Friday, December 28, 2018

New Year and Lady Luck - Mega Millions Vs. Powerball

Mega Millions and Powerball are  two biggest multi-jurisdictional lottery games in the US.  They both offer in 44 states, the District of Columbia and US Virgin Islands.  Mega Millions is drawn on Tuesday and Friday while Powerball has Wednesday and Saturday.

The largest jackpot for Mega Millions history was $1.537 billion for October 23, 2018 drawing.  For Powerball, the record was $1.58 billion in Jan 2016. 

Due to different drawing combinations, Mega Millions has the wining odds of 1 in 258,890,850.  Powerball has the winning odds of 1 in 292,201,338.     In comparison, the Super Lotto Plus, a California's lottery game has the winning odds of 1 in 42 millions.

The number of jackpot winners found in certain states are higher than the others:

State                        Jackpot Winners                % of Total Jackpot Winners

Indiana                                 39                                          10.5%
Missouri                               31                                             8.3%
Minnesota                            22                                            5.9%
Kentucky                              18                                            4.8%
Pennsylvania                       18                                            4.8%
Louisiana                             17                                             4.6%
Wisconsin                            16                                            4.3%
Arizona                                 13                                            3.5%
Florida                                  12                                            3.2%
Washington DC                   11                                               3%
Kansas                                  11
New Hampshire                  11
Nebraska                              10                                             2.7%
Delaware                              10
New York                             10                                         
Iowa                                       9
New Jersey                           8                                              2.2%
Connecticut                          8
California                              8
Rhode Island                        8
West Virginia                       8

The rest of the statistics is listed in the following link

Powerball so far has 364 jackpot winners.  Mega Millions despite better odds, only has 200 jackpot winners.   The current Mega Millions jackpot is at $348 million.  Powerball latest winning drawing was for $294 millions.   A single winning ticket was sold at a gas station in Brooklyn, NY.

Saturday, December 22, 2018

Dung Tien Kieu - Victorian Legislative Council

59th State Legislative Council of Victoria, Australia

Victoria is a one of six states in Australia.  It is located in south-eastern Australia with state capital and largest city, Melbourne.  This is the second most populous state in Australia with a population of 6,430,000. 

According to Wikipedia - 
The Parliament of Victoria is the bicameral legislature of the Australian state of Victoria. It follows a Westminster-derived parliamentary system and consists of The Queen, represented by the Governor of Victoria; the Legislative Assembly(Lower House); and the Legislative Council (Upper House).[1] The Parliament meets at Parliament House in the state capital Melbourne.
The two Houses of Parliament have 128 Members in total, 88 in the lower house and 40 in the upper house.   All members of both houses are elected for fixed four year terms. General elections are held on the last Saturday in November every four years with the Parliament expiring on the Tuesday twenty-five days before the election.

A month ago, Dung Tien Kieu was elected to be a member of the Legislative Council (Upper House).  He is the first Vietnamese elected to  this seat in Victoria.  The state is the home of about 70,000 Vietnamese.  His district has about 35,000 Vietnamese out of a population of about 500,000.   There are a total of about 200,000 Vietnamese in Australia. 
A professor of physics at Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne, he came to Australia in 1979 as a refugee from Vietnam.  His academic career includes study and research at University of Edinburgh and Oxford University, as well as Fulbrigh scholar at Columbia, Princeton and MIT.  

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Letter of Concern over U.S.-Vietnam Renegotiation of Repatriation Agreement

Assemblymember Ash Kalra and California Congressmembers Sign Letter of Concern over U.S.-Vietnam Renegotiation of Repatriation Agreement 

SACRAMENTO – State Assemblymember Ash Kalra (D-San Jose) joined California Congress members Rep. Zoe Lofgren and Rep. Ro Khanna in signing a letter of concern regarding the potential deportation of Vietnamese refugees following actions by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to renegotiate the terms of a decade-long repatriation agreement between the United States and Vietnam.

“I condemn any renegotiation that turns its back on protecting the Vietnamese refugees who were forced to leave their homes over forty years ago to escape a war and rebuild their lives here in this country,” said Assemblymember Kalra.

“Perpetuating a campaign of deportation shreds the fabric of our communities, hurts American families, and is antithetical to the American spirit.”

Following the Vietnam War, hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese people fled to the United States, many of whom were South Vietnamese and seeking political asylum for supporting the U.S. government during the war. Those families, including young refugee children, resettled in the United States with little support and few resources to cope with the significant trauma associated with the war, loss of family, and loss of homeland.

