Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Of Plantains and Platanos - A Documentary Film - Summer 2016

Of Plantains and Platanos is a documentary film currently in production and set to be release in late Summer 2016.   This is just some test footage we were playing with and decided to put it up.

Friday, March 04, 2016

Get Your Trump Piñata Before it's Too Late

Donald Trump Piñata
Donald Trump in Piñata form

No Latin American celebration should be without the HUUUUUUGGGGGGGE presence of the Donald Trump Piñata.  Maybe you have some candy you want to stuff up it's ass, or maybe, you and your Latino friends just need something to beat with a stick repeatedly.  Go get yourself a Donald Trump Piñata.

Actually maybe check out the full selection of Trump related novelties for that Trump supporter/hater in your life.

Then beat the piñata with a stick.

Kanhaiya Kumar Speech - Azadi = Freedom = Libertad

Kanhaiya Kumar's speech is currently gaining attention across the world as mostly Indian expatriates working and living in all parts of the world witness the birth of a new voice for truth and justice in India. Kumar's speech is the most direct challenge for India's government, challenging it to uphold it own constitution and protect freedom of expression and democracy in the country.

His release from prison, the cause of the event celebrated in the video, came following protests begun last month against the government for imprisoning Kumar under sedition charges.

Kumar, who last year was elected president of the Student Union at JNU (Jawaharlal Nehru University) is also a member of the Indian Communist Party whose values for "socialism, secularism, and equality" are intoned in the speech.

"Azadi in India," freedom in India is what he wants. "Freedom from hunger, poverty, the caste system." - LISTEN.

If India's Ministers sought to silence a voice, they failed. Instead they have awakened India and the world to another insurgent voice from below calling for a new world that should already exist.    

If India won't have Kumar, we could use someone like him in Latin America.

 Finding a proper translation is difficult at this time since the speech is over 30 minutes in length, but NDTV has provided a translation in highlights here:
  1. I want to thank everyone who has stood with JNU.
  2. I want to thank the people sitting in Parliament deciding what is right and what is wrong.
  3. I want thank their police and some media channels.
  4. I have no hatred towards anybody, especially towards ABVP.
  5. Because the ABVP we have on campus is more rational than the ABVP outside.
  6. There will be no witch hunt against them.
  7. We have no ill feelings towards ABVP because we truly believe in democracy and the Constitution.
  8. We don't look at ABVP as the enemy, we look at them like the Opposition.
  9. The best thing about how JNU has stood up in one voice was that it was spontaneous
  10. They had all of it planned but we were spontaneous.
  11. We stand up for all parts of Constitution - socialism, secularism and equality.
  12. I don't want to comment on the case. It is sub judice.
  13. I have many differences with the PM but I agree with his tweet - Satyameva Jayate - truth will triumph.
  14. In railway stations you will find a guy who shows you magic tricks. We have some people like that in our country.
  15. They say black money will come back, sabka saath sabka vikas, equality and all that.
  16. Yes we Indians forget things too soon but this time the tamasha is too big. These jumlas wont be forgotten.
  17. But what will happen if you speak up?
  18. Their cyber-cell will release doctored videos and count condoms in your dustbins.
  19. This is a planned attack to delegitimise the UGC protests, to prevent justice to Rohith Vemula.
  20. But let me just say it is not easy to get admission in JNU neither it is easy to silence those in JNU.
  21. You cannot dilute our struggle.
  22. They say soldiers are dying on the borders - I salute them.
  23. I want to ask the BJP lawmaker who said in Parliament that soldiers are dying on the border - is he your son or brother?
  24. He is the son or father of the farmer who is dying of drought.
  25. Do not create a false debate in this country.
  26. Who is responsible for their deaths?
  27. We will not rest till everybody has an equal right to prosperity.
  28. We are not asking for freedom from India because India has not colonised anyone.
  29. The man fighting on the border, perhaps he wanted to study but he couldn't get to JNU.
  30. You want to silence one Rohith, today look how big that revolution has become.
  31. I realized one thing in jail. We people of JNU speak in civilized voices, but we use heavy terminologies.
  32. Perhaps it doesn't reach the common man. We have to establish communication with the common people.
  33. We will bring Sabka Saath Sabka Vikaas for real.
  34. Today the honourable PM was talking about Stalin, I say Modi ji speak about Hitler too sometimes. Or maybe Mussolini?
  35. He speaks of Mann Ki Baat but doesn't listen.
  36. What is happening today in the country is very dangerous.
  37. It is not about one party, one news channel.
  38. I have never told this to anybody but my family makes Rs. 3,000. Can you imagine somebody like me doing a PhD in any other college?
  39. And they are calling anybody who stands up for this, traitor?
  40. What kind of a self-proclaimed nationalism is this?
  41. I want to remind our government that 69 per cent voted against you.
  42. Just 31 per cent voted for you and some of them were caught up in your jumlas.
  43. And today they are running a distraction campaign so that people don't ask them the real questions.
  44. RSS mouthpiece The Organiser did a cover story on JNU.
  45. If they can reason in a debate why JNU should be shut for four months, I will agree with them.
  46. They want to suppress the voice of dissent but I want to tell them, you will never be able to do that.
  47. Once again let's raise slogans for freedom - not from India, but within India.
  48. Freedom from hunger, poverty, the caste system - all of that.

