Thursday, May 31, 2012

Social engineering against obesity epidemic in NYC

If you are a connisseur of Big Gulps, you might want to save the cups you've already bought. If a proposal by NYC mayor Michael Bloomberg catches on, you might not be able to buy them in the future. As we speak, all Laredo Stripes stores have their 32 oz drinks at 99 cents. McDonalds has had their drinks (all sizes) at $1.00 for a long time.

Nutritionists agree that the sizes of today's sugary beverages are unequalled in American History. I still remember the 5 1/2 oz. "regular" sized cokes in a glass bottle. The "King" size coca cola bottle was 12 ounces and the "Family" size bottle contained all of 22 ounces. Nowadays, you can get a 44 ounce Mega-Gulp or even the 64 ounce Turbo-Chug at virtually all convenience stores.

Perhaps Mayor Salinas will follow suit and order all "mariachis" in Laredo to be sold only in a smaller, "taquito" size.

From Fox News Latino

In a national first, New York City plans to ban the sale of large sugary drinks.
The ban, which aims to fight obesity, would impose a 16-ounce limit on the size of sweetened drinks sold at restaurants, movie theaters, sports venues and street carts. It would apply to bottled drinks as well as fountain sodas.

The ban could take effect as soon as next March, and would not apply to diet sodas, fruit juices, dairy-based drinks or alcoholic beverages. Nor would it include drinks sold in grocery or convenience stores. Food establishments that don't downsize would face fines of $200.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Wednesday that he "thinks it's what the public wants the mayor to do."

Read more:

Laredo Politics: No service after the sale

Earlier this morning, I was driving past the intersection of Arkansas and Lyon. In the front yard of the house on the Northwest corner, there was an elderly gentleman, perhaps in his late 60s. He was trying to pull out some of those long metal stakes that politicos use to hold up their 4'x8x signs. As the light turned green, I notice he grabbed a shovel. Apparently, these stakes are not easy to pull out at all. They are usually hammered into place with an assortment of makeshift sledgehammers.

Specifically, it was a Becky Palomo sign that he was working on. I know this because more than once, it blocked my view of Arkansas coming off of Lyon.  The gentleman had already pulled down the sign itself but that was the easy part. The other two signs - still up- are Rick Flores signs. I guess his race is not until November.

I'm thinking that the homeowner probably gave his consent to the Palomo and Flores camps to put up those signs. It's just a shame that they are not nearly as ready to follow up with the removal and cleanup of those same properties.  I certainly hope the older gentleman did not exert himself too much or maybe strain his back.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Brownsville eating our Manufacturing lunch

Trico wipers made in Brownsville, Tx : wiping the floor with Laredo ?

"Ten years ago our base of automotive suppliers stopped expanding," explains Gilberto Salinas, executive vice president, of the Brownsville Economic Development Council. The city's leaders decided to target large-sized multinational companies given its international presence, Salinas says.

"Now we are bursting at the seams," he says. The company's top 10 planned projects total $5.5 billion with upwards of 4,000 jobs being created., Salinas says.

In the past year, the Brownsville area has attracted $67 million in investment, including a new plant operated by CK Technologies, a trucking part manufacturer. Matamoros also saw a $49 million investment by Hauppauge, N.Y.-based Spellman High Voltage.

The location of the city and its easy access to the global market is why Keppel AmFELS also chose Brownsville. "As a division of Keppel Corp., the world's biggest builder of oil platforms, we were looking for a U.S. port location to service the mobile drilling rigs and platforms," says G.S. Tan, CEO, Keppel AmFELS. "It was a good decision as we continue to grow. The support at all government levels has been key to our continued success."

Government support also was a significant factor in CK Technologies' decision to locate in Brownsville. "We did an exhaustive search, and the ease of doing business with the state and local governments was a determining factor," says Mark Miller, CEO, CK Technologies. The company also received $1.3 million in incentives through cash, tax abatements and training dollars.

In addition, manufactureres have also  benefited from the region's steady workforce, Kennedy says. "We have found that given the small-town, family-oriented characteristic of Brownsville, our workforce is very loyal," he says. "People want to stay here and that translates to very low turnover for us"  said Martin Kennedy, managing director of the Americas for Trico, which manufactures nearly 40 million windshield wipers per year for 24 global automakers.

HEB #186 on Saunders: No lunch for you!

Oops sorry sir, that's just my somach growling for food.

Sunday evenings are usually pretty packed at Laredo's HEB stores. This was certainly the case at store no. 186 on East Saunder in Laredo.  The "express" lanes were anywhere from about 8 to 10 people deep as the cashiers did their best to keep the lines moving smoothly. The other lanes were pretty stacked with customers and their full shopping carts.

