What is this?

Just some random musings .

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Did I censor this blog?

No. I did not. Simply a bit of housekeeping.

For all posted comments concerning EJ or from EJ (perhaps in the future other nonsense comments) go here:

Feeding the Beast

Not only has the government raised every possible fee but now they are on a crusade to pass “revenue generating bills”. 

The beast that is the government must get fed. And to do so it must be at the expense of the taxpayers. 

Joe Camacho said it best and it appears that his colleagues agree. 
"'REVENUE generating bills' — I have repeated this phrase about a thousand times since inauguration day in January 2008.   I have asked repeatedly that each legislator should come up with a revenue generating bill that creates a new source of revenue, even if it is just a small amount.  If we had done our job we would not have the present budget short fall.”

Don’t you just love his logic? 

What is the problem? Budget Shortfall
What is the solution? Increase Revenues
How? Revenue Generating bills (taxes)

Damn, such a simple solution and he has called for it a thousand times. 

Well, it appears his buddies are all on the same page now. They are pumping out the revenue generating bills as quickly as possible. 

One in the pipes now and recently passed by the house (I have not seen the final version but the original is on “Revenue Generating Joe’s” website) is the Plastic Bag Bill.

The final version that was passed according to the author on last evening broadcast implements a tax at the point of purchase for each bag that is used by a consumer. The tax can be anywhere from $.05 to .25. 

Wrap that tax in a tree hugger’s outfit and viola you got yourself a perfect revenue generating bill. 

You may say, “Now c’mon Plato we are saving the environment!” 

Is this true?

If a retailer tosses the plastic out to avoid the new tax what will they replace it with? PAPER perhaps? 

Let’s look at paper bags:

Wait. Before I go down that road, where will we draw the line? Currently we tax containers on import $.05 so that the environment is saved. Now plastic bags. What next? Paper bags? Underwear? Furniture? All this stuff has the same negative impact on the environment (if not more) as plastic bottles and bags. Okay, done with the little tangent. I will revisit this later.

Paper Bags vs Plastic Bags:

Issue 1: Energy and natural resources 
It takes more than four times as much energy to manufacture a paper bag as it does to manufacture a plastic bag. 

Safeway Plastic Bags: 594 BTUs 
Safeway Paper Bags: 2511 BTUs 
(Source: 1989 Plastic Recycling Directory, Society of Plastics Industry.) 

Of course, most paper comes from tree pulp, so the impact of paper bag production on forests is enormous. In 1999, 14 million trees were cut to produce the 10 billion paper grocery bags used by Americans that year alone. Paper bag production delivers a global warming double-whammy forests (major absorbers of greenhouse gases) have to be cut down, and then the subsequent manufacturing of bags produces greenhouse gases. 

Issue 2: Pollution 
The majority of kraft paper is made by heating wood chips under pressure at high temperatures in a chemical solution. As evidenced by the unmistakable stench commonly associated with paper mills, the use of these toxic chemicals contributes to both air pollution, such as acid rain, and water pollution. Millions of gallons of these chemicals pour into our waterways each year; the toxicity of the chemicals is long-term and settles into the sediments, working its way through the food chain. Further toxicity is generated as both plastic and paper bags degrade. 

Paper sacks generate 70% more air and 50 times more water pollutants than plastic bags. 
Source: "Comparison of the Effects on the Environment of Polyethylene and Paper Carrier Bags," Federal Office of the Environment, August 1988 

Issue 3: Recycling 
It takes 91% less energy to recycle a pound of plastic than it takes to recycle a pound of paper. But recycling rates of either type of disposable bag are extremely low, with only 10 to 15% of paper bags and 1 to 3% of plastic bags being recycled, according to the Wall Street Journal. 

Safeway Plastic Bags: 17 BTUs 
Safeway Paper Bags: 1444 BTUs 
Source: 1989 Plastic Recycling Directory, Society of Plastics Industry. 

Although paper bags have a higher recycling rate than plastic, each new paper grocery bag you use is made from mostly virgin pulp for better strength and elasticity. 

Issue 4: Degradability 
Current research demonstrates that paper in today's landfills does not degrade or break down at a substantially faster rate than plastic does. In fact, nothing completely degrades in modern landfills because of the lack of water, light, oxygen and other important elements that are necessary for the degradation process to be completed. A paper bags takes up more space than a plastic bag in a landfill, but because paper is recycled at a higher rate, saving space in landfills is less of an issue.

Okay now that that is out of the way and the tree-hugger mask is removed let’s look at the real purpose of this bill and lets look at the real impacts.

The main purpose: Not to end plastic bag use – To generate revenue to feed the Government beast through a new tax source. Additional funds also can be garnered through penalties and fines.

The Real impacts:. This user tax disguised as an "environmentalist policy" will make life even harder for CNMI residents and business in general. At the moment numerous taxes are being avoided by certain entities. Our government cannot police the existing laws. This fact hurts legit businesses. They collect the taxes and remit them properly. Competing businesses do not thus giving them an unfair advantage. Who will enforce this tax? More government workers? 

