Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Oh The Irony

Laredo,TX- The City of Laredo Health Department will hold a press conference Thursday, June 2nd at 9 am at the Laredo Health Department Auditorium.  The Texas Council on Cardiovascular Disease and Stroke will be presenting Mayor Raul G. Salinas and City Manager Carlos Villarreal with a GOLD level recognition award for the city’s practices for preventing and controlling heart disease and stroke. 


Info. courtesy of the City of Laredo.


Yeah, because if anybody is a model for preventing and controlling heart disease and stroke, it's Mayor Raul Salinas and Carlos Villarreal.

Fracking Town Hall Meeting In Laredo, TX

The Safe Fracking Coalition is ten days away from hosting a town hall meeting at the UT Health Science Center - Extension Campus located at 1937 Bustamante St.  The event will take place June 10, at 6 p.m., in the 2nd floor auditorium. 

The meeting will focus on the potential environmental and public health impact of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing.  The S.F.C. is working in conjunction with Rep. Richard Raymond, The Rio Grande International Study Center and Dr. Gladys Keene. 

Special guests include:  members of the Texas Railroad Commission; Texas Water Development Board staff; residents of the Barnett Shale near Fort Worth; and Dish Mayor Calvin Tillman. 

The event is free and refreshments will be served.

Contact Tricia Cortez for more information at (956)721-5392. 

LaSanbe is planning to live-blog the event. 

Join me tomorrow night (Wednesday), on this site, around 8 p.m. for a livecast to talk about fracking or any other topic that's out there. 

Lastly, the public library on Calton and McPherson will have two viewings of the documentary "Gasland."  It is free to the public.  Show times are:  Sunday June 5 at 1 p.m., and Wednesday June 8 at 5 p.m. 


A Nod For Bilingualism

Via the NY Times:
In terms of monolinguals and bilinguals, the big thing that we have found is that the connections are different. So we have monolinguals solving a problem, and they use X systems, but when bilinguals solve the same problem, they use others. One of the things we’ve seen is that on certain kinds of even nonverbal tests, bilingual people are faster. Why? Well, when we look in their brains through neuroimaging, it appears like they’re using a different kind of a network that might include language centers to solve a completely nonverbal problem. Their whole brain appears to rewire because of bilingualism.

Teach your children Spanish.  And teach them to make flour tortilla masa from scratch.  Don't take anything for granted.

The Hammer Falls Today

Monday, May 30, 2011

Is It Too Much?

Someday when people visit my gravesite with their smart phones, they'll get a complete list of my music choices, my thoughts on pruning, and a head shot that I used for an audition of "That's My Momma."

Laredo Stereotypes



Paul Jury came up with some neat little stereotypes for each state.  Since a lot of people already have some preconceived notion about Laredo, TX, I thought we could come up with some new ones.  Let 'er rip.

Laredo:  It's a dry heat apathy.

Laredo:  Been burglarized lately?

Laredo:  It's like Nuevo Laredo but without the glitz.

Laredo:  The trash detracts from the town's homeliness.

Laredo:  Here today, car lot tomorrow.

Laredo:  We think Carlos Mencia is funny.

Laredo:  Our greatest export is restless disillusionment.

Laredo:  Two words -- I'll pass.

This Is So Weird


Last night we were sitting at the dinner table when my son asked about the radio show that featured ghost stories.  He was referring to the program that we've listened to every now and then called "La Mano Peluda."  My wife and I don't know what sparked his interest for this popular show.

He is a fan of "Celebrity Ghost Stories" and "Supernatural" but it was unusual that he brought it up out of the blue.  We turned on 1000 AM last night to see if the show was on, but no dice.  We figured it must be on only on weekdays. 

Lo and behold, this morning I read in El Manana that "La Mano Peluda" host, Juan Ramon Saenz, died from complications of a stomach virus.  His condition was so severe that he had to be started on dialysis.

Surreal!!

We'll tune in again tonight to find out if the show is given some type of tribute or something.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Mr. & Mrs. Antonio Ramiro Romo

Greetings Cowboys fans. Your golden boy Tony Romo got married this weekend to former Miss Missouri Candice Crawford. I guess he had plenty of time on his hands with the NFL lockout going nowhere and said, "Let's do this!"

Because owners and players aren't allowed to coexist outside legal proceedings at the moment, special permission was granted to owner Jerry Jones in order for him to attend his QB's wedding.

Also on hand was Chase Crawford, the bride's brother. He of Gossip Girl fame and (along with his new brother-in-law) former boyfriend of Carrie Underwood. How nice.

With Tony's Mexican-American background, I wonder if there was a baile del dolar...hmm? Anyway, a spoonful of Kisses® to the new Mr. and Mrs.!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Join Up

WHEN &       Tuesday, May 31, 2011                      12:00 p.m.
WHERE:       City Hall, Council Chambers, 1110 Houston St.

WHY:             In 2006, voters approved the creation of a Civil Service Commission to give employees protection regarding terminations and/or promotions.  Since that time, an advisory committee helped to develop the framework for this all important 14-member group, which will be made up of nine individuals appointed by Mayor Raul G. Salinas and the Laredo City Council and five individuals elected by City of Laredo employees; none of the members are City employees.

So who's up to join a civil service commission?
Info courtesy of the City of Laredo.

Chacon Clean-Up


Went out to the landfill to deliver four more tires that were scattered around the neighborhood.  Four down and 200 to go.

Fracking Near Laredo

It's all about money and nothing else.
The oil industry says any environmental concerns are far outweighed by the economic benefits of pumping previously inaccessible oil from fields that could collectively hold two or three times as much oil as Prudhoe Bay, the Alaskan field that was the last great onshore discovery. The companies estimate that the boom will create more than two million new jobs, directly or indirectly, and bring tens of billions of dollars to the states where the fields are located, which include traditional oil sites like Texas and Oklahoma, industrial stalwarts like Ohio and Michigan and even farm states like Kansas.
The Safe Fracking Coalition is having a town hall meeting June 10 at the UT Health Science Center Extension Campus in Laredo.

