Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Radio Free Laredo

We're coming to you from Old Laredo, Texas

I don't know anything about being a ham radio operator but I have always found it to be an interesting subject. According to FCC records, there are a little over 200 registered amateur ham radio operators in Laredo (actually 208). I wonder if any of them have what would be an equivalent to a local blog. Or does amateur ham radio not lend itself to that type of format?
 I just saw a piece on Pro 8 News on the ongoing LISD science fair and I couldn't help but wonder if any kids nowadays have a facination with the old school type of communications, such as the above mentioned. Long ago, I recall looking through a Worldbook Encyclopedia that we had at home and seeing a diagram of how to put together your own radio. I think there was some copper coil wire, a simple amplifier, a crystal of some sort and a cylinder. Come to think of it, are there still hard-bound encylopedias around..........does anybody read them anymore?

Bring in the plants and cover your pets, wait a minute

Well, It'lll be Cold Enough, but no precipitation.

Our incomparable weather man (oops meteorologist) Heatwave Behrler has put out a freeze warning for Wednesday morning. Ok, let's make sure we've got everything covered. No, I don't mean if the cars' got antifreeze or if there are any exposed pipes outside. I mean is there enough milk and a barra de chocolate to make a good batch of steaming hot chocolate? Is the Superior Bakery going to have enough semitas to go around? Have all the extra colchas been taken out of storage and are ready to go? If you are not sure if you're really prepared, then you should buy "A Laredoan's Guide to 32 Degrees and below". It's an indispensable resource and makes a thoughtful stocking stuffer.

How did you like your stay in Laredo? Some visitors let us know

Courtyard Marriott Laredo, Laredo,
The Courtyard by Marriott on Santa Ursula is strategically located between Mall Del Norte and Downtown Laredo. Actually, just how strategic depends on what you came to Laredo for. Many of us wonder what kind of impression visitors to our town leave with. Apparently, one lady took the time to write down just what she thought of her recent visit to Laredo and her stay at the Courtyard.
Oct 13, 2010 | Trip type: Family
My husband's grandmother lives within walking distance of this property, so we spend quite a few nights here annually. We always try to get the same room (with two double beds and a balcony) so that we can have the additional space. Unfortunately, the suites do not have balconies. We enjoy sitting outside after the kids go to bed and talk about the streets of Laredo!
We have seen many interesting things from the top floor of this property, but it is relatively safe. We have called management on a domestic dispute (going on in the street below). We have laughed at Easter during the Easter Egg hunt at obnoxious accordians jamming from below. The Four Seasons, it definately is not, but it's great for a trip to Grandmas and beats the heck out of staying at her house. (I need the ac at night and I need my space to kick back with a book after spending hours with extended family) Glad this property is here. I do not know what I would do with out it! (= We do love the high speed interent and (free) and the breakfast which is often included in the room rate. We do miss the omelet bar, but taco palenque is close and a great place for delicious local fare! Unfortunately, going across is no longer an option due to safety, but I feel relatively safe at this property.
Would you recommend this hotel to a friend? Yes
I wonder if the people at Laredo Convention & Visitors' Bureau take the time to read up on some the reviews that visitors take the time to fill out. If not, they should start doing so when coming up with their ideas of how to best market Laredo. Afterall, it's not only the Gateway to Mexico. As this review indicates, once in a while it's also the Gateway to Grandma's.

Sobering figures concerning Hispanic Drunk Driving and it's Dangers

You'll Never Catch me Driving & Texting, Hic!

From the Journal of Studies on Alchol and Drugs :
Drinking and driving poses a great danger for Hispanics in Texas, where they make up over one third of the population. Key statistics shown below are for the year 2008:
  • 36% of all DUI fatalities in Texas in 2009 occurred in crashes were a Hispanic driver was under the influence of alcohol. (TxDOT, CRIS)
  • 14,643 Hispanic drivers in Texas were involved in alcohol related crashes in 2009. Of these, 72% were under the influence of alcohol.(TxDOT, CRIS)
  • 29% of all Hispanic DUI drivers involved in crashes in 2009 had a blood alcohol level of .08 or above. (TxDOT, CRIS)
  • Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for Hispanics one to 44 years of age, and 15 percent of U.S.-born Mexican Americans had a DUI within the past 12 months.

These are very startling numbers and may be one of the reasons the state of Texas has started re-considering a law calling for sobriety checkpoints during the coming legislative session. You know Laredo would probably have checkpoints every weekend. What? everyday? Is it that bad?

TxDot to use mini-telenovelas to say : No manejen borrachos/borrachas!

Three two-minute telenovela episodes illustrate the serious consequences of drinking and driving

AUSTIN, Texas, Nov. 30, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) launched a series of mini telenovelas this month in an effort to extend the message to the Hispanic community about the consequences of drinking and driving.  TxDOT is one of the first U.S. state agencies to tackle the dangers of drinking and driving through the telenovela format, which is very popular in the Spanish-speaking community.
The telenovelas aired as thirty second and two minute spots on Univision, Estrella, and Telefutura during the evening news for two weeks in late November. They aired in markets throughout Texas including Austin, Corpus Christi, Dallas, El Paso, Houston, Laredo, Lubbock, Midland-Odessa, Rio Grande Valley, San Angelo, and San Antonio.
The telenovelas will air again around Easter, July 4, and Dieciseis de Septiembre (September 16). The three, two-minute episodes will also be available online at http://www.youtube.com/txdotpio and will be used as teaching tools by civic and social service organizations throughout the state.

US Senate passes food safety bill, exempts Laredo Farmer's Market

Well, ok, it does not specifically exempt the Centro de Laredo Farmer's market per se, but it does exempt the entire locally-produced aspect of the industry. It is one of the few bills to enjoy partisan support in the US Senate in a long time, passing by a margin of 73-25. Here's an excerpt rom the Huffington Post :

Despite wide bipartisan support and backing from many major food companies, the legislation stalled as it came under fire from advocates of buying locally produced food and operators of small farms, who said it would could bankrupt some small businesses. Senators eventually agreed to exempt some of those operations from costly food safety plans required of bigger companies, rankling food safety advocates and larger growers but gaining support from farm-state senators
So, as you can see, you'll all be able to relax and continue to support  Laredo's Farmer's Market as you enjoy the delicious array of locally-produced foods, fruits and vegetables. You have been supporting them........right?

