Where Did The Majority Of Refugees Come From In 2016?

Monday, January 30, 2017

In case you were wondering, the majority of refugees came from the following countries:

Africa: 31,624
East Asia: 12,518
Near East/South Asia: 35,555

Information from "Department of State Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration Office of Admissions - Refugee Processing Center Summary of Refugee Admissions".

Immigrant And Refugee Rights: Know Them (From The Illinois Coalition For Immigrant And Refugee Rights)

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Been seeing this from the ICIRR (Illinois Coalition For Immigrant And Refugee Rights) and wanted to re-post here.


Sunday, January 29, 2017

The fallout is going to be huge and there's so much more to say on this and to do - but I did want to make a post on the actual text and executive order (received from the White Press Releases) as this does not seem to be posted anywhere on the White House site (however different media outlets have put out the text).


Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release

January 27, 2017


- - - - - - -


By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and laws of the United States of America, including the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), 8 U.S.C. 1101 et seq., and section 301 of title 3, United States Code, and to protect the American people from terrorist attacks by foreign nationals admitted to the United States, it is hereby ordered as follows:

Section 1. Purpose. The visa-issuance process plays a crucial role in detecting individuals with terrorist ties and stopping them from entering the United States. Perhaps in no instance was that more apparent than the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, when State Department policy prevented consular officers from properly scrutinizing the visa applications of several of the 19 foreign nationals who went on to murder nearly 3,000 Americans. And while the visa-issuance process was reviewed and amended after the September 11 attacks to better detect would-be terrorists from receiving visas, these measures did not stop attacks by foreign nationals who were admitted to the United States.

Numerous foreign-born individuals have been convicted or implicated in terrorism-related crimes since September 11, 2001, including foreign nationals who entered the United States after receiving visitor, student, or employment visas, or who entered through the United States refugee resettlement program. Deteriorating conditions in certain countries due to war, strife, disaster, and civil unrest increase the likelihood that terrorists will use any means possible to enter the United States. The United States must be vigilant during the visa-issuance process to ensure that those approved for admission do not intend to harm Americans and that they have no ties to terrorism.

In order to protect Americans, the United States must ensure that those admitted to this country do not bear hostile attitudes toward it and its founding principles. The United States cannot, and should not, admit those who do not support the Constitution, or those who would place violent ideologies over American law. In addition, the United States should not admit those who engage in acts of bigotry or hatred (including "honor" killings, other forms of violence against women, or the persecution of those who practice religions different from their own) or those who would oppress Americans of any race, gender, or sexual orientation.

Sec. 2. Policy. It is the policy of the United States to protect its citizens from foreign nationals who intend to commit terrorist attacks in the United States; and to prevent the admission of foreign nationals who intend to exploit United States immigration laws for malevolent purposes.

Sec. 3. Suspension of Issuance of Visas and Other Immigration Benefits to Nationals of Countries of Particular Concern. (a) The Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Secretary of State and the Director of National Intelligence, shall immediately conduct a review to determine the information needed from any country to adjudicate any visa, admission, or other benefit under the INA (adjudications) in order to determine that the individual seeking the benefit is who the individual claims to be and is not a security or public-safety threat.

(b) The Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Secretary of State and the Director of National Intelligence, shall submit to the President a report on the results of the review described in subsection (a) of this section, including the Secretary of Homeland Security's determination of the information needed for adjudications and a list of countries that do not provide adequate information, within 30 days of the date of this order. The Secretary of Homeland Security shall provide a copy of the report to the Secretary of State and the Director of National Intelligence.

(c) To temporarily reduce investigative burdens on relevant agencies during the review period described in subsection (a) of this section, to ensure the proper review and maximum utilization of available resources for the screening of foreign nationals, and to ensure that adequate standards are established to prevent infiltration by foreign terrorists or criminals, pursuant to section 212(f) of the INA, 8 U.S.C. 1182(f), I hereby proclaim that the immigrant and nonimmigrant entry into the United States of aliens from countries referred to in section 217(a)(12) of the INA, 8 U.S.C. 1187(a)(12), would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, and I hereby suspend entry into the United States, as immigrants and nonimmigrants, of such persons for 90 days from the date of this order (excluding those foreign nationals traveling on diplomatic visas, North Atlantic Treaty Organization visas, C-2 visas for travel to the United Nations, and G-1, G-2, G-3, and G-4 visas).

(d) Immediately upon receipt of the report described in subsection (b) of this section regarding the information needed for adjudications, the Secretary of State shall request all foreign governments that do not supply such information to start providing such information regarding their nationals within 60 days of notification.

(e) After the 60-day period described in subsection (d) of this section expires, the Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Secretary of State, shall submit to the President a list of countries recommended for inclusion on a Presidential proclamation that would prohibit the entry of foreign nationals (excluding those foreign nationals traveling on diplomatic visas, North Atlantic Treaty Organization visas, C-2 visas for travel to the United Nations, and G-1, G-2, G-3, and G-4 visas) from countries that do not provide the information requested pursuant to subsection (d) of this section until compliance occurs.

(f) At any point after submitting the list described in subsection (e) of this section, the Secretary of State or the Secretary of Homeland Security may submit to the President the names of any additional countries recommended for similar treatment.

(g) Notwithstanding a suspension pursuant to subsection (c) of this section or pursuant to a Presidential proclamation described in subsection (e) of this section, the Secretaries of State and Homeland Security may, on a case-by-case basis, and when in the national interest, issue visas or other immigration benefits to nationals of countries for which visas and benefits are otherwise blocked.

