Category Archives: race

No jokes at First Presidential Press Conference since WHCD, but lots on sequester, immigration, and Jason Collins

I know the presser is a 100-day marker. But the WHCD was such a stark contrast. It’s definitely back to the somber stuff today.  Brief mention of the WHCD at the start, but Syria is the lead. Obama still unclear on what the U.S. should do. And even support efforts announced today seem to be a token gesture. A delicate fluid situation.

President was more clear on the sequester and defining the dysfunctional government and putting blame on Congress and its failure to do its job.

“It’s not my job to get them to behave,” said the president. 


(from televison coverage of press conference)



Obama’s example of the FAA instance exposed the short-sighted nature of the GOP. All it’s done is borrow money from airport improvements in the future, which hurts the U.S. long term. Obama said the best strategy is to address issues through a broader deal.

 Obama mentioned a “permission structure,” that may allow  those scared of their political base to reach compromise on budget issues.

 It was as blunt and detailed an answer, of the conseqeunces of sequester and how it  has hurt the country. No pussyfooting here.

“We are using our seed corn, short term.And the only reason we’re doing it is because right now we have some folks unwilling to make some simple changes to our tax code, for example to close loopholes that aren’t adding to our competitiveness and aren’t helping middle-class families,” said the president. “There are common sense solutions to our problems right now. I cannot force Republicans  to embrace those common sense solutions. I can urge them to, I can put pressure on them, I can rally the American people around those common sense solutions. But ultimately they themselves are going to have to say we want to do the right thing.”

The president indicated he understood Congress’ political dilemma. “It’s tough,” he said. “Their base thinks that compromise with me is somehow a betrayal. They’re worried about primaries. And I understand all that, and we’re going to do everything we can to create a permission structure for them to do what’s best for the country. But it’s going to take some time.”

Permission structure? Does he mean political cover so that conservatives can hide behind a tough vote?

The president also weighed in on what is could be the signature accomplishment of this term: Immigration.

The president praised the Gang of Eight’s efforts, saying it may not have been what he would have done, but it did meet the criteria: Border safety, strong employer provisions, improvements to the current bureaucracy, and that pathway to citizenship.

Obama praised the pathway as one where people can earn the right to legalize their status over time.

But that’s one of the contentious issues in the plan.

Obama said he’s open-minded. He’ll need to be. Already some House members have said they don’t want a big package but would rather take up the issue piece meal. 

Sound precarious?  It is. And this is the President’s best issue going forward.

Obama was almost out the door when he came back to the podium to discuss Jason Collins’ coming out statement.

Said the President:

“Yeah, I’ll say something about Jason Collins. I had a chance to talk to him yesterday. He seems like a terrific young man, and, you know, I told him I couldn’t be prouder of him. You know, one of the extraordinary measures of progress that we’ve seen in this country has been the recognition that the LGBT community deserves full equality, not just partial equality, not just tolerance but a recognition that they’re fully a part of the American family.

And, you know, given the importance of sports in our society, for an individual who’s excelled at the highest levels in one of major sports go ahead and say, this is who I am, I’m proud of it, I’m still a great competitor, I’m still seven feet tall and can bang with Shaq and, you know, deliver a hard foul — and for, you know, a lot of young people out there who, you know, are — are — are, you know, gay or lesbian, who are struggling with these issues, to see a role model like that who’s unafraid, I think it’s a great thing. And I think America should be proud that this is just one more step in this ongoing recognition that we treat everybody fairly. And everybody’s part of a — part of a family, and we judge people on the basis of their character and their performance, and not their sexual orientation.”

That was a question the president was glad to answer.

See my latest at the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund blog.


Sen.Russ Feingold on Immigration, Boston, Terror, Citizens United

The senator is now teaching at Stanford Law for the semester, but still watching the big stories like the Gang of Eight’s immigration proposal,the Boston bombings, terrorism, and his pet concerns,  Citizens United, and campaign finance reform.

See my interview with Feingold just before his keynote address at the Asian Law Caucus Dinner in San

Francisco on 4/25/2013.


Linceblog: Filipino American fans see great game, but no San Francisco Giants victory on heritage night

The Giants should have taken a cue from the tinikling dancers.

You just can’t afford to make errors in the field when you’re a tinikling dancer.

Same goes for a baseball team.

Bowls, gloves, you can’t mess up–not on the field.

Playing the field, dancing with a bowl on your head, errors are costly.


The Giants made three deadly errors, that pretty much made the difference in the night’s 6-4 loss.

From the first play on a Parra groundball that led to the first run, to the last inning. The Giants made it exciting by tying the game in the 9th, 4-4. But in the 11th, a series of miscues gave the Diamondbacks the go-ahead runs. There was a misplayed ball by Torres in left that allowed a runner to second. Then a bad throw by Sandoval at third , dropped by Belt at first, followed by a wild pitch that scored a run.  For good measure, the Diamondback’s Parra doubled and another run scored.

