Opinion: In today’s pages: Interpretations of a “wise Latina”

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Much -- might we say perhaps too much? -- has been made of Judge Sonia Sotomayor’s ‘wise Latina’ comment, especialy by the Senate Judiciary Committee considering her nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court. Today’s Op-Ed page gives voice to four Latinas to interpret the meaning of that phrase through their own experiences. Antonia Hernandez writes, for example:

Many years ago, one of the first times I went to court, the bailiff stopped me and said, ‘Excuse me, you belong on the other side with the interpreters.’ At least he didn’t think I was the defendant. You learn survival skills from this kind of experience. You learn how to bridge; you learn how to be entrepreneurial. It’s a cliche, but we are framed by our experiences.

Also on the Op-Ed page, the author of a book on plague -- the literal disease -- argues that threats of bioterrorism (Need we say more than ‘anthrax’?) have been overblown and that too much money and fear is being wasted on biothreats.

On the other side of the fold, the editorial board chastizes Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger for wasting time instead of resolving the budget crisis and then saying that the wasted time actually accomplished something. The board also faults the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department for failing to test its rape kits, collections of evidence on each rape case that have been found in other jurisdictions to dramatically increase arrest rates. The LAPD found the money to start clearing its backlog of untested kits, the board notes, and so can the sheriff.


And the board says thanks, but no thanks, to Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov, who has offered to investigate the execution-style killing of a human rights worker who was documenting Chechnya’s political murders and kidnappings. Kadyrov is the same man who earlier threatened the worker:

U.S. and European officials must keep a spotlight on these cases and demand that the murderers be brought to justice. Only then is there any hope of reducing the violence in Chechnya. Only then will they quit killing the messengers.

* Photo of Sonia Sotomayor by J. Scott Applewhite / AP