Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Noise abatement grant program: Is this being managed better than CAA?

This is the logo on the side of the trailer spotted South of the airport area

Some of you might have seen a trailer with the Logo NENA driving around town. More specifically, I've seen it around the area South of Saunders but inside the loop. That's where most of the houses affected by the airport noise are located. As it turns out NENA stands for North East Noise Abatement, a company out of San Antonio.

I get the idea that they have contracted by the city to install noise-reduction insulation in the houses which were bought by the city as a result of the multi-million dollar federal noise abatement program which started a few years ago. If that's the case, I certainly hope that this grant is being administered a lot more carefully than the county's CAA weatherization program. I certainly would like to read more about it. What say you Laredo Morning Times?  Are you listening Pro8news? Where's the coverage we can count on?

Republicans having a hard time definding tax breaks for rich

It appears that the only way the republicans can handle public disapproval for their pro-rich agenda is to threaten to have anyone who speaks out against them removed. A constituent vociferously expresses his disdain for the republican approach to the debt and is told to be quiet or else.

Cut cable reveals more call centers are needed: Are you listening Mayor Salinas??

Mayor Raul "Jobs, job jobs" Salinas needs to get moving fast!

The gist of the article below is that the recent fiber optic cable that was cut locally created pandemonium throughout South Texas. There is a growing consensus that more call centers are needed to avoid a repeat of the chaos that ensued last time locally and in the Valley (see article). OK, so here's the deal- how soon can the Mayor and his travelling buddies use this information to go and land themselves a couple of call centers for Laredo, always a reason to celebrate The Gateway City?

Of course, they are not the high-paying, top level, Eagle Ford Shale jobs that San Antonio is stealing from our city stooges leaders, but in this economy, every bit helps.

From KRGV.com
By Joe Agustine

Operators are making sure everyone in the Valley can call 911. That service was disrupted Wednesday night after an AT&T fiber optic line was cut near Laredo. Most of the problems were fixed by 11:30 Thursday morning, but the outage helped highlight a major problem with 911 call centers here in the Valley.

911 call centers in the Valley help back up other call centers in South Texas. So when there is a problem in Laredo, the center in Harlingen will pick up the calls. The problem is that the center can't handle so much traffic.

Anyone calling from a cell phone or a landline Wednesday night probably got through to a 911 operator. The operator couldn't transfer calls to police or fire departments. Instead, they had to use their own cell phones to call firefighters and police officers. It turned into one big mess that delayed response times.

A director at the 911 center in Weslaco says this is the biggest crisis he's seen in more than 10 years. It put nearly 1 million people at risk. It shows South Texas needs more call centers.

“This was a major artery that they cut up there, and that meant all the calls had to find different ways of getting out. So that cut between San Antonio and Laredo impacted several different telephone networks,” says 911 Assistant Director Stephen Tice.

Tice doesn't know how many emergency calls were affected.

Adios Trans-Texas corridor: reflecting on one of Perry's big failures

Perry's TTC would have been owned by Spain

From The Burnt Orange Report
By Adam Schwitters

The first big problem with the TTC was geographical.  The corridor was to be 1200 feet wide and ultimately 4000 miles long.  That is a lot of land! Land that would have required extensive unprecedented abuse of eminent domain  laws for the "state" to acquire.  The full system would have needed over 500,000 acres of land that was usually privately owned and often adjacent to critical wildlife habitats.  
Rick Perry, the supposed champion of minimal government and conservatism, was going to decree, via fiat, that an area of the state larger than New Jersey would suddenly belong not even to Texas itself, but to a Spanish developer, Cintra-Zachary.  
Needless to say, this upset more than a few people. Conservatives objected to the prospect of widespread seizures of private lands. Progressives despised the proposed sale of such a vast region to a company that would have turned Texas into a pipeline for cheap goods from Mexico and Asia and left ordinary Texans watching vast sums of money flow by  while gaining little, if any, benefits.
The TTC was essentially shelved in 2009 as a result of public outrage, yet Perry continues to believe that massive toll roads owned and operated by private developers is the only answer to Texas's transportation woes.  It is not at all clear that privately owned toll roads offer any congestion relief.  A much smaller project built and owned entirely through private funding, the Camino Columbia Toll Road (a bridge between Laredo and Nuevo Laredo), failed as drivers refused to pay its onerous tolls, and it only carried 13% of the traffic it had been projected to carry.

