Representatives Judy Chu & Grace Meng of ASPIRE PAC Visit SF

Grace Meng and Judy Chu

Representatives Judy Chu and Grace Meng – courtesy of 8Asians

A few weeks ago, I had learned of a fundraiser in San Francisco for the ASPIRE PAC , which I had not heard of before:

ASPIRE PAC is the political arm of Asian American and Pacific Islander Members of Congress. ASPIRE PAC stands for Asian Americans & Pacific Islanders Rising & Empowering PAC.

ASPIRE PAC is focused on supporting candidates of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) descent and those that support and promote the issues of the AAPI community. ASPIRE PAC offers a voice for the AAPI community and encourages active participation in the U.S. political process.

ASPIRE PAC is chaired by Congresswoman Grace Meng, and was launched in 2011 by Congresswoman Judy Chu. We welcomed two new AAPI Members in 2020. Kaialiʻi Kahele, who is the is the second Native Hawaiian since statehood to be elected to represent Hawai‘i in Congress. Marilyn Strickland, who is the first Korean American Congresswoman and the first Black Congress member from Washington.

I’ve been blogging for 8Asians since January 2007 and my particular niche (although not limited to) has been politics, so I was surprised to only learn of this PAC recently. ASPIRE PAC had been primarily focused in the Washington, D.C. area, which didn’t make a lot of sense to me. But I’m glad ASPIRE PAC is starting to expand geographically to engage potential and actual donors. Since the minimum donation was $100 to attend the fundraiser, this was a no-brainer for me and a friend of mine to attend to learn more.

Representatives Judy Chu and Grace Meng, both whom I’ve met before, expressed the need to support ASPIRE PAC to support AAPI members in Congress, AAPI candidates, and other members who have been key advocates for our community.

Other Asian American Politcal Action Committees I have heard of include:

  • AAPI Victory Fund – “the first Super PAC of its kind – is focused on mobilizing Asian American and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) eligible voters and moving them to the ballot box.”
  • 80-20 Initiative – “dedicated to winning equal opportunity and justice for all Asian Americans through a SWING bloc vote, ideally directing 80% of our community’s votes and money to the presidential candidate endorsed by the 80-20, who better represents the interests of all APAs. Hence, the name “80-20” was created.”
  • Asian American Forward – “committed to supporting and furthering the presence of Asian Americans in American politics.”
  • Asian Americans Rising – “Our goals focus on three areas: 1. Building a pipeline of change makers 2. Pioneering what’s possible ​​3. Creating meaningful engagement”

Personally, I would like to see the reduction of the influence in money in the U.S. political system, not more. But until changes can be implemented for campaign finance reform like spending limits, public funding of campaigns, or other solutions, I’m for certainly getting more Asian Americans politically and civically involved and in elected office.



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Easter Sunday movie gets Jo koy the key to Daly City

Jo Koy’s upcoming movie “Easter Sunday” has earned him the key to Daly City in a ceremony on July 22, 2022. The Bay Area city known for its large Filipino American population is the setting for the movie.

Easter Sunday is schedule to be released widely on August 5.  Here is a trailer below in case you haven’t seen it.

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2022 Asian American Voter Survey (AAVS) Findings

Since I cover politics as my particular niche for 8Asians, I’m always interested when the latest Asian American Voter Survey comes out. Thus I was eager to see this years would say, as the latest survey was released recently. Here are some  selected findings that I found the most interesting.

As you can see from above, it’s no surprise that Asian Americans overall, are considerably more Democratic than Republican. Those who are independent, lean more Democratic than Republican:

What’s also not surprising is that Vietnamese Americans are the most poltically Republican.

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Andrew Yang Announces Merger with Two Other Political Parties to re-establish the Forward Party

On Wednesday, July 27th, Forward Party founder Andrew Yang announced something interesting – the merger of three third party political parties into one, under the brand of the Forward Party:

“Today, I have some incredibly exciting news: The Forward Party is merging with two phenomenal organizations—the Serve America Movement (SAM) and the Renew America Movement (RAM)!  The new Forward Party will immediately be the biggest third party in the country by resources at the time you read this.

