Category Archives: Brooklyn

Legal Reading and Otherwise

So… the US Supreme Court got down the wire, as it always does during the last week of June, before it goes on its summer break.  Looks like the case on marriage equality is about 100 pages (majority and dissent opinions). They sure know how to make things interesting…

Meanwhile, I really appreciated that NPR shared on Facebook a video of their own Nina Totenberg giving a less-than-two-minute overview of those 100ppgs, with the interesting remarks of the majority opinion by Justice Kennedy and the biting dissent.  (NPR and its Facebook page).

PBS Newshour also has a nice breakdown of the case.

I also have to get around to reading the US Supreme Court decision that came out the other day on how disparate impact may now be considered as a basis for housing discrimination (see here for the NY Times coverage on it by Adam Liptak; here for the decision).  I liked the dialog/analysis over at PBS NewsHour on the case.  It’ll be curious to see how disparate impact might work in housing discrimination…

Considering how I had done a couple of housing discrimination cases,  I like the idea of having some more tools in the arsenal that would be helpful and housing discrimination is tricky business without effective tools.  Disparate impact would really approach it in a broader but targeted way (even if people feel uncomfortable about not looking for alleged intent, disparate impact really digs deeper into addressing social injustice by examining the effects).

Oh, and yeah, there’s that decision on the health care law (Liptak’s article in the NY Times here; the actual decision here).

Any lawyer can tell you that the constitutional cases aren’t short reads, but trying to get through them and make sense of them – well, not the simplest of reading, but it means something to me.  Fortunately, e-readers make that a little easier – at least, I’d like to think so, but I barely got to really reading last year’s decisions after downloading them and as a news junkie, I’d like to try better and as a lawyer, at most, I end up reading the decisions most relevant to my area of work – but as a US S.Ct. curiosity seeker, well, there’s a weird fun to all of this, whether I like how a decision goes or not.  (I’ve been a sucker to read Slate’s Supreme Court Breakfast Table feature every June the last couple of years).

And, while I’m not sure how the future will go, I’d like to think that the decisions this week were positive steps to a better and fairer society.  Keep hope alive, everybody!

Oh, and otherwise: my current reading is Ian Fleming’s Casino Royale, the first James Bond book.  Probably not legal-related as I can get this week; I need a break…!

(cross-posted over at sswslitinmotion.tumblr.com).

A Star Trek Redux

I mentioned some of these thoughts earlier over on Facebook, and figured I’d expand on some thoughts in a blog post.  Think of this as a supplementary to my December 2014 post on the future of Star Trek.

What happened was that I had seen the link to this post over at Startrek.com, “Kirk vs. Picard: An Enduring Debate” by David McDonnell, on my Facebook newsfeed, and I thought it had an interesting look at the history of the debate of Kirk vs. Picard.  But, then again, my initial reaction to the article was, “Good Lord, the Kirk vs. Picard is a never-ending debate since ST:TNG started.  Can’t we just agree that they’re two very different styles of captains?”

Generally, it always seemed to me to come down to Kirk, Man of Action, versus Picard, Man of Contemplation.  But… on further thought, if one looks at the overall evolution of both of them, they’re probably not that different from each other…

After all, young Picard started as a Kirk-esque guy, but matured from his experiences (as Picard and Q realized, “Johnny” Picard was a boat-load of fun, but losing his (physical) heart and growing up made him the man that he became), and Kirk probably wished he had a Picard maneuver to deal with Khan in another way back in “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan” (TWOK), which reached ridiculous Picard-level of Shakespearean tragedy.

Moreover, during TWOK, Kirk’s love for antiques and dead tree books was a plot factor – and he clearly had his leanings to be contemplative, but for the lust for action (hence, he lost Carol Marcus, as she had implied during TWOK). I was always curious about how TWOK explored the intellectual and thoughtful sides of Kirk, the parts of him that were more than the rash and romantic space cowboy.  Could a parallel universe Kirk become a Picard-esque man?

