Friday, December 4, 2009

Goose Island gets it's due

Down In One
by Roger Protz, The Guardian (UK)

The United States is currently enjoying a revolution in craft brewing with more than 1,300 "micro" breweries. Their sales grew by 16% last year and they now enjoy a market share of more than 10%. Many of these "micros" are extremely big by British standards: Sierra Nevada in Chico, California, for example, produces 800,000 barrels a year. Its Pale Ale and India Pale Ale are sold in Britain.

Prohibition in the 1920s and 30s destroyed a brewing industry with a rich heritage of British and German-style beers. Only a handful of giants, led by Anheuser-Busch with Budweiser, saturated the vast market afterwards with thin and insipid interpretations of lager. The label on a bottle of Bud, for example, announces it is brewed from the finest rice, barley malt and hops. Rice is tasteless and sums up the beer. Other giant breweries use large amounts of cheap corn.

In 1965, a beer aficionado named Fritz Maytag bought the ailing Anchor Steam Brewery in San Francisco and fired the first shots in the second American revolution. The success of his beers encouraged others to open small commercial plants. Some were enthusiastic followers of the Campaign for Real Ale in Britain; others of German descent have fashioned lagers of such quality they should bring
a blush to Budweiser's cheeks. Today the likes of Brooklyn Brewery in New York City, Pike and Redhook in Seattle, Rogue in Newport, Oregon, and Samuel Adams in Boston are a power in the land. And Goose Island IPA from Chicago, on sale in Britain, may just be the best beer in the world.

Here's a great way to start the New Year - put simply, this is one of the finest new beers I have tasted for some time. Goose Island is a micro-brewery in Chicago - I've visited and revelled in the beers, and now, thankfully, Safeway is making this IPA available here. Brewed with awesome dedication to the English style of the early 19th century, it uses just pale malt and a massive dose of hops. The hops in question are American Cascade, English Fuggles and Styrian Goldings from Slovenia, with American Centennial used for 'dry hopping' - which means adding hops after fermentation, to deepen the aroma and palate. Those hops create 70 units of bitterness, around twice the rate for a typical English bitter.

This 5.9% beer has an intense aroma of sultana fruit and spicy hops, with tart fruit, juicy malt and bitter hops in the mouth, while the finish is dominated by a rich fruitiness reminiscent of blood oranges, balanced by a quinine-like bitterness from the hops. The beer is filtered but not pasteurised. And it's a snip at £1.29 for a 35.5cl bottle.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

I'm Forever Your's Faithfully....

(reposted from Saipan Middle Road)

Jul 18, 2009

'Brings back memories whenever the band, Journey, sings this song...

Yet, it couldn't stop me to wonder what had happened when the Juan-Galvin campaign manager jumped over the other party's fence, so I've heard and read. This makes me think, is the Heinz-Arnold tandem sure that the island's Republicans will really go and vote for them? Or, how are they going to know for sure that the Juan-Galvin supporters will have their votes this coming elections?

As we've said before, if the islands want the current administration to change, why divide the opposition?

I personally see that the green color will still be the fad this year. Of course, I could be wrong too...

Post by On Saipan at 2:27 AM

Tell it like it is said...

Saipan Middle Road -- I hope you don't mind me posting some quotes that came from various individuals commenting on Wendy Doromal's website. I just thought they might be relevant here too.


"Being an incumbent doesn't automatically mean you are that steady hand that is needed. Being an incumbent doesn't mean you are a man of integrity."

"That steady hand you speak of has been guiding the CNMI into the worst situation it has been in the last 30 years."
"We need a real leader to take the helm and turn this ship around. A real leader with integrity that awards people based on merit not on political favors."


1. a know-it-all dictator who does not respect the law, legislature or people. No siree, only King Fitial knows what is good for the CNMI.

2. a power-hungry manipulator in charge who will cut hours and jobs and at the same time spend on ridiculous lawsuits.

3. side deals with Koreans investors

4. no integrity, lots of schemes

5. someone who will drain the coffers to promote his agenda whether endorsed by the people or not...

6. completely unqualified, unscrupulous, and/or ball-less policy advisors and department heads running the government

7. tens of millions in taxpayer money (federal or local) mysteriously vanishing (poof -- gone!) and totally unaccounted for

8. weak, demoralized, incapacitated law enforcement attorneys and officers

9. an impotent and illegitimate acting AG (no confirmed or nominated AG for almost a year)

10. lots of "acting" secretaries

11. no plan for economic recovery (plan? what plan? who needs a plan?)

