Daily Archives: February 4, 2008

No Clear Winner in Democratic Party Debate

by Carlo Costales/Asianjournal.com

HOLLYWOOD — Judging from the recent activities in the Democratic race between Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton and Senator Barack Obama, one would think their final showdown in Hollywood, California was primed for a climax worthy of an Oscar nomination, filled with gripping dialogue, spectacular theatrics, and crowd-pleasing drama.

Thursday’s forum, however, lacked the cinematic ebb and flow many were expecting as Clinton and Obama were dubiously friendly and sometimes in agreement with one another. Their behavior before an enthusiastic and celebrity-filled audience inside the Kodak Theatre was a contrast to their clash of wits during their heavyweight bout in South Carolina. With their volume toned down in Friday night’s debate, the two remaining candidates took a more sportsmanlike approach in the last head to head discussion before Super Tuesday, February 5th, when primary voting among 22 states will take place to determine which individual will carry the torch for the Democratic party.

“I was friends with Hillary Clinton before we started this campaign, I will be friends with Hillary Clinton after this campaign is over,” Obama set the tone early. “We’re running a competitive race, but it’s because we both love this country and we believe in the issues at stake.” he added.

Senator Edwards

Both Obama and Clinton commended the valiant efforts of Senator John Edwards, who threw in the towel for his bid on the presidency but declined to endorse any of his fellow opponents.

In the hopes of persuading supporters of the Edwards campaign who are now in limbo and up for grabs, Obama and Clinton offered their sentiments.

Obama acknowledged Edwards for “elevating the issues of poverty and the plight of working families all across the country.”

With Super Tuesday just around the corner and a neck and neck race, Obama and Clinton dove right into the discussions that have been weighing on the minds of American voters.

War on Iraq

On the chaos that is Iraq, Obama asserted himself as the ideal model. “I don’t want to just end the war, but I want to end the mindset that got us in the war in the first place.” He also stressed the importance of correcting the Republicans blunder overseas with minimal cost and reduced body count, while keeping a good relationship with other nations.
Obama criticized Senator Clinton’s support of Bush, alluding to her vote in favor of the Iraq war resolution in October 2002.

“I made a reason judgment, unfortunately, the person who got to execute the policy did not,” Clinton defended herself . She diverted to the unenviable leadership of Commander-in-Chief George W. Bush. She iterated that it was his lack of resolve that lead to the mess that the US is confronted with now.

Focusing on moving forward is Clinton’s main aim. One of her immediate tasks upon her tenure in the White House is to pull troops from Iraq within 60 days with the subsequent goal of completely bringing home all our soldiers in one year’s time.

Healthcare

Clinton feels that insurance is imperative. “We as Democrats have to be willing to fight for Universal Health Care,” she added. The plan that she’s pushing for one that is low on cost and high in quality, which she believes makes it not only affordable for all but essential as well.

Clinton also wants to target health insurance industries and drug companies and bring both factions to act as the solution instead of the obstacle for people who need benefits.

Under Obama’s plan, he guarantees that everyone will be able to get health insurance. One of his priorities is to get both parties to work collectively to ensure that health care in America is not just plausible but attainable.

Immigration

Obama supports the policy of allowing illegal immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses, while Clinton opposes the idea. Both agreed however, on having tighter border security, levying fines, and enforcing a process in which illegal immigrants can obtain legal citizenship.

In an evening that emphasized substance rather than style, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama presented strong arguments on why each deserved to be the next President of the
United States.

The country has been witness to an extraordinary and truly unique period in our history: for the first time ever, an African-American, and a woman, are in heavy contention for a seat in the oval office.

Given the nature of American politics, both instances are a phenomenon in itself. But only one candidate will continue the journey down the unprecedented path towards Election Day in November. Which candidate will it be? We’ll find out soon enough come Super Tuesday.

(www.asianjournal.com)

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FilAm Group Prepares for RP’s 110th Independence Day Celebration

by Rene Villaroman/Asianjournal.com

LOS ANGELES — The Kalayaan 2008 Organizing Committee has four months to complete its preparations for the 2008 Philippine Independence Day celebration. The resolution was agreed upon  during a general assembly held at the Philippine Consulate General’s Office on Wednesday, January 30.

“We have been scouting for places and have identified two dates for the celebration,” said Noel Omega, Grand Chairman of Kalayaan 2008. Omega said the date for the celebration is still being finalized.