That’s right—the new Forward Party is now the biggest third party in the country!  Our reach will expand very quickly.  We are already on the ballot in several states with a goal of 15 states by the end of this year, twice that number in ’23 and all 50 in ‘24.

I now have amazing new colleagues who have been working their hearts out to put our country on a better path for years.  One of them is David Jolly, a former Member of Congress from Florida who has been leading SAM.  Another is Miles Taylor, formerly known as Anonymous, who has been leading RAM.  Former NJ Governor and Cabinet member Christie Todd Whitman (a Republican who endorsed Joe Biden in 2020), former Congressman Joe Sestak, Reverend Ira Acree of Chicago, and many others are part of the Leadership Circle, with many more on the way. “

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Public Service Announcement: Asian American Gothic

asian american male and female couple posing like American gothic paintingThis public service announcement, created by director Brian G. Cheung and production company Only Today puts expresses a simple message: Asian Americans are Americans. This is in response to the ongoing trend of anti-Asian attacks, and in particular to the attack on a man and his 5 year old daughter in Portland Oregon. The daughter of Vicha Ratanapakdee, who was murdered in San Francisco, is shown in the PSA holding his picture.

The Asian American couple at the start has been posed to resemble the couple in the classic American painting American Gothic by Grant Wood.

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Asian American Medical Hazard: Pulse Oximeter Readings

Reuters, NPR, and other news outlets report that  African Americans, Hispanics, and Asians receive less supplemental oxygen when hospitalized because of a problem with a common medical instrument, the pulse oximeter. This instrument clips onto a finger, as shown in the picture to the left, and uses light to measure the amount of oxygen in the blood.  That data is used to determine whether supplemental oxygen is necessary. Doctor and Researcher A. Ian Wong talks about the real life implications of this in his own experience with treating COVID-19 patients.

For its part, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has cautioned that given the knowledge that skin pigmentation and other factors like using nail polish can affect pulse oximeter readings, those readings should be considered an estimate and that data trends rather than absolute readings should be used.  Pulse oximeters were created in the 1970s and tested on mostly white populations. The FDA is also planning to convene a meeting later this year of its Medical Device Advisory committee to look into these issues and make further recommendations.

Some studies like this one (although a preprint not yet peer-reviewed) do not find much of an accuracy difference between Asian pulse oximeter readings and that for whites but do find a black/white difference.  I would venture that since “Asian” as a category encompasses a huge range of skin tones (ranging from pale K-Pop stars to Mindy Kaling), some “Asian” samples in studies might not encompass that variety.

(photo credit:  Nenad Stojkovic by CC by 2.0)

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Asian American Commercial Watch: ConEdison

If you live in the NYC and Westchester area, you might come across this Con Edison television commercial:

Con Edison is tripling our investments in energy efficiency programs for the businesses and homes that power New York. From swapping out appliances to cleaner heating and cooling, making a simple switch has an effect on your savings, home, and everyone’s future. To learn more about our programs, and what energy efficiency means for your home or business, visit:

This commercial stars actor Lawrence Wong.


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Ms Marvel Episode 6 Review: No Normal (Major Spoilers)

Ms Marvel wrapped up its initial season with it’s finale, episode six titled No Normal. Here is my final episode and season review. Overall I loved the series but thought that the finale was a mixed bag.  Major spoilers below.

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Michelle Kwan Inducted into U.S.Olympic Hall of Fame & Confirmed Ambassadorship

I’ve been behind on my blogging, but I definitely wanted to catch up with the recent news that on June 24th, Michelle Kwan was officially inducted into the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Hall of Fame, Class of 2022:

  • Michelle Kwan (figure skating – 1994 (alternate), 1998, 2002): As the most decorated figure skater in U.S. history, Michelle is a two-time Olympic medalist, five-time world champion and nine-time world championship medalist. She competed at the senior level for over a decade during the most competitive era of women’s figure skating and was the U.S. women’s champion nine times.

