Monthly Archives: April 2004

I Had No Idea

Photo © Associated PressCNN is running an AP story about Federal officialsseizingggiantn African snails seized from schools in Wisconsin. Apparently these buggers are a dangerous and prohibited animal in the United States, capable of devouring a variety of crops and even spreading meningitis with their slimy mucus. Several schools in Wisconsin had these snails in their classrooms before the federal government swooped in and confiscated the animals.

Sheesh. Somebody ought to tell them that Guam is chock full of these things. They are everywhere. I mean everywhere. I walk in the yard and crunch on these things. The hermit crabs (duk duk) appropriate the shells for their mobile homes, the dogsharasss the snails at night and they do eat most everything that grows outside. But I had no idea they are disease carriers. I just assumed they were one of Guam’s many plagues (snails, toads, gnats, termites, snakes…). Guess I better tread carefully from now on, I sure don’t want to catch meningitis.

Down The Rabbit Hole

I normally ignore Cal Thomas’ columns in the Pacific Daily News, his right wing demagoguery is not to my liking. But today’s column caught my eye, primarily because I just read an interesting article on Tom Paine.com about Al Smith and his disastrous 1928 bid for the presidency. Smith was the immensely popular Democratic governor of New York whose campaign was torpedoed because of his Catholic faith and Irish upbringing. Pundits and columnists questioned his fealty to the United States. “A prominent Episcopalian lawyer published an article in the Atlantic Monthly, questioning Smith’s ability to function as president as long as he owed ultimate allegiance to the Pope. Smith dismissed the idea as silly. He declared he had ‘never heard of those bulls and encyclicals and books.'” Yet Smith went down in crushing defeat to Herbert Hoover, losing even his home state of New York.

A curious inversion has taken place in the 21st century. Instead of Republicans questioning John Kerry’s allegiance to the United States, right wing idealogues like Cal Thomas are questioning whether a man that refuses to follow Church doctrine is fit to lead the United States. Thomas states “When Kerry and other Catholic politicians say they accept church teaching but selectively deny it when it comes to abortion, they place the state above the church and man above God. They mortgage their consciences to convenience and principle to pragmatism. Should such a person lead this nation?”

Funny what a difference 76 years makes. Now Republicans are saying that Catholic Democrats are beholden to the Pope, not the Constitution. Black is White, War is Peace.

The instigation for all this furor was the Cardinal Arinze, a potential successor to Pope John Paul II, who stated on Friday that politicians who support abortion should be denied communion. While the Cardinal refused to address whether John Kerry should be excluded from the holy sacrament, pro-choice Catholic Democrats rallied behind Kerry and incurred the usual fusillade of vitriol from the right wing attack dogs, including Cal Thomas.

More than a few things here give me pause. First, Cardinal Arinze is not the Pope, the titular head of the church and infallible authority on spiritual matters. Dude’s got no authority to speak for the church on this matter. Second, there are plenty of pro-choice Republicans out there, notably Governor George Pataki and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. I don’t hear the right wing idiots questioning their authority to govern because they support a woman’s right to choose. Lastly, this show of support for the Catholic Church on the abortion issue is rife with hypocrisy. Sure the Church opposes abortion; the church also vehemently condemns the death penalty, something near and dear to Republican’s hearts. Don’t hear Cal Thomas condemning politicians who authorize state institutionalized murder do you? Funny how folks only pick out the things they want to emphasize and totally ignore other issues. Or perhaps the whole idea of the church trying to dictate temporal, earthly policy in the 21st century is a non-issue and we would all be better off if we took religion out of the debate?

Testing, Testing, 1 – 2 – 3

For the first time in a long time I am farting around with different weblogging software and systems. I got myself a Xanga site, a TypePad page, even a Plone site. All this on top of the Radio Userland Salon blog that I never use. Hell, I even created a blogspot blog using blogger so I could check out the features they offered with that hosting service.

Why the flurry of signing up with all these different services? I’m evaluating options for a friend of mine and her family. They are leaving Guam next month and beginning an adventure. For the next two years they will be cruising around in a boat, working down the West Coast, through the Panama Canal and the Caribbean, up the East Coast, and finally into the Great Lakes. They really want a website to share their adventures, location, information and photos with friends and family. I agreed to help set them up with something easy to use. For what they want to do, I think going with a TypePad site is probably their best option. Of course, it is also one of the more expensive options, but hey – she’s a doctor and her husband is a banker. They can afford a few bucks a month for precious memories.

More Troubles At Air America

A new development for Air America, the nation’s liberal radio programming. The CEO of the fledgling company is stepping down to a smaller role in the company. In his place, Beloit College grad David Goodfriend, currently legal counsel for the network, will become interim CEO, according to fellow Beloit College graduate Evan Montvel-Cohen.