“If we hold the celebration on June 7, the FilAms in Carson would not be able to participate. On June 14, we will be competing with a Rotarian event which might be held in the South Bay,” Omega announced.

Omega said that the committee is looking at a number of possible venues for the celebration, including the back lot of Universal Studios, which can accommodate 3,000 people. Other possible venues include the Hollywood and Highland Grand Ballroom, the Los Angeles Cathedral of Angels Plaza (can hold 1,500 people), and the Vibiana Event Center in Downtown LA. Omega also mentioned Woodley Park and Balboa Park in the San Fernando Valley as possible venues if the committee could secure permits on time.

Last year’s two-day celebration was held at the Long Beach Convention Center and featured an expo-type gathering that culminated in a gala dinner dance on the second day. The expo included an automobile display, cultural presentations and merchant booths. Attendance. however, was lackluster because there was not enough time to prepare and market the event to the FilAm community.

Darma Umayam, a beauty pageant organizer, proposed reserving a five star hotel, like the Bonaventure.

“We don’t have much time. [Let's just] get a hotel,” she said. “The Universal back lot would cost at least $100,000.” Omega said that a venue scout, Maita Henson-Miyake, would have at least three recommendations this week.

Omega appointed nine committee chairs on Wednesday, including Larry Pelayo, Historical; Darma Umayam, Pageant; Dr. Carlos Manlapaz, Gala; Jojit Paredes, Program; Maridy Masicat, Community Relations; Thelma Calabio, Ways and Means; Willie Manacsa, Entertainment; and Willie Bartilad, Mindanao Coordinator; Benjie Bautista, Festival.

“Let us unite for this endeavor,” he said, encouraging members to bring in more members of their respective organizations. Pageant Chair Darna Umayam announced that her committee would have incentives for people who can bring in candidates for the pageant in terms of commissions generated by the candidates. “Business owners could also make a little money by buying tickets and sponsorships,” Omega said.

Asian Journal asked him if he would make public the financial records of last year’s Kalayaan committee, and he said that he would like to see the report himself.

“Although we did not make money, we should not be ashamed of what we’ve accomplished then,” Omega emphasized. “We had our first expo. We had a fantastic gala. Just like every activity that we do, we met the challenges and we overcame them,” Omega said.

Election of Steering Committee members will be held at the Philippine Consulate during the organizing committee’s next regular meeting on February 27.

(www.asianjournal.com)

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Villaraigosa Announces Traffic Congestion Solutions

by Rene Villaroman/Asianjournal.com

LOS ANGELES — On January 29, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa launched the 2008 Traffic Congestion Relief Plan, an 11-measure initiative aimed at increasing mobility, enhancing pedestrian safety and improving the quality of life for commuters in this city.

“Traffic congestion is unfortunately a way of life in the City” Villaraigosa said. “Since day one of this administration, we’ve been working hard with the Los Angeles City Council, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and others to bring a modern, convenient public transportation into the city,” the Mayor told journalists at a press conference held at the Wilshire Boulevard overpass of the 110 Freeway in Downtown LA.

“Over the next 12 to 16 weeks, the Department of Transportation and I will mount an aggressive campaign to implement a series of traffic relief measures that use existing resources in a smart, targeted manner,” the Mayor said.

The initiatives include new technologies and additional penalties for blocking intersections; the fourth installment of the Gridlock Tiger Team who will use new License Plate recognition (LPR) technology to identify violators; new traffic signal synchronization projects in Westchester and Mid-Wilshire; additional “priority express corridors” modeled after the Olympic West Pico East initiative; phase II of Operation Bottleneck Relief; faster, easier parking meter technology; infrastructure improvements and pothole repair; diagonal (“scrambled”) crosswalks; additional left turn signals; and incentives for public transportation, off-peak commuting and telecommuting.

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During rush hour, many drivers who try to cross busy intersections end up blocking traffic – a violation of the California Vehicle Code. “We are going to put up video cameras (in these intersections) so that we can ticket these individuals,” Villaraigosa said.

Illegally-parked vehicles also create congestion because they reduce the number of lanes for commuter traffic. The Mayor will launch the Tiger Team IV, which will focus its efforts along a four-mile stretch of Sunset Boulevard between Vermont Avenue and Laurel Canyon Boulevard. The LA DOT will also employ new License Plate Recognition (LPR) technology to identify violators and issue citations.

