Monday, November 20, 2006

John Cho People Magazine’s 11th Sexiest Man Alive!

As the Arts and Culture editor of Asian American Village, it was my job to go investigate when People Magazine announced their picks for this year’s Sexiest Man Alive. I clicked to their website and scrolled through all their pictures expecting to not see any Asian Americans. I was already writing an article in my head ranting about the lack of Asian American representation in the Sexiest Man Alive list.

Boy, was I surprised to see Korean American actor
John Cho, of Better Luck Tomorrow and Harold and Kumar go to White Castle fame, listed online as the 11th Sexiest Man Alive! Brad Pitt was only 15th. I did not think that the mainstream even knew who John Cho was!

So then, of course, in the interests of further research, I had to watch People Magazine’s online video featuring photographs of 100 Sexy Men in One Minute. I saw a few Asian faces fly back, but had to replay the video over and over and over and over again (yes, it was torture) to try to identify who they were.
Daniel Dae Kim of Lost was one (After more excruciating research, I found out he was Number Eight in 2005). I am not sure of the other’s identity (or if there were any more), the pictures flew by so fast. I guess I will have to get the paper magazine when it hits the newsstands November 17.

You should also check out the beautiful Indian-Canadian UC Berkeley associate professor in earth and planetary sciences and MacArthur “Genius” Fellow Michael Manga who made the list in 2005 under the category of “Smart Guys” (after Bono). According to Hindustani Times, Professor Manga was ranked #14 on the list that year, he was born and raised in Canada, and his father is of Indian origin who immigrated to Canada from South Africa.

For more unrestrained oggling of Beautiful Asian and Asian American men, check out Frances’ Weak in the Knees: Revisiting the "Nice Chinese Boy".

Friday, November 17, 2006

This Weekend @ AAV: Vietnam Focus News Section Supplement

This weekend in the AP News Headlines section at Asian American Village Online, the editors have put together a package of articles focusing on Viet Nam and the Vietnamese American community.

In the first reading, the AP's Jennifer Loven provides an analysis of how Bush's trip to Vietnam revives the Iraqi 'quagmire' comparison. A follow by AP writer Daisy Nguyen discusses changing views among Vietnamese Americans who are considering investments in Vietnam as the Southeast Asian nation's business environment continues to open up. On the other hand, two-part coverage by Terence Chea examines the human rights concerns that remain strong in the community, in profiles of Silicon Valley engineer and activist Cong Thanh Do, and Florida's Nguyen Thuong “Cuc” Foshee, who was recently deported back to the U.S. after being convicted of terrorism in Vietnam.

Outside of politics, a cultural article completes the package, with an AP Member exchange feature by the Washington Post's Michelle Boorstein, focusing on the unique "flavor" of worship at an Arlington, Virginia Catholic church.

Also included in the supplement will be a sidebar featuring job opportunities related to conducting business in Vietnam from the IMDiversity Asian American Village Career Center and Job Bank.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

New Column: Immigration Q&A with Attorney Patricia Ice is pleased to introduce a new column focused on answering practical, real-life immigration-relation questions.

The column is provided by our new Featured Columist L. Patricia Ice, a Mississippi-based immigration attorney and immigrant rights activist currently taking time out from her successful law practice to serve as an Equal Justice Works Katrina Legal Fellow, working with the non-profit rights education group, MIRA: The Mississippi Immigrants Rights Alliance at In this role, she will help communities in need in areas around the Gulf Coast, with a special focus on immigrant employment issues such as fair labor standards, and wage and hour problems.

Ms. Ice contributes regular immigration advice stories to area publications including La Noticia and The Jackson Advocate.

The new column will be housed in a new immigration readings department at Hispanic American Village, the sister site of Asian American Village, providing careers and feature content for Latino professionals.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

In Fresno, Blong Xiong Makes a Little Bit of History

Hmong American businessman Blong Xiong prevailed in his run-off effort against Scott Miller to become the first Asian American to serve on the Fresno City Council. The election was a run-off after an extremely tight primary this summer in which Miller led by a mere seven votes.

According to the Fresno Bee newspaper, the Nov. 7 win also makes Xiong just the third Hmong elected official in California.

Xiong's victory is being heralded as an important step for Hmong and other Southeast Asians not only locally, but nationwide. Hios campaign is credited with providing inspiration for increased political participation by members of small communities with generally low turnout and little representation in local governments.