As I got nearer to the checkout counter, I couldn't help but notice a conversation between both express lane cashiers. They looked pretty concerned but still managed to greet and thank each customer. Prety soon, I heard one of the cashiers say "ya nos quedamos sin ir a comer". The other one quickly replied "ni si quiera un break" she added  "ya se fue".  Apparently, who ever the manager on duty was had already left and as a result these two hard-working cashiers were going to have to forego any break or time for lunch they might have otherwise gotten.

This reflects pretty bad on the HEB management at that particular store. Whoever is calling the shots should at least make sure that the most basic needs of the employees are met. It is certainly not easy to do a good job if you're hungry.  Overall, HEB seems to be a good place to work at but incidents like these, playing out in front of the public, do not make the company look good.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Friday, May 25, 2012

Versatile word "rocks" the most overused list

This just in: Dwayne Wade rocks pink pants

That versatile word is, of course, "rocks".  Joining other annoying words and phrases of the past and present such as awesome, cool, kewl, like, you know, so, regardless, and stuff like that is the jack of all occasions, master or none : "rocks".

Typing in rocks in the Google search bar and selecting news comes up with the following ridiculous headlines and quotes.

Tenacious D rocks the Fox in Oakland

Dwayne Wade rocks some hot pink pants

Rhianna rocks a new look

Yoga rocks the park.....again

Pitbull rocks the Today Show Summer concert series

Nicole Kidman rocks backless goddess gown at Cannes

Kylie Minogue rocks the Hot pants

and of course,

Kristen Stewart rocks side boob at Cosmopolis Premiere

Forget the revolution of the information age. I think it's pretty safe to say that we are now well in the "too much information" age.

What's next?  Will the old standard LMT start to resort to similar headlines? If so, we might soon be opening up our papers (or e-edition) to :

Mayor rocks DC junket

City rocks budget shortfall

Webb officials re-rock scandal  

Dogs and cats rock new $700,000 shelter

Fans rock Lemurs (actually correct use)

TAMIU planetarium rocks Rockzilla

Rockem' Sockem' Robots rock toy memories

LaredoTejas over-rocks point


Thursday, May 24, 2012

The Melting Cazerola

Ol' Rush Limbaugh isn't too happy about the fact that, for the first time in US history, "minority" births are outnumbering "white" births.  Rushbo claims that a CNN story about this population trend is a "threat" to whites that they better change their ways or there'll be payback.

From Media Matters

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Water shortage, Money shortage, brain shortage

Here we go again. Pro8News recently ran a story warning Laredoans not to steal water less they want to pay a $500 fine.  I didn't think we had a problem with residents stealing water. I thought it was mostly the fracking industry's trucks hooking up to the city's water hydrants.

The same story also warns our citizens not to "waste water" or your water bill will increase incrementally by $10 on top of any fine(s).

This begs the question: Do we have a water shortage or not? A few months ago, the city decided to do away with stage 3 water restrictions claiming that we had a very ample water supply available to us.  With this threat of fines and other assorted fees coming on the heels of the announcement of the city's projected budget shortfall, I wonder if this is a ploy to start raising revenue.

As the city manager and councilman Mike Garza agreed, any "new" spending has to be offset by some revenue stream.  Maybe the seedy council is already trying to shore up their accounts for the next wasteful vacation to DC or Austin.

Here's how LaredoTejas reported the about face on stage 3 water restrictions back in February:

City plays Jeckyl & Hyde with water supply

Talk about a split personality. The City of Laredo is certainly experiencing something of the sort in regards to it's view on water conservation- or the lack thereof. On the one hand the city is signalling that they are not really concerned about our dwindling water supply despite the current record drought.

In the last few months, the city has decided to end its stage 3 water restriction policy. This has given the false impression that we should not be the least concerned about the Gateway City's water supply. On top of that, the city has apparently decided to start the sale of water to the infamous fracking industry. It is a well-known fact that fracking even one well uses anywhere from 5 to 7 million gallons of precious water.

Monday, May 21, 2012

9:30pm - Something's afoot in replacing Police Chief

Seedy council starts process of replacing retiring chief Maldonado

According to the Mayor, the New Laredo Police Chief should be :

Someone who knows Laredo
Someone who understands our city
Someone who can build working relationships with the Sheriff Department etc.
Seen in the community
Comfortable with the people of Laredo
An "expert" in law enforcement
The best for the people of Laredo

Council man Rangel suggested that perhaps the requirement for a college degree should be waived in lieu of a certain number of years of experience.

The Mayor chimed in and agreed with Rangel. He even asked the City Manager to look into allowing a non-degreed applicant to take the Police Chief position. Councilman Garza added, "I think it's at the council's discretion". Shortly afterwards, council woman Liendo volunteered "I also agree with the idea that experience should count insead of a degree.   

I sense that  some movement is taking shape among the mayor and seedy council to install someone they already have in mind.