12. really bad relations with the feds

13. sketchy "nonprofit" foundations in fitial's name receiving hefty, unaudited "donations" from unknown sources for certain unknown "charitable causes"

14. REALLY cheap public land leases and tax breaks for REALLY sketchy foreign investors

15. special legal counsels up the yin-yang, including the last legitimately-confirmed AG we ever had who stepped down not even a year ago, and two highly questionable, not-so-free "volunteer" attorneys

16. really bad judgment in selection of friends (abramoff? mafnas? tim?)

17. capital improvement projects stagnating, and very little infrastructure spending/development to speak of (how the heck ARE we going to spend all this free money? too bad we have to account for it...)

18. surrounded by former Tan employees

19. misplaced loyalty

20. lies with a scary Cheshire cat smile

21. Willens and Siemer

22. Cinta

23. CHC fiasco

24. getting fired for being "disloyal" to the Covenant party

25. being forced to hire and/or work among politicos who have no qualifications to speak of other than being related to fitial or his cronies AND who might also be convicted felons

26. never getting your rightful merit increase no matter how long and how hard you have worked, or how competent you are -- and then seeing unqualified political hires START above your civil service salary

27. worrying about furloughs... even as government hiring of nonessential (political) hires continues

28. Sleaze -sick of the prostitution and the sleazy clubs.

29. waste of money for trips, trips, trips

30. turns eye to and even supports fake schools' "

Note: The list above came from many different individuals. It is by no means exhaustive.

Please, anyone, feel free to add more.

Read the rest of the post and comments here.

Monday, July 13, 2009

A trip through Saipan

By Aguarin Iriarte
Pacific Daily News

In a month's time the island's high schools will begin the new school year. For incoming seniors that means one last year together with the people you've grown and shared countless experiences with.

It's not uncommon for seniors to look for a way to commemorate their last year together by planning a senior trip. Making the trip work always take a lot of planning and fundraising -- something the senior class needs to start working on right at the start of the school year, says Danielle Gervacio, a recent George Washington High School graduate and student counsel member.

Although her class did not end up taking the trip they were planning for, Gervacio says public schools have strict guidelines that have to be met to allow for a trip.

The 2009 graduate and former VIBE reporter says plans for the trip need to be submitted by September and a quarter of the money for the spring trip must be raised by October. Then there is also the issue of finding chaperones.

She adds that the trips, to be approved, need to serve an educational purpose for students. Even overcoming tough guidelines is not a guarantee a trip will work out because of the expense of it all. Thankfully, Guam's seniors have a more affordable alternative as the island's proximity to our neighboring islands in the Marianas can make for a great travel experience. Consider Saipan as a possible destination.

Beautiful scenery, lots of history and a ton of activities makes Guam's neighbors to the north a great option for seniors looking for one last adventure together. The island's pristine beaches are a sight to behold, says recent Southern High School graduate Joelyn Borja.

"I didn't think these kind of beaches existed," says Borja, who recently took a trip to Saipan.

Saipan is about 120 miles north of Guam, so after a quick 40-minute flight on either Continental Airlines or Freedom Air, you'll be on your way enjoying the sights and sounds of the island.

"It's a trip back in time," says Saipan resident Brad Ruszala, "Guam is beautiful, but it's quite a bit more commercial than Saipan."

Ruszala says Saipan is a great place to experience with friends because a 10-minute drive in any direction "will take you to an adventure."

"A trek through the jungle, a trip to the beach, lunch with the locals? We've got all of the finer things in life but it's the simpler things that make Saipan special," he says.

Flame Tree Festival

Held annually in April, and right around the time of spring break, the Flame Tree Festival brings together groups from around the region to celebrate Pacific Island art and culture. According to the Marianas Visitors Authority, The Flame Tree Arts Festival is Micronesia's largest annual arts and culture celebration, featuring traditional and contemporary visual, performing and culinary arts from the region.

"It's so beautiful, it seems like it's on fire when the trees are in bloom," says Tammy Lujan, a senior at John F. Kennedy High School. Lujan, who traveled to the island recently with family and friends, says she will definitely be back when time permits.

History lesson

A senior trip to Saipan is also educational. The island has two superb museums with one specifically focusing on the island's role in World War II, and the other on the cultural heritage of the Northern Mariana Islands.

Remnants of World War II can be seen throughout the island. One interesting relic that seems to catch most eyes are the tanks that lie off the waters of Beach Road in the village of Susupe.