Many paisanos are taking a detour all the way to Nogales, Arizona

That's Detour for you Gringos

Officials of Nogales, AZ. have been carefully planning for the influx of paisanos expected in this border town between Dec.17th to the 19th. Planners have determined that those are the days in which most paisanos cross into Mexico in anticipation of the Christmas holidays. Apparently, Nogales has gotten some of the traffic that normally crosses through other US border towns. The Nogales International article continues:

Last year, an estimated 61,000 paisanos “a term for Mexican expatriates living in the United States who return home at holidays“ traveled through Nogales. This year, local authorities expect 80,000. Ainza-Kramer said local businesses have an interest in making the experience as problem-free as possible for these travelers, who provide a critical infusion of tourism dollars to the local economy.

“A lot of people are going to come this way instead of coming through Texas because of the danger in that area over there,” Sheriff Antonio Estrada said, referring to the drug violence that has plagued the Mexican border region across the Rio Grande from cities like El Paso, Laredo or Brownsville.
It's uncanny how Laredo always seems to make the news in some way or another. If not from sea to shining sea, then at least from dusty border town to dusty border town.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Feds seize Texas websites dealing in counterfeit consumer goods

Sergio Mora writing for ValleyCentral.com reports :

Twelve Texas-based websites are among 82 domains seized by federal authorities as part of a nationwide crackdown on counterfeit merchandise as part of a Cyber Monday operation.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder reported that Operation In Our Sites v. 2.0 targeted on-line retailers selling everything from counterfeit apparel to DVDs, music and software.Holder’s office reported that most of the counterfeit merchandise was made overseas and shipped to buyers in the United States.
“By seizing these domain names, we have disrupted the sale of thousands of counterfeit items, while also cutting off funds to those willing to exploit the ingenuity of others for their own personal gain,” Attorney General Holder said in a written statement.

Internet users who try to access the websites will find a banner notifying them that the domain name of that website has been seized by federal authorities. A list released on Monday morning shows that 12 of the 82 websites were based out of the Southern District of Texas, which has federal courthouses in Houston, Victoria, Corpus Christi, Laredo, McAllen and Brownsville.

Aftercrash Auto Parts seeks to relocate from Guadalajara

Sean Bolin, writing in this morning's LMT Business journal has an interesting piece about an auto-parts company proposing to relocate to Laredo in the near Futuer. The company is Aftercrash Auto Parts and it specializes in after-market body parts for all sorts of car models. It seems that the owner of the Guadalajara enterprise, Mr. Ernesto Huerta has been considering this move since at least 2009. Fortunately, he has received support from the Laredo Development Foundation's Franciscuss-Timm as well as from Leticia Flores from the office of Governor Rick Perry.
The article does not specify how many jobs might result from the proposed relocation. Hopefully, since Laredo would be a sort of distribution point for Aftercrash Auto Parts, that number could just turn out to be quite significant. Good luck to Mr. Huerta and thanks to the LMT Business Journal for keeping up informed on what's going on in the Laredo business scene.

Generational/Geographical monetary denomination equivalence chart


With things changing so fast in our fair city, we felt it was time to revisit our monetary equivalence chart.
This helps to reconcile what some of us have heard various coins called in the past, and in the present.
Sometimes, these difference have not been necessarily generational but perhaps geographical as well.

Designation used In the past/barrio                     & in the present/non-barrio

Una Pinaca                                                         one penny, one cent
un nickle                                                             (same) un nickle
un dimo                                                               un dime (Dai-meh)
una quita                                                             una peseta
un tolon                                                               un toston
un varo                                                                un dolar
lana, feria                                                             dinero/effectivo

 What dynamic linguistics we have in good ol' Laredo, Texas.  Sometimes, a  freind would resort to speaking mostly chuco and it would always be interesting to listen to. Hearing him thinking outloud for his afternoon plans might go something like this: " Bueno, pos voy a dar un volteon pal tango aver que me panio pa' refinar. Ultima hora,  me meto al mono y me banqueteo un popcorn con una coca chingona. Alcavo traigo lana pa'tirar pa' riba. Alcavo ya le heche gasofa a la carucha y no tengo que ir al cameo hoy. Asi es que la voy a jugarla fria, a ver que onda tiro mas tarde. Y si esta medio aguitado, pos le pongo pal canton y voy y me roleo tremprano o si no le tiro un cable a la rooka."
I still think they could use barrio language just as they do navajo in military situations. Where else in the world is anyone going to be familiar with the kind of language we hear, on a daily basis in the barrios?

Obama f-f-freeezes pay for federal employees

It's all over the national news this morning that the Obama administration is freezing pay for all non-military federal employees until Dec.31st, 2010. I couldn't help but wonder how many people is that affecting locally? Another question I have is whether the Border Patrol and US Customs are considered to be non-military? I know these agents carry weapons so I don't think they would be considered civilian. If that's the case, then not as many Laredoans would be affected by this pay freeze as it first might seem. Nonetheless, I'm sure Tim Gutierrez will roll his r's and let us know just how Laredo is to be affected. Afterall, that's we expect of "coverage we can COUNT on".

Laredo's students should read local history, ok how about just read?

Are you sure it's ONLY one out of five?

Today's edition of Monday Wash in the Laredo Morning Times gives us an unfortunate look into the real state of education in our local highschools. Odie Arambula recounts some observations made by a "friendly substitute teacher".
As the story goes, the Substitute teacher (a.k.a sub) asked some students in her highschool history class to read aloud only to find out that they would much rather not, and thus declined. A female student later confided to the sub that the class had never been asked to read aloud before. Well, I'm hoping that this is not par for the course, but I would not too shocked if it represents a lot of of our schools' attitude towards reading, especially aloud.
For most of the school year, students are simply asked to "bubble in" their answers, no matter what the subject at hand. Then, after the New Year, it's all prepping for two or three TAKS subjects, over and over again. This means even more "bubbling in".
What about actually writing down answers and explaining them? What about getting up in front of the class and actually sharing witht the class how they arrived at your answer/conclusion. When students are asked to explain why their answers are right, there's an entirely other level of thinking that occurs IF the right questions are asked. So, like the old saying goes, Reading is Fundamental. Very, very fundamental.