The con continues: Lemur Field & LEA hosting same type of events

It was interesting to how easy it is to con Laredo's leaders. The guy in charge of the wimpy Laredo Lemurs now says that they will hold about 50 baseball games as well as boxing (same as LEA), concerts (same as LEA) , all sorts of other community events (same as LEA). What's the deal here? If there's not enough action to justify having the $38 million dollar LEA, how can they try to justify the $18 million dollar baseball park which, according to Schuster, will be hosting the exact same kind of events-save for baseball.

On another note, he says there will be 50 amateur baseball games; is that code for Pony League or Little League. Something tells me that they are going to cater to the Pony League again just as city leaders have since the idea was first brought up before our inept city council.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Recommended reading: Broke, USA by Gary Rivlin

Laredo also has a thriving "poverty industry"

I recently checked out this book at the Laredo Public Library. It details how zealous opportunists are making billions of dollars from providing services (preying) on the working poor. It sure opens your eyes to how enterprising (unscrupulous) American business has become. Whatever happened to customer satisfaction? I guess gouging the customer takes precedence over making sure they are getting treated fairly and properly.

In the author's own words :

BROKE, USA is my report from the economic fringes. In the two years I spent researching the poverty industry, I ventured to Las Vegas to hang out at the annual check cashers convention, I spent time in Tennessee with the small-town debt collector who founded the $40-billion-a-year payday cash advance industry, I met with a number of mercenary entrepreneurs who are getting tens of millions of dollars rich selling high-priced products to the country's hardworking waitresses, warehouse workers, and mall clerks.

By telling the story of the rise of the poverty business – an industry that today is larger than the casino industry – I chronicle the early roots of the subprime meltdown and explore any number of other brilliant, if not diabolically brilliant, ways businesses have devised to grow very, very rich off those with decidedly thin wallets. I also tell of a few of the more committed souls fighting back against the major corporations, chain franchises, and newly-hatched enterprises that grow fat with profits at the expense of the working poor.

Chinese own 1/3 of Chesapeake's interests in the Eagle Ford Shale play

I reckon we Texans are drilling for 'dem Chinese fellers

One of the US oil and gas industry's talking points has been that we need to rev up domestic drilling of all kinds. They have pushed for renewed deep water off-shore drilling to resume. Additionally, they have pushed hard for unregulated Hydraulic Fracturing to continue at full speed in the Eagle Ford Shale play in South Texas.  The industry's rallying cry has been that only by stepping up all sorts of domestic activity, can the US free itself from having to rely on foreign oil.

As it turns, out the Chinese have huge investments in many US based operations. In South Texas, they have invested $2 Billion while buying off one third of Chesapeake's stake. So much for using foreign oil as a scare tactic.

From Platts.com

Chinese offshore oil and gas producer CNOOC plans to explore medium to long term investments in the unconventional resource sphere to drive the company's future, as it believes unconventional resources will play a critical role in China's energy mix.

Separately, CNOOC has made two investments in shale gas projects with US independent energy producer Chesapeake.

In late January, CNOOC agreed to pay $570 million up front and $697 million in drilling carry to be paid out over the next three years for a one-third stake in its 800,000 Niobrara Shale acres in Colorado and Wyoming in the US.

The deal follows an agreement signed in October 2010 under which Chesapeake sold a one-third stake in its Eagle Ford shale project in southern Texas to CNOOC for just over $2 billion.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

When will Mayor Salinas meet with Haliburton and Slumber J ?