Friday, May 27, 2011

RIP Jeff Conaway

He was 60.

Can't Stay Away


"El Protector" is jumping into the Constable Pct. 1 race.  It was not long ago that he was doing traffic reports for local media.  Something tells me that it's going to be a good contest.

Water Use

San Antonio residents might have to curb their water use severely.
For customers, that would mean limiting use of irrigation systems to one day a week between the hours of 3-8 a.m. and 8-10 p.m. The day of the week is determined by the last digit of a location's street address; those without addresses would be able to water on Wednesdays.
Where's our water patrol?  

Lewdness


Laredo has its hands full with all the public acts of lewdness.  Several days ago, KGNS brought us the story of a man who acted lewdly (is that a word?) on a local transit bus.  Local P.D. has enough to worry about with the Mami Chulas crowd.  They're stretched too thin to be on the lookout for perverts.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Governor Says Border Is Under Siege

Rep. Reyes questions Rick Perry's priorities.
“Austin, Texas, where Governor Perry resides in his $10,000-a-month rental mansion at taxpayer expense, reported a 72 percent increase in homicides in 2010,” Reyes said in a statement. “The city of Austin had more homicides last year than El Paso, Laredo, McAllen, and Brownsville combined.”
Laredo!!!!  texas.

Webb Co. Problems

Panel: Reinstate ex-CAA worker

By Andrew Kreighbaum
Laredo Morning Times
Published: Thursday, May 26, 2011 2:45 AM CDT
The Webb County Civil Service Commission voted Wednesday to reinstate terminated Community Action Agency inspector/assessor Gaspar Ambrose nearly seven months after he was fired from the agency.
The commission also awarded Ambrose back pay dating from his termination.

Civil service rules may help Mr. Ambrose's case but the county might not have a position to assign him to if he's rehired.  And so this is another grievance county has to deal with, all for acting a bit too hasty.

Jamming Traffic



The eagerly-awaited overpass that divides Guadalupe St. and Chihuahua St. is coming along nicely.  Motorists will surely be pleased to be able to bypass the train passing by at all hours of the day.  But what problems will the overpass cause?  Cars will supposedly be able to move more freely by avoiding the train tracks, but given the infrastructure that will receive those who exit the bridge, it seems like a different jam will be created. 

Take for instance the backup that occurs at the bridge located at the L.C.C. downtown campus.  On Fridays around noon, when students and staff are leaving the college at the same time, the flow of traffic slows down significantly because everybody is directed towards Victoria St.  (L.C.C. closes at noon on Fridays)  After exiting the bridge, motorists have to navigate down a one-way road for about three blocks before getting to the more ample Victoria.  This is what is going to happen with this new bridge, I think.

People heading east, especially, towards the Three Points area will cross the Guadalupe/Chihuahua bridge and then be met by two traffic light stops -- one at Cedar Ave. and the other at Tilden Ave.  Going west on Guadalupe, you might have a smoother ride since there is no light until you come up on San Eduardo.

I'm curious how all this will work itself out.  I'm predicting a different kind of headache being created once this bridge is open.  And all the while, the train company won't lose any sleep over any of this.  However, the experts have probably thought out all that has to be taken into account in terms of traffic flow.  I'm probably worrying more than I have to.  I'm sure TxDot has its act together and no problems will dome of this new bridge.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Farewell


Diana Fuentes, Editor of the Laredo Times, was honored by city staff today.  This comes as she gets ready to start her new job next week as newspaper editor and publisher in Del Rio, Texas.

Two years ago we took issue with the LMT as they started charging for their online content.  We weren't crazy about the idea, as were many other people.  Ms. Fuentes was quick to defend the Times' new policy.  There was quite a bit of back and forth between us but that's in the past.  The only constant that's remained is the fact that our local paper still charges for its eEdition and others around the state don't.

Nevertheless, we wish Ms. Fuentes the best of luck with her new role.  Perhaps our paths will cross again someday under better circumstances.  Until then, congratulations.   

Oprah's Final Show

After 25 years on television, the Oprah Winfrey Show will end today with a final farewell from Oprah to her fans. I have been a pretty loyal viewer since the show began, having seen about 83% of all her shows, give or take!

I remember when the show would compete against other talk shows such as Donahue, Geraldo, and the Sally Jesse Raphael Show. I also remember when she brought her show production to Texas when she was being sued by Texas cattlemen, and she had to report to the trial daily. That seems like a lifetime ago, but Oprah kept going strong.

Oprah has become a worldwide phenomenon, and her many sayings are part of the lexicon: "I'm having an Aha moment." "When you know better, you do better." "What do you know for sure?" and "You always had the power!"

She has used her popularity, power, and wealth to help change many lives through educational scholarships and charitable contributions. By sharing so many people's stories on her show, Oprah has also helped many of her viewers learn invaluable life lessons. And it didn't hurt having numerous celebrities on her show as well.

She started a new network on New Year's Day called OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network to continue her work, but in an entirely different context. I have been watching, but I can't imagine what's it's going to be like to have TV afternoons without Oprah's show.

Paul Simon had written a song for Oprah's 10th anniversary, and he reworked it for her final send off. Good luck Oprah! I know I love you!

Wounded Lirio


This afternoon a stray dog invited himself over to my cool patch of soil.  You see, last night I watered my plants.  Given the nice shade provided by the Huisache tree, the dirt must've still been moist and cool today.  So I find Mr. Bojangles here taking a break.  Either that or he's doing his version of 'planking.' 

For a moment there I thought he was near death from the heat.  It wouldn't be the first time I find dead animals on my turf.  Luckily, when I appoached, the dog raised his head.  And then he went right back to napping. 

Sorry pooch.  I didn't mean to disturb your rest.  Now could you go get me another lirio, you bum!!!!!!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

And the Mirror Ball Trophy Goes To...

