theft to ever be perpetrated in the name of a cause) would be reduced to nothing more than a crime, not an eloquent demand for freedom. The Emancipation Proclamation and the entire Civil War, fighting against slavery, would be wrong because slave-owners would react, and those poor slaves would have no homes, no place to work, nothing--but freedom. The Resistance against Hitler would be wrong, because trying to undermine his power and pressure him into not torturing and killing Jews would be-well, blackmail. And the German law could be used against your family and other innocents.

Obviously, the RP Consul General's argument is baloney.

Boycott--it's not wrong, it's a right.
There is nothing wrong with concerted effort to boycott. It's a tactic that recognizes how economic endeavors are intertwined with the political. And when you can't make direct progress on the political front, you need to refocus on the economic. There have been some successful boycotts. BoycottPepsiforBurma , TheMontgomeryBusBoycott , and the original boycott, aimed at landreform in Ireland.

So, if you support federalization, the wage hike, and recognition of aliens' long-term residence in the CNMI as a basis for rights, then boycott the Juan Pan businesses.

As for me, I support those things. I'm not a big fan of the U.S. and its handling of immigration at all, but I've come to the conclusion that the CNMI can't make things better on its own because our leaders are all like Juan Pan--getting rich from cheap foreign labor, and thus forgetting the higher moral values in support of equality and liberty, living wages for all and an end to poverty, justice and universal brotherhood that they had instilled by their faith, by their community, and just by living.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

115. Potter mania and my first poll.

I've created my first poll, relating to Potter mania and the Deathly Hallows.

Yay! (I love blogging. I love learning how to do these simple things and having fun with it. )

So Bota, bota, bota! Or, in English, vote!

But if you haven't yet gotten the book, while u wait:

Friday, July 20, 2007

114. Snape-Friend or Foe?

Friend or foe?
I'm voting FOE.
I think he has irrevocably put himself on Voldemort's side by killing Dumbledore. That doesn't mean he's 100% evil. Obviously, the man has some good in him, enough to garner Dumbledore's trust. He was abused as a child and can deserve some sympathy. He may have been like Draco Malfoy--playing with the dark arts but not really, seriously cut-out for the job. But he enjoyed killing Dumbledore, and in my book, that puts him on the dark side, FOE.
And I'm amazed at how many people, serious HP fans, truly believe Snape is good, or at least not evil/foe material.
Watch this discussion: PhoenixRisingConference

113. Harry Potter Mania

I am eagerly awaiting the 7th book, HP and the Deathly Hallows.
It's due out on 7/21/2007 BST (that's British Standard Time or British Summer Time, a/k/a Western European Summer time--TheEverHelpfulWikipedia )

Millions of people all around the world are waiting, too. One in 43 houses in England will be having the book delivered by post. DarkMarkReports (7/19/2007)


I have a copy that will be delivered by post to me in Saipan, but I'll also be standing in line getting a quicker copy! Can't wait, you know. Others are also having trouble getting the book on time.

Israel is threatening bookstores that will open on the Shabbat to sell HP. MugglenetReports (7/19/2007).

In the meantime, some in the U.S. have gotten theirs early--causing Scholastic to sue the distributers. ScholasticSues

And the NYT has already published a review of the book WITH SPOILERS! Aack! (But if you want to read it, NYTReviewofHP )

But CBS has vowed to not spoil the reading pleasure for all of the 21st (the scheduled day of release).

In the meantime, we're watching the latest release of HP movies--the Order of the Phoenix, and reading magazines and newspapers reporting on the various HP stars.


The "Weasley" twins, James and Oliver Phelps. They are in Japan, having arrived at Narita International Airport today (7/19/2007), and are giving out autographs. VeritaserumReports
Too bad I wasn't flying then!

What do you think will happen? I'm reviewing my predictions--SaipanwriterPredicts-- one more time and trying not to be too single-tracked in my focus on the Harry.