Laredo settles for Eagle Ford morsels while San Antonio plans a feast!

San Antonio's Economic Development Foundation is headed by former US H.U.D. Secretary Henry Cisneros.  He, along with former Mayor Wolff have been meeting with Haliburton and Schulember officials about possibly building a huge Eagle Ford Shale center of operations in the Alamo City. This is what is called thinking big. The type of jobs associated with such a headquarters will include many highly-paid positions such as directors, administrators, researchers and the like.

Although San Antonio appears to be shoe-in, the plans are not final. I wonder why our travelling Mayor Raul Salinas hasn't mentioned anything about meeting with these industry fat cats? I guess he's willing to accept that San Antonio is one more city that will devour our lonche.  Like I've said before: they'll let Laredo have all the lower-level jobs but save the really transformational investment for cities like San Antonio. OK, Mayor, you love to travel- now go do your job!

Excerpted from Friday's SA Express News

Oil-field services giant Halliburton Co. is shopping for a “supersite” in San Antonio that would employ hundreds to serve its clients that are drilling in the Eagle Ford shale, Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff said Thursday.

“We're definitely looking” to establish a site in the San Antonio area, Halliburton spokeswoman Tara Mulee Agard said. But because the company hasn't finalized plans, she said she couldn't say how many positions the office might include.

Bexar officials said this wasn't yet a done deal, but they were optimistic it would come together.
“It looks promising,” Wolff said, and added that Halliburton likely will make a decision in 30 to 60 days.
If Houston-based Halliburton does establish a major office in San Antonio, it “would be the biggest (Eagle Ford-related company) in terms of employment as well as diversity of the jobs,” Wolff said.

Because the company would bring high-paying jobs, landing it would be tantamount to San Antonio's winning the Toyota pickup plant, he said.

El Paso, other cities eating....make that drinking our water via Xeriscaping

Common sense landscaping? Not in Laredo, you don't!

Our never-creative city leaders have failed to even consider substantive, common sense approaches to deal with the ever-present water availability problem in the Gateway City. The best they can come up with is :stage 3 water restrictions and 500 bucks in fine for any resident watering when not authorized to do so. It's high time that someone with some brains took the initiative and do something-anything.

They probably don't "outlaw" water-heavy St. Agustine grass because someone, somewhere would loose some business. I say: Just sell a different, more water-friendly strain of grass. The bad thing is that if we, as citizens, would start pushing for such a change (not everyone at the same time), the only thing that might happen would be that someone would get paid off for voting against something so reasonable.

From The Associate Press-as appearing in LMT

EL PASO — For decades this city in far West Texas defied the look of most desert communities, with
neighborhoods boasting lush, green lawns and residents freely running their sprinklers.

Then a study released in 1979 showed just how close El Paso was to a crisis: At its rate of water use, the
city would run dry within 36 years.Over the next couple of decades, the city took drastic measures to stabilize its water supply, undergoing a philosophical and physical face lift that included ripping up grass from many public places, installing rock and cactus gardens and offering financial incentives for residents to do
the same.

Today, El Paso is among the few cities in the drought-stricken state not worrying about water. It’s a distinction El Paso leaders attribute to a conservation plan that other cities in less arid climates such as San Antonio and Austin have tried to a limited extent amid receding water resources and booming population growth.

But even in El Paso, the changes have been a tough sell for some residents who cherish their lawns and
have bypassed financial incentives to rip them out. “In school, when they told us to draw a house, you would always draw it with grass,” said Fred Fierro, 75, who wakes up early to water his turf with his wife.

Laredo Morning TImes editorial calls for financial prudence at LISD

Pushing for the raise are trustees Hector Garcia, Johnny Amaya & Cecilia Moreno

From the Laredo Morning Times
Editorial exceprt

Trustees should not be careless with the district’s money.

They must look ahead if the district is to remain financially responsible in future years.