Dancing With The Stars crowned the new champion tonight, and it is none other than Pittsburgh Steeler Hines Ward. Along with his professional dance partner Kym Johnson, Hines beat out the other top favorites Kirstie Alley, who danced with Maks Chmerkovskiy, and Chelsea Kane, who danced with Mark Ballas.

Another unexpected surprise from tonight's show was having an unannounced Josh Groban grace the stage to sing one of his popular songs for the performance of previously eliminated couple Petra Nemcova and Dmitry Chaplin. Sweet.

As a Steelers fan I made sure to watch this entire season of DWTS to show my support for Hines. For the first time I also voted consistently for Hines and other favorites. There were many stars that had tremendous dancing talent this season, so kudos to Hines for coming out on top.

Hines and his partner Kym also overcame a serious injury during rehearsals a couple of weeks ago. A flip the couple was practicing went terribly wrong, causing Hines to fall on Kym and her neck hit the floor. She was transported to the hospital, but luckily Kym recovered completely.

Congratulations to Hines and Kym. Here was one of my personal favorite dances of theirs...

And one of their perfect score performances, which I also loved...
Very nice! Until next season...

New Music Laredo

It's hot as hail and I'm still disappointed that the Rapture didn't come.  Now I have to figure out what to do with all my maxed-out credit cards.  On the bright side, I'm looking forward to my next spaghetti dinner and a republican might lose a congressional race in a GOP heavy N.Y. district tonight.

Today in music, Foster The People, She Wants Revenge, and Thurston Moore release new albums.  Art Brut too.  And here they are.

  

Bob Dylan celebrates a birthday today.

A List

Wake Up Laredo came up with a list of ten dumb things Laredo has come up with.  Here's one of them:
8. Put stop light at Yeary and Calton Road. This has caused more traffic headaches than one can imagine. The I-35/Calton road intersection has to be the worst in Texas, and maybe the United States.
What didn't make the list is the ongoing celebration of George Washington each and every February.  Oh yeah, and giving Raul Salinas any sort of public platform allowing him to vent his thoughts.  Not good.



Here's the list of smartest things.

Monday, May 23, 2011

"Current Board Can't Comment On That"

No can do.

Time Changes A Person

 
How do you go from star track athlete to being arrested for child abandonment?  Don't get me wrong, I've made some mistakes in my life -- like the time I bought Sting concert tickets, and thinking that Web TV was the wave of the future.  But I guess if I've come this far without having to be fitted for orange fatigues, I must be doing something right.  


You're Messing With My Zen Thing Here

"Why Should It Be Somebody Elses Problem To Feed Them?"

This comment was posted on the 'Double Standard' thread below.  It's in reference to food stamp recipients.

One Stop Shopping

Here's a site that lets you know if local bloggers have posted anything new.  News on the Laredo blog app. for your phone will be forthcoming.

UPDATE:  The City of Laredo Public Information Liaison is still putting out info. on the happenings of one local, private, catholic school.

St. Peter’s Memorial School to Celebrate K-3, K-4 and Kindergarten Award, Promotion Ceremony

WHO: St. Peter’s Memorial School K-3 (3 year-olds),K-4 (4 year-olds) and K-5 (5-year old kindergarten) classes
WHAT: Award & Promotion Ceremony
WHEN & Monday, May 23, 2011 6:00 p.m.
WHERE: St. Peter’s Memorial School Cafeteria, 1519 Houston St.
WHY: The faculty and staff are pleased to recognize this year’s top students in K-3 and K-4 at the year’s annual award ceremony. Additionally, the K-5 students will have their official graduation ceremony, getting promoted from kindergarten to 1st grade.

Community Gardening

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Righteous Bucks



Que Fregados posts a story concerning parking meters.  Apparently Corpus Christi pulls in $150K in parking nickels and Laredo......wait for it.......$900K.  Wow.

That has to be a discrepancy.

Double Standard

I caught most of Extreme Couponing on TLC last night (don't judge me!) and I was amazed at the amount of groceries each shopper hauled off.  In one case, somebody got a ton of stuff and paid zero.  The guy ended up donating the items to charity.  Good thing.

But something that captured my attention, besides the free bounty, was that after each person's supermarket adventure, the narrator mentioned what each person took away in frozen pizzas, candies, sodas and sports drinks.  I have nothing against people buying these products, but at no time were fruits and vegetables mentioned.  Nobody ever said, we save so much on groceries that it leaves us money to buy healthier options.

This is significant because it highlights the way consumers are drawn in, and how we react to market forces.  We are so quick to criticize those who buy pizzas and chips with food stamps, but marvel and emulate those who do the same with coupons.  Again, if people want to buy that stuff, more power to them, but we can't be outraged by the food purchases people make when that's what we've been conditioned to do.

If our state representative, Richard Raymond, wants to work on a bill that would prohibit people from using food stamps to buy chips, sodas, and frozen pizzas, who am I to stop him?  But him justifying his position by pointing to the obesity problem our youth is faced with is myopic and biased.  He may be able to get poor people off of Twinkies, but then how do you handle the rest of the populace that is hunkering down on nothing but steak?

Those who are fortunate enough to pay for their own meals might get a tongue-lashing from their doctors for being obese.  But who goes to the doctor on a regular basis?  Hell, people don't like to take high blood pressure medication; I figure they see that as a sign of weakness.  So how are they going to start eating broccoli when Quarter Pounders taste so much better?  

More Arrests


Three men were arrested for dumping building materials near a park in south Laredo.  One of those arrested is a city employee who claimed that he had gotten permission from his supervisor to dump the debris. 

The park supervisor denied giving the men permission.

This is not the first time somebody has been charged with illegally dumping old construction materials at sites throughout the city.  Dumping of this stuff, and tires, branches, furniture, etc., speaks more of the lack of recycling services Laredo has to offer.

All of these materials could be reused if properly treated.  Those cement plaques the men discarded could be used by people who indeed have problems with erosion.  Does anybody know if construction materials just end up in the local landfill?

Recycling projects can be large or small.  Take a look at the video of a man who processes hard debris and sells it back to the community.  There's money to be made here but nobody has taken the lead.  And for that we have men going to jail.

