Thursday Thoughts

(Yeah, I really ought to make better titles for my blog entries).’s Supreme Court watcher Dahlia Lithwick makes some interesting points about the whole Justice Scalia ethics debate (i.e., is it ethical for Scalia to make speeches about certain issues; is it ethical for him to go duck hunting with a certain vice president; etc.). Maybe we are being too hard on Scalia – Blackmun has spoken out on issues, so it’s not like it’s a new thing to hear a judge say something; and do we really want to muzzle the justices from just talking? Don’t we want to know what they think, rather than relying on some weird divining technique? (Imagine: “Ohmigosh, Rehnquist is snapping at the petitioner during oral arguments; that’s a bad sign!” “O’Connor’s twitching her lips; is she smiling? She’s pushing for the appellee; no, wait, I can’t tell!”). And, if what the justices say doesn’t necessarily mean they’re really that closed-minded (i.e., that they can still judge impartially), why not let them do their talking? At the very least, we know that they can’t talk about a pending case. But, the counter-argument is very simply that a justice’s actions or words can still smack of impropriety, even if it doesn’t violate some ethical code on its face. Oh, well; I’ll just have to reserve my final judgment on this issue about the Supreme Court justices for now.

NY Times’ Tom Friedman had a nice take on outsourcing today – that it should be less about America closing itself and more about Americans reviving the American Dream – be innovative, creative, and well, American.

Tonight’s “Survivor” was quite good – I didn’t expect the ending that came about at all. The ending of “The Apprentice” wasn’t surprising – someone had to go, and when the smaller team lost, it seemed all too predictable about who’d go – and I think it says something about how women do in the business world (considering how Trump’s female executive seemed to make quite an assessment of Heidi – and maybe it means that a woman has to beat men to succeed, not just be merely “good”; and consider how Heidi had to deal with the dilemma of balancing her participation in the game and her very real worries about her mother’s illness — I mean really, would a male businessman find himself in a similar dilemma about family versus work? I just don’t know – maybe, maybe not).

Spring training: Mets’ players Karim Garcia and Shane Spencer (those ex-Yankees) are in extenuating circumstances, since the pizza deliveryman – who accused them of beating him up – gave such conflicting versions of the incident to the Florida police. No criminal charges, and there’s a likelihood of no civil action, since the pizza guy allegedly made it too obvious that he wanted to sue (he blew his credibility) and he didn’t seem that injured despite the seriousness of his charges. On the other hand, Garcia and Spencer are embarassed about this – it wasn’t as if they were completely sober during the incident – so, no one comes out of this completely unscathed.

The recent incident of the Vancouver NHL overzealous hockey player, Todd Bertuzzi, whose play broke the neck of Colorado Avalanche’s Steve Moore, reminded me of the McSorley thing (McSorley was the Boston Bruin who used his stick too hard on a Vancouver player in 2000). Apparently, no criminal charges were on McSorley, but the NHL suspended him for a year and thus there is precedence on what to do with Bertuzzi. I remembered the McSorley thing only because it occurred during the same semester I took Torts and the professor raised a McSorley type hypo wherein we wondered – was this a prima facie tort? Probably – assault, battery, etc… I swear, law school changes the way I look at anything, especially when I start issue spotting possible civil cause of actions in sports (putting aside the whole policy questions involving the steroids/human growth hormone problem and criminal law problems in sports).

Actor Paul Winfield recently passed away; he’s an actor whose face would be incredibly familiar to the avid television viewer and to someone whose memory is more expansive than mine and my time (e.g., he played Martin Luther King, Jr., in a 1978 “King” miniseries that WWOR (Channel 9) in the NYC area recently showed it as part of Black History month; as well as starred in the movie “Sounder”). For the Trekkies out there, Winfield played the doomed captain in “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan” (Chekov’s superior officer, whose ear and brain were mangled by Khan’s parasite) and the classic episode “Darmok” in “Star Trek: the Next Generation” (the episode where Patrick Stewart’s Picard meets Winfield’s alien captain who spoke in metaphor – a fascinating episode about language which always confused me but I enjoyed because it was so well acted). Winfield had also been incredibly memorable as a judge who was frustrated with the school integration/busing issues in “Picket Fences.” He has quite a legacy.

