Showing posts from June, 2012

The Ultimate Wager

My brother Kuri recently graduated from UOG and one of the last classes that he took was a philosophy of religion class. I’ve always enjoyed it when Kuri takes philosophy classes because he’ll talk to me about his readings and I’ll share my ideas with him. Although I would probably never be hired into a philosophy department, my social scientific training was primarily philosophical. Philosophers created the foundations of all social sciences. When I was in Ethnic Studies, it was frustrating having to read so many long dead white Europeans pontificate about the world, but later on I realized that such is the power of knowledge. Their ideas became part of the regimes of knowledge we know today. They moved from being the rantings of a particular person into the universal ways in which we are supposed to see the world.
One discussion we had recently was over the issue of Pascal’s Wager. Here is the gist of what Blaise Pascal proposes:
1.There either is a God, or there isn’t a God. 2.Lif…


I have barely been on my blog this week and I apologize. I've been busy with a grant application that is due today and two articles due this weekend. I promise next week to return to this blog and give it the respect it deserves.

I have also been distracted this week with my Tumblrs. I have my personal Tumblr, Sumahi going strong again. I also have a new Starcraft 2 Tumblr, dedicated to the team Startale. For those interested check them out with the links below:


Pictures taken from a recent concert for my kids' daycare. Akli'e' went on stage with his class but refused to do anything other than glare. This was an improvement over last year when he went on stage, cried and promptly walked off. Sumahi sang the song "Nanan-Mami" for those attending and also danced to "Time Warp" and "YMCA" with the rest of her class. This is Sumahi's last year in daycare and so she got to wear a cap and gown during the concert. In the fall she'll start attending school.

Chamorro Classes

My weekly Chamorro classes have started again. 

They take place each Monday at 2:30 at Java Junction in the Agana Shopping Center.

They are free of charge and open to anyone.

If you are interested in attending the classes please email me at with any questions.

Mensahi Ginnen i Gehilo': #4: Summer Plans

Mensahi Ginnen I Gehilo’ #4 “Summer Plans”
Earlier this month the Independence Task Force for Guam met to make plans for Summer 2012. Although we have no budget and there is much uncertainty in the formal decolonization process at present, we have decided that this won’t derail our efforts at consciousness-raising. We are determined to continue to promote decolonization and independence for Guam even if the actual self-determination has yet to be finalized, as such activities can be important in and of themselves. The more Guam becomes familiar with ideas of decolonization and independence the better off the island is, because both of these concepts are built around ideas of sustainability and empowerment.
Our summer planning meeting was a great success. We laid out the following actions for the summer and will be finalizing everything at our next meeting on July 1st.
1.We will hold one community service event over the summer. By July 1st we will choose the location and the date and…

Announcing the 2012 Guam Political Sign Awards

A familiar creature has returned to the roadsides of Guam. For some, as they see the beasts lurking beside the road they may feel as if it is too soon. It was not too long ago that these beasts came to blight the land, and it cannot already be time for their return! But for others these creatures are things of beauty; who stand like quiet sentinels and brighten the days of those who pass by. These creatures come in many forms, their plumes multicolored, and their shrieks filled with familiar refrains and friendly sound bytes. The creatures I am of course referring to as the political signs for this year’s election season.
In times past, for most of the island, the next few months would be the highlight of everyone’s year. Families and friends would band together for months under the banner of Popular or Territorial, Democrat or Republican and waste the weeks away at pocket meetings and fundraisers. Naturally there was always a lot of bitterness and animosity during this period, but …

Lovers in Okinawa

While I was in Okinawa last month my girlfriend and I committed to writing a poem to each other for everyday that we were apart. Below are three of my favorites that I wrote for her:


I am typing on my love's laptop I am missing her with every stroke When my finger presses a I wish my arms were wrapped around her When my finger presses k I wish my lips were on her When my finger presses l I wish I could tell her how much I love her

I found a knife while walking in Ojana Okinawa
I swore it was the knife you gave me with love
One sweaty Saturday morning
The knife looked like it would fit in one of the chambers of my heart
I plunged the knife into my chest and found that I could breathe again
I had forgotten the feeling of breathing


I wrote in my diary “I love you” a thousand times Then I tore it up and walked to the store to buy a new one I drew in stars on every page “I love you” Then I set it on fire and rode a bike to th…

Iya Saipan

Gaige yu' pa'go giya Saipan para i fine'nina na Konfrensian Estorian Marianas. I tema para este na gof gaibali na konfrensia, "Unu na kadena islas, meggai na estoria siha."