Aldo Tatangelo Would Roll Over In His Grave


El Manana reports on the state of the Aldo Tatangelo Parkway, the tribute to one of Laredo's former mayors.  The site is littered with beer bottles, trash, and graffiti.  And bar patrons with full bladders freely make use of the walkway by adding an aromatic feature for those curios enough to pass by.

The writer describes the pathway, which cost more than $300,000, as an attraction for visitors.  It was supposed to bring attention to one of Laredo's most notable figures.  Instead the area has been taken over by vagrants, and is hard to maneuver through at night, what with all the visible drunkards who like to leave their bottles strewn about.  

Perhaps it's time to think of another way to honor Aldo Tatangelo.

Friday, May 20, 2011

The Macho Man

Another wrestler has been taken before his time. Iconic wrestling star, Randy "Macho Man" Savage was killed today in a car wreck in Seminole, Florida.

Randy had been around for a long time. And, sort of like Hulk Hogan, he transcended the genre and made his way into pop culture, starring in the original Spiderman movie and becoming the spokesperson for Slim Jim Beef Jerky.

Many Laredoans will mourn his passing.

Another Ship Of Fools

Who knew that adults could say and do the stupidest things?  We were treated to a nice helping of dumb this week, courtesy of the Chamber of Commerce.  Their suggestion to remove Nuevo Laredo from highway signs didn't sit well with the natives; And for that they got our wrath.

Now another group of men are making total asses out of themselves by defending the former IMF chief after he was accused of sexually assaulting a woman.  One of his defenders is Ben Stein, the monotone teacher from Ferris Bueller's Day Off.  He was great in the movie, but who would've guessed that he was a d-bag all along?

Ben Stein offers this defense for the accused gentleman:  economists aren't known for sexual assault.

 

Strong Views


Repubs and Tea Party types (one and the same) are usually outspoken folks, but I've never quite known them to plaster tons of bumper stickers on their cars.

UPDATE:  The sticker in the middle says, "Get a job, work hard, pay your taxes, Welfare depends on it."

Big Brother

There's a reason people record on duty officers.
As USA Today reported under the headline "Police brutality cases on rise since 9/11," situations "in which police, prison guards and other law enforcement authorities have used excessive force or other tactics to violate victims' civil rights increased 25 percent" between 2001 and 2007. Last year alone, more than 1,500 officers were involved in excessive force complaints, according to the National Police Misconduct Statistics and Reporting Project.
When I capture the work of police officers, it's more for documentation than accusation.

Backlash


That was quick.  Just as the Chamber of Commerce (and Mayor Salinas) easily influenced the Dept. of Transportation to delete some wording from southbound signs, so did the public's outcry, but this time to include the city of Nuevo Laredo and its distance for drivers approaching the 956 area code.

I want to congratulate the Pro8news blog for being so influential.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Jose No Longer In Favor

What are Hispanics naming their children?
Not Angel, Juan, Luis, Diego or Jesus. They, too, remain among the 100 most popular boys’ names, but collectively, the number of babies with those names also declined in 2010 compared with the year before. Not Fernando or Jorge, either. (Angel ranked 42nd last year compared with 37th the year before.)
Getting away from naming your child Jose has a lot to do with assimilation, but I think most parents also want something unique, something that will stand out amongst the masses. 

Hypocrisy


A journalist chimes in on Laredo's decision to leave out Nuevo Laredo from highway signs.

...Entonces ¿Tengo o no razón cuando digo que los funcionarios texanos son una bola de hipócritas y se dan el abrazo en las fiestas de George Washington a mitad de puente? !Claro no todos piensan igual!,,,, QUE TRISTEZA ME DA RICK PERRY, MIGUEL CONCHAS Y UN AGACHON COMO RAUL SALINAS....... BORRAR EL NOMBRE DE NUEVO LAREDO ..Como si en Laredo Texas, no existe corrupción, funcionarios vendidos, policías corruptos, e inseguridad....!!POR FAVOR!!

He calls out city officials as being hypocrites, and reminds readers that Laredo has the same problems as Nuevo Laredo, such as corruption, bribed officials, crooked law enforcement officers, and safety issues.


No debate here.

Que Fregados has an excellent post up which includes comments from the mayor of Nuevo Laredo.
 

Elitist Tag

I don't like people labeling democrats as elitist, but this doesn't help:
ZAFFIRINI: Rick Perry doesn’t understand higher education. He doesn’t have a graduate degree, and he graduated a long time ago with a major in something like agriculture. I have a PhD, so I understand the value of research and teaching. He just doesn’t understand it. In the legislature, we’re used to dealing with regents who love their universities, who bleed orange or red or whatever their colors. These new regents appointed by Perry don’t seem to have any school spirit. They seem suspicious and cynical. They haven’t taken time to understand what the status quo is; they just want to change it.


Hijole!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Get Your Grill On

The police chief gave city council an update on the department's efforts to patrol and cite those people who cook out on apartment balconies.  Fire inspectors work from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays.  Cookouts, it was noted, don't take place during those hours.  So the city manager made a suggestion.  Take a look.

Municipal Band


Had a good time playing with the band the other night.  I missed a couple of marks but it's good to dust off my old sticks.

Laredo Forsaking Its Own



When David Barkely Cantu joined the military during World War I, he kept his Hispanic surname a secret in order to fight alongside Anglo recruits.  He didn't want to be relegated to perform the menial tasks that minorities were assigned to.  He wanted to fight for his country to prove his worth.  Now as the City of Laredo hides its relation to Nuevo Laredo by deleting our Sister City's name from road signs leading into town, it's doing something akin to what Barkly Cantu did, except its inspiration is more cynical than anything.

No longer will you see the distance to Nuevo Laredo posted on signs when travelling south on I-35.  You can thank the Laredo Chamber of Commerce for that.  Apparently they were the ones who suggested the move to the Texas Dept. of Transportation.  And, of course, they obliged.  Meanwhile, Mayor Raul Salinas tries to save face by suggesting that this was all the D.O.T.'s doing.
It's a decision that TxDot made, and obviously, we respect their decision.  It's a family, you know, that's not divided but united by a river, and we keep that in mind.  Obviously, they're going through some difficult times.
      
