Guest blogger Ted
Today was my first ever experience knocking on doors for a political campaign.
For those who haven’t heard, I’ve flown out from San Francisco to Arlington, Virginia to make the biggest difference I can in a place where every single vote is critical. Because Arlington is close to DC ( i.e. abundant with volunteers), the campaign has assigned me to the Ashburn office in Loudoun County, about 40 minutes west near the Dulles Airport.
Loudoun County is not just another county in a major battleground state, its ground zero for the fight. It’s a microcosm of the statewide drama and according to one of my canvassing partners today (a volunteer who drives 1 hr+ from DC every day), it’s THE swing county. Take all the other counties in VA and they’ll split dead even. As Loudoun County swings, so does the state apparently.
The “split county” profile was evident right away. Just on the drive over, the number and size of the McCain/Palin signs was a wake up call. I think I’ve seen one of those in the whole Bay Area.
The Ashburn office is small and lightly staffed compared to the SF Obama office where I’ve spent many hours these last weeks. Granted, it’s a Friday morning but Monday afternoon in SF was *packed*, requiring at least 3 phone bank captains to handle the load.
In a split county, note that there’s going to be a lot fewer volunteers available and many of the ones that were there were from out of state. But remember, this is one of probably 6 Obama offices in Loudoun County. And the suburban commuter demographics would mean far fewer people around during a weekday.
That’s why our canvassing today only targeted 65 and older folks, people who might be home in the middle of a Friday.
To keep this reasonably short, let’s just say the area really represented the demographic forces and political divide in Virginia. Just about every Obama/Biden yard sign was matched by a McCain/Palin sign. Often “dueling” across the street from each other. And in this surprising case, fighting on the same front lawn:
By demographic forces, I mean the newer, younger suburban communities vs the older, more “rural” areas. Just in our small canvassing area we saw the range: McMansions with large yards, more “middle class” townhomes, and small ranch homes tucked away down a gravel road. It’s the huge growth in these suburbs in northern VA that’s cited as the reason VA may go blue this year.
Overall, the day went quickly and pleasantly – most people weren’t home but the ones who were home were always friendly. I’ll cut this post short with the woman who really made my day:
I ended up catching a spry, 81 years young woman as she was heading to her car. (slight paraphrasing) “Our whole family is voting for Obama. That’s 16 votes for him! My granddaughter is volunteering for Obama over in Fairfax. We tried to go to his rally in Leesburg but never even got to security. So we sat up on the lawn. When we hear him speak, it sounds like what FDR wanted to do for the country. We remember FDR. You’re too young to know FDR.” (emphasis mine)
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Yul Kwon at Stanford University (4:35)
This noon at Stanford University, Asian American activist, Stanford alum and Survivor winner Yul Kwon and Dr. Sophia Yen, along with John Lewis, were part of a student Stanford rally against California’s Proposition 4 and Proposition 8.
Yul spoke of his time at Stanford and how he had proposed earlier this year to his fiancée. Yul met his fiancée through a fellow survivor contestant, Brad, who happened to be gay and how Brad had found the love of his life in his partner Donovan and how Yul wanted the same rights for Brad & Donovan as he had. John Lewis and others had also noted that not too long ago, inter-racial marriage was illegal in the United States – can you imagine that? Pretty unfathomable.
As a Stanford student noted, which I thought about and agreed with, equal marriage rights is the civil rights issue of our generation and we should NOT be changing our state constitution to institute discrimination. Stanford is having a MASSIVE 150 – 200 person phone banking session this Saturday – apparently the largest in the state, to help defeat Proposition 4 & 8. I also recorded John Lewis’s empassioned speech which you can view here.
My friend, Dr. Sophia Yen, a current clinical instructor at Stanford University hospital, spoke out against Proposition 4 – “Waiting period and parental notification before termination of minor’s pregnancy. Initiative constitutional amendment.” Sophia gave a terrific summary as to why one should vote NO on 4 and discussed her personal experience about counseling pregnant teens, and why NO on 4 would be bad for the safety and health of pregnant teens. You can learn more about the issue from the video below (4:30):
Sorry if my title is a little misleading. I thought more people would pay attention to this entry if I had the magical political keywords of the week.
Has anyone else caught on to the Japanese fad of the Banana Diet? You know it’s global when Time magazine devotes an entire article to it.
According to these people,
The Morning Banana Diet regime is simple: A banana (or as many as you want) and room temperature water for breakfast; eat anything you like for lunch and dinner (by 8 p.m.). A three o’clock snack is okay, but no desserts after meals, and you have to go to bed before midnight.