(h) The Secretaries of State and Homeland Security shall submit to the President a joint report on the progress in implementing this order within 30 days of the date of this order, a second report within 60 days of the date of this order, a third report within 90 days of the date of this order, and a fourth report within 120 days of the date of this order.

Sec. 4. Implementing Uniform Screening Standards for All Immigration Programs. (a) The Secretary of State, the Secretary of Homeland Security, the Director of National Intelligence, and the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation shall implement a program, as part of the adjudication process for immigration benefits, to identify individuals seeking to enter the United States on a fraudulent basis with the intent to cause harm, or who are at risk of causing harm subsequent to their admission. This program will include the development of a uniform screening standard and procedure, such as in-person interviews; a database of identity documents proffered by applicants to ensure that duplicate documents are not used by multiple applicants; amended application forms that include questions aimed at identifying fraudulent answers and malicious intent; a mechanism to ensure that the applicant is who the applicant claims to be; a process to evaluate the applicant's likelihood of becoming a positively contributing member of society and the applicant's ability to make contributions to the national interest; and a mechanism to assess whether or not the applicant has the intent to commit criminal or terrorist acts after entering the United States.

(b) The Secretary of Homeland Security, in conjunction with the Secretary of State, the Director of National Intelligence, and the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, shall submit to the President an initial report on the progress of this directive within 60 days of the date of this order, a second report within 100 days of the date of this order, and a third report within 200 days of the date of this order.

Sec. 5. Realignment of the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program for Fiscal Year 2017. (a) The Secretary of State shall suspend the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP) for 120 days. During the 120-day period, the Secretary of State, in conjunction with the Secretary of Homeland Security and in consultation with the Director of National Intelligence, shall review the USRAP application and adjudication process to determine what additional procedures should be taken to ensure that those approved for refugee admission do not pose a threat to the security and welfare of the United States, and shall implement such additional procedures. Refugee applicants who are already in the USRAP process may be admitted upon the initiation and completion of these revised procedures. Upon the date that is 120 days after the date of this order, the Secretary of State shall resume USRAP admissions only for nationals of countries for which the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Homeland Security, and the Director of National Intelligence have jointly determined that such additional procedures are adequate to ensure the security and welfare of the United States.

(b) Upon the resumption of USRAP admissions, the Secretary of State, in consultation with the Secretary of Homeland Security, is further directed to make changes, to the extent permitted by law, to prioritize refugee claims made by individuals on the basis of religious-based persecution, provided that the religion of the individual is a minority religion in the individual's country of nationality. Where necessary and appropriate, the Secretaries of State and Homeland Security shall recommend legislation to the President that would assist with such prioritization.

(c) Pursuant to section 212(f) of the INA, 8 U.S.C. 1182(f), I hereby proclaim that the entry of nationals of Syria as refugees is detrimental to the interests of the United States and thus suspend any such entry until such time as I have determined that sufficient changes have been made to the USRAP to ensure that admission of Syrian refugees is consistent with the national interest.

(d) Pursuant to section 212(f) of the INA, 8 U.S.C. 1182(f), I hereby proclaim that the entry of more than 50,000 refugees in fiscal year 2017 would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, and thus suspend any such entry until such time as I determine that additional admissions would be in the national interest.

(e) Notwithstanding the temporary suspension imposed pursuant to subsection (a) of this section, the Secretaries of State and Homeland Security may jointly determine to admit individuals to the United States as refugees on a case-by-case basis, in their discretion, but only so long as they determine that the admission of such individuals as refugees is in the national interest -- including when the person is a religious minority in his country of nationality facing religious persecution, when admitting the person would enable the United States to conform its conduct to a preexisting international agreement, or when the person is already in transit and denying admission would cause undue hardship -- and it would not pose a risk to the security or welfare of the United States.

(f) The Secretary of State shall submit to the President an initial report on the progress of the directive in subsection (b) of this section regarding prioritization of claims made by individuals on the basis of religious-based persecution within 100 days of the date of this order and shall submit a second report within 200 days of the date of this order.

(g) It is the policy of the executive branch that, to the extent permitted by law and as practicable, State and local jurisdictions be granted a role in the process of determining the placement or settlement in their jurisdictions of aliens eligible to be admitted to the United States as refugees. To that end, the Secretary of Homeland Security shall examine existing law to determine the extent to which, consistent with applicable law, State and local jurisdictions may have greater involvement in the process of determining the placement or resettlement of refugees in their jurisdictions, and shall devise a proposal to lawfully promote such involvement.

Sec. 6. Rescission of Exercise of Authority Relating to the Terrorism Grounds of Inadmissibility. The Secretaries of State and Homeland Security shall, in consultation with the Attorney General, consider rescinding the exercises of authority in section 212 of the INA, 8 U.S.C. 1182, relating to the terrorism grounds of inadmissibility, as well as any related implementing memoranda.

Sec. 7. Expedited Completion of the Biometric Entry-Exit Tracking System. (a) The Secretary of Homeland Security shall expedite the completion and implementation of a biometric entry-exit tracking system for all travelers to the United States, as recommended by the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States.