The letter of concern, authored by two leading organizations advocating for the civil and human rights of Asian Americans and other underserved communities, Asian Americans Advancing Justice and the Southeast Asia Resource Action Center, reads:

…as a result, some [refugees] made mistakes that funneled them into the criminal justice system. Despite these mistakes, the repatriation agreement has given thousands of former Vietnamese refugees a second chance. It has allowed families to stay together and enabled individuals not only to rebuild their lives but also to make a difference in their communities.

In 2008, the U.S. and Vietnam signed a repatriation agreement that explicitly excludes Vietnamese nationals who arrived in the U.S. before July 12, 1995. Furthermore, the agreement ensured consideration of “the humanitarian aspect, family unity and circumstances” for all others, and to carry out repatriation “in an orderly and safe way, and with respect for the individual human dignity of the person repatriated.”

Despite the conditions outlined the agreement, the DHS in 2017 began a mass deportation campaign on immigrants of several countries, including Vietnam, and Vietnamese refugees who came to the United States before 1995 were still being deported this year. Through a series of diplomatic visits and discussions, the DHS has been actively urging the Vietnamese government to broaden the conditions of the treaty by allowing more repatriation of deportees to Vietnam.

The letter is addressed to President Donald Trump, U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen, and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo

Monday, December 10, 2018

Christmas Toys For Tots

Young Lord of San Jose - Lan Diep

After almost two years in office,  San Jose Councilman Lan Diep has managed to offend the Vietnamese-American community to a point that the community leaders are calling him out publicly.  He is not well liked in the community and often not invited to community events.  Most of the time,  if attended, he would appear as guest of  Councilman Tam Nguyen.

In a recent press release, one group called Vietnamese-American Coalition of Northern California, led by Son Pham and Truong Vu, stated that his self-absorbing arrogance, ignorance and  lack of respect for the community have caused the community to turn away from him.

Lan Diep bursted to the political scene in San Jose as a Vietnamese-American candidate and ran his campaign in 2015 relying on his Vietnamese base heavily.  His District 4 is 54% Asian.  When in office, he basically ignores his Vietnamese supporters.  Some residents  in the community who had voted for him are now lamenting : "He forgets us now that he is in office"

At a recent town hall meeting organized by Mayor Sam Liccardo to update the Vietnamese-American community on issues as part of his outreach effort,  Diep was present and asked why he terminated a signed contract by the city with VIVO for translation and outreach services.   He said it was approved by the former Councilman Manh Nguyen; thus, he was not obligated to honor it and besides there were no need for such services.

For some reasons or another, he still holds grudges against Manh Nguyen whom he defeated in 2016 election.   The contract was approved by the city staff and VIVO, a well established nonprofit organization that has served the Vietnamese-American community for over 35 years.   The budget was allocated by Manh Nguyen when he was in office and the city felt there was a  need for such service.  The work had started at the beginning of 2015.  When Diep found out 9 months later, he decided to terminate the project and instructed the city staff not to pay VIVO for the work that had been done.

The city given and Diep taken back.   Yet in the town hall forum, he lectured the community that they are immature and need to learn how to deal with the city staff properly (?) 

His dealing with the Vietnamese-American community has been known to be Trump-like.  He would tweet tidbits to make fun and put down Councilman Tam Nguyen when he was office.   There was a certain jealousy since Nguyen was the face of the community and he was not and still is not.

When the billionaire Hoang Kieu came to town two years ago for a press conference to announce his donation of $5 million for flood relief,  many people thought Diep displayed his lack of respect,  immaturity, and eagerness to be the face of the Vietnamese-American community.

As Kieu's entourage parked their cars and Hoang Kieu walked out to the press conference staged  near the site of the flood in D7,  Diep rushed toward him and was the first to greet the billionaire.   Hoang Kieu was taken back and asked: " Who are you again?"   He was expecting Councilman Tam Nguyen and Mayor Sam Liccardo.   They were trailing behind Diep.

Nguyen was connected to Hoang Kieu by the owner of Lee's Sandwiches.  His district received the most damage during the flood.  Diep's district is not in the flood zone.

People are now calling him "Young Lord Lan Diep" for his condescending manner as well as his vindictive mentality that so far blinds his ability to serve the Vietnamese-American community.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Tyler Diep and Andrew Do

This Monday, Tyler Diep (R) was officially swore in as the Assemblyman  for California's 72nd District.  It was a  joyous moment for Tyler Diep and his family at the State Capitol in Sacramento.  His supporters chartered a bus from Orange County the night before to be on hand for his ceremony.  His old boss, former Assemblyman Van Tran (R) was also present to congratulate him.   OC Supervisor Andrew Do flew in to join him, his family and Van Tran in the Assembly Chamber Gallery for the oath of office.

