A gang of fleeing bank robbers decided to give the residents of South Central Los Angeles a bit of economic stimulus Wednesday morning by tossing wads of cash out of the window of their getaway vehicle, and although TV news anchors and reporters tried to put a socially acceptable spin the actions of the Robin Hood gangstas, those on the street saw it in a complete different light as many of them rushed into the street to scoop up the Benjamins. “Deshawn,” who said he did not grab any of the robbers’ stolen money, told KTLA-5’s reporter Elizabeth Espinoza he saw this morning’s shower of cash as “neighborhood stimulus.” Added Deshawn: “We all need it. If you had seen it, what would you do?” he asked the reporter rhetorically. “If you saw money flying out, you would do the same thing they did, especially if you’re in a time of need.”

[The following video runs 07:10]

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JaniceMinUsWeeklyCrop JoseAntonioVargasCrop EllenEndoCrop

A Pulitzer Prize-winning newspaper reporter made the leap from print to online journalism, UsWeekly’s gossip queen called it quits and the Asian American Journalists Association soft-played a staff shake-up this week. [Read More]

  • Huffington Post Nabs WaPo Rising Star, Mediabistro
  • A Lot of “The’s”: Jose Antonio Vargas Leaves The Washington Post for The Huffington Post, The New York Times
  • Arianna Huffington Seduces Young Journalist Over Internet, Valleywag
  • Filipino Reporter Wins Pulitzer, New America Media
  • Janice Min Helped Us Weekly Feed a Hunger for Celebrity, L.A. Times
  • Janice Min’s Mysterious Future, Gawker
  • Janice Min’s Farewell to Us Weekly Staff, AllieIsWired.Com
  • AAJA Names New Interim Executive Director, AAJA
  • “Officially it was a mutual decision” that she leave, Maynard Institute
  • AAJA National President Sharon Chan, blog

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Bryan ClayWGold

Lost in the media madness over his Team USA teammate Michael Phelps’ eight-gold triumph at the 2008 Beijing Olymoics and Jamaican Usain Bolt’s dominance in the sprints, Glendora, Calif.’s Bryan Ezra Tsumoru Clay, the reigning champion in the grueling decathlon, is virtually unknown in his own country.

Victory in what is considered track-and-field’s toughest event — 10 running, jumping and throwing competitions — once conferred larger-than-life status to guys like Bob Mathias, Rafer Johnson and Bruce Jenner. Not for Clay, son of Japanese American Michelle Ishimoto and African-American Greg Clay, who is competing at the U.S. Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Eugene, Ore., this weekend. (Update: Clay was forced to scratch from the USATF championships due to a hamstring injury).

Clay was tested by SPARQ to establish his SPARQ Rating across a number of different sports. The test is meant to measure sport-specific athleticism and in the football test Clay recorded a score of 130.40, the highest ever recorded. By comparison, Reggie Bush scored a 93.38. NFL?

But the devoutly Christian Clay is not bitter. “My family and I have everything that we could ever ask for. We’ve got a house, a roof over our head, we have food, we have our cars, my wife gets to stay at home and take care of the kids, our kids are happy. So really, I can’t be mad. I’ve got what I need.”

Listen to Diana Nyad’s NPR feature on Clay and America’s fickle adoration of athletes.

The Score: Track and Field Blues—06/18/09

Clay, whose grandparents, Tsumoru and Kay Ishimoto of Honolulu, cheered him on in Beijing, is proud of his Japanese American heritage.

“Japanese culture and food were a huge part of my life growing up. My mother made sure I knew who I was and where I came from. Our house was always full of grandparents and aunts and uncles and cousins. We ate ozoni [a traditional Japanese rice soup] on New Year’s Eve. My life was very Japanese.”

Clay was understandably upset about his injury in Eugene, but there was also good news. He’s been nominated for and ESPY Award.


I was changing a leaky shower head in an upstairs bathroom when I first heard the news. Two Asian American women on assignment for the cable channel Current TV were arrested by North Korean soldiers near North Korea’s border with China. Early on, CNN’s senior international correspondent John Vause, quoting South Korean sources, reported Euna Lee, 36, and Laura Ling, 32, had been on North Korean soil and were seen running back toward China when apprehended.

The third member of Current TV’s Vanguard team, “cameraman Mitch Koss,” and a guide of Korean-Chinese ancestry somehow eluded capture. Reportedly, Koss was questioned by Chinese authorities and released. He booked it out of the PRC, hightailed it back to the US of A, and then he dropped off the face of the Earth.

Lee and Ling were sentenced to 12 years “reform through labor” this week by North Korea’s Central Court for “grave crimes against the Korean nation.” And Mitchell Koss has sentenced himself to silence.

Three months have passed without so much as a Twitter from the elusive Mr. Koss. Meanwhile, the lazy dog media have veered away from a search for the facts and seem content to wallow in the lame sentimentality of weeping siblings and naive pleas for their release. Poker metaphors are everywhere. And the one person who could tell us flat out what really happened at the Tumen River March 17 isn’t saying squat.

And Hillary Rodham Clinton’s State Department? They’re currently on location filming a remake of The Gang That Couldn’t Shoot Straight.

This is beginning to sound like the set-up to a bad Ludlum novel or, maybe, a remake of  Hitchcock’s The Man Who Knew Too Much.

Who is Mitchell Koss and why isn’t he talking?

Mitch Koss Ani Close Up

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gulzar mia

WHO KNEW? Back in the mid-’80s, Yojiro Takita was nothing but a soft-core porn hack, but his multilayered Okuribito (Departures), is the first Japanese film in six years to merit a Best Foreign film Oscar nomination. It’s a tough field, but Takita has faced stiff competition before. Lao American director Thavisouk Phrasavath’s Nerakhoon (The Betrayal) follows the hard-scrabble struggles of Lao immigrants in New York and is nominated in the Documentary Feature ‘hood category. In his Documentary Short The Conscience of Nhem En,  Japanese American documentarian Steven Okazaki tells the story of a teenager who photographed thousands before they were killed by the Khmer Rouge. Okazaki was Oscarized in 1990 for his short-form doc Days of Waiting.  This is the Venice, Calif.-born Okazaki’s fourth nomination. La Maison En Petits Cubes (Tsumiki no Ie/House of Small Cubes) by Robot Cage artist Kunio Kato gets Oscar’s chinky-eyed glance for short animation. Finally, 2009 marks the year Bollywood unleashed a Slumdog Millionaire on Hollywood, uncovering a slew of pennies-on-the-dollar South Asian talent including composer A.R. “Mozart of Madras” Rahman with three nominations and Best Song nods to Urdu poet Galzar (Jai Ho) and (O Saya) from Web 2.0 multimedia Tamil force majeure M.I.A. If form holds, these nominees will all take home bupkes.


  • COMMERCIAL APPEAL: Tim Kang may be marketable, but the actor’s all about being obscure, KoreAm
  • Yila Tim Kang, IMDb
  • Video: Q&A with Tim Kang re: CBS series The Mentalist


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