Power and Politics - I am Not the Yellow Peril

The life and times of an Asian American activist who tells all the truth (and dishes news and analysis) but with a leftwards slant.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Thanksgiving in May

It's about maintaining your center of gravity. Right now that's my friends and family. Often I have not had time for them, but I have time for the oppressed and weary. It was so good to go to a bbq and kick back with loved ones who don't care for politics, who have normal lives that don't involve calculating the political costs of one manuver or another.

When you're on a campaign, you experience a high unlike any other. The combination of stress, booze, long hours, and snap decisions will bring you up to the clouds and then suddenly you find yourself at 1000 feet up without a safety net plnging down towards the ground below . . . and yet you love the drama.

It's hard trying to wean yourself off an addiction, you gotta have a strong support network - a combination of people who understand where you are and have been down that road and of people who don't give a shit about "The Work" and only care about your sanity and health. Seriously, it's a blessing.

This Memorial Day weekend I give thanks to my relatives who came before me and to the people who keep me together today.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Memorial Day weekend

Hat's off to a Memorial Day weekend, and let's keep in mind why we honor the day. Remember it's not just this weekend in May but everyday that our fellow country men and women serve and protect us.

(No, I haven't turned into an Army recruiter.)

I'm just excited that if the Senate bill (S. 2611) does pass and we don't get some HR 4437-like "compromise" bill out of conference between the two houses, then at least Filipino veterans who fought alongside US troops during World War II would get to reunite with their families here in the United States. I'm not sure that it's full equity, but it's something. Show Senator Akaka some love for introducing the bill; he's in a competitive reelection cycle. Interestingly enough, he also gets to do the weekly Democratic radio address for Memorial Day weekend. Coincidence? Probably not, as Sen. Akaka served during WWII in the Army Core of Engineers.

Also, this doesn't mean that I'm necessarily in favor of passing the overall bill either. Just trying to find the silver lining.

Speaking of power and politics, I noticed that I've been getting senate.gov and house.gov hits on the site. I guess this can be considered speaking truth to power? Pretty cool for a blog that hasn't even hit its first anniversary. Hell, I haven't even finished the second trimester. I'm off to celebrate my baby by eating some chocolate turtles and sitting by a pool.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Senate passes Immigration bill, showdown with House

So the Senate passed their version of immigration reform today 62-36, with 2 abstentions. The major provisions if you are an undocumented immigrant who has been in the country for:

5 years or more: you can stay and start your path to citizenship (not sure how they would prove this since you are undocumented.)
The nearly 7 million who've been in the United States five years or longer would be allowed to stay. They could become permanent legal residents in six years and U.S. citizens five years later by paying $3,250 in fees, learning English, paying back taxes and passing background checks.
2-5 years: you get "deferred mandatory departure" - kinda sounds as innocuous as "special registration" but you get to stay and work for another 3 years. Then you have to leave, and you can return as a guestworker, and apply for citizenship.

under 2 years: you have to go back to your country of origin.

-Dream Act provision
-Ag Jobs provision

-370 mile fence between US and Mexico
-Declaration of English as national language
-national ID-type requirements for employers to verify status
-loss of judicial review
-Enforcement would occur under Bush (who still has 2.5 years left in office)

-Lifting quotas for nurses to come to the US. On one hand this really helps bring our Filipino sisters to the States. On the other hand, the nurse shortage in the Philippines has been a huge drain on their healthcare system.

Conclusion: Still don't think we should endorse or pass a bill with such atrocious language on enforcement. We should wait until Dems own the House and then pass positive, proactive and hopeful legislation.