It's a family.  Sure.  Nuevo Laredo, we're just going to hide you in the attic while we have some company over.  The mayor's comments are not surprising.  It would be awkward if the mayor owned up to the city's real intentions and then have to greet Nuevo Laredo officials at bridge II during the abrazo ceremony, not to mention all the other festivities area politicos partake in. 

Que Fregados takes issue with the cost of this highway sign project.  And Bordertown Blues alludes to our identity crisis.  Personally, I couldn't think of a more undignified thing to do.  And for what?  For personal gain.  For tourism dollars.  The city could've addressed potential visitors' concerns with PSAs posted on their website.  The mayor could've put his homely mug on video to welcome and reassure bird watchers, kayakers, and fishing enthusiasts to town.  But instead our leaders have chosen a different tact.

To equate the city's actions with David Barkely Cantu is wrong.  No, what Laredo, TX is doing resembles the plot of the movie "The Birdcage."  The cast has to send Albert (the flamboyant partner of the club owner) away to make a good impression on the son's future in-laws.  This movie gives us laughs while exposing character flaws in a couple of the cast members.  Unfortunately life is imitating art in our instance.

This issue might not create much of a controversy since few people are engaged with the happenings of Laredo.  But we might see some reaction from Nuevo Laredo leaders.  They might be alright with all of this, but that doesn't give the city a pass to be acting like fools.   

UPDATELaredoTejas is not amused as well.

     

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Off In Style

Laredo International Airport to Host Beach Party Send-Off for Orlando-Bound Passengers
Inaugural Allegiant Air flight will send off passengers in style

WHO:             City of Laredo Mayor Raul G. Salinas and the Laredo City Council
                        Laredo International Airport Administration and Advisory Board
                       
WHAT:          Beach party send-off for Allegiant Air passengers on inaugural Orlando-bound flight, including a water canon spray as flight taxies off

WHEN &       Friday, May 20, 2011                         6:00 p.m.

Oh gawd!  

Aren't these people always complaining about the locals going to spend their money elsewhere?  I'm getting mixed messages if they are going to send off these passengers with a big celebration.  Quien los entiende? 

Your Message Not Important If It Bores Me

This letter to the editor is not so much a doozy as it is a mild stinger:
County Attorney should remember she works for people of Webb County

By
Published: Tuesday, May 17, 2011 1:23 AM CDT
To the editor:
In regards to the article written by Denise Blaz that was published in Laredo Morning Times on May 6, 2011, entitled “Family sues in jail death,” the article stated that she had made several repeated calls to Webb County Attorney Anna Laura Cavazos Ramirez.
Well, Ms. Blaz should not feel like the “Lone Ranger.”
I also called the county attorney four times and left a voice mail to return my calls and to this day she has yet to return one.
I then had two attorney friends call her twice, each to no avail.
Cavazos must have a bad memory because she has obviously forgotten that she works for the people of Webb County and that we pay her salary.
All I can say is remember this on the next election day and vote.
By the way, if you leave her a voice mail, this is what you hear: “You’ve reached Anna Cavazos Ramirez, Webb County attorney, please leave a detailed message after the tone.
I will return your call as soon as I can. If you do not leave me a detailed message, I will assume your message is not important.”
I thought all calls and people of Webb County are important, but I guess she feels differently.
Signed,
Buddy Bruni
(Emphasis mine)
I know that public officials are notorious for not answering or returning calls, but I think this is a cue to have all elected officials' cell phone allowances revoked.

New Music Tuesday

Moby is influenced greatly by David Bowie.  And in listening to this new release off of his new album, "Destroyed," I can't help but hear hints of Bowie's "Ashes To Ashes."  Ashes to ashes.  I think that's wording included in the fire department's drought contigency plan. 



Oh, Happy Birthday to Trent Reznor and George Johnson.

Solar Energy For Laredo

I came across an article on the Huffington Post yesterday about Lowe's and Sungevity joining forces to provide the public with solar power systems for their homes.  Unfortunately this service is currently available only on the west coast.  Nevertheless, it's reassuring because solar power is getting closer to being more accessible to the public. 

One feature that I found interesting is that consumers can get an iQuote at the Sungevity website.  A person simply enters his/her address and an estimate and an installation rendering is provided through the use of satellite images.  Cool stuff.

Locally, we've had some residents take advantage of solar power.

 

Once Lowe's offers this service in Laredo, we'll know that it's a viable option for lessening our dependence on foreign fossil fuels.

How much this would dig into energy companies' contributions to Henry Cuellar is unknown, but it's worth looking into.

The Plaza Theater


Uh-oh.  This place may become a pool hall. 

Monday, May 16, 2011

Movin'


This car blends in nicely with the palm trees in the background.  I just don't know how the wood bumpers (2x4s) fit into all this.

Lewd

KGNS reported this morning that some beer run attendants at an establishment on Zapata Hwy were ticketed for performing lewd acts in public, and one employee was cited for ID fraud.  Pro8news has no footage of the story available on their website.

KLDO, meanwhile, reports that Papi Chulos employees were also cited for lewd behavior.  One female was arrested for theft.  And the thong patrol is officially on the job.

UPDATE:  KLDO has the footage of the girls on Zapata Hwy.  And apparently after the tickets were issued, they continued with the suggestive dancing.  Does somebody need to send them a memo?   It's funny how they closed the door to the establishment once they found out they were being filmed.



 

Meeting At City Hall Tonight

Mayor wants drought plan from fire dept.

By ANDREW KREIGHBAUM
Laredo Morning Times
Published: Monday, May 16, 2011 1:08 AM CDT
Laredo received more welcome rainfall for the second time in a week on Sunday.
But at today’s City Council meeting, Mayor Raul Salinas will ask for an update of measures taken by the Laredo Fire Department in response to ongoing drought conditions.