(b) The Secretary of Homeland Security shall submit to the President periodic reports on the progress of the directive contained in subsection (a) of this section. The initial report shall be submitted within 100 days of the date of this order, a second report shall be submitted within 200 days of the date of this order, and a third report shall be submitted within 365 days of the date of this order. Further, the Secretary shall submit a report every 180 days thereafter until the system is fully deployed and operational.

Sec. 8. Visa Interview Security. (a) The Secretary of State shall immediately suspend the Visa Interview Waiver Program and ensure compliance with section 222 of the INA, 8 U.S.C. 1222, which requires that all individuals seeking a nonimmigrant visa undergo an in-person interview, subject to specific statutory exceptions.

(b) To the extent permitted by law and subject to the availability of appropriations, the Secretary of State shall immediately expand the Consular Fellows Program, including by substantially increasing the number of Fellows, lengthening or making permanent the period of service, and making language training at the Foreign Service Institute available to Fellows for assignment to posts outside of their area of core linguistic ability, to ensure that non-immigrant visa-interview wait times are not unduly affected.

Sec. 9. Visa Validity Reciprocity. The Secretary of State shall review all nonimmigrant visa reciprocity agreements to ensure that they are, with respect to each visa classification, truly reciprocal insofar as practicable with respect to validity period and fees, as required by sections 221(c) and 281 of the INA, 8 U.S.C. 1201(c) and 1351, and other treatment. If a country does not treat United States nationals seeking nonimmigrant visas in a reciprocal manner, the Secretary of State shall adjust the visa validity period, fee schedule, or other treatment to match the treatment of United States nationals by the foreign country, to the extent practicable.

Sec. 10. Transparency and Data Collection. (a) To be more transparent with the American people, and to more effectively implement policies and practices that serve the national interest, the Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Attorney General, shall, consistent with applicable law and national security, collect and make publicly available within 180 days, and every 180 days thereafter:

(i) information regarding the number of foreign nationals in the United States who have been charged with terrorism-related offenses while in the United States; convicted of terrorism-related offenses while in the United States; or removed from the United States based on terrorism-related activity, affiliation, or material support to a terrorism-related organization, or any other national security reasons since the date of this order or the last reporting period, whichever is later;

(ii) information regarding the number of foreign nationals in the United States who have been radicalized after entry into the United States and engaged in terrorism-related acts, or who have provided material support to terrorism-related organizations in countries that pose a threat to the United States, since the date of this order or the last reporting period, whichever is later; and

(iii) information regarding the number and types of acts of gender-based violence against women, including honor killings, in the United States by foreign nationals, since the date of this order or the last reporting period, whichever is later; and

(iv) any other information relevant to public safety and security as determined by the Secretary of Homeland Security and the Attorney General, including information on the immigration status of foreign nationals charged with major offenses.

(b) The Secretary of State shall, within one year of the date of this order, provide a report on the estimated long-term costs of the USRAP at the Federal, State, and local levels.

Sec. 11. General Provisions. (a) Nothing in this order shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect:

(i) the authority granted by law to an executive department or agency, or the head thereof; or

(ii) the functions of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget relating to budgetary, administrative, or legislative proposals.

(b) This order shall be implemented consistent with applicable law and subject to the availability of appropriations.

(c) This order is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.


January 27, 2017.

# # #

Chi Nguyen + An Unpopular Opinion On The Women’s March On Washington

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Definitely a good read from over at Medium from Chi Nguyen, artist and activist:

However, if there were intersectional unity at the Women’s March on Washington, I failed to see it. Rallying for four hours on the corner of Independence Avenue and 7th St. SW with over 500,000 self-identifying feminists from across the United States created in and of itself a microcosm of white feminism that I thought would be suppressed — even just for one day for the sake of racial harmony.
Oh yes.

You've Been Touched By The Oscars: Dev Patel, Dwayne Johnson, Tommy Chong, Neel Sethi, Auli'i Cravalho, George Takei, Ted Chiang, Tzi Ma, Nicole Scherzinger, Ai-Ling Lee

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

I'm sure there's more, but the small list above - Dev Patel, Dwayne Johnson, Tommy Chong, Neel Sethi, Auli'i Cravalho, George Takei, Ted Chiang, Tzi Ma, Nicole Scherzinger, Ai-Ling Lee - in some way are either associated with a film that is nominated for an Oscar by being in it, or they have been nominated themselves for an award.

With 40K Views Being My Highest Month For Last Year Do I Even Blog Anymore? Does It Matter In A World Full Of Millions?

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

I don't have millions of views as a youtube channel, nor do I have a blog with hundreds of thousands of views a month, nor do I have a twitter account with 10-25K+ subscribers that this is linked too, or have a FB channel with 100K+ subscribers -

which begs the question - should I even blog anymore?

In the world of social media where hundreds of thousands of views are common, or there are thousands of views for just one post, or millions of views can become the norm - does blogging still serve a purpose?

Take views out of the equation and I don't even offer discussion or debate via comments.


I guess I would answer that question - for myself and in general - in a number of ways:

1. Medium. Medium is producing some great content and writers, and another portion of the grassroots community of blogging. A new service specific to blogging must mean that there's still an audience for bloggers out there wanting to do what we do (and other existing platforms as well).

2. Curated/Edited/Pointed. We should have as much access to information as we can - but it doesn't mean it's all good, newsworthy, talking about, offering an opinion on, or critiquing - and there's something to be said for who makes those decisions - but there's a difference between sharing a link via social media, and offering comments on a link, versus the actual content that makes up that link itself. Two different animals. Bloggers edit and curate what they talk about (overall), and I'll hold weight to a blogger who's been blogging about a specific topic(s) or communities (either in length of time or from an informational standpoint). It's not specific to blogging (as this is a trait of youtube channels and twitter accounts or FB pages) - but it's an overall theme for bloggers.

