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.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Mystery Senator revealed!

The mystery senator in question from yesterday . . . turned out not to be a sitting senator after all, but Maryland senatorial candidate Michael Steele, who is currently Lt. Gov. of the state. As reported in the Baltimore Sun, the Steele campaign admitted early today that he did indeed say stuff like the Katrina response was "a monumental failure of government."

A Johns Hopkins political scientist had this to say:

"It's a great move," said Matthew A. Crenson, a political scientist at the Johns Hopkins University. "He's trying to go after the African-American vote, and he knows they're even more opposed to the war and angry about Katrina than the rest of the population."
. . .
"This will give him access to the black vote in Prince George's County, which he might not otherwise have," Crenson said. "Also, the Democratic liberal vote in Montgomery County.

"The only problem with it is that it's so obviously a tactical maneuver, it may be generally seen as a tactical maneuver."
I think that this may indeed be true to the more nuanced observer - Steele is inded trying to have it both ways, by taking money from the national Republican party committees and being on such friendly terms with Ken Mehlman. Actually, I wouldn't be surprised if the friendly Mehlman greeting in the article wasn't staged as well. I just wonder if the tactic will wind up backfiring on him as some Republican-lite Democrats are finding out their criticisms of their parties don't play to any party. Kinda the way that Republicans don't want to vote for Republican-lite Dems, Dems don't want to go for Dem-lite. But time will tell.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Senate approves ban on interstate abortions for minors

This is also pretty crazy - the Senate just passed a bill that prevents minors from travelling across state lines to get abortions without parental notification. Not only that, it penalizes the adult who helps them with fines and up to a year's worth of jail. No exceptions were made for teens whose health was at risk, despite Democratic efforts to include the amendment.

Here's the roll call of Dems voting yes (I was mostly unsurprised to see most of these names, except for Inouye of Hawaii, Harry Reid of Nevada (Senate Minority Leader) and Ken Salazar of Colorado. Wonder what kind of flak Reid's getting on this count, since a 65-34-1 vote is pretty crappy for party unity:

Bayh - Indiana
Byrd - West Virginia
Carper - Delaware
Conrad - N. Dakota
Dorgan - N. Dakota
Inouye - Hawaii -- maybe PIs can correct me, but last I remember Hawaii was a blue state
Kohl - Wisconsin
-- also a surprising vote since Kohl is not in a competitive race
Johnson - S. Dakota
Landrieu - Lousiana
the Nelsons (Ben of Nebraska and Bill of Florida)
Pryor - Arkansas
Reid - Nevada
Salazar - Colorado

Four Republicans voted against the measure: Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe of Maine, Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, and Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island (who is in a supertight contested primary and likely to go down even in the general election. Hmmm, I was wondering if he was the mystery senator that Kos was talking about.)

Sunday, July 23, 2006

The middle class squeeze

I read with avid interest the NYTimes article on how the middle class are increasingly being squeezed out of cities with limits on expansion like SF, NYC, and DC.
Firefighters who want to live in high-priced cities can work two jobs, said W. Michael Cox, chief economist for the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas. “I think it’s great,” he said. “It gives you portfolio diversification in your income.” Pay for essential workers like plumbers and cabdrivers will tend to go up, he said.
This is basically crap. "Income portfolio diversification" is just a fancy way of saying, work your butt off, never go home or see your kids, and live 3 hours away, so you can commute into the city, polluting all the towns along the way, buy more gasoline to drive up Bushco and Cheneydom's friends (and personal) stock portfolios. Nobody voluntarily wants to work two jobs, and in the case of firefighters, it's not necessarily safe for them to be working so much that they're tuckered out for their primary job, which is keeping ALL of us safe.

I wonder if this douchebag "W" Michael Cox works two jobs, since he thinks that "income portfolio diversification" is so great.

So let's keep in mind that it's actually in the interest of pubilc good to keep cities affordable enough so that firefighters can actually get to work in case of emergencies or the wildfires that happen so frequently out in the Southwest, and to attract them to live in these major cities where people are packed like sardines right up against each other in highrise apartment buildings that would go up in smoke should anything resembling the Triangle Factory fire or the Great Fire of Chicago occur.

This point is bolstered by of all people, a Columbia Business School professor: “People have a stake in the place that they’re living in,” said Chris Mayer, a professor at Columbia Business School. “If you have a police and firefighting force saving their city as opposed to somebody else’s city, it makes a difference. In the same sense, local shopkeepers just seem to be better. What happened on 9/11 was really about ‘our city.’ ”

Moreover, the dwindling of the middle class just leads to greater class stratification and increased difficulty for lower income families to be socially mobile in an economic and physical sense - if there are fewer middle class neighborhoods for them to move into, then they and their kids are locked into areas with poorer school districts, increased crime rates, etc.