Banzai Cliff, Puntan Sabaneta in Chamorro, and Suicide Cliff, Laderan Banadero in Chamorro, offer spectacular views of the northern coast but both were tragic sites of WWII.

An evening out

You can't talk about a trip to Saipan without mentioning the Thursday night market in Garapan, the heart of the island's tourist district. Food and retail vendors set up tents to sell a variety of dishes to eat and items to buy to passersby.

A three choice meal without a drink would cost you about $7.95 on Guam, at the Garapan night market, a six choice meal will cost you under $6 and that includes a drink, and even dessert.

Shopping in Saipan is limited as the island's only mall closed in 2004, although several smaller shopping centers and the DFS Galleria can be found on the island.

All that still doesn't cover all the island has to offer, as Saipan has great hiking spots like Mt. Tapochau -- from whose summit you can see the islands of MaƱagaha, Tinian, and Aguijan -- or the abundance of exotic birds like the Collared Kingfisher, Mariana Fruit-dove, Mariana Crow and the Ga'ga Karisu.

With fabulous beaches, dazzling sunsets and friendly people, a trip over to our sister island could be just the solution for seniors looking to plan an affordable last adventure together.

Additional Facts

Monday, June 15, 2009

Maps in the mail

Over the last couple days, I received tourist maps in the mail from GVB (Guam) and MVA (Saipan, Tinian, and Rota). Some interesting and helpful info was included, so I think I will be able to make more headway on the Google Mapmaker project.

Friday, June 5, 2009

My Google Mapmaker stats for the last 4 days:

added to Mapmaker's Saipan section -

Road length (km) 20.0
Points of interest 1
Business listings 148
Regions (sq kms) 8.8
Feature edits 57

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Google Street View?

I guess Google Mapmaker has been out since 2008... I only discovered it yesterday. Some folks in India and the Philippines have been adding streets and landmarks to the Saipan map, and since yesterday I have been updating street names using Maui Business Pages' 2000 Saipan directory as a general guide.

Below are some pictures of my progress using a residential area in Koblerville:


I have also corrected some roads and added other information. It takes a little while for the info to go live on Google Maps, but once that happens all 2 of my blog readers will be the first to know.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

CNMI and Guam to get quarters (New York Times)

Last year Congress passed legislation that will have a long-term impact on our pocket change. The law authorized a new series of quarters, to be released over 11 years, with at least 56 different designs featuring national parks or sites.

This new series is just one of several rotating coin design programs that have come in the wake of the success of the 50 State Quarters Program, in which the Mint issued a new quarter design five times a year for 10 years, starting in 1999. In 2004 the Mint started the Westward Journey nickel series. In 2007 we got a series of dollar coins with former presidents. One of the coins recently issued features William Henry Harrison, who was president for only a month.

By now we are experiencing new coin fatigue: authorization of the national parks quarter series attracted very little mainstream attention, while many coin collectors disapproved of it as too much of a good thing.

These critics have a point. This year we have even more coin programs featuring rotating designs. For Lincoln’s 200th birthday, four different reverse (tails) designs were produced for the penny. American Indians will be honored with a new series of dollar coins. And six quarters will be issued featuring the District of Columbia as well as the territories of Guam, American Samoa, the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and the Northern Mariana Islands.

As a result of all this, this year we will have more coin series with rotating designs than series with permanent designs. We may find ourselves thankful for the constancy of the Jefferson nickel, the Roosevelt dime and the Kennedy half-dollar, which is no longer even issued for circulation.

While it may seem as if the Mint is to blame for all this, the problem really lies with Congress. The issuing of new coins, including the specific details on each coin’s design, is mandated by legislation. These coins can be lucrative for the government: the Mint estimated that the 50 State Quarters Program earned nearly $3 billion in seigniorage (that is, the difference between the face value of a coin and the cost to mint it).

Coins are a medium of exchange. They should be relatively standard, universally identifiable units of money. On a deeper level, coins are also representations of the country that issues them. Our currency has become a shifting, unidentifiable mess that tries to recognize everything and ends up symbolizing nothing.

The best remedy would simply be to overhaul all our standard coin designs. Redesign each denomination across the board, and leave the new designs in place for at least a decade. These redesigned coins should be contemporary in nature but timeless in theme, and unmistakable objects of art.

It was once common to portray Liberty, personified in female form, on our coins. Imagine the return of this figure, grown wiser and reflective after her absence, evoking confidence that our nation will endure any hardship and meet any challenge. Then, maybe our coins will once again become respected national symbols.

