Why Standing Rock Matters Way More Than Anybody Thinks


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Photo from: Think Progress

Today I read an article about the North Dakota Pipeline and Standing Rock that pleaded to everyone for help. I’ve been thinking about Standing Rock for some time now and well, her plea reached me and I will do what I do best, write about stuff.

 

I think Standing Rock is way more than an environmental issue. I think people need to look at what is happening whilst remembering a very important detail: The United States of America stole the land from the Native Americans. I repeat, they stole it. There is no denying this. STOLEN.

And now it seems they’re doing it again. They’re imposing something on their sacred lands and their water source. Something that they are all adamantly against. And the government of North Dakota is using force to do this.

Is this not a colonial conquest? Using force to impose something on the original inhabitants of North America? Looks like conquest to me.

So, regardless of the water and the environment and whether this “affects us all”, this matter is important, simply because it is supremely unfair. It is Corporate America forcing itself on the people. North Dakota forcing itself on its residents. The United States of America cannot continue to have a colonialist attitude towards the Native Americans. It needs to stop having a colonialist attitude period. #NoDAPL

Here’s the article I mention. Good read! Remember This When You Talk About Standing Rock

 

“Antes que cante el gallo” -cine opinión


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Imagen captada del corto de la película.

Ayer tuve la oportunidad de sacar un rato para disfrutar el cine local. Ya hace unas semanas están hablando sobre la película “Antes que cante el gallo” escrita por Kisha Tikina Burgos y dirigida por Arí Maniel Cruz. Seguramente ya han leído montones de reseñas y esta sea otra más, pero aquí va.

Empezaré por recalcar que entiendo que las interpretaciones de Cordelia González e Israel Lugo fueron ambas dignas de un premio de los más altos. Miranda Purcell no se quedó atrás para nada y refleja una madurez de actuación profunda. No me parece un papel fácil de interpretar.

Pero aparte de excelentes actuaciones de todo el elenco, creo que uno de los logros más grandes de esta película es que te hace sentir la confusión de Carmín. El libreto, las tomas de la cámara, escenas que perduran y dan la sensación de una indecisión; todos ayudan crear ese estado indefinido de la adolescencia. Igual que Carmín no está clara con lo que le está pasando, yo como público, tampoco me sentí clara con su proceso. Pero, ¿cómo estar claro de un proceso que ni quien lo pasa lo entiende? Es aquí que se ve el genio de la redacción y composición de este filme.

Por otro lado, el tema es un uno digno de conversar. La película contiene muchas realidades: el abandono de la madre, las abuelas que se encargan de sus nietos, la confusión sexual de la adolescencia, la hipocresía de la iglesia, la infidelidad, el maltrato, entre muchos otros. Entonces, todas estas realidades son presentadas con la música de la naturaleza puertorriqueña en el fondo, entiéndase los coquíes y demás armonías nocturnas del campo, entre la abundante belleza tropical del centro de la isla (Barranquitas).

El conjunto de todos estos elementos resultan en una muy buena película. ¡Bravo! Recomiendo que vayan a verla y hablen de los temas que contiene.

Como se siente ver a Mónica Puig jugar por medalla olímpica para Puerto Rico


Yo me imagino que ya todos los Boricuas saben como se siente esta pendejá. Un rush cabrón de adrenalina mezclado con el corazón hinchado de patria y un poquito de sexy porque hay que admitir que la Mónica está linda. Entonces de repente te das cuenta que acaba de ganar al menos plata. Ya es medallista. Es como un episodio de Stranger Things pero mucho mejor porque es real. ¿Y mañana vamos por oro? No me puedo preocupar ahora por buscar el itinerario; todavía estoy bajando del high adrena/patriótico de su victoria. Me siento como si hubiésemos ganado el Grito de Lares. En serio.

Todo se vuelve aún más loco cuando te das cuenta que mañana (o cuando sea) puede ser un USA vs. PR. What? A que todos los Boricuas de repente se vuelven independentistas. No lo dudo. Pues así se siente esto de ver a Mónica Puig triunfar por Puerto Rico: como ser parte de una novela del gran Gabo. En vivo, desde Macondo, Puerto Rico.