It was a bruising battle for Diep against the Democratic candidate Josh Lowenthal.  Diep raised almost a $1 million while Lowenthal had $1.1 million.   There were over 24 hit pieces against him in the last three months of the election.  On top of that,  then State Senator Janet Nguyen (R) went on radio and TV accused him of not supporting her signature legislature SB 895 and urged Vietnamese-American voters to abandon him.   Meanwhile, he received strong support from Supervisor Andrew Do and Tam Le (a Vietnamese media owner).  For helping him from the beginning of his race, Diep publicly thanked Do.

With Nguyen lost her senate race to Tom Umberg (D),  Diep becomes the highest elected Vietnamese-American elected official in California.   He will have a little more than a year to prove himself before another election campaign cycle begins.  With the Blue Wave trend, no Republican is safe in Orange County.

Saturday, December 1, 2018

A Bitter Lost for Janet Nguyen

It is now official after more than 3 long agonizing weeks for Janet Nguyen.  It is a bitter defeat and she  has not even bother to call Tom Umberg to congratulate.    Umberg two days ago declared victory without Nguyen conceding.  The final tally is:

Orange County

118,125  - Janet Nguyen (R)

118,123 - Tom Umberg (D)

LA County

16,939 - Tom Umberg (D)

13,848 - Janet Nguyen (R)

She lost by 3,089 votes after she was ahead by more than 18,000 votes on election day.   According to her inner circle,  she is quite upset with the defeat and somewhat regretful of things that could have been done otherwise during the campaign.  She just turn 42 a few days ago so she is young and definitely will make a political comeback.   This is after all the land of Ronald Reagan and Richard Nixon who are well known for their political comebacks.

Nguyen and Umberg in 2022 rematch?

Friday, November 23, 2018

California Senate Republican Caucus

The outgoing California State Senator Janet Nguyen (R) made recommendation to the California Senate Republican Caucus to terminate their current pollsters.   The reason is because they provided her with erroneous polling indicating that she had a good lead going into the general election.    Meanwhile, the Democratic Caucus had their own polling and it showed that Tom Umberg (D) would at least be tie with Nguyen. 

In the primary, she beat Tom Umberg (D) by a landslide.  She received 60% of the votes while Umberg received 20%. 

The final tally of the SD34 is not known until next week.  Right now Umberg is leading by 1,862 votes.  

Nhat Tam Charity Raises Money for Paradise

Nhat Tam Charity, a local San Jose charity founded by a group of professionals in Silicon Valley has raised over $38,000 for the fire victims at Paradise.  During the week of Thanksgiving, Nhat Tam Charity members drove to the devastated town  and handed out $50 Target Gift Card to each victim.  All money raised were given directly to the victims

The fire storm totally destroyed the small town in its path.  It burned 12,000 homes  to the ground and left 24,000 people homeless.  Also there are still hundreds of people missing from the fire along with 84 known deaths.

Both local and federal governments have established valuable assistance to help the victims.  People from all over the countries are donating essential supplies.  Pallets after pallets are in storage waiting to be distribute as need.    However, according to officials, cash donations and gift cards are the most important right now.  For an idea of how to best help victims - see the link below:

To understand more about Nhat Tam Charity and their relief efforts to directly help the victims, please see the following link:

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Janet Nguyen Loses to Tom Umberg

With most the provisional ballots counted,  California State Senator Janet Nguyen (R) has lost her seat in D34 to retired Army Colonel Tom Umberg (D).   This is quite a turn of event considering Nguyen was the favorite to win as an incumbent and a popular politician in her district.  Many people think that the result is caused by the Democratic Blue Wave movement.

The currently tally is :  128,261 - Nguyen, 129,680 - Umberg.  The race is so close that the two candidates only separate by 0.38% .   As it stands, there might be an automatic machine recount but this will not likely to change the outcome.

This race was not a priority for the Democratic Party in California.  The Democratic Party has super majority in both state houses with or without this seat; thus, Umberg received little support from the party.

Janet Nguyen was confident going into the race with her large war chest and strong name recognition.  She decided to spend considerable amount of her time and campaign money trying to bring down her political enemies during her race.  

In her cross-hair were  two people that were her mentors and campaign managers for her previous  state senatorial and supervisorial  elections -  Nick Le and Andrew Do.    She also went after Tyler Diep trying to destroy his state assembly chance.   Ultimately, he won and she lost.

