Wise Latina, Meet Ricky Ricardo...

Who's the better decider now, sucka?

When I heard Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn tell Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor, "You'll have a lot of splainin' to do," if she went home, got a gun and shot him, my first sensation was the warm wash of memory watching I Love Lucy when I was a kid. Things were so much simpler, funny and, well, black-and-white in those days. None of this racial sensitivity stuff. It also made me miss my Beretta shotgun and my .357 Smith & Wesson.

The comment blew up a rhumba storm of controversy the minute he said it. "Tin ear!", railed an AP story. Mr. Coburn also got a little nunchucked on Politico. How could this guy say something so old-fashioned, Latin-stereotyped to a Latina when cultural background and its effect on legal decisions was the big argument over her confirmation as one of the Supremes? What would have happened in the Clarence Thomas hearings if someone had referred to Amos and Andy, or with Ruth Bader Ginsburg to the TV series, The Goldbergs? "Yoohoo, Kingfish!"

But no one seemed to get exercised when, in a hearing break interview, Senator John Cornyn referred to one of the Connecticut firefighters Judge Sotomayor had ruled against as being a man "Of Puerto Rican extraction." Is that like rendition?

None of this rises to the level of the Philadelphia swim club that chased away a bunch of inner city black and Hispanic kids, then wrapped itself in some kind of "safety" issue burqa as an excuse. At least here in SF, when clubs like the Olympic or Bohemian still barred women, Jews, and just about anyone with a deeper tan than George Hamilton, they weren't shy about it.

Judge Sotomayor has done her best to contextualize her comment about a wise Latina judge making a better decision than a white male jurist. Who knows what she really thinks or what she'll do on the High Court. But she and Senator Coburn are just reflecting their individual cultural empathies. Who's ahead on the insensitivity radar? Who cares? It's probably a wash.

Besides, Ricky Ricardo always got blindsided, then hustled by his ditzy wife. All she needed to do was apologize, maybe cry a little in that Lucille Ball clownish way. Neither Judge Sotomayor nor Senator Coburn seem like they'll be doing any weeping.

And they shouldn't be.