Okay, we can all relax, rapper Dumbfoundead is still a card-carrying member of the 99%. Despite all his recent homegrown success~a new album, a million subscribers on YouTube, sold out shows on both coasts and overseas and major mainstream media coverage~”CNN”‘s Jonathan Park (aka LA Koreatown rap artist Dumbfoundead) found himself being informed on the red carpet by a “angry PR person” that he “wasn’t part of this” at the Nov. 2 L.A. premiere of  “A Very Merry Harold and Kumar 3D Christmas.” DFD speculated that his FlipCam wasn’t official enough. The good news is DFD appeared to be well medicated when the incident went down. To be fair, I think John Cho (Harold) just didn’t recognize his dogg Ded. Afterall, Asian bruthas got to stick together, yeah?

At least one person died and several other people were seriously injured after a bus carrying 18 Korean-American teenagers slid over the side of Highway 189 near Twin Peaks on Monday, officials said.
Two people were airlifted from the scene with major injuries and 10 people had serious injuries, California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection spokesman Bill Peters said.
The bus from Light of Love Mission Church, a Korean-American congregation, collided with a San Bernardino County Fire Department vehicle and a power pole just before noon on Monday.
Church officials said about 18 children — teenagers between 13 and 17 — and four adults were on the bus that was returning from a winter retreat. They had been at the retreat since Friday and were returning to Pasadena when the crash happened shortly before noon.
The man who died is believed to be the bus driver, Won Chae, 61, a member of the church and licensed bus driver, according to a deacon.
“What we know is the driver of the bus has passed away,” deacon John Cho said. “Our prayers are with his family, obviously.
Cho said Chae had been a member of the church for several years and often volunteered to drive for church activities.

(Read the Pasadena Star-News’ update here.)

MICHELLE A. RHEE, the controversial chancellor of Washington, D.C.’s school system resigned today in an action which came on the heels of D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty’s defeat in the Sept. 14 Democratic primary election. It was Fenty who had begged Rhee to take the job 3½ years ago, and it was Rhee’s educational reform program that some say was the main reason he lost to D.C. Council Chairman Vincent C. Gray.
In today’s resignation statement, the sometimes abrasive education reformer said her leaving was “heartbreaking,” Reporters wrote that her press conference was “short and to the point.” Later, Rhee, 40, gave an exit interview to NPR’s Melissa Block, host of All Things Considered, in which she said she would continue her efforts to reform flagging U.S. schools and would spend more time with her fiancé former all-star pro basketball guard and now Mayor of Sacramento Kevin Johnson triggering rumors that Rhee may entertain job offers from cities in northern and southern California as well as Colorado.

Michelle Rhee: The Exit Interview


Straight outta Charlottesville, VA, Tim Be Told is pianist and leader singer Tim Ouyang [Chinese], guitarist Andrew Chae [Korean], guitarist and backup vocalist Luan Nguyen [Vietnamese], drummer Jim Barredo [Filipino] and bassist Parker Stanley [part Cherokee]. The group views diversity as its strength.

Download a free copy of “Analyze” here.  TBT’s new album From the Inside drops June 4.

via Northwest Asian Weekly and Asiance

Dance, Film and Justice

April 23, 2010

By Jonathan Stein, Mother Jones, April 27, 2009

It stuns me that we are still having a debate, as a country, over whether or not what the Bush Administration did to detainees in the war on terror was actually torture. I would hope that this helps settle things. The fact-checking outfit called PolitiFact confirms that a McCain statement from 2007, dredged up recently by Paul Begala, is accurate:

“I forgot to mention last night that following World War II war crime trials were convened. The Japanese were tried and convicted and hung for war crimes committed against American POWs. Among those charges for which they were convicted was waterboarding,” [McCain] told reporters at a campaign event.

“If the United States is in another conflict … and we have allowed that kind of torture to be inflicted upon people we hold captive, then there is nothing to prevent that enemy from also torturing American prisoners.”

Read the rest of this entry »

PRINCETON, NJ—Asian-Americans tend to be more liberal and Democratic in their political orientation than the national average, and are the only major racial or ethnic group in the United States with more liberals than conservatives, according to Gallup Daily tracking data.

The findings were based on aggregated data from Gallup’s 2009 Daily tracking survey and included interviews with more than 4,000 Asian-Americans. For the purpose of analysis, respondents were categorized as Asian-Americans if they self-identify their race as Asian.

Gallup said 353,849 whites, blacks, Hispanics and Asians 18 and older were interviewed as part of the survey. Read Jeffrey M. Jones’ summary of Gallup’s Asian American data here.