Tom Umberg (D) has lost the last 3 elections he entered.  Once against Janet Nguyen in 2007 for the supervisorial race by 3%.  This is his second try to win a state senate seat. 

Monday, November 19, 2018

Janet Nguyen Now Is Behind By 438 votes

With about 6,000 provisional ballots left in Orange County,  State Senator Janet Nguyen (R) is now behind challenger Tom Umberg (D) by 438 votes.   In a desperate attempt to ensure all the provisional ballots are accurate, she has a team of lawyers challenges every ballots for the last 3 days. 

Nguyen was ahead by more than 16% on election day.  But just like all of the congressional races in Orange County,  Democratic votes catch up steadily and eventually overtake.  So far, all 4 Republican congressional candidates lost.  This will be the first time in 90 years where Orange County will have no Republican represent in congress.

There are still a couple thousands of ballots left in LA County.  She will likely lose another 150 to 200 votes.

California's 34th District covers Santa Ana, Garden Grove, Fountain Valley, Westminster, Seal Beach, Los Alamitos and part of Long Beach.  She won the seat in 2014 by beating Jose Solorio 58% to 42%.

The Democratic Blue Wave really has done her in if the result holds.

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Still Counting in Orange County for State Senate - D34

State Senator Janet Nguyen (R) is ahead by 1,179 votes with about 17,000 provisional ballots left to count.  Her lead of 18% on election day has shrunk to 0.8%.   However, there are not a lot of ballots left so she might escape.  She has the history of pulling the rabbit out the hat in close races.

She and Tom Umberg (D) are anxiously awaiting the final tally which might not happen before Thanksgiving. 

Friday, November 16, 2018

Janet Nguyen Is Ahead by 1,848 Votes

With less than 27,000 provisional ballots in Orange County and perhaps 1,300 ballots in Los Angeles County,  Janet Nguyen (R) is leading Tom Umberg (D) by 1,848 votes in the California's 34th State Senate district race.

All the 4 congressional districts controlled by Republicans represent parts of Orange County fell to Democratic candidates.  However, at state level, all Republican controlled senate and assembly seats in Orange County held so far.  Tyler Diep (R) won his D72 Assembly race to replace Allen Travis (R) with easy despite 24 hit pieces against him within 5 months leading to the general election.

SD34 currently is too close to call.  Can Nguyen hold on to her seat as an incumbent?  The answer perhaps will be clearer tomorrow.

Both SD34 and AD27 have at least 20% or more Vietnamese-American registered voters.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Janet Nguyen In Another Close Race

After 8 days of counting, the California State Senate District 34 race is still up in the air.   The initial return on election day showed the incumbent Janet Nguyen (R) was 18% ahead of the challenger Tom Umberg (D).  Now, Nguyen is barely ahead by 1.32%. 

The trend is against Nguyen.  She has lost an average of 2% for the last 8 days.  With still about 15,000 to 20,000 VMB's and 29,000 provisional ballots, this race will not likely to end by Thanksgiving.  The official tally for now is  Janet Nguyen - 113,095 votes, Tom Umberg - 110,131 votes

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

The Rise of the Hispanic Political Power in San Jose

For 13 years, the district that has one of the highest concentrations of Hispanic residence never had a Hispanic councilmember to call their own.  District 7 of San Jose City composes of  about 48% Hispanic and 38% Asian,  and yet a Vietnamese candidate has always won in the last 4 elections.

Hispanic voters flexed their muscle in 2016 and it showed in the D8 election result.  Sylvia Arenas, a relative unknown, defeated the well known  Jimmy Nguyen who had the endorsement of  SVO and former Vice Mayor Rose Herrera.  D8 is 53% Asian and 25% Hispanic.  But the Donald Trump Effect drove extremely high turnout of Hispanic voters and helped Sylvia won the race by 97 votes.

Currently, the San Jose City Council has 4 Hispanic councilmembers and with Esparza,  history will be made as this would be the first time we have a Hispanic majority-minority City Council.

The rise of Hispanic political power is now reaching its potential  in San Jose where Hispanic is  about 33% of the total population.  The Hispanic population is diverse and concentrated in D5 (62%), D3(52%) and D7(48%).

For Vietnamese-American community, it will take another 6 years at least before any Vietnamese candidate to have a chance in D7 and D8. 

For District 4, incumbent Councilmember Lan Diep is safe since D4 has 61% Asian.  

