Saturday, October 31, 2009

2009 Humanities Awards

The Governor's 2009 Humanities Awards were given out last night (Friday). The lifetime achievement award was given post-humously to Dr. Rita H. Inos. (I wonder why she never received this during her lifetime.)

The Humanities Teacher award was given to Harold Easton. He teaches at MHS and NMC and is the man behind the success of the NFL, NJFL, PGFC and Thespian organizations in the CNMI.

Congratulations! and a heartfelt thanks.

Friday, October 23, 2009

STAGE DOOR-tickets on sale!

The student Thespians of the Western Pacific Islands will be presenting the play "Stage Door" at PIC Charley's Cabaret on Tuesday and Wednesday, October 27 and 28, 2009 at 7 PM.

The play is a 1930's comedy, written by George S. Kaufman and Edna Ferber. (Another of their plays--The Royal Family-- is on Broadway now, in a new revival. And one of Kaufman's plays--Once In A Lifetime--is being presented this month in Los Angeles on stage and through radio theatre. So the Saipan students have a play that is very much in vogue. )

Tickets are $7 for adults and $5 for students. I'm selling. Leave a comment --PLEASE-- and I'll get the tickets to you.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Umbrella Permits-WIP

There's been a lot of talk about umbrella permits, and lots of flak in the newspapers and on blogs. Opinions vary.

I want to weigh in on the subject. I want to be intelligent and perceptive about it. But it is impossible to do so because the legal basis for the "news" and the full terms of the Umbrella Permits are still a work-in-progress.

There is a CNMI "protocol" written by Howard Willens. I do not think this protocol has the force and effect of law; it is more like a guide or roadmap to help everyone understand how the CNMI administration is proceeding as to the transition to federal immigration.

The protocol, available at the CNMI Department of Labor's site does not mention the term "umbrella permit." Each of the immigration entry classifications is described, and a catch-all "other categories" classification is also included. None of these match up with the description of the "umbrella permit" as given so far verbally by Deanne Siemer.

And there is the whole question about Labor issuing permits that have any effect as entry permits.

I am studying it all. I am also awaiting the regs or whatever it is Attorney General Ed Buckingham is working on.

And I will have opinions, as well as analysis.

But I'm not going to give an opinion on the hot air that has been blowing all over Saipan. [EDIT: By this, I mostly mean Deanne and Maya's rah-rah talk. Wendy is just fanning it back as a means of getting some relief.) The hot air means nothing.

Let's wait for the fine print. Then we'll have something to talk about.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Blog Action Day--Climate Change

Today is blog action day.
In the CNMI, what is supposed to happen according to our laws, is that once a person owes a debt and the court renders a judgment in the creditor's favor, then the creditor can execute on the judgment either by getting a writ of attachment of particular, identifiable, non-exempt property, or the court can enter an order in aid of judgment based on ability to pay.

If the debtor has non-exempt property to satisfy the debt, there are no problems. The real issues come up when the debtor doesn't have property or income to pay off the debt.

The court is supposed to fashion an order to pay based on a debtor's ability to pay, which, under our statutes, recognizes that people need to be able to keep whatever income is needed to support themselves and their family.

And in fact, there are debtors who do not have the ability to pay--either because they are unemployed, have jobs paying low wages, have large families to support, or face a combination of these factors.

What our Courts assume is that every person who works has the ability to pay, regardless of income and regardless of size of family and responsibilities of support. This directly undermines the Legislative balance of creditor and debtor rights and creates onerous orders for poor people to pay.

A legitimate debt does not cancel the law that protects a debtor's income for the purpose of supporting himself and his family. But it does in the eyes of the Courts.

And we need a climate change in the courts to recognize that debtors' rights exist, and some do not have the ability to pay.

Another issue, even more serious, is the repeated efforts by the court to order unemployed debtors to get work; and to make these orders under threat of jail. If an unemployed debtor doesn't go look for work to the court's satisfaction--usually 10 applications every reporting period, which could be a month or 2 or 3 (even if he's looked for work for years!), he will be put in jail for contempt.

You can read some good posts on MLSC's recent work trying to stop this practice at our DAY IN COURT blog.

It's all about climate change. It's about a change in attitude and mindset that recognizes the fundamental beauty of the U.S. Constitution's protections of liberty and freedom from involuntary servitude.

Should people be working? Yes. Should they look for jobs? Yes. But should the power of the state be used to enforce private interests and lock people up because they don't work? No.

Small encroachments lead to bigger encroachments. There is no good reason to be ordered to work to pay off creditors: this is debt bondage and it needs to be stopped.

We also need a better climate for employment that provides jobs, provides incentives to work, and balances human dignity and rights with economic gain and activity. Ordering people under threat of jail to go get jobs because they owe money won't take us in the right direction.

It's all about climate change.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

NaNoWriMo CountDown!

National Novel Writing Month begins on November 1, 2009. All around the globe, writers and wannabe novelists are getting ready to write.

And here is an inspirational cartoon from Debbie Ridpath Ohi.

And some rules of writing from William Safire:
Do not put statements in the negative form.
And don't start sentences with a conjunction.
If you reread your work, you will find on rereading that a
great deal of repetition can be avoided by rereading and editing.
Never use a long word when a diminutive one will do.
Unqualified superlatives are the worst of all.
De-accession euphemisms.
If any word is improper at the end of a sentence, a linking verb is.
Avoid trendy locutions that sound flaky.
Last, but not least, avoid cliches like the plague.
~William Safire, "Great Rules of Writing"

Now go sign up at NaNoWriMo.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Legal Scuttlebutt

The word going around the legal community is that Kevin Lynch was fired from the CNMI Attorney General's Office on Friday (October 9, 2009).

I have no other information. Don't know why. Perhaps he actually resigned.

He's been with the AG's Office a long time. I think this will not be pretty.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

EMO issues tsunami watch for CNMI--well cancelled

Our office received this notice. I don't know anything more, but it's a heads-up and means we need to be paying attention.

The original notice says to expect waves about 1:23 PM local time. But this new bulletin from the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center cancels that alert.

You can follow up for more information at the PTWC Pacific region site.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Books on my wish list

We're heading into the end of the year already, and I'm thinking of all the books I want to read but haven't yet, and starting that great wish list in the sky, just in case the fairy godmother of Christmas (or the Twilight Zone) wants to send some lovely books my way.

So I accidentally come across this on Art Blog by Bob--the second time in a week my Google search has led me to Bob's blog, where I have gotten distracted to the point of forgetting what I was even researching to begin with!

Um, yeah. I write young adult fiction because I love reading it. Call me immature. So... I want to read it!

(I'd also take any of the recommendations on Art Bob's list here.)

Thursday, October 1, 2009

20W -Melor

Tropical Storm Melor (a/k/a 20 W) has been up-graded to a Typhoon.

Different tracking methods put it either between Saipan and Rota, on target for Saipan, or heading just north of us.
It looks like it's due to hit us about Saturday morning.

There's an excellent sidebar with advice, terminology, and a guide to storm conditions at the Guam PDN story on the storm.