Michael Zielinski is the creator of, a social network for coin collectors.

Monday, May 11, 2009

My letter published in the Tribune today

Saipan Tribune

Bad press about Saipan

I really think it’s a shame that every time I do an Internet search about Saipan, I run into a bunch of articles from the Irish press griping and complaining about a place they have never been to, much less heard of. Turns out that in 2002, there was some kind of beef between the Irish football/soccer team during a training exercise, henceforth referred to as the "Saipan Incident". There’s even a Wikipedia entry (

That’s all well and good, but it seems that nowadays the very word "Saipan" is almost a curse on the Emerald Isle. Do a Google search for "Saipan Ireland" and you’ll see what I mean. Maybe there should be some kind of high-level meeting between Irish and CNMI officials, or even a goodwill game between the two teams. Or just invite members of the Irish media over for a barbecue.

I read somewhere that South Korea is spending money internationally on bringing a more positive image of themselves to the minds of people in other countries. Maybe the CNMI government should consider something similar. Koreans and Japanese know Saipan very well, so we don't need to worry about brand awareness in those countries. Probably people in the mainland USA, if they have heard of Saipan at all, only know the garment factories, the Abramoff scandal, and the recent debacle regarding the lieutenant governor. Something should be done about this.

Rick Vaughn
Chicago, Illinois

Saturday, May 9, 2009

The War of Saipan

by Bob Coldeen

Five years ago this week Ireland's national soccer team came to Saipan in preparation for the World Cup in Japan. No one predicted that their short time here would be referred to as the “War of Saipan” by a whole country.

When one hears about “the War” here in these islands, the natural assumption is World War II. But to people in Ireland, it means the battle between two men: coach Mick McCarthy and star player Roy Keane, a feud that went so deep into their collective psychology that it polarized a nation and remains such a significant event that a movie of it is being made and last month's “Mad About Sports” magazine from Europe had it on their front page as the feature article.

Keane was not only Ireland's top player, he was captain of Manchester United, the most famous soccer team in the world. McCarthy was an Englishman with Irish ties hired to coach the team.

Ex-pat John White invited the team to Saipan and they accepted.

I went to their first workout at Oleai Field and chatted with one of the press from Britain. Prior to their arrival, I had scanned the internet to learn something about the team. Trying to impress one of the British press with at least some knowledge of their national sport while also looking for a story angle, I asked, “Are Robbie Keane and Roy Keane brothers?”

He shook his head and laughed at my ignorance. He asked me if the team's arrival would be my top story that night. Itold him I wasn't sure because I also had an exciting women's softball game and a good Little League game planned for my show that evening.

The next day on the Internet I read a British newspaper story about how ignorant I was about soccer and considered women's softball and children's baseball to be more important than the World Cup. Well, I do think Roy Keane could walk down Beach Road in a jockstrap and people here could not care less. And more people go to a Little League game on Saipan than there were at the Ireland's practices.

Later I asked McCarthy why they had chosen Saipan and he said they came to get acclimated to the heat and the time change and also for the team to bond together in a relaxed setting. He must have not told Roy.

The CNMI spent $20,000 to improve Oleai field but that wasn't enough to make it the quality pitch Keane was used to playing on and he complained to one of the reporters for the Irish Times about that and a slew of other things about McCarthy's preparation for the Cup.

The next day Keane's diatribe showed up in the Irish Times newspaper and in McCarthy's hands. He held a team meeting and that's when the whole thing exploded with McCarthy kicking Roy off the team. Saipan's soccer field suddenly became an issue of world concern, but the fact is the two had bad feelings brewing between them for 10 years, fundamental differences between two incompatible professionals, talented men with personal flaws that they could not overcome, even for the sake of a country in the World Cup. That is what caused the “War of Saipan,” not some field of grass.

(Saipan Tribune 05/20/2007)

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Ireland needs to get over Saipan

I really think it's a shame that every time I do an internet search about Saipan, I run into a bunch of articles from the Irish press griping and complaining about a place they have never been to, much less heard of. Turns out that in 2002, there was some kind of beef between the Irish football/soccer team and their coach during a training exercise, henceforth referred to as the "Saipan Incident". There's even a Wikipedia entry*.

That's all well and good, but it seems that nowadays the very word "Saipan" is almost a curse on the Emerald Isle. Do a Google search for "Saipan Ireland" and you'll see what I mean. Maybe there should be some kind of high level meeting between Irish and CNMI officials, or even a goodwill game between the two teams. Or just invite members of the Irish media over for a barbecue.