Sunday, November 11, 2018

An Election Disappointment for Vietnamese-American Candidates in San Jose

The clock has struck at midnight and it is now but all official,  incumbent City Councilmember Tam Nguyen has lost to Maya Esparza.  With mostly provisional ballots left to count, he is trailing by 654 votes.

In the first head to head competition with Esparza four years ago, there were a total of 13,675 ballots cast.  This time so far 15,194 ballots has been counted with another approximately 2,000 ballots left.  This will end up to be the highest midterm election turnout ever in the history of D7.

There were other Vietnamese-American candidates in this year election.  Here are some results -

-  Richarch Tran won re-election for Mayor of Milpitas

-  Van Truong lost city council election of Milpitas

-  Van Le won school board seat for East Side Union High School. 

-  Both Scott Pham and Huong Nguyen lost their re-election bids for SJ Evergreen College.

-  The controversial Khanh Tran is hanging on by 139 votes.  With almost 4,000 ballots left, can he pull it out and  be re-elected as trustee of Alum Rock Union School District.

Maya Esparza Winning Rematch Against Tam Nguyen

With less than 1,500 ballots left, mostly provisional, Maya Esparza seems to have won the rematch against incumbent D7 San Jose City Councilmember Tam Nguyen.   This is district where Vietnamese-American and Hispanic voters dominate the electorate.   Each group represents 1/3 of the total registered voters.

Four years ago in 2014, Nguyen won by 209 votes with a total of 13,675 ballots cast.  This year, with 14,214 cast (and still counting),  Nguyen is behind by 397 votes.  Nguyen will have a tough time catching up since these remaining ballots tend to favor Esparza.

For years, experts have recited about the power of the swing vote of Latino and Asian communities.  Actually, in cities like San Jose, where there is a majority-minority, the white vote is the swing vote.

In San Jose, Hispanics compose 35% of the population, while Asians is 33% and the non-Hispanic whites is 28%.   There are currently 4 Hispanic councilmembers.  With the likely addition of Esparza, San Jose will make history of having 5 Hispanic majority presiding the City Council.

Note that there are five states where there majority - minority as of 2016 - Hawaii, New Mexico, California, Texas and Nevada.  Majority-minority is defined as population is composed of less than 50% non-Hispanic whites.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Tam Nguyen vs. Maya Esparza II and Another Nail Biter

With 9,975 ballots cast, Esparza is trailing Nguyen by 13 votes for the  District 7 San Jose City Council seat.  The trend is in her favor as she was trailing Nguyen by 1,026 votes at the beginning of last night.   There are still over 6,000 ballots to be counted.   Everybody expected this to be a close race just like 4 years.  Esparza lost by less than 200 votes in 2014.  This rematch is nothing but fill of drama so far with Nguyen now the incumbent. 

There will likely be a recount and so this election might not be over until the end of November, it seems.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Janet Nguyen Attacking GOP Candidates to Show Off Her Power

In Tossup State Senate Race, Janet Nguyen Has A Curious Target: Fellow Vietnamese-American GOPs

Locked in a competitive re-election campaign, Republican State Senator Janet Nguyen is lobbing harsh attacks.

And while that's to be expected in the final days of a hard-fought campaign for one California's few remaining tossup seats, the target of Nguyen's harshest attacks is directed at fellow Vietnamese-American Republicans. 

A recent radio ad funded by Nguyen’s campaign features a blistering attack on Tyler Diệp, a fellow Vietnamese-American Orange County Republican in the middle of a close race for the 72nd Assembly District. Nguyen has bitterly opposed Diep for more than a decade, dating back to her feud with her former mentor Assemblyman Van Tran. 

The Nguyen-funded ad claims that those who support her Democratic opponent Tom Umberg “also support Tom Hayden.” 

In addition to an attack on Diep, the ad includes false and out-of-context quotes to imply that Orange County Supervisor Andrew Do, Nguyen’s former chief of staff, supports Communist officials. The Nguyen audio clips were taken from a speech Do gave in defense of Nguyen. 

Nguyen Funds Fountain Valley Hit Pieces 

On October 12, a Merced County-based political action committee based in Hilmar spent $7,297.64 in campaign mailers attacking Republican Vietnamese-American candidate Nick Le Cong, according to state campaign finance disclosure filings. The same committee spent an additional $3,621.30 on October 17th to level more attacks on the Fountain Valley candidate. 
Why would a political action committee based in Hilmarspend nearly $11,000 on a city council campaign more than 300 miles away? 

