Monday, January 16, 2017

Teacher convicted for child molestation, kidnapping

Ron Guinto
A FORMER TEACHER was convicted of child molestation and kidnapping on Jan. 12.

Ron Guinto, 34, was found guilty of 87 of 90 charges and could face a minimum of 900 years in prison.

Guinto of Vallejo, Calif. was arrested by Richmond, Calif. police in March 2014 when he was a teacher at Making Waves Academy charter school after police received a call about suspicious circumstances between a teacher students, who were 10 and 12 years old.

Police interviewed 15 students and discovered that Guinto had started a boys-only cam called Camp Epic, without the school's knowledge.

Guinto’s stated goal for the camp was to teach life lessons to the boys, but instead he sexually assaulted 15 of them, police said.

“Ron Guinto’s conduct is horrific and totally contrary to MWA’s mission and values,” said the CEO of Making Waves.

According to the victims' testimony, they went on numerous camping trips with the Filipino/American mentor who was the only adult present with the boys. The boys described various acts of molestation ranging from slaps on the groin to oral sex and sodomy.

Guinto's sentencing is set for March 24, in Martinez, California.

MLK DAY: A word from Martin Luther King and white supremacists

BEFORE we leave Martin Luther King Day 2017, just days before Donald Trump takes office, I leave you with this quote from Dr. King as dug up by Huffington Post's Zeba Blay. 

All you have to do is substitute Trump for Goldwater and ... well, you get the idea.
King stated: 
“The Republican Party geared its appeal and program to racism, reaction, and extremism...On the urgent issue of civil rights, Senator Goldwater represents a philosophy that is morally indefensible and socially suicidal. While not himself a racist, Mr. Goldwater articulates a philosophy which gives aid and comfort to the racist. His candidacy and philosophy would serve as an umbrella under which extremists of all stripes would stand. In the light of these facts and because of my love for America, I have no alternative but to urge every Negro and white person of goodwill to vote against Mr. Goldwater and to withdraw support from any Republican candidate that does not publicly disassociate himself from Senator Goldwater and his philosophy.”


Sunday, January 15, 2017

MLK DAY: Asian/Americans and African/Americans have been linked in struggle for civil rights.

The Hawaiian leis were a sign of solidarity with Martin Luther King and the Civil Rights Movement.
AT THIS TIME, when Asian/Americans and African/Americans are questioning and exploring their relationship in their common struggle for justice and equality, this holiday celebrating Martin Luther King, we take time to reflect that there was a time when the bond was unquestioned.

Today, a confluence of attitudes and movements that make us re-examine how AAPI fit in with other civil rights movements currently in play. Generated by the heated rhetoric of President-elect Donald Trump against Muslims (including Asian Muslims), spurred by the killings of unarmed African/Americans by law enforcement resulting in the Black Lives Matter movement, and vigorously stirred by the rise of white supremacists combined by the fact that immigration from Asia has surpassed immigration from South of the Border, it's good we look back when the question was more stark - more black and white - if you will.

Inspired by the Civil Rights Movement, Asian/Americans joined African/Americans in the streets. The newfound activism amongst AAPI communities resulted in strikes and demonstrations on behalf of California farmworkers for better working conditions; college students seeking ethnic studies and a strong sentiment against the Vietnam War.

King sought to link the struggle for rights in the U.S. with the movement against the war in Vietnam, which he viewed as imperialism. 
RELATED: Nixon, the traitor
‘The war was doing far more than devastating the hopes of the poor at home \," he said. "We were taking the black young men who had been crippled by our society and sending them eight thousand miles away to guarantee liberties in Southeast Asia which they had not found in southwest Georgia and East Harlem.'”

In his 1967 speech, "Beyond Vietnam," King proposed that the United States stop all bombing of North and South Vietnam; declare a unilateral truce in the hope that it would lead to peace talks; set a date for withdrawal of all troops from Vietnam; and give the National Liberation Front a role in negotiations.

AAPI politicians and civil rights activists, small in number, sided with other African/American activists. Although barely noticed because the attention was rightfully focused on King, Malcolm X and the Black Panthers, Asian Americans were there in the streets and in the hallways of Congress.
RELATED: Talking about race - Ferguson, America is in the heart
Most notable were the mysterious Hawaiian leis that King and march leaders word in Selma,

The garlands were sent to King as a symbolic action of support and solidarity with his movement’s cause by the Rev. Abraham Akaka, the older brother of U.S. Senator Daniel Akaka (D-Hawaii), I wrote about the leis and King last year on the anniversary of Bloody Sunday when demonstrators marched across the Edmund Pettis Bridge in Selma, Alabama. Read more here.

RELATED: The debt AAPI owe Martin Luther King
The African and Asian/American fight for justice and equality are inexorably linked to affirmative action and immigration, two important issues facing the AAPI community, as much as they are linked to Black Lives Matter and voting rights. 

New Americans and young supporters of Bernie Sanders need to know this history to know that they are not the first to speak out against discrimination or experience the sting of hate so that they can build on what has preceded them and learn from the past. 

PSA: Is history repeating itself #DontNormalizeHate


WITH THE inauguration of President-elect Donald Trump coming this Friday (Jan. 20), the discussion surrounding his upcoming term only intensifies, along with the fear among many minority groups.

The xenophobic nature of Trump’s campaign and public behavior in general, along with the slew of hate crimes across the country, has fueled people to speak out in return. A public service announcement, executive produced by Katy Perry, was released recently, telling the true story of Haru Kuromiya, reports Rolling Stone.

The 89-year-old Japanese American woman tells her story of her registration and placement into an incarceration camp for four years. However, near the end of the video, the woman takes off her wig and peels off her face mask to reveal that she is actually Muslim American actress Hina Khan. Khan, looking intensely into the camera, says, “Don’t let history repeat itself.”

