Monday, March 10, 2008

Sour Grapes for Tuesday, March 4th, 2008

Good news
Soaring on the wind
The Marianas has a new and exciting event that has a chance to begin drawing sizable numbers of people to our fair Isles. Now in it’s third year The Marianas Winds Kite Festival and International Food Fair is showing strong growth and major expansion. The list of sponsors for the Festival ran into three pages so support is becoming widespread although much more is needed as the Festival continues to grow in coming years. Among those donating to the event were MVA, Fiesta Resort and Spa, Hyatt Regency, PTI, Saipan Cell and a host of others. (A complete list would require more space than I have available – the Festival wishes to thank them all for making it all possible).

Starting out as a simple fund raiser for the local Montessori based Brilliant Star School the Festival has rapidly moved in the direction its founders envisioned: it is becoming a major attraction on the annual tourist calendar. Future years hold the promise of a major draw similar to the Flame Tree Festival. What that venue does for arts and culture, the Kite Festival hopes to do for airborne soaring sports and culturally diverse food. It hopes to attract tourists, spectators and participants in ever increasing numbers.

This year saw several hundred tourists and residents enjoying the one day event last Saturday (March 1st ) at the American Memorial Park. Next year’s event will be bigger yet as kite flying teams and soaring associations from around Asia will be invited to participate.

The event was graced by the presence of a group from Asia with a tradition of kite flying that goes back Millennia. The Korean Kite Flyers Association sent a group of five highly skilled professionals, including their President, to Saipan for the event. These talented folks came several days early and held classes and demonstrations of their art. Thanks to them a lot of children (of all ages) now know how to construct their own kites for fun and pleasure. The classes were fun and informative. The Korean Kite Flyers Association members wore traditional attire during the classes and during several flying demonstrations held in the days prior to the Festival. They want to return and we hope to see them back again next year.

Positive press was generated as a group of Chinese Journalists came by and interviewed participants and guests alike. Hopefully next year, groups and teams from China, Japan, Korea and elsewhere can come out and compete. Model airplane gliding clubs and competition kite building and flying clubs abound all over Asia and we all hope they begin to view Saipan and the Northern Marianas as an annual gathering that needs to be attended.

This year saw competitive events in 3 major categories with 8 total events. Next year promises an expanded range of competitions with contestants from several countries vying for prizes and trophies. Please be on the lookout for next year’s event. Dates and times will be published well in advance. You might want to start working on that special kite now, so as to be ready for next year. You can come out just to see and be awed by the many types of kites, to eat the wide variety of cultural foods available or you can come out to participate in one or more of the competitions. Whichever activity pleases you; please plan to attend next year.
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Fewer jobs bill may be quashed
The minimum wage issue is back in the news with Pete A. wisely waffling back to a more realistic one-more-bump-then-wait-a-couple-of-years stance realizing he may want to return here someday. I’m making fun but I agree with the wait and see part of his strategy. Thanks Mr. Tenorio.

Even US Sen. Bingaman, chairman of the reviewing committee has logged on recently as opposing the hastily enacted wage hike foisted upon the CNMI and Samoa without regard to whether it is sustainable or not. He says there will be a halt on future wage hikes by ‘refining’ the legislation. He also mentions that the halt will have to be enacted quickly to stave off the pending next round juggernaut of increases looming over the CNMI and American Samoa this coming May. Our thanks for noticing our plight.

The idea that governments can somehow legislate prosperity is nonsense. Politicians know this. If they could make a law that mandated everyone makes $100 an hour and drives around in a Rolls Royce they would do it in a heartbeat. They can’t, it doesn’t work for a $1000/hour increase anymore than it does for a $1 increase. Labor is a commodity and subject to the laws of supply and demand like any other.

Those new to the work force straight out of school and others with minimum skills and/or experience will find themselves priced right out of the market for a job. Any company can only afford to hire workers who are productive, meaning they make more for the company than they cost. If those companies are forced, by government, to pay a non profitable wage they will simply not hire, or will replace a worker with a machine as we see happening all around the world.

Increasing the minimum wage is an old and tired trick usually trundled out at election time. It destroys far more people than it helps but those destroyed, the bottom tier of employees, are not very vocal and often don’t vote, so from the politician’s standpoint it is worth sending them down the river to get the votes from the non affected blocks. So if you ‘feel good’ about your support for the ‘downtrodden masses’ suffering under low wages, think again. You are supporting their demise in many cases.
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Counting beans

I couldn’t help noticing that while the CNMI government scored a rather poor 2.4 on the recently completed ‘Performeter’ scale of economic health that we are doing about twice as good as our neighbor to the south, Guam, who scored a 1.32. Our score showed a slight uptick from last year so all is not lost. Those of you who claim Guam’s already extant US immigration system and universal fee simple land alienation is making it all better, might want to take another look. The study was done by Crawford and Associates and was paid for by the US Department of the Interior.
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I’ll respect you in the morning

I get a kick out of politicians who go all out to get ‘celebrity’ endorsements from the acting community. I wonder if they are the only ones who don’t see that an actor’s job is to be a professional liar. That is what pretending to be a character one is not is. Only a few can do it really well. Only a few can do it convincingly. Actors bring us wonderful relief from reality and sometimes fantastic insights into the real world via their roles on stage and in films so we should be grateful, even laudatory, in our praise of them. On the other hand, taking that actor’s word on the sterling character of some politician may not be the most trusted source you can find on the matter. It might even be said that an actor’s endorsement should be taken with a grain of schmaltz.

So when Jack Nicholson tells me ‘he’s home’ or that he wants his egg salad sandwich on toast-hold the egg salad, I know I am probably in for a good time. When he tells me I should vote for Mrs. Clinton, I’m out looking for some goose fat to poke in my ears.
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Quote of the week:
A certain amount of opposition is a great help to a man, Kites rise against, not with, the wind John Neal (1793 – 1876)

1 comment:

Jeff said...

Nicholson brings more integrity than 90 percent of the punditocracy doing the same thing.