On September 15, the PAC accepted a $25,000 campaign contribution from Janet Nguyen for Senate 2018. Fountain Valley is Nguyen’s hometown.

Nguyen Endorses Democratic Candidates. 

Nguyen has publicly endorsed Mima Velasque (D) over Cecilia Iglesias (R) for Santa Ana city council.  Nguyen also endorsed Jamison Power (D) and Tai Do (D) over other Republican Vietnamese candidates for Westminster city council seats.

In Garden Grove, she went after city council candidate Duy Nguyen with attacks to help his opponent.

Likely to Hurt Vietnamese-American Voter Turnout

The outcome of Nguyen’s attacks could have fallout on other campaigns. Republicans are defending several congressional seats in Orange County and likely need Vietnamese-American voters to turnout in larger numbers. 
Political scientists frequently say that negative campaign suppresses. A 1999 study by professors at Arizona State University found that “voters tend to stay home” when campaigns devolve into negative attacks.  

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Lawsuit Against State Senator Janet Nguyen?

With the upcoming general election finally getting some attention, a strange thing happens in Orange County and State Senator Janet Nguyen (R). 

Currently, she is an incumbent state senator (D34) running basically unopposed since her opponent, Tom Umberg (D), is not serious candidate by any stretch of imagination.   She has a war chest of close to $1.3 million while he has less than 1/10 in his campaign fund.   The Democratic Party has no interest in this race and is not supporting him financially.  He lost to Janet Nguyen 11 years ago in an OC Supervisor race and has not been in politics since.

With all the Vietnamese votes behind her, she is a sure in for landslide win.    However, whether it is paranoia or hubris, she sent out a hit piece to the Vietnamese community calling him a communist sympathizer because 26 years ago, he worked with Tom Hayden, a state legislature who opposed the Vietnam War.

Now, he is a retired Colonel in the Army after tour of duty as a paratrooper and a special prosecutor of terror suspects.    He served over 30 years  and  had top secret / SCI security clearance.  His wife is Brigadier General Robin Umberg.

To many people, this is a far stretch by Nguyen to call him a communist / communist sympathizer. 

But again, Nguyen and her cohorts have been attacking Westminster City Councilmember Tyler Diep as a communist sympathizer for the last 9 months, trying to derail Diep's state assembly campaign.  The reason for this defamation, Diep works for a Vietnamese TV station that is mostly owned by Thuy Nga Paris By Night, the show entertainment production company that hired singers and actors who are also performing in VN.

Umberg's lawyer recently sent out a cease and desist letter.  Nguyen did not response so now the ball is in Umberg's court.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Mai Khoi and The Dissidents

NationalSawdust+ in Brooklyn, NY is organizing a music event for Mai Kho and The Dissidents on Tuesday, Sept 11, 2018 at 7:30 PM.

The event is being promoted as follows by NationalSawdust+

NationalSawdust+ presents an evening of international music, literature, and conversation with Mai Khoi and The Dissidents, who make their US debut with this program. Khoi — often dubbed the “Lady Gaga of Vietnam” — has been persecuted for her open criticism of the state, particularly as she evolved from her pop star roots into an experimental folk artist chanting lyrics infused with themes of resistance and protest. Together with fellow activist musicians Quyền Thiện Đắc and Ngyugen Duc Minh, Mai Khoi and The Dissidents are a luminary voice captivating audiences interationally. They will be joined on the bill by the dazzling spoken word poet Paul Tran, winner of the Nuyorican Poets Cafe Grand Slam. The event, presented in partnership with Artists at Risk Connection (ARC) and PEN America, will feature a live performance and a reading, followed by a discussion and audience Q+A with NS+ curator Elena Park.
Artists at Risk Connection (ARC) is an initiative of PEN America dedicated to assisting imperiled artists and fortifying the field of organizations that support them. This event is supported by The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts and Artistic Freedom Initiative.
The event, presented in partnership with Artists at Risk Connection (ARC) and PEN America, will feature a live performance and a reading, followed by a discussion and audience Q+A with NationalSawdust+ curator Elena Park.
About NationalSawdust+
NationalSawdust+ is a lively performance and conversation series in which luminaries from across disciplines share their passion for music and explore ideas, making surprising connections. Curated by Elena Park, the series taps artists and thinkers from theater, film and visual art, literature, science and beyond, to create insightful programs that reflect their own interests. Whether through live performances, conversations, or readings, each program has its own alchemy, engaging the audience in new and unexpected ways. Often topical, and always imaginative, NationalSawdust+ is an ideal space for those with curiosity, adventure, and vision.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Janet Nguyen Stepping Up Her Attacks on Tyler Diep

What in the world is going on with State Senator Janet Nguyen (R) and  her vengeance and hatred against Westminster City Councilmember Tyler Diep (R)?