In the coming year, the district has been forced to cut $9 million from its budget.

And administration came up with a plan that not only cut that $9 million, but also left the district with a $2 million surplus.

This is admirable. In 2012-2013, the district will need to cut even more.

Financial planning 101 will teach you that you have to plan not only for the short term, but also for the long term.

Salary increases next year mean more money dedicated to payroll the year after that, and so on.

And will trustees push for another increase on top of this one when budget time comes up next year?

At some point, trustees are going to have to face the cold, hard reality that more cuts are coming.

Right now, LISD has a $2 million surplus in a time of cutbacks.

Stop while you’re ahead. You’ll need that money for the 2012-2013 budget when things get even worse.

From Laredo to Valley, school districts considering a "Hurricane Alex" tax

I have to admit that, locally, I haven't heard any mention of tax increases at either local district. But, a Valley newspaper is reporting differently. Let's hope that this does not affect Laredo. It's already bad enough that our Webb County leaders are trying to increase tax revenues to help offset the nearly $1 million dollars they squandered by mismanaging state and federal programs.

In any event, enjoy The Weather Channel's interview with our illustrious Mayor, Raul Salinas.  Incidentally, Tropical Depression 2 was the system formerly known as Hurricane Alex-one and the same.

Interestingly enough, the embedded video depicts Mayor Salinas repeatedly making mention of how well Laredo & Nuevo Laredo work together. Starting at the 1:40 mark, Salinas makes at least 2 references to the unity of Los Dos Laredos. How times have changed!

From The McAllen Monitor

EDINBURG — More than a year after Hurricane Alex swept through deep South Texas, some Rio Grande Valley school districts plan to bank on the natural disaster and require state taxpayers to help them avert budget cuts.

On Tuesday, the Edinburg school board voted 6-2 to approve a so-called disaster tax rate option, which allows districts to declare essentially any school repairs as disaster-related and worthy of millions of dollars in extra state aid.

Trustees in La Feria, Laredo, McAllen, Monte Alto and Progreso also have considered the little-known loophole, said Kevin O’Hanlon, a veteran education consultant who has advised each district as part of the Austin-based O’Hanlon, McCollom and Demerath law firm.

“On June 30 of 2010, Hurricane Alex hit the Valley. There was a lot of rain,” O’Hanlon said.
With the disaster tax rate option, local “taxpayers in the main receive no overall tax increase,” he added. Yet “it’s a significant amelioration to the cuts districts received” from the Texas Legislature.

Believe it or not: Mexico's eating US lunch in job creation

"Come on Felipay, don't go eating our lunch, man!"
From The Odessa American Online
By M.Ray Perryman

The cultural and economic ties between Texas and Mexico span centuries. Family connections, business relationships and the flow of imports and exports cement these bonds every day. Recent economic news coming out of Mexico has been relatively good, though tales of border violence have overshadowed the more favorable information on most days. Here are a few highlights about the state of the Mexican economy and its importance to the Texas business complex.

The most recent forecasts for the Mexican economy (as reported by the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas) call for growth in gross domestic product (GDP) for 2011 of 4.3 percent. During the first quarter of this year, expansion (on a year-over-year basis) was 4.6 percent. Industrial production and exports were up recently, though retail sales slipped slightly in May. Job growth continued, though somewhat slower than the rapid pace of the first quarter.

Looking at the pattern in Mexico’s GDP over the past several years brings a couple of things immediately home. First, the recession hit very hard; second, it dissipated very quickly. The index of Mexican industrial production has topped pre-crisis levels, as have wages paid in the formal sector. The nation has added some 280,000 jobs since December.

Millions of people cross the U.S.-Mexico border every year. In fact, data maintained by the Texas Center for Border Economic and Enterprise Development at Texas A&M International University indicate that in 2010, some 14.2 million persons crossed on foot. El Paso and Laredo were the busiest, with McAllen and Brownsville also seeing millions of pedestrians. Clearly, the ties between border cities are strong, with people back and forth on foot on a regular basis. Vehicle traffic counts tell a similar story, with about 20.0 million crossings each way in 2010.