Idea of Tequila Party fermenting among some Latinos

Fernando Romero, President of non-partisan Hispanics in Politics: Courtesy of the Las Vegas Sun
Disappointed at the Obama's administration inability to make any advancements towards comprehensive immigration reform, it appears that some Latino leaders are considering starting their own version of the Tea Party, in this particular case, the name being floated is the Tequila Party. According to an article by Delen Goldberg in Sunday's  Las Vegas Sun, this move is an attempt to optimize the growing political influence of Hispanics throughout the Southwest. Delen goes on to write:
“There’s a feeling that Democrats aren’t listening,” said Louis DeSipio, a Chicano studies and political science professor at the University of California, Irvine.
Congress’ actions over the next month could decide the fate of the burgeoning Tequila Party. If comprehensive immigration reform is shelved again, some Hispanics will likely decide to strike out on their own.
“It would definitely induce us,” Fernando Romero (President of the nonpartisan Hispanics in Politics) said. “We would have to do something at that point to get ready for 2012.”
The organization could operate as an affiliate of the Democratic Party or as an independent movement, as the Tea Party was initially.
We, at laredotejas, hope that if the Tequila Party does become a reality, it will avoid the kind of splintering that many factions of the Tea Party have endured. Conceivably, some possible sub-groups might be brewing. Some that come to mind are : The Bironga Brigade, the Vino Fino elite wing, the fiscally frugal Buckhorns Bunch and others. No doubt, Hispanics can exert substantial political influence if they can avoid a free-for-all from breaking out.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

McAllen, TIme Warner reach agreement over PAC broadcasts, Laredo included

The McAllen Monitor is reporting that Time Warner and the City of Mcallen (and other cities) have reached an agreement over previous disputes involving several Public Access Channels. The Monitor reports:

McAllen and other cities had opposed the move, concerned that people with older TVs would lose access to important information broadcast on those channels. Some older TVs will require a converter box to view digital channels.
Under the settlement agreement, Time Warner Cable will waive its $40 installation charge for people older than 64, those with disabilities and low-income subscribers. All TVs owned by the city or school district will receive a free converter box and installation.
Negotiators for eight Texas cities — McAllen, Edinburg, San Juan, Weslaco, Brownsville, Corpus Christi, Laredo and San Marcos — and the McAllen Independent School District reached the agreement on Nov. 10. McAllen’s elected officials approved the deal last Monday at their regular meeting after considering the matter in executive session.
Allright, now that that's settled, where's my PAC schedule of televised events. I want to make sure I catch the latest installment of Willie Bote or Globie Tobie. Watchout American Playhouse.

Suggested reading "Chicago": See ripoff entitiled "Laredo"

In 1916, American poet Carl Sandburg published his brilliant poem "Chicago". It had been a while since I had read it but it has lost none of it's power even in this day of extremes. I've included the first couple of stanzas, followed by my blatantly obvious rip off  "Laredo".


     HOG Butcher for the World,
     Tool Maker, Stacker of Wheat,
     Player with Railroads and the Nation's Freight Handler;
     Stormy, husky, brawling,
     City of the Big Shoulders:

They tell me you are wicked and I believe them, for I
     have seen your painted women under the gas lamps
     luring the farm boys.
And they tell me you are crooked and I answer: Yes, it
     is true I have seen the gunman kill and go free to
     kill again.


     Truth Butcher for the World,
     Excuse Maker, Stacker of favors,
     Player with Railroads and the Nation's Truck Handler
     Swearing, heavy, brawling,
     City of the Big Shoulders and even Bigger Bellies:

They tell me you are wicked and I believe them, for I
     have seen your amusement centers under the lamps
     luring the poor among us.
And they tell me you are crooked and I answer: Yes, it
     is true I have seen the politicians steal and go free to
     steal again.

WPA worked on Laredo archives. Should ARRA fund Laredo's blogs??


While I was polishing off a bowl of cracklin' oat bran this morning, I was reading LMT's Odie Arambula's weekly foray in Laredo's history. Interestingly (to me anyway), I read that during the Great Depression, the WPA, or Work Projects Administration provided funding so that several translators/typists could work on recording, and translating some of the city's oldest records. This was undoubtedly a good investment and probably contributed to our ability to reflect on the rich history and traditions of Laredo.

Well, this got me to thinking, yea, thinking : if today's equivalent of the WPA is the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, or ARRA, then wouldn't it make sense that it provide ample funding for Laredo's bloggers to continue to document and reflect on the fabric of our great city? I realize that if this was to happen, the lion's share of the funding would go to none other than "La Sanbe" aka LMIB. Still, hopefully, there would still be adequate funding for the other dedicated bloggers to continue their excellent work in our community.
Hear! Hear!

Texas legislators will again try to pass law allowing sobriety checkpoints

Maybe coming to an area near you, I reckon!
 According to a story running today in the Dallas Morning Times, state representative Todd Smith, R-Euless will again push for a sobriety checkpoint law starting in January. Checkpoints to determine whether drivers are sober or drunk have not been allowed in Texas since 1994. Last year, Smith sponsored a similar bill but it got stalled and eventually went nowhere. With an increase of republicans in the state legislature, Smith expects his chances to be better this time around.

According to the details of the bill, it would allow for sobriety checkpoints in Texas cities with at least 500,000 people and/or counties with 250,000 populations. The article goes on to state that Texas has one of the highest proportions of drunken driving deaths in the country.

If passed, LPD officers could conceivable converge at the most popular bars in town especially at closing time and perhaps prevent a lot of accidents. Then again, would there even be enough of a police presence to enforce the sobriety checkpoint law locally?

