Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Damn you Ronald Reagan

I have to apologize because, as a junior academic, I am not citing sources, a gross lack of proper conduct. I must say that if I do see it proper, I will write a better more informed and documented piece.

With that said, damn you Ronald Reagan! Regardless of your political affiliations, you must admit that Reagan's likeability, and hence vote-getting appeal, was the strength of his two presidential campaigns. One of his strong and growing constituents of his time was the evangelical vote, a much more dormant voting group. While his election was not the impetus for awakening the evangelical vote--Roe v. Wade did that--his campaign was the first to capitalize on the political agency of the evangelical vote. And while I feel that the evangelical vote was far more conservative that Reagan was personally, it was his presidential campaign that gave a growing voice to this voting group. Think the source and root of the tea party as a political entity.

We are now seeing the repercussions now, as more conservative evangelical political leaders make headlines at local, state, and federal levels of government, as they lead the legislative, executive, and judicial push for mysoginistic (anti-abortion, womens reproductive health bills and laws), discriminatory (anti-gay marriage, legalizing discrimination, Arizona-style immigration policies), anti-health care reform, anti-internet neutrality (because the internet represents sin and heathenism), and the promotion of white, evangelical model of a good American (in the singular).

Reagan didn't wake this beast. No, but he gave it a good, hearty breakfast for a long day of ideological rampage on the diversity and its unique quality of peoples navigating their ways in agreement and in contention with other peoples.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

"The cost of ignorance"

I love Dr. Neil DeGrasse Tyson's response to the question of parenting, education policy and scientific literacy. Overall, this is a great video.

Just like what Mitch Hedberg said about children and books, we need to allow children to have full use of their own personal creative faculties. This is how I want to parent my future children.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

(same) World Order

I've been watching these videos. Genki Sudo, a former MMA fighter in Japan, is now leading a group of dancers called "World Order" as well as being the creator/co-creator of the music. :)
I will be posting these in order of when he posted them. Please know that these are the ones I like, and not all of the ones on his youtube channel.

This first one is my favorite dance:


The next one is another favorite. There is some trippy pop & lock, and tutting in this video:) It closely resembles IaMmE's brain-banging style:

The next one. This is a modified dance from the one that made them initially popular on youtube. You will see that one as my last video posted:

Next, we have a remake of the original (like I said about the previous one, it will be posted last):

Next, we have another fun one. I wonder if you can take away any dating tips o_~ :

Next, this is by far my favorite one. It isn't my favorite dance or my favorite song, but I feel like this is the best dance paired to a song. It gets kinda religious and spiritual, with a little bit of comedy at the end:

And now, finally, the original video. I love this song (by far my favorite song of Genki Sudo), and it's really, really cute to watch the children to the left in the shots with Tokyo Tower in the background. :) :

I think that woman at the end of the video recognizes him as Genki Sudo, the fighter. :)

Anyways, I wanted to post these for your enjoyment. :)

This instrument...

"This instrument can teach, it can illuminate; yes, and even it can inspire. But it can do so only to the extent that humans are determined to use it to those ends. Otherwise it's nothing but wires and lights in a box. There is a great and perhaps decisive battle to be fought against ignorance, intolerance and indifference." - Edward R. Murrow

With these words spoken by Edward R. Murrow not long after his battle with Senator Joseph McCarthy, though he spoke of the power of the television, the internet is now the tool in which we teach, illuminate and inspire. Today marks an important day for content creators and providers, and with their protest against the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and Protect IP Act (PIPA) in the two houses of the United States Congress, the protestors shifted the language and the space the bills now negotiate in the public domain.

I took interest in SOPA in the middle of November, thinking initially that it is an imposing act. What I learned then was that PIPA was a similar bill proposed earlier in the year on the Senate floor. SOPA, then, is in fact the sister bill on the House of Representatives floor. In November, I began opposing the bills.

What one has to understand is that there are layers to this bill. First, and foremost, I believe that the majority of Americans insist that it is unethical/unmoral to steal and to pirate content. I too believe this. This is one purpose of PIPA and SOPA in which I agree.

But while this agreed space is important, the bills also pose a greater threat to content creators and providers. This is where I oppose the bills, like many at Wikipedia, Google and Facebook. PIPA and SOPA also places the burden upon the content creators and providers to police themselves. If they do not, the government and media lobbyists and representatives could close down entire sites for infringing upon copyright. As well, search engines would be required not to list sites that break copyright laws.

Once a site is flagged as breaking copyright, the burden of proof falls upon the content providers and creators. In simple terms, that means that if one blogger on blogspot, tumblr, myspace, facebook, twitter or youtube broke copyright, it would be that user or sites' responsibility to demonstrate that either the copyrighted material is removed or that the material is, in fact, not under copyright.

With this comes unintended consequences. It would be a shut down of the internet. I believe that under the SOPA and PIPA limitations, the internet would become a place where all materials shared become questionable. The potential of the internet is the ability to share, because the human experience and the personal experience are shareable and relatible.  Edward R. Murrow rightfully believed that the dangers of television was that it held the power to insulate viewers from realities deemed too violent, too real and too multilateral. With the growth and expansion of the internet, viewers held the power also to become creators and sharers of ideas and intentions. The lobbyists of the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), who are the most vocal proponents of PIPA/SOPA limitations, are not only wanting to change the agency of copyright policing, but also the agency of the internet as a whole.

Here is a different perspective on the opposition from Clay Shirky at (FYI, I wouldn't be able to embed this video under PIPA and SOPA).Professor Shirky shares a great background on the history of copyright policies about internet content.