Roll Call by State:
Alabama:Sessions (R-AL), NayShelby (R-AL), Nay
Alaska:Murkowski (R-AK), YeaStevens (R-AK), Yea
Arizona:Kyl (R-AZ), NayMcCain (R-AZ), Yea
Arkansas:Lincoln (D-AR), YeaPryor (D-AR), Yea
California:Boxer (D-CA), YeaFeinstein (D-CA), Yea
Colorado:Allard (R-CO), NaySalazar (D-CO), Not Voting
Connecticut:Dodd (D-CT), YeaLieberman (D-CT), Yea
Delaware:Biden (D-DE), YeaCarper (D-DE), Yea
Florida:Martinez (R-FL), YeaNelson (D-FL), Yea
Georgia:Chambliss (R-GA), NayIsakson (R-GA), Nay
Hawaii:Akaka (D-HI), YeaInouye (D-HI), Yea
Idaho:Craig (R-ID), YeaCrapo (R-ID), Nay
Illinois:Durbin (D-IL), YeaObama (D-IL), Yea
Indiana:Bayh (D-IN), YeaLugar (R-IN), Yea
Iowa:Grassley (R-IA), NayHarkin (D-IA), Yea
Kansas:Brownback (R-KS), YeaRoberts (R-KS), Nay
Kentucky:Bunning (R-KY), NayMcConnell (R-KY), Yea
Louisiana:Landrieu (D-LA), YeaVitter (R-LA), Nay
Maine:Collins (R-ME), YeaSnowe (R-ME), Yea
Maryland:Mikulski (D-MD), YeaSarbanes (D-MD), Yea
Massachusetts:Kennedy (D-MA), YeaKerry (D-MA), Yea
Michigan:Levin (D-MI), YeaStabenow (D-MI), Nay
Minnesota:Coleman (R-MN), YeaDayton (D-MN), Yea
Mississippi:Cochran (R-MS), NayLott (R-MS), Nay
Missouri:Bond (R-MO), NayTalent (R-MO), Nay
Montana:Baucus (D-MT), YeaBurns (R-MT), Nay
Nebraska:Hagel (R-NE), YeaNelson (D-NE), Nay
Nevada:Ensign (R-NV), NayReid (D-NV), Yea
New Hampshire:Gregg (R-NH), YeaSununu (R-NH), Nay
New Jersey:Lautenberg (D-NJ), YeaMenendez (D-NJ), Yea
New Mexico:Bingaman (D-NM), YeaDomenici (R-NM), Yea
New York:Clinton (D-NY), YeaSchumer (D-NY), Yea
North Carolina:Burr (R-NC), NayDole (R-NC), Nay
North Dakota:Conrad (D-ND), YeaDorgan (D-ND), Nay
Ohio:DeWine (R-OH), YeaVoinovich (R-OH), Yea
Oklahoma:Coburn (R-OK), NayInhofe (R-OK), Nay
Oregon:Smith (R-OR), YeaWyden (D-OR), Yea
Pennsylvania:Santorum (R-PA), NaySpecter (R-PA), Yea
Rhode Island:Chafee (R-RI), YeaReed (D-RI), Yea
South Carolina:DeMint (R-SC), NayGraham (R-SC), Yea
South Dakota:Johnson (D-SD), YeaThune (R-SD), Nay
Tennessee:Alexander (R-TN), NayFrist (R-TN), Yea
Texas:Cornyn (R-TX), NayHutchison (R-TX), Nay
Utah:Bennett (R-UT), YeaHatch (R-UT), Nay
Vermont:Jeffords (I-VT), YeaLeahy (D-VT), Yea
Virginia:Allen (R-VA), NayWarner (R-VA), Yea
Washington:Cantwell (D-WA), YeaMurray (D-WA), Yea
West Virginia:Byrd (D-WV), NayRockefeller (D-WV), Not Voting
Wisconsin:Feingold (D-WI), YeaKohl (D-WI), Yea
Wyoming:Enzi (R-WY), NayThomas (R-WY), Nay

What caught my eye:
Lieberman voted yes, as did both Florida senators. Craig (R-Idaho) voted yes. Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) voted yes. Not sure what those two are about. Ben Nelson (D-Nebraska) voted no. Gregg (R-New Hampshire voted yes.) Bill . . Frist a yes?!? Salazar not voting (not sure what that's about either.)

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Thank You for Smoking

Just wanted to praise this quirky, hilarious film. It provided me with an hour and a half of mirth and was absolutely spot-on in its spoof of DC culture from the lobbyists to Capitol Hill lowlifes and reporters. Plus it has William Macy as an anal, granola senator from Vermont who wears Birkenstocks to work, and Rob Lowe (formerly Sam Seaborn of the West Wing) as the powerful head of a Hollywood casting agency called E.G.O. who wears richly brocaded kimonos and is an Orientalist. (I should point out that Rob Lowe doesn't have a big part and yet, he plays the role to the hilt. Also, it makes fun of his obsession.)

I should point out that most of my friends don't smoke, some are casual smokers, a slim few are smokestacks, and a few absolutely HATE smokers. I watched it with an anti-smoker and a smoke-tolerant friend. I think I laughed the loudest of anyone in the room.

You can see the trailer here and decide if you want to go watch it. Btw, rotten tomatoes and the Onion give it a good rating.

curiousity killed

So out of curiousity, I hit the next blog button from my blogger homepage. It took me to a blog all in Korean with big photos of a naked Asian girl's chest.

I love the vagaries and unexpectedness of the internet, but I don't think I'll be making that mistake again.

APIA Voting Power

The We Are America coalition of immigrants and their supporters that has formed plans to register 1 MILLION new immigrant voters.

Let's look at the broader picture of the naturalization rates courtesy an article from the Tennessee Dickson Herald: 41% of newly naturalized citizens are from Asian countries.

Hispanics behind on citizenship rolls

Asians have highest percentage attain naturalization
While a raucous public debate swirls around the estimated 12 million, mostly Hispanic, immigrants living illegally in the United States, little attention is paid to the nearly equal number of foreign-born residents who are naturalized U.S. citizens.