Hint of arrogance in McArthur's victory over Alexander

While the Laredo Morning Times rightfully praised the Alexander Bulldogs for their very successful season, the San Antonio press seemed to be put down Alexanders effort in their 56-20 loss to the Brahmas. MySA.com reported the following headline about the game.
McArthur not satisfied with pasting of Laredo Alexander : The ensuing article went on: MacArthur quarterback Clinton Killough said his team was frustrated as it sat in a silent Alamodome locker room at halftime. Their performance may have been enough for a 56-20 victory against Laredo Alexander before about 7,000 fans on Saturday. But with a Class 5A Division II state quarterfinal next week against Steele, it wasn't enough for the Brahmas.
It turns out the gist of the article was that McArthur's coaches and players were overall disappointed by how they played against Alexander, despiter their 36 point margin of victory. In a way it makes sense that their team always wants to play better. Then again, did they think they should have beat Alexander 70-0 or what? I mean after all, Alexander is from Laredo and it still seems that San Antonio takes beating Laredo for granted.

Next time you take a "cool" pic of yourself, Look behind you

In the age of digitized technology, everything is a camera and everything is picture-worthy.
In the past, most people were modest and did not necessarily want to be the center of attraction.
This has definitely passed. With Facebook, everyone is a model. Modesty has gone out the
window and no one can pass up taking an ultra-stupid cool picture of themselves.  I especially
love how universal the sideways, two-fingerd peace sign has become. You can be the nerdiest
person in the world, but wait, there are no more nerds, everyone is a celebrity, I forget.

The future of America: Today's college students' need "Hangover Helpers"

Hic-Hic !  Doh!.....Hic!

With United States students constantly falling further behind in crucial fields such as math and science, it is refreshing to see that at least their creativity is faring pretty good. One example that Americans can and do come up with unique ideas comes out of the University of Colorado. Two students have found their calling as self-proclaimed hangover helpers. For a measly $15, they go to the dorms of hungover students, clean up the mess from the night before and even fix the ailing slackers breakfast.

The entreprenising pair will continue fine-tuning their services as they prepare for what is expected to be a very, very busy Spring.  The number of parties and hangovers increase dramatically once Winter's over and the the party season peaks.

Interestingly, hangover helpers of sorts have long existed in the Gateway City; cleaning up after hungover, late-sleeping husbands and/or sons. These, of course, are the never-appreciated enough moms. A disturbing trend is these hard-working moms are now increasingly picking up and looking after hungover daughters. Say it ain't so! Tsk, Tsk, Tsk.

What happened to Laredo's Winter Texans?

Hundreds of RVs like this one visited yearly

I clearly remember, years back, the Laredo Civic Center's west parking lot being completely filled with Winter Texans' RVs. They would station themselves neatly in formation and, as far as I can tell, stay for weeks. The Public Access Channel offices were not at their present location yet and the RVs took up all the area from the entrance to Shirley Field in the South, to Garden street in the North and to Convent street in the West. This happened every year during the Winter and I really don't recall when it was that they stopped coming to town for the Winter. Now, it seems like they all head to the Magic Valley, RVs, money and all.

Bola de Burros !

Leave it up to the Republican-led Texas legislature to ensure that our state makes the necessary changes to raise the level of the quality of education in the Lone Star State. From, the looks of it, we're in good hands.

How many people still drive around and look at Christmas Lights?

I heard a plug tonight on Pro-8 news for an online promotion. They are urging people to send in pictures of their Christmas holiday decorations. I guess this would include Christmas trees, lights, inflatable decorations and even manger scenes. They made a comment to the effect that if you like riding around looking at Christmas decorations, now Pro-8 news can have all that for you on their website. In orther words, no need in you riding around anymore, we got it all for you on your computer.

For those who might not be able to get out due to health, transportation and/or other issues, this does offer a nice alternative. For those who are fortunate enough to have the time, health and ability to get out, it might bea a good way to spend an evening, driving around with the family and taking in the sights and sounds of the season.

For some reason, I've always found it interesting to drive around the various barrios and see they display of Christmas spirit even in the most modest of homes. You almost always drive across a tiny, older house that might even be in need of substantial repair but yet manages to come across big in regards to exhibiting the hope and joy that is the Christmas season.

My review on the recently-opened Texas Road House restaurant

Oh yea, the waitresses dance a weird line dance every hour

Saturday afternoon, I got a chance to visit the newly-opened Texas Road House on North Santa Urusula. It occupies the location which formerly housed the Outback Steakhouse. The first thing, of course, was the wait to be seated. There were about 15-20 people (maybe 10 groups) waiting to be seated and so we were given a number. During the time we were waiting, the staff offered us bread while we waited. I said water would be fine. The total wait time before being called in was about 20 minutes.
Once seated, the booths were pretty comfortable, and set rather high-which is ok with me. The bread was ok but they served this strange cinnamon butter with it. I didn't like this twist and instead asked for regular butter. The house salad (side order) was really good. My other side order was green beans and I found them a bit salty. The steaks were done just as we liked them and were very tender and tasty. The toal for both plates plus 2 drinks (non-alcoholic) came to about $24, plus tip. I would say that I might visit the place again but perhaps not very often. It was a little bit too much Logans. They even did the "Yee-haw" birthday yell.

Park your car, support the Middle East

U.S.: a subsidiary of the Middle East

Friday afternoon, I was listening to the Standup with Pete Dominic show. One of his guests was Matt Taibi, an author of several books. His expertise is on the financial shenanigans which have been shaking the foundation of our country over the last few years. Although some of the outlandish financial dealings he writea about sounded far-fetched, they are well documented all substantiated.
He has written about many of the ways that wall street types have come up with is essentially the selling off our country's sovereignty. One particular case, which even I found hard to belive, is that some cities in the U.S. have been offered money upfront in exchange for up to 100 years of future parking fee revenues. One city, in particular he mentioned, is Chicago. It appears that some middle eastern consortium has bought the rights to next centurie's parking meter revenues in one of our biggest cities. To make matters worse, if there is a city/state or national holiday on which there is to be no charge for parking, then the city (or whoever entered in the deal) has to pay the oversees consortium big bucks for revenue lost for that day. The book is called Griftopia and is written by Matt Taiibi. This stuff sounds too weird to be made-up.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Zaffirini pushes the term "retarded" towards the "word graveyard"

Shhh....you shouldn't be saying that.