At the same time,  I wouldn't have been surprised if the mayor would have blurted out "OK, where do I apply"?  Think about it Laredo,  Chief of Police Salinas?

late in the city council meeting: hiring moratorium?

Hey! Let's watch our spending! P.S. Vote for me!

It was surprising that councilman Mike Garza put forth the suggestion that the city perhaps start thinking about a hiring freeze in the near future. What was MORE surprising was that Garza also recommended that the seedy council "police themselves" and look at finding ways to not spend as much. Borrowing on a Washington idea, Garza suggested that no expense should be authorized unless it can be offset by some sort of revenue.

Watch out Laredo, some of the other names for revenue include "taxes, fees and fines". I guess with the city leaders recently going on a $112,000 spending binge in our nation's capitol, Garza is going into campaign mode and starting to gradually slip into his fiscal conservative costume.

Traffic director brings back Zoot Suit ?

A reasonable fascimile of the Laredo traffic director

It might not have been an actual zoot suit, but the city of Laredo's traffic director, Mr. Murrillo, certainly looked like he had just stepped right out of a 1940's East L.A. movie.  As I was watching the proceedings, Mr. Murillo was called to the podium to clarify some issues concerning traffic lights or something else under his jurisdiction.

To be honest, I sort of missed what the specific item was about because of the apparent fashion statement that was being proclaimed before our eyes.  Mr. Murillos's ample pant cuffs swept the floor as his hands more than halfway disappered under his drooping sleeves.  I halfway expected him to don a wide-brimmed hat with a long feather portuding upward.

Job well done, Mr. Murillo. Make sure they include you in the next fashion benefit the city takes part in.

More city council: Trash pick-up parity

I have to admit that I had wondered about this particular issue : it's a rare occassion when I tend to agree with the city (seedy) council.  At tonight's meeting, councilman Mike Garza proposed that a switch be made in the garbage pick-up days for North vs South Laredo.

From what I gleaned, the North has been enjoying more pick-up days than their South Laredo counterparts for quite a while.  This is because of the fact that they (North) has been having Tuesdays and Fridays as their service days.  In the meantime, the South has been having Mondays and Thursdays. The bad news for the South is that, most of the time, there has been no garbage pickup on Mondays either falling on, or immediately following, a holiday.

Now, there will be a switch and it will be the North that will go to Mondays and Thursdays. Mark this as a victory for the South, which will now go to Tuesdays and Thursdays. For a change, it will be the North that will have their trash piling up around most city of Laredo holidays.

Another rare Laredo oasis to be paved over

"Walk with us this Saturday and witness a Laredo green gem about to be destroyed for the extension of Springfield Avenue".

So reads the invitation for Laredoans to join the Rio Grande International Study Group in their latest  Loving Laredo Hike.

The details of this Saturday's event follow:

Loving Laredo Hike #9
Rio Grande International Study Center
DATE: Saturday, May 26
MEET TIME: 7:45 a.m.
LOCATION: Leyendecker Property
ADDRESS: 14 Candlewood Rd.
(From I-35, exit Del Mar Blvd. heading east. Pass Springfield Ave. and take left onto Candlewood. Go straight and through the open gate to family home.

George Bernard Shaw was known to have said “The reasonable man adapts himself to the world: the unreasonable one persists to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.”

As Laredo's policy makers continue to focus only on jobs and "progress", no doubt they long for the day when Laredoan's will finally enjoy the financial windfall of incessant development.  But then where will they find a pond or  some other refuge of nature to spend their leisure - If they look the other way while, one after another, they are all destroyed?

Recognitions out of hand at City: Rangel suggests separate meeting

From The seedy council meeting at 7:00 PM

It's already 7pm and a city council meeting that started 90 minutes ago (at 5:30), is still in the recognition, back-slapping, picture-taking part. Just about every meeting starts like this and takes a long, long time.  One of the council members extended the melee a few minutes more when he called out a parent in the audience and reminded her that "she had said she wanted to thank the mayor personally".  Naturally, the parent took to the mic and lavish profuse praise on the only-too-willing mayor.

One positive sign, council member Esteban Rangel is suggesting that the city holds a separate monthly meeting for recognitons only. We'll see how this turns out.  I wonder if the cameras would be still on such a meeting. I'm sure the mayor would insist on having his mug televised as always.

Not surprisingly, the recognitions dragged on for so long that as soon as they were concluded, the Mayor immediately called for a recess. I wonder what exquisite feast they're sinking their teeth into compliments of the taxpayers of the Gateway City.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Now what? How is this pertinent to Laredo?

Carpetbagger : "Ah, Laredo must be near, I can smell the gullibility".

The City of Laredo seems to be in damage control mode already.  As the disastrous opening night for the Uni-trade Semi-Park draws near, distractions are lining up for Monday's seedy council meeting, no doubt in an attempt to deflect attention from the Laredo Lemurs lame logistical letdown aka Uni-trade stadium.