A tough night considering the Giants staged a rally as if on Filipino Time, i.e., late.

Two-runs in the eighth, and two-more on a home run by Belt tied the game and thrilled the chilled crowd. But it wasn’t  enough to send fans home happy.

Those with theFilipino Night tickets got special scarves with the number of baseball’s premier Filipino American player, Tim Lincecum, No. 55.

Fan holds up scarf that features number of the premier Filipino American ball player in the majors

There may not be many Filipino American ball players in the “beeg leegs.”  And that makes diversity nights like this one at the Giants’ AT&T Park are important.  There was even a Filipino American ball dude–No. 6, Vince Gomez, retired music teacher.


Heritage nights bond the team and the game to the community, and makes a public event like a baseball game a special one. This is what sports does for us these days. It’s the reason the Boston Marathon bombs were so jarring, and why it was important for baseball as a game to respond the way it has to that tragedy.


When you include the fans in the stands, baseball really is a reflection of the country, even to how we’re somewhat stratified by where we sit and the ticket we can afford. But we’re all watching the same game, and cheering for the same team.


Better yet, though seasonal, it happens everyday, just like life.


When you win, you celebrate. And when you lose, you reflect, and get back up.  No time to get down. There’s another game today.

That’s baseball.



Linceblog:Tim Lincecum speaks candidly about his Filipino roots; SF Giants Filipino Heritage Night at AT&T tonight

For Tim Lincecum and the San Francisco Giants, it’s another Filipino Heritage Night, an homage to a fan base that represents the second largest Asian American group in the nation (Four million based on 2011 Census estimates, with Northern California the largest concentration of Filipino Americans outside of Hawaii).


And they all love Lincecum, whose mother was Filipino, making the Giants’ star the son of a great-granddaughter of a Filipino immigrant.


Lincecum is a 4th generation Filipino American.


Far from an accidental, or the reluctant Filipino, Lincecum always seems interested when I’ve mentioned Filipino history to him. One of his recent starts actually was on Bataan Valor Day, the surrender of Bataan and the start of the death march.


After a recent game, when he struggled and gave up 7 walks, I asked him about superstitions since ballplayers, like Filipinos are notoriously superstitious. I thought this might get him to open up about being Filipino.


But any discussion of being Filipino always goes back to his mother.



He certainly doesn’t deny his “Filipino-ness.” But like many half-Filipino, or multi-racial Filipinos (21.8 percent of U.S. Filipinos), one’s  comfort level is based on a continued connection to family. Certainly, that’s a private matter–to a point. It’s just that when you take the mound on such a public stage as Major League Baseball, you lose some of that privacy. Filipinos see a game where there are zero Filipinos on the field. And when someone like Lincecum comes along, naturally, he becomes, whether he likes it or not, a kind of global hero to Filipinos everywhere. Sports and identity politics go together.

Just like Venezuelans love Sandoval, Scutaro and Blanco, Filipinos love Lincecum.

Lincecum isn’t pitching tonight. The starter is Matt Cain, not even 1/32nd Filipino, but still beloved by Giants fans.


Lincecum might make a cameo as he did on what I believe was the very first Filipino American Heritage night in 2009. The coincidence of Manny Pacquiao promoting his fight with Ricky Hatton made it practically a community event.


When pound-for-pound champ Pacman threw the ceremonial first pitch to a catcher named Lincecum, it was probably the first major league Filipino battery in history. (Not in all of baseball, of course. When I caught Marcelino Dumpit as a youth player for Dolores Park and Everett Jr. High in the ’60s, we had a nice Filipino battery going in the city leagues).

Fast forward to 2013, and an older Pacquiao has lost twice, his star not quite as bright as in 2009.


Lincecum? He’s had it even tougher. From double-CY winner to statistically being the worst starting pitcher in the league, Lincecum’s last two years have been a mess. He’s struggled to find the rhythm that made him into one of the game’s premier pitchers.


Then last Saturday, on 4/20 (coincidence?), Lincecum was brilliant. Throwing with control, Lincecum walked just two batters, and used his low-nineties fastball primarily to challenge hitters, striking out eight. Even more significant, he didn’t give up the big inning that has raised his ERA to over 5.  Does pitching to Posey at catcher really make that much of a difference? It sure seems to. The Giants won the game 2-0, courtesy of a Sandoval homer.


Lincecum earned his second win for the season and gained a lot more confidence as continues to get back to his 2009 form.


Giants fans, Filipino or not, left that night with big smiles on their faces.


The “Preak” was back.



Read more about Lincecum on, the major daily newspaper of the Philippines.