3. Not Writing For Your Friends Is Something Different. Sometimes I just like to throw things out - but there's a difference between writing something in a post on FB and writing something for the world to see (provided it's a public blog) and that can get picked up by search engines, referenced, etc. In some ways, it's a whole different ballgame. More polished in many ways.

4. Still Need Grassroots Writers. Twitter is great for many things, but longer writing pieces meant to critique social structures, or talk in depth about race or social justice - you can't get that on Twitter (nor would I want to read that on Twitter). And you need people outside of the status quo news agencies to still provide more viewpoints - viewpoints that aren't provided because of sponsorships, ads, worrying about a board, or a program possibly getting cut - blogging is still one of the equalizers in getting voices - and sometimes those are Asian American voices - heard. I love the fact that more news outlets have some tailored sections to the AAPI or POC experience - but they're still limited in what they can say and the viewpoints provided. They can't say anything. Bloggers can.

5. Do Views Even Count?. Well they certainly can, and it's great when a blog can help push and make change on large scales - but it's not everything, and I believe in small ripples having larger effects and quality over quantity (which can be different for everyone). It really depends on the mission and intent of the blog and blogger - what do they want to accomplish. If it's to get millions of views and your pushing 10K a year - something to look at. But if it's to archive, put another voice out in the community - that's a different mission. Sometimes it can be a fine line when thinking about it all - if no one reads but your topic is archived is that enough?

There's more to say on this - but for now I think this works (*_*) and for me - all the above matter and hold true from an AAPI perspective (and I'm happy for the views that have made it here because I think there are some great news topics getting another look) - and even if one day the views are 100 a month - I'll still be doing this - in part because I was happy to be at 100 views when I first started this thing -

And because it's also about the record.

The archiving of at least one AAPI's POV.

Well White America (And Dumbass POC): You Wanted Trump Time And Now You Have It. Is He Really Working For The Middle Class?

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

You chose him America. I didn't. But so many other people did by either directly voting or not caring to vote. And I wonder how this is going to work out for some of the working class people who thought he was going to work hard for them (because so far it's not looking like Trump is working on behalf of the middle class). Basically Trump has:

1. Putting everyone from corporations into key positions (that's not draining the swamp of fat cats).

2. Put the pipelines back into play (and we don't know if he's sold his shares in Phillips 66 - so you can't say he won't profit - but his friends for sure could). Screw you working class people - your water doesn't matter.

3. Put gag orders on departments (which use social media to put out things like EMERGENCY information) just because he can't stand to hear about his crowds (and let's not forget about the EPA gag order). Just good old fashioned censorship.

4. Put into play that we should steal oil from the Middle East (as President). Umm....yeah....

5. Puts a federal freeze on hiring. More jobs! More jobs! Oh wait...

6. Takes money away from homeowners (and new homeowners). I feel the growth coming on fast!

7. Essentially stalls the EPA with a freeze on all grants and contracts and bans employees from talking about it. Good old censorship and who needs the EPA anyway? Mercury for everyone!

And let's face it - he's not even remotely acting presidential. He's still Trump the entertainer just signing things left and right he doesn't truly understand (and yes, if he can say people with years of experience don't know as much as he does, I can pull that same argument) - or just care about - and just caring about being loved by those around him (or those he'll have business dealings with later on).

White is right for a lot of people.

Alternative facts.

Bad For Asian Americans: Trump Picks Ajit Pai For New FCC Chairman (Not Good! Not Good! Net Neutrality In Danger!)

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Yeah - this is just crazy - well I guess no more crazy than electing Donald Trump the President of the United States.

On "streamlining" the FCC:

Tom Wheeler, the recently departed chairman of the FCC, took aim at an idea to streamline the agency, saying that it was a “fraud” to say that it was “modernizing” the agency and suggested that it is really a way for major internet service providers to escape substantive oversight [...] Wheeler pointed to a 2013 Washington Post story in which lobbyists for cable and telecom firms were quoted as saying that they supported the idea of transferring key FCC functions to the FTC. “It is not surprising why they would want to transfer there. The FTC doesn’t have rule-making authority. They have enforcement authority,” he said.

And did you know that Ajit Pai - Trump's new pick for the FCC chair doesn't even need congressional approval since Pai is already a commissioner - however that is only as acting Chairman (because Wheeler stepped down) and he will need approval for the long term.

Net neutrality? Completely against it.
Pai vehemently objected to the FCC’s landmark Open Internet Order from February last year; his epic 67-page dissent statement takes issue with practically every aspect of it, from conception to execution.

The internet - created by the government and now as ubiquitous (or should be) as electricity - in part simply because it was a free internet - Pai wants free reign to the companies without oversight and regulations so that in the end they can charge whatever the hell they want for special data access (and don't forget Pai used to work at Verizon).

I really do feel like the end of the world is near.

And yes it is true - all Asian Americans are not created equal and sometimes I would rather have the White Guy.

Re: Blogging + Deadlines Deadlines Deadlines

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

I thought I would be kicking this month into the ground from a blog post perspective as I wanted to see if I can get back up to some more posts (as I fell a little short of where I wanted to be this year - but a broken wrist will do that to you - overall I still hit at least 1 post a day on average) - but deadlines...deadlines...deadlines...damn them.