What is most striking about the divided bar graph that they show is how stratified it is: in those cities I mentioned above, 40% of the population is poor, and only the middle 15-20% are middle class, and the rest are upper class. The research discussed in the article was by the prestigious and nonpartisan Brookings Institution based in Washington DC.

Identities of Nawlins doctor and nurse revealed

The previously unidentified doctor and nurse at Memorial Hospital (part of the Tenet chain) in New Orleans who were accused of euthanizing patients during Hurricane Katrina, have been identified.

Some former colleagues of Dr. Pou are coming forward to defend her as a passionate patient advocate, meanwhile she was arrested by the state AG at home, while in her medical scrubs. She has to face the state medical board, and risks being disbarred. Meantime, she is not allowed to practice medicine.


In wholly unrelated news, I am semi-addicted to this faux-McDonald's game that was put out by an anti-Mickey D's environmentalist group.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Census Bureau: Asian American population grows

In recent findings from the US Census Bureau as reported in Washington File, it was found that the Asian American population has grown 3 percent from July 2004-July 2005. That's 3 percent in one year, so in another decade, our population will increase by 30%!

The study also had interesting data on how the minority populations are younger than the overall US population:
The nation's minority population is younger than the national average. It is thus expected both to contribute to continued economic growth and to help ensure the vitality of public welfare programs serving older Americans.

The Washington Post reported in May 2006 that nearly half of the nation's children under 5 are racial or ethnic minorities.
The article also finds that hapas are now the second largest Asian American subgroup, after Chinese Americans, and gives an example of how the movement is growing to encompass all people of mixed heritage, not just Asian Americans:
Hapas have grown significantly in number, and now are the second largest subgroup (after the Chinese) in the Asian Pacific American population. Hapa encompasses a kaleidoscopic range of identities. Early Sikh immigrants to California often intermarried with Mexican American women. Second- and third-generation Japanese Americans (nisei and sansei) have "out-married" in significant numbers.

At Cornell University, the student Hapa organization decided that "mixed Asian ancestry" was too restrictive a definition. It expanded criteria for membership to "all mixed (and non-mixed people)." Hapas are not a separate group, but part of the constituency of every ethnic community," the students wrote.
The article also covers how we have been part of the back bone of America, and continue to drive future growth.
Even as Hispanics, Blacks, Asians and American Indian/Alaska natives account for over four-fifths of recent U.S. population growth, the influence that these and other American cultures have on one another continues to develop, in a process as old as the nation itself.
Fascinating stuff, not just from a sociological perspective, but also because minorities (and Asian Americans) are the future voting base that both parties depend upon. 441,000 more people in one year means 4.4 million over the next decade - and since we have concentrations in many swing states including Minnesota, Nevada, Washington, Oregon, Virginia, Florida, New Mexico, and Arizona, expect to see more politicians come begging for not just our contributions, but also our votes.

I love reading Census findings, even though the topic may seem boring. In these increasing figures, I see our political ascendency.

(Btw, please feel free to distribute these memes and the info, but please credit me. Thanks!)

Monday, July 17, 2006

Bad Hair Day

Guys, do you ever take showers before going to sleep, not dry your hair properly and then wake up with a strange peak on one side of your hair? This Asianweek article describes the phenonmenon perfectly!

All day they fight the campaign to try to get the lopsided crest back down on their heads. They go to the bathroom. If they’re lucky, they’ll have a comb. They water it down, and hope that the battle is over. But no.

The hair remembers. It’s not going to let a little dribble of water keep it down. It remembers. It just spent eight hours to form this miraculous mountain. Are you kidding? A little water isn’t going to do it.

The hair scoffs at these primitive tools. You’re gonna need some gel, coagulant, foam, hairspray or Brylcream.

It’s the day you think of getting the #2 crew cut, or even doing a Michael Jordan on your head.

I know this has nothing to do with politics, but I've seen a lot of guys with this sometimes charmingly cute, sometime just plain funny problem. Plus I think the author has a fresh and amusing writing style.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Stupid politicians, part 2: Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa)

The things our congresscritters say when they think they can get away with it...