The agenda for Monday's upcoming meeting starts with the following recognition.


1. Recognizing Cuauhtemoc "Chito" Rodriguez, one of the most dedicated and respected baseball executives in Mexico, on being named the "2011 King of Baseball" at the Annual Baseball Winter Meetings Banquet held in Dallas, Texas on December of 2011. The "King of Baseball" is a long-standing tradition in which Minor League Baseball salutes a veteran from the professional baseball world for long-time dedication and service.

What is the connection between the King of Baseball award and our local government? If the award was bestowed on Rodriguez in December of last year, why wait until now to recognize it ??  How obscure is this award that the agenda item above has to include a brief explanation of it :

The "King of Baseball" is a long-standing tradition in which Minor League Baseball salutes a veteran from the professional baseball world for long-time dedication and service.

I'm pretty sure there will be a tie-in with the struggling lemur organization as assorted politicos gather around for another senseless photo-op.  The Mayor, Olivares, Schuster are among those will no doubt look into the camera and think " Suckers!"

To show just how highly the city deems this magnificent award. It's worth noting that the award description included in the agenda item above is taken practically verbatim from......where else?  Wikipedia.

Wikipedia says: King of Baseball is a ceremonial title awarded by Minor League Baseball to one person each year in recognition of longtime dedication and service to professional baseball

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Geography is not everything: What will Mayor Salinas push now?

Everything may not be as rosy as Mayor wants shippers to believe

For the last few years, Mayor Salinas, along with staff and the beloved Laredo seedy council, has constantly been strongly pushing the notion that Laredo will always be the number one port of entry because of geography.

As it turns out, this is simply not true.  The San Antonio Express News is reporting the behind-the-scenes goings out at HEB's headquarters in regards to shipping routes. Apparently, HEB chose to use the "Mayor's route" : Asia - Lazaro Cardenas port in Mexico - Laredo - IH35North. Lo and behold, it was successful.......for a while.

As the following account relates, not long after initiating the use of this route, HEB found that rising rates quickly made the "Mayor's route" more expensive than the previously-used route of Asia-Los Angeles- Interior US. So, naturally, they said "adios" to Lazaro Cardenas/Laredo.

From The San Antonio Express News

In 2006, H-E-B bravely tried an experiment. The company quietly imported a shipment from Asia through a new trade corridor in Mexico. Few people knew, however, what H-E-B thought of the experiment and if it followed up.

For food and nonfood merchandise from Asia, H-E-B largely had relied on shipping lines arriving at Long Beach, Calif.'s huge port, and then on trucks to bring the freight to Texas.

About seven years ago, a new trade corridor was promoted by the Mexican Pacific port at Lázaro Cárdenas, in the state of Michoacán and Kansas City Southern de México.

The idea was for ships to deliver some H-E-B-bound Asian goods to Mexico's Pacific port instead of California. From Lázaro Cárdenas, the cargo would be loaded for Kansas City Southern's Mexico rail service north to Laredo. From Laredo, trucks would take the goods to H-E-B distribution centers in Texas, including San Antonio.

The experiment worked to H-E-B's benefit, said Mark Lewis, H-E-B chain director of domestic and international inbound logistics. At the time, Lewis joked, he didn't know “Michoacán from a mocha latte.”
H-E-B used the Lázaro Cárdenas corridor for “several years” for a portion of its Asian trade and then stopped.


“The rates changed,” Lewis said. It turned out that Asian trade flowing into the Lázaro Cárdenas port increased so much for delivery to Mexico City and Puebla that the shipping rates on ocean container ships increased. That removed H-E-B's cost advantage over using Long Beach, Lewis said.
H-E-B now uses Long Beach for most of its Asian trade and a smaller portion travels through the Panama Canal before arriving in Texas. H-E-B doesn't want to rely entirely on one shipper or one route, so it imports with several shippers to reduce risk, Lewis said.

Read more:

Shuster says it's all about the kids! Really?

Mark Shuster keeps saying how the $18Million dollar Uni-Trade taxpayer-funded baseball park and the entire accompanying experience it offers, is all "for the kids"! 

So how come, as Bordertown Blues via De Laredo is reporting, does the team need to field a skimpily-outfitted, bare-midrifted dance team that goes by the name of the "Lady Lemurs"?

I guess Shuster is speaking out of both sides of his mouth again. Like when he says that everything "from a fan's standpoint" will be ready for tomorrow night's game.  Although, I'm not a fan of the Lemurs, I'm willing to bet that any fan that has to park and then hobble over a caliche parking would probably say that to him/her the park is NOT ready. 

