Tag Archives: Jimmy Carter

Former U.S. Senate Aide Carolyn Sugiyama Classen: Creation of National Commission which investigated the wrong done to WWII Japanese Americans

This is a recap of most of my remarks at a recent Feb. 18, 2017 Day of Remembrance event at the Tucson Desert Art Museum, where there are currently 3 ongoing art & history exhibits on the WWII internment camps. About 120,000 Japanese Americans civilians (2/3 were U.S. Citizens, ½ were children) were rounded up by the US Government and incarcerated into 10 large relocation centers in desolate parts of America (including two camps in Arizona).  It is fitting to publish these remarks today, February 19, 2017, on the 75th anniversary of the signing by President Franklin D. Roosevelt of Executive Order 9066 which caused this unjust relocation & internment.

Carolyn Sugiyama Classen speaking at Day of Remembrance, courtesy of atty. Robin Blackwood. Panelists Professors Min Yanagihashi & Kathryn Nakagawa in background.

“I am Sansei (3rd generation) from Hawaii, as my grandparents Hyakuji and Tai Sugiyama left Hiroshima and arrived in June, 1892 to the Kingdom of Hawaii before it fell in 1893.  They became impoverished, indentured servants on sugar plantations in Hawaii. My grandparents had 8 children and my father Sueo was the last and youngest.

My father was the 1st in his family to go to college (University of Hawaii at Manoa) and was unfortunately in Los Angeles at USC Dental School when Pearl Harbor was bombed on December 7, 1941. He was summarily expelled from USC due to his race, along with other Japanese American students. My father nicknamed Francis (a U.S. Citizen) did not return home to Hawaii, but stayed in Los Angeles, later obtained a “voluntary” pass from Western Defense Command General John DeWitt and fled to Chicago. He left his belongings with a Jewish woman in L.A. and she subsequently shipped them to him. He stayed in Chicago, took classes at Loyola University, then got re-admitted to Dental School at the U. of Maryland, finishing in 1946.  (I found out later that about 5,000 others also got passes and voluntarily left the West Coast for inland states.)

Fast forward to me as a young attorney practicing law on the island of Kauai, when I decided to go to Washington D.C. to work for U.S. Senator Daniel K. Inouye. How did I know the Senator? He had always been in our family discussions (“Cousin Dan”), as he was married to first cousin Maggie, the 2nd of 6 daughters of Aunty Omitsu Sugiyama Awamura of Honolulu.  Aunty was my father’s 2nd oldest sister of the 8 children of my immigrant grandparents. My father had been the last born of the 8 children, and was more then 20 years younger than the oldest siblings.

Dan Inouye and cousin Maggie were married before I was even born.  Inouye was a decorated combat veteran of the 442nd Regimental Combat Battalion, lost his right arm in the war, had been elected as Hawaii’s first Congressman in 1959 (when Hawaii became a state).  He became a U.S. Senator in 1963, and attended by older brother’s high school graduation when I was 16 (when I first met him).

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Sorry Trump fans, but it’s good having grownups in charge

Crossposted from DemocraticDiva.com

“The fundamental cause of the trouble in the modern world today is that the stupid are cocksure while the intelligent are full of doubt.”—Bertrand Russell.

I brought a handful of books to Sedona with me when we were up there but the one I read from start to finish was Jimmy Carter’s A Full Life: Reflections At Ninety. As the title suggests, it’s a straightforward account of Carter’s entire life spanning his childhood on his family’s farm in Plains, Georgia, to a career as a submariner and nuclear engineer in the Navy, and then his lengthy career in public service. I have to admit to rolling my eyes through parts where he would describe his religiosity and the pride he took in his missionary work (not my thing) and puzzling over a few occasions where he described his “moderate views on race” during the Civil Rights era but, for the most part, Carter’s account of his life left me more impressed with the guy than I already was. Continue reading

Required reading while I’m on vacay

Crossposted from DemocraticDiva.com


Mark and I are headed off to Sedona until Wednesday but I wanted to leave a post before we left. Read these things!

First, read Rebecca Schoenkopf’s tribute to Jimmy Carter, which is the best.

Jimmy Carter has liver cancer. Jimmy Carter is 90 years old. Jimmy Carter is one of the great Americans, if you count a globetrotting sense of adventure coupled with near-constant service to his nation and our earth. And he is fer fucking sure the greatest ex-president alive today.

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Jimmy Carter calls for legalization of marijuana (video)

Jimmy-carter-peanut-field-smby Pamela Powers Hannley

Former President Jimmy Carter has given a "full throated endorsement" of states' efforts to legalize marijuana.

Alluding to a 1979 speech in which he called for decriminalization of marijuana, Carter said the US has gone backwards in its policies. (He called for decriminalization in 1979? How did I miss that? Oh, yeah, 1979, I … er… must not have been paying attention … for some reason.)

In an interview with CNN (video here), Carter also said that the nation's marijuana-related incarceration laws discriminate against blacks, Latinos and the mentally ill and are unnecessarily imprisoning far too many US citizens. For every person imprisoned in 1979 for marijuana, there are 8 in jail today, according to Carter.

More details, check out the CNN videothis story in the Huffington Post, or this story from ABC News. After the jump, watch the documentary Breaking the Taboo, in which Carter says the War on Drugs has failed, and the US should rethink its drug policies. (Well, duh. I'm glad a well-respected elder statesman like Carter spoke up. President Obama, the ball is in your court.)