I think the mayor is looking at the wrong people.  He should be talking to staff at public works, code enforcement, and solid waste to take care of all the trash, branches, tires, and pallets scattered around the barrios.  Take care of those fire hazards and let the fire department do whatever it is they do.

UPDATE:  I've emailed the city about this pile of branches in my neighborhood.  That was several weeks ago.

Not Keeping Veterans Happy

A Vietnam Veteran wrote in recently to the LMT Op/Ed page complaining about city officials not attending a veterans ceremony on April 30, 2011.  He figured since this wasn't an election year, local politicians didn't have any incentive to go out and pay tribute to our fighting heroes.  Now we have another veteran taking issue with the Veterans Coalition.  Check it out. 
Former Veterans Coalition committee officer speaks out on what he sees as irregularities

To the editor:
As the past Senior Officer of the Laredo Veterans Coalition’s Executive Committee, I feel a moral obligation to report what I see as the improper use of public funds, which should be going to indigent veterans.
After many requests to the chairman and the executive director of the LVC regarding financial expenditures, budgetary allowances and the bylaws, I was refused access to these documents.
Several other members of the organization also have not succeeded in obtaining those documents, which should be accessible to members.

Finally, after filing requests for public information about the LVC’s finances, the City of Laredo and Webb County provided the information.
Many of us were angered when we discovered that most of the Webb County funds are earmarked for what I see as excessive staff salaries while elderly and incapacitated veterans are getting scraps.
The staff is often absent, the office often closed, and the executive director does not bother to return calls to veterans who want to request services.
Last month, elections were held that did not meet Robert’s Rules of Order, which the LVC bylaws require.
The agenda was not posted 72 hours prior to the meeting; in fact, we did not get it until a few hours before the meeting started.
The City of Laredo and Webb County should stop funding the Coalition until it has its house in order, in accordance with the bylaws and other requirements.

As a nonprofit organization, the Coalition has strict laws to which it must adhere.
The IRS will not allow a tax deduction for people who give monies through donations and fundraisers to a nonprofit organization that is not in compliance with federal statutes.
The sad situation is that a group of, yes, scoundrels, have taken control of the LVC and are using resources to help themselves rather than doing more to support veterans with medications, food expenses, utilities and burial expenses.

Signed,
Richard R. Rosell


It's the lack of communication, lack of efficiency, and apathy that we've come to expect from certain circles in Laredo.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

City Biz


They've gotten beer run attendants to clean up their acts, but now comes the tough part of being a councilperson. 
Aleman said budget writers have put department heads on alert that they may be asked to reduce their budgets by uniform percentages and to have recommendations for cutbacks ready.  He said the city will strive to draft a budget without staff reductions or tax increases. 
Of course they have to make that clear: no tax increases.  What I would like to see is a ten percent cut from the actual city council meetings.  Perhaps they can skip the photo ops with every Tom, Dick and Harry and just get down to the business at hand.

Hydraulic Fracturing With Dr. Theo Colburn

The Safe Fracking Coalition made available to me a copy of "What You Need To Know About Natural Gas Production" by Theo Colburn, Ph.D.  Dr. Colburn details the activity of hydraulic fracturing in the state of Colorado.  The DVD is about 47 minutes long, but I've selected some clips that highlight the important aspects of drilling for natural gas through hydraulic fracturing, specifically, horizontal drilling.  Take a look.

Price Of The Pump

Why bother with drilling leases if it won't help lower the price of gasoline?
"There is practically nothing that Washington can do that would materially change the price of fuel in this country," said Raymond James analyst Pavel Molchanov, noting that the United States produces about 5 percent of the world's petroleum while consuming about 20 percent. "Given that imbalance, there is simply no policy shift that could plausibly come from the federal government that can significantly change that dynamic."
It's good that Obama wants to put an end to oil company subsidies; perhaps they can use those revenues to give the public tax incentives to buy hybrid cars.  

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Friday, May 13, 2011

Are We Back?

While the site was experiencing problems, I created a post on my other site.  Thanks to QueFregados for linking to it.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Not So Imposing Yesterday

Sometime before lunch yesterday I realized my mojo was gone.  I was uninspired with the news of the day and didn't feel like sharing anything with anybody.  However, not posting anything felt quite liberating, even though a sense of guilt came over me.

I could've talked about Arnold's and Maria's break-up, but I shouldn't have wasted my time on such trivialities since the world is going to end next week.

My Tuesday wasn't all that bad.  I got in a good workout; my heart rate went up to 155.  I saw a cement trail being built near the Haynes Rec. Center on Clark Blvd.  The trail looks like it goes under the bridge, along the Chacon Creek.  And "The Good Wife" episode was really good.  A downside was that I learned that comedian Marc Maron will be in San Antonio this weekend and I won't be able to make it out there.  I'll have to settle for his podcasts.  

Anyway, Gang Gang Dance released a new album yesterday.  At least they did something.

Reform For Immigrants

Leaders, others: We need reform

By Andrew Kreighbaum
Laredo Morning Times
Published: Wednesday, May 11, 2011 5:12 AM CDT
Mehnaaz Momen said the problems of immigration reform became personal in 2009 when a star student at Texas A&M International University neared graduation.
Momen, an associate professor of public administration, said the student was able to pursue a higher education in the United States despite being an undocumented immigrant.
She attempted to find financial assistance for the student to pursue graduate studies, but he was forced to return to Mexico City, where he was born.

Raising the minimum wage, passing a watered down version of health care reform, and killing the leader of America's worst enemy should pump up morale for the Obama administration, but immigration reform is not going to happen.  The president is just going through the motions in the lead-up to next year's election, and he has to appear to be doing something about one of his 2008 campaign pledges.

How Raul Salinas fits into all this is beyond me.  I really don't know what kind of input he would have on the matter since he's never heard how his constituency really feels about undocumented immigrants.  He's just up there in El Paso offering up the same platitudes as Obama and posing for pictures.