Anyway, this is what, according to Shuster, is being provided strictly for the enjoyment of Laredo's kids.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Lemurs: Chaos by any other name is still Chaos

At this point, it appears that the only success the taxpayer-funded $18 Million Unitrade baseball stadium will experience is that it will serve to expand Laredoan's vocabulary. Namely, during this upcoming week, we might very well learn to use all sorts of synonyms for the word "chaos". 

Let's take a look at a few of these and see if any of these apply to the unravelling situation at Lemur central.

Anarchy- Check
Bedlam -  Check
Clutter  -  Check
Disarray - Check
Discord,    Disorganization, Failure  Free-for-all,  Holy Mess,  Mix-up, Pandemonium, Tumult, Turmoil and etcetera.

For our Spanish readers

Confusion, Desorden,  Desmadre, Desastre, Lio, Fallo, Fiasco, Relaje, Verguenza

Ready or Not

Head carpetbagger Lemur Mark Schuster insists that the stadium will be "ready" for Thursday's opening night.  However, his definition of what "ready" is really a mystery. 

From LMT's article this morning, it's starting to look like the Lemur's and the City of Laredo's definition of having the stadium "ready" might include:

*Forcing a permit of occupation for an unfinished, unsafe baseball park

*Jeopardizing the safety of Laredo's citizens

*Having event attendees park dirt, caliche or grass- to which  this Schuster commented : “I don’t believe the back parking lot will be fully paved, but from a  fan standpoint, the fans will have a great experience".                    

*Handle the situation of an unfinished pressbox by "just moving those folks down and set up a table behind home plate in the mezanine area", as the city's Erasmo Villarreal suggested.

Hurry up and Wait!

It probably won't be any consolation that the stadium's builders, Leyendecker Construction is treading into uncharted waters with Unitrade stadium. The Laredo Morning Times had this to say:

“We’re on a very accelerated schedule here,” Leyendecker said.

“A project like this generally takes 14 months to build, and we’re trying to build it in eight to 10 months.

We’ve never built a project this quick in our 30-year existence.”

When the stadium’s architects, HKS Inc., and Leyendecker Construction provided this estimate to the City of Laredo, city representatives responded that such a schedule was unacceptable.
If the city is responsible, they will call off the whole May 17th deadline and just admit they messed up again and mossey on down to Veteran's Field

Anybody remember Veteran's Field? That's where a team called the Laredo Broncos started their drive for a new park. Little did they know that their efforts were subsequently to be hijacked and turned into what has apparently now become the city's latest disaster.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Debate distractions: La vibora y el paper teleprompter

I didn't get to see the Pro8News debate for Webb county commissioner precinct 3. However, in looking at the video from KGNS's website, I couldn't help but immediately notice a couple of things.

Candidate Danny Valdez Jr. repeatedly kept using his right hand as an over-actve vibora. Just from the short clip I saw, he was averaging at least 50-60 "piquetes" a minute.

For his part, candidate Cortez probably could have used an electronic teleprompter instead of relying on one made out of paper (his notes). I thought the whole idea was to NOT look shifty eyed. I mean come on, do you really need notes to say " I love my father"?

For $90,000, Fracking Industry buys study

So much for objective news in South Texas.  Over the last few days, I've heard and read about how the Eagle Ford Shale is far exceeding all economic expectations.  One of the talking points I've heard repeated is that, in one year (2011), the EFS has surpassed the economic effect it was expected to take a decade to realize.

All of this according to a study which the American Natural Gas Association (ANGA) paid UTSA $90,000 to put together.  In consideration of this fact, should we have expected anything else? Also, why should anybody trust a study that offers such dramatically different number from a previous study (done just over a year ago) from the exact same institution. In other words, UTSA last study proved to be way, way off so perhaps this one will be too.

Whereas UTSA's last study projected a $21.5 billion output from the EFS by 2020, the new and improved study shows that EFS's economic output was $25 billion in just 2011!  Talk about a margin of error!

Nice try ANGA: I guess running those ridiculously misleading (lying) commericals all over TV isn't good enough.


Nice touch of safely putting the kids to bed while their world is being poisoned

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Rush Limbaugh on football safety

Once again, at the risk of being reprimanded by BOLAS, we will briefly delve into the purview of Laredo collosal blogger BTB.  Here's a clip from "El Rushbo" during which he speaks about football and the ongoing effort to improve players' safety.

I'm pretty sure that Limbaugh never played a down of organized football in his life but I might be wrong. Perhaps he was the orginial "refrigerator" or more like the original "walk-in cooler".

From Media Matters for America

Geraldo Rivera condemns FOX's over-use of "illegal alien" term

Usual Fox News depiction of "Illegal Aliens"

Mr. mustache himself, Geraldo Rivera, recently decided to bite the hand that feeds him. Rivera, in a column appearing on the Fox News Latino website, lambasted Fox New's long-running fear mongering style of reporting on the "illegal alien" problem.

