Sunday, July 31, 2011

Tea Party has influence only when obstructing

     The Tea Party has been given a great deal of press lately for having such an influence in the recent chaos revolving around the question of whether or not to raise the debt limit. At first, I thought- well, in a way that's good news for other caucuses that have a minority number of members: The Hispanic Caucus, The Black Caucus and so forth. Just as quickly though, I realized that one distinct difference.

     While the other minority caucuses are usually trying to accomplish something or advocating for some positive change, the Tea Party, on the other hand is successful only because it exists simply to obstruct, not accomplish anything positive. They have no other value to the American system of government nor to the vast majority of the American people. 

Tattoo businesses booming locally

Tattoo you......and you,  and you too, hell, just tattoo everybody!

    Never mind a possible double-dip recession, the tattoo business in Laredo and across the country is experiencing an unprecedented boom.  What might have started as a way for people to express their individualism is now a unmistakable sign of conformity. In the past, very few people were as "tattooed" in comparison to today. It's hard to tell what's more numerous: people hooked on smart phones or people who are among the newly tattooed.

It used to be that in many cases tattoos were about as far from mainstream as you could get. The dark, mysterious character on Moby Dick had tattoos all over. The Hell's angels were also really into tattoos. Barrio chucos usually had varying degrees of tattoo art on themselves. Nowadays, almost everybody has to have a tattoo: middle aged ladies, aging baby boomers, young slackers, and assorted other types of conformists.

     The good news is that these tattooed masses are possibly infusing a great deal of money in our local economy.  It's estimated that Laredo's population is about 250,000. It's further estimated that about half of our population is under the age of 25. Of these 125,000 "youngsters", perhaps about a half are of tattoo age. That means that there may more than 60,000 Laredoans who have decided to get some sort of tattoos in the last 5 years or so. If the price of the average tattoo is about 50 bucks, then that means that just in the recent past, it's possible Laredoans may have spent approximately 3 million dollars in their rush to conform. 

     It has come to this point: the way to standout from the masses nowadays is to simply not do anything. Don't get a tattoo, don't get any piercings and don't shave your head.  Now there's an original idea.

Garza looks to higher "signs" for Laredo's economic growth

Not high enough? Mike Garza pushing for allowing signs up to 8 stories high
 Usually, this would be the type of story that would be relegated to very little notice, if any.  Maybe it was just a slow news night, but Pro8news decided that an agenda item by councilman Mike Garza was worth covering on tonight's news. Garza thinks that the height of a business's sign might make a real difference in attracting new companies to town.

     As Garza related, he first even gave the idea some thought when "someone" contacted him asking if he/she could erect an 80 ft. sign.  As it turns out, Garza found out that the city of Laredo allows signs to be a maximum height of 60 feet.  Not to be dissuaded, he set out to do some research and found out that other cities allow for higher sign heights. Thus the agenda item for tomorrow's meeting.

    The business editor at LaredoTejas thinks that Garza is barking up the wrong tree sign. Nonetheless, it will be discussed before the council. This must not be controversial as was the idea of covering up highway signs reading Nuevo Laredo, but at most, it's rather silly idea to be mentioned in the same breath as "economic development".

Thursday, July 28, 2011

In the midst of "La Canicula", city closes Thomas pool

Appearing as a "special to the times", was a brief notice explaining the indefinite closing of the Thomas street swimming pool. The sweltering, dog days of summer is not to time to close any swimming pool. This is just another example of our city leader's ineptness.  Yes, it may need repair but you dont' shut it down indefinitely. The people who make these decisions are untouched by their actions. They draw excessive salaries and sit in air conditioned comfort at the taxpayers' expense while the kids who normally frequent the pool are left to deal with the scorching heat.

How does the multi-million dollar new baseball park help our youth? It doesn't, but it sure lines the pockets of out of town lobbyists who are so good at duping our hapless city leaders. I just had to throw the baseball park thing in there on top of the swimming pool fiasco. It's a nice juxtaposition that illustrates just how shortsigted and out of touch our so-called leaders are.

Here's what appeared on today's Laredo Morning Times

The City of Laredo Parks & Leisure Services Department’s aquatics division announced recently that the Thomas Pool is closed until further notice.

The pool, located at 510 Thomas Ave., has lost 6 inches of water and was losing water by the hour Tuesday.

Maintenance crews will be investigating the situation and hope to identify and resolve the problem as soon as possible.

For more information on the pool, call the aquatics division at 794-1765 Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Que mugrero en Webb County no??? Hijo de su!

Nice operation you're running there judge!

Man, this is getting more and more ridiculous.  The guy promoted to county engineer is not an engineer! Yet he got a $40,000 pay increase! How is this possible?

 I guess with commissioner Wawi recommending that the job description read "registered professional engineer PREFERRED", not required, mind you- just PREFERRED!  This is a stupid way of saying OK we're going to say that we prefer a brain surgeon BUT, we'll settle for someone who knows a bit of first aid. 

The word PREFERRED has absolutely no meaning in the sense that the county cannot insist that the applicant is an actually an engineer- it was simply something that they would have PREFERRED.  Que mugrero!

Oh, and then the other guy, the maintenance director. He's got a G.E.D., good for him but the job description requires a bachelor's degree. So, let's see.......hmmm seeing that he's not really qualified, let's do this: hire him anyway and give him a $20,000 raise (that will put him at a salary of $73,000 with a G.E.D.)!

On this last crooked move, it appears that there was some motion or email of something from Wawi's office again, recommending that the maintenance director be folded unto the engineering department. OK, so if he's folded UNDER the other department, then he's no longer a director -right?  Or, at least he can't be a director under another director-right?

Que Mugrero- Nunca han tenido verguenza, y nunca van a tener!