Words also appear across the screen: “A Muslim registry is the first step in repeating history.” The Muslim registry that Donald Trump hopes to implement will be a flashback to World War II, when Executive Order 9066 placed thousands of Japanese and Japanese Americans into incarceration camps, tearing them away from their homes, jobs, and livelihoods. These people were incarcerated simply due to their Japanese descent, when the U.S. was fighting Japan, with the excuse that this was an essential move for national security. 

One of the darkest marks on U.S. history, one that the U.S. government has publicly apologized for and has made subpar reparations for, was supposed to serve as a memory to avoid making the same mistakes. With the Muslim registry, we may just be walking into a portal to the past, a time during which wartime hysteria overruled legitimate security concerns. The PSA ends with the hashtag #DontNormalizeHate.

The PSA’s director, Aya Tanimura, spoke on Perry’s involvement with the project: “I think like a lot of us who are terrified of Trump’s ideals and policies, she is too. And this is one instance where she’s able to help educate someone — even one person — on the horrors of the past and what could potentially be repeated.”

Perry will also be participating in the Women’s March on Washington, scheduled for this Saturday (Jan. 21), the day after Trump’s inauguration. The march has a mission: “The Women’s March on Washington will send a bold message to our new government on their first day in office, and to the world that women’s rights are human rights. We stand together, recognizing that defending the most marginalized among us is defending all of us.”


Four Asian/American members of Congress will boycott Trump's inauguration

Rep. John Lewis' long history of civil rights activism was dismissed by President-elect Donald Trump.
Congressmen Ted Lieu and Mark Takano will not attend the inauguration of the 45th President of the U.S.
ON THE EVE of the Martin Luther King holiday, four Asian/American representatives are joining other members of Congress who will not be attending Donald Trump's inauguration ceremonies next week.

Trump's attack against civil rights hero Rep. John Lewis (D-Georgia) appears to have been the last straw for Rep. Judy Chu (D-Pasadena), Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Los Angeles), Rep. 
Pramila Jayapal (D- Seattle) and Rep. Mark Takano (D-Riverside). More lawmakers are likely to join the 19 who have already announced their intention to skip the ceremony on Jan. 20.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Earlier versions of this post did not include Chu and Jayapal.
In a television interview Friday (Jan. 14), Rep. Lewis said he doesn't see Trump as a "legitimate president" due to alleged Russian interference in the election.

"That's not right. That's not fair. That's not the democratic process," Lewis said about the alleged Russian hacking, which U.S. intelligence officials believe was to help Trump get elected and to discredit Hillary Clinton.

Lewis said he could not attend the president-elect's inauguration in good conscience. "You cannot be at home with something that you feel that is wrong," Lewis said.

In a tweet, Trump dismissed Lewis, a Freedom Rider who was beaten during a 1965 march in Selma and was arrested and jailed repeatedly in opposition to segregation, as "all talk, talk, talk - no action or results."

This is the first time Lewis has not attended the inauguration since he entered Congress 30 years ago.

Lieu released a statement Saturday (Jan. 15) stating he will not attend the inaugurationecause of Trump's rebuke of civil rights activist John Lewis, Sen. John McCain, and Gold Star parents, mothers and fathers of American troops killed in military service.

“I can only hope that Trump will govern differently than he has campaigned. For me, the personal decision not to attend Inauguration is quite simple: Do I stand with Donald Trump, or do I stand with John Lewis? I am standing with John Lewis."

Lieu also wrote in his statement that Trump will be in violation of the Constitution on the day he takes office because of his "massive conflicts of interests he has with his global business holdings."

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Bipartisan effort introduces bill to keep the Dreamers in the U.S.

About 18,000 Asian/Americans are registered in the  DACA program.
Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Dick Durbin (D-IL) introduced the bill in the Senate and Representatives Mike Coffman (CO-06) and Luis V. GutiƩrrez (IL-04) are introducing companion legislation in the House of Representatives.

Heads, we win: A U.S. coin featuring an Asian/American is forthcoming

COIN COLLECTORS, get ready, an Asian/American face will soon appear on a U.S. coin breaking a long-time practice of featuring only Euro/American men and women, according to the U.S. Mint. 

The announcement was made in ceremonies yesterday (Jan. 12) at the Washington D.C. unveiling of a new design for the $100 coin that featured - for the first time - the profile of an African/American woman as Lady Liberty, whose braided hair is topped by a crown of stars. The design is a sharp contrast from previous coins that featured European woman with classic Hellenic features.

The "tails" side of the new coin.
The unveiling of the 2017 American Liberty Gold Coin not only marked a historic milestone for the allegorical Lady Liberty, who has been featured on American coinage since the late 1790s, but also served to kick-off the Mint’s 225th anniversary—a year-long public awareness campaign about its mission, facilities and employees.

"We have chosen 'Remembering our Past, Embracing the Future' as the Mint’s theme for our 225th Anniversary year.," said Rhett Jeppson, United States Mint (Mint) Principal Deputy Director.

"The coin demonstrates our roots in the past through such traditional elements as the inscriptions United States of America, Liberty, E Pluribus Unum and In God We Trust," explained Jeppson. "We boldly look to the future by casting Liberty in a new light, as an African-American woman wearing a crown of stars, looking forward to ever brighter chapters in our Nation’s history book."

The 2017 American Liberty 225th Anniversary Gold Coin is the first in a series of 24-karat gold coins that will feature designs which depict an allegorical Lady Liberty in a variety of contemporary forms - including designs depicting Asian/Americans, Hispanic/Americans, and Indian/Americans among others-to reflect the cultural and ethnic diversity of the United States, according to Jeppson.

The designs for the upcoming coins featuring other ethnicities have not been released. As the U.S. becomes more diverse, white resistance to the changing demographics continues to grow, exemplified by the presidential victory of Donald Trump, whose call to "Make America Great Again," was interpreted by some of his supporters to be a rallying call for European/Americans.