Excerpted from Fox News Latino

The typical report consists of a TV anchor or radio talk host lamenting either how our nation is being drowned by the brown tsunami from south-of-the-border, how they are sucking the nation’s life blood or how one of the invading Latino hordes committed a crime, which is far more egregious than if a citizen committed the same crime, “because they had no right to be here!”

Further, no branding has proven more effective than the combination of two powerful pejoratives, illegal and alien.

Like the words ‘Jew’ or ‘slob’ or ‘slut’, the phrase ‘illegal alien’ has the elegance of being harsh, but defensible, if accurate. Although it can be used as a cutting reference, it can still be uttered in polite company without fear of raising many eyebrows, especially among those who feel similarly negative about the individual being described.

Read more:

Perry on increasing # of unaccompanied minors crossing border

Perry says deport them or they'll just keep coming

Rick Perry explained the relatively new situation in which thousands of minors are crossing from Mexico without any adult guardians.  Reportedly, some of these minors are now being housed on Lackland AFB in the Alamo City.

From The Dallas Morning News

WASHINGTON - Gov. Rick Perry blamed President Barack Obama for a recent increase in the number of undocumented minors who are entering the country on their own in a letter to the White House on Friday.
By not deporting more of the unaccompanied children, the administration is "perpetuating" the reasons they come, Perry wrote.

"Inaction encourages other minors to place themselves in extremely dangerous situations," Perry wrote. "Every child allowed to remain encourages hundreds more to attempt the journey. Our country can no longer provide the temptation for these unaccompanied minors to engage in this tragic and illegal migration."

Although illegal immigration has decreased sharply in recent years, the number of unaccompanied minors being detained at the border has spiked this year, according to the Department of Homeland Security.

Government agencies and nonprofit groups that shelter undocumented children while they await immigration proceedings have been overwhelmed in recent months. Recently, DHS took the extraordinary step of using a Defense Department outpost, Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, to host some of the children.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

First fracking spills, now Radioactive waste through our streets?

" Este debe ser para Laredo/This should be the Laredo shipment"

Hijole! It just keeps getting worse. I wish I were making some of this stuff up- pero no.  Mexican radioactive waste is scheduled to enter through Laredo on it's way up to Washington state. There, the waste will be incinerated then returned to Mexico. I'm guessing it will go reverse-route and the radioactive ash will also grace The Streets of Laredo.

I'm sure the mayor and seedy council are ok with this because I think Laredo will get a couple of bucks per truck axle when this shipment crosses over the bacteria-infested waters of the Rio Grande.

From The Tri-City Herald

YAKIMA -- A waste management company has applied to the federal government for a license to import up to 500 tons of radioactive waste from Mexico to Richland, where the waste will be incinerated and the resulting ash returned to Mexico.

According to the application, the company would begin importing up to 500 tons of radioactively contaminated materials this year from Mexico's Laguna Verde Nuclear Power Plant near Veracruz for incineration, and continue through March 31, 2017.

The low-level waste in question generally involves protective clothing and tools that have some degree of contamination. Incinerating it reduces the volume and makes it easier to dispose of the waste.

The waste would cross the border in Laredo, Texas and travel by truck on interstate highways to the Perma-Fix facility in Richland, according to the application.

"It's not particularly hazardous stuff," McIntyre said. "They just don't have the incineration capacity down there, whereas Perma-Fix is skilled at it and experienced at it."

Radioactive materials are best managed as close to the site of generation as possible, said Tom Clements of the Alliance for Nuclear Accountability.
Ideally, Mexico should deal with its own nuclear waste and not send it to the U.S. for processing, he said.   (You don't say)

Read more here:

No wonder Perry is gutting Education budget aka "El Bodjet"

"Um... no tener yo dinerow para us-tey-des. Yo reckon-o"  

From The Houston Chronicle

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — School yearbooks tell the story.
Flip through the pages of San Antonio's John Jay High School annual, "Hoofprints," and the story of Texas schools over the past 50 years is illustrated in class portraits — an emerging majority-minority that has grown rapidly, and since 2000 has boomed.

In cities large and small, including urban centers like Dallas and Houston, and towns like Amarillo and Beaumont, the percentage of Anglo children is steadily shrinking. The average in most major cities is about 10 percent, and in cities like Brownsville and Laredo it's less than 1 percent.

At Northside ISD, San Antonio's largest district, Anglo enrollment has dipped from 38 percent to 19 percent.

Non-Hispanic white children are the minority in public schools, with Anglo enrollments in larger districts nearly vanishing and suburban schools following suit.
The group is on track to count for less than 30 percent of the state's 5 million public school students by 2013.

Trend continues: "gordito", "gordo", "medio panzon"....."panzon y medio!"