These new citizens come mainly from Asia. A smaller percentage of Hispanics go through the naturalization process.

Forty-one percent of the 537,151 new Americans in 2004 — 218,874 — were from Asian countries, according to the federal Office of Immigration Statistics. And while Mexico tops the list of home countries of new U.S. citizens that year, the next five home countries are in Asia: India, Philippines, Vietnam, China and Korea. The same trends hold true over the five-year period ended in 2004.

In Tennessee, slightly more than half of the 2,613 new citizens in 2004 were from Asia. [Asian Americans in Tennessee!!!!]

Compare that with the makeup of illegal immigrants in the United States in 2005, according to the Pew Hispanic Center: 56 percent were Mexican, an additional 22 percent were from the rest of Latin America, while 13 percent were from Asia.

"The question isn't so much why it is that Asians naturalize at a higher rate," said Bill Ong Hing, professor of law and Asian-American studies at University of California, Davis. "It's why Latinos and Mexicans don't naturalize at higher rates."

APIAs have the highest rates of citizenship attainment, which translates into more eligible voters. And we know that once APIAs register to vote, we have the highest turnout ratios.

So, that means turncoat Senators Feinstein, Boxer, Clinton and Schumer who represent the states with the highest number of newly naturalized citizens should pay closer attention to the immigrant voters who they betray.

States with the highest number of immigrants who became new citizens in 2004:
1. California 145,593
2. New York 66,234
3. Florida 43,795
4. Texas 35,417
5. New Jersey 30,291
6. Illinois 29,432
7. Massachusetts 16,263
8. Michigan 14,615
9. Virginia 13,478 - this is how we will swing Virginia blue!
10. Washington 12,668

Actually what I find interesting about this list is that most of these states except Texas and Virginia voted for Kerry in '04 and Gore in '00. (Florida voted for Gore in 2000, dammit!)


Saturday, May 20, 2006

Prescribed Burn

Jean Rohe, I congratulate you.

What you did was a good deed, calling out McCain at his commencement speech during your graduation at the New School. It's great that you spoke your mind but I feel like you're just adding fuel to McCain's fire.

Now let me say why I believe you played right into McCain's able hands and boosted his chances of winning the 08 primary.

There's an idea in forest planning and development called "prescribed burn." Basically, it says that because forests have had natural fires for many years, it clears out deadwood and allows new flora to grow and thrive, a healthy life cycle. So if humans want to grow healthier forests, we should mimic nature by holding small fires. The problem is when these fires spread beyond our control. It's a counterintuitive idea to be sure, much like the idea of McCain giving a Republican campaign speech at the highly liberal New School in New York City.

Okay, it wasn't a Republican campaign speech, rather it was a graduation speech. But he gave the same speech at Jerry Falwell's (Christian evangelist and wingnut conservative) Liberty University the week before.
The appearance came as McCain - trying to establish an early dominance in the 2008 Republican presidential nomination battle - has sought to ease tensions with Republican conservatives who have long been suspicious of McCain's commitment to conservative ideals, a perception stirred by his history with Falwell.
Wonder why a large majority of the student protesters were allowed in? It was because McCain was counting on a vocal opposition at the New School (that liberal bastion!) in New York City (a place synonmous with San Francisco in debauchery in some people's minds.) This is the reddest of red meat for the Christian rightwing base that McCain is courting and needs to court to win the Republican nomination (hence the Falwell asskissing.)

You can see this tactic with the GOP hosting their convention in New York City. Knowing that it's enemy territory, you go in as brash and bold as can be, and then you basically invite them to taunt you, to throw rocks and stones at you, to namecall. You then pull your conservative credentials out of the flames, now red-hot and burnish them, holding them up for all to see.

Maybe your hand and part of your arm gets singed, but you've basically got the street (or rather, rural and country) cred, cos you've been dissed by New Yorkers, those multiculti, Starbuckes latte-lovin' limousine liberals.

Goddamn, McCain's got some sharp organizers working for him. Whomever thought this one up deserves a raise - he's killing several birds with one stone (including stoning the Guiliani bird in his own backyard.) This makes McCain increasingly tough to beat.

bmaples at dailykos quotes Markos Mousalitas on the very reason why - when Dems say that the Republicans are corrupt or that Bush is incompetent, the GOP will just run a different candidate and claim that he's reformed, or vastly different, and it's okay to vote for THIS Republican. The Republicans will frame him as being more "independent-minded" than Bush, we'll run Hillary, and then we will have lost another presidential election. And that's what burns.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Senate votes 83-16 for a US-Mexico fence

Well, things are moving so quickly on the immigration front, it's a wonder I get any sleep.

You may see me uploading a few posts every day, time permitting between catching up with work and having a life and going to immigration rallies.