Tyler Diep is running for the 72nd state assembly seat left open by Travis Allen (R).  In the June primary, he came in second behind the lone Democrat Josh Lowenthal.  The race saw Josh Lowenthal (D) pitted against four Republican candidates.  This is a Republican dominated district that covers part of Westminster and Fountain Valley, a typical Vietnamese-American political strong hold.

Janet Nguyen endorsed  Greg Haskins, an unknown in the Vietnamese-American community and behind the scene asked Long Pham, a perennial straw candidate, to put his name in the ballot.   Nguyen was hoping these two candidates would be able to take the Republican votes away from Diep.  To ensure there would be enough fire power, from Sacramento, she lobbied $180,000 of PAC money from California Chamber of Commerce to send out mailers attacking Tyler Diep.

The cohorts of Nguyen also went on Vietnamese media and even staged a demonstration claiming that Diep is a communist sympathizer.   It is ironic since this group of anti-communist extremists -Phan Ky Nhon and cohorts.  Ironically, this is the same group  that had accused Nguyen of being a communist sympathizer for over a decade until 2016.   Now,  they are major allies along with the controversial Garden Grove City Councilmember Phat Bui. 

Why Diep is a communist sympathizer?  He works as a commentator for the local TV channel called VietFace TV.    The 24 hour TV channel is partially owned by Thuy Nga Paris, a popular entertainment production company that produces and promotes 4 live musical shows annually for the last 40 years.   In order to have enough shows to meet the viewers' demand, VietFace TV often purchases shows from Vietnam.  In the eyes of the extremists, this is dealing with the communist government.  Also, Thuy Nga Paris performers are also doing their gigs in Vietnam; thus, this is another  proof that Thuy Nga Paris has ties with the communist government.   And because Diep is working for VietFace TV which is partially owned by Thuy Nga Paris, he is a communist sympathizer.

Diep and his campaign thought this convoluted logic was so ridiculous that they did not even bother to response.

A week after the primary,  as the extremists still harping about how they let a communist sympathizer won the race, Nguyen sent out an ultimatum to the OC Republican Party Chair (Fred Whitaker) demanding that the party refund her $2,500 donation to 2018 Flag Day (a major fund raising event for OC GOP).   The reason is because the OC GOP would not take back their endorsement of Tyler Diep as she had demanded.

Diep and his supporters finally had enough of the spoiler candidate, the false accusation, the strong- arm tactics to cut off the OC GOP's support.  Their first counter move is to discredit the flimsy accusation of being communist sympathizer by recounting the story of Janet Nguyen and her relationship with the Vietnamese Consulate in San Francisco.  His supporters cried out why attacking him as a communist when you should look at your own Janet Nguyen.

They went on radio and sent out email telling an incredible story -

On July 6, 2006, Janet Nguyen as residing councilmember of Garden Grove, along with her supporter, took a flight from Long Beach to Oakland.   From there she drove  to SF and had lunch with the Consulate General Anh Tuan Tran.   According to her companion, the purpose of the meeting was to ask for fund raising for her supervisorial campaign.   A day later, businessman Eric Le met with her at Monterey Park and donated $5,000.   Eric Le is a close friend of Consulate General Anh Tuan Tran and has  business in Vietnam.  Subsequently, he raised thousands of dollars for her from his business friends who were heavily invested in Vietnam.   She apparently met with Anh Tuan Tran a number of times afterward at Orange Hill via the arrangement by Eric Le.

On June 22,  2007, when the President Nguyen Minh Triet of VN visited Dana Point and had the reception at St. Regis Hotel, Eric Le was one of the main hosts and organizers.   By then as OC supervisor,  Janet Nguyen joined the protest that was organized mainly by Phan Ky Nhon and his group (yes, the same aforementioned extremists).  However, there is an interesting twist to this hot and humid summer afternoon.  According to a witness, while with the demonstration, she made phone call to Eric Le to give him an update on what was going outside the hotel with the demonstration.

TD supporters are waiting for Nguyen to response to the story.  In the mean time, they start to point out her indifferent record for the last 4 years.

There is an interesting point to note about the Vietnamese community and their politics.  Janet Nguyen has used her power and influence trying to destroy candidates before as the state highest elected Vietnamese-American official.  She fervently attacked OC Supervisor Andrew Do during his 2016 re-election campaign and now Tyler Diep and his state assembly campaign.   Yet, they are not even her rivalry or opponent since none are vying for her state senatorial seat.