I guess this counts as a post though.

Alternative Facts?

The new WH has nothing on me.

MTV + Sasami Ashworth + Cherry Glazerr + Apocalipstick

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Good article down at MTV on the band Cherry Glazerr who has Sasami Ashworth in the band (joining out this year) and a new album out "Apocalipstick".

Their new record, this month’s Apocalipstick, is certainly not cute. With two new band members in the mix, drummer Tabor Allen and multi-instrumentalist Sasami Ashworth, Cherry Glazerr fill the record with electrifying, slickly produced, ’70s-influenced rock. “I was a lone wolf!” Creevy shrieks over a twisty guitar riff on album opener “Told You I’d Be With the Guys,” sounding like she’s just punched through a wall. Indulgent solos and freaky synthesizers run rampant on the album, as the group lifts their once-twee sound to a higher plane of power pop and psychedelia.

This Is Really Presidential: Beatrock + Rocky Rivera + DJ Roza

Friday, January 20, 2017

President Trump Is Here: White Lies + Life Is Already Worse (AKA White House Pages And Mortgage Help For The Middle Class Already Cut)

Friday, January 20, 2017

Well - what the fuck do you have to say except I hope you were all lit today during something I never intended to watch.

Why would I want to watch Trump get sworn into office? It's like giving a birthday present to the the guy who's gonna cut off my nuts at some point - not gonna happen (the birthday present that is because I'm sure my nuts will get sawed off at some point - or at least maybe a snip?).

And what do we have going on already?

How about mortgage cuts for Middle Class Home Buyers?

Oh - that's gone now. Thought you were gonna save $500 a year - a nice cool 10K in savings over 20 years of your mortgage (if you didn't resign already)?

Yeah - not gonna happen thanks to the President Of White Lies.

And what about the White House supporting communities and ideas that are a part of this country and world?

Yeah - not gonna happen either.


You've been cut from the White House site.

Maybe you can find yourself somewhere on a Russian site?

Climate change?

Yeah - not important.

Doesn't exist....

If only I could say the same thing about the president of the U.S....

P.S. Denzel At One Of His Finest

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Seriously, just see the film. Take some time and see Denzel Washington and an all star cast (mainly the same as on the stage) deliver with August Wilson's work on film.


Help Support The Bryan Thao Worra Fund

Friday, January 13, 2017

I remember meeting Bryan the first time as he was speaking at a film festival I was helping to program. It wasn't a lot of money. A small stipend and parking, a place to sell books. I saw him again at a reading when I was meeting another friend from out of town. Bryan has always been there to help give his unique voice to programs and events and to the communities he believes in and is a part of - and that only covers just a little bit - there are so many other projects and initiatives he's been involved in that I only know about from a surface level.

He's won so many awards - recognized for his work and what he's done.

He's a NEA Literature Fellowship winner.

But doing what he does, and I don't know Bryan as well as others, those meetings and group interactions (a jukebox group) and different posts - I imagine it has to be like anyone else. Sometimes there's an ebb and flow. The work and the projects have to be there and sometimes it can be feast or famine.

And sometimes the perfect storm hits.

From the Youcaring site.

Award-winning Lao American poet, Bryan Thao Worra, is currently moving between public libraries, coffee shops, homes and other temporary spaces. Last year, he struggled with minimal writing gigs that put his total income well under the poverty line, as his health conditions continue to be problematic. Bryan’s hope in his next chapter is to travel across the states to continue his work researching, writing, and documenting. He’ll need space, time, and the means to get around and allow him to do what he does best: creating and writing. As his friends, we're raising funds to help him get back to being Bryan. We need funds for a used car and to assist with living expenses that will help get him through the rest of this year. Help us help him and continue to do what he most passionate about. For himself and our community [...]

We know very little people who have not been impacted by the presence and inspiration of Bryan work. Bryan would tell a room full of young writers that, “I write because there are others in this world who aren’t able to.” And “sometimes a cup of coffee gets you a cup of coffee,” he often jokes. Few friends are like the legendary Bryan Thao Worra. He knows the art of wordsmithing that holds weight, meaning and a pathway to our hearts and minds. He's transformative and shifts worlds to better places than it once were through his poetry alone. He opens up doors to our consciousness to what’s possible-- social change through the arts and imagination. His generous ability to advocate and blaze pathways for the arts and fellow underrepresented Asian American communities is unmatched. He has inspired hundreds who’ve come to know him as a writer, mentor and above all else, a damn good friend. This year is Bryan's 10th anniversary of his first book and it’s overdue time that he is deserving of our community’s help to lift him back up as much as he has lifted us.

If you've been impacted, touched by Bryan's work, I would urge you to consider supporting the youcaring initiative going on right now for him - any amount (or in-kind donation) can help.

Go to the fund page @ youcaring.com to donate.

Comedy invAsian: Get Your Tix Now

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Like I've always said - if we don't hype ourselves - who else will sometimes?

This - this is golden.

Get your tix now and be a part of history.


Los Angeles — Producers Koji Steven Sakai and Quentin Lee have teamed up with Viva Pictures to produce and distribute a live and filmed stand-up series titled Comedy InvAsian featuring the nation’s six top and unique Asian American comedians each performing a one-hour special at the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles on February 10 —26, 2017.