Yesterday I wrote about an immigration victory, today I'm here to talk about defeat. Apparently our millions of voices, immigrants and immigrant supporters alike - failed to make an impression on our US Senators. So what we need to do is to call their offices and tell them exactly what we think.

Today there are more than a few senators that I'm disappointed in for their votes to build a 370 mile fence on the southern border. When 28 Dems vote with 55 Republicans, that's cause for crying and then kicking some ass (Democratic and Republican alike.)

Read 'em and weep (my thoughts in italics):


Sessions (R) Yes; Shelby (R) Yes. no surprises here


Murkowski (R) Yes; Stevens (R) Yes. What do you expect of Lisa "hand me down your Senate seat, Daddy" Murkowski and "Bridge to Nowhere" Stevens?


Kyl (R) Yes; McCain (R) Yes. I thought McCain was supposed to be pro-immigrant. He cosponsored a great bill with Kennedy, right? Oh sorry, that was the OTHER John McCain. The one who's not running for President and who doesn't appear at Jerry Falwell's university?


Lincoln (D) Yes; Pryor (D) Yes. Two turncoat Dems from a conservative state.


Boxer (D) Yes; Feinstein (D) Yes. Two turncoat Dems from a state with the highest number of naturalized citizens every single year. From a state with the most militant immigrant rights organizations in the country. We're talking sit-ins and hunger strikes here. Two Democratic women who don't know the meaning of compassion. Call them and tell them you expect, no demand better. They are in the safest of safe seats. Whip them into shape.


Allard (R) Yes; Salazar (D) Yes. It's good to be a Latino and to vote against people who look like you. That way you can say that you aren't just playing the race card or pandering to the community. Then you can say you gave your Republican counterpart political cover. Great.


Dodd (D) No; Lieberman (D) No. Call these guys and thank them for their votes. Although I highly doubt that Lieberman would have done this if he wasn't in a competitive primary with a challenger from the left. Dodd is in a safe Dem seat. I guess it's okay if he sells us out on prescription drugs and big Pharma (???)


Biden (D) Yes; Carper (D) Yes. Dems in safe seats again who decided to screw over the powerless.


Martinez (R) Yes; Nelson (D) Yes. I guess that lovey dovey story from the NYTimes about Martinez's personal refugee escape from Cuba isn't enough. Because you know, an ocean is like a wall, except that you can swim through it. Nelson is a disappointing vote but hey, let's see who else sold us down the river...Let's call both and scream bloody murder.


Chambliss (R) Yes; Isakson (R) Yes. Unsurprising. Call them and yell at them for the heck of it anyway.


Akaka (D) No; Inouye (D) No. Good, a pair of Dems who are doing the right thing, unlike Salazar. Plus Akaka's got some serious primary competition and he still does the right thing. Show them some LOVE. Plus our community's only representatives in the Senate do the right thing.


Craig (R) Yes; Crapo (R) Yes. Need we go there?


Durbin (D) No; Obama (D) No. It's immensely important to have a solid immigration organization (ICIRR) in place to hold people accountable.


Bayh (D) Yes; Lugar (R) Yes. Scratch Bayh off my presidential primary list.


Grassley (R) Yes; Harkin (D) Yes. Harkin, Harkin, Harkin. Usually you're so good on labor and the minimum wage. Who or what convinced you to vote against future constituents? Plus Grassley's a bit disappointing too, he's normally rational enough.


Brownback (R) Yes; Roberts (R) Yes. This is Brownback who is supposed to be an immigrant ally. Everyone's just showing their true colors here today. I'm blinded by the ugly!


Bunning (R) Yes; McConnell (R) Yes. Dos idiotas.


Landrieu (D) Yes; Vitter (R) Yes. Conservative state who got hit hard by Katrina. And who helped rebuild? Why undocumented immigrants did. And they worked damn hard too. Here's how you repay that effort?


Collins (R) Yes; Snowe (R) Yes. The Senate's too most reasonable and progressive Repubs sell us out too. Maine, just because it's too cold there for most immigrants doesn't mean that we don't matter.


Mikulski (D) Yes; Sarbanes (D) No. Thank you Senator Sarbanes. Mikulski, you can go jump in the gutter.


Kennedy (D) No; Kerry (D) Yes. Thank you Ted Kennedy. Kerry, don't think that the immigrant community won't remember this next time around. In fact, I'm going to turn your vote into a talking point and crucify you with it from the left.


Levin (D) Yes; Stabenow (D) Yes. Shoot, Stabenow backstabs us twice in 2 days. It's more like Stab-me-now and Stab-me-later. I'm dying here. Plus Levin?!? Call these guys and yell at them!


Coleman (R) Yes; Dayton (D) Yes. Dayton, you're leaving your seat, you don't have to run again or justify your decision. Couldn't you have taken a courageous stance for once in your life?