In results published by the city, Xiong was elected by 54.17% of voters, or 5,171 votes.

Affirmative Action Banned in Michigan

By Frances Kai-Hwa Wang, Asian American Village Acting Editor

The controversial Proposal 2 to ban Affirmative Action in Michigan passed by a wide margin, becoming the third state, after California and Washington, to outlaw preferential treatment to groups or individuals based on race, gender, color, ethnicity, or national origin for public employment, education, or contracting purposes. The proposal and its potential to roll back years of progress for women and minorities was opposed by pretty much everyone--Republicans, Democrats, business, labor, social and religious organizations--except the Ku Klux Klan.

The Detroit Free Press reports, “With 99 percent of precincts reporting, 58%, or 2,129,506 people, voted yes on Proposal 2 and 42%, or 1,538,520 voters, opposed it.” Although pre-election polling was very unreliable because people did not want to appear racist, Proposal 2 was generally supported by white voters who felt that affirmative action was not fair to them and their families.

Dave Waymire, spokesman for One United Michigan, the major opposition group to Proposal 2, told the Detroit News, "Sadly it appears that voters have been deceived by a fraudulent campaign … that serves to divide Michigan and ignores the culture of inequity that divides our state and country….We are the most segregated state in the country and we are the most segregated metropolitan region in the country. That fact is a major impediment to our growth. If we don't overcome that, the state and region will continue to drift. This ballot proposal makes it hard to overcome those important serious racial differences."

With the passage of Proposal 2, the enrollment of black, Hispanic and Native American students at the University of Michigan is expected to drop from 12-14 percent of the student body to about 4-6 percent. In a statement released Tuesday, University of Michigan President Mary Sue Coleman states: “Regardless of what happens to Proposal 2, the University of Michigan will remain fully and completely committed to diversity. I am determined to do whatever it takes to sustain our excellence by recruiting and retaining a diverse community of students, faculty and staff." Coleman also stated that the university would explore all legal options available to defend the university’s admissions practices.

On Wednesday, UM President Mary Sue Coleman addressed the University of Michigan community: "Together, we must continue to make this world-class university one that reflects the richness of the world. I am standing here today to tell you that I will not allow this university to go down the path of mediocrity. That is not Michigan. Diversity makes us strong, and it is too critical to our mission, too critical to our excellence, and too critical to our future to simply abandon." See Coleman’s full statement.

The next step for supporters of affirmative action and opponents of Proposal 2, including The Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, Integration and Immigrant Rights and Fight for Equality By Any Means Necessary (BAMN) and the University of Michigan, will be the courts as they challenge the legality and constitutionality of this amendment.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Release: Over 75% of AAAFund's Picks Win Races

Says Results Signal Dramatic Rise in Asian American Political Clout

WASHINGTON, D.C. / November 8, 2006 — Of the 25 candidates that the AAA-Fund endorsed for 2006, at least 20 have won, 4 have lost, and 2 are still in contests too close to call. All candidates are either Asian American, or are located in districts with significant Asian American populations.

"With Democrats taking the House and the Senate at the national level, and making significant inroads on the state level, our AAA-Fund-endorsed candidates will play a key role in changing the direction of this country," said Erika L. Moritsugu, Executive Director of the AAA-Fund. "Our candidates understand that a stronger America is possible, but only if our security and quality of life are assured. And we get that security by having better health care, better education, and better jobs. The AAA-Fund looks forward to working with all of our endorsed leaders."

In particular, AAA-Fund endorsed a number of federal candidates who prevailed: Senator Daniel Akaka (D-HI); Congressmember-elect Mazie Hirono (HI-2nd Dist.), who defeated her Republican challenger by 20 percentage points; Congressmembers Mike Honda (D-CA) and Doris Matsui (D-CA), who each garnered 71% of the vote; Congressmember Bobby Scott (D-VA); Congressmember-elect Joe Sestak (PA-7th Dist.), who defeated GOP incumbent Curt Weldon by over ten percentage points; Congressmember David Wu (OR-1); and Senator-elect Ben Cardin (D-MD), who defeated Michael Steele by ten percentage points. Finally, in one of the nation's most thrilling contests, former Navy Secretary Jim Webb apparently defeated Virginia Senator George Allen by a razor-thin margin of 0.3%.

