Back in March 2014, I had blogged about California State Senator Leland Yee had been arrested, along with others, on public corruption charges. He initially pleaded not-guilty, but now has changed his plea to guilty:
“Yee, who previously has pleaded not guilty to bribery, money laundering and other felony charges, was scheduled to go on trial in late July in the sweeping case that was centered in San Francisco’s Chinatown. But he changed his plea Wednesday in San Francisco federal court and will likely serve some time in prison, legal analysts say. He could face a maximum of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, according to federal sentencing guidelines and the plea agreement obtained by NBC Bay Area. He admitted to a long list of crimes, including wire fraud and quid pro quo favors in return for campaign contributions, from 2011 to March 2014, in a spree called the “campaign,” the plea deal shows. In many of the cases, Yee was interacting with undercover FBI agents.”
As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve met Yee briefly a few times at some political events in the San Francisco Bay Area, and he definitely seemed like a sketchy politician. Yee would always show up late and leave early at event, so he could be seen, then move on to the next event. But Yee’s charges I think surprised even his strongest critics. Fortunately, most elected officials I’ve met, whether they are Asian American or not, do have the best of intentions and certainly not like Yee.
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It wasn’t until I got to the base of the Mt. Fuji and was getting ready for our tromp through the forest to the ice cave that I found out from my companions that our tromp would be through the Aokigahara, which I also found out at that point was famed for frequent suicides.
Needless to say, we didn’t find a body, but there were abandoned cars and motorcycles here and there in the parking lot and a little into the forest. Also, there were signs that discouraged suicide complete with suicide hotlines people can call.
South Korean heart throb star and martial artist Lee Byung-hun takes on the role of T-1000 in the newest Terminator franchise installment “Terminator Genysis“. Lee is familiar to American viewers from previous role as Storm Shadow in G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra (2009).
If you thought the Republican presidential field was already too large, Governor of Louisiana Bobby Jindal threw his hat into the ring on June 24th making him the 13th (? – I think!) official candidate to run for the Republican Party nomination for president.
I first blogged about Jindal in 2007 when he became the first ever Indian American ever to be elected governor of a state. The first time I had ever seen Jindal interviewed on television, I was kind of shocked to see an Indian American with a Southern accent. In 2011, Jindal was re-elected in a landslide. However, these days, Jindal’s record and popularity in Louisiana is quite poor:
“A poll was released in Louisiana about a month ago that showed President Obama’s approval rating in the Pelican State is down to 42%. It didn’t come as too big of a surprise, of course – Louisiana is a deep-red state in the Deep South, and the president lost his re-election bid here by 17 points.What was surprising, though, was that the same poll found that Obama was four points more popular in Louisiana than Gov. Bobby Jindal (R). Indeed, by some measures, Jindal is the single least popular governor in the United States.”
That’s pretty shocking. I wonder if Jindal actually thinks he has a chance of winning the nomination, let alone winning the general election. His record is pretty bad:
“Gov. Bobby Jindal, who is Louisiana’s first nonwhite governor since Reconstruction but whose popularity plummeted as the state struggled with a $1.6 billion shortfall, announced Wednesday that he is running for president in 2016. … The state has the seventh-highest unemployment rate and the third-highest poverty rate in the country. In February, Moody’s Investors Service, the credit-rating agency, revised the state’s financial outlook from stable to negative, citing its structural budget imbalance.”
But The Daily Show’s Jon Stewart has a take on one of Jindal’s release videos where he and his wife are telling their children that Bobby is running for president:
If Jindal’s kids aren’t even excited, how is any Republican or American in the general election going to be excited (of course, the kids are bit too young to really understand – but you get the point.)
In my lifetime though, I do hope to see a credible Asian American that I respect run for president and win!
With the revelation from an Ivy admissions insider about biases against Asian Americans and ever increasing application pools, it seems more and more difficult for an Asian American to get into “dream” schools like Princeton and UC Berkeley. Some Asian and Asian American parents are turning to consultants and even offering up to $400,000 to get their kid into top tier schools. One student attending Thomas Jefferson High School found a much easier and convenient way to win praise, admiration, and adulation for getting into the likes of Harvard and Stanford. She simply made up a story saying that she got into both, and even better than that, she would attend both! This story is a case study about the downsides of prestigious degree madness.
Deadline reports that…
After recurring in Season 1, Chelsey Crisp (Reconcilation, The Harvesting) has been promoted to series regular for the second season of ABC comedy Fresh Off The Boat. She plays the Huangs’ neighbor Honey. Based on Eddie Huang’s memoir, the 1990s-set series revolves around a Chinese family that moves to suburban Orlando. It centers on hip-hop-loving Eddie Huang, raised by an immigrant father (Randall Park) who is obsessed with all things American and an immigrant mother (Constance Wu) who is often bewildered by white culture. Crisp is repped by 3 Arts and DSA.