Texas benefits from close ties to Mexico through myriad channels. The ongoing strong recovery in that nation is certainly good news for the Lone Star State, and the violence that threatens to derail it needs to be addressed.

of a sudden, a slew of butterfiles

Earlier today, I was quenching my thirst the old fashioned way-drinking directly from my garden hose when I noticed something different. By different, I mean I hadn't seen this happen all summer long. As a matter of fact, I don't know how long it's been. Anyway, as the water splattered around a nearby tree, a slew of butterflies starting fluttering about, up from the grass-well what's left of it in this drought. There were probably close to a hundred of them: little, brownish-gray butterflies.

Naturally, my mind started to try to make some sense of this "new" development in my yard. Why are there now butterflies where there hasn't been any in months. Although the temperature is 107 degrees, I couldn't help but wonder if this is just another subtle clue that our weather if finally starting to change from the Dog Days of Summer. It might be wishful thinking, but there is a slight, different feel outside.

Who knows? Maybe it's all psychological. We're heading into a new month, a new school year, a new football season and so maybe It just feels different. I did notice that Adriana Arce is forecasting 109 degrees for tomorrow, then a balmy 106 for Tuesday. After that, she showed on her graph, a relatively cool 102 degrees for the remainder of the week-with a chance of isolated showers even. I guess I better go and make sure I got my chamarras and chaquetas ready. You never know, we might just stay in the 90s soon enough.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Digital Society: Facebook and tobacco, booze and drugs

Photo by Laura Stample for The Huffington Post

Excerpted from the Huffington Post

Is Facebook the new gateway drug?

Teens who use Facebook and other social media outlets are five times more likely to smoke cigarettes, three times more likely to drink alcohol and twice as likely to smoke pot than teens that don't use social networks, according to a study released by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) at Columbia University on Wednesday.

But some researchers questioned whether online activity actually puts teens at risk for drug use, saying the link between the two behaviors doesn't suggest social media use encourages drug use.

After surveying 500 parents and 2,000 teens between the ages of 12 and 17, CASA found that 70 percent of teens spend time on some form of social media, which suggests that around 17 million of the country's teens are using social networks.

Half of those teens see pictures of kids drunk, passed out or using drugs while on these sites, CASA found. Kids who don't use social media can still be exposed to these sorts of pictures, but it is a lot less likely. According to the study, 14 percent of the teens who spend no time on Facebook and the other similar sites have also been exposed to pictures of drunk or drugged peers.

"The relationship of social networking site images of kids drunk, passed out, or using drugs ... to increased teen risk of substance abuse offers grotesque confirmation of the adage that a picture is worth a thousand words," CASA's chairman and founder Joseph Califano Jr. said in a press release.

Another festive Laredo tradition: year-round, exterior Christmas lights

I remember when you could pretend to be a detective by analyzing pictures for clues. Naturally, whenever we'd see a picture in front of a Christmas tree or other assorted Yuletide decorations, we knew we were looking at a picture taken during the holiday season. Sadly, we can no longer use these clues with the same kind of accuracy as we used to. This is particularly true when it comes to outdoor Christmas lights. I'm sure that you have seen many a Laredo abode with all sorts of strings of Christmas lights or "icicles" even during our hottest South Texas months.  At least we can say that in Laredo, we celebrate Christmas all year round.....or, some of us are just plain lazy.

Laredo Tlaquache sees shadow sweating, two more weeks of Canicula

"Chale,  le voy a poner p'al canton"

It now appears that this year's Canicula will not only be one of the hottest on record, it will also be longer than usual. Forget Punxsatawney Phil ! Laredo's own Teofilo Tlaquache came out of his garbage can this afternoon and saw his shadow sweating.  That signals that instead of the Dog Days ending today, they will now continue for another couple of weeks-according to legend.