What is more, Asian American Democrats won high-profile state races across the nation. In California, John Chiang will become the first Asian American State Controller and the fourth Asian Pacific American to serve in a statewide office. Also in the Golden State, Ted Lieu, Mike Eng, Fiona Ma, Mary Hayashi, and Alberto Torrico were elected to the State Assembly; Judy Chu and Betty Yee were elected to the State Board of Equalization; and Leland Yee became the first Asian American to serve in the California State Senate.

Across the coast in
Maryland, House Majority Leader Kumar Barve and House Deputy Whip Susan Lee were handily re-elected; and Kris Valderrama and Saqib Ali were elected to the House in their first try for public office. In Minnesota, Senate Majority Whip Mee Moua, Majority Senate Whip Satveer Chaudhary, and State Representative Cy Thao coasted to re-election. Furthermore, Swati Dandekar (IA), Jay Goyal (OH), Raj Goyle (KS), William Tong (CT), and Hubert Vo (TX) easily won their respective races for State Representative.

Races that are still too close to call include those for Washington State congressional candidate Darcy Burner (WA-8), who maintained a razor-thin margin over GOP incumbent David Reichert (whose campaign has stated that it did not reach out to Asian American voters), 50.26% to 49.58%. In Guam, neither Democratic gubernatorial nominee Robert Underwood nor his GOP rival secured a majority of the vote, and a run-off election is likely.

Candidates endorsed by the AAA-Fund that did not win included congressional candidate Tammy Duckworth (IL-6), who lost an extremely close race to Peter Roskam, 51.3% to 48.7%. Challengers Phil Angelides (candidate for California Governor), congressional candidate T.J. Cox (CA-19), and Texas House candidate Phillip Shinoda also did not prevail.

"We are honored to have such a qualified slate of candidates this year," said Gautam Dutta, National Endorsements Chair of the AAA-Fund. "Regardless of the outcome of particular races, these candidates had the courage and the commitment to fight for a better America. Our candidates this cycle are indicative of a broader trend: That Asian Americans are increasingly becoming politically engaged in areas outside of traditional strongholds like Hawaii and California. This is going to be particularly important in 2008, and especially in Nevada."

In Nevada, which recently became one of the early-primary states in the 2008 presidential election, 4.6% of the voting-age population is Asian American. Between 1990 and 2000, the population of Nevada increased by 66%, but the Asian American population increased at a rate almost four times as large.

The AAA-Fund ( is a national Democratic political organization whose goal is to increase the voice of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in local, state and federal government, by encouraging APAs to volunteer on campaigns, raise money for candidates, and run for political office.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Dems take Senate as Allen concedes defeat to Webb

Posted at 4:00 Eastern:

Webb to be VA Senator after George Allen Concedes Defeat
Afternoon press conference concession finalizes Dems' majority in the Senate. The race was particularly closely watched by the Asian American community coast to coast...

William Tong elected first APA in CT congress in a squeaker

The Stamford (CT) Times reports that a Chinese American Democrat, William Tong, has won the seat for the state's 147th district and a place as the first Asian American to serve in Connecticut's congress.

Tong's win, over Republican Rep. Don Sherer, was apparently unusually tight -- with both campaigns declaring victory while the ballots were being carefully counted. The blow-by-blow is here.

CNN Exit Polls Show Asian American Voters Continuing Leftward Trend

The earliest exit poll figures from Tuesday's House races released by CNN showed the trend toward the Democratic Party cutting across diverse groups by gender, ethnicity, and age.

Accounting for all these attributes, CNN's poll showed Asian American voters (2% of those polled) also continuing to inch toward the left, giving 62% of their votes went to Democrats running for the U.S. House this year.

Although this represents a slight increase over the 61% of Asian Americans who reported voting for John Kerry in CNN’s 2004 election night exit polls, it continues what must be considered a radical leftward shift that Asian Americans have made recently since giving their overwhelming support to both George H.W. Bush and Robert Dole in the 1990s.

Additional customized exit poll information is available through CNN's comprehensive database here.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

NM Anti-Asian Land Law Repealed

The AP reports that a majority of voters in New Mexico last night voted in favor of Amendment 1, which called for striking language from the state's constitution originally intended to bar Asians from the right to property ownership.