“As we as a nation continue to evolve, so does Liberty’s representation,” said Elisa Basnight, the chief of staff at the Mint.

Of course, all this talk about diversity might get the attention of President-Elect Donald Trump and/or the white supremacists who support him. We are dreadfully waiting for his  tweet on this subject.

The African/American Lady Liberty coin is not the first time a person of color has been featured on U.S. legal tender. In 2011, the U.S. Mint released a coin showed a Native American woman.
In 2011, this $1 coin was introduced for collectors.
The 2011 Native American $1 Coin celebrates the Wampanoag Treaty of 1621 that later led the English colonists and Massosoit and his men to join in the colonies' first harvest feast that became the model for Thanksgiving.

The 2017 American Liberty 225th Anniversary Gold Coin will be struck in .9999 fine 24-karat gold at the West Point Mint in high relief, with a proof finish.  The one-ounce coin will be encapsulated and placed in a custom designed, black wood presentation case.  A 225th anniversary booklet with Certificate of Authenticity will accompany each coin.

The new coin, while legal tender, won't be circulating around as loose change. It is designed for coin collectors. Only 100,000 of them will be made so actual cost will most likely exceed the coin's $100 actual value.

The Mint will announce additional information about the 2017 American Liberty 225th Anniversary Gold Coin prior to its release on April 6.

NBA celebrates Year of the Rooster

The NBA's marketing strategy targets China and Chinese/Americans.

THE NATIONAL BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION is continuing its marketing push into China with four new videos featuring their biggest NBA stars wishing the world a happy Chinese New Year.

Brooklyn Net’s Jeremy Lin, Golden State’s Stephen Curry, and Houston’s James Harden return once again to take part in the campaign. This year they’ve added Anthony Davis of the New Orleans Pelicans.

The four ads are basically start the same, but we’re told will feature four different endings. They will be released through February 11.

Some have criticized the NBA for not expanding the campaign to Lunar New Year which would of course include the Korean, Vietnamese, Cambodian, Hmong and Thai communities, among others.

During the campaign, 60 NBA games will be made broadcast on televisions.

Four NBA teams will wear special Chinese New Year uniforms at special games during the two week celebration. Those teams will be the Warriors, Rockets, Raptors and Wizards. The Minnesota Timberwolves, Philadelphia 76ers, Cleveland Cavaliers, Sacramento Kings, Nets, Warriors, Wizards, Raptors and Rockets will host special Chinese New Year celebrations during their games.

Not coincidentally, the Rockets will retire Yao Ming’s uniform on February 3 during their game with the Bulls.

Yao Ming's association with the NBA opened up the door in China where the league's popularity is soaring.

"I chalk up our current business success and popularity to being authentic and genuine with our fans," NBA China CEO David Shoemaker told ESPN from Hong Kong. "When we play our games in China, it's very important to our fans that we bring an authentic NBA basketball experience -- the teams, the dance teams, the dunk teams, the video boards and the DJs -- to the point that if you didn't know better, if you were sitting in the Mercedes-Benz Arena in Shanghai, you might think you were in the Staples Center in Los Angeles."

Shoemaker leads a staff of more than 100 NBA employees in Beijing and approximately 75 more based in Shanghai, Hong Kong and Taipei. 

The Canada native joined NBA China in 2011 and has seen the NBA's popularity on social media in China grow from approximately 10 million fans and followers to 120 million in recent years. 

Today, 30 years after NBA games were first broadcast on China Central Television, fans are also consuming games in the digital space, with an average of 2 million viewers for every game shown on digital platforms in China. More than 400 games will be aired on mobile media there this season. 

The participation of NBA teams in celebrating Chinese New Year is part of that marketing strategy. The Houston Rockets history with Yao Ming, and the Golden State Warriors, with a large Asian/American fan base in the San Francisco Bay Area, are leading the way.

(Views from the Edge contributed to this report.)

Friday, January 13, 2017

TGIF FEATURE: Unprecedented gathering of AAPI comic book superheroes

The cover for Totally Awesome Hulk #15 is by Storehouse.

PARDON MY NERDINESS, but the upcoming edition of Totally Awesome Hulk #15 is generating lots of excitement. For the first time, a gathering of AAPI superheroes will assemble to fight an as yet unidentified foe.

The AAPI superheroes -- Hulk, Silk, Shang Chi and Ms Marvel -- will appear together in the upcoming issue of Totally Awesome Hulk, the alter ego of Korean/American Amadeus Cho, that will hit the comic book stands Jan. 25.
EDITOR'S NOTE: You can order a copy here.
There’s big trouble going down in the Big Apple, and the Asian heroes of the Marvel Universe will be called upon to save the day. Totally Awesome Hulkwriter Greg Pak revealed on Twitter a new crossover that will pair Amadeus Cho, the new Hulk, with various Asian-American heroes from Marvel, including the triumphant return of Jimmy Woo, according to Inverse.

Beginning with Totally Awesome Hulk #15 and running until issue #18, the story arc “Big Apple Showdown” will have Amadeus learn to be a team player with Silk (Cindy Moon), Ms. Marvel (Kamala Khan), and Shang-Chi against an as-of-yet unnamed threat. The cover of issue #17, illustrated by South Korean artist Stonehouse, features Hulk with S.H.I.E.L.D. agents Jake Oh and Jimmy Woo, the latter one of the earliest non-stereotypical Asian comic book characters. Woo’s last starring Marvel series was 2009’s Agents of Atlas written by Jeff Parker.

