Monday, December 17, 2012

Mourning Daniel Inouye

What a loss.  And his last word?  "Aloha".

Washington Post:  He grew up planning to become a doctor. But in 1942, as a teenager barely out of high school, he joined what would become a revered Army regiment of Japanese Americans.
Two years later, on a battlefield in Italy, he destroyed three enemy machine gun nests even as bullets tore through his stomach and legs. A grenade nearly ripped off his right arm, and it was later amputated at an Army hospital.
Back in the United States, the young lieutenant was wearing his empty right sleeve pinned to his officer’s uniform when he stepped into a San Francisco barbershop for a haircut. “We don’t serve Japs here,” the barber told him.
Memories of such encounters remained vivid to Sen. Inouye, who in his political career spoke eloquently in support of civil rights and social welfare programs.
As chairman of the Indian Affairs Committee, Sen. Inouye was instrumental in passing legislation in 1989 that established the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian on the Mall. Four years later, he successfully pushed for a formal apology from the federal government for assisting in the ouster of the Hawaiian monarchy in the late 1800s.
Widely regarded as a strong and uniting figure, Sen. Inouye was chosen by his fellow Democrats to give the keynote address at the party’s 1968 national convention in Chicago.
It was a period of unrest following the assassinations of Sen. Robert F. Kennedy (D-N.Y.) and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Speaking not as a Democrat as much as a citizen disturbed by the violence, Sen. Inouye described a troubling “loss of faith” among Americans.
“I do not mean simply a loss of religious faith,” he said. “I mean a loss of faith in our country, its purposes and its institutions. I mean a retreat from the responsibilities of citizenship.”
He called for Americans to rebuild their trust in government — an extraordinary statement from a man whose people had suffered grave injustices at the hands of the government.
Sen. Inouye’s address was immediately overshadowed by the convention’s political infighting and by a violent police crackdown on thousands of opponents of the Vietnam War who demonstrated in Chicago’s streets.
It was a “remarkable speech,” political journalist Haynes Johnson wrote in The Post in 1996, “that drew little attention then and is even less remembered now.”
ACLU:  He was one of fourteen Senators who in 1996 voted against the so-called "Defense of Marriage Act" that discriminates against same-sex couples.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

nerd fantasies do come true aka what the fuck is david brooks yapping about part ??

in this part 6? 7? of what appears to be an infinite-part series, i again eric foner examines the latest and greatest david brooks column in the new york times and asks the question we've all been wondering: what the fuck is david brooks yapping about? 

i watched lincoln over the holiday weekend.  i was impressed by the narrative arc that kushner et al created over a legislative vote.  yeah, i know: if you can't create suspense and drama out of the abolishment of slavery and the civil war, then what hope is there for storytelling?  still, it actually focused on the legislative process, which i guess i especially appreciated given my line of work.  both tommy lee jones and james spader were highly entertaining.  but you know, i felt squeamish over all that rah rah america is great patriotism permeating the film.  i mean, yes, the thirteenth amendment was a monumental achievement, but c'mon, y'all had slavery to begin with.  let's not get too high on ourselves here.

throughout the movie i wondered what eric foner thought of this whole business.  i haven't read his lincoln book, but i remember him disparaging doris kearns goodwin's thesis in team of rivals quite a bit during his book tour.

even though nobody asked for it, over the weekend, david brooks threw in his pointless two cents about how lincoln the film reminds us of how great politics could be blahblahbla.  i kind of skimmed it, rolled my eyes, and moved on.

but what do i see here?  eric foner's letter to the editor of the times was published today--he puts brooks and his banal, insipid op-ed in their place by pointing out that its premise is based flawed history, which he then explains in his usual concise, economical prose.  i seriously have been dreaming about enlisting an authoritative voice against brooks--and here it is! 

David Brooks praises the new movie “Lincoln” for illuminating “the nobility of politics” and, he hopes, inspiring Americans to reconsider their low regard for politicians. The film depicts Abraham Lincoln’s arm-twisting and political maneuvering in January 1865 to secure approval of the 13th Amendment, which, when ratified by three-quarters of the states, abolished slavery throughout the nation. 

This was indeed an important moment in political history. But Mr. Brooks, and the film, offer a severely truncated view. Emancipation — like all far-reaching political change — resulted from events at all levels of society, including the efforts of social movements to change public sentiment and of slaves themselves to acquire freedom.