I read somewhere that South Korea is spending money internationally on bringing a more positive image of themselves to the minds of people in other countries. Maybe the CNMI government should consider something similar. Probably people in the mainland, if they have heard of Saipan, only know the garment factories, the Abramoff scandal, and the recent debacle regarding the Lieutenant Governor. Something should be done. That's all I'm saying.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Tonight's dinner

I cooked red rice tonight, for the first time, loosely following the recipe below. The only difference was, I didn't have any more bacon and realized it too late - no chance to run to the store. I also cooked beef with broccoli.

See more pics here:

Thursday, April 23, 2009

MSNBC reports on the Marianas Trench Monument

Some favorite recipes

Eneksa Agaga (Red Rice)

* Achiote Seeds (4 ounce package)
* 2 cup water
* 2 cups medium grain enriched rice
* 2 slices bacon
* 1/2 onion

Soak achiote seeds in water until liquid is a dark rich red.
Drain seeds, reserving the liquid. Fry bacon until soft but
thoroughly cooked. Chop bacon and onion. Put rice, bacon,
onion in a pan and add the achiote liquid. Allow pot of rice
to "boil down" until the liquid is almost completely gone.
Cover and reduce heat to low for 15 minutes. Makes 4 servings.



No island feast would be complete without finadeni. This terrific
sauce is used to flavor rice, soups, and is excellent for marinating
chicken, beef and pork. Make a lot at once and store the extra
in a salad dressing carafe for easy use later.

* 1/4 cup soy sauce
* 1/4 cup lemon juice
* 1/4 cup chopped green onions
* 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper, or 3 small red peppers,
roasted and chopped

Combine ingredients, stir.


Saipan-style SPAM Fried Rice own personal recipe

* cooked rice
* 3 eggs
* 1/2 can SPAM, diced (you can use Turkey SPAM if you like, it's lower in fat &
salt and has zero cholesterol)
* 2 tbsp. sesame oil
* 1 tsp. patis (fish sauce)
* 1 or 2 green onions, chopped

In a frying pan, make egg omelet and transfer to plate.
Chop into strips. Add cubes of Spam to pan and cook until
they begin to brown. Add rice to frying pan, stir then add
sesame oil. Add green onion if desired. Right before serving,
add fish sauce. It's also good with Tabasco!


Korean Fried Rice
... another personal recipe

* cooked rice
* 3 eggs
* 1/3 jar of kimchee
* 2 tbsp. sesame oil
* 1 tsp. fish sauce
* 4 strips of bacon, cooked

In a frying pan, make egg omelet and transfer to plate.
Chop into strips. Add bacon and rice to frying pan, stir then add
sesame oil. Add Kimchee and mix. Right before serving,
add fish sauce.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Nice way of inviting people to visit the island, jerk!

Honolulu Federal Court judge Leslie Kobayashi yesterday sentenced a 28-year-old man from Saipan to 21 days in prison for assaulting a fellow passenger on a flight from Los Angeles to Honolulu.

QuantcastJerome Kenneth Kingzio had pleaded guilty.

The incident took place on March 21.

U.S. Attorney Ed Kubo said court documents show the victim, a 66-year-old woman, was watching the in-flight movie when Kingzio stood next to her and began urinating on her.

The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The prosecution was handled by Assistant United States Attorney Marshall H. Silverberg.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Enforce anti-littering law

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

I am a sophomore at Saipan Southern High School. Last week I participated in the Beautify CNMI monthly cleanup of Garapan and was terribly frustrated with all the garbage I found in almost every corner. After spending 90 minutes under the hot sun, my partner and I filled up about four huge bags with trash. The majority of this trash consisted of beer bottles, paper plates, and cans-all things that could have easily been disposed of properly.

When I went home, I looked up some information about littering. I found that the CNMI has a Commonwealth Litter Control Act of 1989 (Public Law 6-37) that provides for a $500 fine for littering and that the Division of Environmental Quality, Mayor's Office, Department of Public Works, Department of Public Safety, Department of Public Health, Division of Fish & Wildlife, Coastal Resources Management, Department of Land and Natural Resources, and Marianas Visitors Authority all employ litter control officers.

Knowing this information, I wonder how many litter tickets have been issued in the last 12 months?

If our Commonwealth Litter Control Act were enforced, we would have a cleaner island. A cleaner island would benefit tourism and improve the quality of life for everyone who lives here.