On Saturday, Nov.27th  Texas Tribune reports :
Disability advocates want Texas lawmakers to put the term "retarded" in the "word graveyard" with other derogatory terms.

Advocates gathered at the Capitol on Tuesday to support SB 26, filed by state Sen. Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo, which would require past and future state laws to replace terms like “crippled” and “mentally retarded” with phrases such as “persons with disabilities” or “persons with intellectual disabilities.”

“The term itself, when it was first started, was designed to be very professional and have a good connotation to it, but it digressed over the years, and it’s a term that is used to insult others,” said Gerard Jimenez, governmental affairs chairman for the Down Syndrome Association of Central Texas.
I recall taking an etymology (study of word origins) class with the late Dr. Briggs in which we covered how words can either be elevated in status or degraded. An example of a word being elevated is the word "wife". At one time, it simply meant woman. A fishwife was a woman who sold fish. With the passage of time, the word was elevated and came to mean a very special kind of woman, one that you would want to marry. On the other side of the coin, the word "knave" has deteriorated in meaning. At one point in time, it simply meant a young boy, or servant. Now the word has come to mean a dishonest person. It looks like the word "retarded" is another such example. At one time, it was a proper and accepted word. Now it has become a word that is to be avoided if at all possible, even if it takes a law to get rid of it.

Looks like a rollicking "Black Friday"

Hello Capitol One ? Yes, Can you uh..extend my credit limit??
If news reports from all across the country turn out to be accurate. Friday will probably turn out the the biggest days of the year for retailers. The Boston Herald writes "if last year's black Friday was shoppers gone mild, this year it's shoppers gone wild". Similar reports were filed throughout the country.
In driving around locally Friday, I did notice that there was brisk traffic at both Wal-Mart and Target. I didn't really bother to go to the Mall but it probably was more of the same. The consensus seems to be that there was quite a bit of pent-up consumer demand that was unleashed today. It might be that a lot of people were out shopping for something for themselves as a reward for coping with the downed economy for the last couple of years.
It will be interesting to see if this end-of-year spike in consumer spending carries over into the early part of 2011. You can bet your bottom dollar that the in-coming republicans are already trying to spin this apparent economic improvement to suit their needs. So what else is new?

Hate Radio loses then gains back Dr. Laura

Dr Laura
The Huffington post is reporting today that Dr. Laura will begin a new, 3-hour radio show on Sirius-XM satellite radio on Monday, January 3rd. This is less than a week after her scheduled resignation from her current radio contract on "terrestial radio". It seems that right-wing/hate radio can do no wrong nowadays. Controversial radio hosts such as Limbaugh, Hannity and Beck continue to dominate the top of the talk-radio charts. Not only can these right-wing pundits, including Dr. Laura, do no wrong but they can not say anything that is bad enough to cost them their radio jobs. In a racist tirade a couple of months ago, Dr. Laura used the "N" word eleven times and for this, she is being rewarded with a brand spanking new radio contract. Ain't America great?

Friday, November 26, 2010

Once in a great while, Laredo's been first or most

I Know we're numero Uno !

We all might agree that Laredo gets slapped around pretty good in the local/state/national media but I do recall a few times that Laredo, for better or worse, has been acknowledge for being either first or most in a few things.

I remember reading that BP Newman elementary school was the first school built with a  fallout shelter. Naturally, this was during the 1960s when the cold war was in full force and such a thing would have made some news shows.  During the 1970s, Home Box Office, chose Laredo as the first Texas city (town) to receive HBO. It came it with little or no fanfare and one of the first "brand new" movies showed was "American Grafiti". A year or two later, when HBO was entering the San Antonio market, it was met with all sorts of protests against the R rated shows and movies associated with the channel. During the 90's, it was in the news, that Laredo had the highest percentage of user-subscribers of caller-id in the entire country: sounds like Laredo. I would not be surprised that Laredo's ratio of cell phone users/owners is probably also pretty high. Last but not least, Laredo has always been referred to as the US City with the highest concentration of hispanic population. I know it was even higher in the past but now I believe it's somewhere around 95%.
Take that McAllen & Brownsville.

Obama gets a "codazo" while playing basketball. Fueron los del tea party!!!

President injured
Must've been one of those pointed-headed republicans Sir!
President Obama had to receive some stitches (12) for a busted lip he sustained during a pick-up basketball game on Friday. The White House did not reveal who inflicted the accidental damage to the President. There was a rumor that it might have been a deranged tea partier who busted Obama on the mouth with the corner of his tri-corner hat, but it has yet to be confirmed. Those codazos can really hurt a lot. This is especially true when the guy who happens to hit you is lanky ala Ichabod Crane, or as they say in the barrio, un *#@^%! flaco huesudo.  Aguila!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving football predictions- why not?

After painstakingly analyzing  volumes of statistical and other types of data, senior analysts at our laredotejas sports wing have arrived at the following predictions for Thursday's football games. They are as follows:

 Dallas Cowboys 26    New Orleans Saints 17

Texas Longhorns 17    Texas A&M Aggies 13

Hopefully, these bold predictions will not mysteriously disappear, especially if they turn out to be way off.

Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at laredotejas

The more things change, the more they.........well, the more they change

I think the official word for it is De-evolution.  Happy Thanksgiving. Make sure you dress in your Sunday Thursday best. 

Free Turkeys! Free Turkeys!


In the last couple of days, J.P.s, county commissioners, city councilmen and school board members have been in the news. For the most part, they've been doing some good for the public by donating turkeys and/or bags of groceries to families all throughout Laredo. My first question is: who is paying for these turkeys? When school board member Amaya, or commissioner Canales is shown distributing turkeys, is it compliments of the taxpayers or of the political figure? Next question: there's always a small army of volunteers with the political figure, sometimes all wearing the same "team" shirts giving away the goodies. My question is: are these volunteers ?  are they paid? are they family? and most importantly are these groceries going to the truly needy?