Veremos como sigue esto mañana…

Placement Is Everything In a Bookstore


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Cover illustration by Laura Diehl

Today I went to a local bookstore where they have copies of my book: The Bookmark. The idea was to stake it out, see where the books were placed and if people were looking at it. Well, at first I couldn’t find it at all as it was placed on a bottom shelf (not the best place for your book as you might suspect). To make matters worse, the 4 copies were facing sideways and you couldn’t see the beautiful cover. Well, I grabbed a copy and flipped it, placing it so the cover faced forward. Not 5 minutes passed and a little girl was holding my book. My kids’ grandmother was there (ex mother-in-law) and she’s the best salesperson ever. She quickly mentions to the girl that I’m the author and I can sign her book if she chooses to buy it. Of course it sold! Boom. So I grabbed another copy and placed it facing forward again so the cover showed. Another person grabbed the book! I had to leave at that point, but I passed again after I finished my back-to-school shopping and there were only 2 books left of the original 4. So, conclusion: Get an awesome cover and make sure it faces front. Especially with kid lit!

Good day to all! Now go and check your book’s placement at the shop.

6 Reasons Why Pokemon Go Rocks


People are hating like crazy about Pokemon Go. I don’t really understand why everyone is so upset about a simple game. For those of you who are, let me explain why Pokemon Go rocks, and if you don’t understand that, you just don’t get it.

It all started a long time ago with a cartoon that launched with a card game. The whole concept of the show Pokemon was about a group of friends who traveled the world finding and catching Pokemon (pocket monsters). Long story short, the show and card game were a hit and eventually the video games followed. The bulk of the games were in the Nintendo DS platform. The games echoed the show by creating a world that you explored to find Pokemon. There you would join gyms, train, compete and advance. There were even special Pokemon that would come out on special days in particular places. Like if you went to Toys R’ Us or McDonald’s on a particular day and hour, you could download a monster for free and have it in your game. Suffice it to say, people loved this! Collectors still abound.

But the game was pretty much a sitting game. The Pokemon creators have always wanted to counteract this and have been pretty ingenious at it too. Before Pokemon Go, some games came with step counters that you connected to the games to get more stuff and others had them in the DS and if you walked around with it, you would gather coins. But again, it was very limited…

Lo and behold: Pokemon Go

In my opinion the game is genius! Now you actually go and catch the Pokemon in the real world and not the fake one of the DS. The games are the same, with gyms, teams, training and such. The integration of reality and gaming is done with the right purpose. Here’s a list of pluses for you short and simple, so I don’t bore you. (There may be a few cons, but those are usually when the people playing don’t have much common sense.)

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    My son wearing a Tentacool for a hat. 

    It gets you walking. You can’t really catch anything while driving (it’s too fast) so you have to be on foot.

  2. Pokestops are in the real world. You have to get out of your house, off your ass, and out in the world in order to advance in the game.
  3. Pokestops include street art, restaurants, museums, and sights worth seeing. (Encourages cultural awareness and travel)
  4. You have to walk to hatch your eggs. Yes, even if it’s back and forth in your own living room, in order to hatch the egg, you gotta walk. So the game makes you exercise!!! (Back to point 1)
  5. Augmented reality fun! Yeah, you get to take pics with the Pokemon on your head and stuff.
  6. It creates a strange #PokemonBond among users.

So bravo to Niantic, The Pokemon Company, and John Hanke for a great concept. BTW (although the play is buggy, I play in my 4s which according to Niantic is not supported, so there.)

 

A Democratic Fiscal Control Board for Puerto Rico


Dear Mr. President:

As you’ve signed PROMESA, I propose a more democratic fiscal control board. I won’t beat around the bush and will go straight to it. (BTW, I write this in English so nothing gets lost in translation.) Puerto Rico isn’t very happy about this law. I think a lot of people understand there is need for spending control, but as a COLONY, we do not appreciate such a thing being imposed without any form of control or say from our part. So, in order to have a fiscal control board that is more democratic in its process, I propose the following:

Puerto Rico will accept a fiscal control board under the following conditions:

  1. Congress will elect members from a pre-approved list provided by the government of Puerto Rico.
  2. The list of candidates will be created as follows:
    1. PR legislature will establish a committee that will determine the specific requirements that each member must have. (I believe at least 1 economist, 1 international law debt specialist, someone with track record in city planning, etc.)
    2. Requirements will be based on merits and track record.
    3. No candidate may have previous political affiliations.
    4. No candidate may have held a government position in the past. (At least in Puerto Rico).
  3. Once requirements are established anyone can nominate a candidate, but said committee must approve the candidate according to the requirements.
  4. The approved list of candidates is sent to Congress. Congress chooses the committee from this list.
  5. Congress may appoint 1 member from their own ranks or outside the list, but… Members of the committee MUST reside in Puerto Rico while they serve on the committee (I believe this is essential. When the decisions you make affect you personally, everything is different; perspectives change.)
  6. President approves.
  7. We have a democratic fiscal control board.