Webb County: Where do I start?

Nobody qualified?? But they said there was $508,000 in assistance given out!!

Webb county will probably lose out on :

Over $400,000  reimbursement from the state for messing up their CAA weatherization program

Over $500,000 reimbursement from the state for messing up their CEAP energy assistance program

If these two programs have been scrutinized and found to be utterly corrupt, who knows how many other departments/programs are bound to be plagued by yet-undetected corruption and other assorted shenanigans. The Judge and the commissioners probably knew, or at least suspected, that the overall operation of the county was in complete disarray.

About 123 county employees were found to be linked to applications for assistance under the CEAP program. It was found that, in many cases, their applications were "jumped" ahead of other applicants.  As it turns out, a whopping 3 (THREE) applications were found to be legitimately filed and processed, three!!

The FBI should do a top to bottom investigation of all county departments.  With hundreds of county employees apparently participating in this fleecing of Webb county taxpayers, the question is just how far will the tentacles of unbridled, reckless cheating reach?

Who Knew? Some company buys Laredo/Nvo Laredo paper company


Metiscan, Inc.  today announced that it has acquired sixty percent, or a majority, of Aclor, Inc., a Laredo, Texas-based Company, in a stock-for-stock exchange transaction.

Aclor, Inc. is an international manufacturer and supplier of private label paper products. Aclor's customers include some of the most recognized and reputable office supply mass retailers worldwide and also include the largest consumer and office retailer in the United States. Aclor produces composition notebooks, spiral notebooks, wireless notebooks, and filler paper in its factory located in Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, Mexico.

Local dual-credit classes easier to pass than standardized AP tests: Not Good!

"Last night I shot an elephant in my pajamas. How he got in my pajamas, I'll never know"

LMT's Nick Georgiou writes about the different ways that local students may get ahead in their nascent college carreers. There's good news and bad news. Students do more or less OK in dual-credit courses but fail big-time in nationally standardized Advanced Placement tests.  It sounds to me like the locally administered dual-credit courses are simply too easy. This doesn't do anything for truly preparing high schoolers for college success

From The Laredo Morning Times

Amid skyrocketing college tuition costs, thousands of Texas students are jumping at the opportunity to earn college credits before graduating high school. How they get those credits, however, is being debated statewide.

Their two avenues are the challenging Advanced Placement (AP) exams and the dual credit programs, which allow high school juniors and seniors to enroll in college courses. If they pass the course, they are guaranteed to receive credit for it from both their high school and the college.

But it’s not a guarantee for AP exams, as students can receive college credit or advanced placement depending on university and college admissions policies. Also, according to local figures, students are much more likely to pass a dual credit course than an AP exam.

Two Harleys donated to LISD cops

According to today's Laredo Morning Times, twill soon be at least a couple of LISD police officers driving around some of the busiest schools in  $20,000 Harley Davidson Motorcycles. The report that ran on Pro8news last night indicated that any officers interested in the Harley Patrol should volunteer.

It's no secret that, unfortunately, there are cops in almost every force who could correctly be described as being somewhat arrogant to say the least.  It's also a pretty safe bet that those stepping over each other to volunteer for the LISD Harley Patrol will be those imbued with a rather substantial dose of such arrogance. The LISD Chief should make sure they check the weight limit on those choppers. I say that because I think most of us have seen many LISD officers of ample girth.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Webb county takes detour from Guatemala to Guatepior

Pro8news tonight is reporting more suspicious activity at Webb County.  As many as 107 county employees received services under the Comprehensive Energy Assistance Program (CEAP). The fact that applications were turned in with county employee addresses but not their names raises even more possibility that there was more than a few white lies being thrown around.

The county is looking at being out another $508,000 in addition to the hundreds of thousands already lost under the CAA weatherization program. It appears that a lot of corruption is going on at the county, as the FBI continues its investigations.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Mayor Salinas doesn't know what he's talking about

First, he was on MSNBC. The host asked Mayor Raul Salinas which of the options being considered to deal with the debt limit he supported.  Salinas must have not heard the question,  because his answer made no sense. He spoke about how they (congress & the President) must work in unity and mentioned something about jobs and the working class. Tonight, they had him on Pro8News and he was again, off target: he talked about the little people and how they should not be forgotten.

It seems that in this particular case, instead of rambling on and on and not actually saying anything, he should have taken a page from the Sarah Palin playbook. In other words, he should have let on that he was out of his league.  In 2008, when Charlie Gibson asked Palin if she agreed with the Bush Doctrine, Palin was lost. She, like our Mayor, had no idea what the subject at hand involved. Looking completely lost, Palin then uttered that famous line, "In what respect Charlie?". The phrase translates roughly into "I got absolutely no idea what you're talking about!".

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Why does Laura Ingraham depict herself as slave-owner president??

In her latest supposed book, "Of thee I Zing", right wing radio talk show host and Fox News contributor Laura Ingraham portrays herself as General George Washington crossing the Delaware. Why would Ingraham find this comparison appropriate?

Is she a political person aspiring to follow in President Washington's footsteps? No! Is she a military leader who can lead her country in times of crisis? No! Is she a person would always tells the truth, as young George supposedly did after chopping down a cherry tree? Based on her appearances on Fox News, I would say she has a definite problem being truthful. So why would she portray herself as our first president? Does she not realize that Washington was a slave owner? Is this her dog whistle to the racist fringes of the Tea Party ?

Boehner: "The American people don't want higher taxes" Oh Yes they do !

John Boehner: If he's not busy crying, he's busy lying!