Why tax? Why not incentivize?  Why not encourage businesses to stock reusable or biodegradable bags by giving them a tax credit for doing so? If the governments need money to fill in budget gaps let them liquidate the legislature’s slush funds, stop the tax breaks and sweetheart land lease deals for new investors, and investigate current government revenue which may be getting funneled out into personal bank accounts (i.e. Timmy’s rydlime deal). Make it easier for people to buy goods and services and easier for businesses to do business and the revenues will come. After all, shouldn’t government exists to foster and protect the citizens and their private property not the other way around

I am so sick of being nickled and dimed by our government in order for them to fill the coffers.

Joe, you want to balance the budget? Start cutting the size of government. Do a legit desk audit. Cut unneeded positions. Quit the political hiring. Dispose of your slush funds. Get rid of all government perks. Cut the bloated salaries of government workers. Focus on the expense column and stop looking at the revenue column. Our government is a fat cat that can gorge itself to death if it is allowed to.

Plastic bag tax… Hey Reps don’t stop there here are other great “revenue generating bill” ideas:

Single Occupancy Room Tax” – Tax anyone who stays in a hotel room alone 5% of the room cost. This will encourage tourist to bring friends or take on the company of someone on-island …. Hmm that leads to the next one.

Escort Tax” – Prostitution is illegal but escorts that spend the night (just cuddling of course) in bed is still honky dory.  Lets charge a flat fee $10 per night fro “escort” services.

Buy Me Drinkie Tax” – Charge a flat tax of $2 tax per ladies drink (hell that is only a 10% tax).

“Remittance tax” – I think one of you guys has already got this one under control… go get ‘em

“Blogger Tax” – Tax a fee of $.02 per posted blog entry and $.01 per comment post. 

“Gas Station Air Tax” – You all use it. You know the pump for filling your tires. What a missed opportunity. $.25 per tire.

“Weather Tax” – All taxes are raise by 5% when it is raining. This will encourage people to stay home and not shop during “baby making weather”. Thus increasing the population and in the long run increasing the number of taxpayers. Hmmm … 

Childless Person Tax” – An additional 10% annual income tax for all Childless individuals. This will encourage them to procreate and make more taxpayers.

Legislation Tax” – Tax each lawmaker $1000 for each piece of introduced legislation… Oh my… axe that one.

“Rubber band tax”
“Stand-up Comic DVD Tax”
“Sugar Substitute Tax”

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The Call Has Been Heard

Tina Sablan wrote a letter to the editor today detailing the start of what appears to be the formation of a coalition or new political party. This type of grassroots movement is long overdue.

We have been subject over the years to voting into office the least of the evils as listed on the ballot. The names on the ballot placed there by political parties and large families in the CNMI with the majority of them solely representing limited personal and party interests.   

In the recent elections however it appears the party dominance has begun to crumble as has the large family influences. Kilili ran as an independent and won. Tina getting into office herself is also a sign of a departure from the norm. The Republicans are torn, the Teno family is ripped apart, the Villagomez family is at each other’s throats, etc. Now is an opportune time to take advantage of these factors and get individuals into office that care about the betterment of the CNMI as a whole and not just their individual well-being and personally profiting. 

Things have gotten pretty bad in the CNMI and this will factor into the 2009 elections. I think the bulk of the populace is crying out for change. The only way we will truly see any type of change in government is to get a large number of forward thinking individuals on the ballot and then to work as a massive unit to get them into office. 

This will not be easy but it will be far from impossible. 

I have started a list of individuals that to me and some of this site’s visitors, epitomize a break from the status quo. Individuals that put the CNMI first and that I believe can make a change in the CNMI. The list I comprised contains people that can be instrumental in a coalition or party. Some perhaps would be great candidates to run for an office. Some would fit well in providing marketing support or rallying the troops at a grassroots level. Some can assist with fundraising efforts. Some can register voters. And ALL of them would be instrumental in constructing a platform and setting an agenda.  It has been stated that the list of people have different views and opinions on various issues in the CNMI. This is true and thankfully so. There is nothing wrong with having your own opinions and your own views --- this is a strength. When the Declaration of Independence was drafted it was done so by a group of independent thinkers who all shared one fundamental belief – the betterment of the whole. The same can be said of constitutions of the world, our covenant and many other groups of independent thinkers that have come together in the past to alter the directions taken in the future. 

I have emailed the list of minds to Representative Sablan. I do hope that the people on this list and those I have overlooked email her as well, meet with her and form a group that will influence the direction the CNMI is headed starting with the 2009 election. 

It can and will be done. 

See Representative Sablan's Call Here

Quote from her website:

"Never doubt that a small, group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."