Iowa Congressman Steve King writes the following for the Des Moines Register. I am just going to bold the really crazy wingnut parts:

What would that May 1st look like without illegal immigration? There would be no one to smuggle across our southern border the heroin, marijuana, cocaine, and methamphetamines that plague the United States, reducing the U.S. supply of meth that day by 80%. The lives of 12 U.S. citizens would be saved who otherwise die a violent death at the hands of murderous illegal aliens each day. Another 13 Americans would survive who are otherwise killed each day by uninsured drunk driving illegals. Our hospital emergency rooms would not be flooded with everything from gunshot wounds, to anchor babies, to imported diseases to hangnails, giving American citizens the day off from standing in line behind illegals. Eight American children would not suffer the horror as a victim of a sex crime.

On the negative side, the price of a pound of tomatoes might go up from $0.79 to $0.80. That is unless you have a garden. But I'm guessing that the Mexican drug lords are not taking May 1st off. Neither will the 11,000 illegal invaders that pour over our border every other day of the year. It is a safe bet that the U.S. Border Patrol will have a very busy "Nothing Gringo Day."

Since September 11th, it remains true that OBL is the greatest threat to America. I will leave it to the reader to decide if the greatest threat is Osama bin Laden or the Open Borders Lobby.
There is so much that is xenophobic and just plain wrong about this op-ed, and I don't currently have the time to unbox it, or to distill my rage into a fine laser beam. I mean, is it a really constructive form of debate to say that undocumented immigrants are drug runners, murderers, and sex criminals? Well, at least Biden said we were productive members of society.

But I do have a question that perhaps a more rational person than Steve King can answer for me: what are "anchor babies" and why are they comparable to hangnails?

Voting Rights Act passes, Immigration fears lead to death threats

Quick bit of roundup:

1) Voting Rights Act is renewed by a huge margin, 390-33 with 9 abstaining. I had a really old post here that I didn't have time to edit properly but now that the legislation has passed, I figured I should put it up regardless.

See how your congressmember voted.

2) On another note, police in Maywood, Calif. are investigating whether the deputy city clerk tried to have a city councilman KILLED after the Maywood City Council passed a resolution opposing having police act as immigration enforcement officials.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Novak squealed

like a stuck pig to the masterful Patrick Fitzgerald. He named his 3 sources already - Karl Rove (aka Turd Blossom), Bill Harlow, then a spokesman for the Central Intelligence Agency, and a third person who has yet to come forward publicly.

Many speculate that it is Richard Armitage.

Go chew on that one for a while.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Joe Biden Oughta Be Bitin' His Tongue

Especially fter this slip up on his presidential campaign for 2008. (Yes, it's never too early to start running, even if you are a non-contender.) FYI, in case you've never heard of Biden, he's the senior Democratic Senator from Delaware. (Wow, two Delaware stories in one week. I've never thought so much about the place in my life.)

An eager young Indian American supporter named Manesh runs up to offer Biden his support and gets these pearls of wisdom in exchange:

MANESH: Senator Biden, good to see you.

BIDEN: As you know, I get a lot of support from East Indians.

MANESH: And more to come, I hope.

BIDEN: I have a great relationship. In Delaware, the largest growth in population is Indian Americans, moving from India. You CANNOT go into a 7-11 or a Dunkin Donuts unless you have a slight Indian accent. I'm not joking. Oh, gigantic, gigantic.

MANESH: I'm real excited for you.

Watch the video. Oh, and spread the word. I like to reward good behavior with lots of free publicity, to such "culturally competent" politicians.

Monday, July 03, 2006

APIA Power Plays: Independence Day 2006

Well, eventually there was bound to be a crackpot Republican Asian American who wants to end undocumented immigration and run for public office on a Minutemen stance to build a wall between the US and Mexico.

Enter Jan Ting, a 57-year old law professor at Temple University and former INS oficial under Daddy Bush. Last week Ting kicked off his official run for the seat of sitting US Senator Thomas Carper (D-Delaware.) Ting is the son of Chinese immigrants.

Somehow I feel like this campaign is doomed to failure. I can't really see the anti-immigrant forces working for and supporting a senatorial run by the son of immigrants, and Ting is unlikely to get the vote of white liberals or immigrants. (Not that Delaware has a whole lot of APAs or Latinos - according to the 2000 Census, the population is 2.1% Asian American and 4.8% Latino.) I'm really not sure what base Ting believes he will rely upon, so this seems to be an ideological but ultimately hopeless run much like Tom Tancredo's run for the presidency. Lucky Ting gets to be the sacrificial lamb that the GOP is putting up against Carper, who is currently polling at 62-27 approve-disapprove according to Survey USA. Carper, the former Congressman and Governor for Delaware, won his last race by 12 percentage points. Wikipedia says that his seat is viewed as one of the safest in the Senate.

And with that, a Happy Independence Day!