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Michelle Kwan officially confirmed as US ambassador to Belize

Michelle Kwan
  • Former Olympic figure skater Michelle Kwan was confirmed last Thursday by the Senate through voice vote as the U.S. ambassador to Belize.
  • Kwan was nominated by Biden last December.
  • Aside from her accomplishments in skating, Kwan served as the first public diplomacy envoy for the State Department and traveled globally to tackle social and educational issues.
  • Her educational background includes a B.A. with a focus on international relations from the University of Denver and an M.A. from Tufts University Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy.

Nominated by Biden in December, Michelle Kwan has been confirmed by the Senate as the U.S. ambassador to Belize.

She was praised by the State Department in January in a Certificate of Competency.  

California lawmakers reject bill that aims to stop prison-to-ICE transfers

  • VISION Act (AB 937) fell three votes short of the 21 it needed to pass in the California Senate on Wednesday.
  • Introduced by Assemblymember Wendy Carillo last year, the legislation aims to bar state prisons from transferring inmates to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody after they finish serving their sentences.
  • Asian immigrants Bounchan Keola and Kao Saelee, who worked as incarcerated firefighters, were among those taken by ICE custody after being released.
  • Supporters of the bill say the inmates have already served their time and deserve a chance to restart their lives.
  • Critics, on the other hand, believe they continue to be a threat to society, especially those with violent criminal history.
  • With the Senate rejection, the bill returns to the Assembly for a final vote before heading to Gov. Gavin Newsom’s desk.

A bill that would bar California jails from moving inmates to federal immigration custody after completing their prison sentences was rejected by the state Senate on Wednesday.

The legislation, known as the VISION Act (AB 937), received an 18-13 roll call in the Senate. Four Democrats and nine Republicans opposed the bill, which fell three votes short of the 21 needed for its passage. 

GOP Senate candidate targeted with political ad full of racist Asian stereotypes by Peter Thiel-funded PAC

  • Republican senatorial candidate Jim Lamon was targeted with a political ad that contained elements considered racist against Asians.
  • The clip made several allegations against Lamon, including his company’s ties to suppliers from China, his hand in building nuclear power plants for the Chinese government and his connections with forced slave labor.
  • Interspersed with the message, however, are images of temples, gong sound effects, text written in chop suey typeface and a musical riff associated with kung fu films.
  • The political action committee (PAC) Saving Arizona, which publicly backs Lamon’s opponent Blake Masters, took responsibility for the ad. The group is known to be funded almost entirely by tech billionaire Peter Thiel.
  • Earlier this year, Lamon himself put out a controversial ad of his own showing him shooting a gun at characters playing President Joe Biden, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Arizona Sen. Mark Kelly.

A political ad targeting a Republican senatorial candidate in Arizona is getting attention online for incorporating elements considered racist against Asians.

The video, which portrays U.S. Senate candidate Jim Lamon as “China’s Man” in the upcoming elections, uses several images, text and sound effects that ridicule Asian culture. 

Senate passes bill to study new Asian Pacific American history national museum

  • The AAPI museum study bill was passed in the Senate on Thursday by unanimous vote, necessitating the creation of a committee that will plan its building. 
  • Sponsored by U.S. Representative Grace Meng (D, NY-6), the measure first passed in the House on April 26 and was awaiting the Senate’s final approval.
  • The bill “seeks to create the first national museum dedicated to preserving the history, culture, and accomplishments of Asian Pacific Americans.” 
  • With Congress' support, a commission of eight experts will be created to facilitate the planning of the AAPI facility’s construction and operations, potentially as a part of the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C.
  • While the bill does not guarantee the establishment of an AAPI Museum, it ensures that there will be a draft with a plan of action to be submitted to Congress.

The AAPI museum study bill was passed in the Senate on Thursday by unanimous vote, establishing the creation of a committee that will plan its building.  

Sponsored by U.S. Representative Grace Meng (D, NY-6), who is also the first vice chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, the measure first passed in the House on April 26 and was awaiting the Senate’s final approval.

‘China sent us COVID’: Dr. Oz says he’s not ‘China’s friend’ in Pennsylvania senate ad targeting opponent

Mehmet Oz
  • Mehmet Oz, better known as the television personality Dr. Oz, has released an ad targeting Pennsylvania Republican Senate primary opponent David McCormick’s hedge fund investments in China.
  • The commercial video narrates: “First, China sent us COVID. Then David McCormick’s hedge fund gave Chinese companies billions… McCormick: China’s friend. Not ours."

Television personality, physician and Pennsylvania Senate candidate Mehmet Oz takes a jab at former hedge fund executive and Republican primary opponent David McCormick with a new ad claiming: “David McCormick [is] China’s friend, not ours.”

Oz, better known as Dr. Oz, uploaded the video, titled “David McCormick China’s Friend Not Ours,” to his official YouTube channel on Jan. 31.

Lucy Koh confirmed to 9th Circuit Court, becomes first Korean American woman to serve on federal appeals court

lucy koh

The U.S. Senate voted 50-45 on Monday to confirm Lucy Koh to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, making her the first Korean American woman to serve on a federal appeals court.

A historical vote: The decision came about in spite of Republican objections to a decision she wrote earlier this year as a district court judge allowing California to restrict religious gatherings during the pandemic.

Bipartisan bill to give ‘Documented Dreamers’ path to citizenship blocked by Senate parliamentarian

documented dreamers bill citizenship blocked

A proposed bipartisan bill aimed at giving so-called “Documented Dreamers” a path to permanent residency hit a roadblock on Sunday after Senate parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough ruled against including immigration reforms in Democrats’ $3.5 trillion, 10-year spending plan

Rare bipartisan support: Last week, Sen. Alex Padilla, D-Calif., and Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., unveiled the “America’s Children Act” legislation that aims to grant children of long-term visa holders a means to apply for their own green card, the New York Times reported.

Hawaii Senator Tells Men To ‘Shut Up and Step Up’ Over SCOTUS Nominee’s Sex A‌ss‌aul‌t Accusations

Amid the outrage surrounding the United States Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh’s recent s‌exual a‌ss‌au‌lt accusations comes some strong words from Senator Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) who told men in political power to “shut up and step up.”

Earlier this week, Kavanaugh was accused of sexual assault by Palo Alto University professor Christine Blasey Ford, who claimed the a‌bus‌e h‌appened decades ago when they were still teenagers. Ford has since received both support and condemnation from both sides of the political spectrum.