Republican speaker of the house John Boehner would definitely win one of those contests where the person being able to keep from laughing gets the prize.  He keeps going on national TV and, with a straight, sun-tanned face tells us that "The American people don't want higher taxes". He, of course, leaves out the fact that he's only talking about the millionaires who make up the top 1 per cent of total US taxpayers. He continues his big lie by saving that raising taxes (on the fat cats) would be a "job-killer".  The evidence says otherwise: the period coinciding with the Bush tax cuts for the rich did NOT show many jobs created when compared to the Clinton years.

Next time you see John Boehner on TV and you hear him mention "Americans", don't get too flattered, he's not talking about you at all.  To him, Americans are defined by their level of greed.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Ooops, they did it again.....and again

Make mine Unsweet, as in No sugar, as in Plain!!

      Much too often, I've complained about how bad Mcdonald's is about getting your order correct. Well, about an hour ago, I ordered, and made it a point to enunciated it very clearly, "One large UNsweet Iced Tea, with lemon". They had to have punched in the order right because the screen read "Unsweet Lg Tea". So, I pull up to the window, I get the tea, I remove the lid (faster than taking out a straw) and taste it- "Hijole! Pura azucar!". So naturally, I have to hold the line up until they give me what I ordered: plain tea.

Not that I'm keeping a tally sheet or anything, but if I had to estimate how often they get orders wrong at McDonalds, especially when you order Unsweetened Ice Tea, it's probably hovering about 50 per cent of the time. And even so, they're one of the biggest companies in the world. Para que sepas!

Motherly Love, Laredo Style

Pro8News is reporting tonight that two Laredo mothers have been

arrested for encouraging their daughters to fight each other. Not

only that, but Ol' Tim Gutierrez reported that one of the mothers

threatened her daughter with a beating from her own family if she didn't

win the fight.

LT back on roll with comment-free posts

LaredoTejas proves, yet again, that it definitely is a Friend of the Library

  After inadvertently, provoking a few comments by one of its recent posts, LaredoTejas is solidly back on another comment-free posting streak. BOLAS has previously praised LT for encouraging improved fluency among its readers by essentially doing away with possibly distracting comments. LT editor, Maximiliano, advised that their blog works with the latest psychological research to pinpoint the kind of posts that are least likely to draw any comments. This results in a more sustained reading experience without having to click back and forth between the post itself and accompanying comments.

Several groups, include Laredo Reads, The Laredo Public Library and the Laredo Literacy Volunteers all have credited LaredoTejas with being a definite supporter of improved fluency among Gateway city readers.

See what $18M can do: Laredo's New baseball CEO takes long vacation

And now, if You'll excuse me, I'll think I'll take a long vacation.

   Citing the desire to avoid a scheduling conflict in regards to announcing the name for Laredo's new baseball team, CEO Maek Schuster has pushed back that date. Perhaps they don't have a name yet, or maybe there wasn't enough participation, but the reason Schuster is giving is that they don't want to to do it at the same time the even newer Laredo indoor football team is announcing theirs.

    An article appearing in the Laredo Morning Times mentions how quiet Schuster and his organization have been, even referring to the fact that he's taken a "much needed vacation". I guess when you've just poked the eyes of one of the poorest cities in the country for $18 Million, you just have to make room for celebrating........and spending some of that cool cash.

The DWI story that keeps on giving

    The continuing sage of the probated DWI sentence. In today's Laredo Morning Times, new light was shed on the development that has been getting substantial press recently. This time around, it sounds like the DA's office made a mistake "it rarely makes";one that would have prevented the plaintiff's 3rd DWI to be presented as a felony. It does sound, however, that the DA caught this "rare mistake" in time.

From Larredo Morning Times
By Andrew Kreighbaum

The Office of the District Attorney admitted to making an error this week in a case involving a woman convicted of driving while intoxicated.

 A mistake was made while drafting the plea packet, said District Attorney Isidro “Chilo” Alaniz — an oversight from his office that could have meant Kristine Sandoval’s third DWI offense would not have been able to be presented to a grand jury for indictment.

His office rarely makes that mistake, Alaniz said in an interview Wednesday.

“It will now qualify this new case as a felony,” he said.

“If anything, we’ll be able to redeem ourselves with a felony.”

The admission follows a motion filed last week to amend that conviction.

$500 fine same for citizens and tanker trailers alike

If you're watering your lawn when you're not supposed to, the city of Laredo has at least 4 code enforcers out with their cameras,looking for you. And if they catch you, you'll be fined a whopping $500. Don't worry because at least those giant tanker trailers who are stealing the city's water will be fined exactly the same amount if they're ever caught. The difference is: there aren't any code enforcers out there looking for THEM, only for YOU.  Ahhh, our great city leadership working wonders with our tax dollars. Ain't it grand?

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Tankers violating city policy, the answer- punish the citizens

I've done told  Mayor Sa-Ley-nas here, frackers get priority on y'all's water!!

Just minutes ago, I saw a story on good ol' Pro8News about the city closing the Penitas Road water supply pump. According to channel 8's Ryan (5 O'clock shadow Bailey, the trouble started when local tanker trailers decided to ignore the posted signs prohibiting any commercial use of the water pump. It was reported at yesterday's city council meeting that these tankers might, in turn, be re-selling the water to fracking oil/gas companies, another violation of city policy.

With two clear violations being committed by the tanker drivers, what did the city decide to do? Punish the citizens of course. Tim Gutierrez reported that the city's solution to all of this water thievery was to simply turn off the Las Penitas pump, forcing citizens to have to drive to pump(s) located farther away. Besides incurring more gas expenses, these Laredoans will now have to get onto  Mines Road, the most trafficable local road for tractor trailers, making for a possibly dangerous outing for those having to fetch their daily or weekly water supply.