The AP reports that 69% voted in favor of the amendment, with 97% of precincts reporting.

More CA Races: Honda, Nguyen

According to CNN projections today, Mike Honda of California 15 was easily re-elected with 72% vs. 28% of the vote for Republican challenger Raymond Chukwu.

In Orange County, Tan Nguyen lost his House race against incumbent Democrat Loretta Sanchez (California 47). Nguyen was set off track after allegations that a mailing intimidating Latino voters was connected to his campaign.

Nguyen had previously made an unsuccessful primary attempt to run for the 46th congressional district in 2004, and his campaign this year had little backing from the Republican party.

Jindal strolls to easy victory in LA

As expected, incumbent Republican Rep. Bobby Jindal (LA 01) was projected by CNN to have enjoyed an easy win on Tuesday, taking a whopping 88% of the vote in four-candidate race, including two Democratic and one Libertarian challenger. Re-election for the popular Representative, who is Indian American, had never really been considered at-risk, particularly since he became even better known nationally following the hurricane and floods of 2005. Despite his unsuccessful gubernatorial race against Kathleen Blanco in 2003, Jindal has been viewed as a young politician with a highly promising career in his party.

Hawai'i Senator Akaka a Survivor -- Again

After surviving a very tough primary challenge by fellow Democrat Ed Case this year, Hawai'i Senator Daniel Akaka is projected by CNN exit polls to be more than safe in his quest to return to Washington. As of 5:17 ET this morning, the incumbent Senator held a wide lead over Republican Cynthia Thielen, at 61% to 37% respectively.

As the first U.S. Senator of Native Hawaiian ancestry (he is of mixed Native Hawaiian and Chinese background), Akaka serves on the Indian Affairs Committee and chairs the Congressional Task Force on Native Hawaiian Issues, and was the chief champion of the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act (popularly referred to as "The Akaka Bill".) Akaka is also the only Chinese American in the U.S. Senate.

Accompanying Akaka to Washington will be a new House colleague, Democrat Mazie Hirono, who won her campaign for the 2nd District, and incumbent 1st District Rep. Neil Abercrombie. The state’s other Senator, Daniel Inouye, did not face reelection this year.

Chinese American law prof falls short in DE Senate effort

Delaware Senatorial hopeful Jan Ting, a Chinese American law professor at Philadelphia's Temple University who once served as an assistant commissioner of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, fell short of reaching his political goal on Tuesday, capturing only 29% percent of the vote.

Ting, a Republican challenger to incumbent Senator Thomas Carper, would have been the first Asian American the state had sent to Washington.

Oregon voters return David Wu to Congress

With only 55% of the precincts reporting, CNN nonetheless has announced that Democratic incumbent David Wu had effectively won his campaign for re-election in Oregon's First District.

As of 7:55 a.m. ET, according to CNN, the Chinese American Congressman held a commanding lead, with 65% out of a four-candidate field.

See updated results here.

Hirono, Matsui Head to U.S. House

Former Hawai’i Lt. Governor Mazie Hirono completed her political comeback in strong style on Tuesday night with a solid 69% win over state senator and sportscaster Bob Hogue, according to projections by CNN. Hirono will represent the state’s 2nd district in Washington – the seat formerly held for 12 terms by another pioneering Japanese American woman, the late Congresswoman Patsy Mink. The win marks a re-emergence for Hirono, who stepped back from the political scene for a time after losing a tight gubernatorial race against Linda Lingle, who was also reelected last night to her second term by 63% of the state’s voters.

In California, Doris Matsui prevailed even more handily in her bid to once again represent California’s 5th district. Elected in 2005 to take over the seat held by her late husband, the popular Bob Matsui, the Japanese American Congresswoman won re-election last night with 71% of the votes from a four-candidate field.

A historic election for ethnic, women voter engagement nationwide

Nov. 8 - In a historic midterm election night, high turnout among American voters has significantly changed the balance of power in Washington DC, with the Democratic Party retaking the majority of seats in the U.S. House of Representatives. Anti-incumbent sentiment and dissatisfaction with the war in Iraq led to sweep in which Democrats wrested control of at least 28 seats, with 14 still undecided.