The 13th Amendment originated not with Lincoln but with a petition campaign early in 1864 organized by the Women’s National Loyal League, an organization of abolitionist feminists headed by Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton.

Moreover, from the beginning of the Civil War, by escaping to Union lines, blacks forced the fate of slavery onto the national political agenda.

The film grossly exaggerates the possibility that by January 1865 the war might have ended with slavery still intact. The Emancipation Proclamation had already declared more than three million of the four million slaves free, and Louisiana, Maryland, Missouri, Tennessee and West Virginia, exempted in whole or part from the proclamation, had decreed abolition on their own.

Even as the House debated, Sherman’s army was marching into South Carolina, and slaves were sacking plantation homes and seizing land. Slavery died on the ground, not just in the White House and the House of Representatives. That would be a dramatic story for Hollywood.

New York, Nov. 23, 2012
The writer, a history professor at Columbia University, won the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for history for “The Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery.” 

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

happy birthday, joe biden!

he's 70 years old today! damn.

that's the photo you find when you google "young joe biden," so i will believe that it is, even though it could kind of be any prepster from the 1950s.  i shared the photo with a friend who told me that it was a depressing reminder about the passage of time because, in comparison, he looks terrible now.  i disagreed with her--i don't think he looked so bad nowadays.  the dude is 70!

then we engaged in a very substantive debate over whether he uses botox (i say yes).

Monday, November 19, 2012

yes, i've seen it

1. how old is (mc) hammer?
2. if one more white person gives me a knowing look while saying "[___] gangnam style", i'm going to lose it.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

signs of the apocalypse

today i saw mario lopez on extra seamlessly transition from the kardashians' divorce to general petraeus to lindsay lohan.

 someone tell me it's going to be okay.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Monday, November 12, 2012

Today in Old: Hockey Hall of Fame Edition

Amidst my endless reading about the reinvention of the GOP / Obama's drones / Messina's ground game and everything else I could possibly consume about politics, I somehow stumbled across this:

Holy moly!  I had no idea Bure's career was Hall of Fame level, but hey, not my decision to make.  What is he even up to nowadays?

Anyway, I miss watching these guys.  This brings me back.  Joe Sakic went to high school one city over from Vancouver and I once stopped by to check out his graduation photo.  I want to say that I happened to be there for another purpose altogether, but that's probably wrong.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

go on with yo bad self!

this kid can move.

 i'm sure there's a gif of this out there somewhere, but i'm also a bit afraid of what a google search of "asian guy dancing" will turn up. we'll stick with the known knowns.

awesome night for asian-americans overall.  beyond just that guy, of course.

finally, i was excited to see this

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

i took a walk today

analog letterman top 10

dave letterman's graphic design guy didn't show up to work, so he went analog for the top 10.

sunshine? (click on photo)

Sunday, October 28, 2012

hate respect

did you read this article about the two guys who started the brooklyn flea?  you really should.

i was just a hodgepodge of emotions after reading it:  jealous because they are so clever; impressed because they've managed to sustain profit while growing other entrepreneuers' businesses; and filled with resentment because it encapsulates so many things i resent about brooklyn, e.g., the precious artisanness; white people capitalizing off of brooklyn's "realness" and "coolness", aka, the authenticity these guys would never be able to generate independently, but probably is also what (reluctantly) brought me to this borough.

there's a reason why i don't still live in queens, aside from the complicated commute.

anyway, one of the two guys became the king of artsy fartsy brooklyn thusly:

As a vice president for hedge fund development at Merrill Lynch, Mr. Butler was so bored at work that he started a blog in 2004 to chronicle the renovation of his $1 million brownstone in Clinton Hill, writing anonymously. The blog took on cult status, and Mr. Butler revealed his identity in 2007, shortly after he left Wall Street (with his bonus) to make Brownstoner a full-time business. 

he and his partner were really strategic and smart when launching the brooklyn flea.  i mean, talk about synergy--the two used brownstoner to promote the flea to its thousands of readers. 

after launching the flea, they also created smorgasburg, a food truck/food stand haven in wiliamsburg.  now the two are partnering with whole foods to further promote those food vendors:

Last week, coolness made the reverse commute. The two men began a partnership with the upscale food retailer Whole Foods Market that will bring one vendor a month to the second floor of Whole Foods’ Bowery store in Manhattan. In February, a retail stand, also on the floor, will begin selling packaged items from other Smorgasburg vendors. The plan is for the relationship to continue in Brooklyn when Whole Foods opens in Gowanus and Williamsburg in the next two years. 

and in crown heights, they're venturing into real estate development, which will further promote their whole DIY food "brand," so to speak.  and they financed it through a mix of government and private funding.  