Thursday, March 03, 2016

Can Bernie Sanders Win the Latino Vote in Florida?

Yes.., but not before March 15.

When Floridians head to the polls on March 15, the Democratic base is expected to continue the gradual confirmation of Hillary Clinton as the Democratic nominee for the Presidency of the United States of America.  The rightful nominee, based on issue preference should be Bernie Sanders, but that will not matter on March 15 as the line of loyal party members march into the polling centers to elect Hillary Clinton.

The problem is not Bernie Sanders himself.  I and many other Latino I know will vote for Bernie over Hillary. but we are not the majority of either the Latino vote or the Democratic vote.  Rather, Hillary's momentum, though slowed in recent months, is carried by a long-term covenant between the Clinton and minority organizations across the United States.  Bill and Hillary both, but mostly Hillary, have accumulated two decades of goodwill with community organizers and their organizations.

When someone asks, "What has Hillary done for the Latino community?" The only real answer is not much.  She has at times spoken the right words at the right time and place, but beyond that there has been little action of any consequence in support of Latinos.  

But if we ask, "What has Hillary done for Latino community leaders?"  The real answer there is that Hillary has always managed to surround herself with Latinos of all nationalities and has done a lot to raise their image, fund raise for them, and lobby for their causes when it was possible.  I this way Hillary has not so much won the Latino community's vote, but rather won over it's organizing structure, the one that will call for volunteers and will hit the streets canvasing door to door.

Bernie's best hope, and there is hope, is for Florida's college students to head out to the polls in massive numbers. The chances of a massive youth turnout is definitely greater than that of a moderate Latino turnout, because history has proven that Latinos will not head to the polls in massive numbers for a presidential primary and don't count on any Latino organizations breaking the Clinton-covenant, even if Bernie's platform is the best for welfare and well being of the Latino community.

You Don't Have Enough Mariachi in Your Life

This is just a fact: You need more Mariachi in your life. Stop doubting this.  Check out the Mariachi Entertainment System on Youtube if you need some Mariachi today.

Suddenly Puerto Rico Matters to Republican Primary - Delegate Counts 2016

Nothing must feel so odd to a rank-and-file member of the U.S. Republican Party than to hear that the fate of Republican presidential candidates may be decided by Puerto Ricans in Puerto Rico this Sunday.  Sort of.

See Puerto Rico holds 23 delegates in the 2016 Republican Primary, and 20 of those will be decided by the primary vote on Sunday March 6.   According to the rules, the votes are apportioned directly by the results in the ballot-box. That is, unless any one candidate gets 50% of the vote, at which point that candidate is granted all of the 20 primary delegate votes.  The remaining 3 delegates are technically "unprojected" or "unassigned" until the Republican National Convention is held (though in reality these have been promised to Marco Rubio).

These twenty-three delegates should not matter in a political race where the winner needs 1237 out of a possible 1777 delegates.  But for Marco Rubio a win in Puerto Rico could be used to argue that he has the ability to unite Hispanics under the Republican brand and do it without jeopardizing Republican principles.  By consequence he could argue that he can steal Hispanic votes away from Hillary Clinton.  Cruz on the other hand does not really want to win in Puerto Rico.  Ted Cruz has neither the ground team nor the community connections necessary to make a play for the island's votes.  He hopes to do well enough to counter any positives Rubio could garner but a better strategy for Cruz is to draw a better line of differentiation between himself and Rubio.  The harder Rubio argues that Hispanics prefer him and his brand of Republicanism, the easier it is for Cruz to argue that Rubio is soft on immigration, even though that issue is generally and logically null for Puerto Ricans.

Don't be surprised on Monday when Rubio claims himself the face of a new Republicam Party based on his win in Puerto Rico, and Cruz claims to be the greater stalwart against amnesty and lax immigration policies.

In the mean time, the Republican primary in Puerto Rico also gives us a great chance to see how easily the candidates  gaffe their way through the island.  The most recent tumble of the tongue happened in 2012, when presidential candidate Rick Santorum managed to alienate the very base of Republican Party support in the island when he noted his belief that Puerto Rico must speak English to be a State of the Union.