THANK YOU!

I get really depressed when people tell me: THERE IS NO OTHER OPTION. I hate that! There is ALWAYS another option and if we just invest a little thought process into it, it can be achieved. I have plenty more where this one came from, so just ask.

 

 

Why Being Pro-Choice Means Being Pro-Life


Well today I read an article about abortion rights. It seems that it’s still a rather controversial issue and so I’ve decided to speak my mind about it. The argument against abortion is always about the lives of the children and the argument for it is about the lives of the mothers. But the truth is that the argument can never be one-sided. Children, pregnancy, and motherhood never happen alone. It is never one-sided. Ending a blossoming life will never be an easy choice or a pretty one. That’s not the argument. In fact, abortion can be in favor of the child too. Now I’m not condoning using abortion as a means for birth control. I’ve heard women say things like: “I’ll just have an abortion” and I think: “Sure, I’d like to see you when it’s time to make that decision.” Getting rid of the baby in your womb is never and easy decision. Imagine how desperate one has to feel to do that…

So I’m pro-choice. When I was 23 I got pregnant with my first son. No, it was not planned. The minute I saw the double line on the test thingy I had a choice: To abort or become a mother. We all have that choice and thank God! Obviously, I chose to have my son, but I cannot possibly imagine the kind of mom I would be if I had not had that choice. Having chosen to keep my son and raise him and love him made me a better mom. If I had been forced by lack of options I would probably be a bad mother. I can imagine I would feel resentment because I had no choice. I probably wouldn’t have a second son either, since it was the experience of love with my first child that led to desire for my second son.

Being a mother is not easy, and therefore it should not be imposed on anyone. Unwanted, unloved children are more likely to be abused, mistreated, and grow up to be unhappy people. Is that how we protect these children? Maybe the best way to protect a child is to ensure whomever has them, wants them. Did you ever think of that?

People argue about adoption. It’s funny. It’s harder to adopt a child than it is to have one. I admire all those women who chose to give their babies to somebody else because they knew their children would be better off, but how many of those actually find a decent home? Pro-life argues some women regret having abortions. Well, I can tell you, some women regret having their children, and you can bet the kids pay for it one way or another.  How many end up abandoned? So what are we doing? Why are we meddling in the very personal decisions of women? It’s nobody’s business but hers (and the father of course, but in the end it’s always the woman’s choice. It’s her body, her pregnancy, and her risks).

The worst part of the issue is that the people who are against abortion are also against sexual education, birth control and anything that will help a woman avoid an unwanted pregnancy that would result in an abortion. It makes no sense. The truth is abortion should be minimal; the last resort, but it needs to be an option. It needs to be available. There is nothing worse we could do to a child than condemn him or her to a life with a mother or father who doesn’t want them. Leave religion out of it for a moment and think in terms of society. It’s better for everyone when a woman has a choice.

Ideas para arreglar a Puerto Rico Parte. 3


Bueno, no es ningún secreto que Puerto Rico está en la quilla. Ya entró el tax de 11.5% y ya todos estamos viendo como ajustarnos… todos excepto el Gobierno. Ahora están cortando todo tipo de servicio. Yo entiendo que hay que cortar, pero me parece que los programas que ayudan a las personas a desarrollar carreras que le darán estabilidad económica no debe ser uno de esos sacrificios. Precisamente eso es lo que necesitamos: Desarrollo Económico. Así que aquí van algunas ideas para ayudar ese desarrollo.

1. Legalizar la Marihuana completamente. Si, ya sé que ya lo escribí anteriormente, pero es que todavía me sorprende lo poco que se menciona esta alternativa para proveer alivio económico. Es la alternativa más rápida para recaudar dinero porque es una industria que ya existe. Con la legalización podemos atraer más turismo, llevando a cabo un Caribbean Cannabis Cup (The first ever!!!).

2. Eliminar la patente municipal. Es que es un tax que realmente no aporta mucha cosa y lo que hace es atrasar los negocios.