Watchout hackers! LCC now offering AA in cyber security

The world's hackers are being placed on alert. Laredo Community College is now offering a brand spanking new Associate of Arts degree in cyber security. I thought that was Associate of Applied Arts but what do I know. Anyway, students considering to be future cyber detectives might do well for themselves in the Gateway City. Let's not forget LISD has been racked with electronic pilfering for the last couple of years.

First, there was an erroneously sent e-mail with hundreds if not thousands of employees' personal information, including addresses, phone numbers and even social security numbers.  Then, of course, the mysterious, supposedly encrypted CD send to an even more mysterious requester working for TEA in Austin.  Just with those two incidents, it appears the first graduating class of cyber-sleuths coming out of Palomino Land will have their hands full.

Laredo Taco Company continues to drive growth for parent corporation

Tacos, recien hechos!

From Convenient Stores News

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas -- Stripes convenience store operator Susser Holdings Corp. said it expects to report same-store merchandise sales growth of 5.8 percent for its fiscal 2011 second quarter, compared to the same period in 2010. When the company officially announces its quarterly results, it also expects to report that retail average per-store fuel volumes increased 3.6 percent vs. its fiscal 2010 second quarter.
More information, such as net earnings and revenues, will be announced during the NASDAQ-traded company's conference call on Aug. 10.

However, Susser did reveal that it opened six large-format stores during its second quarter and closed one smaller store. The company, which primarily operates under the Stripes name in Texas, New Mexico and Oklahoma, now owns 532 stores. More than 300 of those stores provide restaurant service, mostly under its Laredo Taco Company brand.

I think McAllen eats Laredo's lunch again, but Laredo Sun article's puzzling

Como dices tu?

I don't always read the Laredo Sun, but I think they do a pretty good job overall of covering some of the news around our area.  From time to time, I've noticed that their articles can be a little bit confusing.  Today,  they had an article that included some downright puzzling writing. I don't know if their articles are first written in Spanish and then digitally translated into English or  perhaps translated verbatim but somehow the clarity gets lost in the process.

Here's an excerpt from today's Laredo Sun, see what you think.  I get the gist of the message: McAllen continues to devour our Lunch, but beyond that, I had to scratch my head a bit more than usual.

From The Laredo Sun

In conducting a comparative economic development takes advantage McAllen to Laredo to the point of being considered the fourth city with lower cost of living in the U.S.. In fact, a study by the prestigious Real Estate company Kiplinger determined that seven of the 10 cities in the U.S. at a cost of living very comfortable for people are in Texas and one of them is McAllen, Laredo was excluded while. Although its actual population is 130 thousand inhabitants, to join Mission and Harlingen and other smaller towns, bringing together a community of more than 250 thousand inhabitants, similar to that of Laredo.

The cost of living includes salary, cost of housing, food services, transportation, health care and education, areas in which managed to surpass McAllen Laredo.

An economic study of CNN Money noted that the McAllen border with Reynosa, Tamaulipas, has 11 cinemas, 75 bars, 043 thousand restaurants, 13 golf courses and 12 libraries, infrastructure which provides a good quality of life for its inhabitants and is a determining factor in attracting investment. Laredo has only two movie theaters, 432 restaurants, 15 bars registered, two golf courses and three libraries, even if you build another golf course and a baseball stadium.
While in Laredo on median family income is 32 000 $ 989 and the average cost of a house is 150 thousand to 259 thousand dollars in McAllen family income reaches $ 664 and 39 000 households have a cost of 99 500 to 215,000 thousand dollars.

Laredo's new Barrileros

To unscrupulous water "brokers", this hydrant may spell  $$$$$$ !

Perhaps you might have seen a famous postcard from Laredo's past that depicts a hard-working "barrilero" in his mule-drawn wagon selling water to denizens of our historic city.  Well, the image might have changed but the idea remains the same. At tonight's Laredo city council meeting, waterworks director Tomas Rodriguez mentioned the possibility that some unscrupulous tanker trailer drivers might be filling up on city water hydrants and then re-selling it to oil & gas operators for fracking purposes.

According to Rodriguez, the city does authorize the sale of water to about 51 different customers primarily for construction purposes. The city charges about $4 for 1,000 gallons of water. In the meantime, oil and gas interests are willing to pay about $11 or $12 for the same 1,000 gallons.  This means that if water is indeed being stolen from the city's water hydrants, a profit of 200 per cent can be realized by turning around and selling it to the fracking industry.

City Manager Carlos Villarreal asked the council to give Rodriguez 30 days to come up with further information on the situation.  Villarreal mention that although the city wants to encourage oil and gas exploration in our area, it will not tolerate unauthorized water usage and profiteering by "water brokers".

Monday, July 18, 2011

It's a fine line

Don't let your Cell Phone Handcuff You !

Over the last couple of years, the Gateway city has seen an increased number of arrests of young mothers for either child neglect or child abandonment. In one particular case, the mother was actually out looking for the child only to find out that the police had found him wandering around the neighborhood by himself. Consequently, the mother was arrested and booked at the Webb county jail. I belive the child was allowed to stay with relatives.

This specific case made some people wonder whether or not the police had maybe over-reacted just a little. I happen to agree that when it comes to children's well-being, it's best to err on the side of safety- which is essentially what happend in this particular case.

In consideration of the above, I  halfway expected to witness another young mother being arrested Friday night in Laredo's Westside. Incidentally, the West Side probably sees more arrests than just about any other part of town- with the possible exception of the South Side. Anyway, I'll continue with my story. It was about 11:30pm this past Friday when I saw a little boy, probably about 4 years old walking, seemingly alone,  along Santa Maria, about a block away from the Super S food store.  I kept looking to see if an adult was anywhere nearby but I could see none. Upon extending my field of vision, I could finally see a young female walking about three quarters of a block behind, chatting on her cell phone.