Signed talents include veteran Laugh Factory comedian and Kollaboration founder Paul Kim who will open the series on Friday, February 10. Young Japanese American comedian Atsuko Okatsuka (Comedy Central Asia, Disoriented Comedy, Laughing Skull Comedy Festival) will perform on Saturday, February 11. Gay Chinese Canadian Broadway Musical Youtube sensation Kevin Yee (Mary Poppins Broadway, Blue Whale Comedy Festival, Quincy Jones' boy band Youth Asylum) will perform on Sunday, February 12. Veteran Filipino American comedian Joey Guila (Showtime, Filipino Kingz of Comedy Tour) will perform on Friday, February 24. Transgender Vietnamese comedian Robin Tran (The Comedy Store, The Comedy Comedy Festival) will perform on Saturday, February 25. Finally, veteran Japanese American comedian and actress Amy Hill (Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, The Great Indoors, All American Girl) will close the first season of Comedy InvAsian with her one-hour special on Sunday, February 26. The filmed proceeds of the live series will be edited and produced into Comedy InvAsian’s first season of a digital television series with six one-hour episodes for distribution.

In an era where diversity in entertainment is a necessity, Comedy InvAsian is the brainchild effort of producers Koji Steven Sakai and Quentin Lee to showcase and celebrate the diversity of Asian American comedy in both genre and representation to the world.

“In our filmmaking career, we have met and become friends with so many talented comedians of color from producing Dwayne Perkins in Take Note to directing Randall Park in The People I’ve Slept With to working with Paul Kim in the Comedy Ninja Film Festival to directing Amy Hill in White Frog and The Unbidden. Comedy InvAsian will celebrate the talent and comedy of a group of select and diverse Asian American comedians which should prove to be just the tip of the iceberg,” said Koji Steven Sakai and Quentin Lee. “We’re excited to be working with proven accomplished Director’s Quentin and Koji who are passionate to bring Asian American comedy to the world,” said Victor Elizalde, President of Viva Pictures Distribution, LLC. who is distributing Lee’s latest feature The Unbidden and has also recently co-produced the first successful all Spanish language comedy stand-up series, Sigue la Risa, which currently airs exclusively on Netflix in the USA & LATAM.

Tickets and information on Comedy InvAsian will be available on the website:



East West Players' Celebrity Benefit Reading: Parminder Nagra, Rizwan Manji, Marc Anthony Samuel, and Sherri Saum

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Sounds like it should be a great time - definitely get out there are support EWP if you can.

For Immediate Release
January 12, 2017
Los Angeles, CA

Contact: Patricia Tumang
(213) 625-7000 ext. 12


East West Players (EWP), the nation’s longest-running professional theatre of color in the country and the largest producing organization of Asian American artistic work, is pleased to announce One Night Only: The Secret Play Project, a special one-night-only benefit reading on January 30, 2017, which will be directed by award-winning director, writer, and actress Lily Mariye, and starring celebrities Parminder Nagra, Rizwan Manji, Marc Anthony Samuel, and Sherri Saum.

“We wanted a unique one-night-only experience for our audience with a little air of mystery. Audiences will only find out in person on the 30th what play this star-studded cast will be reading. Just be ready for a great evening of laughter and surprises,” says EWP Artistic Director Snehal Desai.

Best known for portraying Neela Rasgotra on NBC’s hit series ER, Parminder Nagra was also a series regular on NBC’s The Blacklist, playing the CIA operative Meera Malik, and in JJ Abram’s Alcatraz on Fox, playing Dr. Lucy Banerjee. She will soon be seen in Season 2 of the critically acclaimed Sky Atlantic and Pivot drama, Fortitude, also starring Dennis Quaid and Michelle Fairley, set to premiere in January 2017. Most recently, she completed a guest arc on ABC’s Agents of Shield. Her breakout role was in the international hit Bend it like Beckham, playing the spirited Jess.

Canadian actor Rizwan Manji is best known for playing Rajiv Gidwani on NBC’s Outsourced, and has played regular or recurring roles on shows like NCIS, 24, Better Off Ted, and Backstrom. He has appeared in films like American Desi (with Kal Penn), Charlie Wilson’s War (with Tom Hanks), The Mikado Project (with Tamlyn Tomita), and The Wolf of Wall Street (with Leonardo DiCaprio).

Marc Anthony Samuel is best known for playing gay nurse Felix Dubois on General Hospital, and has appeared on NCIS and NCIS: Los Angeles.

Best known for her groundbreaking role playing lesbian adoptive mother Lena Adams Foster on Freeform’s The Fosters, Sherri Saum has been nominated for two Daytime Emmy Awards for playing Keri Reynolds on One Life to Live and Vanessa Hart on Sunset Beach. Saum has guest-starred on How to Get Away with Murder, Heroes, Gossip Girl, and the Law & Order series.

Actress Lily Mariye played nurse Lily Jarvik on NBC’s hit series ER, and has since pursued writing, directing, and filmmaking. After being chosen as a director for the ABC/Disney/DGA Creative Development Program, Mariye directed her first television episode for ABC’s Nashville, which Entertainment Weekly praised as, “…the best episode of this season of Nashville so far—and by quite a long shot.” Mariye recently directed Amazon’s Just Add Magic; “Leap of Faith”, her second episode of Nashville for CMT; and “Diamond in the Rough”, an episode of Freeform’s The Fosters, after directing her film debut, Model Minority. She is currently participating in the 2017 CBS Director’s Initiative.