RELATED: Superheroes of color
Writer Greg Pak first teased the upcoming historic event on his Twitter account.
As he was hanging out with some friends, "I found myself thinking of all of the dinners and karaoke sessions I’ve had with fellow Asian American colleagues at various film festivals and conventions, and I thought, hey, Asian American superheroes would probably hang out like that every once in a while,” Pak says. “What would they talk about? How would they bond — or what kinds of conflicts would they discover? And how would that carry over into a big superhero adventure? And now we’re all gonna find out! ”
Marvel has as of late introduced an influx of Asian and Asian-American heroes like Amadeus, Silk, Ms. Marvel, and Blindspot (the undocumented protege of Daredevil, who does not appear involved in the crossover). 
Pak noted that there would be a fun collision of generations with some of Marvel’s older school heroes like Shang-Chi and Jimmy Woo. “I realized there could be a fun, multigenerational group to play with here,” he said.
Do you think they'll sing Karaoke and sip boba drinks?

Can a movie featuring one or all of these AAPI superheroes be far off? I'd pay good money to see that!

Thursday, January 12, 2017

How the AAPI community will be impacted if Republicans eliminate the Affordable Care Act


THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT was pitched as a moonshot by President Obama in 2009. Since the official institution of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) in 2010, many previously marginalized groups in healthcare have received access to health care insurance. Now, President-elect Donald Trump heads for office this January 20, after campaigning for a starkly opposite vision. 

The ACA - sometimes referred to as Obamacare - appears to be the first of several Democratic-instituted programs Trump will repeal. So what does this mean for Asian/Americans and Pacific Islanders?

A lot is at stake. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, between the years 2008 to 2014, Asians represented the highest rate of enrollment in health insurance purchases. The CDC National Health Survey shows comparable trends. Between 2013 and 2015, the percentage of Asian/Americans who were non-insured decreased from 16.1 percent to 8.8 percent; almost halving the percentage of uninsured. These drastic numerical changes coincide ACA’s enactment.

According to statistics provided by the White House in 2014, 1 in 4 Korean/Americans and 1 in 5 Vietnamese/Americans lacked insurance. The US Department of Healthcare and Human Services cites that Asian/Americans are an unlikely group to be screened for cancer. For example, in 2010, Asian/American women were the least likely population to have had a Pap smear. Furthermore, Asian/Americans and Pacific Islanders ranging from 19 to 24 in age were 1.6 times more likely to have Hepatitis B than non-Hispanic Whites.

When seeking healthcare, Asian Americans face issues comparable to many immigrants and lower-income patients. The lack of comprehension, fear of the system and the inaccessibility of hospitals are all barriers to entry for these populations. 

Asians, in particular, face another edge of the “model minority” sword: the population ranks among the fastest-growing populations in poverty since the Great Recession. Moreover, because Asian/Americans typically either work for or run small private businesses, health benefits are rare.

Theresa Lau, author of an opinion article on NBC news recalls 15-mile drives and waiting hours to see a community health specialist for her care. With non-English speaking parents who worked long hours for limited income, a doctor’s visit was atypical and difficult. Lau’s dismay at the potential repeal of the ACA reflects an opinion many may share. Since the ACA’s implementation in 2010, around 20 million new patients have been insured.

The outlook for continuation of the ACA looks to be grim. Trump has already nominated Seema Verma as the Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and Tom Price as Health and Human Services Secretary.

Verma is known as a staunch Republican. Her work with Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels advocated for low-income patients to compensate for their insurance by volunteering, and contributing to a health payment account. Price is known for drafting an alternate, GOP rendition of the ACA, the Empowering Patients First Act or EPFA. The alternative proposes offers tax credits so patients may purchase insurance through the private market. Together, the decisions of Trump, Verma, and Price will change the health landscape of millions of Americans, marginalized and not.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Steve Harvey mocks Asian men, but nobody's laughing

Steve Harvey laughs at his own joke making fun of Asian men.
STEVE HARVEY, your racism is showing.

The popular television host made fun of Asian men on the Steve Harvey Show last Friday, reinforcing the negative stereotype that portrays Asian males as unattractive.

Being an Asian man, this hit close to home because I've had to live with this belief all my life.

Harvey was mocking self-help books when he came across a 2002 title How to Date A White Woman: A Practical Guide for Asian Men. Instead of making fun of the questionable book's content, he targeted Asian men. He found it laughable that a white woman could ever find Asian men attractive.

"That's one page, too!" he laughed at his own joke. "Excuse me, do you like Asian men? No. Thank you."

He was on a roll and he couldn't stop, saying that black women couldn't possibly be attracted to Asian men, either.  How to Date a Black Woman: A Practical Guide to Asian Men, he says. "Same thing. You like Asian men? I don't even like Chinese food. It don't stay with you no time ... I don't eat what I can't pronounce."

Harvey - in the Chris Rock mode - apparently feels it is OK to make Asians the butt of racist jokes even as they talk about increasing diversity in the entertainment industry. His segment drew angry reactions on social media.

“It’s unfortunate when those with a public platform like Steve Harvey use that platform to mock and ridicule entire groups of people and in this particular case, to perpetuate negative and harmful racial stereotypes about Asian/Americans,” Karin Wang, V.P. of Programs and Communications at Asian Americans Advancing Justice, told Page Six. “We are disappointed in Steve Harvey.”

Several media outlets unsuccessfully tried to get a response from Harvey's spokesperson.

Harvey is scheduled to host the Miss Universe pageant on January 30 in the Philippines, home of the current Miss Universe, Pia Wurtzbach. 
RELATED: Harvey's gaff mars new Miss Universe from the Philippines
While in the Philippines, someone should warn Harvey that Philippines President Rod Duterte, whom some call the Trump of the Philippines, is sensitive to what he perceives as slights or insults. He called President Barack Obama a "son of a whore," when Obama questioned the extrajudicial killings of alleged drug dealers, a practice endorsed and encouraged by Duterte. 

First Asian/American bishop appointed to lead Utah diocese

Bishop Oscar Azarcon Solis
A FILIPINO/AMERICAN immigrant was appointed bishop of a U.S. diocese Tuesday (Jan. 10) indicating the growing diversity of the Catholic American church.