In case there's any doubt that La Canicula is going to continue at full force, especially this coming weekend, get a load of Heatwave Behrler's forecast.

He is predicting that the highs for this Saturday & Sunday will be around 110 degrees. Those temperatures will be among the hottest this year, if not THE hottest.

AT&T cell customers suffer withdrawals as service is interrupted


Pro8news reported on the looooong AT&T service interruption experienced by many Laredo cell phone customers. The channel 8 news clip showed a bevy of irate customers at a local AT&T location. As much time as some people spend on their cell phones, it sure appeared that many were having some sort of withdrawal symptons. I am not sure what the symptons for cell phone withdrawals are but I think one of them is repeatedly checking your phone over and over to see if there is a dial tone.

More importantly, Tim Gutierrez report that Laredo's 911 service has been restored after also having been interrupted earlier in the afternoon. Laredotejas could not confirm if there was any truth to reports that several cell addicts were camping outside their respective AT&T service centers.

Maybe it's time to consider "rain-making" experiments again

Oh wait! Lemme get my rain gear!
From the Corpus Christi Caller Times
By Murphy Givens

The U.S. Department of Agriculture decided to conduct a cloud-bombarding experiment in Corpus Christi. On Sept. 26, 1891, experimenters took two howitzers outside town and fired the shells timed to explode at 500 feet. After the shells exploded, a few raindrops fell. By the time the last shot was fired, people at the experiment were soaking wet.

Doubters and scoffers pointed out that the howitzer shots had nothing to do with the rain because on the day of the exercise, thunderclouds were over the city and it had rained the day before. But there had to be clouds to bombard for the experiment to work.

The weather experimenters went on to San Diego,Texas where there had been no rain for a long time. This time, they used 10-foot balloons filled with gas and carrying explosive charges. The balloon explosions were synchronized with artillery fire on the ground. Judge James O. Luby, a spectator, carried an umbrella just in case. The mortars thundered and balloons exploded from 9 p.m. until midnight. The spectators gave up and went home, thoroughly dry. But about 4 a.m. after the last balloon was exploded, a heavy rain began to fall.

This was followed by another experiment conducted in the Alamo Heights area of San Antonio. The first shot took off the top of a mesquite tree and concussions from the cannon shots shattered the windows of the nearby Argyle Hotel. But there was no rain in San Antonio. However, there was a violent downpour in Laredo. A telegram sent from Laredo, perhaps only half in jest, thanked the man in charge, John T. Ellis, for the rain.

Yo querer su voto para Pre-see-dayn-tay de Ey-stados You-nidos

From Time Magazine
By Steven Gray

In his gubernatorial campaigns, Perry, who speaks moderate Spanish, frequently traveled to Hispanic neighborhoods. Last November, he won a third term with about 38% of the Latino vote, up from 31% in 2006, according to exit polls. And his record on immigration, a key issue for Latino voters nationwide,  is nuanced. Even though three-fourths of Latinos in the U.S. are American citizens, a new spate of severe state laws pursued by Republican legislatures have made the issue a foremost concern. Perry supported making undocumented immigrants eligible for in-state college tuition. Shortly after Arizona passed a restrictive measure requiring local law enforcement authorities to check the citizenship status of people believed to be undocumented immigrants, Perry flatly told a gathering of the National Council of La Raza: “It may be right for Arizona, but it ain’t right for Texas.”


When Perry called a special legislative session to resolve a fiscal crisis, the governor revived the sanctuary cities bill and declared it a priority. With other pressing matters – health care, education – on the table, some Texas political observers were taken aback. “That didn’t reflect the traditional Republican pragmatism in Texas,” says Fernando Garcia, executive director of the Border Network for Human Rights, an El Paso-based immigration reform advocacy group.