I ask that the government enforce our litter laws so that people like me don't have to spend our weekends picking up other people's garbage. I also realize that the community and businesses are responsible and I ask that they stop littering and put pressure on those who do to stop.

Jacquelyn Johanna B. David
San Antonio, Saipan

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Saipan Is Ours (1944 newsreel)

Preview or watch this Video as flash Stream:

(1) "The War on Two Fronts - Saipan Island: An American
task force moves in on this strategic (Japanese) island
base within near bomber range of Tokyo's front yard.
After four days of naval and air bombardment the Marines
take over, suffering losses three times those at Tarawa,
but (Japanese) dead are more than ours and
they lose 700 planes."

(2) Deweys Meet The Press - Chicago, Ill.: Governor Dewey,
Republican candidate for President, holds his first
conference stressing his approval of the platform
and denying he will resign his office as governor.
Mrs. Dewey also meets the newspapermen saying she will
make no speeches and leave campaigning to her

(3) Women At War - "Anzio, Italy: Answering General
Mark Clark's call for more WACS in Italy, a fresh
contingent arrives at this Italian port and settle
into their new life quickly. Canadian CWACS and nurses
are on the job, also, aiding doctors and surgeons in
front line hospitals while under constant fire."

(4) Victory on Cherbourg Peninsula - "Allied troops
complete the conquest of the Cherbourg peninsula as
reinforcements are flown in by air. 26,000 German
prisoners were taken by the allies who either captured
or destroyed the greater part of their
equipment." (partial newsreel)

Preview or watch this Video as flash Stream:


Monday, March 9, 2009

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Picture of the day

(modified) stop sign, Capitol Hill, 2004.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Picture of the day

Taken from a balcony at Hotel Nikko, overlooking San Roque and part of Tanapag, late 2001.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Battle Of Saipan (documentary)

VISITING Saipan nowadays is like coming back to what was once a thriving civilization that had been destroyed and abandoned. This was according to Adam Yamaguchi, a television correspondent and producer at Current TV, a cable network founded by former Vice President Al Gore.

He visited the island recently to document the “rise and sudden collapse of a tiny piece of America.”The trailer for his documentary “The Battle of Saipan” is available online (above).

“Saipan is a nice place that I would pay a lot of my own money to visit, but Saipan is facing one of the fastest economic collapses in history,” Yamaguchi said in the trailer.

He added, “The present battle of Saipan is an economic one, and throughout the islands you can see the victims.”

He said many of the foreign workers who came to work for garment factories are now loitering the island, jobless and have no means to go home.

He said some factory workers have resorted to prostitution just to survive.

The Current Web site includes an excerpt from “The Battle of Saipan” showing Yamaguchi talking with guest workers now in the sex trade.

“Saipan used to have the best of both worlds — cheap labor to allow it to compete with the prices of garments in U.S. mainland manufacturers, and no quota on what it could ship to the mainland,” Yamaguchi said.

He added that a few years ago, 17,000 Chinese workers were making clothing in over three dozen garment factories, earning $3 an hour “which is just 60 percent of the minimum wage rate in the U.S. mainland,” Yamaguchi said.

All this ended when World Trade Organization rules took effect in 2005 following a 10-year transition period.

Now, garment factories in Third World countries, where labor is cheaper, can also export their apparel to the U.S. without quota restrictions.

“Once the ultimate globalization success story, the island of Saipan now faces one of the fastest economic collapses in history,” the Current Web site stated. “After suffering a harsh history of military struggles as well as a temporary economic boom after becoming a U.S. commonwealth, the island now stands devastated. Scores of factories remain empty, rotting shopping centers litter the country, and former factory workers turn to the sex industry for survival.” (Marianas Variety)

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Is this a fire or a UFO?

Seen in Google Earth's view of a house on Saipan, just south of the old Japanese jail (coordinates 15°11'56.18"N 145°43'7.39"E).

Or view here on Google Maps.

Google drops Saipan from satellite view in Maps

If you look at the above image I snapped from Google Maps, you will see that Saipan and Tinian are no longer visible in Google Maps' satellite view, except as silhouettes, while Guam is clearly visible. It seems like in their haste to map the bottom of the ocean floor, they forgot about some of the islands as well. The islands also do not appear on the map. They ARE however available on the terrain view....

View Larger Map

In other news, work on my novel, "Invisible Island" is going along "swimmingly" (pun intended).

Wednesday, January 28, 2009