I am simply asking these questions because many times we see things but don't question anything. I figured if we can least get some answers to these questions, at least we get a sort of behind-the-scenes understanding of a small part of politics in Laredo. Please feel free to offer your insight into any political process in our town. I think a lot of people would at least be somewhat amused/interested in how these events occurr. They certainly don't just happen spontaneously.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Another black eye for Laredo; Tom Delay found guilty of money Laundering

Delay in happier times on DWTS

The New York Times is reporting this afternoon that former US house majority leader (and former Laredoan) Tom Delay has been found guilty of Money Laundering charges in Austin. Jurors deliberated nearly 20 hours before returning with the guilty verdicts : money laundering & conspiracy to commit money laundering. Reportedly, Delay can get up to life in prison for the money-laundering charges. The writer, James C. Mckinley Jr. adds:
The main facts of the case were never in dispute. In mid-September 2002, as the election heated up, Mr. DeLay’s state political action committee, Texans for a Republican Majority, gave a check for $190,000 to the Republican National Committee. The money had been donated earlier in the year by various corporate lobbyists seeking to influence Mr. DeLay, several witnesses said.
On Sept. 13, the check was delivered to the R.N.C. by Mr. Ellis, who was Mr. Delay’s top political operative in Washington and headed his Federal political action committee. At the same meeting, Mr. Ellis also gave the Republican director of political operations, Terry Nelson, a list of state candidates and an amount to be sent to each. Mr. Nelson testified that Mr. Ellis had told him the request had come from Mr. DeLay.
In early October, donations were sent from a separate account to seven G.O.P. candidates in Texas. Six of them won. The Republican seized control of the legislature for the first time in modern history and promptly pushed through a controversial redistricting plan — orchestrated by Mr. DeLay — that sent more Texas Republicans to Congress in 2004 and helped him consolidate his power.
Tom Delay is one of a selected few laredo natives who have gone on to receive national acclaim. Others include Jose Silva: founder of Silva Minda Control and Federico Pena: former US Transp. Secratary.  Editors note: Some would argue that the editor-in-chief of Laredo's most imposing blog is nearing that kind of national recognition.

Huh? Cuidado con las hachas

Being from Laredo, we don't give much thought to the announcements of sales and promotions over the public address system at Wal-Mart, Target or any of the other stores. But  those who might be from up North, or have simply been out of Laredo for a while might react with a puzzled look when they hear "Attention Wal-Mart Choppers"! Some may even look somewhat uneasily over their shoulders.

 As we all know, many of the employees at our local retailers might have a hard time distinguishing between the Sh sound and the often-substituted Ch sound. In Spanish, we use the harsher-sounding Ch sound quite a bit. Words such as charco, chico, chile, chocolate are a few examples. On the other hand, we don't hear the softer Sh sound in Spanish much at all. Although, I have spoken to people from West Texas and they do have a tendency to use it in words such as ocho and noche; thereby pronouncing the words "osho" and "noshe". So, next time you're Christmas chopping, oops I mean shopping, listen closely and you might hear- either a call to buy, or a call to arms........"attention Wal-Mart choppers"! 

You can't call yourself The Learning Channel and feature Sarah Palin

Sarah Palin Cartoon 3 To dream of Sarah Palin....
Cuidado, Ay viena la Mondada !!

Lending credence to the notion that the record-breaking audience for Sarah Palin's Alaska on TLC was more curiosity than anything else, this weeks ratings indicate that the show's popularity has already plummeted. A drop of 40 percent from the debut episode is very troubling for The Learning Channel. This is especially true when you look at the coveted 18-49 year old demographic; the main target for advertisers.    

Editor's note. For some reason, I had to "force" our blog to accept this post. Apparently, there must be some filter that attempts to keep out crappy news like this. Still, I didn't mind going the extra mile because I know that Sarah Palin's poster is hanging on many a laredo blog reader's wall.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Candidates avoid debating in new local trend

Not one, but TWO invisible men at Kiwanis Debates

The Laredo Handbook of Politics might just be undergoing a revision. During the general election, it was somewhat strange that District 2 candidate Esteban Rangel did not attend the Public Access Channel debates. Nonetheless, he won his race convincingly. This ability to win without debating might have gotten some of the other candidates thinking. During the taping of the runoff debates, District 3 candidate Alejandro Perez did not show up. Later, at the Kiwanis debates, neither Alejandro Perez nor Charlie SanMiguel showed up for their respective city council seat debates. According to Pro 8 news, the audience at the Kiwanis debate was frustrated with the no-shows. Dr. Michael Landeck, the other candidate in the District 3 runoff race also expressed disappointment with the absence of the aforementioned candidates. Orlando Navarro was the only District 6 candidate showing up.

Cowboys on roll, well sorta of. Odds still against them. No kidding?

What a difference two weeks make. That's how many weeks in a row, the cowboys have won rather impressively. Still, after a devastating 1-7 start, the odds are stacked heavily against the cowpokes. I'm not promoting gambling but I looked up the odds of the cowboys' chances for success for the remainder of this season.

The odds against the cowboys winning to NFC title    are        65  to 1.
The odds against the cowboys winning the Superbowl are      150 to 1.

The chances of a guy wearning a Cowboy Jersey in church     2 to 1   according to La Sanbe.

Like Dirty Harry liked to say "Well, do you feel lucky Punk?"  Ok, forget the "Punk" part of it. I keep forgetting  there's some sort of blog etiquette- I think.

Danny's again? Yea but this time it's something good

A couple of weeks ago, laredotejas reported on the unfortunate increase in the prices at all the local Danny's restaurants. Leading the charge were the famed enchiladas. They were $3.99, but almost tripled in price at $8.99. That no longer being news, we wanted to emphasize that, while prices might be a slap-in-the-face, their service continues to be very good.