Monday, May 9, 2011

CAA Worries

County officials are waiting for the official word from the state on how contractors will be paid for weatherization work done to residential homes.  More and more it looks like the county is going to have to pay the contractors out of their own pockets, i.e. our own tax money.  And for what?  Via the LMT (A. Kreighbaum):
Five contractors are demanding more than $409,000 in payments for weatherization work.

Of the files reviewed by inspectors, 34 lacked even basic applications for weatherization services.
Others lacked required assessments before and after weatherization work was completed.
Inspectors also found work completed at many of the homes to be deficient.
An insurance policy the county has may not help in this case.
But administrative services director Cynthia Mares said the county’s policy says the company pays only for a direct loss, including damage to funds or property resulting from theft by an employee.
Get ready to pay, Webb County.

Old Show Coming Back

I just found out that 120 Minutes will be returning to the MTV lineup.  Actually it will be on MTV2, but that's OK.  For those unfamiliar with the show, it was a two-hour alternative music video extravaganza that aired late at night on Sundays.  If a band was featured on 120 Minutes, it probably wasn't played on the radio.  Take for instance this cool video.



120 aired every week.  Now it's going to be broadcast once a month.  If anything I'll tune in to see if, and how, the format changes.

Music is consumed so differently nowadays.  But for those who remember watching American Bandstand, Hee Haw, and Solid Gold, you'll appreciate the investment one had to make to check out your favorite music on t.v.  Luckily we have DVRs today that help us watch whatever we want whenever we want.  We don't have to stay up late to see the final credits of Head Bangers Ball, or record Casey Kasem on cassette tapes.

Again, music is readily available through so many venues today, but with a show like 120 Minutes, it can have some sort of identity rather than just floating aimlessly out in the intertubes.  This is good news for me.  It's made my week. 

Patrolling For Lewd Behavior

Law enforcement will be on the lookout for lewd acts occurring at beer runs starting today.  The ordinance that was passed by city council will now be enforced thanks to the work of some concerned citizens.  The girls employed at the beer runs will still be able to wear bikinis, but they will be watched for something else.
Activity or behavior that is purely sexual in nature and appeals to the sexual interests and no other purpose, really.  So it has to be something that's extreme, something that's off the charts, if you will.
Good luck to the cops who now have to be on bikini watch.  I foresee patrol cars stationed outside beer runs for hours on end. 

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mayor's Photo Op


Gawd bless the mayor for handing out flowers to hospitalized women on Mother's Day, but did he have to have the cameras rolling for it?  We get it; You're the 'people's mayor.'  The only problem is:  you're making a cynic out of me.

(Screen shot courtesy of Pro8news)

Life Goes On

Fights in NL kill several


Gas station burns after two attacks

By
Laredo Morning Times
Published: Sunday, May 8, 2011 7:02 AM CDT
Several people were killed and an undetermined number injured after two incidents Friday night and Saturday afternoon in Nuevo Laredo.

Federal authorities would not comment on the incidents.

A request for information submitted to Mexico’s defense ministry, SEDENA, was not returned as of press time.

Not a good story to lead with on Mother's Day but it's unavoidable.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Live Afternoon Thread

Blogging from Scolars Caffe in north Laredo.  Let's talk fracking.

Power Suit Photo Op


Earlier today, the City of Laredo was joined by federal officials and Mexican counterparts to officially inaugurate the new inspection lanes at World Trade Bridge, which will help to reduce waiting times, facilitating trade and commerce for not only the United States and Mexico, but also, Latin America and beyond.

(photo and caption courtesy of City of Laredo)

Andale, Gustavo.  Come get in the picture.


No, I'll just wait over here.


Gustavo, andale!


Well, I'll just hold the ribbon over here.


Look at the camera, Gustavo!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Beyond Blah






These public squares are located just north of bridge 2.  Everything looks old and tired.  The potential for these areas is huge.  But city government, like the public, has become complacent and let these properties just go to waste.





This area might look different once the downtown revitalization project gets under way.  But if we know one thing about local projects, it's that they tend to drag. 

What To Do This Weekend


Head on over to Old No. 2 for some indie rock courtesy of B Live Promotions.

If comic books are more your liking, check out Legacy Comics at 5901 McPherson.  They are going to be celebrating FreeComicBookDay tomorrow from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Tire recycling will also be available.  See sidebar.

Getting back to the subject of music, the Houston Chronicle featured a list of Wussy Bands.  Of course, the list includes some of my favorites groups, such as The Cure, The Shins, and Milli Vanilli.  These bands are more thoughtful in terms of songwriting, and they might be the ones who might lose in a fistfight, but that doesn't mean that I'm going to stop listening to REM.  So what if they're a bit melancholy?  So is Bruce Springsteen (another favorite).  The only difference is that he's got the triceps to flaunt.

Have a good weekend, y'all. 

UPDATE:  suggested link from reader in comments section.  (Rush music video)

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Good Advice



The location looks familiar.  

Laredo Municipal Band Concert Coming Up


As far as I know, there is no charge for this event. 

Energy

Of course Henry Cuellar is going to vote to keep tax breaks for oil companies in place; He's from Texas after all.  Republicans want to drill away and they're not about to upset their big corporate donors.

Gasoline prices, meanwhile, are straining our own budgets.  I'm told that international instability, world demand, and acts of Nature influence oil production and prices.  At the same time, I'm told that drilling shale for natural gas lessens our dependence on foreign fuel.  Yet, it hasn't happened.  Fracking has been carried out for some time and the price of gasoline has steadily gone up; And so have oil company profits. 

Breakfast And Lunch Specials


A local restaurant will have a viewing of Francis Ford Coppola's classic, The Godfather.  While there, you can enjoy the fine food.....Just a moment.....(Keyrose adjusts his earpiece)...I'm just getting word that this establishment is using the images from the movie and passing them off as their own.  Uh.  

Here's Tom with the weather.

Making Up For Losses

School districts are raising money by selling ad space on school buses.  It's estimated that this could bring in $21,000 a month.  Righteous bucks.  And it seems to be catching on as more and more districts across the state look for new revenue streams. 