Cochran (R) Yes; Lott (R) Yes. Ugh, when you can't say anything nice don't say anything at all.\


Bond (R) Yes; Talent (R) Yes. I'm getting tired of ranting typing.


Baucus (D) Yes; Burns (R) Yes. No comment.


Hagel (R) Yes; Nelson (D) Yes. Hagel's another supposedly supportive Repub. I guess it doesn't urt as bad because it was expected.


Ensign (R) Yes; Reid (D) Yes. I need to flip out here but don't have the strength. WTF!?!? Harry Reid, that's the end of my dollars to the DSCC.

New Hampshire

Gregg (R) Yes; Sununu (R) Yes. Blah. I'm falling asleep from the predictable ones.

New Jersey

Lautenberg (D) No; Menendez (D) No. Thank god a Latino who remembers his roots. Will post for now and fill in later/.

[Resumes blogging.]

New Mexico

Bingaman (D) No; Domenici (R) Yes. Good for Bingaman. This inspires me to find out more about the man.

New York

Clinton (D) Yes; Schumer (D) Yes. Grrrrrr. Just Grrrrrr. Call them and voice your displeasure.

North Carolina

Burr (R) Yes; Dole (R) Yes. Expected yeses.

North Dakota

Conrad (D) Yes; Dorgan (D) Yes. More turncoat Democrats. One of the reasons I had stopped ranting was because it was getting repetitive. The other was that I nearly fell asleep (long day)!


DeWine (R) Yes; Voinovich (R) Yes. I truly hope that Sherrod Brown wins, if only because I believe and hope that he would vote the opposite of DeWine.


Coburn (R) Yes; Inhofe (R) Yes. This triple-layered fence is like red meat to a conservative dog, and Republicans are playing up the symbolism for all that it's worth.


Smith (R) Yes; Wyden (D) Yes. Well, after the previous vote who could be surprised by Wyden's stance this time around? Doesn't change the disapppointment or anger, buddy.


Santorum (R) Yes; Specter (R) Yes. Specter is a ghost conservative. That is, he appears when you least want to see him.

Rhode Island

Chafee (R) Yes; Reed (D) No. Bravo Jack Reed, bravo. Call and thank him! And call Chafee and tell him you always knew he was a wolf in sheep's clothing.

South Carolina

DeMint (R) Yes; Graham (R) Yes. It's Jerry Falwell country.

South Dakota

Johnson (D) Yes; Thune (R) Yes. Not a whole lot of surprises here.


Alexander (R) Yes; Frist (R) Yes. Any time Frist can knife you in the heart, he will.


Cornyn (R) Yes; Hutchison (R) Yes. Both people who need new jobs.


Bennett (R) Yes; Hatch (R) Yes. Hatch has previously sponsored semi-pro immigrant legislation.


Jeffords (I) No; Leahy (D) Yes. Jeffords is a true independent. What does it mean that a former Republican senator turned-independent votes better on this issue than the so-called leading lights in our party? And votes better than his Democratic counterpart?!?


Allen (R) Yes; Warner (R) Yes. Virginia is increasingly a purple state and this will help tip the balance in our favor.


Cantwell (D) No; Murray (D) No. Thank goodness, call these women and give them your love. Same time, don't forget to shame the ladies from California.

West Virginia

Byrd (D) Yes; Rockefeller (D) Not Voting. Byrd's vote doesn's surprise me. Not sure what the not voting by Rockefeller means.


Feingold (D) No; Kohl (D) Yes. Yes! Yes! Thank you Gov. Feingold. I mean, President Feingold.


Enzi (R) Yes; Thomas (R) Yes. No surprises here from one of the most remote states in the country.


Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Immigration skirmish victory

So today the Senate reopened the immigration debate. It was a roll call vote on whether allowing illegal immigrants to stay in the United States should be contingent on first securing borders against new undocumented immigrants. The vote was 40-55 with 5 senators not voting. There were 7 Dems and 33 Republicans who voted Yes on Isakson's proposal and 36 Democrats and 18 Repubs who voted no.

Clarification (5/21): Justiceiro pointed out rightfully that this posting is not clear. The paragraph that follow is my attempt to clarify.
This vote was a procedural one by which voting yes meant requiring U.S. officials to certify that the nation's borders were secure and that new detention facilities for illegal immigrants were operating before guest worker and legalization programs would take effect. It doesn't mean thatyes votes were in favor of securing the borders and then passing legalization or a path to citizenship. Instead it was put up by Sen. Isakson as a stalling measure.

I excoriate the Dems who voted yes, and I'm not going to bother whipping the Republicans who voted for this thing. I don't expect better from them. I can understand why senators from conservative states like Nebraska, but what about Debbie Stabenow of Michigan? Ron Wyden from Oregon?