Pope Francis named Bishop Oscar Asarco Solis, an immigrant from the Philippines, to become the bishop of the Salt Lake City diocese, which has been without a leader for 20 months.

The 63-year-old Solis is an auxiliary bishop in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. In Utah, he succeeds Bishop John C. Wester, who departed in June 2015 to become the archbishop of Santa Fe, N.M.

Solis was born in San Jose City, Philippines, and will be the state's first Filipino bishop. He also is the first Filipino/American bishop ordained in the U.S.

There have been at least two other Asian-American Catholic bishops, according to Rev. Linh Hoang , O.F.M., an associate professor of religious studies at Siena College. They were Bishop Dominic Luong, a Vietnamese American, and Bishop Ignatius Wang, a Chinese American. Both men are retired auxiliary bishops, meaning they were appointed as helpers to a diocesan bishop, who is the official pastoral and legal head of a diocese.

"This is massively significant on the national front," said Rocco Palmo, a prominent Catholic chronicler and editor of Whispers in the Loggia, a church news blog.

About 5 million U.S. Catholics are Asian, Palmo wrote in an email to The Salt Lake Tribune, and they produce a "disproportionately high number of priestly and religious vocations nationwide."

"So for them," Palmo added, "this is going to be a historic shot in the arm far beyond Utah."

The Catholic Church in the U.S. has seen a drop in membership but the influx of Asians, primarily Filipino and Vietnamese, and Latinos has made for an increasingly diverse church.

Of the more than 300,000 Catholics in Utah, about 18,000 of them are Asian, said Susan Dennin, the diocese's communications director. The Filipino community is the largest Asian demographic of the group.

In Los Angeles, Solis, who speaks Spanish, has shown he is "leading the church's understanding of the cultural diversity there and seeking to integrate every group on the wider stage of the archdiocese," Palmo said. "... So having a Spanish-fluent pick with a tremendous amount of experience in both administration and leading a diverse immigrant community ... bodes very well, and the symbolic piece sends a remarkable message."

Solis will be officially installed as bishop of Salt Lake City’s diocese on March 7, according to Vatican Radio.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Four AAPI women mentioned as potential presidential candidates

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard and Sen. Kamala Harris
Sen. Tammy Duckworth and Gov. Nikki Haley

DONALD TRUMP asn’t even taken the reigns of power yet and already the handicapping is underway on who will vie to replace him in 2020.

With America coming so close to electing its first women president and with nearly 3 million more voters backing Clinton rather than Trump, some are looking ahead to the next opportunity.

The New Yorker came up with a list of 13 women including four Asian American Pacific Islanders. The Washington Post listed 11 possible candidates, giving shout outs to three AAPI women.

No. 3 on the Washington Post’s list and No. 4 in the New Yorker is first year Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA). Harris is the first Indian/American ever to win a seat in the U.S. Senate and just the second African/American woman. As California’s Attorney General, she was a pain in the butt to corporations suspected of wrong-doing and wrestled a major settlement from banks following the foreclosure crisis.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) is No. 3 on the New Yorker’s list and ranked fifth by the Washington Post. She risked political suicide in her own party when she resigned as Vice Chair of the Democratic National Committee to take a lead in Bernie Sanders campaign for President. That certainly will endear her to the young in the party whose enthusiasm for Clinton can be described as lukewarm at best. She is the first American Samoan and first Hindu to be elected to Congress.

Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren finished first and second on the New Yorker list. Sen. Warren and New York Sen. Kirstin Gillibrand were 1 and 2 for the Washington Post.
Purple heart veteran Rep Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) merited a mention from both lists, No.  9 by the Washington Post and tenth by the New Yorker. Duckworth, whose mother is Thai Chinese, lost both legs fighting in the Iraq War.

Gov Nikki Halley (R-SC) is slated to serve as Trump’s UN ambassador and is the only Republican to make the list (No. 13, New Yorker). She opposed Trump in the primary, first supporting Marco Rubio and then Ted Cruz after Rubio dropped out. She earned Trump’s support when she ultimately supported him when it became clear he would be the presidential nominee. The New Yorker suspects the Indian/American could potentially challenge Trump in the next primary. Look for her to resign as ambassador halfway into Trump’s term if she decides to run for president.


Monday, January 9, 2017

Marcus Mariota named top Polynesian pro football player of the year

TENNESSEE TITANS Quarterback, Marcus Mariota has been selected as the 2016 recipient of the Polynesian Pro Football Player of the Year. The Polynesian Football Hall of Fame announced the Samoan/American's selection last week.

"It is an incredible honor," Mariota said in an acceptance video posted on YouTube, "and I look forward to representing not only Hawaii but the entire Polynesian community with this award."

The Polynesian Pro Football Player of the Year Award recognizes the most outstanding professional football player of Polynesian Ancestry, an award sponsored by Hawaiian Airlines. Arizona Cardinals Offensive Guard Mike Iupati was selected as the inaugural recipient in 2015.

The 6-foot 4, 220-pound, Mariota was born in Honolulu. He is in his second NFL season out of the University of Oregon, where he became the first player of Polynesian ancestry to win the Heisman trophy. That same year, he was named the inaugural Polynesian College Football Player of the Year by the Polynesian Football Hall of Fame.
RELATED: Promises and disappointments for Polynesian football players
This year, Mariota helped lead the Tennessee Titans to a 9-7 regular season record. He completed 276-of-451 passes for 3,426 yards, 26 touchdowns, and a 95.6 passer rating, while also rushing for 349 yards and two touchdowns. Mariota earned AFC Offensive Player of the Week honors in Week 10 after passing for 295 yards and four touchdowns in a Tennessee Titans victory over the Green Bay Packers. He was also named the AFC Offensive Player of the Month in November and an alternate to the Pro Bowl.