Meggai na gof maolek na fina'nu'i gi este na konfrensai. Manmatto todu ginnen meggai na otro tano' yan nasion siha lokkue'. Guaha Chamoru Guahan yan CNMI guini, lao guaha taotao Alemania, Hapon, Australia, Espana yan i US. Meggai malago' yu' lumi'e' yan humungok gi este na konfrensia lao siempre ti nahong i tiempo. Manali'e' ham yan noskuantos na taotao ni' gof apmam desde i uttimo manali'e'. Magof yu' na sina mana'tungo' ta'lo hafa tatamanu gi i lina'la'-mami.

Hu gof agradesi este na konfrensia, lao hassan na hu bisita iya Saipan. I ettimo na biahi gi 2008 para i Mina'tres na Konfrensian Chamoru. Gof impottante na dinana' ayu sa' ayu nai i fine'nina nai mama'nu'i yu' gi fino' Chamoru h…

Occupied Okinawa #14: The "Right" Avengers

One of the most curious creatures that I’ve met as I’ve traveled to Okinawa, Japan and South Korea is a particular form of Rightist conservative. The majority of people whom I’ve interacted with during my research and solidarity trips over the past three years have all been leftists, albeit a variety of leftists. I talk and work with liberals, progressives, peace activists, decolonization and demilitarization activists and so the conversation usually sticks to a pretty familiar side of the ideological spectrum. But as I’ve travelled the other side, with its own diversity of opinion has always been there.
During my trip to Okinawa last month pro-military, rightist conservatives were always around the edges of my sphere of being, threatening to enter, but never really making a solid appearance. For example during a two day symposium at Okinawan International University on demilitarism and decolonization, a threat was called in to one of the organizers, stating that conservatives who sup…

We Are Spartacus

From the Huffington Post:

Kirk Douglas' tenth book, "I Am Spartacus! Making a Film, Breaking the Blacklist," is being released today by Open Road Integrated Media.


When you reach 95, after you get over your surprise, you start looking back. I've been thinking a lot about my parents, Russian immigrants who came to this country in 1912 -- exactly one hundred years ago.

For them, the United States was a dream beyond description. They couldn't read or write, but they saw a better life for their children in a new country half a world away from their tiny shtetl.

Against all odds they crossed the Atlantic. And like millions of people before and after, they passed close to the Statue of Liberty as they entered New York Harbor. Perhaps someone who could read English translated the beautiful words of Emma Lazarus, etched in bronze on the pedestal:

"Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched re…

Beyond Wisconsin

Stuff from my inbox about the Wisconsin Recall election last week.


From the AFL-CIO:

Dear Michael,

A year and a half ago, Gov. Scott Walker and his friends in the Senate forced through an extremist anti-worker agenda that divided the state.
Last night, Wisconsin took back its Senate. While Gov. Walker remains in office after being only the third governor in American history subjected to the humiliation of a recall, his divisive agenda has been stopped cold.

Though Walker was shielded with a flood of secret corporate cash, Wisconsin made its voice heard.
While we came closer to recalling Walker than many expected, we ended up coming just short.

The work we did together was about much more than just this one election.

We laid the groundwork for a powerful movement to push back against Walker-style anti-working family policies everywhere. The energy and momentum in Wisconsin have inspired working people from all walks of life to stand together in solidarity i…

Occupied Okinawa #13: Sanshin Music

As I already mentioned in an earlier post on the second to the last day of my trip to Okinawa our hosts held a small party in our honor. The meeting was held in a cafe which will soon be open owned by Midori Teruya. Midori was kind enough to escort Ed Alvarez and myself around Naha and Ginowan on our last day in Okinawa, and took us to several locations including a mall for some last minute shopping, an independent movie theater to watch the film Standing Army, and the Sakima Art Museum.

Over our ten days in Okinawa we spent alot of time at Midori's Cafe and the Okinawan language school on the floor above. The school is free for the public and is just getting started. I took some pictures, video and notes while I sat through one of their sessions and will hopefully we writing about it later. As the Chamorro and Okinawan language are in similar not too healthy states, that was something that I had constantly discussed with people.

While we were sitting at the cafe sampling some …

Historical Disloyalties

Wednesday, 18 Apr 2012
The Marianas Variety

 IN MY Guam History classes when we discuss the Chamorro-Spanish wars of the 17th century, I always see my students torn. In terms of the history itself, as objectively distanced from the present as possible, it is clear who the good guys and bad guys are of the story. For every Chamorro that readily accepted Catholicism, there were dozens or hundreds who resisted Catholicism and believed they should have the right to live as they wished. Although there were atrocities on both sides, in truth the Spanish were aggressors and the Chamorros were legitimately resisting. One had the right to defend themselves, while the other didn’t.

Students, Chamorros and non-Chamorros alike are torn because what they see in that war is the messy and complicated birth of the present day. They see the foundation being laid for much of what we accept as being Chamorro or an integral part of Guam’s …