3. Dar un tiempo determinado de “break” a los negocios nuevos para que puedan trabajar y producir mientras consiguen la permisología y todo el fracatán de papelitos que hay que conseguir para poder montar un negocio en esta Isla. Es ridículamente alto el costo de montar negocio aquí. Eso limita las posibilidades por que sólo personas ya adineradas o que consiguen un buen préstamo pueden montar un negocio y el que tienen una buena idea, pero 0 crédito no logra nada.

4. Establecer un sistema de evaluación de los legisladores. A los 2 años de electos se evalúa su trabajo y si no sirven se van pa’ fuera y el próximo en la lista de votos ocupará su lugar. Nada de que el partido escoge. No. Escoge el pueblo. Es como si pasara el escaño al “first runner up”.

5. Establecer reglamento para retener pago a legisladores que no asisten a las asambleas y no participan del proceso.

6. Multar a los partidos que “castigan” a sus miembros por votar en las asambleas como ellos entienden en lugar de hacer ciegamente todo lo que pide el partido. Si el partido lo hace, se le pone una multa bien cheveronga.

7. Eliminar los subsidios y créditos a las corporaciones foráneas. Debe ser por igual. El tax que paga una foránea y una local debe ser igual. Nada de favores. Not fair!

8. Invertir más en la UPR. Puerto Rico debe tener un departamento GRANDE de biología marina (en vez del delfinario de Santini, un acuario para sanar y estudiar animales. El público podría visitar y sería estrictamente para educar y sanar animales y devolverlos al mar) y una escuela veterinaria (las dos van de la mano). Esto traería inversiones a nivel de investigación y educación y aliviaría a nuestros estudiantes que actualmente deben salir de Puerto Rico para emprender una carrera de estas. Salir implica deudas estudiantiles más altas y usualmente lo que ocurre es que no regresan. No queremos eso.

9. Exigirle a USA el derecho al voto y representación (con voto) en sus cuerpos legislativos. ¿Por qué? Porque ellos toman decisiones que nos afectan en grande y deberíamos tener ese derecho aunque seamos una colonia. Ese presidente decide si nosotros entramos en una guerra, nos obliga a enlistar los varones por si hay un “draft” y ¿yo no puedo votar por él o ella? También toman decisiones importantes sobre los fondos que recibimos. ¿Para qué tenemos un Comisionado Residente si no puede ejercer un voto? Es hora que tengamos algún control de lo que pasa arriba y les recuerdo que esa fue la razón por la que las colonias americanas se independizaron.

10. Energía solar. No creo que hay que explicar esto mucho. El sol brilla gratuitamente y cuando deje de brillar ya estamos jodíos so… Energía solar.

Se los dejo con estas diez. Ya escribiré más otro día.

Ñapa: Ya que Romero se rehusa a renunciar a sus escoltas, reduzcan el presupuesto de dichas escoltas a un número más razonable.

¡Buen día!

A Tip of the Hat to Surrogacy


Today begins a new stage in life for a special couple I hold dear to my heart. One of them is a friend from grade school (enough said). And today they became daddies thanks to surrogacy. I’ve had the pleasure of seeing their process through Facebook and well, what can I say, I’m impressed!

I think surrogacy is admirable. Pregnancy is not easy. Birth is not easy. Going through the whole nine month process for a baby that is not yours is the most selfless act a woman can do (save for putting her own baby up for adoption). And this particular woman did it with two babies! Yes! Twins!

Really, I am in awe of this woman. A twin pregnancy for somebody else! It’s amazing! Not to mention the physical risks she put herself through. Twins automatically complicate a pregnancy and usually ends in the OR with a C-section and I can tell you from experience, those hurt! Yeah! Natural birth hurts, but then it’s over and you keep going. The C-section hurts for weeks! Your stomach gets numb and the spinal anesthesia gives you horrible back pains! For months I could feel the spot where they injected it; a sharp piercing jab in between two vertebrae. It really takes about 3 months+ to heal well.

The majority of women go through this process rather by default because they want to be mothers. You want to be a mom so you go through the pregnancy, Dr.’s appointments, vitamins, stretch marks, etc. because it’s what needs to happen to get your baby. But in this case, this woman chooses to do this for a baby that is not her blood and she will not keep. People this is a big sacrifice; a humongous sacrifice. I tip my hat off to this woman. Because of her, two people are parents of two beautiful babies. She is a modern version of Atabeira. Bless her and all honest surrogates out there.