Japanese people are so crazy about this diet that the country is facing a banana shortage. And it’s not the first time, either.
Last year’s fermented soybean (natto) diet emptied supermarket shelves. Based on experience, Horiuchi predicts that the banana boom will last only another month or so.
FYI, I need to go on a diet, especially since I realized very recently that I am considered “obese,” according to these new standards for yellow people. (Thanks, joz, for ruining the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday for me.) So please, feel free to share your Asian diet ideas with me because I need them. But bananas? I hate bananas!
And what is up with Japan and fads? I know it’s all part of the stereotype; with such a small, densely populated country with a pretty homogeneous culture, trends would always spread like wildfire. It’s old news. But does it have to keep happening?
Do they not realize that this banana diet is merely about restricting your calorie intake? Could it not become any more obvious when one of the rules explicitly states “no desserts after meals”? This is insane. I thought Asian people were supposed to be SMART. That’s why we’re so good at math and sneaking military secrets to the Chinese government.
Japan, you disappoint me.
PS. Bananas are disgusting.
(Flickr photo credit: .mands.)
I always try to watch The Daily Show and occasionally watch The Colbert Report from beginning-to-end. The other day, I was surprised, given the election season, that Stephen Colbert was interviewing the world famous cello master Yo-Yo Ma. Even if you are not into classical music, I’m sure you’ve heard of him – which is pretty amazing. I’m not sure I know of any famous violinists offhand. I guess “Yo-Yo” is a pretty easy name to remember! This was one strange interview – well, almost any interview with Stephen Colbert is going to be fairly non-standard! Below is his performance on the show.
Some news announced at the American College of Rheumatology conference this past week in San Francisco showed that tai-chi was beneficial for relieving pain and disability from knee osteoarthritis compared to the control group that stretched and underwent wellness education. Strengthening the quads, with sustained, slow movements of tai chi showed that the cartilage behind the knee was preserved, alleviating pain and expanding range of motion.
I love how these scientists compared the standard treatment for knee pain with such a non-medical “treatment” of tai chi to see if one would be better. As medical treatments fall short in addressing our aches and pains…for me, dancing has always made me feel better. So wouldn’t it be an interesting study to see how tai chi compares with similar practices? Yoga? Ballroom dancing?
I’m also wondering how much of tai chi relates to the physical benefits of the exercise as opposed to the emotional benefits — does it improve pain because it simply makes the person feel better doing tai chi?
(Flickr photo credit: cheetah100)
The irony was not lost on any of us when the initiative measure known as Proposition 8, which fundamentally alters the California state constitution, would be titled the “California Marriage Protection Act” (emphasis my own). It might have been titled the “Marriage Definition Act,” as the initiative seeks to define what is and is not “marriage.” “Marriage Protection,” however, no matter where one stands on the issue, makes no sense.
Marriage is an institution. It is an establishment, an organization of behavior or relationships charged by social and cultural models. Social and cultural models change with time, with the changes relative to the demographics of the people in that society or culture. Thus, institutions change. They change because people reach little epiphanies along the way about what “fair and justice” or “equality” means.
Please, by all means let us argue and debate over what “marriage” means. Discourse is good. Where civil rights may be involved, though, it becomes imperative that we first find common ground. So let’s say “marriage” at its very basic definition, means the formal ratification of a human union or relationship. Marriage is the institution that governs that formal ratification process. This denominator protects the most people. That’s what our purpose here is, right? To protect people, namely our neighbors, who we love; because when God said love thy neighbor, the implication there is that we ought to protect them. That’s part of what it means to love.
A “Marriage Protection Act” should therefore protect all human unions or relationships that seek to be formally ratified. Then, the details of the governance would be worked out through the democratic ways we Americans have been trying to preserve with our War on Terrorism. A provision that reads “Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California” (which is word for word how Article 1, Section 7.5 of California’s Constitution will read if Prop 8 is passed) is not a protection of the institution of marriage, but rather is explicit discrimination within the institution of marriage.
Before we go any further, I would like to revise Section 1 of Proposition 8 so that our laws utilize language more precisely. It is the “Marriage Definition Act” at its nicest and “Marriage Discrimination Act” at its most accurate. I would be okay with any of those two titles. I am not okay with the misleading title “Marriage Protection.”
As a social conservative, I am voting NO on Prop 8 because marriage is sacred to me, and I oppose any law that might pervert the sanctity of marriage.
Even if equal protection is irrelevant to me (as a minority in this country, equal protection should NEVER be irrelevant to us), I still care about the economy. Passage of Prop 8 means significant revenue loss, mainly in sales taxes, to state and local governments. This could mean a loss of tens of millions of dollars in just the next few years. That kind of money does not sound negligible to me, and I’m sure a public school district receiving that money for rehabilitation wouldn’t consider it negligible, nor would any other group or institution receiving those “excess” funds.