“I’m thrilled to be working with East West Players for the first time as a director,” says Mariye. “I acted in many staged readings at East West Players, back when the theater was in Silver Lake. When EWP’s new Artistic Director Snehal Desai asked me to be involved as a director, I jumped at the chance to come full circle, and I look forward to nurturing my relationship with EWP and directing more projects in the future.”

“Lily is an incredibly charismatic and visionary director, who has used her creative experience as an actress and writer as a springboard to direct for TV, film, and now theater,” says Desai. “We are thrilled to be working with her for this special one-night staged reading to benefit EWP’s award-winning productions, engaging arts education programs, and initiatives to support and showcase Asian Pacific Islander artists, directors, and playwrights.”

One Night Only: The Secret Play Project, a special one-night-only benefit reading, will be held on January 30, 2017 at the David Henry Hwang Theater at the Union Center of the Arts at 120 Judge John Aiso Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012. Cocktails will be served in the courtyard at 6:30 p.m., and the reading will begin at 7:30 p.m. The play will be announced on the day of the event. A post-show VIP reception will take place at 9:00pm at Far Bar.

General Admission tickets start at $50. VIP tickets (includes the hosted bar, show, and VIP reception at Far Bar) are $75. Tickets may be purchased at https://eastwestplayers.secure.force.com/ticket or please call (213) 625-7000, making sure to mention any wheelchair/accessible seating needs. The date, details, and ticket prices are subject to change.

For more information about East West Players, please visit www.eastwestplayers.org.

Dumbfounded We Might Die Tour (Some Dates Are Already Sold Out So Get Your Tix While You Can)

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Seriously - get your tix while you can.

More info for the tour down @ https://www.dumbfoundead.com/#tour

CAAM + Watch These Award-Winning Music Documentaries About Asian And Asian Americans On Xfinity On Demand This Month

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Some great films being shown this month thanks to CAAM and xfinity.

January titles include three award-winning music documentaries by and about Asians and Asian Americans. CAAM is thrilled to present Harana, Jake Shimabukuro: Life on Four Strings, and A Song For Ourselves. To watch the films, go to xfinity On Demand: multicultural/Asia/Cinema Asian America/New Releases. You can also search for the films on On Demand by their titles.
Check out the full lineup down @ the CAAM website.

MV + I'm Sky-Hi: This Should Be My New House Band (And I'll Double Down On That?)

Thursday, January 12, 2017


Random English JPOP That Makes You Dance: Beverly + Tell Me Baby +

Thursday, January 12, 2017

I don't know. If this doesn't at least make your head bob...

Are you made of stone?

Avex artist Beverly.

Jam on.

Paul Kim + Gina Darling: Officially Missing You - Tamia (Remix)

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

I don't think I posted this up before - definitely been growing on me.

Quotable: From The Founder Of Chinese Americans For Trump

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

We shouldn't really be surprised because you know - he's the founder of Chinese Americans For Trump...but - this is some middle of the road karate kid squashed like a grape fortune cookie hot messiness:

"We try to block the bad stuff Trump says about China,” said David Wang, a 33-year-old Diamond Bar resident who founded Chinese Americans for Trump and serves on Trump’s Asian American advisory board. "To be honest, I think he’s just testing the waters".

Sometimes you just have to have it your way?


A Look Back At 2016...The Passing Of TMM And Other Thoughts From Last Year

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

I haven't done a best of or in review for a little bit and it's not looking like it's happening this year - but maybe next year I'll try something new (or old) again.

We'll see...

Left Too Early

When I look back at 2016 - one of the moments that will always be remembered is the passing of Keon Enoy Munedouang aka TMM, The Minority Militant.

His memory. His posts. The way others remembered him.

It never went unnoticed to me what month it was either...

He'll be missed by many - and I'll miss him.

I'll miss what I had gotten to know as well as the promise of what could have been.

When I got back from his funeral - because I owed him that - I wanted to write something so visceral - I wanted to light everyone on fire who I didn't think cared and should have, either about TMM himself and the loss to the blogging community, or the fact that I was grieving his loss.

But I didn't.

I knew it wouldn't quite be right. I may have touched on things - but not in that way.

Here's some of what I did write though on a FB post:

...I found the Internet. I found writing from a journalistic, news, and op-ed point of view. I helped start an online press, one of the first independent student run ones in the country [...] I always went back and forth between wondering if I should do social work/arts for a living or something else that could fuel that. Tech and the Internet and the Web - they've allowed me to do that. It gave me the power to do things on my own without needing anyone else's approval, or wait while I stood in line for scraps hoping they would open up the gates for me, or have to explain to anyone that I couldn't do anything in life if I wasn't able to make a living and pay bills and that I could still be down even if I was also a tech geek too--it opened up a whole new world to me on so many fronts.

One of the areas that's been such a large piece of who I am is as an AAPI blogger and online writer. I was able to find my voice and who I was as a writer and activist. It's been a community that I'm proud to be a part of and contribute to and where I've been able to meet so many great people and organizations and learned so much because of it, and I hope that I'm always giving back because of that. We really are a different breed and small community spread out across the country, and while sometimes I ran from it, because we run from who we are sometimes, I stopped running at some point.