Forty-one percent of Asians identify politically as Democrats, 41% as independents, and 16% as Republicans. As a result, Asians are above the national average in terms of the percentage of political independents (37% nationwide) and Democrats (34%), and below average in terms of the percentage of Republicans (27%).

According to the survey data: “Asian-Americans tend to be less religious than those in other racial or ethnic groups.”

The percentage of Asians who attend church on a weekly basis also is lower than for other U.S. racial or ethnic groups. A slim majority of Asian-Americans say they seldom or never attend religious services.

COMMENT: Gallup is a respected litmus of American opinion. But something doesn’t feel right about these results. Perhaps Gallup didn’t include a representative sampling of Korean Americans in their tracking data. Living in Asian America tells us that Korean Americans are among the most churchgoing-est folk in the entire country, from Fairfax, Virginia to Hacienda Heights, Calif. College and university campus Christian student organizations are dominated by Asians. How about the politically conservative Vietnamese American communities; were they included in the mix?

h/t Keith Kamisugi and Vida Benavides


“Rain” by Priscilla Ahn


Photo by

Reaction is mixed to the Op-Ed article by Current TV journalists Euna Lee and Laura Ling which detailed events leading to their 140-day imprisonment in North Korea, with readers leaving many comments critical of the reporters’ actions on the Los Angeles Times and Current TV websites.

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LauraEunaOpEdSloMo

Nearly a month after their release from North Korean custody, Current TV reporters Euna Lee and Laura Ling issued their first public account of events that led to their 140-day custody in North Korea. A sometimes rambling 1900-word, co-bylined story appeared first on the Los Angeles Times and Current TV websites Tuesday evening and later in the Opinion section of the Wednesday edition of the Times and other publications.

The biggest revelation in the piece is that Lee and Ling say that after briefly entering North Korea, they had run back across the Chinese border and were “violently dragged” back to North Korea by border guards. The article also responds to criticism of their journalistic professionalism and ethics.

In their Op-Ed piece, Lee and Ling wrote:

  • They willingly followed a Korean-Chinese guide across the frozen Tumen River into North Korea.
  • They spent less than a minute in North Korea and were headed back to China when they encountered armed North Korean border guards.
  • “We were firmly back inside China when the soldiers apprehended us. Producer Mitch Koss and our guide were both able to outrun the border guards.”
  • Their guide seemed “cautious and responsible.”
  • Lee and Ling say they were surprised that their main contact Rev. Chun Ki-won spoke with reporters after their arrest.
  • “Chun claimed that he had warned us not to go to the river,” but Lee and Ling say “he never suggested we shouldn’t go.”
  • “We carefully followed Chun’s directions so as to not endanger anyone in this underground world.”
  • Lee and Ling tried to swallow their notes and destroy their videotapes.
  • They underwent rigorous, daily interrogations.
  • Lee and Ling say the Op-Ed piece is “all we are prepared to talk about — the psychological wounds of imprisonment are slow to heal.”
  • Lee is now listed as a producer for Current TV’s elite Vanguard Journalism unit. Ling is vice president of Vanguard.

Read Hostages of the Hermit Kingdom by Euna Lee and Laura Ling.

KoreaCentralDailyLAStationF

LA CAÑADA-FLINTRIDGE—A slow-moving mountain brush fire has claimed the lives of two firefighters and destroyed 18 structures since it began Aug. 26 and was still raging out of control Sunday with plumes of smoke rising as high as 20,000 feet into the air above this Los Angeles bedroom community favored by Asian American families who began moving here about a decade ago attracted to the areas schools and suburban lifestyle. A couple watches as a Sikorski Skycrane helicopter swoops low to make a water drop at the La Cañada Country Club in the photo above by Korea Central Daily’s Kim Sang-jin.

From left: Lisa Ling, Iain Clayton (Laura Ling's husband), Doug Ling (Lisa & Laura's father), Hana Saldate (Euna Lee's 4-year-old daughter), Michael Saldate (Euna's husband), Mary Ling (Laura & Lisa Ling's mother)

The families of Laura Ling and Euna Lee are overjoyed by the news of their pardon. We are so grateful to our government: President Obama, Secretary Clinton and the U.S. State Department for their dedication to and hard work on behalf of American citizens.

We especially want to thank President Bill Clinton for taking on such an arduous mission and Vice President Al Gore for his tireless efforts to bring Laura and Euna home. We must also thank all the people who have supported our families through this ordeal, it has meant the world to us. We are counting the seconds to hold Laura and Euna in our arms.