In the meantime, the kid was gettting nearer and nearer to the next intersection. A car pulled up to the stop sign ahead of the little boy and then proceeded onto Santa Maria. Anyone wanting to abduct the poor kid could have easily done so.  At about this time, a police car drove by and slowed down just a bit. Almost simultaneously, the "mom" put her phone down momentarily and starting calling out to kid, yelling out a few  times, "ven p'aca!" or something to that effect.  By that time the LPD car had resumed its normal crusing speed and driven off.

It probably wouldn't have hurt any if the cops had given that cell-phone mom a good talking to. Irresponsible parents plus the addictive nature of cell phones do not make for a  safe combination, even in the quiet, late night streets of ol' Santa Maria road.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Stephen Colbert on Talisman Terry, the friendly fraco-saurus

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Energy Company abandons"Freindly Fracosaurus", plot to brainwash kids

What color do you use for the carcinogen Benzene anyway??

From FoxNews

R.I.P. Talisman Terry. The "friendly Fracosaurus" featured in a 24-page coloring book by Talisman Energy that explained the controversial process of extracting gas from rock formations will no longer be distributed by the company, a spokeswoman told

On June 19, the friendly dinosaur was discovered by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, which characterized its overt message as "drilling is smart, safe and American," according to the newspaper. U.S. Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass., also cited it last week during remarks before an Energy and Mineral Resources and Agriculture Joint Subcommittee oversight hearing.

"The loveable dinosaur playfully promotes the benefits of natural gas and paints a picture of a magical world filled with smiling rocks and grinning animals," Markey said in prepared remarks. "The problem is that unless you are a 'FRACK-A-SAURUS' [sic] named 'Talisman Terry,' this world doesn't exist. For communities around this country the expansion of natural gas drilling and hydraulic fracturing has meant contamination of water supplies, loss of property value, deteriorating health conditions, dead livestock, and destruction of pristine forest and agricultural lands."

Comedy Channel's Stephen Colbert also gave the coloring book some prime-time exposure during a five-minute segment earlier this week. Colbert said the book was a way for Talisman to "counter [its] image problem," citing its 145 violations in 2010 from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.
"This coloring book also tugs at heart strings," Colbert said on Monday. "Because as Terry says, natural gas is created from organic material like the dinosaur pictured right here. Now keep in mind, Terry is a dinosaur and he's encouraging us to use the remains of his own dead relatives to heat our homes

Read more:

Oye, no es la que aparece en "Ay Carly"?

Jennette McCurdy has teamed up with EL H.E.B to promote their new Gear Up for Back-to-School ad campaign. The 19-year-old actress from Nickolodeon's I.Carly will be featured in a slew of new TV and newspaper ads, outdoor boards, in-store signage and in the My H-E-B Texas Life publication. Launching TODAY, a Spanish-language campaign will also run in the Texas markets of San Antonio, Austin, McAllen, Brownsville, Corpus Christi and Laredo.

In the Gear Up for Back-to-School campaign, H-E-B and Jennette will offer families quick tips and smart solutions for starting off the school year on the right foot with back-to-school supplies and good nutrition.

Will Historical Photo contest lure BTB back?

I just happend to see on Pro8news that the Webb County Heritage Foundation is holding a historical photo contest. This would seem to be exactly what the recently-reclused BorderTown Blues needs to break his self-imposed exile.  Famous for his "Old Skool" pictures of historic Laredo, BTB has an affinity for offering some very intriguing photographs from the Gateway City's past.

Short of an all out Beer-Run city-wide raid, or a West Laredo prostitution sting of epic porportions, this contest is our current best chance of BTB coming out of retirement, even if it's for a spell.

Laredo being absorbed into trivial conformity

"N'ambre, siempre tienes que ser differente!!".

Harry Potter's last movie is out and it looks like Laredo is now longer exempt from the nerdish, banal obsessions that used to always happen "somewhere else".  Fad after fad had come and gone with most of them having little, or no impact on the Gateway City.  Well, the nerds are out in force, many of them only too glad to be on TV saying just how long they've been standing in line at the local movie theater. Pro8News, predictably, featured a piece on the mostly young Laredoans who are now sucked in to just about any and all trends they might happen to spy on the 24/7 combination of Internet/smart phone/television.

It used to be that most (not all) fads were looked down at by most Laredoans. Yet, I do recall that "streakers" did make one or two appearances around town. I recall hearing about some guy running naked (streaking) at the Laredo Junior College campus way back when. Yet, overall, most Laredoans scoffed when watching TV reports of this or that fad spreading through other parts of the country. The most common response was something to the effect of " N'ambre bola de *$%&!# " !

Alas, not anymore, Laredo has yielded on its traditional non-conformist role. Thousands of our younger citizens practically live their lives in their own little digital world and are only too happy to follow the latest folly spreading through cyberspace.

Mayor's constant call of "safety first" is suddenly mute!

Salinas : mum's the word on recent accident

A couple of days ago, LT posted on the initial reporting of the Mayor's fender bender.  Actually, LaredoTejas mistakenly implied that the "young female" appeared to be at fault. No so! It has now been revealed that "El Mayor" was distracted enough to be the causal factor in the minor accident.

Several readers of the BOLAS-leading La Sanbe offered their theories on how the accident could have occurred.  There was some speculation that the Mayor was texting, eating donuts and or watching city council reruns on his smart phone.  As it turns out, none of these have been substantiated.

Ironically, the Mayor has been quiet on this whole thing. This is an excellent opportunity for the Mayor to go before the public and personalize his message of "safety first". He should simply admit that he was responsible for the wreck and, all donuts aside, should remind citizens that focus and full attention to the road while one is driving is absolutely necessary.