"So much for the the 99cent special"

Laredoans, don't be surprised if the price you pay for a Coke goes up soon. Let's say you go for the turbo-chug or even the very popular 32 ounce fountain drink, it will now simultaneously add to your weight while subtracting more from your wallet. This is because a soda tax is one of the options being considered to curtail the obesity epidemic in our country.  Of course, this includes Laredo.
But why stop at sodas? Perhaps bigger sizes of clothes should also be taxed, thereby encouraging the purchaser(s) to lose weight and save money. It would go something like this :

customer: Hi, I'm looking for a pair of Levi blue jeans. How much do they cost?
salesperson:  Well, it all depends....what size are you looking for?
customer: Well, a friend of mine said she got them here for about $30 bucks.
salesperson: Oh yea, I remember her about a week ago, she's the skinny one in town right?
customer: Wha...?  I was asking about the price.
salesperson: OH ok, well I won't know until you tell me what size but I'm guessing from looking at you that....hmmmm.....they'll probably run you close to a hundred bucks with the new fat tax?
customer: Nambre! Que tienes??  I'll just forget about the jeans and buy myself a few parrilladas!

Oh I almost forgot , here's the article from Reuter's

America's obesity epidemic is so deeply rooted that it will take dramatic and systemic measures -- from overhauling farm policies and zoning laws to, possibly, introducing a soda tax -- to fix it, the influential Institute of Medicine said on Tuesday.   

"People have heard the advice to eat less and move more for years, and during that time a large number of Americans have become obese," committee member Shiriki Kumanyika of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine told Reuters. "That advice will never be out of date. But when you see the increase in obesity you ask, what changed? And the answer is, the environment. The average person cannot maintain a healthy weight in this obesity-promoting environment."

The panel identifies taxing sugar-sweetened beverages as a "potential action," noting that "their link to obesity is stronger than that observed for any other food or beverage."

A 2011 study estimated that a penny-per-ounce tax could reduce per capita consumption by 24 percent. As a Reuters report described last month, vigorous lobbying by the soda industry crushed recent efforts to impose such a tax in several states, including New York.

"I do not think in any way, shape or form that such punitive measures will change behaviors," said Rhona Applebaum, Coca-Cola Co.'s chief scientific and regulatory officer. Anyone deterred by the tax from buying sweetened soda, she said, will replace those calories with something else.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Now Hiring! Laredo makes a good list for a change

From Forbes

Forbes is famous for its lists, and after crunching a bunch of employment data to list the best cities for jobs, it's obvious that it likes Texas — a lot. Not only did it rank Austin as the best U.S. city in which to be hired, but Houston, Fort Worth and Dallas also made the top 10.
Actually, there are three lists, for small, medium and large cities, with 12 Texas cities in the top 10 among the three, including Odessa, Midland, San Angelo, Lubbock, Laredo, Corpus Christi, McAllen-Edinburg-Mission and El Paso.

Laredo ignores RG bacteria, caters to fracking while other towns plan

Laredo's politicians have seldom been known for being forward-looking. How else could the city's taxpayers be on the hook for mega million$$ for an empty arena while building an $18M new baseball stadium. It's hilarious that the baseball operators are already promising the exact type of events that are not even enough to fill up the calendar of one venue (LEA), much less too.

Well, the same lack of foresight applies to the city's lack of concern for our water resources. They have elected to sell millions of gallons of water the the fracking industry and have remained completely mute in regards to recent news that the Rio Grande is seriously contaminated by exorbitant levels of bacteria.

So it comes as no surprise that other towns, i.e. La Villa, Tx., put Laredo to shame when it comes to thinking about our environment and our future.  I guess we shouldn't be that surprised that even much smaller towns such as La Villa are joining in to Eat Laredo's Lunch!

From The Brownsville, Herald

At a time when water is at a premium, there’s no sense in letting it go to waste.

That’s the mindset behind an innovative project taking root in the Delta, a community that bears the brunt of Hidalgo County’s flooding issues during heavy rains. But as the Rio Grande Valley heads toward a critical water shortage by 2050, plans are under way to recapture the water that fills the county’s drainage canals and treat it for municipal use.

The city of La Villa has developed plans for the Delta watershed and reclamation project, a 1,400-acre project that will limit countywide flooding, protect fragile ecosystems and act as an economic development tool. Built around a 350-acre reservoir that would capture drainage water, the project would also serve as an additional supply of water that otherwise disappears into the Laguna Madre.

“Fifty years from now, water will be precious. It will be worth more than gasoline,” said La Villa Mayor Hector Elizondo, whose city recently completed plans for the project he sees as an economic development boon for the Delta. “We need to capture the water because the city that controls the water is the city that is going to grow. We’re trying to prepare for the future.” 

Read more at :

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Aya por Laredo : Simple treasures

Vicente Domingo Villa grew up on the ranches of South Texas.
From Storycorps-Austin: pictured is  Domingo Vicente Villa

This story is from National Public Radio, NPR.