Many Viet voters in OC are asking why Janet Nguyen is using her political power to divide the community.    She wants absolute power and control of the community?   Or this is a personal vendetta and really about her self-satisfaction and ego trip?   Whatever it is, she better be successful at it or she will be losing a lot of political leverage while spending her political credit negatively.  Well, Andrew Do won his re-election despite Nguyen's all out effort to derail his campaign. 

Latest news -

Rumor has it, she will soon endorse Josh Lowenthal (D) against Tyler Diep (R).  As a Republican elected official, she has endorsed Democratic candidates against her own party's choices before.  In 2016,  she endorsed Michelle Martinez (D) against Andrew Do (R).

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Anthony Bourdain, Rest in Peace

It is sad to hear that the famous chef, author and most of all a gifted story teller who took TV viewers around the world to explore cultures through cuisines has died.  He apparently committed suicide in his hotel room in France.

In his famous TV series " Part Unknown", he traveled in many places worldwide to film about food dishes and the people and cultural the dishes came from.  But his first love as he would fondly called it is the once capital city of Vietnam  - Hue.   Matter of facts he would made two more episodes about Vietnam and its cuisine.  He would say that Vietnam is a place he would visit again and again for the food and people.    In the 2016 season premier, he visited Hanoi and sat down President Obama for a beer and ate the popular Hanoi noodles with grilled pork.  It was an instant classic.

President Obama tweeted about the meal he shared with the chef:

“Low plastic stool, cheap but delicious noodles, cold Hanoi beer.” This is how I’ll remember Tony. He taught us about food — but more importantly, about its ability to bring us together. To make us a little less afraid of the unknown. We’ll miss him. 

Here are some of the links of his Vietnam visits

Friday, August 3, 2018

The Lottery Golden Triangle of America

Within 9 months of 2014,  three Northern California residents hit some of the largest lottery jackpots in history. 

In January,  Steve Tran, a truck driver, split $648 million with Ira Cury from Atlanta.  He bought the ticket at a gift shop in East San Jose.  A few months later in April, retiree Raymond Buxton won $425 million.  The winning ticket was bought at a gas station in Milpitas which is less than 10 miles from the gift shop.  Vinh Nguyen bought the winning $228 million jackpot ticket at grocery store in San Mateo which is about 30 miles from San Jose.

The total value of all three tickets are $977 million.  And now 4 years later in July 2018, a winning jackpot of $543 million will be shared by 11 co-workers at a financial institution.   The ticket, as you guess it, was bought at a liquor store in San Jose, less than 2 miles form the gift shop that sold the $648 million jackpot ticket. 

Just for the last 4 years, over $1.5 billion of lucky money has won here in the Bay Area.  If all other winning jackpots are considered for the last 12 years,  the Bay Area has captured almost $1.8 billion of lottery jackpot.   Not too bad for a place that are already rich with multi-millionaires.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Unofficial Election Results

 San Jose City Council, D7
  Precincts Reporting:  100%

Tam Nguyen                        31.85%       2,275
 Maya Esparza                      22.51%     1,608
 Van T. Le                             14.17%      1,012
Thomas Duong                     12.14%         867
Jonathan Flemming              10.68%         763
Omar Vasquez                       5.59%          399
Hoang Chris Le                      3.05%          218

Completed Precincts: 231 of 231
Vote CountPercentage
TYLER DIEP (REP)16,68329.6%
GREG HASKIN (REP)11,51220.4%
LONG PHAM (REP)4,4918.0%

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Election Early Results

City Council District 7, San Jose

TAM NGUYEN                                        36.64%      1,942

MAYA ESPARZA                                    18.98%       1,064

VAN T. LE                                                15.93%          893

THOMAS DUONG                                 12.65%          709

JONATHAN BENJAMIN FLEMING     9.67%            547

OMAR VASQUEZ                                  4.69%             263

HOANG ''CHRIS'' LE                             3.35%             188


Member of State Assembly 72nd District  (23 of 231 Precinct)

Josh Lowenthal (D)        34.1%    10,678
Tyler Diep (R)                33.2%    10,411
Greg Haskin (R)             19.5%     6,124
Long Pham  (R)              9.0%       2,808
Richard Laird  (R)           4.2%      1,316

The Circle of Life of Navy Captain Huan Nguyen

. ... Its the circle of life All it moves us all Through despair and hope Through faith and love Till we find our place On pa...