In defense of the Mayor, if there were indeed some donut crumbs on the scene, how could investigators proof that they came from Mr. Salinas, and not from the responding officer??  In any event, it's good that no one was hurt.

Seems like only yesterday, gas was $3.35 a gallon

From one day the next, gas skyrockets to $3.55 a gallon

When I first noticed it on Sunday afternoon, I really thought the HEB on Saunders had mistakenly transposed their numbers. The price of regular unleaded on their sign: $353 a gallon.  Puzzled by the apparent "mistake", I continued down the street. A couple of nearby gas stations still had their prices at an average of $3.35, which had been the price at the HEB just one day before.  I figured, OK, they reversed the 3 & the 5 on the cents side.  Of course, HEB would not be the first to hike up the price so much if there had actually been such a spike in price. 

I forgot about it until the next day, I thought to myself  "So, was that a mistake I saw yesterday"? As you all know by know, nope, it was another bona fide scalping in a space of about two days. I guess the speculators on Wall Street have realized that they still have full reign of playing with the markets just as they did immediately before the big crash of 2008.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Laredo misses out yet again : New plant for Corpus Christi, hundreds of jobs

Corpus Christi lands new manufacturing plant

HOUSTON, July 11, 2011 /PRNewswire

 M&G Group, the largest producer of Polyethylene terephthalate (PET),a safe plastic used for beverage containers in the Americas, has selected Corpus Christi, Texas, as the location for construction of its previously announced one million tons per year PET plant (2.2 billion pounds) and accompanying 1.2 million tons per year (2.6 billion pounds) PTA plant.

The new plants will generate approximately 250 new jobs.  An additional 700 indirect positions are anticipated and as many as 3,000 jobs likely will be created during construction.

Corpus Christi, Texas, is located 200 miles southwest of Houston, Texas, and 145 miles east of Laredo, Texas.  It is strategically located on the Gulf of Mexico with a metropolitan population over 400,000.  The Port of Corpus Christi is the sixth largest port in the United States, in terms of tonnage, and will soon expand significantly as a major trade gateway for Mexico and Latin America with development of the La Quinta Container Terminal.

"Corpus Christi is an excellent strategic home for what will be M&G's largest-ever investment.  It has exceptional highway, deep-water and rail access, including three Class 1 railroads," said Marco Ghisolfi, CEO of M&G's Polymers Business Unit.

"I'm pleased M&G Group has chosen Corpus Christi as the location of its new North American plant, creating hundreds of jobs for Texans and further strengthening our state economy, and wish them continued success at this new facility," said Governor Rick Perry of Texas. "This announcement is great news for South Texas and for the Lone Star State as we continue to attract companies from around the world to create jobs in Texas thanks to our low taxes, reasonable and predictable regulatory climate, fair legal system and skilled workforce."

"Spurs-less" Spur Experience coming to Laredo Energy Arena

Los Spurs' trophies

Laredo Convention and Visitor's Bureau director Blasita Lopez hopes that the "presence of a very popular professional sports team" to the upcoming Sister Cities Festival. There's just one minor problem, that "professional sports team" aka The San Antonio Spurs will actually not be present.

From Project Spurs.Com
By Michael De Leon

The Spurs Fan Experience, consisting of a display of the Spurs' four championship trophies, members of the Silver Dancers, a VIP guest and a special display trailer outside Laredo Energy Arena, will kick things off on June 22 from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.

“Adding the presence of a very popular professional sports team in South Texas and throughout Mexico to the Sister Cities Festival gives it a fresh angle and another level of appeal,” said Blasita J. Lopez, Laredo Convention and Visitors Bureau Director. “People who may not have considered coming to the Laredo Energy Arena for our traditional and wonderful Mexican offerings of food, jewelry, clothing, liquor, furniture and other goodies, might just make the trip to catch a glimpse of any one of their championship trophies, or get a photo with one of the Spurs Silver Dancers. I think that once they are at the Festival, they will want to stay and experience everything there is to offer at the event.”

The fan experience will also have "inflatable interactive components" but with the lockout in full swing, I doubt you'll see the likeness of any Spurs players as part of the experience.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Troubling case of probated sentence for DWI offender

Tonight, Pro8news had the too familiar story of "it all depends who you are" in our town.

This is sadly true especially when it comes to dispensing justice, or injustice in this particular case.  The suspected DWI violator reportedly told an officer on the scence "I didn't do anything wrong.My father is an attorney", as if the first statement depended on the second. 

As it turns out, it certainly appears that the girl in question didn't do anything wrong-because her father is a local attorney. It's amazing how the privileged know their place in our humble Gateway city.

Mayor OK after fender bender

Good thing I didn't have this bottle with me in the car!

Pro 8 News reported tonight that Mayor Salinas was involved in a minor fender bender. The Mayor and his wife were in their car when a young female bumped into them somehow. The video shows Salinas and a young guy standing on the sidewalk waiting for the police to do their paperwork. It sounded as if it were the girl's fault. Anyway, the good news is nobody appeared to be hurt.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Before it was Laredo AFB, it was Laredo Army Air Field

Laredo Air Army Field 1942-1945

Laredo Army Air Field was on U.S. highways 59 and 81 near Laredo in Webb County. Laredo Army Air Field began operations as a World War II military installation in November 1942; it included a gunnery range and flexible gunnery school. The field became inactive in late 1945, and the property reverted to the city of Laredo, which used it as a municipal airport in 1950.

The base was reactivated and renamed Laredo Air Force Base in April 1952 to provide basic flight training for jet pilots, including pilot trainees from twenty-four countries. It was closed permanently in 1973. It is now the Laredo International Airport.

From the Laredo Air Army Blog

Rare Mexican-themed float during 1927 WBCA parade

Laredo parade, 1927

During the early 20th century, Mexican American women generally did not work outside the home. For those who did, the occupations open to them were limited: laundress, seamstress, field work such as picking vegetables, or factory work such as with textiles or pecan-shelling.

