APA Heritage Month Continues, as do Other Items

With the historic nomination of Judge Sonia Sotomayor to the US Supreme Court, there’s some question as to whether Justice Benjamin Cardozo was actually the first Hispanic justice of the S.Ct.. Personally, I’m of the view that sometimes it depends on how that person identifies his/her racial/ethnic identification. The term “Hispanic,” as the linked NY Times article notes, wasn’t exactly in usage at the time Cardozo was appointed, plus he apparently identified himself more as a secular Sephardic Jew (of Iberian/Portuguese origins).

Plus, the Slate Explainer article explains how “Hispanic” or “Latino” usually hasn’t included those of Portuguese origins or language speaking. So, I’d posit that Cardozo isn’t/wasn’t the first Hispanic/Latino justice; but Sotomayor might become the first one, if all works out.

Following up on a previous post, on Wednesday night, I really enjoyed watching “Hollywood Chinese” on “American Masters”. It had fascinating insight from Justin Lin, director (who makes that ironic point that in America, he could be applauded – that clip of Roger Ebert defending Justin Lin‘s “Better Luck Tomorrow” as one Asian-American’s way of presenting a story at the Sundance Film Festival was a great clip – but not quite similarly appraised in Asia – well, that was interesting) actors B.D. Wong, and Nancy Kwan, and others.

A friend of mine forwarded the info she found on angry asian man.comthe passing of Ronald Takaki. I read Takaki’s “Strangers From a Different Shore” for an Asian American history course back in college, and still have my copy of it somewhere – such great stuff.

Here’s the press release from UC Berkeley, and Asian Week is putting up statements about Takaki. Poignant that Takaki passes away during APA Heritage Month.


And… we’re off! President Obama has nominated Judge Sonia Sotomayor for the US Supreme Court. Best wishes for smooth sailing through confirmation in Congress (as much as can be possible) to Judge Sotomayor! We could have the first Hispanic/Latina in the S.Ct. She’s a New Yorker, too (the Bronx, specifically), who saved baseball from perpetuating that last strike – so pretty darn cool. (well, not to mention other great stuff, like having been a prosecutor and been in private practice, plus attending Princeton and Yale Law).

Much to read; hopefully I won’t drive myself up the wall with the coverage, as I was during the last bunch of confirmations. Good stuff so far, as Slate’s Dahlia Lithwick observes that it’s rather pointless to go after Judge Sotomayor for being human (therefore has feelings and stuff like that; one would think that we must have androids or Vulcans be Supreme Court justices).

But recall such fun blog posts regarding past S.Ct. nominees…

Ex., as in the days of the Alito confirmation, with us having a rather curious future – where you’re not sure who your justice is until a few years pass).

Let’s not forget the Harriet Miers stuff, much of which wasn’t all that praiseworthy (I mean, really – she was thought of as an “inkblot” – and not in a positive way; come on, she wasn’t that bad; she just wasn’t meant to be a Supreme Court justice).

Even the Ch.J. Roberts’ confirmation was as close as smooth, with the usual this-is-how-you-prepare stuff.

By the way – I’m behind on linking this, but Jeffrey Toobin’s article on Ch.J. Roberts’ incrementalism to the right is a must-read. Well-written, but a bit worrisome, depending on your politics.

Toobin does confirm that we don’t really know what we have with a justice yet (see that theory, above) – but he notes that Judge Sotomayor’s backstory kind of resembles the president who selected her).

No doubt, Obama’s taking a chance on her – as Slate’s John Dickerson notes, he knew her least of the judges on his list. Time’s Richard Lacayo analyzes Judge Sotomayor’s work in this article, coming down on how she’s seems to be moderate left of center, but on some things, we probably don’t really know.

But, that’s what makes the US Supreme Ct. so interesting, isn’t it? The odds of things happening in ways we just don’t expect – while kind of being exactly what we expect anyway – if I’m making sense at all.

Hey, who knows – maybe one day, we could be closer to having an Asian in the US S.Ct? (well, we need some more in the circuit courts, so I guess it’s one step at a time?).

Anyway, I’m going to keep reading and watching the coverage, since I’m a junkie on this stuff, but maybe I should stay away before things start to upset me (the mainstream media doesn’t seem all that good at making educational and enlightening coverage for lay people, in my opinion).

Last but not least: North Korea’s getting worrisome; and Slate’s Explainer explains that the US is technically still at war with North Korea (no final peace treaty kind of does mean there’s still something going on between two nations).


Newsweek’s “The Gaggle” blog has a correspondent who visited the Baskin Robbins in Hawaii where Pres. Obama had his first job as a kid. Kind of cool to think that, back in the day, the president had a regular after school job like anyone else.

On Channel 13 at 9pm, on “American Masters” – a presentation of “Hollywood Chinese.” Something to look forward to watching!

Another PBS thing: the current impact of “Sesame Street” in the day and age where kids’ attention are all over the place.

Hat tip to the Trek Bulletin Board on TrekNation: Leonard Maltin’s interview with Anton Yelchin, with a question about his portrayal of Chekov from Star Trek – real cool! (I liked how Yelchin played such an adorable and smart Chekov – kind of like how Wesley Crusher from ST:The Next Generation kind of was in his best episodes).