Finally, if we really want to pass Prop 8, then we must also rethink the Pledge of Allegiance. “With Liberty and Justice for All”? We should amend it with a measure called “Justice for All Protection Act” and include an asterisk with a list of exceptions by the word “All.”
Oh, and no, I won’t bother tying this into Asian Americanism to validate this post’s place at 8Asians.com. As people who have historically been excluded from what “All” means in this country, it would be shameful for any of us to support any form of inequality.
[Editors note: Although the blog post was written by akrypti, the title was conceived by Ernie. Flickr photo credit: brenbot.]
Alternate title of post: John Cho, not just a hot/not hot actor with a ginormous head. But in all seriousness, I was moved by his speech on why he, as a young father, opposes Prop 8. Check it out:
I was taking a look at the Asian Americans for Obama website, and came across their post on the Asian American Vote in Virginia. The news story profiles Asian Americans who support McCain and those who support Obama. Virginia is surprisingly a key swing state this year where there are enough Asian Americans to actually help swing the state one way or another. One part of the news piece which I think CBS got wrong was that news reporter Ramy Inocencio states that Asian Americans vote in high numbers – which is WRONG. Asian Americans between the ages of 18 to 25 are the least likely to vote of any demographic within the United States, and Asian Americans overall vote less than whites, blacks, and Hispanics.
Zhenghao Shen, a Chinese college student in Australia, stabbed a friend in the head after an argument broke out while they were playing World of Warcraft (of course).
It was told the victim asked Zhenghao to turn down the volume on his computer several times then challenged him to a fight.
Zhenghao allegedly then stabbed the victim in the head with a chef’s knife.
Wow. I mean, was it really that hard to turn your speakers down? Do you really have to succumb to the stereotype of nerdy Asian boys who incessantly play video games and sometimes take things a little too far?
Shen, I’m very disappointed in you. But at least you didn’t pull out a samurai sword. THAT would have been a little too much.
The other day, CNN’s Veronica De La Cruz asked Asian American voters what’s on their minds. To be honest, I didn’t see the point of her approach of going down to Chinatown using a Flip video camera to interview rather using a regular video camera. Maybe they were trying to go incognito so people wouldn’t be too intimidated that it was CNN.
In any case, before the piece was aired, I did see De La Cruz and an African American newscaster mentioning how the Asian American vote wasn’t getting much coverage, which is true. Asian Americans do make about 5% of the U.S. population, but this year, there are some swing states like Virginia and Nevada that Asian Americans CAN make a difference.
Well, just after blogging about The Los Angeles Times writing about Vietnamese Americans leaning more towards Senator John McCain, the San Jose Mercury News reports that “Young Vietnamese Americans turn away from GOP“:
“… But more than three decades after communist tanks rolled into Saigon, young Vietnamese-Americans are abandoning the Republican Party in droves, according to a Mercury News computer analysis of nearly 30,000 new Santa Clara County voters. By plugging Vietnamese surnames into a data base, the analysis shows that Vietnamese-Americans aged 30 and under are registering Democratic over Republican by nearly 4 to 1… “The young Vietnamese who were born in this country are the same as the other American kids. They all go to school together. They’re open-minded and they’re part of the new generation of young voters. They have different ideas than the older Vietnamese.””
As far as this presidential race is concerned, I can definitely see a generational change in terms of who supports McCain versus Obama. Clearly, in the Democratic primary, the youth vote much preferred Obama over Clinton where seniors definitely preferred Clinton over Obama. Santa Clara County / Silicon Valley is pretty liberal and Democratic, so it is no big surprise that young Vietnamese American in the Bay Area are overwhelmingly supporting Obama. But it is surprising to see the ratio of registered Vietnamese American Democrats to Republicans being 4:1!
The headline above is directly quoted from an article at foodarazzi.com. Various organizations have used Body Mass Index (BMI) to draw the lines between categories such as Obese, Overweight, Normal, and Underweight. The World Health Organization defines Normal as 18.5 to 25.
Turns out that Asian Americans should aim for a BMI of 23, not 25. The explanation? Asian Americans are “fatter” at a lower BMI than Caucasian Americans. This translates to an increased risk of diabetes and other health problems at lower weights.
So what does this really mean?
Here are my follow up IMs with Ernie:
joz: omg @ your tweet about that thing about asian am bmi
Ernie: i know.
Ernie: it was like being kicked in my very large belly.
God, I love Ernie.