“On behalf of the Polynesian Football Hall of Fame Board of Directors, we congratulate Marcus on a fantastic season,” said Polynesian Football Hall of Fame Chairman Jesse Sapolu. “He is a tremendous role model and a source of great pride for Polynesians everywhere.”

The formal presentation of the Award will be held at the Polynesian Football Hall of Fame Celebration Dinner on Jan. 20, along with being recognized during the Inaugural Polynesian Bowl the next day in Oahu, Hawai`i.

The Polynesian Football Hall of Fame honors Polynesia’s greatest players, coaches and contributors. It also serves as a resource for Polynesian football history, provides academic scholarships and supports educational programs for Polynesian youth. Its permanent home is located at the Polynesian Cultural Center (O’ahu’s North Shore) and was established in 2013 by Sapolu and Ma’a Tanuvasa. Other board members include Troy Polamalu, Vai Sikahema, June Jones and Reno Mahe. 

Inside look at a Chinatown crime syndicate

Raymond "Shrimp Boy" Chow

A PLEA BARGAIN struck with five associates of convicted Chinatown crime boss Raymond "Shrimp Boy" Chow provides a revealing glimpse of the crime syndicate.

SF Gate reports Gary Kwong Yiu Chen and Anthony John Lai, both of San Francisco, admitted in their plea bargain that they laundered $635,000 of drug money from October to December 2013 alone.

Tong Zao Zhang of Brooklyn said he avoided paying almost $300,000 in taxes by distributing contraband cigarettes on the black market.

Bryan Tilton, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to transporting $30,000 worth of purportedly stolen Hennessy XO alcohol with Chow across state lines. Prosecutors said their big break in the case came when Tilton tried to sell his stolen goods to an undercover FBI agents.

A fifth defendant, Xiu Ying Ling “Elaine” Liang, plead guilty to money laundering charges.

All five men are scheduled to be sentenced beginning in April.

Prosecutors believe Chow was the man in charge of the whole criminal enterprise. A jury last January found him guilty of ordering the murder of Allen Leung, the man he replaced as the head of the Ghee Kung Tong. Despite Chow's insistance on his innocence, he was sentenced to life imprisonment.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Yes We Can: People share their most memorable moments from the Obama Presidency

AS BARACK OBAMA'S historic presidency comes to an end, we are already feeling a sense of loss, especially considering what's to come next.

From the moment we began chanting "Yes, we can," to the president's final public speech that will be in Chicago, Jan. 10 (Tuesday) it has been a special time, not just for African/Americans, not only for People of Color, not only for Americans. We might not see a presidency like his ever again - at least in the near future.

My personal favorite moment is this one that seemed so spontaneous but so moving: Obama soars with "Amazing Grace."

This video was produced by Yes We Can. It features people from all over the world recalling  their favorite moment during Obama's two terms in office. It has a quite a few responses from Asians and Asian/Americans.

You can share your favorite Obama moment here.

Protest forces Amazon Canada to remove underwear offensive to Hindus


IMAGINE THE UPROAR that would erupt if Walmart sold underwear with the image of Jesus Christ on them.

That’s what happened when word leaked out that Amazon Canada was selling underwear with the Hindu deity Lord Ganesha on the hip.

The next day the online retailer removed “Women’s Ganesh Ganesa Ganapati 4 White Hipsters” from sale.

It had been described as “Sexy Fashion Hipsters.”

“Lord Ganesh is highly revered in Hinduism and is meant to be worshipped in temples or home shrines and not to wear on your hips,” said Rajan Zed, the President of Universal Society of Hinduism. “Inappropriate usage of Hindu deities or concepts for commercial or other agenda is not okay as it hurt the faithful.”

Zed continues to push for an apology from Amazon Canada and its president, Jeffrey Bezos.
“Hindus are for free artistic expression and speech as much as anybody else if not more. But faith is something sacred and attempts at trivializing it hurt the followers,” Zed adds.

Engineer pleads guilty to nuclear espionage

Szuhsiung Ho

AN ASIAN/AMERICAN nuclear engineer admitted that he was part of a plot to develop or produce nuclear material in China without the required approval of the U.S. Department of Energy.
Szuhsiung Ho, aka Allen Ho, 66, a naturalized U.S. citizen, pleaded guilty Friday (Jan. 6) to the allegations of violating the Atomic Energy Act, according to Acting Assistant Attorney General for National Security Mary B. McCord and U.S. Attorney Nancy Stallard Harr of the Eastern District of Tennessee. 

In April 2016, a federal grand jury issued a two-count indictment against Ho; China General Nuclear Power Company (CGNPC), the largest nuclear power company in China, and Energy Technology International (ETI), a Delaware corporation. At the time of the indictment Ho was a nuclear engineer, employed as a consultant by CGNPC and was also the owner of ETI. CGNPC specialized in the development and manufacture of nuclear reactors and was controlled by China’s State-Owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission.

According to court documents, beginning in 1997 and continuing through April 2016, Ho conspired with others to engage or participate in the development or production of special nuclear material in China, without specific authorization to do so from the U.S. Secretary of Energy, as required by law. 

Ho assisted CGNPC in procuring U.S.-based nuclear engineers to assist CGNPC and its subsidiaries with designing and manufacturing certain components for nuclear reactors more quickly by reducing the time and financial costs of research and development of nuclear technology. In particular, Ho sought technical assistance related to CGNPC’s Small Modular Reactor Program; CGNPC’s Advanced Fuel Assembly Program; CGNPC’s Fixed In-Core Detector System; and verification and validation of nuclear reactor-related computer codes.

Under the direction of the Chinese company, Ho also identified, recruited, and executed contracts with U.S.-based experts from the civil nuclear industry who provided technical assistance related to the development and production of special nuclear material for CGNPC in China. Ho and CGNPC also facilitated the travel to China and payments to the U.S.-based experts in exchange for their services.