The sanctuary cities effort drew the ire of Texas’ business community and Latinos. Somos Republicans, one of the nation’s largest Latino Republican groups, in June downgraded Perry from an “A” to a “B-“ on its influential scorecard. DeeDee Garcia Blasé, the 6,000-member group’s president, told TIME the governor’s handling of the bill “was a chance to get anti-immigration points with the Tea Party people.” The bill still ultimately failed, but damage persists: several prominent Hispanic evangelical pastors declined invitations to Perry’s Aug. 5 Houston prayer event, known as the “The Response,” in protest to the legislative campaign.

Read more: http://swampland.time.com/2011/08/24/rick-perrys-complicated-relationship-with-latinos/#ixzz1VyNIW8za

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

With economy reeling, TAMIU responds by offering a minor in theater

I guess now people can at least ACT like they have a job?

From The Laredo Morning Times/TAMIU press release
Texas A&M International University is now offering a minor in theater.

Chair of the Department of Fine and Performing Arts Bede Leyendecker said the new offering is the latest in the university’s arts offerings.

Leading this new degree are faculty members Gilberto Martínez Jr. and Vernon Carroll, she said.

Martínez joined last fall as a communication instructor in the department of Language and Literature and a theater instructor for the department of Fine and Performing Arts.

Vernon Carroll is a theater arts adjunct instructor.

He is also dean of Theater at LISD’s Vidal M. Treviño School of Communication and Fine Arts.

The first course offerings this fall are THAR 1310 Performance for the Stage, Monday-Wednesday-Friday from 12:30 p.m. to 1:20 p.m. and THAR 2340 Play Analysis Tuesday-Thursday from 7:30 p.m. to 8:45 p.m.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Rooof, Rooof ! More racist dog whistling from good ol' Faux News

No wonder Fox News is not allowed in Canada. I guess they still have a modicum of civility up there.

UTSA football seeks to break inaugural attendance record

So much for the laredo lemurs attendance setting any records

By David Flores

With the opener two weeks from Saturday, UTSA officials are expressing confidence the Roadrunners have a realistic shot at breaking college football’s single-game attendance record for a modern-day start-up program.
South Florida set the mark with a crowd of 49,212 on Sept. 6, 1997, when the Bulls beat Kentucky Wesleyan in their inaugural game.
Based on the numbers coming out of UTSA, the Roadrunners are well on their way to eclipsing the record.
“We’re close to the 45,000 mark and we’re going to do better,” UTSA athletic director Lynn Hickey said this week. “We’re going to reach out to community leaders, and see if they’ll help us.”
Here’s the math: UTSA already has sold about 29,000 tickets, including 10,000 season tickets, and has reserved another 15,000 seats for students.
Throw in the walk-up crowd – and San Antonio fans are noted for waiting until game day to buy their tickets – and you can see why South Florida’s record is almost certain to fall.

Boots on the ground, Boots on the ground: buzz phrase still going strong

Looks like someone is missing a boot!

Perhaps no one has been known the use the term "boots on the ground" as much as our very own Mayor Salinas, but it sure has a way of getting around. You would figured that by now, the media and law enforcement would have come out with a new, fresher catch phrase, but not so.

If not used carefully, the term can have some unintended amusing results. Not long ago, a local law enforcement leader was speaking about an incoming group of 49 new recruits. As he spoke to Pro8news, he said something to the effect of  "we're very glad to have this new group joining us. Once they're done with their training, we'll have 49 more boots on the ground.

I remember hearing that and thinking to myself, "some one's missing a boot".  Incidentally, if this sounds familiar, it's because I probably wrote about it long ago. So the rule is : before using the term boots on the ground, at least make sure you're dealing with an even number.

Goodnight Irene: Hurricane headed away from drought-stricken Texas

Weather experts are predicting that Hurricane Irene might hit Florda's Eastern coast if it makes it to the continental United States at all. There goes the chances of the Lone Star State getting any rain out of this particular system.