What I believe is the right course of action is to strengthen copyright laws, including a strengthening of the penalization of copyright infringement. End users who infringe upon copyrights should be the ones who the government penalizes. But for those who create and want to share information, ideas and content over avenues like facebook, google, twitter and youtube without the powers of copyright they should be free to do so without threat. The facebooks and googles of the world should not threatened to be shutdown because their hundreds of millions of users infringe upon copyright.

The radio and the television were mostly a unidirectional medium. Their viewers and listeners were consumers. The internet is an amalgamation of consumers, creators and people who share inspirations, making the internet a collection of users in a omnidirectional medium. The lobbyists of the RIAA and MPAA wants to make the internet to be a place of consumers, and only consumers, just as it was with radio and television. With the emphasis on "net neutrality", I believe that the internet is now a tool to create, for creativity is what can teach, illuminate and inspire. SOPA and PIPA forces the internet to become the new television, the television that Edward R. Murrow disliked. 

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


So, it seems like I make it customary to write one of these every birthday. One could not be more eventful than last years, but I feel like this past year since my grandmother's return warrants new perspectives and insight covering my life.

2011 was about change. This past year was the first year since returning to Colorado that I felt that I began heading towards my mission in the History profession. But it was not the first year of challenging the inner faith I hold tightly clung to my breast.

The expression, "the only constant is change" by Heraclitus of Ephesus, only begins to explain this year. More interestingly, I learned in my Native American History course that many times, historians argue, people create change to remain constant. Arguably, FDR created New Deal fiscal policies in order to maintain capitalism. He did not necessarily believe ideologically in a mixed economy, or more extreme, a socialist economy. Rather, he made took those steps to maintain the strength of Capitalism. Certain Native American tribes were more receptive to American assimilationist policies, because their change brought security and preservation. In my personal life, I learned that at times, human revolution is about changing in order to survive. I don't believe that human revolution is solely adaptation, but at times in our lives when certain difficulties arise, adaptation is the greatest action we can take. From that, we must grow. The dark side of adaptation is complacency, so I must continue to grow.

When I started my graduate studies at UMass Boston, I felt resistance with the first steps, as I quickly had to address course materials at a level I did not have before at Soka. It took half of the semester to get my bearings in line, but once I was geared properly, I took off. At the end of the semester, I had a 3.85 gpa, with 2 A's and 2 A-'s. And now, I am better prepared for the battles ahead.

With the end of work, and the start of school, I still found many deep-seeded sources of negativity. One of the greatest, reoccurring sources of negativity was my grandmother's death. It was not the death itself that caused negativity, rather it was how I was ill-prepared for the karma that comes with being someone at their death. In my own negativity, remembering my grandmother felt burdensome. If someone asked me what my memories are of my grandmother, the most recent memory comes first. That memory is the final moments of her life. The chill in that January air, the morning set just before work, the sight of her passing--these are all etched well into my memory. And while this at times appeared as a burden, the first memory is definitely not the most important. I had a great three final years with my grandmother, memories of driving her around when she could no longer drive, of the time we spent chanting together when I was on the job hunt, of the moment when I felt the purest form of appreciation I've ever felt as she laid in the ICU bed just after her heart attack.

And so, my greatest realization in my 25th year is that, yes, a certain part of love is having the composure to support and comfort someone in their final moments. Equally important, the karma carried with witnessing a passing is a responsibility, a calling. Making the negative functions born from death into something positive is a life-long mission. This responsibility is another aspect of love. Remembering my grandmother's death was at times traumatic, but remembering my grandmother before her death bed invigorates me. Overcoming all traumas is nothing more than the love I hold for my grandmother, for my love of her is life-long. One year ago today was my grandmother's homecoming. This year, today is my own homecoming from Boston, but also, my own new-found sense of love and responsibility. It is with this that I begin thinking about the relationships I hold with friends and family now, and into the future. In my 26th year of life, I have many goals, but nothing could be more important than expanding my understanding of love.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Losing faith

Losing faith requires us to find faith. Everyday, I find myself losing faith in myself, in my abilities. My lesser self is constantly challenged by questions of how much longer can I last? How many more times do I have to do this? When can I exercise every aspect of my life, bringing it to fruition?

And yet, the most difficult lens of perception is the one that says that you already do exercise every aspect of your life, as long as you challenge the obstacles in front of you. Overcoming obstacles does not necessarily mean you develop callouses over points of vulnerability, shame, lesser thinking, and apathy. Rather, often these wounds need to be healed not only by the usual means, but also the love and respect for oneself that never existed before. That experience can be truly liberating. Evil karma hurts. But lost faith brings greater pain.

I have more to say about what I've been facing in my academics, but since it's finals season, and I have to go paper topic hunting, I will leave that for the after-semester reflections. So, I leave you with this quote from the gosho. Nichiren states in "The Daimoku of the Lotus Sutra",

"Diamonds are so hard that almost no substance will cut them, and yet they can be cut by a sheep’s horn or a turtle’s shell. The limbs of the nyagrodha tree are so stout that the largest birds can perch on them without breaking them, and yet they are vulnerable to the tailorbird, which is so tiny it could almost build its nest on the eyelashes of a mosquito. Here, our evil karma is analogous to the diamond or the nyagrodha tree, and the daimoku of the Lotus Sutra, to the sheep’s horn or the tailorbird. Amber draws dust, and a magnet attracts iron particles; here our evil karma is like the dust or iron, and the daimoku of the Lotus Sutra is like the amber or the magnet. If we consider these [analogies, we can see why] we should always chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo."


Oh and Kuni, DD coffee is the "shit" ain't it?

Sunday, November 6, 2011


Currently, I am drinking a cup of Dunkin Donuts House Blend, with some apple cobbler. Got me thinking, what kind of coffee do you like/drink?

While you're percolating on that (pun intended), here is a song I've been listening to on repeat the last few days.