Since initiating its signal synchronization program, the LA DOT has synchronized more than 3,200 (75 per cent) of the 4,385 traffic signals in LA and hopefully, will complete the project by 2010.

Under its Priority Arterial Program, the city will optimize travel times and reduce congestion along major corridors by signal timing improvements, consistent parking restrictions and possible lane re-striping. The LA DOT has also identified and improved travels times by as much as 33 per cent on 14 thoroughfares.

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The city plans to re-stripe the seven-mile stretch of Pico and Olympic Boulevards between La Brea Boulevard and Centinela Boulevard in the Westside, adding more westbound lanes on Olympic and more eastbound lanes on Pico. Consistent parking restrictions will be enforced here by traffic officers.

The city is poised to modernize 40,000 parking meters by replacing 5,000 on-street meters with advanced technology single-space meters and multi-space “Park $ Pay” stations.

The Mayor said the City Council and the MTA have expanded Rapid Bus services, opened up the Orange Line to the San Fernando Valley, and broken ground on the Exposition Line and the Eastside Gold Line extension. “We are working on securing funding for the downtown light rail connector up to Ontario, and – very importantly – for the Subway to the Sea,” Villaraigosa said.

Villaraigosa said that due to the tough economy and tight budgets, “the city needs to deliver services to the residents in the most efficient and cost-effective manner as possible.” Villaraigosa added that he could not talk about some of the budget cuts, but assured Angelenos that the initiatives would be done within the current budget, and they would be affected by the cuts.

“The most important thing that we could do is real simple,” Villaraigosa said. “We’ve got to build more public transportation. We need more money to do that. We have to put up housing closer to public transportation,” he said. He said the reason the city is gridlocked is that everybody is living on the outer core of the city and they come to work either downtown or on the Westside. (AJ)

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Pinoys Indicted in Hawaii for Eating Dogs

by Cynthia De Castro/Asianjournal.com

LOS ANGELES – It’s the kind of story that leaves one with a bad taste in the mouth, especially if one’s a Filipino.

Over a month ago, retired Hawaiian musician Frank Manuma, took his beloved  8-month old pet dog named Caddy with him to Moanalua Golf Club. He said he got permission to leave Caddy by the equipment barn, tied up near a maintenance shed, while he played a round of golf. When he returned, his dog was gone.

Witnesses told Moanalua Golf Club officials that they saw two FilAm maintenance workers, Saturnino Palting and Nelson Domingo, load the German shepherd-Labrador mix into a car and drive away at the end of their shift. The club manager later questioned Palting and Domingo who initially said that the dog ran away. The club fired the workers and called on the police to investigate.

Another man, who was also a golf course employee and who had the day off, told police that Palting and Domingo brought the dog to his house where they killed and butchered it.

When police questioned the two suspects, both men confessed to butchering and eating the dog. The men told a witness they took the dog for food, according to police. They were arrested in their homes on $20,000 warrants.

“I heard a quote saying ‘we killed the dog because I have to feed my family,” Manuma said in a report. “And with that, I kind of lost it.”

The dog’s owners were understandably grieving. They never had children nor had they owned a pet dog together before they took on Caddy.

Last week, an Oahu grand jury indicted Palting and Domingo on charges of second-degree theft and first-degree cruelty to animals. Palting and Domingo will be the first persons to be prosecuted under a new law passed last June 1 which makes cruelty to animals a Class-C felony in Hawaii. Both crimes are class C felonies punishable by up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

The pet’s owner was relieved upon hearing that the two had been indicted.

“That’s great news,” said Manuma. “We’re delighted that it’s moving forward.”

The story has attracted international attention and drew reactions of horror and disgust, as well as expressions of sympathy. Reactions from Filipinos on the internet ranged from anger to disgust and shame.

“It is particularly upsetting for me to learn that they were originally from the Philippines. Individuals like these dog-eaters smear our reputation to no end.” said one blogger. Another said that this practice “butchers our image as a race and as a nation.”

Still another blogger commented on what she feels truly motivated Palting and Domingo for what they did.

“Reading other reports on the web can lead anyone to think that Caddy was slaughtered for food. They give the wrong impression. In truth, as I know the practice to be, dogs are slaughtered to become finger food for a drinking session among the menfolk. Almost always, slaughtered dogs do not address a need for food, but a need to be macho among drinking buddies,’ she said.