Margaret Mead

Monday, February 16, 2009


Like the cry "Yes We Can!" Perhaps the CNMI now has a mantra for change:

 "I am Lil' Hammerhead!"

I believe it symbolizes for many a detachment from the status quo. 

It is more than an anonymous blogger. 
It is a mindset. 
It is a spirit. 
It is a movement.

Are you Lil' Hammerhead? 

I have compiled a list of people who I believe are Lil' Hammerhead (not the author herself of the blog... but individuals who resemble Lil' in spirit, mindest and independant break from the norm.) they often times do not agree on things but they openly address the issues. They focus on solutions. They engage each other in conversation and debate. They are the change the CNMI needs now. 

Tina Sablan
Ron Hodges
Edwin Propst
Harry Blalock
Randy Steele
Doc Murdock
Greg Cruz
Glen Doutrich *(rip)
Jesse Torres
Zaldy Dandan
Jaime Vergara
Glen Hunter
Rob Hunter
Kimo Rosario
Bill Stewart
Jane Mack
Ed Diaz Jr.
Ed Diaz Sr.
Frank Stewart
David Sablan Sr.
Steve Sablan
Ken Phillips
Roger Ludwick
Tony Pelligrino
Rick Villegas
Leila Staffler
Lawrence Boyer
Kristy Springer
Jessica Barcinas Taylor
John Davis
Bill Weiss
Kitz Barja
John Camacho Sr.
Oscar Camacho
Steve Jang
Ed Salas
Alex Sablan
Mike Sablan
Merced Ada
Roxanne Diaz
Eugenio Sablan
Jay Santos
Ken Govendo
Sam McPheters Sr.
Frica Pangelinan
Efrain Camacho
Joe Dela Cruz
Jean Cruz
Gloria Hunter
Tammy Hunter
Doug Brennan
Hans Mickelson
Robert Russell
Ivan Propst
Jim Benedetto
Lupe Manglona
Ambrose Bennett
Jim Davis
Ken Kramer
William Hunter
Kelvin Rodeo
Jane Mack
Boni Reyes
Heather Calderwood
George Haberman
Wes Bogdan
Kalani Reyes
Martha Mendiola
Jovana Mafnas
Bertha Camacho
Don Farrel
Tom Arkle
Debra Fleming
Barry Toves
Mark Hanson
Robert Torres
Sisi Alvarez
Scott Thompson
Francis Amog
Augustus Loste
Jayvee Vellejera
David Khorram
Catherine Anderson
Scott Godfather Dottino 
Rebecca Warfield
Jeff Warfield
Del Benson
Jon Anderson
Joe Ayuyu
Peter Houk
Katheryn Barry
George Cruz
Mike Ada
Chuck Jordan
Ann Jordan
Robert Jordan
Jessica Jordan
Bob Coldeen
Lillian Tenorio
Boss Alvarez
Cuki Alvarez
Joleen Salas
Nicollete Villagomez
Sister Martha Ramarui
Norma Ada
Sam McPheters Jr.
Ruth Tighe
Boni Reyes
Maria Pangelinan
Jim Rayphand
Jean Rayphand
Sapuro Rayphand
Reina Camacho
Fran Castro
Mike Bugsby
Steve Woodruff
Ed Stevens Jr.
Ed Calvo
John Mixson
Ken O'Harnett
D.C. Revilla
Kate Fuller
Carlos Ketebengang
Agatha Ketebengang
John Igitol
Caisha Sablan
Patricia Coleman
Mark Hanson
Emlyn Aldan
Paul Camacho
Lori Serna
Larrisa Larson
Carline B Sablan
Betty Ann Palacios
Florine Hofschneider
Daniel Lamar
George Haberman
Bob Taguchi
Alan Markoff
Phillip Swett

Did I miss anyone? Of course I did. Add to my list.

Hmm, seems to me like to start of one heck of a group.

And we are off...

Just In Time For Spring!

All new Pragmatic Plato Fashions!

View the online shop and pick up the new:

Are you Lil' Hammerhead?

If so order a few shirts today at Pragmatic Plato's Online Emporium!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Can you smell what the greek guy is cookin'?

Ah... Nothing like the smell of fresh baked politicians. Time to start cooking.Stay tuned for a full breakdown of the following Recipes (and more to come):

  • Double Sided Juan Pan Tuba Open Faced Sandwich stuffed with Camacho Kelaguin
  • Nekkai Belt Busting Pork Fat Fry w a side of Young Spring Galvanized Onions (will make you tear up)
  • De-Shelled and De-Spined Crab w/ Heinz Dressing stuffed in an Arnold Crepe
  • Lights Out Kumoi Anago with Froilan Fungus wrapped in Pork Belly and Charred
  • Diego Dumplings floating listlessly in your choice of Reyes Consommé or Soup D'Jour
  • Fritada ala Fitial aged 4 years in airtight climate controlled closet stirred gently every 6 months by Chef Chucky

Shopping List and cooking directions will be listed shortly.