Sentencing has been set for May 17, 2017 in U.S. District Court in Knoxville, Tennessee. Ho faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a maximum $250,000 fine.

This case was investigated by the FBI, the TVA, DOE, ICE and Homeland Security.


Man pinned between train and platform

Jeff de la Fuente

A FILIPINO/AMERICAN man has died hours after falling between two BART trains in the San Francisco Bay Area, reports ABC7.

San Francisco firefighters used inflated balloons to lift the train off Jeff De La Fuente, a resident of Hayward, Wednesday and rushed him to the hospital.

De La Fuente. 31, fell off the 24th Street BART station platform and was pinned between the first and second cars from the waist.

Doctors say De La Fuente tried valiantly to fight off his injuries, but died Friday.

“I just want his family to know that he was loved by many,” said his longtime girlfriend, Dorothy Mak. ”

De La Fuente was raised by a single mother and grew up in the Philippines. He had aspirations to become a lawyer and was scheduled to take the LSATs.

His family has set up a GoFundMe in his honor, soliciting donations for a funeral and the transportation of his body back to the Philippines.

“He leaves behind his mom Alice and beloved girlfriend Dorothy. His girlfriend is asking for donations to help Jeff’s mom with the funeral expenses and arranging for him to be brought back to the Philippines for burial,” the fundraising account states. (Views From the Edge contributed to this report._

Hearings to begin for Trump's team; AAPI opposition to Chao

Who will fill these seats in the West Wing?
IF THAT OLD ADAGE is true: "You can judge the character of a man by the friends that he chooses," then our country is in for a rough ride not only for the next four years, but for decades to come.

Two months after his upset electoral (not popular) victory over Democrat Hillary Clinton, President-elect Donald Trump shows no signs of mellowing, facing reality or moving to the political center. It appears the Trump we saw on the campaign trail is the same Trump we'll see in the White House.

His post-election speech vowing to be president for all Americans is ringing hollow. The people he has chosen to surround himself with have serious questions about their positions and past actions.

Starting with Sen. Jeff Sessions, who will undergo a quick and hearing startingTuesday (Jan. 10) for Attorney General. The nominees to be key advisers to the President-elect will begin the Senate's Judiciary Committee hearing next week. The GOP-dominated committee is limiting the Democrats only four witnesses and a quick two-days for their hearings. A plethora of civil rights groups have expressed their dismay at the Republican rules to counter any protests. Democratic Senators seem powerless to overrule the GOP.

His Asian/American choices are stirring up criticism from the AAPI community, starting with Elaine Chao, picked to become the Secretary of Transportation. According to the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance,  Chao's pending appointment shows poor leadership and accountability to the working families and the American people.

Chao served as the Labor Secretary under President George W. Bush and is the first Asian American woman to serve in a Cabinet level position. Under her leadership in the Department of Labor, she cut safety enforcement budgets, failed to pass any new significant safety rules during her tenure, and inadequately investigated complaints of wage theft.

APALA National President Johanna Puno Hester commented: “If Chao’s time as Labor Secretary is any indication of what she’ll bring to the table as Transportation Secretary, then we can expect a term that parlays with corporate interest rather than the safety of the people and the environment.”

Chao is the third Asian American woman appointee in the Trump Administration, following Governor Nikki Haley of South Carolina as the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and Seema Verma, the founder of health policy consulting firm, as the head for Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

Hester continued: “We refuse to let the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community be a racial wedge group. These women have built their careers on creating policies that serve only the most privileged. They do not accurately represent our diverse AAPI community – a community of immigrants, the poor, the underserved.”

“This is a different political climate. This is not business as usual. As people build their strategies for the first hundred days or the next four years, we must not conflate access or a seat at the table with actual power to influence policy or decision makers,” added APALA Executive Director Gregory A. Cendana on the so-called “diversity picks” in a predominately white administration. “These newest appointees – alongside Price, Devos, Sessions, and Bannon – continue to shape a Trump administration that undermines the values so central to our communities and the fabric of our country.”

Sessions is only the first of many hearings that will challenge the Democrats and communities of color who have become more integrated into the American fabric in the last 70 years.

Trump's pick for Secretary of State is Rex Tillerson, who had to give up his lucrative job as CEO of Exxon Mobile, the largest oil company in the world. Don't feel any sympathy for him. His disclosed personal wealth of as much as $400 million. We aren't worried about Rillerson just because he is rich. As one of the millionaire/billionaire picks by Trump, Tillerson has had no experience in international diplomacy except for those negotiated with oil-producing countries. Even many of those negotiations had to be brokered by the Dept. of State, including Hillary Clinton and Madeline Albright. He'll fit perfectly with Trump's team because he is so beloved in Russia they gave him an award. As a former Exxon CEO and with holdings (in trust) in the oil giant, he'll have to recuse himself from a lot of the Middle East negotiations - not to mention Russia - that might benefit his former company. What bothers me is his record has not a second of public service. He's spent his entire career working a for-profit businesses. I question his motivation to work for the common man and woman.
RELATED: How to protest Rex Tillerson's nomination
Stephen Bannon as the chief White House strategist is on equal footing as the Chief of Staff. As the CEO of Breightbart News, he has promoted alt-right philosophies and made white nationalism acceptable to the moderate white mainstream. “The appointment by President-elect Trump of a racist individual like Mr. Bannon to a position of authority is totally unacceptable," said Sen. Bernie Sanders. "In a democratic society we can disagree all we want over issues, but racism and bigotry cannot be part of any public policy. The appointment of Mr. Bannon by Mr. Trump must be rescinded.”