As shown in the map below, there is another tropical system further out East, Whether that one might stands any chance of quenching Texas' mighty thirst is hard to tell at the moment. What do you say Heatwave?

TC Activity

In voting to gut Clean Water Act, US House (including Henry Cuellar) votes against itself and for state's rights

Blue Dog Democrat or Neo-Tea Partier?  Are they one and same?

Being the only democrat in the US house from Texas to vote in favor of the recent bill to gut the Federal Clean Water Act, Henry Cuellar sure sounded  a lot more like a Tea Partier and state's rights advocate than like someone who is looking out for the well-being of his constituents.

As the Republican-led Texas government continues to look the other was while the fracking industry decimates our state's natural resources, Henry figured that this trend must continue. And so, he voted in favor of HR 2018, aptly named The Clean Water Cooperative Federalism Act of 2011. This is obviously a nod to the influence of the Tea Baggers Partiers who seek to return to a period in time when the states were able to dispossess their most vulnerable citizens of equal protection under the law.

From the Constitutional Accountability Center

Known as the “Supremacy Clause,” this constitutional provision establishes that duly passed federal laws “shall be the supreme Law of the land” and any conflicting state law will be trumped or “preempted” by federal law.  Advocates who disagree with health care reform—or environmental regulations or civil rights laws—are perfectly entitled to argue that these laws go beyond Congress’s enumerated powers, and even to bring lawsuits asking the courts to so hold.  But when they take the extreme step of advocating for the nullification of federal law—in direct contradiction of the Supremacy Clause—they are dishonoring our Founders and the Constitution itself.

When states attempt to nullify federal action, they pass legislation or take other official action that seeks to block implementation of federal law.  Nullification has been suggested to aid noble causes—such as resisting the Alien and Sedition Acts and the Fugitive Slave Act—but the tactic was most aggressively advocated for in the 1820s and ’30s by pro-slavery politician John C. Calhoun (who started the short-lived Nullifier Party), extended by the Confederate secessionists in the 1850s and ’60s, and then reinvigorated by segregationists in the 1950s and ’60s.
And now, it's being used by the Tea Party-led Republicans with the help of our own elected US Congressman Henry Cuellar.  Who would've thought?

Oil & Gas fracking Industry continues to buy its way throughout our area

Computer Donation

Pictured above at left is Jose Ceballos, spokesman for ANGA; the American Natural Gas Alliance after apparently donating some computers to our local churches. It's hard to argue against that! ANGA's standard operating practices include going into communities where they'll be fracking and literally buying their way around.

What better advertising can the industry get than having the local media cover and publicize these strategically calculated donations? An example of the way they work, ANGA recently funded a film project by some students from Encinal entitled Got Gas? Predictably, the film focuses on only the positive side of the fracking boom currently engulfing Encinal and other communities in South Texas, including Webb county.

What are the chances that ANGA has been throwing money around our elected officials whether they be at the local, county, state and/or federal level?

Amid chaos, Webb County wants to raise tax revenues by a cool $2 Million

Lastima de edificio tan bonito: Pity,such a beautiful structure

Webb County appears to be trying to raise some quick cash to make up for the nearly $1 million they've lost in reimbursements to the state of Texas. Due to incompetence, the county will likely not be reimbursed for over $400,000 squandered by the Community Action Agency's weatherization program nor an additional $500,000 frittered away by their fumbling of the Comprehensive Energy Assistance Program (CEAP).

The absence of these reimbursements means that the taxpayers have to pay for this waste instead.  Of all the local governments, the county should be the last to be even thinking of raising any taxes on the citizens they have so poorly represented.

The first hearing on this tax increase is being held this morning at 10am at the Webb County courthouse. The second and last hearing will also be held at the shenanigans-plagued courthouse on Monday, August 29th also at 10am. It's fitting that they would hold them when most people are at work.  Not surprising from the bunch of  sinverguenzas!