Working as a store clerk was the top rung of the occupational ladder for Hispanic women prior to World War II. Opportunities for higher education or financial independence were few. Though there were exceptions, Hispanic women did not take up public roles in large numbers until the 1970s.

Prints and Photographs Collection, Texas State Library and Archives Commission. #1977/127-20.

Perry's business freindly Texas leads nation in minimum-wage jobs

From Darkow: Columbia Daily Tribune

According to an article entitled "land of employment" by Rick Wartzam of the Mclatchy Tribune, the Lone Star State's economy includes a very high number of minimum wage jobs.  This is definitely good for Rick Perry's rich buddies but does not bode so well for struggling Texas families. A portion of Wartzman's recent article appears below:

So what’s actually happening?

First, the basics. According to the Dallas Fed, Texas generated 43 percent of the net new jobs in the United States from June 2009 through May 2011 — an enormous share when you consider that the Lone Star State accounts for about 8 percent of the nation’s economy. (Critics, including Maddow, have been quick to note that the unemployment rate in Texas, at 8 percent, falls in the middle of the pack among the states. Yet total employment is a much more telling and reliable statistic than is the jobless rate.)

Aspects of the Texas economy are unusual, if not unique, and it will be difficult or impossible for other states to replicate them. For example, the energy industry is booming right now, as are agricultural commodities destined for export — a boon for a huge cotton and beef producer like Texas.

What’s more, thorny trade offs surely exist. Texas is attracting businesses, in part, because it has low taxes. But that, in turn, makes for a smaller safety net, which is one reason Texas has a high incidence of poverty and, compared with every other state, the biggest proportion of its population without health insurance. There are also serious questions about the quality of jobs in Texas. A "right to work" state, it is tied with Mississippi for having the biggest percentage of workers paid at or below the minimum wage

Greedy Fracking industry continues voracious use of Texas water

Andrew Kreighbaum came out with quite a lengthy article on the area's continuing fracking boom and it's long-term impact on our state's water supply. Simply said, one thing is sure. There is definitely a question about whether the state has enough water to sustain a long-term fracking boom.  An utter lack of  regulation , transparency coupled with the reluctance of the industry in cooperating with water conservation groups and environmentally-concerned citizens paints a very worrisome picture for anyone who is willing to take an objective view of the "big picture" in regards to the Eagle Ford Shale". Kreighbaum's article states, in part:

Jean-Phillipe Nicot, a research scientist at the Bureau of Economic Geology at the University of Texas, has made forecasts for water use by industry in the next 50 years for the water development board.

“Since it’s a shale, a kind of very fine rock, there is no way you can get the gas and oil out unless you promote the permeability,” he said. Drillers do that, he said, by fracking the wells with water.

He said less water-intensive fracking processes have been developed — fracking with foam for example. But those processes are also more expensive.“When water is readily available, why go [out of your way]?” he said.

While he said the Carrizo-Wilcox aquifer can deliver a lot of water, Nicot said nobody has studied carefully what the impact of fracking will be on the aquifer.Even if the Carrizo-Wilcox can handle the increased demand overall, traditional users may see a strain on resources at the local level.

Wade Watch: Tom Wade supports continued tax breaks for the Rich


Whew, it was about time that Tom Wade spoke out about something. I hadn't had a chance for any new entries under "Wade Watch" but now that drought is over. In his re-launched website, "Wakeup Laredo", Wade, as expected, defends the continued tax breaks for the richest in the country. As do most republicans, Wade would much rather see cuts to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security than to force the super-rich to just one Lear jet each.

Wade's own words state that: "A friend of mine last week, at Starbucks, could not believe that I was standing up for the rich in the taxing debate.  He actually said: “How can you be for not raising the taxes on the rich.  You will never have that kind of money.”  I was dumbfounded by his statement.  Is there no such thing as standing up for principles?  I support women’s rights, even though I am not a woman.  I am strongly for equal rights among “all” people, no matter race, creed, religion, sexual orientation.  Yet, I am not a minority or gay"
Well, for one thing if Wade's a regular at Starbucks we can be sure he's not suffering financially. I guess that makes it that much easier to "stand up for the rich". The Tea Party and the republicans and generally have somehow hypnotized that standing up for the rich and against the poor equals "taking our country" back. It's a shame to see how robotic some of the ultra conservatives are. Day in, Day out, they repeat, over and over, whatever FoxNews or Rush wants them to say. Don't these people have any "real" principles as Wade proclaims. I wouldn't regard standing up for the more fortunate necessarily a "principle" so much as a way of trying to associate yourself with the rich.......even if it's as a lowly cheerleader.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Senator Zaffirini sets another voting record


Senator Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo, recently marked her 47,550th consecutive vote in the Texas Senate. Her unique, career-long 100 percent voting record extends from January, 1987, when she first took office.

Senator Zaffirini's legendary work ethic also is reflected in her 100 percent perfect attendance in the Texas Senate since 1987, except for breaking quorum deliberately in 2003 to block an egregious, partisan redistricting plan that the U.S. Supreme Court ruled (2006) violated the Voting Rights Act and disenfranchised voters in her Senatorial District 21. Because no votes could be taken in the absence of a quorum, her 100 percent voting record remained unbroken.

"Every vote I cast in the Texas Senate reflects my commitment to balance the needs of my Senate District 21 constituents with those of our great state," Senator Zaffirini said. "I am thankful for the opportunity to make a difference, especially for the very young, the very old and persons with disabilities."

With all that weight, how can the South Rise Again?

Image: Obese person (© Finbarr O'Reilly/Reuters)
Is this what passes for a "Perfect Fit" nowadays??