As you enter you get a very friendly greeting by the nearest employee. More often than not, this actually means 2 or even 3 "buenos dias/tardes/noches". I like the "pasenle a donde gusten" part of the extended greeting.  As promptly as your are seated, you're asked what you'll be having to drink, another employee comes out with the chips and salsa, with the drinks usually right behind. Now, we're not talking about the menu; that could use at least a little tweaking now and then. But as far as customer service goes, Danny's does a very decent job.

Schools high on nutrition: until after school

Hey Kids! Get your dollars out and Line em up!
First of all, I know I have seen this in the past but I haven't made it a point to notice if the practice continues this school year. What I am referring to is schools raising money by selling pizza and/or ice cream to their students after school. During the school day, the nutritional guidelines are in place and somewhat strict in an attempt to positively impact the health of the kids. However, it seems that after the afternoon bell rings, everything goes. Dominos pizzas are placed out in the hallway where their scent entices the hungry kids and their dollars.

If  this is no longer the case, then I'm glad it has been rectified. If anyone out there knows that stuff like this still goes on in the name of fundraising, then we need to call the school board on it. They either want the kids to eat healthier or they don't. They can't have it both ways. At 3pm, the kids are still in school, therefore, captive customers. The schools should not take advantage of them. Nor, should they be hypocritical about the health and well being of their students.

Laredo Manufacturing: 1.candles.......oh yea and...uh no....ok how bout...no

Not long ago, I attended a city council meeting where I heard Dr. Landeck state a very disappointing  fact about our Gateway City. Actually, when I heard it, and even now, I was hoping that this was an oversight but it does seem that, as Dr. Landeck said "The manufacturing sector in Laredo is all of one candle company". If not verbatim, that was the essence of his words. Perhaps if our town still had a population of 50,000 or so, it wouldn't be as hard to fathom. With estimates of about 250,000 people calling Laredo home, it is a very real problem. I realize that this is the communication age and there is an ongoing electronics revolution in process. There has a been a definite shift in our state and country from manufacturing jobs to service-oriented, high-technology jobs.

Even with all these changes all around us, manufacturing needs to remain a part of our city, state and nation. We have to continue to produce something, even if not in comparison to the levels seen decades ago. It does not bode well for us if we are simply consumers and others control the means of production.

Del Mar Hills : does anyone call it that anymore?

El/La _______ Con Safos

Like the old man in the SNL skit used to say "In my day". Well, I do have a recollection of "Del Mar" being referred to as Del Mar Hills and not being a part of Laredo. I also remember hearing of the Del Mar Water Conservation District....hmmm or did I imagine it? Regardless, this is an example of how the names of places and areas of Laredo (and vicinity) keep evolving. I think it was in the 1970's that Del Mar was finally annexed by the City of Laredo, not that Del Mar wanted any part of it. Calton Gardens was another area that gradually has become known as just another part of Laredo.

Given the above examples, it is even more remarkable that many of the city's oldest barrios have retained their names after so many years. At one time, especially when most of Laredo's youth still got around on foot, there was a pretty intense territorial aspect that went along with the different barrio names. The lines of demarcation were very well known to the younger generation. With the passage of time and increased mobility, the territoriality conflicts have lessened but the names of Laredo's oldest barrios still are going strong.

Monday, November 22, 2010

CC Caller columnist calls out locals to go out and support their bands

Me? I started at the pubs around Straussburg

— BY Joe Hilliard of the Caller Times
Who is your favorite band? Now hold that thought.
How vital is music? It’s one of the first human interactions we have as children when someone who loves us sings us to sleep. It cuts through the nonsense of a first date: what kind of music do you like? When we’re alone in the shower, we belt out the hits. We enjoy it communally in the car and with thousands of strangers at a concert.
So when I ask who your favorite band is, you have an answer.
Consider this, though: your favorite musical act started performing in or near their hometown.
The Beatles were a group of teenagers playing around Liverpool, England.
R.E.M. garnered an initial following playing the Athens, Ga., club scene.
George Strait’s upstart band was devoted to central and southeast Texas back in the late 70s.
The early successes of these acts, or any other I might have listed, came from playing small shows to a willing audience waiting to discover and support them.

So answer this: Who is your favorite LOCAL band?
We are a city full of people who love music (remember question #1?) while local and regional bands play gigs all over town. For whatever reason, though, these two natural halves are not finding one another. Let me rephrase: we don’t go out to hear live, local music. Yes, we pack into American Bank Center when a big household name comes to town, but we’re not interested in local, future superstars.

Between our iPods and the iTunes store, Pandora.com and Sirius satellite radio, it is almost too easy to find new signed music, but these technologies do nothing for our local music scene — a scene ripe to blow up if people would get out there and discover it. And we need it to blow up for reasons too numerous to list here.
Here is an earnest challenge for you: find your favorite local band. I’ll even let you cheat and call The Corpus Christi Symphony or the Veterans Band of Corpus Christi your favorite band if it means you’ll physically leave your home and go listen to them live.

From rock to country, hip hop, classical, metal, reggae, Tejano and covers of your favorites from years past, all of your favorite music is out there, locally. Go find your favorite.

Laredotejas editor's note:  Except for the name and a few other changes..... Laredo's story is the same one.

Harlingen rated most affordable US city to live in

Yep, that looks downright........affordable allright
According to the Council for Community and Economic Research, Harlingen, Texas was ranked as the most affordable city to live in in the whole United States. Surprisingly, two more Valley cities are ranked right behind Harlingen. McAllen is rated as the 2nd most affordable and Brownsville as the 3rd most affordable towns in the US to live in. This comparative rankings shows how Harlingen, Mcallen and Brownsville fared:

among 314 participating urban centers across the nation, based on the organization’s third quarter 2010 Cost of Living Index. The article continues;
Mayor Chris Boswell said the ranking confirms Harlingen’s status as a consistently affordable place to live.

Being curious as to where Laredo would fall on this affordability index, I did some checking around on the Council's website and found out that.........Laredo is NOT on the index at all. How do we compare apples to oranges then?

Do good causes and Politics mix?

