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Showing posts from December, 2017

Why I Can't Take My Eyes Off Ezra Klein

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In genera the website Voxis like a hundred breaths of fresh air each week. The videos that it puts out each week are enjoyable and informative, bumping up against critical political and cultural issues (ranging from borders, to hip hop, to even the infamous worst movie ever The Room). But on a regular basis, the voice that I appreciate the most is that of its co-founder and editor-at-large, Ezra Klein. His articles are well-written and often help bring together my diffuse and disparate thoughts about the new list of scandals from the Trump administration. They help articulate thoughts still fuming and forming in my mind, with a welcome clarity, at a time when it seems so difficult to be politically sane.

His most recent piece on Trump's impromptu interview with The New York Times at his golf club, helps bring together so many troublesome issues about the Trump administration, and connects them to the man at its core, where there is increasing evidence each day, that he may not be…

Adios Travis Coffman

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Travis Coffman, a notable figure in Marianas media over the past few decades passed away recently. He was best known for his role in talk radio in Guam at K57. And as such, he was someone that I would interact with quite frequently. I went on his show several times to be interviewed about various topics. He was always respectful to me in public, and I would sometimes see him at anime, manga and nerd conventions on the island. But for many Chamorro activists, they saw him as someone who could frequently be anti-Chamorro in his statements on the air. I definitely heard elements of that when he would be on the the radio, and I would sometimes get text messages or emails, telling me to listen to what Travis was saying today. When I say anti-Chamorro, what it usually boiled down to was being dismissing of Chamorro issues and Chamorro concerns, but not necessarily someone who would ever say that Chamorro culture sucks. But someone who would use his position to belittle activists fighting f…

5,000 Days of Protest in Okinawa

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5,000 days of protest in northern Okinawa. In truth, the protests there go much further back, but 5,000 is a nice, big, profound number. It represents 5,000 days of continuous protest, of daily, symbolic and direct resistance to US militarism and militarization in the island.

I have been fortunate enough to visit the protest camps in Okinawa on several occasions since 2011. I have spoken to scholars, to activists, to students, to elders, to farmers, to fishermen and even to paddlers and scuba divers. It does make me wonder, at one point the level of militarization or of consciousness about militarization in Guam will come to a similar point. There have been outbursts, periods of direct action, protest, there has been a great deal of counter-hegemonic activity, trying to make it more possible for the community to engage in critical discussions about Guam's military presence or purpose. But nothing similar to what we see in Okinawa. Will the plans for a firing range at Litekyan bri…

First Lady of the Revolution

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I followed the recent special election for Senate in Alabama, far closer than anyone on the other side of the ocean probably should. Given the past tumultuous year under Trump and looking ahead to 2018 and what might possibly be different, especially with mid-term elections on the horizon, this election, as so many have written about, representing an important event in terms of scrying what lies ahead. Things look very good for Democrats in the Congress, as Trump ends his first year with historically low approval ratings.

Amidst all the coverage of the Alabama, this one article struck out at me, and not for any Alabama related reason really. It is about a 99 year-old Alabama woman, who lived a very interesting life, especially in terms of her at one point being the First Lady of Costa Rica and being referred to as "The First Lady of the Revolution."

This sorts of article are common media frames. You take an older person, with unique experiences or with some symbolic relevan…

NTTU Saipan

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Since the start of the year I have been working on an article about militarization in the Marianas Islands. It is for a special edition of Micronesian Educator edited by Tiara Na'puti and Lisa Natividad. I'm excited at the prospect of writing it, but my schedule over the past year has been tough, in addition to family drama and other setbacks. I've been coming back and forth to it in my notebooks every month, but until now I haven't been able to really try to finish it. I spent Christmas Day typing up my scattered notes and drafts.

The article is an attempt to talk about militarization, military increases, military strategy in a Marianas wide context, and the ways it divides, unities, takes and stimulates. One of the most interesting sections is on the CIA training that took place in Saipan from the late 1940s to the early 1960s. The facility was known as the Naval Technical Training Unit or NTTU and it trained anti-communist operatives to destabilize and sabotage reg…

Respect the Chamoru People Rally Recap

On April 7, 2017, more than 800 people gathered in the field in front of the Ricardo J. Bordallo Government Complex in Adelup, Guåhan for the “Respect the Chamoru People Rally.” The event, organized by a grassroots collective of volunteers, aimed at celebrating the culture of the island’s indigenous people, the Chamorros, and at helping remind the Guam community about the need to maintain a respectful relationship to them in their island homeland. The event was non-partisan, backing no political candidates or agendas.

Over the course of the event’s 2 ½ hours, 15 speakers shared stories of the struggles of Chamorros in the past and the need to protect their island and heritage for future generations. Cultural groups offered blessings. Poets and musicians delivered inspiration through powerful words and melodies. Community organizations manned tables providing information on the military buildup, decolonization, and cultural preservation. The Håya Foundation, which seeks to preserve a…

Adventures of Akli'e' Book Launch

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Local children's book launches tomorrow
by Andrew Roberto
The Guam Daily Post
December 15, 2017

Local author and activist Michael Lujan Bevacqua, through his publishing group The Guam Bus, hopes his latest project can get young and old readers alike to think more profoundly about Guam's culture.

Titled "The Adventures of Akli'e'," the new bilingual project is one book made up of two stories: In the first story, the titular character spends a day with his great-grandfather, a master blacksmith, and imagines what it would be like to use the tools his great-grandfather forges every day. In the second story, the young Akli'e' listens to his great-grandmother's tales of CHamoru history and legend, bringing the stories to life in his imagination.

Bevacqua said he took inspiration for the tales from his own life. The main character is named after his son, and his own grandfather is master blacksmith Joaquin Flores Lujan. Bevacqua said, growi…

A Year of Great Columns

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For all of the damage that Donald Trump can do, he definitely helps bring about exciting renewals and rediscoveries as well. Much has been made of the competition between major newspapers for "scoops," but I would also like to mention how Trump's behavior and his regular, often mindless assaults on the norms of governance, provide great fodder for columnists and editorial boards as well. I've pasted below an editorial from the editorial board for USA Today. I never thought I would ever save an editorial from that newspaper, but with Trump's behavior, even they ended up making an articulate and impassioned case against his behavior.

One of the downsides to a year of Trumpsanity, is that the news is constantly happening and evolving, whether through strategy, stupidity or insanity, and there just isn't enough time or energy to write about it or comment on it. That is one thing I've found about this blog for instance, is that I would frequently find myself …