From Reigbert

With the exception of Michigan, the 10 most obese states are in the South. The Northeast and West reported the lowest obesity rates. In addition, in eight states, more than 10 percent of adults suffer from type 2 diabetes, according to the report.

Mississippi, where 34.4 percent of the people are obese, has the highest obesity rate. Other states with obesity rates above 30 percent include: Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and West Virginia. Thirty-eight other states have obesity rates above 25 percent.

For the second year in a row, obesity rates rose in Illinois, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Missouri, Rhode Island and Texas. And, for the third year straight, more residents of Florida, Kansas, Maine, Oklahoma and Vermont tipped the scale toward obesity.

Colorado, with an obesity rate of 19.8 percent, is the only state where the rate is less than 20 percent, the investigators found.

Did the Aztecs discover the piano??

LaredoTejas historians have recently come across some pre-columbian documents that shed some light on the possibility that the Aztecas might just have invented the piano.  If not that, then at the very least, they appear to have had some piano-like instrument during their reign in Mexico's central valley.

Aztec history is rich in long, colorful names for their gods and leaders and the use of their native Nahuatl language offers some of the most exotic, poetic names and words known to man.  Take for instance, the majestic volcano known as Popocatepetl, or some of their gods' names such as Quetzalcoatl or Huitzilopotchli.  Well, archaelogists now have reason to believe that the Aztecs had either a piano-playing god, or emperor who went by the name of Tocalazteclas. Unbelievably, this Nahuatl word translates almost verbatim into Spanish for "He plays the keys". That has got to be one of the most fascinating coincidences in Meso-American archaelogy.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Just what do politicians consider "Laredo" ?

Anytown USA: This could be Laredo.......or Duluth!

We hear it all the time. "Laredo has a lot to offer and people should visit us and stay a while and shop".  What part of Laredo is this "Laredo" the Mayor, the LCVB, the Chamber and others always allude to. We can probably be certain that they are not, in any way, referring to any part of Laredo that's over 40 or 50 years old, except for maybe the San Agustin historical district.

We can agree that Downtown is not what the Mayor is talking about when he gloats about Laredo.  The Barrios have long been forgotten and ignored by our politicians. Laredo, to them, is neither West Laredo nor South Laredo either. The mines road area is also ignored-with one big exception, the upcoming multi-million dollar golf course.

It wouldn't surprise me if all those previously mentioned soon start promoting, not Laredo per se, but maybe North Laredo, or Uptown Laredo. The hardly used LEA, TAMIU, the airport, the new golf course and shopping centers from Mall Del Norte on Northward is what these people think of and work to promote. The countless strip malls with their vast concrete parking lots sprawling for miles have about as much character as our local governments. This is what we're supposed to be Laredo Proud about?

Pony League trying to justify poor showing ?

Pony barrels in on tradition rich little league

Ever since I first heard about the brand spanking new Pony League, I've wondered "what was so bad about little league".  All of a sudden, a hundred years of tradition were shoved to the side as the city fast tracked any and all Pony League projects. Just a few months ago, the Pony League leaders were at a city council meeting promising to bring 150 teams and their families to Laredo. They asked for the council's support ($$) and some of the council people were only too happy to send thousand of taxpayers' dollars Pony's way.

Perhaps things are now not going so well as far as the anticipated "150" teams and their families. Just a couple of nights ago, the Pony spokesman, a Mr. Rosas, appeared saying that he hopes out of town teams learn that Laredo is safe and will make the trip.  Another way of looking at it is that maybe they already know that figure was inflated to begin with and will now have a perfect alibi if a relatively low number of teams come to the Gateway City.  If that turns out to be the case, Pony League will then say "Well, it looks like the bad publicity kept a lot of the 150 teams away".  The answer may be : there was never any where close to that number of teams realistically expected to come to Laredo and play ball.

Just for the record, the sports editor of LaredoTejas would rather be wrong and have thousands of Pony Leaguers descend upon our fair city.

Canseco and Melendez team-up again in Yuma, Arizona

Former Laredo Broncos Jose Melendez and Jose Canseco in Yuma, AZ

From ESPN Sports (Excerpt)

So really, the question is not, "Why is Jose Canseco managing a team in Yuma?'' the question is, "Where are the reality show cameras?''

Actually, Jose had hoped for reality show cameras when he signed on with the Scorpions this April. He did so after attempting to land playing jobs in Puerto Rico, Taiwan, Japan, Korea and Mexico. The gigs fell through for various reasons. "The final straw was [he was] going to go to the minor leagues of Mexico. That's how bad it was,'' says Jose Melendez, the Scorpions' general manager. "The minor leagues. There is the Mexican League and then there is the minor leagues of the Mexican League. And Jose said, 'Yeah, that's fine, that's fine. We'll do that.' He was going to go. [Then] this came up.''

"This'' was actually going to be a Las Vegas-area team in the North American League, an inexplicably far-flung independent minor league that stretches from Texas to Canada and Hawaii. Jose had hoped to sell a network on a reality show based on him managing and playing for the league's Vegas team. When the proposed team's stadium wasn't ready for the season, the league offered Melendez the Scorpions job (the NAL owns the team). Canseco came with him, quickly agreeing to the average salary for a manager in the league ($30,000) as long as he could play and pitch (he throws a knuckleball) and have Ozzie as his bench coach.

Jose still hoped to arrange a reality show in Yuma, even insisting on a 10,000-square-foot mansion on Martinez Lake some 40 miles out of town -- so far away, Melendez ran out of gas driving from it one day -- that would provide the proper setting for a reality show. No show has developed, but Jose still lives in the house, along with Ozzie, Melendez, pitching coach Roger Clarke and the occasional Yuma player. "