Pliny's Live Feed: Does this mean it's now 'General So's Chicken"?

First in a new series of true life dramas about the wacky world of American democracy across this land. Articles will only come from reputable news sources and the only modification will be the addition of italics or bold text for my bemusement. This first feed is from the State of Texas where the fate of school biology textbooks hangs in the balance. This one will make you feel confident in the outcome.

From the Houston Chronicle and the Associated Press:

Lawmaker defends comment on Asians
Call for voters to simplify their names not racially motivated, Terrell Republican says
April 9, 2009, 11:58AM

AUSTIN — A North Texas legislator during House testimony on voter identification legislation said Asian-descent voters should adopt names that are “easier for Americans to deal with.”

The comments caused the Texas Democratic Party on Wednesday to demand an apology from state Rep. Betty Brown, R-Terrell. But a spokesman for Brown said her comments were only an attempt to overcome problems with identifying Asian names for voting purposes.

The exchange occurred late Tuesday as the House Elections Committee heard testimony from Ramey Ko, a representative of the Organization of Chinese Americans.

Ko told the committee that people of Chinese, Japanese and Korean descent often have problems voting and other forms of identification because they may have a legal transliterated name and then a common English name that is used on their driver’s license on school registrations.

Easier for voting?
Brown suggested that Asian-Americans should find a way to make their names more accessible.

“Rather than everyone here having to learn Chinese — I understand it’s a rather difficult language — do you think that it would behoove you and your citizens to adopt a name that we could deal with more readily here?” Brown said.

Brown later told Ko: “Can’t you see that this is something that would make it a lot easier for you and the people who are poll workers if you could adopt a name just for identification purposes that’s easier for Americans to deal with?”

Democratic Chairman Boyd Richie said Republicans are trying to suppress votes with a partisan identification bill and said Brown “is adding insult to injury with her disrespectful comments.”

Brown spokesman Jordan Berry said Brown was not making a racially motivated comment but was trying to resolve an identification problem.

Berry said Democrats are trying to blow Brown’s comments out of proportion because polls show most voters support requiring identification for voting. Berry said the Democrats are using racial rhetoric to inflame partisan feelings against the bill.
“They want this to just be about race,” Berry said.
Also from the Chronicle, a surprising change of heart.
AUSTIN — A Texas lawmaker under fire for saying that Asian-American voters should adopt names that are “easier for Americans” has apologized for her remarks.
State Rep. Betty Brown, R-Terrell, issued an apology Thursday for the comments made during a House Elections Committee hearing on April 7.

Brown said the remark came during a conversation on the difficulty of translating names and that she was referring to transliteration issues when she asked a representative of the Organization of Chinese Americans whether Asian-Americans could adopt names that “we could deal with more readily here.”

Ramey Ko, the representative, had testified that people of Asian descent have problems voting because they sometimes list legal names that had been transliterated in addition to common English names on their driver’s licenses or other identification.

Brown said she was not asking Ko to change his name.

New York City Councilman John C. Liu, who along with the Texas Democratic party had called on Brown to apologize, said in a statement that the apology was “a fair first step,” but didn’t go far enough. Liu said Brown’s comments during the exchange with Ko went beyond the concept of transliteration.

Brown said in her apology that she understands the “diversity of Texas” and the “enrichment” that Asian-Americans have brought to the state.

Her spokesman, Jordan Berry, told The Associated Press on Saturday that Brown’s comment was being used by opponents of voter identification to obscure the real issues involved.

“Ninety percent of Texans — Republicans and Democrats — want the voter ID legislation,” he said, referring to a bill recently passed by the state Senate that would require photo identification to vote. “Let’s move forward.”


Asylum Seeker said...

Have a heart: change your names for the convenience of poll workers.

And that comment from the woman's spokesperson is itself an attempt to obscure the issue by claiming that the focus on that remark is not the issue. As my old friend back in high school liked to say: "Look, a diversion!"

Pliny-the-in-Between said...

I would love for one of these spokespersons to just look up and yell "look, it's Halley's comet!" It would be more sincere.

Asylum Seeker said...

I'd prefer if they started off in conversation, and then, once backed into a corner, they would grab a pocketful of business cards, throw them dramatically all over the place, and run for their lives as the flurry of cards conceals their exit. Smoke bombs work too. It least that way it would make their evasiveness more interesting to watch.

Pliny-the-in-Between said...

they would grab a pocketful of business cards, throw them dramatically all over the place, and run for their lives as the flurry of cards conceals their exit.


Ah the old Chaff defense - kind of like how airplanes shoot out flares and little aluminum coated strips to confuse radar.

GearHedEd said...

I'm getting worried about you...
Did you get laid off?

Pliny-the-in-Between said...

I'm getting worried about you...
Did you get laid off?

Thanks Ed - no just in between projects and bored silly waiting for decision makers to give us a go ahead and data analysts to give me some reports to work off of. As soon as they do I'll pollute the Internet less ;)

mac said...

I'm down with this plan.

Let's force everyone to change their names to something easily recognizable to the poll workers. Heck, why stop there? Let's change names so EVERYONE can pronounce them with no problems.

Fuckit, let's just get ID numbers. White folks can start, we'll get the lower, better numbers. Then comes black folks, followed by Hispanics, then Asians, of course Middle Easterners will be last.

This casn be easily accomplished AND, it will make the CENSUS workers job a lot easier too. He can just look up the last number assigned and he'll know instantly how many folks are citizens

number 234

mac said...

just make those guys spell their names phoenetically, like I do.

You didn't really think that's how my name is spelled did you?
It's actually "puhmrviuahfnc" but the puh, rvui, and hfn are silent. I shortened it for YOU guys, to make it easyer to pronowns.

Stacy S. said...

You've been busy today!