Ricardo Isaias Zavala comes from a long line of vaqueros — cowboys who worked the ranches of Southeast Texas in the 19th and 20th centuries. That tradition stopped with his grandfather — but in the Zavala family, parts of it live on.

Ricardo's grandfather's name was Vicente Domingo Villa. His family moved from ranch to ranch, looking for work. Most of the ranches were in the scrubland of South Texas, east of Laredo.
"And his father was a ranch hand, as his father before him was a ranch hand," Ricardo tells his son, Ricardo Javier Zavala, at StoryCorps. "And his father before him was a ranch hand."

That was back in the 1920s. And Ricardo says that when his grandfather was a little boy in the 1920s, he looked up to the vaqueros enough to want to dress like a cowboy.

"And when he was about 6 or 7, he did ask his mom if he could have cowboy chaps — just like the cowboys wore on the ranch," Ricardo says. "He didn't think he had much of a chance at getting it, but Christmas Day, his mom presented him with a pair of chivarras.

"Chivarras are chaps," Ricardo explains, "but instead of cowhide, they're made out of goat skin. It's a smaller animal, so they fit children a lot better. And he said he was so excited, he was so happy. That was the best gift he'd ever gotten.

"The only problem was that his father got very upset with his mom for having wasted the money on a pair of chivarras for a boy who doesn't even do cowboy work, and it caused a lot of fighting," Ricardo says.

"So, he decided he would ask his mom to return the chivarras," he says, "but he figured he could at least sleep with them that night. And that's what he did."

When he got older, Ricardo's grandfather did not become a cowboy, like the men in his family had always done. Instead, he worked as a carpenter. But his family remembered his early love for those cowboy chaps.

"Well, towards the end of his life he was at a nursing home," Ricardo says, "and we ended up getting him real cowhide chaps. But he kinda got upset with us. He said it was a waste of money.

"So, I told him that I actually had a favor to ask of him," Ricardo recalls. "I told him, 'I'd really like for you to consider — once you do pass — having the chaps buried with you. And that way when I get to heaven, I'll be able to recognize you.'

"And then he looked down, and he said, you know, 'I don't know if that's where I'm going.'
"A few months later he got real sick, and he was dying," Ricardo says. "We were at his deathbed, and I was standing next to him, and he said to me, 'Entiérrenme con mis chivarras' — 'Bury me with my chaps.'

"And that brought a lot of comfort," he says, "because later on that night, he did pass. It was May 5 of 2003. And I knew that he knew where he was going."

Get your "Yonka" rolling again - Today

The LMT is waking up Laredo's Yonka community with a Public Service message. If you're one of those people who has a bicycle laying around gathering dust, this is your day to rescue it.

From El Empty

The Big River Foundation, Ciclo Mania and local riders will offer another free mountain bicycle repair clinic from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. today.

The clinic will be held at the Rio Grande Plaza Hotel, 1 S. Main Ave.

“Bring an old bike in need of tire, chain, spoke or other repair,” a news release states.

“We’ll pay for any parts you may need and show you how to install them free.”

Also, all are invited for an escorted ride along the Rio Grande to the Lost Lakes and Las Palmas Park.

Each ride will start as soon as the rider’s bike is fixed. The rides will continue until 8 p.m.

Those who volunteer are invited to a poolside party and barbecue following the event.

The bike repair clinic is paid for by a grant from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s Community Outdoor Outreach program.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

"Los Olvidados" / The Forgotten Ones

Thanks to Dan for alerting LT to this story from John Quiniones and ABC News.

video platform video management video solutions video player

Like the saying goes: "Out of sight, out of mind" ?

Culture: Bola de Borrachines!

This morning, KTSA radio, 5500 on your AM radio dial, reported the DUI numbers from the Alamo City's NIOSA (Night In Old San Antonio) week long Fiesta. According to law enforcement records, there were a total of 373 DUI arrests made in San Antonio during Fiesta Week. This number included 59 second time offenders and 37 drunk drivers who were being arrested for at least the 3rd time.

Laredo certainly should keep this in mind as the recent tendency has been for local event organizers to rely increasingly on booze to draw in their crowds. Already, the "There's always something to drink do in Laredo" calendar includes : Noche de Agave-Tequila Tasting, JamBOOZie, assorted Wine-Tasting galas, as well as the ever rowdy Jalapeno Festival.

Also, this past year, Taste of Los Dos Laredos added Alcohol to their all-you can  eat-drink menu. Add to the mix, Laredo's first "Beer Fest" and you'll see why the Gateway City is consuming alcohol like the Fracking industry consumes our precious water. 

Incidentally, there's a second Beer Fest being scheduled for sometime in October. Se va y se correr con........El Borracho!