Sen. Tom Price as the Secretary of Health & Human Services is a one-man wrecking crew vs. the United States' health care system for people with limited incomes, seniors and low-income families. The hallmark of Price's congressional career has been his steadfast opposition of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) and has repeatedly attempted to repeal or gut the ACA. Among Price’s most dangerous proposals are limiting tax credits for the poor, privatizing Medicare, barring federal funding to Planned Parenthood, and converting Medicaid to block grants which would pretty much negate its role as a safety net program.

Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn as Trump's National Security Advisor: Nothing subtle about the retired general, an extreme anti-Islam crusader who once claimed that the Democrats wanted to institute Sharia law in Florida, a complete fabrication that he repeated over and over again in speeches across the country. Before millions of television viewers, Flynn led the chants of a raucous crowd during his speech endorsing Donald Trump. “Lock her up! Lock her up! Damn right! Exactly right!” Flynn encouraged the chanting crowd. “There is nothing wrong with that!” He was prematurely retired at age 56 because of his disruptive management style and his repeated digs at the Obama White House from his position at the Defense Intelligence Agency, his last posting. Recently, 
several news agencies revealed that he met several weeks ago with Heinz-Christian Strache, the head of Austria’s anti-immigrant Freedom Party, which was founded after World War II by former Nazis. Ugh!

Rick Perry, former Texas governor, has been picked to head the Department of Energy. Do you think he'll favor fossil fuel over alternative energy sources such as the wind, geothermal or the sun? Outside of taking oil money for his various campaigns and giving tax payer's money to subsidize the oil industry, Perry has had no experience on the subject. His two predecessors were physicists. Four years ago, he wanted to do away with the entire department of energy.

You would think that Dr. Ben Carson would be a suitable nominee for the Surgeon General. That would make sense, right? But, Trump fooled us all by picking Dr. Ben Carson to head the Department of Housing and Urban Development. He may have been a brilliant surgeon but Carson doesn't know squat about HUD and its many programs to provide housing for the poor. Alright, he was once poor and his single mother accepted financial assistance from the federal government. You would think that would give him some empathy for the poor. But, no. He's a pull-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps kind of guy. If he could do it, so can anybody else. As HUD chief, he could put more people out in the streets than any other appointee.

Steven Mnuchin, formerly with Goldman Sachs, has been picked to be the next Treasury Secretary. He co-founded a bank, OneWest, in 2008 and lead the company until 2015, Fortune reported. Now, OneWest is being sued for allegedly discriminating against black and Latino customers, according to a complaint filed this month by two fair housing advocacy groups. The complaint alleges the bank "kept bank branches out of nonwhite neighborhoods" and gave nonwhite customers disproportionately fewer mortgages, Fortune wrote. Between 2012 and 2013, the California bank gave zero loans to black customers in Los Angeles. He made billions over the past decades buying up companies and slashing payrolls.

Trump picked another billionaire, Wilbur L. Ross Jr., for Commerce Secretary. He made his billions using bankruptcy to protect wealthy owners while leaving workers and communities holding the bag. (Example in point: the collapse of Trump’s casino empire.) I don't see how this expertise translates into negotiating treaties. In fact, this strategy loses jobs, not creating new jobs. Foreign countries are not inefficient corporations. Threats will irk countries like China and could lead to trade wars which is not good for business. Trump needs to learn that treaties are not negotiated with winners and losers in mind. Treaties try to have a win-win outcome. Sometimes treaties have broader goals in mind, like keeping China's power and influence in check and helping countries with smaller economies from yielding to China's military intimidation.

The Department of Labor should be renamed the Department of Bad Bosses if Andrew Puzder survives nomination. He opposes the minimum wage increase and basic worker protections that unmarried women and other members of the RAE rely upon to make ends meet. Another one of the billionaires Trump has chosen, Puzder has criticized paid sick leave policies and praised automation because machines “never take a vacation, they never show up late, there’s never a slip-and-fall or an age, sex or race discrimination case.” And he prides himself on the demeaning ads he runs for his restaurant, Carl’s Jr., featuring scantily clad women. “I like beautiful women eating burgers in bikinis. I think it’s very American.” Former Labor Secretary Robert Reich is concerned about Puzder. “I’m not saying he’s anti-worker because he’s conservative. I’m saying he’s anti-worker because he’s anti-worker.”

You might as well start carving a headstone for Medicare if Rep. Mick Mulvaney takes over the Office of Management and Budget. The Tea Party hawk calls Medicare a "ponzi scheme" wants to privatize the only healthcare insurance depended on by millions of senior citizens. He relentlessly argued that cutting retirement programs like Medicare was the only way to “balance the budget,” the Tea Party call to arms. He hasn't been shy about calling for a drastic refashioning of Medicare. Of course, as a well-heeled congressional representative for South Carolina, he doesn't have to depend on Medicare in his old age. Members of Congress have a life-long medical plan, even when they are through serving in the House or Senate.

The selection of Betsy DeVos for Secretary of Education may be the most insidious choice of all. The super wealthy DeVos family have been strong advocates of charter schools and  schools vouchers. In their home state of Michigan, they are notably anti-union, especially teacher unions. Outside of those issues, Betsy DeVos has no experience as an educator or as a public servant. Her views on affirmative action in admissions, for-profit schools, or Common Core curriculum are unknown and her children have never attended a public school. The charter schools that her family has helped establish in Michigan have not improved the overall education of students. Student score below the average in national administered tests and they operate without any government oversight on content and quality. Ultimately, the anti-science, anti-intellectual attitudes of the Trump administration will produce a generation of poorly educated students, who become poorly informed voters. They would become perfect followers for the lies fostered by the alt-right, the Tea Party and the Kremlin ... and politicians who have a flare for tapping the fears of people.

One thing the billionaires and politicians on this list have in common. They would probably prefer to dismantle the agencies they are being entrusted with. Putting such examples of anti-government people in charge of government could be disastrous. They could very well  undo Franklin Roosevelt's safeguards for the poor and most vulnerable, shrink the middle class and threaten the gains of the Civil Rights Movement.