And, on a final note for the night, sadly, the news in Spain – March 11, 2004: no matter who is responsible for the tragedy, it is still a tragedy. This is our world today and it is too reminiscent of what we have seen almost three years ago in this country.

Without Let or Hinderance

SSW got me thinking. Over the last three months, I’ve had a new found appreciation for barrier free architecture. I dragged my father up the stairs this evening in a wheelchair. Today was a particularly bad day, but we “borrowed” the chair from the clinic he was at because he was so weak. The brownstone my parents rent is beautiful but incredibly unfriendly — pulling 200 lbs of person and chair up two flights of steps isn’t really ideal, albeit better than trying to piggyback 150 lbs.

In the next two months, my brother is planning to swap his more access friendly apartment with my parents. That apartment has an elevator, and the back buzzer door provides a ramped entrance. Let’s see how that goes.

Wednesday into Thursday

Some matters:

My undergraduate school’s alumni e-mail listserv sent out the word that the Asian American Writers’ Workshop is having a book sale until March 12, 2004 (free shipping for purchases over $25.00); the group has had to cut back its programs due to funding problems and independent bookstores are having problems generally, AAWW being no exception. According to the message I got:

“‘The Workshop is not moving, we’re not closed… we are struggling under the same pressure of competition and increased costs. If you want to hear the whole story straight from our Executive Director Quang Bao on WBAI radio, you can visit (click on archive section.)

“‘So many of you offered to help the Workshop, and here’s your chance:


“‘We’re running a 5-10-15-20 dollar sale online, with free shipping on orders over $25. Scroll through a wonderful selection of 50 contemporary Asian American books, including children’s literature.'”

Check out the website at – the selection looks good and decently priced. Now all I have to do is decide what to buy and read (I was in a good mood at work, until I got irritated by the public my workplace serves; it happens frequently when you’re in the public interest/public service sector; so I need some interesting reading material to make me feel better). (Anyone else interested should do so too!)

Apparently, AAWW will also have an event on April 15 for “Charlie Chan Is Dead 2,” edited by Jessica Hagedorn. (The Asian American Writers’ Workshop, 16 West 32nd Street, Suite 10A, New York NY 10001-3814). Show your support, if you can do it and are in the neighborhood of NYC. (Pardon my using this blog entry as a soapbox; I just thought supporting AAWW seemed like a good cause; back to the usually scheduled odd thought or such).

I was sort of watching “Nightline,” and the topic was about how whether Kerry can show he’s a real patriot/military leader since being a veteran doesn’t mean too much these days (or, maybe it does in the circumstances; it’s still debatable). Ted Koppel’s invited political analysts mentioned the line (which I’ve heard before) that the Democratic party is seen as the “Mommy” party, because it takes care of people — while the Republican party is the “Daddy” party, because it protects people (particularly since George W. Bush is the incumbent leader in a middle of the war against terrorism).

Now, part of me feels that is such a ridiculous characterization of the political parties; have we forgotten that Democrats were the ones who led this country in two world wars, and two Democrats in particular were the ones who led us to victory in the last so-called good war (Franklin D. Roosevelt and Harry S. Truman). During that same time period, the Republicans were much more insular and less on global interaction (and sometimes still are; and sometimes some Democrats are the ones against globalism, particularly when free trade means exporting jobs out of America and bothers the Democratic union base). And, apparently, because Democrats were also the ones who led us into the quagmire that was the Vietnam War (and the Korean War, the forgotten one) and a number of Democrats have been primarily the ones against wars generally since then, the Democratic party is often seen as the anti-war party (if not the unpatriotic/weak party; kind of like the nerdy kid who willingly lets himself get beaten up in the schoolyard because he doesn’t want to fight back because he’s a coward or is non-violent in principle).

Now, considering the contradiction of how to characterize the Democratic party and the historical track of both parties, I so disagree with the idea of simply calling the parties “Mommy” and “Daddy” – that just trivializes both parties.

Another thought – there are many times I think that I should have taken mediation or negotiations or other skills course in law school; then there are times I realize the real teacher of such things is experience. I’m grateful for having been in a clinic in law school; but then again, I still don’t feel that I came out of it with enough preparation in dealing with the difficult complainants/clients (or maybe there is no way to prepare for that). Eh. So it goes in the life of a so-called public sector/public interest attorney. Feel free to make comments, as usual.