Well, the rebooted J.J. Abrams-verse ST has yet to suggest that – he’s still the Man of Action, even though he tries to keep in mind the principles of Starfleet and all that – but the new version of Kirk seems to have a greater yearning for family more than original Kirk did (considering what J.J. Abrams did to his biological father and his father figure, which didn’t happen to original Kirk). Hmm…

Then, a Facebook friend (J) posted a response to my sharing the link on the Kirk vs. Picard debate, along the lines of, hey, forget Picard and Kirk; there’s Sisko and how far he went in the episode of “In the Pale Moonlight” on “ST: Deep Space 9.”  That got me thinking: Sisko did the things so many wouldn’t do to save the Federation, as shown during the Dominion War arc (and even the Maquis storyline, when the Federation entered a real gray moral territory over how it treated Federation citizens and how Sisko was so determined to uphold the Starfleet way).  What does that say about Sisko as a Starfleet leader?  Is he the “better” man?  Or were the others “better”?

Picard sure wouldn’t do what Sisko did, even if he might understand and empathize with Sisko.  Picard had a darker man in him (I think his Borg trauma probably only enhanced it; see the example of the movie, “Star Trek: First Contact”), and he went through more than what most normal men would have gone through (besides the Borg trauma, there was torture by the Cardassians; essentially mental rape when the alien entity made him live a whole life in the episode, “The Inner Light“; and losing lots of his friends, relatives, and at least two ships), putting aside for the moment Sisko’s own tragic loss of his first wife and the personal revelations about his mother. But, Picard’s darkness tended to be reined in by his principles and respect for basic things, like life, love, nature, and free will (especially free will, since he and Q had ridiculous interactions about that).

And, Kirk…? (original Kirk, that is). Hmm. Is it weird that I’m not sure if Kirk would do what Sisko did?   Maybe Kirk would have turned away from everything, to be the cowboy, ride his horses, keep having adventures, and save the universe when he wants to do so and feels he was the one to do it.  Did Starfleet and the Federation mean that much to Kirk?  Or did he just live in such a different era than Picard and later Sisko?   New Kirk might be different, since Starfleet gave him a life worth having, but original Kirk was still quite the heroic figure (almost in that Greek mythology sense, which the original series and the movies certainly pushed).

Or is Sisko such an outlier to the Kirk vs. Picard debate because he’s not an Enterprise captain? He was, in some ways, both action and contemplation, and beyond either – more the whole person – or “being,” especially if one accepted the final arc he had on “ST:DS9.” (I can’t say that I did – but primarily because I appreciated Sisko as a human being, and believed that he liked that about himself too, despite or because of his bond to the planet Bajor).

But, then again, the Star Trek novel, The Serpent Among the Ruins by David R George III (Amazon link here), at least posits one Enterprise captain would pull some conspiracy stuff to save the Federation, where John Harriman (generally the guy in the movie “Star Trek: Generations” who allowed Kirk to save the day) pulled off quite a stunt to give himself and Starfleet a clean conscience while manipulating a war (see here for the post to my reaction to that book).

Kathryn Janeway of “ST: Voyager” and Jonathan Archer of “ST: Enterprise” — well, I could go into a whole rant, but I won’t.   I liked both shows on their own, but for me, it’s harder to say whether their lead characters quite match the explorations of socio-political issues and character development the way Picard, Kirk, and Sisko did. I’m not even sure if Janeway and Archer quite fit that whole debate of action versus contemplation or the “screw that” schema that Kirk, Picard, and Sisko have.

Janeway should have been “the scientist,” but I don’t think the writers of ST: VOY did her favors by not fully fleshing out her journey through the Delta Quadrant (at least not in a more satisfying way for me). Archer was very much a character of his times, reflecting the early roots of Starfleet and the Federation – and his journey got derailed by the Time War arc (I could try to explain that, but I can only say that it made things very messy in a needless way; you’re more than welcome to search “Star Trek: Enterprise” on triscribe’s search function and see what I thought back when the show was on). Overall, I’d say that the journeys of Kirk, Picard, and Sisko made for a good range of leadership to check out.

By the way, I looked it over and I think my list of what I think of as ST moments still holds for me (mind you, that post was just my opinion of what I had liked; different people might have different takes on what they feel is an ST moment). Feel free to check that out.

Meanwhile, I had seen this this article over at Deadline by Mike Fleming, Jr., about director Justin Lin, who is tasked to direct the next reboot movie of the J.J. Abrams-verse. The article gave me hope that Lin could pull off a good ST movie, especially since he said he grew up watching ST. I think if Lin can tell a good story while highlighting the development of the bonds that the crew of the Enterprise has (yep, that group of professional, stubborn but open-minded, multi-racial, multi-species of people), it’d be fun.