—The Lee and Ling Families

Fmr President Clinton in Pyongyang to Negotiate for American Reporters' Release -- Photo by John MacDonald

SEOUL, Aug. 4 (Yonhap) — Former U.S. President Bill Clinton is believed to have arrived in Pyongyang Tuesday, diplomatic sources in Seoul said, to meet with North Korean officials to secure the release of two detained American journalists.

“We’re aware that an aircraft from the U.S. landed at the Sunan Airport in Pyongyang at around 10:48 a.m.,” an official said on condition of anonymity. (Editor’s note: Korea Time is 19 hours ahead of EST.)

[Read the complete Yonhap News Agency report here]

  • NKorea Confirms Clinton Arrival in Pyongyang, KCNA
  • Bill Clinton in North Korea to Discuss U.S. Journalists, Reuters
  • Clinton’s Standing As Statesman Carried Weight With NKoreans, L.A. Times
  • Ex-President Clinton Visits North Korea, Korean Broadcasting System (KBS)
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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MitchellKoss

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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(North Korean news agency KCNA announced Sunday evening —1:30 p.m. June 8 in Pyongyang— that American journalists Euna Lee, 36, and Laura Ling, 32, both of Los Angeles, have been convicted and sentenced to 12 years hard labor for the “grave crime” they committed against North Korea.)

Veteran TV newswoman Lisa Ling led the families of Euna Lee and Laura Ling, two American journalists held in North Korea for border violations and “hostile acts” on a well-orchestrated, one-day media blitz of NBC, CNN and ABC June 1 and issued an emotional appeal for their release on humanitarian grounds. (Ms. Ling is the older sister of jailed Current TV managing editor Laura Ling.)

But there were subjects that were apparently off-limits to the interviewers that day—Matt Lauer (The Today Show), Larry King (Larry King Live) and Bob Woodruff (Nightline)—and despite his shaky credentials as a journalist only the suspender-ed septuagenarian dared to broach one of them: whether Lisa Ling herself had ever reported from North Korea under false pretenses. Here’s the elder Ling sister dancing around King’s question: Have you ever been in North Korea?

Not germane? In June 2006, Lisa Ling and Australian cameraman Brian Green, snuck into North Korea posing as members of  a medical delegation headed by Nepalese eye surgeon Dr. Sanduk Ruit. Images captured using miniature hidden cameras were combined with U.S. State Dept. and Dept. of Defense-provided footage and the result was Undercover in North Korea for the National Geographic Channel’s Inside series which aired in April 2007. Below is an excerpt from that controversial project critics termed one-dimensional propaganda “offering very little breadth and even less depth of interesting or new information. Lisa Ling is clearly over her head in terms of trying to report on something as weighty as geopolitics. Her style is trite and ill-prepared, over dramatized.”

Missing from MSM coverage of this worsening international incident is the real skinny on mysterious Vanguard Journalism executive producer Mitchell Koss, the veteran newsman who witnessed the capture of Euna Lee and Laura Ling. Koss, a 53-year-old 56-year-old Glendale, Calif. resident, reportedly eluded North Korean border guards back on March 17. He was briefly held by Chinese authorities and then released. After returning to the United States, Koss has refused all requests for interviews and has dropped out of sight. What if anything has Koss told the families of the imprisoned journalists?

—babamoto

Gore Headed for Pyongyang? Bill Richardson, special envoy to NK?

SEOUL, So. Korea (Updated 06/05/09, 6:00 PST)—With nothing but an eerie silence emanating from the North Korean capital about the yesterday’s trial of jailed American journalists Euna Lee and Laura Ling, a week-old rumor that the US would send a special envoy to Pyongyang to negotiate the release of the two reporters has begun to sprout wings again.

Reuters news agency has picked up a story by South Korea’s Chosun Ilbo which quotes diplomatic sources as saying former Vice President Al Gore may visit Pyongyang as early as this weekend in an effort to secure the release of the two journalists once a widely expected guilty verdict has been delivered.

Clinton said Friday she was “incredibly concerned” about the plight of the two women. In working for their release, Clinton said she has spoken with foreign officials with influence in North Korea and explored the possibility of sending an envoy to the North, but suggested that no one would be sent during the trial, Reuters reported.

“The trial which is going on right now we consider to be a step toward the release and the return home of these two young women,” she told reporters in Washington.

Lee and Ling were working on a story about the plight of women who flee North Korea into China for Gore’s Current TV network. They have been in custody since March 17 and reportedly appeared before North Korea’s Central Court Thursday to face charges of illegally entering the country and committing hostile acts.

Richardson served as the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and was energy secretary during the Clinton administration, and he has maintained contacts with North Korea. He took several trips there as ambassador, and he worked for the release of people held by the North Koreans in the past.