With two key Senate races, in VA and MT too close to call as of this writing, and likely headed to recount challenges, Democrats also stand chance to take back majority control of the Senate.
The election saw historic landmarks set in a number of aspects. These include: Positioning Nancy Pelosi to become the first woman Speaker of the House; electing Deval Patrick as the first African American governor in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts; and sending Democrat Keith Ellison, an African American, to represent Minnesota’s 5th as the first Muslim in the House of Representatives.

Preliminary exit polling indicates that unusually high turnout was reported nationwide, affected by a number of controversial ballot initiatives as well as support for specific candidates. Minority voters, swing voters and non-traditional coalition-building also played an important role in the shift. In the most recent exit poll figures by CNN, non-white voters veered strongly to the left, with 76% of non-white men and 78% of non-white women going Democrat.

The same data indicate that while white voters overall leaned Republican, it was by a smaller margin (51% GOP to 47%) than expected, due largely to a 49/49 split among white women voters. African American voters leaned even more heavily Democrat than expected, at 89%, despite the GOP’s fielding a number of prominent Black candidates in high-level races in states such as Ohio and Pennsylvania. Latino and Asian voters, who have traditionally been more inclined to lean Republican, emerged as clear and growing swing voters, breaking to the Democrats at 69% and 62% respectively. Other non-white voters including Native Americans tracked in CNN’s polling split 56% Democrat to 41% Republican.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Posted @ AAV: Asian Pacific American Notes from the 2006 Midterms

Among the many other news items and commentaries we've posted this season, an eleventh-hour series of briefs covering the following topics:

Historic Cycle for Asian American Women
Anti-Affirmative Action Leader Takes it Where He Can Get It -- even the Ku Klux Klan
New Mexico Looks to Do the Right Thing
Macaca-gate – Continued
The Long, Long Arm of Jack Abramoff
Not So “Minnesota Nice”: GOP Candidate Operative Caught in “Jap” Rant on Video
80-20 Initiative Weighs in on Additional MO Race
AAAFUND: Barve, Lee and Valderrama All Move Ahead in MD
Controversy Stirs as VFW Committee Snubs Vet Duckworth after Changed Rules
APA Youth Voters: The Good News and Bad

Other Features of Interest in Our Midterms Coverage

Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders Have the Potential to Swing Races Across the Country
Nonpartisan NPO APIAVote shows races, stats, where our turnout can be key, even decisive

Election Heats Up in Heavily Chinese San Francisco District
By Eugenia Chien, New America Media
The Chinese media has been closely watching the district election in San Francisco that could determine whether the large Chinese community will have a Chinese American on the city’s Board of Supervisors. Asians make up a third of San Francisco's population.

Has the GOP Given Up on Asian Americans?
Editorial by Stewart Ikeda
A quick, side-by-side, hypertext comparison indicates "Yes". But is that good for APA Democrats?

“Hello? Excuse me? Don’t forget I’m here, too.”
Frances Kai-Hwa Wang, AAV Acting Editor and University of Michigan alum, on "Asian Pacific Americans, Affirmative Action, and Michigan’s Proposal 2"

APAs: Beware of the VA Senate Race
Eric Byler on the "N-word," the "M-word," and the midterms in Virginia following Sen. George Allen's insults to Asian-American attendee at rally. [with videos]

Vietnamese Media Gauge Fallout from Campaign Scare Letter
By Andrew Lam, New America Media
How will the scandal surrounding O.C. congressional candidate Tan Nguyen and a scare letter mailed to Latino immigrants affect other VietAm, GOP candidates?

80-20 Swings to Dems after Dean's Glass Ceiling Promise
DNC Chairman agrees to support Congressional hearings on glass ceiling discrimination against Asian Americans; two from GOP also supported

MD Delegate candidate Kris Valderrama
MD TV host, daughter of noted Filipino-American political family, looks to carry on the torch

Business Diversity at Stake in Same-Sex Marriage and Civil Unions Bans, Too
Editorial by Stewart Ikeda
Opinion: "Lifestyle" discrimination, and indiscriminate constitutional tinkering, can have unintended labor and economic consequences

Letter from Wisconsin: Bait-and-Switch in the Midterm Elections
By Jasmine Alinder
A married WI woman with "a slight fear of strangers" was surprised to find herself canvassing door-to-door in opposition to a proposed ban on same-sex marriages and civil unions (gay and straight), and is left wondering why the issue so forcefully hits home.