This is kind of old news, but I wanted to blog about it for the record. Back on June 10th, Michelle Kwan (yes, the figure skater and Olympic medal winner) is joining the 2016 Hillary Clinton for President campaign, as first initially reported by the New York Times:
“Michelle Kwan, a former figure skater and Olympic medal winner, will work from Mrs. Clinton’s Brooklyn headquarters on outreach efforts before the Clinton campaign’s formal kickoff rally on Saturday, according to campaign aides. … Ms. Kwan’s focus is said to be on directing campaign surrogates to engage voters on issues critical to working families. Ms. Kwan worked as the United States public diplomacy envoy at the State Department when Mrs. Clinton was secretary of state.”
I had first blogged about Kwan’s involvement in government back in June of 2011 when she worked for Clinton when Clinton was Secretary of State. But Kwan’s first involvement with the government was back in November 2006 (before 8Asians.com existed!) when then Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice appointed Kwan as the first “American Public Diplomacy Envoy.”
I always wondered where Kwan stood politically. The fact that she worked both for Rice and Clinton, I thought she was possibly a political independent to keep her government or political career wide open. But after Kwan married Clay Pell, who is the grandson of former and late Democratic Senator Claiborne Pell, I figured she was probably a Democrat.
It’ll be really interesting to see how active and promient of a role Kwan plans in the Clinton campaign. For certain swing states like Nevada and Virginia, Kwan could help rally the Asian American vote for Clinton. As we know, Asians Americans generally lean Democratic, but a good number are independents.
Here’s the first YouTube video that the Clinton campaign posted (“broadcasted” via Periscope) on June 13th – the day of her official campaign launch:
Unfortunately, Kwan doesn’t say anything in this very brief clip. Hopefully Kwan will be more vocal in the future! (then again, the video clip is only 8 seconds …)
When we mapped out getting to Fuji on our own, we realized we would spend a lot of precious time trying to transfer from train to bus to bus etc. just to get to where we wanted and would have to spend a night there due to the time it would take to travel there on our own taking into account the high possibility of getting lost and all that. So we had a travel agent book us a day trip to Fuji that would be bang for buck in terms of how many experiences we could pack in one day.
The first thing we were incredibly pleased with was the absolutely crystal clear skies that met us when we arrived at Fuji on our tour bus. I had read in multiple guide books and sites that often a trip to Fuji could end up being a bit disappointing if there was an overcast that blocked the view of the mountain, and in fact, it was quite common for that to happen. So I was mentally preparing myself for a disappointing view. It was so clear that day that we could see it from far away on the bus already.
Here’s a video of the stream of cloud billowing breathtakingly off the mountain top. It gives the eerie effect of Fuji being active. It was seriously surreal. There was however, a price to pay for the clear view.
As reported in Wall Street Journal, U.S. institutions of higher education expelled an estimated 8,000 students last year for cheating and poor grades.
Imagine an academically focused high school with plenty of Asians Americans and without a consistently usable track and limited athletic funding. What if any sport would it excel in? Why track of course! In this interview at milesplit.com, Lowell High School’s track coach Andy Leong talks about his successes at Lowell and his own career, both of which are much different than the stereotypical image of Asian Americans and athletics.
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) had a special section on Martial Arts & Self Defense Items. Included on this list are nunchucks and throwing stars. TSA regular posts on Instagram items they find in people’s carry-on luggage, and sure enough, there are ninja stars regularly featured, including those used by Batman.
I stumbled across Patricia Park’s debut novel Re Jane while looking through reading lists saying what should have been on this year’s (not surprisingly) all-white cast of New York Times recommended summer books. And I have to say, that it is a kind of ideal summer read — based loosely on Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre (which I confess to not having read) — it follows Jane Re, a mixed-race Korean-American orphan, as she steps into the “real world” after graduating from college. It’s a story about family, romance, friendship, choices, that kind of thing that we like reading about–and it’s written about in a fresh and lively style.
I may be a little bit biased because this is a very New York book, and I am writing this from New York, but I hope that the kind of endearing descriptions of the 7 train and the chaos of trying to find yourself in a big city are equally endearing to those without insider knowledge of New York City’s geographic quirks and layouts. And of course, this story is much more than location, as Jane tries to balance between her upbringing under her uncle’s strict tutelage and her desire to escape from that life. She takes a job as an au pair to a Brooklyn family with an adopted Chinese daughter, and suddenly finds herself in a new kind of family environment.
Shifting back and forth between different micro-worlds, Jane’s voice is full of thoughtfulness and spunk. As she navigates feeling out of place in nearly every situation she finds herself in, her characters shows resilience and humor.
A family death sees her leaving New York for Korea, faced anew with family and a culture she partially fits into. Throughout, Park’s writing pulls threads of Korean language and culture, mimicking Jane’s travels between Queens and Brooklyn, Seoul, and Pusan, and back again–be it jung or tap-tap-hae.
Re Jane was a pleasure to read, the perfect train, beach, or plane book (or plain book). The characters are complicated and relatable. Per an impressive array of author reviews, its an innovative take on Jane Eyre (I’m only sorry not to be able to comment on that, maybe next time). So take a ride on the 7.