At the time, the $14 million asking price for the Studebaker Service Station, then being used for storing legal records, discouraged Mr. Butler. But he sought creative ways to finance it. His brother-in-law at Goldman Sachs gave him an e-mail address for someone at the bank’s Urban Investment Group, which seeks to invigorate underserved neighborhoods with reasonably priced housing and mixed-use properties.
“It was clear to us that he had a really great idea to transform the work he had been doing in the Brooklyn Flea, and he needed a way to take that way to the next level,” said Alicia Glen, the managing director of the group. 

To offset Mr. Butler’s construction inexperience and to provide capital, Goldman Sachs connected Mr. Butler with BFC Partners, which built the striking Toren apartment building in Downtown Brooklyn. 

In 2011, Mr. Markowitz committed $1.5 million to the construction of a kitchen incubator, provided the location was in central Brooklyn. The city’s Economic Development Corporation, which chose Third Ward, a creative center for freelance artists in Bushwick, to run the incubator, is managing the project alongside similar ones in Long Island City, Queens, and East Harlem. Construction is to begin in several weeks. 

In addition to the ground-floor kitchen and classroom space, the second floor will house office space for the administrative, creative and production needs of emerging food businesses. On the third and fourth floors, Mr. Butler is seeking Dumbo-overflow technology and design tenants, hoping to stimulate a changing neighborhood. 

Because the young professionals in Crown Heights will need a place to unwind, Mr. Butler and Mr. Demby, with separate investors, plan to create their Smorgasburg-branded beer hall in the adjacent 9,000-square-foot space, which will also house a kitchen for food vendors they select from the market. From the inside, it will link to the incubator, to become — pardon the expression, says Mr. Butler — “a real foodie hub.”  

now you see what i mean, right?  we've all been asleep at the wheels while these guys have been launching a veritable empire.  and they've been just incredibly smart about extending but not diluting their "brand," whatever the hell it may be.  

and now you're conflicted, too.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

koreans are not taking over the world

to think americans were afraid of only china.

(what can be better than peter mansbridge doing gangnam style?  not sure).

Monday, October 22, 2012

vote gangnam style--whatever that means

just how many phone calls did it take for this to happen? And did john lewis know what gangnam style is or did someone have to explain the phenomenon (and if so, who)? how is it relevant to voting? it's not like gangnam style was a thing that predated the song. And I don't know of an equivalent. At least the Macarena was a real dance. still, you gotta love john lewis, doing whatever it takes to draw attention to the importance of voting. 

I know yall have been dying to ask me about gangnam style but held back bc you were afraid of appearing...racially insensitive. Yeah, you were right to stop yourself. also, i learned all about kpop from the new yorker, so the joke would have been on you. in any case, when even the pres of the world bank (korean-american!) is asked about the phenomenon and he responds seriously about how psy is the manifestation of a deliberate, longterm economic and cultural strategy, you know this shit is bigger than all of us.

As I watch this gangnam style thing from the sidelines I wanna know:  how is psy affecting Asian men outside of asia? based on zero evidence except my own intuition, I thought one of the most important things Jeremy lin did was to elevate Asian masculinity. Now when kids get bullied for being Asian, maybe they won't be called long duk dong. Progress! Not unlike the time the lady at the Weiner circle called me Lucy Liu instead of Margaret cho. I look like neither, but the margaret cho thing really cuts deep, man.

Are Asian dudes now afraid of being mistaken for this pudgy--relatively inoffensive yet not entirely flattering--guy? I tried to look for other Asian dudes in present day pop culture, but in terms of sheer visibility, psy and jlin really have no parallels. Sure, there's john cho, that guy from lost/Hawaii 5-o, and, as I discovered recently, a fairly prominent character on walking dead. (Btw, I've never seen that show. Apparently his character dates a white girl, which I get is some ringing endorsement of Asian male sex appeal?).  or are asian guys still just assumed to be martial arts experts with broken english because of bruce lee and jackie chan?

anyway, in whatever style, vote!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

today in old: in-flight edition

one college bro to another during the safety announcements on my flight:  "god, was there ever a time when people smoked on planes?"

what's better than the olympics?

samuel l. jackson's tweets about the olympics. you're welcome.