Sunday, February 26, 2006

Educated Filipinos tired of Philippines coup attempts

As you may or may not know, the president of the Philippines (Arroyo) is under threat of a coup or a rebellion stemming from the military. A segment of the marines have been influenced by politicians that's opposed to the president. About 100 marines staged a rebellion after a previous ploy was squashed on Friday (24th).

President Arroyo's influence
According to Forbes magazine, the Philippine peso was the best performing Asian currency in 2005. This is a positive recognition of President Arroyo's ability to manage the economics of the country, thanks to her graduate studies at Georgetown University, USA. She was once an economic professor and was a classmate of former US President Bill Clinton.

The opposition against her
Much like the Democrats in the United States, there is opposition against President Arroyo in the Philippines coming from liberals, communists, socialists, labor unions, and left wing activists. The main issue that they have against the president is the alleged vote rigging in the 2004 elections (similar to Bush/Gore in 2000). Other issues involve unproven accusations that her family is involved in illegal gambling. Third, many uneducated Filipinos blame her for the rise in gas/oil prices.

The opposition's choices in the 2004 election
Despite all the rumors -- members of the United Nations considered the Philippines 2004 election as democratic and fair despite isolated problems. Contrary to the conspiracy theorists of the "Hello Garci" tapes, the electoral monitors of the international community didn't turn a blind eye to any problem and found the election to be valid.

The opposition found it hard to believe that their choice, Fernando Poe, Jr., was not voted in as the new president. He was a popular actor, with most of his roles played as a hero of the poor. He was gathering tremendous support on his economic policy from the uneducated masses, where he defined how to fix the Philippines economy in three simple words: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner. When asked by the business community on how to reduce the nation's debt, he wanted to shrug off all the bonds, much like saying to get rid of credit card debt, just ignore the bills. This was a clear example of how well this former actor grasped economic principles.

The middle class annoyed and balikbayans angry
Throughout the United States, Filipinos are beginning to be annoyed by the idea of people power and rebellion as the answer to the country's problems. The middle class of the Philippines who are considered to be the most influencial and most educated group are simply annoyed. "Rebellion against the government should be the last resort," said Eduardo Federico, a businessman in Manila. "Running and hiding from issues will never resolve anything."

Balikbayans or overseas workers, also annoyed and angry at the stupidity of their fellow countrymen. "We need to mature as a country, we look like fools everytime we disrespect our own civil laws and elected governments," said an anonymous balikbayan.

The ignored majority: Visayas and Mindanao
There are three major island groups of the Philippines: north (Luzons), central (Visayas), and south (Mindanao). The northern part of the country is mainly considered to be the rebellious one -- with all of the previous people power uprisings held in Manila, Luzon. The Visayas and Mindanao regions are largely ignored by politicians and they are now getting weary of Luzon's attempt to be the voice for them. For instance, in Cebu last week, the coup ploys were hardly felt and no tensions were played out against the government.

The central and southern parts of the Philippines has the majority of the population and they have a considerable amount of economic resources. As more corrupted political agendas are being played out in the north by the Manila "elite", many question why Manila is the capitol.

Maturity is the hope of us all
The country is a relatively new democracy founded in the late 1940's. This latest struggle is definitely a test of its democratic maturity. It is the hope of many Filipinos that the country that is so rich in resources can some day learn to be civilized. The true test in this country isn't how well the president can hold on to power, but whether the citizens can be mature enough to learn how to trust.

Fishing Report: Caloosahatchee River 02/26/06

Caught only one fish today (sheepshead) at Sanibel. Some members of the fishing group caught snapper, and grouper. Snook was seen today but not very active. We attempted to catch the tide at Cape Coral bridge in the evening to no avail. Windy conditions, rough currents, and the rain showers early this morning may have pushed the fish away from the river.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Fishing Report: Caloosahatchee River 02/19/06

Possibly one of the worst days of fishing ever via boat. For 4 hours, we caught nothing but a stingray and a 12" flounder. Going through Pine Island and the River didn't give us anything at all. Fishermen we talked to that were hitting the sandbars, mangroves, and other areas didn't hit much either today. Some notable events today: we saw manatees, a shark, and a dolphin.

From 7pm-9pm (after we get out of the boat), we went besides the Cape Coral Parkway bridge and caught catfish (4), snapper (2), ladyfish (2), and redfish (3). It goes to show, fishing conditions always change.

Manatee swimming close to our boat.

Fishing Report: Caloosahatchee River 02/12/06

With a full moon and a season open for snook -- this Sunday was definitely a good day for fishing. We also didn't get stopped by the Florida Wildlife Commission, which was an extra plus since they've stopped us 4 times in a row in January with over 1.5+ hrs of fishing wasted.

By watching the currents and looking for spots that were easy eating for fish, we were able to find a few areas that sheepshead, snapper, and snook were plentiful. See our pictures below. Please note we were using medium action rod, circle hooks, and live shrimp as bait.

Snook, 25" - had to return because 1" below legal limit

Sheepshead, 17"

Friday, February 17, 2006

Disaster Spotlight: Mudslide hits Philippines, 1500 missing, help now!

This just in. A mudslide hit the Philippines with an estimated 300 people dead and 1,500 missing! "It sounded like the mountain exploded, and the whole thing crumbled," survivor Dario Libatan told Manila radio DZMM, according to The Associated Press. "I could not see any house standing anymore."

The mudslide swept through the farming village of Guinsahugon in the municipality of St. Bernard town on Leyte Island, about 670 kilometers (420 miles) southeast of Manila. The entire village was swallowed by the mudslide.

How to Help
For $10.00, you can help one single family survive this mudslide. Your gift will be tax deductible in the United States through the ADRA mudslide relief fund for the Philippines. Act now!


Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Media Annoyance: Cheney News

Just a side note to CNN and other news media that seems to be stuck on Cheney's hunting accident...Move on. It's boring. There's no controversy, just boredom.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Fishing Report: Caloosahatchee River 02/05/06

Last Sunday, I was roughly 2-3 miles off before the Sanibel bridge. The best catch of the day was a fairly large sheepshead that measured 19" inches and weighed 4.25 lbs. I was using a middle-action rod, circular hook, Fireline 15 lbs, flurocarbon leader 10 lbs, and my bait was live shrimp. The fish already had a hook inside of him from a previous encounter with me. Goes to show that fish are really stupid or are really courageous.

Despite the big catch, fishing conditions were rough. We hardly got any bites until 4-5pm in the afternoon. This was partly due to the low tide and the saltinity levels in the water. A previous storm front went through the area on Saturday.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

My thoughts on the Muslim cartoons

My thoughts on the Muslim cartoons
I believe we should respect everyone's beliefs. I believe the recent Muslim depictions of their prophet is insulting. Don't get me wrong, I think he is a false prophet; however, there is a responsibility of publishers and newspapers to not incite hatred in their published works. You will never find a public newspaper depicting African Americans as "n*ggers" because that's insulting. So why should we treat Muslim beliefs any different?

My message to violent Muslim newspapers and their readers
To the Muslim newspapers in the Middle East that have suggested crimes against Europeans and Americans because of are HYPOCRITES. Don't you think we know you've published your own cartoons going against Western leaders, and other religions? You are an infidel of your own religion -- and the readers that enjoyed your cartoons, eat your own words and judge yourself first before judging anyone else. When you say "cut their heads off because of the cartoons" -- do this to yourself FIRST before you say it to anyone else. Fatwa on you, you hypocrite.

Hypocrite Credit: Palestinian Al-Hayat al-Jadida March 22, 2000

Hypocrite Credit: Arab/Muslim cartoonist - Bendib

Hypocrite Credit: La Revue du Liban, 2000

Hypocrite Credit: Egyption Al Ahram April 21, 2001

What hypocritical Muslims are angry about:

Worldwide Protestant church responds to Muslim cartoons

Adventist World President Responds to Muslim Caricature Controversy

Silver Spring, Maryland/USA, 03.02.2006 / ANN/APD

Following an increase in global tension surrounding the publication - in newspapers in Denmark and other European countries - of cartoons that some Muslims worldwide have found insulting, Pastor Jan Paulsen, world president of the Seventh-day Adventist church issued a call for the responsible use of the right of free expression.

The drawings were first published in a Danish newspaper in September 2005. The appearance of the cartoons provoked emotions in the Muslim world because the Islamic tradition explicitly prohibits images of Allah, Muhammad and all the major figures of the Christian and Jewish traditions.

"It is unfortunate that the publication of freely expressed opinions ... has inflamed relations among people," Pastor Paulsen said in a statement released at the Adventist world headquarters.

"As Seventh-day Adventists we support and encourage the responsible use of the right of free expression," he added. "Inherent in that responsibility is also being mindful of not insulting others, and causing injury to their beliefs and practices. Opinions can be shared without the colour of disrespect, and debate can take place but without offending the beliefs of others."

Drawing on many years of experience in intercultural ministry in Africa and around the world, Paulsen noted the importance of valuing diversity and of building harmonious communities, while at the same time acknowledging the importance of free speech.

"My work as a Seventh-day Adventist Church leader has taken me to many nations. I witness the value of diversity and the fact that Christians build the community alongside adherents of many other religions and worldviews," he said. "And I recommend that living by the principle of the Golden Rule, which asks us to do unto others as we would wish them to do unto us, would inspire us to live in harmony with all people, be free in expressing our views, but also maintaining courtesy and respect to all."

More than 25 million people worship weekly in Seventh-day Adventist congregations in 203 countries and territories around the world. Adventists are a protestant mainstream world communion with a global network of hospitals, educational institutions and health food businesses dedicated to serving needs worldwide.

Movie Review: Joint Security Area (2000)

When I rented this, I thought it was an action film. To my surprise, this movie had more depth and meaning than most of the movies I've seen for the past few months. Originally released in South Korea in the fall of 2000, the movie has been distributed internationally and has recently been released in DVD format (2002) for the United States.

The film's setting is on the 38th parallel on the Korean peninsula. The communist North Korea and the democratic South Korea created two bases across from each other. The story surrounds itself around one South Korean soldier befriending two North Korean guards. Under the secrecy of the night, they have formed a friendship that would have been considered treason on both sides.

This movie is a powerful statement about the idiotic hostilities between the two countries. Both countries have family ties together and have very similar cultures; however, they are separated by different political views. This is the tragedy of the movie, that there is still a Cold War brewing in the world between the 38th parallel.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Charity Spotlight - ADRA

I want to encourage you to donate to charities such as the Red Cross and ADRA. Through these programs, you are making the world better by providing and enabling organizations to work for the betterment of citizens around the world.

ADRA (Adventist Development and Relief Agency) is my favorite charity. Through their Gift Catalog, you can donate to specific programs. Here are some examples of what the gift catalog can do:

  • Feed and Take Care of One Orphan for One Day in Ethiopia ($1)
  • Give Breakfast to Two Children for One Day in Chile ($1)
  • Feed and Educate One Street Child in Russia for One Day ($2)
  • Educate One Russian Teenager in Drug Abstention and Healthy Lifestyle Issues ($2)
  • Feed One Family of Typhoon Survivors in the Philippines for 10 Days ($10)
  • Pay for a child to help him against TB disease in the Philippines ($100)
  • Launch a Medical Center in Burkina Faso, West Africa ($36,000)

Give and watch your blessings grow.