So any last thoughts on what will happen?
(Addendum: 2 characters die. Who will they be?
I'm guessing--1. Lord Voldemort and 2. Ron. I have to believe that Harry does in Voldie. It just HAS to happen. And I know I said in my predictions that I hope that Wormtail does in Snape, but I don't think Snape will die. I think Harry will continue to wrestle his hate of Snape, and have to balance his own ability to love with his willingness to hate.
So I think Draco Malfoy or his father either resists killing Hermione, despite their loathing of muggle-borns and Draco's jealousy, or that Ron takes the hit. But I'm guessing Ron dies. And I'll cry--especially for Mrs. Weasley, who will be devastated, and proven anything but silly.)

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

112. The CNMI (and Guam) in D.C.

I visited Washington, D.C. for 10 days in early July.

Each year, Guam and the CNMI cooperate together and host a ceremony and reception around July 10th. Technically, the purpose is to commemorate Guam's liberation. They had an early morning wreath-laying at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and a changing of the guards. I missed that (not being a morning person. I would have had to catch the metro-train by 7:30 AM to make it on time. Not while I'm on vacation!) So I missed that portion of the CNMI/Guam event in D.C.

And then on July July 11, there was an evening reception at the Cannon Office Building.

Madeline Bordallo acted as emcee, while Pete A. said a few words and greeted dignitaries. It was a very happening event. More than a dozen Representatives from the House came by. David Cohen was there, as was Alan Staymen. My daughter, niece and I attended at the invitation of Francisco Taitano, who is now at the Marianas Desk at the Department of Interior. His wife, Vicki (my former co-worker), was there, too, but lost to me in the crush. The crowd was mostly Guamanians, although there were some Saipanese also on hand (like the Saures clan, relocated to D.C.). And of course, there were a large number of young interns and other political staffers.

Although the acoustics were terrible, there was a running commentary from Mrs. Bordallo, introducing all the muckety-mucks as they showed up. And there was other entertainment, too. There was a short film of WWII in the Pacific. Very similar to what you can see at the Memorial Park museum in Saipan.

And there was island dancing. My daughter was disappointed that Guam brought a troupe of young dancers, but Saipan did not. (She would have loved to be among the performers.)

Of course, there was food. My niece said the food was not as good as at home, although it looked familiar--red rice, titiyas, chicken kelaguen, pancit, cucumber coco.

They marine band played a few songs, and we all stood for the U.S. national anthem, the Guam anthem and the Marianas anthem (cut short-no Carolinian version-to accommodate the schedule), followed by a flag ceremony. And then we continued standing because it was that kind of reception.

The Guam Visitors' Bureau provided small shopping bags filled with a poster, brochures about visiting Guam, and a cool Micronesia decal. Again, the CNMI had nothing.

It seemed that the CNMI was a poor step-child in the whole proceeding. I think we can do better, should do better, must do better. We should jump on every possible occasion to promote our islands, showing them to their best advantage.

And it would be enormously helpful if we had a voting delegate in D.C.

Monday, July 9, 2007

111. Did I mention?

Did I mention that I "WON" ScriptFrenzy?!!

Yes!! I wrote a 20,000 word stage play during the month of June. Really, I wrote most of it (16,000 words) during the last week-from the 24th through the 29th of June.

And I am SO proud of myself. I learned a lot.

I haven't yet re-read it. I know it needs some rewriting, and just plain needs re-organizing, too. But really, it was fun to write, and I think bits of it are BRILLIANT, if I do say so myself.

Thanks to the Office of Letters and Light for hosting the event. And wow, I can't believe I did it.

Monday, July 2, 2007

110. My Little Bit for the 4th of July & Liberation Day

I'm a little early, but just in case I get too busy, thought I'd pass this around for the celebration.

109. Reports from the CNMI's Thespians

Reports are starting to trickle in from the CNMI's Thespians who participated in the International Thespian Festival at Lincoln, Nebraska.

The biggest news so far is that Jomanda Manglona won a scholarship through her competitions. Yay! And congratulations.

You can see some photos, also, over at the Mount Carmel Junior Thespians' blog troupe88799 .

Looks and sounds like they did well, had fun, learned something and made us all proud.