Every presidential cycle, people claim that Michigan and Oregon are swing states, and they are except that they're not really likely to vote for Bush or whatever heinous Repub drone they send out from the factory floor in '08.

I can take some educated guesses as to why each voted yes: for Stabenow it's the fact that Detroit (formerly Union City) is hemorraghing jobs and people are PISSED. For Wyden I guess it's the John Muir wing of the environmental movement.

If you want to cut it even closer, Stabenow is in a very closely contested race. She's not doing very well in the polls. So I can understand but not forgive her vote. But Wyden?

C'mon, Oregon was only considered a swing state in 2000 because Nader the Raider was in the race and he got % of the vote. In 2004 Oregon was a blowout for Kerry. HE's not facing any serious challengers. He's been in federal office since 1980, he's a living institution in Oregon politics, like a walking redwood or sequoia. NO ONE has even filed to run against him.

Unless he's got presidential or gubernatorial aspirations (and let's remember that the current Gov is Democrat Ted Kulongski who is undergoing some turbulent times...perhaps Wyden is Biden his time?) Sorry. Political geek joke there.

Anyways, the point is that Wyden sold out the immigrant community of Oregon.

Btw, call your Senators and thank the ones who voted no, leave "I'm highly disappointed" messages for the yeses.

Sessions (R) Yes; Shelby (R) No.

Murkowski (R) No; Stevens (R) No.

Kyl (R) Yes; McCain (R) Not Voting.

Lincoln (D) No; Pryor (D) No.

Boxer (D) No; Feinstein (D) No.

Allard (R) Yes; Salazar (D) No.

Dodd (D) No; Lieberman (D) No.

Biden (D) No; Carper (D) No.

Martinez (R) No; Nelson (D) No.

Chambliss (R) Yes; Isakson (R) Yes.

Akaka (D) No; Inouye (D) No.

Craig (R) No; Crapo (R) Yes.

Durbin (D) No; Obama (D) No.

Bayh (D) No; Lugar (R) No.

Grassley (R) Yes; Harkin (D) No.

Brownback (R) No; Roberts (R) Yes.

Bunning (R) Yes; McConnell (R) Yes.

Landrieu (D) Yes; Vitter (R) Yes.

Collins (R) No; Snowe (R) No.

Mikulski (D) No; Sarbanes (D) No.

Massachusetts Kennedy (D) No; Kerry (D) No.

Levin (D) No; Stabenow (D) Yes.

Coleman (R) No; Dayton (D) No.

Cochran (R) Not Voting; Lott (R) Not Voting.

Bond (R) Yes; Talent (R) Yes.

Baucus (D) No; Burns (R) Yes.

Hagel (R) No; Nelson (D) Yes.

Ensign (R) Yes; Reid (D) No.

New Hampshire
Gregg (R) Not Voting; Sununu (R) Yes.

New Jersey
Lautenberg (D) No; Menendez (D) No.

New Mexico
Bingaman (D) No; Domenici (R) Yes.

New York
Clinton (D) No; Schumer (D) No.

North Carolina
Burr (R) Yes; Dole (R) Yes.

North Dakota
Conrad (D) Yes; Dorgan (D) Yes.

DeWine (R) No; Voinovich (R) No.

Coburn (R) Yes; Inhofe (R) Yes.

Smith (R) Yes; Wyden (D) Yes.

Santorum (R) Yes; Specter (R) No.

Rhode Island
Chafee (R) No; Reed (D) No.

South Carolina
DeMint (R) Yes; Graham (R) No.

South Dakota
Johnson (D) No; Thune (R) Yes.

Alexander (R) Yes; Frist (R) Yes.

Cornyn (R) Yes; Hutchison (R) Yes.

Bennett (R) No; Hatch (R) Yes.

Jeffords (I) No; Leahy (D) No.

Allen (R) Yes; Warner (R) No.

Cantwell (D) No; Murray (D) No.

West Virginia
Byrd (D) Yes; Rockefeller (D) Not Voting.

Feingold (D) No; Kohl (D) No.

Enzi (R) Yes; Thomas (R) Yes.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Bush, Immigration and the Loss of Free Journalism

I'm sorry for the sparse postings recently but what with vacation and a few new commitments, I might have to scale back the industrial strength thought pieces.

However, I did want to comment on Bush's godawful speech tonight.

Here are some choice quotes:
"Yet we must remember that the vast majority of illegal immigrants are decent people who work hard, support their families, practice their faith, and lead responsible lives. They are a part of American life, but they are beyond the reach and protection of American law."

Let's keep in mind that he stole this wording and framwork also directly out of the mouth of the immigrant rights movement. Good rhetoric, except for a few minor details . . . . . . such as the policies he's proposing:
-move 6,000 National Guard troops to the border to supplement the Border Patrol
-double the size of the Border Patrol
(after he'd previously supported drastically cutting the Border Patrol from 10,000 to 210.) Because as you know, it's more important to give rich people tax breaks.