"Obviously, people can speak Spanish... but everybody needs to speak English..." he says in the interview with WIPR when asked about the process that the island would need to undergo to become a state.  His answer was the expected answer for anyone running in the Republican field.  Though we could get stuck here deconstructing the historical accuracy of whole statement but that never mattered because whatever rationale he offered would not make up for the slap in the face that the statement became for the local Republican Party of Puerto Rico and its allies on the Partido Nuevo Progresista. 


The notion that Puerto Ricans will need to adopt English, sounds a lot like saying that Puerto Ricans need to turn their backs to the Spanish-language and over 500 years of heritage to become a US state. These are notions that are quickly and strenuously disavowed by both the Republican Party of Puerto Rico and the pro-statehood Partido Nuevo Progresista. The result was to hand the other political parties in the island another reason to distrust the PNP party heading into the 2012 gubernatorial elections. So you can expect every Republican, and possibly every Democrat, presidential candidate to be asked the same question.

Or that time in 2008 when Daddy Yankee endorsed John McCain which is still one of the greatest comedic episodes in US-Puerto Rico conservative politics.

If any of the presidential primary candidates head to Puerto Rico this weekend, it is  possible this GOP-PNP alliance will again make for great Sunday morning breakfast entertainment on March 6.   

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Friday, February 19, 2016

Murder Rate in Puerto Rico Rises Again

Less than 50 days into 2016 and the latest murder figures from Puerto Rico do nothing but demoralize and depress any hope for immediate relief of the public safety situation.  Officially there have been 87 murders in the last 49 days.  I say "officially" because as the Puerto Rican Newspaper El Nuevo Dia points out, these figures do not account for at least another 12 cases whose motives have not yet been determined.

The sudden spike in homicides come a year after media outlets reported that the incidence of homicides in the island was at a 15 year low after a few years of decline.  These new numbers, currently showing a 53% increase from the same period last year, are worrisome but we should remember that neither crime rates nor criminal behavior act in linear fashion.  And neither care much for arbitrary calendar years.  A few weeks of lower than average incidents could deliver striking different headlines in a couple of months. 

Clinton's Ad Designed to Win Latino Vote in Nevada

Here is Hillary Clinton's new ad directed at Latinos ahead of the Presidential Primary contest in Nevada on February 20th.

The ad is meant to look like a spontaneous question during an unguarded campaign moment.  We are supposed to believe this 10 year-old girl with her hair and makeup perfectly primped just happened to be sitting in that circle of chairs. We can say that at least it was quasi-scripted with the local organizers placing all the important pieces in play to get the right composition of items to make an ad, but we really don't have to.  Seats so close to Clinton are not just randomly available, the whole of it is somewhat suspect just for that reason.  Yet, that doesn't matter.  Authenticity is not what this ad is trying to sell.  The message of the Clinton campaign is a simple one "Estoy Contigo" - "I am with you."  That's the campaign directed at Latino Democratic voters and that is the message that is being reinforced here. "Clinton  is with us,"  Only she understands "us."  It is a manipulative but brilliant campaign and one that I expect will be most effective with Latino women voters than with Latino males.

Notably the ad places Clinton in the role of "ally" of the Latino community and therefore deserving of its vote.  Note that nothing is being proposed, prompted, or promised here, simply the idea that Clinton will take care of "it." She will "worry " about it.  This is good campaign stuff and it cements the core idea that Clinton will support some kind of immigration reforms and will seek to bring relief from the current status limbo of many of the undocumented, without actually taking a clearly defined position.

But lets be real.  While we know that Clinton is "with us," but we should also remember that she is only "with us" for as long as it is advantageous to her campaign.  Immigration, with the Dream Act included, is just another card in Clinton's political deck.  Don't think she wont fold on us when the next hand is dealt.   

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Kombo Latino in Hamilton, NJ

Every weekend in festival parks across the United States a salsa band plays.  Made up mostly of excellent musicians who  hustle for gigs with little pay, these bands are everywhere looking to entertain and to put a little bit of rhythm into the air. Here is Kombo Latino playing a perfect rendition "Sin salsa no hay paraiso" by El Gran Combo.

If you are in the New Jersey area look out for their next gig and follow them on facebook.

It's been almost six years...

Life.. ya know... life gets in the way of how things should be in our minds...  

Time to right the ship.

New content, new opinions, and more.

2016 or BUST!

Rogen's Joint Rolling Tutorial - Most Subversive Video on the Internet

While marijuana continues its march toward greater mainstream acceptance it is no longer the cry of "Reefer Madness" that stands as an obstacle.  Rather, it is ignorance that stands in the way of marijuana's proper place in our modern culture. If we divided Americans into those who smoke weed and those who do not, I am certain that we would find that among those who do not smoke it a large percentage do not smoke it because they don't know where to get it, how to buy it, or what to do once they have it.

 In this video Seth Rogen, star of film and television and friend of all that is dope, provides the world with a simple and much needed tutorial on how to roll a joint.

Make sure you send this to your abuela for her cataracts.