I promise a chicken in every pot!

Tonight, Pro8 news had a piece on a Local women's group giving away bags full of everything needed for a good Thanksgiving dinner. This is obviously a generous show of consideration for their fellow human beings. There was, however, a little bit of twist when it came to determing just what families would get these foods. Apparently, the city council members were asked whom they waned the bags donated to. Thus, lists were provided and the bags of groceries were distributed.

At the risk of being too cynical during this holiday season, what are the chances that some council persons may not choose those that are truly the most needy to receive these donations? Would there be any attempt to repay people who helped in their campaign? I sincerely hope that those most in need get the help. Whatever the case, the particular women's group deserves all the praise in the world. Unfortunately, I didn't get the group's name-oops.

Just a question: Who goes to the bucks games?

I don't have a survey at hand that tells me what Laredoans support and attend the Laredo Bucks' games. I have to admit that I've wonderd about that question before. I don't know if I'm playing into stereotypes but I tend to think that it's mostly people who live in North Laredo and who have relatively good incomes. I might be wrong. The reason that I ask this is that I wonder who the main target group is going to be for the new baseball team.

With the Laredo Broncos, you could see that those in attendance were from a cross-section of Laredo. There were people who simply walked to the games from their homes in West Laredo. Others, no doubt, drove from farther away. I have a feeling that the new park is just going to mean more things for North Laredo to do and not necessarily for all Laredoans. Am I wrong?  Any comments would be appreciated. It's not a survey but it'd interesting to hear what others think.

Incidentally, I don't agree with whoever thought that promoting the Bucks with the "big friggin weekend" was a good idea. We all know the actual wording that is implied and they shouldn't be promoting that kind of language. It's sorta like when Burger King had that brilliant idea of putting a sign that read "We've got your whopper right here". I mean come on, do we really need to add to the idea of being an illiterate city?

What's going on with the Plaza Theater, besides nothing?

One of the things that is so bad about Laredo, is the failure to stay with an idea, project, or proposal. As I asked last week, what happened to the plastic bag ban? Well, for that matter, what's happend with the Plaza Theater. Year after year, it sits at the heart of downtown and continues to get 100 per cent ignored. Once in a great while, someone will mention it briefly. Yet, other things that have come along much much later have received more attention. For example, the Arts & Entertainment ordinance, Laredo Main Street, The Farmer's market, The Pony League ( I was like what is the Pony League?), the LEA, the $18 million dollar baseball park and so on.

It appears that the city council can really spend the taxpayer's money when it makes up its mind, so why not spend some on the historic Plaza theater?  I don't get it. A lot less worthwhile projects have gotten the ok with very little hesitation. Remember the trolley folley? I think that cost the city at least a million dollars. So, I don't see why no one on the council gets behind the Plaza in a very real sense. Maybe they havn't figured out how to justify spending much more money on it than makes sense. Usually, our council jumps at projects that are put before them, especially when they are very very expensive, or when they really don't benefit Laredo.

The rich get richer: San Antonio lands Petco distribution center,400 jobs

Upon listening to a San Antonio radio station, KTSA, I learned that Petco is bringing an eventual 400 jobs to the Alamo City. The first thing I thought was: Why not Laredo?  Then I sort of answered my own question. I'm guessing that the fact that San Antonio is more centrally located has a lot to do with it. However, if that was the only criteria, then it would've actually made more sense to have selected Austin. Well anyway, it appears that a $3.1 million dollar investment in Petco, from the states Texas Enterprise Fund, is what cinched the deal. This fund was started in 2003, reportedly at the request of Rick Perry, to offer incentives to businesses considering bringing jobs to Texas.

All of that is fine but I have to wonder if Perry is ever going to take the initiative and inject some of the fund's money in companies that would bring jobs to any of the border towns?  Let's hope that Richard Raymond and Senator Zaffirini continue to keep an eye out for the best interest of Laredo and South Texas. It'd be nice to read about some company planning to bring 100 or 200 jobs to Laredo. Ok, why not 400?

See the flow chart above. It looks like somebody has figured out why Rick Perry is so involved with the entire Texas Enterprise Fund project. It's like they say: "Follow the money".

Sunday, November 21, 2010

El Paso safest large city: De verdad?? From the El Paso Times.com

By Diana Valdez-Washington, El Paso Times

El Paso is the safest city for in the nation for a city its size, according to the just-released CQ Press Safest Cities rankings.
This is the first time El Paso was ranked at the top of the yearly Safest Cities report. Since 1997, El Paso had ranked as second or third safest city by the independent study.
CQ Press named Honolulu as second safest and New York City as third safest city in the nation. Austin was No. 6 and Fort Worth was No. 10, the only other Texas cities to make the top ten.
Chief Greg Allen credited the achievement to community policing efforts and partnerships the El Paso Police Department developed with residents, other law enforcement agencies, city departments and civic groups.
He said the hard work and dedication of all El Paso Police Department employees also contributed to the success.
CQ Press is an independent research firm that conducts safety studies of cities, metropolitan areas, and states.
See more about CQ Press at http://www.cqpress.com/gethome.asp.
Diana Washington Valdez may be reached at dvaldez@elpasotimes.com; 546-6140.

Texas A&M study predicts higher temperatures for Texas

The McAllen Monitor had an article this morning that is bound to make people at CPL and other energy companies pretty happy. John Nielson-Gammon, professor of atmostpheric sciences at Texas A&M in college station, sees even hotter summers in store for Texas, especially South Texas. Nielson-Gammon was quoted as saying:
Texas is almost certain to get hotter in the next 20 to 50 years. Just how hot is the key question. The projections show that … by 2050 or 2060 we are likely to average 2 to 6 degrees warmer than temperatures back in 1981-2000. If that happens, tripledigit temperatures that Texans consider unusual today will become typical — not a happy proposition for South Texas, which already endures more than its share of heat
I guess that people from Laredo and from all around South Texas will start vacationing up North in the Summer.  Also, the Laredo Fire Department will probably have a change made to their job description. They might have to go around town dousing those brave enough to be outside.