Also, let's think about how ABC journalists' phones have been tapped by the NSA so that they could get the identities of secret sources, and other individuals. It's freaky enough to me that they are tapping ordinary citizens like you ro me who are law abiding, but when you consider who the NSA is tapping and how that violates all sorts of confidentiality agreements like:
-doctors and patients
-lawyers and clients
-priests and parishioners

What incentive is there for people to seek advice from the above professionals?

He's not the Commander in Chief. He's the Panderer-in-chief.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Back from vacation

Went home and visited my parents for Mother's Day and hung out with old friends from the hood. More detailed and serious posting to commence after I work through the stack of stuff that's accumulated in my absence.

I will say that I made my mom pan-seared scallops on a bed of mushrooms, bacon, onions, and corn. Mmm-mmm.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Troop morale

I want to say one thing about how NOT to be a manager:

Don't lie to or intimidate your employees.

In the end, if you want us to work well, and to trust your leadership, just tell us the truth, without using fear or threats. If you do practice the worst kind of management, the highly qualified people who have any sense of dignity or intelligence will just leave. They will be disgusted with your perpetual incompetence and manipulation and leave you just when you least expect it.

They will be smart enough to leave you in your moment of need, biding time to take sweet revenge.

Then you'll be left with the sniveling idiots who lack the backbone to tell you to your face that your strategies don't work. You'll be left with the people who lack an exit strategy or any other options, or the ones craven or desperate enough to stay and deal with your continuous abuse and psychological torture. Don't think that we don't check with one another to see what you have told each of us, and that we don't know you to be a weasel who's willing to lie to old friends and colleagues.

And thus your deceit creates the lowest kind of troop morale. We're disheartened by your lies, your shoddy decisions, your lack of leadership and vision. You're like some kind of amputated general who only knows how to shoot bb guns fighting an infinitely financed enemy who has heavy artillery, stealth bombers, nuclear missiles and the like.

And you can't even shoot straight because you've always got your beer goggles on.

There's a difference between rallying the troops for battle and deceiving us. It's the difference between nurturing and tending to an injured soldier's wounds and telling him that he might as well blow his head out now, and giving him the gun to do so.

It's why we have low troop morale. You lie to us and expect us to eat this shit up because you figure there's no other life but that of the military. We go into service because we believe, but there's only so much grime and tears you can swallow before you decide to leave or desert.

Why fight a battle you know you're not prepared for? A good general would survey the conditions and terrain and deliver a sensible verdict. You don't just send men and ammo into hopeless skirmishes just to say that you're doing something, damnit. Your actions send loud signals to the opposition about your level of guilt, desperation, and foolhardiness. It's the kind of thing a desperate alcoholic does while floundering about in a cesspool of his own vomit, expecting the rest of us to drown with him.

Well, I'll be damned if I go down in your filth. I'm making my way out of this quicksand but in the meantime, it's back to work.

UPDATE: On the topic of poor leadership, President Bush said that of his five years in office, the highlight was . . . . . . .

Catching a fish.

"I would say the best moment of all was when I caught a 7.5 pound (3.402 kilos) perch in my lake," he told the newspaper in an interview published on Sunday.
Yes. This is absolutely true and can't be made up. It says mountains about what he's accomplished, which is nada. It also says he's a pretty piss poor father, because you know he could have said that he was proud of raising two fine girls (although I guess to call them fine would be a stretch, and to say that they were well-behaved would be like calling Paris Hilton a prude.) But if you're going to go all off topic and quotidian and try to be an average Joe you could have given a shout out to your family.

These things make me want to secede into Petoria. I have the sneaking suspicion that I'd be under better leadership there.

Mmm, alfredo sauce

A great weekend for me is hitting a music club, and unexpectedly seeing an old favorite performing. There's an excellent thrill of recognition, much like the pleasure of catching up with an old friend.

Followed up by going to the farmers' market, picking up some crimini mushrooms, and going home and making a delicious alfredo sauce (that for the first time didn't break) with mushrooms over storebought potato gnocchi. Truly, I'm very proud, since I've been working on my alfredo - working with cream is a tricky business. Now I will settle in and watch Stephen Colbert on motherload, and wait for Grey's Anatomy, and manybe make some truffles with the leftover cream. Hey, there's a first time for everything!

Delicious wrapup to an excellent weekend.