The other big shake-up is the departure of the programming director, Dave Logan, a long time radio professional. His duties will be assumed by the network’s morning show host, Liz Winstead. I like what San Francisco DJ Rick Stuart has to say about this affair: “Doesn’t seem like a good move and might be another sign of money problems dumping Logan and not replacing his salary. Clearly there was a rift with Walsh and Logan and other staffers. Do you think high paid comics take to programming direction well? Me neither.”

Stuart also posts an article taken from the Chicago Tribune about the changes at the network, and focuses in on Evan Montvel-Cohen:

With Walsh’s departure, Cohen has become the liberal network’s key spokesman and public advocate. He has an unlikely past for the role: He began his career as a Republican operative in his native Guam, serving as spokesman for Guam’s Republican Party and as chief of staff for Sen. Tommy Tanaka, a pro-life Republican legislator.

Tanaka pleaded guilty to corruption charges last year.

‘I am a progressive,’ said Cohen, adding that Guam’s political climate is quite different from the mainland’s. ‘Republicans in Guam are to the left of [late Democratic Senator] Paul Wellstone,’ he said.

Beach Boys

Spent the day at Ypao Beach Park in Tumon, working the drink concession stand for the Beach Boys concert that Atkins Kroll put on. It was volunteer work, 50% of our sales go to the American Cancer Society. Unfortunately the beer ran out just as the Beach Boys took the stage. For the next three hours we had to deal with surly crowds bitching about the lack of beer. Seems traffic was so bad getting down into Tumon that the second beer truck couldn’t make it down to the park.

Anyway, it was a fun afternoon listening to the Beach Boys and watching people get progressively drunker and stumble around. If I hadn’t been working, odds are good I would’ve been stumbling around with them. And Guam certainly has no shortage of beautiful women. Seemed like everywhere I looked I saw bikinis today. And that’s a good thing.

I’m pretty tired now. We were supposed to work four hour shifts, but somehow I got corralled into working all day, including set up in the morning and break down after the concert. My dogs are really barking right now. I think I will actually take a nice hot bath tonight before turning in early.

Some Earth Day Related Links

To celebrate Earth Day this year, I posted a few links. First read this article about sustainable lifestyles and ecological footprints. Then take the test. You will be surprised by the results. I know I was.

Here’s a new site I found, the Coral Reef Report, focusing on coral reefs and conservation efforts undertaken to preserve what’s left. It’s good stuff.

Finally, here’s a snippet about how the US Air Force is complying with EPA pollution regulations by replacing the rocket motors on nuclear ICBM’s with more environmentally friendly propellants. However, “EPA regulations do not apply in foreign countries, so no changes are being made to reduce the harmful environmental effects of the nuclear warheads.”

Former NFL Player Killed In Action

Pat Tillman, former safety for the Arizona Cardinals, was killed in Afghanistan. Tillman, an Army Ranger was killed in action on Thursday in southern Afghanistan.

After finishing out the 2001 football season, Tillman gave up his NFL career to join the Army in 2002, along with his younger brother. At the time, his decision to abandon his 3 year, $3.6 million contract was derided by teammate Simeon Rice, who told sports talk show host Jim Rome that Tillman really wasn’t that great of a player, and probably had watched too many Rambo movies. Yeah, whatever dude. He showed more character and resolve than any other NFL player. His decision set him apart from most professional athletes, and now he’s paid the ultimate price.

My condolences to his family and those that knew him.

Local Protests Against Increased Military Presence

It’s funny how a story like this one about native Chamorros protesting US military increases on Guam get no coverage in the island’s only newspaper. Funny because the publisher of the newspaper is the president of the chamber of commerce, the same chamber of commerce agressively pushing Guam to the Pentagon. Funny when a person has to read about important issues affecting the island from media located on other islands and even different countries like Australia. Makes a person think that perhaps a certain newspaper is pushing an agenda and ignoring valid protests. I wonder.

Charges Dismissed Against Gutierrez

Most charges dismissed against Carl Gutierrez and co-defendants in the street light case involving Cliff Guzman and T. Ann Perez. Whoops.

According to Benson’s decision issued yesterday, several of the charges were dismissed because they were “insufficient for failure to charge crimes” and since the “people have failed to properly allege crimes, there can be no conspiracies.”

Meteor Plummets Towards Chicago

Here’s an interesting write up on a meteor that exploded in the air above Chicago last year. I remember hearing about this when it happened, but Steve Simon, a geophysicist at the University of Chicago calculated the size and speed of the original object and it’s trajectory into Chicagoland. Cool.

Adios NetFlix

I cancelled my NetFlix membership last night. Over the weekend they had the gall to send me an email announcing that because of competition they were raising my monthly rates over 25%. Sorry, that just doesn’t jive with me. Maybe an increase of a buck or two, but 25%? Come on.

It’s a shame too, because I had an enormous queue of over 400 dvd’s, many of them movies that just never make it out to Guam. Just over the weekend I watched the Battleship Potemkin, the Acid House, and the Last Picture Show, all great movies that I really enjoyed. It’s a shame they got to do this, I imagine they’ll lose a lot of business to Wal-Mart and the nascent Blockbuster dvd by mail operation.