This weekend I drove down to Chicago to attend the funeral for Keon (aka TMM) who I've been making a lot of posts on for the last week. A fellow Southeast Asian American blogger from the Midwest I considered Keon a friend, but one who I should have gotten to know more, and who I lost touch with over the last few years. But I wanted to be there to help honor his life and the piece of him I knew as a part of a community that we both belonged to. It was great to see how much love there was for him. Sending him off in a traditional Lao ceremony and honoring his life--being a mentor, a teacher, serviceman to his country, brother, son, and cousin, and about his life as a political Asian American blogger--and his sister ended the ceremony with words from his blog and about why he wrote and why he felt he needed to put out his voice. It was fitting in that way and brought me to tears and while I wanted to say so much more to his sister before I left, it was really her just letting me cry on her shoulder before I just had to leave. One day I figure I'll learn how to be better at funerals...and make sure to honor those better.


There've been so many emotions running through this past week and some of them really angry...and I wasn't quite sure what I was going to do with those as I felt like I should act on them and acknowledge them and use all the power in the English language to show them light....but I don't want to start wars and sometimes things are more complicated, and there's another POV - and it takes energy for that - energy that can be channeled, and I know better spent, on something positive for the community...and I've talked a lot to different people and there's been so much support in his memory and nothing but kindness and goodness and I'm thankful to all of them because that helped erase some of that anger.

Positivity and channeling something good out of this wins.

Rest in peace Keon. It truly has been an honor.

There really was an outpouring of love and respect for his blogging and life. On all sides. Even from people who maybe didn't get along with Keon, or didn't understand him or why he felt or said some of the things he did.

I'll always be grateful for that - for the showing of love and respect, and the community around his memory - the AAPI bloggers and writers and friends and family.

Because when someone leaves - and leaves us too early - we should see that.

From Lac Su With Love (Well Not Really But I'm Quoting Him Anyway)

Another moment that sticks out in my mind, and I think a more general one, is the fall of our Presidency. I mean really - who knew we would go back in time - like a rip in the universe and some odd machine that you only find in COD III.

Progressive woman from a party that cares about everyone, or a racist rich White Guy who duped other racist White People (well not everyone)?

We know how that turned out.

And those masks - they came off.

From all sides, everywhere you looked - "friendships" were broken, families were divided - and this thought of somehow being in a safer and better place (because we've had to be after all the advances we've made right?) - it felt like it was crashing down - and sure, we've been through bad Presidents before - but this was different.

I think there was true hope that we were on the cusp of something great - and we needed that because amidst so much other turmoil from a race perspective.

The fact that it was never realized gave way to true mourning for so many people and communities.

That mourning turned to anger with a fight response - that in spite of it all - we needed to stand strong no matter what.

I think Lac Su said it best (via a social media post) when he said we needed to fill the void after the election with art and community - and it's true.

Gotta fight because the alternative of laying down isn't an option.

Life goes on.

We still have to progress and move forward and push back as much as we can.

Police, Race, And The Divide

I live within walking distance to the governor's mansion (albeit in an adjacent neighborhood) which was ground zero during the protests surrounding the shooting of Philando Castile - and like too many other times, protested and chanted with others who were shocked and outraged at the shooting of another man of color, a Black man, who did nothing wrong. The community was on fire and the helicopters buzzed around me at night watching and waiting...it was another shooting, another bad cop who should have never been a police officer, another highway closed, another motion that said change needs to happen...

In one of the cities I call home where I grew up, Milwaukee's boiling point finally came. Another shooting. Too much built up, in what was once one of the most segregated cities in our country...

Peter Liang and Akai Gurley. How can we forget them? The divide was great in the Asian American community and I know I lost at least a couple of folks on that one - but I'll still remain with what I think is a balanced view on it because we have to take it all in - we can't throw away the concerns of so many - and I mean that on all sides. There has to be dialogue - it just can't be a debate...

And Map Kong - another shooting of a man of color - an Asian American man - ripped by the Star Tribune via their White Privilege, not given the justice he deserved. From the BCA to the police to so many communities - he was lost in the shuffle with barely a word spoken about him and how his life was worth rehabilitation - that he didn't need to be shot in the back running away - that if he was White he probably would have had a better chance surviving the officers that surrounded him...

I can only hope that 2017 doesn't see what we witnessed in 2016 on this front.

Maybe This Year Will Be Different

This year I watched my daughter grow up a little - baby Slanty turned into toddler Slanty - and when I look at her - I know that one day we'll see the fruition of labors.

Because it has to happen at some point and I can't believe that she'll be worse off than where we are now.

It's just organic change that's already in flux.

Maybe this year can be the start of something new - something different.

Even with the changes coming to our country and the melees that will ensue (because there has to be) - the majority - we know what needs to be done.

We know what it's going to take.

So here's to at least hoping for the best.

Random Lester Kasai

Tuesday, January 10, 2017


Inventor of the “Beni Hana” and was the second person to land a 540.


In Pics: Jeannie Mai + Stranger Things + Golden Globes

Monday, January 09, 2017

Love this pic.

The Vinnie Banh Street Part

Friday, January 06, 2017

Oh yes.

Oh yes indeed.

Welcome 2017: Holy Fuck I Just Watched The Mariah Carey NYE Video. Damn

Thursday, January 05, 2017

Dick Clark Productions is trying to get these taken down Vin Diesel And Sung Kang style so watch it while you can.

I feel bad for the Queen...all of Chicago must be feeling it too.

Hot Damn that really was a mess.


I still can't believe this is what was elected President.

It lingers...