What I want to know is when our school districts are going to jump in. 

I can see it now:  LaSanbe's logo riding high on LISD's buses as they traverse our barrios.  Or better yet, who do I have to talk to about hanging up a LaSanbe banner at the new Shirley Field?  Not a big sign, just a standard issue banner on the side of the press box. 

Here's another idea, LISD:  Charge a fee for a week's top billing on your campuses marquee.  Or something like this:

REPORT CARD NIGHT APRIL 17TH

SPONSORED BY LASANBE.COM

Huh, huh?

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Xeriscaping: Laredo, Texas

When locals think about native, drought-tolerant  plants, they think of a limited array of bland shrubs at their disposal; But that might not be totally their fault.  For the most part, local nurseries don't carry a wide selection of plants to plan for a xeriscape garden.  Nevertheless, in recent years I've seen some water-wise landscape layouts that take our climate and water needs into account.  Enjoy.



This landscape is located at the Children's Advocacy Center.






The mesquite tree is taken for granted but it has a unique character.  Apart from the shade it provides, it can be useful as a supplier of grilling wood once more mature.





The sage bushes are a little too manicured for my taste.  The people who tend this garden could let them get a bit shaggy.

May The 4th Be With You

Hey, Obama's got more important things to tend to.  He doesn't have time to worry about Texas wildfires.

Oh, wait.....

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Writer Chimes In On New Ordinance


This shot appeared on the back cover of LaTarde today.  Staff knows how to market the paper to the public.  On the newstand, instead of having the front page facing up, they had the back of the paper up for customers to take notice of this story.  Well played, La Tarde.

Bordertown Blues has made mention of La Tarde's MO before, but I simply read it for its articles.






Laredo Roadside Blogger


This entry is plain and to the point, not as colorful as his other offerings.  Its simplicity, however, alludes to the crisis being experienced in our sister city.

New Music Martes

We've got some interesting releases today.  In the I-haven't-heard-that-name-in-a-while category, Uriah Heep has a new album out.  Last week, Spicy Mustache posted on the new Fleet Foxes record.  And the Beastie Boys are still belting out the funky beats.  But today I have to give it up for one of my favorite female singers of all time, Stevie Nicks.  Is it too late for me to book her for my birthday party?

Oh man, if I could book Stevie Nicks to play Laredo, I would have her perform at Life Downs.  And I would put her up at the best room La Quinta has to offer.  Her dressing room would be catered with the best Taco Palenque, excuse me, Palenque Grill buffet available.  If she had time to sightsee, I would take her to the, uh..........to the........uh.  Well, she could rest before the show.  That would probably be for the best. 

(Keyrose gazes up at the sky) 

In Thongs We Thrust



Last night, city leaders voted overwhelmingly to take a strong stance against lewd acts committed in plain sight, namely at beer run drive-thrus.  This after the public nagged made their case to city hall for the better part of a year, if not more.  Of course, this swift response is what we've come to expect from city hall.  (See Haynes Center post below)

Newbie Councilman Esteban Rangel led the charge in the latest fight against the beer run girls' dancing style.  The Rangel Rule is now the law of the 78040 land.
As soon as they start dancing against each other, you know, uh, uh, humping the ground, uh, the pole or stuff like that, that's when we're going to be able to start fining.
Mark, and remember.  From this day forth, Laredo will truly be a wholesome community.  And beer runs will have to depend on actual beer to lure their customers inside.  Oh, how will they ever survive?

 

Parks And Trails

The LMT reported today that the Haynes Recreation Center will open as soon as June.  This news come from talks held at last night's city council meeting. 
The center will include indoor and outdoor running tracks, an aquatic center, tennis courts, a basketball court and soccer fields that can be used for outside activities.  The city has planned Haynes as the centerpoint of new hike and bike trails on Chacon Creek.
The Chacon Creek bike trail project was started in early 2005.  And I talked to then Councilman Garcia about the opening of the Haynes Center which was scheduled to be open in April of last year.

Maximiliano takes issue with the fact that staffing, and funding for the center, is still up in the air, even though it could open in one month.

By the time the bike trail that's supposed to connect TAMIU with LCC south is completed, I won't be able to ride a bike anymore. 

Monday, May 2, 2011

Late Mondy Night Thread

Not feeling so imposing at this moment.

City Council Meets Tonight

Andrew Kreighbaum writes for the LMT today:
City Council will also vote on three resolutions authorizing the city manager's office to submit three grant applications to the Federal Aviation Administration for $5.8 million in federal funds.  The grants would fund runway realignment, rehabilitation of the airport ramp and improve engineered materials for runway safety.  The city would provide $290,000 in matching funds for those improvements.
The airport must get a lot of wear and tear, but it has been helped along recently.  From nine months ago:
With this funding, the Laredo International Airport has received an unprecedented total of $36.474 million in federal funds within the last 18 months.
And we know the airport has gotten plenty of funding because we have the photo ops to prove it.

I haven't seen any progress on the Chacon Hike and Bike Trail but the airport is certainly flush with moolah.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Donald's Apprentice Circus Interrupted

In another display of anti-capitalism, Barack Obama interrupted prime time t.v. to notify the world that Osama bin Laden had been killed.  Showoff. 

The story is that a fire fight took place somewhere in Pakistan.  LaSanbe has obtained footage of that event.  Take a look.

Casa Blanca Golf Course Improvements

Today's topic on KGNS' Issue 8 covered the ongoing work at the old municipal golf course located near Lake Casa Blanca.  Rudy Gonzalez joined Pro8news to discuss some of the changes that have taken place.

Not Good For County (Us)

Bad weather work at CAA


Pay uncertain for most of $400K of work

By Andrew Kreighbaum
Laredo Morning Times
Published: Sunday, May 1, 2011 5:36 AM CDT
Inspectors from the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs are likely to recommend that Webb County not reimburse contractors for any homes pending payment under the weatherization assistance program.