I promise this isn't a food blog, I've got some "serious thought pieces" in the works. For you, my loyal readers, I slave as hard over the keyboard as I do over the stove for me.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

APIA Power Plays

So the site's called Power and Politics, and so far you haven't heard that much political analysis. I'm going to change that by highlighting different campaigns, or a changing of the guards that might lead to a newAsian American face amongst our nation's electeds. I'll also be blogging about dirt in the APIA political community, and items of interest in the *ta-da!* APIA Power Play, an occasional review of the national and municipal political landscapes, especially pertaining to our community. I've done some stuff before but not under this banner. So drop me a line if you've got any good dirt or political storylines featuring Asian Americans playing out in your city/state at powerpolitic@yahoo.com. Welcome to Vol 1, issue 1:

Well, for the past four years NYC and State has had its one and only (and first) Asian American State Assemblyperson and former businessman Jimmy Meng (D-Flushing.) Now he is not running for reelection. However, supposedly his daughter Grace Meng is in the running.

While there had been rumors when Meng originally ran that NYC's only (and first) Asian American councilmember, John Liu (D-Flushing) had wanted the seat, he put a press release out today saying he doesn't want the seat but will be actively involved in picking a nominee.

So my head's sorta spinning from all the action, because I had thought that Liu would have gone for the Assembly seat but some rumormongers say that he's vying for the NYC Comptroller position, one which I wouldn't necessarily put him in the frontrunner position for. You have to have serious labor and Manhattan support, and while I admire his gumption, I think he's a long shot. We'll see what develops in coming months. Meng's seat will be open in the 2006 elections, and the Comptroller is up in 2009. One might ask why Liu wants to jump out of the City Council pool -- he's term limited (NYC limits people to 2 terms, whereas the state leg doesn't.)

Meantime, in Illinois, Tammy Duckworth is running as a Democrat for the seat of retiring Congressman Henry Hyde (R-IL). She has a pretty amazing life story, including helping Rotary clubs do humanitarian aid in Afghanistan and serving in the Illinois Army National Guard in Iraq as a Black Hawk pilot. It was while flying in the line of duty that her copter was struck and she wound up losing both legs and shattering an arm. When she was recuperating at Walter Reed (which by the way, the Bush administration is shutting down), she kept other soldiers' spirits up. She decided to continue her leadership and dedication to service by running for Congress.

Although it is a conservative leaning district that encompasses Wheaton College, a Christian university, the APIA population is 8% and more Chicagoans kep moving into the district, turning it progressively bluer. This was the site of a contentious primary battle between two capable and talented women (Christine Cegelis and Tammy Duckworth.)

It seems as though while Cegelis had more on the ground support, Duckworth had marshaled the Democratic heavies both instate and natinally - Senators Durbin and Obama, Hilary Clinton, Congressman Mike Honda (Vice Chair of the DNC), Congressman Rahm Emmanuel (chair of the DCCC), the list goes on. This isn't to rub salt in old wounds, just to acknowledge that there was a spirited primary, and to move on with trying to win as many seats in the House as we can in 2006. (And let's keep our eyes on the prize here - if we DON'T win one house of Congress, the entire country can look forward to tasting the bitter, vile fruits of a Bush lameduck presidency and 2 more years to run rampant. (Spare me the "isn't that what we have already?" lines. The obvious answer is yes.)

More importantly, if Duckworth wins, she would be the first Asian American publicly elected official in Illinois who's not a judge, not to mention she would probably be the first American of Thai descent to win federal office. And only the 2nd APIA woman currently in Congress in the 50 states (Doris Matsui of California, Democrat, is the other current one.) So I hope that tensions in the district have abated somewhat since I know that right after the primary, some Cegelis supporters refused to help Duckworth. I believe that when Tammy (not to be confused with Baldwin) is elected, she will be shown to be just as good of a representative as Cegelis.


Celebrate Asian Pacific American History Month. Don't just go to some cultural fair where you can stuff your face with potstickers; read a damn good book and remember your roots.


Monday, May 01, 2006

People power

I went to the immigration rally today. My god, the numbers of people - average Joes, you couldn't tell the marchers from the people on the street. We were marching freely through the streets and people had brought families, there were grandparents and retirees, Latinos, Asian Americans, (fewer) African Americans, white people, punks, anarchists, preppy college kids, gays and lesbians, high schoolers, babies, just the whole broad beautiful spectrum of America.

The last time I felt like this, or thought a protest looked like this was the antiwar marches in 2003 where people would join in off the street. It was such a sight to behold, my peoples.

This is the immigrant rights movement that I have been waiting for, for everyone to come into the sun and march as one people, one nation. I saw NO counterprotesters. I only saw people who cheered and those who were looking at us curiously.

It was a joyous march that made me feel like we're reclaiming America from those who would divide us with racist or bigoted rhetoric. Today was uplifting and inspiring, a true paean to American democracy and freedoms.

A hearty thank you to everyone who turned out, or the people on the street who just joined in. I love these United States (and Alaska and Hawaii too!) because of our unity and our spirit and in the best of times, our openmindedness and willingness to embrace the other. Today made me feel like an American, more so than the average days where I trudge to work, or compete against other women to be first in line at the store.

Long live the immigrant spirit of America.