Honestly, I didn’t think I’d enjoy the Fast and Furious franchise until Lin had stepped in and tweaked it, not that I’d compare F&F and ST… Not exactly, anyway. But, a fun series that moves the viewer’s emotions… that’s surely what ST is, isn’t it?

June Stuff

Dusting around triscribe. FC/P family are abroad. I am in need of yet another staycation.

Life’s a funny thing, except when it’s not that funny. Just sayin’.

A triscribe project is in progress, or the like. I’ll leave it that for the moment. Stay tuned!

I thought that this was an interesting item: “How Panda Express Grew From Family Business to Global Empire” by Vanessa Hua (h/t Museum of the Chinese in America’s Facebook page post).  Andrew and Peggy Cherng’s family business – with Andrew’s restaurant experience insight and Peggy’s engineering background – took them far; and their daughter, Andrea, is a lawyer/business person, who’s Chief Marketing Officer.  I can’t say that I’m big on Panda Express food – Chinese American cuisine indeed, rather than “Chinese,” however that might be defined – but it’s definitely quite an enterprise and a Chinese-American success story.

I mostly watched the Tony Awards on Sunday night, switching back and forth to Game 2 of the NBA Finals (Cleveland vs. Golden State) and the triscribe project to be discussed another time.

Now, I’m no theater follower, but I thought it was mostly entertaining, even if a little bit of the Broadway infomercial feel and the broad campiness of hosts Kristin Chenoweth and Alan Cumming could have been dialed back a little.  I missed some of the bits from “On the Town” and most of the opening stuff (well, I did catch a bit of the “Something Rotten” medley).  I totally missed the presentation of the scene from “Fun Home” and saw it later online; that Sydney Lucas is such a talented young person!  The medley from “An American in Paris” was a pretty to watch.

I like award speeches (Kelli O’Hara’s winning speech for her role in “King and I” was great and spirited; how has she not won a Tony before?!).  I thought that there were some surprising moments.  I didn’t think that the British talent would win so much (Helen Mirren, winning it as Queen Elizabeth II, again, but for the stage).

But, overall, as television, the Tony Awards this year was a little awkward. The Tony Awards ran on time, but some things were a little off-putting, like how Josh Groban sang “You’ll Never Walk Alone” for the “In Memoriam” portion – his singing was fine and the chorus was great, but the production seemed to have delayed the images of the honored deceased and worse, the television screen could not capture the images of the honored deceased in a discernible way, as noted over at the NY Times Live Blog of the Tony Awards, between Charles Isherwood and Dave Itzkoff (and I had no idea if the Radio City Music Hall audience were any better able to see those images).

APA relevance: Ruthie Ann Miles, winning Best Featured Actress in a Musical for her role in “King and I” – she had a long but lovely speech.  And she has quite a singing voice!  (h/t Angry Asian Man blog’s post; see here for this video on NY Times of Miles’ singing “Something Wonderful” for “King and I”).

Ken Watanabe had his moment during the “King and I” sampling, doing the “Shall We Dance” scene with Kelli O’Hara.  I’ve read critics’ concerns about his English-speaking ability (at least with respect to stage work), but as the tv critic Mike Hale noted (link below), Watanabe’s grace and charisma came through – as appropriate for his playing the King.  Plus, I liked how he was thrilled for Kelli O’Hara’s win (who wasn’t, frankly?).

Closing the show with “Jersey Boys” was just odd (as Itzkoff even noted on NY Times live blog). I mean, I liked “Jersey Boys,” and yet “Fun Home” just won and their whole cast and crew got on stage, and the Tony Awards closed it with “Jersey Boys,” which is celebrating its 10 anniversary on Broadway… does that make sense? Not really.

Anyway, I later read the live blog of Isherwood and Itzkoff after the show, and their commentary was hilarious and incisive, I have to say.

I pretty much agreed with NY Times tv critic Mike Hale’s review, to the extent that as television, the Tony Awards could have been better.

I’m hoping to catch some outdoor Shakespeare soon, but that’s a thing in NYC – lots of choices for that around here!  I’m just amazed that it’s June and time flies by.