Although Richardson has publicly expressed a willingness to negotiate for the women’s release, Gore has not made any public comments about the situation. Current TV has also steadfastly refused comment since the arrest of Lee and Ling.

Election2009EDISON, NJ—Seventy-year-old challenger Antonia Ricigliano has scored a narrow 378-vote victory over this city’s young Korean Amercan Mayor Jun Choi in a hotly contested election that saw Choi again running without the endorsement of his party. The local race also saw Ricigliano and Choi both backing separate slates of council candidates.

The final unoJun Choi fficial tally had Ricigliano receiving 6,582 votes to Choi’s 6,204. Choi conceded at about 10 p.m. election night, according to an official in the municipal clerk’s office.

Choi, 37, became the first Korean American elected mayor in the continental U.S. in 2005. Born in South Korea, Choi grew up in Edison, a city of more than 100,000 and the home of famed inventor Thomas Alva Edison’s Menlo Park lab. He holds a bachelors degree from M.I.T. and a masters in public policy from Columbia University.

According to Choi’s campaign manager Mike Barfield, the former mayor was the target of a racially insenstive remarks by his opponents. A campaign mailer urged voters to “send Mayor Choi a one-way ticket back out of Edison.” Council candidate Thomas Hanke quipped at a public forum, “Let’s send Choi a one-way ticket back to Korea.” Barfield said there were also thinly veiled attempts to associate Choi with North Korean leader Kim Jong-il.

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Monday was a long day for network TV reporter Lisa Ling. It started before the sun came up in a New York hotel room. She checked her e-mail and then she “friended” a few people on her Facebook account. As the sun was rising over Manhattan, she led her parents, two worried husbands and a four-year-old little girl into the NBC studios to launch a worldwide media blitz seeking the release of two American journalists being held by North Korea—one of them her sister, Laura Ling, and the other, Euna Lee,  the mother of that four-year-old.

First was a 7 a.m. slot on the Today show at 30 Rock. Then it was over to CNN on Columbus Circle  for Larry King Live which airs at 6 p.m. on the East Coast. Finally, it was up Broadway to 66th for ABC’s Nightline at 11:35 p.m.

By the time she was waiting for the start of her Nightline segment last night with Bob Woodruff, Lisa Ling, the desperate big sister with the destinies of two families and the weight of the world on her shoulders, was ready to lose it emotionally. She’d been under hot TV studio lights, working the phone or battling New York traffic for 20 consecutive hours.LisaLingNightline060109a

Then she lost it, tearing up as she talked about how virtual strangers had used Facebook to mount a nationwide support network for her sister and Euna Lee and how she finds solace in the kind words of Internet strangers.

“You know, it’s been amazing to us. Through Facebook—It’s been extraordinary—this whole grassroots movement has been born,” she said.

“I’ve been at home late at night feeling emotional, and I’ll post something so intensely personal on Facebook, and I don’t know who’s reading it, Ling told Nightline anchor Bob Woodruff.

“After I hit ‘update,’ I think to myself, ‘Why did I just post that for thousands of people I don’t know to see?’

“I think the reason is because there is no support group for this and for some reason when people I don’t even know send me a message that says ‘We support you.’ ‘We’re praying for you.’ ‘We’re behind you’—somehow there’s the strangest comfort in that.”

Here’s an excerpt of that Nightline segment:

NEW YORK—The families of jailed journalists Euna Lee and Laura Ling appeared on NBC’s Today show this morning and called on both the U.S. and North Korean governments to increase dialogue with each other and resolve issues surrounding the arrests of the American reporters and negotiate their release.

“It’s been long enough,” declared Lisa Ling, sister of one of the detained reporters and herself a veteran TV news correspondent. “We all sit and watch the news and we see the tensions escalating continuously and we just felt like now is the time to urge both governments to communicate.”

Lee and Ling were arrested in the early morning hours of March 17 along the northeastern border of China and North Korea. Both work for the San Francisco-based multimedia news operation Current TV, which was founded by former Vice President Al Gore. At the time of their arrest, Lee and Ling were accompanied by veteran newsman Mitchell Koss, executive producer of Current TV’s elite Vanguard Journalism reporting unit. Koss managed to elude capture.

Saying that neither Lee nor Ling have admitted any possible violations of North Korean law, Ling added: “What we can tell you is that when they left the U.S., there was no intention of crossing the border into North Korea. And if at any point they may have, the families profusely apologize on their behalf.”

Asked how the families felt about the two reporters becoming pawns in a drawn-out diplomatic stand-off, Ling replied:

“Of course, we’re terrified, and that’s why we’re here. We hope both governments will come to a solution on humanitarian grounds on our issue.”

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