I remember seeing Kwan live at the 2002 Salt Lake City winter Olympics and being mesmerized. To think I would have the opportunity to meet Kwan in person three times (at a Hillary Clinton fundraiser in San Francisco, a fundraiser for Vivek Viswanathan for California State Treasurer in San Francisco, and the kickoff event for AAPIs for Biden in Las Vegas) has been kind of amazing!

Additionaly, back in May, Kwan had her Senate confirmation hearing for Ambassador to Belize (her nomination was announced back in December 2021):

As a Taiwanese American, it was interesting to hear Kwan discuss the strong ties between Belize & Taiwan (as Belize is one of the few countries in the world that diplomatically recognizes the Republic of China over the People’s Republic of China).

It’s been quite a 2022 for Kwan, first with having her baby daughter in January, her induction into the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame, and her ambassadorship confirmation!

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Ms Marvel Episode 5 Review: Time and Again (Major Spoilers)

The Wife and I anxiously awaited  Ms Marvel episode 5 and found most of it enthralling and even informative.  Overall I thought it was worth watching, althoughI thought that this episode had some problems in my opinion. Major spoilers to follow after the jump.

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Ms Marvel Episode 4 Review: Seeing Red (Major Spoilers)

Even as Ms Marvel has passed the half way point, I am still finding the series to be intriguing. While it wasn’t perfect, I really enjoyed Episode 4, titled Seeing Red, especially from an Asian American point of view (more on that below).  Some major spoilers after the jump.
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Bias in Source Code Review Pushback impacts Asians and other groups at Google

You would think that tech rank and file positions in Silicon Valley (as opposed to upper and executive management) would be where Asians would experience less bias, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. Researchers at Google have found that within Google, Asians, Blacks, Hispanics, women, and older engineers receive more pushback from their reviews of source code than do younger white males.  In their study published on March 22, 2022 in the Communications of the ACM, authors Emerson Murphy-Hill, Ciera Jaspan, Carolyn Egelman, and Lan Cheng said that they expected groups other than Asians to get more pushback, but they were surprised that Asians got more pushback too.  The authors estimate that this extra pushback costs non-White and non-male more than 1,000 extra engineer hours every day, a productivity loss for Google.

What is code review pushback and why is extra pushback an issue?  At Google and many other places where software is developed, proposed changes in code are reviewed by other people.  Developers receiving the reviews don’t have to accept and act on the feedback, and they can push back on that feedback.  Responding to the pushback make take a few rounds of explaining – the cost to Google (and most likely, other organizations using similar review processes) being extra time that Asians and others need to devote to this. Google, in their open source documentation, has a web page that talks about how to deal with pushback.

The paper authors say that they are surprised at the results, but is this result really surprising?  Lots of assumptions are made based solely on names, and previous studies suggest that with identifiably Asian and other group names can suffer because of the assumptions and prejudices.  The authors suggest anonymizing the reviewers names.  Previous studies of orchestra auditions have shown that anonymization and hiding identifying information like gender can reduce bias.  Using blind reviewing doesn’t seem to reduce the review quality.

Various levels of blind reviewing has been done in the academic journal spaces for some time.  This has its disadvantages also, as some times reviewers can figure out who the paper submitter is just from the content or references.  Similarly, the developers who are reviewed might be able to figure out the ethnicity of their reviewer from grammar and wording, detecting reviewers for whom English is a second language.

I find this study interesting because it shows that reducing bias has benefits for an organization beyond any particular notions of political correctness. The articles on this subject don’t actually say whether anonymizing reviewers reduces bias in pushback, only that it doesn’t impact the actual process of code review.  I’d like to see them follow up on the actual effect on bias.  I see this type of anonymization becoming more common, and I have even seen some uses of it internally within the company where I work.

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