Offers of new dogs for Manuma and his wife came from people as far away as Colorado. Manuma said he and his wife didn’t want to accept a new dog because they felt it was too early after the loss of their first. But a few weeks ago, he said, they relented and accepted a 3-month-old German shepherd-Golden retriever mix.

“We wanted to do it for the people out there,” Manuma said. They named the dog Caddy 2.

(www.asianjournal.com)

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Pinay Boxer Tries to Improve Ranking

by Joseph Pimentel/Asianjournal.com

LOS ANGELES — The most decorated FilAm female amateur boxer, Ana “The Hurricane” Julaton will make her second boxing appearance to improve her ranking. On February 7, Julaton will fight Carley Batey in a 122-pound featherweight bout as one of the undercards of an all-female line-up at the Pechanga Resort and Casino. The match will be shown nationally as part of Fox Sports Net “Best Damn Championship Boxing” on February 8.

Julaton (1-0) has not fought since her professional debut against Rita Valentini last November where she knocked down the more-experienced Valentini twice in four rounds before winning by a unanimous decision. The Women’s Boxing Archive Network (WBAN) dubbed Julaton the “Hottest Rising Star of 2007.”

However, the task does not get any easier for Julaton. Batey (3-2-2) is ranked No. 10 in the world according to some women’s boxing ranking.

“Her (Batey) record does not indicate how good of a fighter she really is,” said Julaton.

“Carley’s two losses were highly controversial and disputed,” added Angelo Reyes, Julaton’s coach and manager. “She’s going to be a tough opponent for Ana.”

Julaton and Reyes arrived last Sunday to start training with Freddie Roach at the Wildcard Boxing Club in Los Angeles.

For the past few days, Roach has Julaton sparring with bigger female boxers, working the mitts and trying to improve her defense.

“I got a German girl sparring with Ana to help prepare her for this fight,” said Roach. “[Batey] is a tough and very strong girl. She has more experience, has more fights under her belt. [But] Ana has a better amateur record. We’ll use that to our advantage.”

Roach said he was hoping to get Julaton more fights after her impressive win against Valentini.

“It’s been a long time since Ana fought,” said Roach. “It’s hard to get a girl fight nowadays. It’s not as attractive as it once was.”

Reyes hopes that his star prodigy will get an opportunity for a title shot later in the year.   Julaton, however, is not expecting another two knockdown performance.

“I’m not approaching this as an easy fight,” said Julaton. “I expect this to go all six-rounds. I’m going to fight a safe fight with a good game plan.”

Manny Pacquiao Update

The black wooden door says it all. Knock on the door and you’ll be politely turned away. The Wildcard Boxing Club is usually open with people hustling and bustling coming in and out of the gym all throughout the day. But for the next eight weeks, the gym is off-limits when Manny Pacquiao begins training.

“No media unless you have an appointment,” said Roach. “Not open to the general public.”

The guarded entrance is part of a secret training regimen set forth by Roach of his star pupil. Pacquiao faces off against WBC Champion Mexican Juan Manuel Marquez in a re-match at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino on March 15.

Roach wants to make sure that Pacquiao is ready as ever for this re-match. Many observer of Pacquiao said by the way he’s training, Marquez better watch out.

Pinoy boxers to fight in Mexico

Two less heralded Pinoy boxers are also scheduled to fight next week. Bernabe Concepcion and Rodel Mayol are both training at the Wildcard Boxing Club in preparation for a match that will take place in Mexico on February 3.

Concepcion (23-1) is coming off a big win against Salvador Garcia last October in Las Vegas, NV. This time he is fighting Juan Ruiz of Mexico.
Mayol, on the other hand, has not fought since losing an opportunity to gain the IBF Flyweight belt against Ulises Solis last August in Chicago, IL. Mayol’s opponent is yet to be determined.

Penalosa fight off?

WBO Bantamweight Champion Gerry Penalosa’s title defense against mandatory challenger Ratanachai Sor Vorapin may be called off.
Penalosa, who is also training at the Wildcard, said the fight might be called off because of money reasons.

Ticket sales and advertising revenue for the March 2 fight at the Araneta Coliseum in the Philippines, have been slow since many fans want to see Penalosa re-match against Daniel Ponce DeLeon, said a source who did not want to be identified.

Besides preparing for his fight, Penalosa is also helping Julaton’s training.

(www.asianjournal.com)

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