Saturday, June 29, 2013

This Is Art And Nothing Else

Marfa, TX has the concrete cube art installation.  Cool.

The Chacon neighborhood has the round, concrete cylinder art project.

It's a thing, really it is.

Maybe it needs a little upkeep.

Friday, June 28, 2013

This Day In 2009

LaSanbe and several area bloggers were featured in the Laredo Times.  A glorious day for what would become BOLAS.  Thank you, Jason Buch.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Women's Rights

The Texas senate put on a good show the other night as democrats fought the GOP's efforts of trying to pass a restrictive abortion bill.  But a vote also occurred at the U.S. House recently that sought to limit the time a woman can have an abortion.  In some cases, a woman wouldn't be allowed to have the procedure after 20 weeks.  And Henry Cuellar said okay.  It would be interesting to know if he'll be asked about it at the town hall meeting he has scheduled this Saturday morning in Bruni, TX.

After SB5 died in our state senate, Filibustering Wendy Davis became a political star.  Leticia Van de Putte also got some acclaim for a statement she made during the senate fight:  "At what point must a female senator raise her hand or her voice to be recognized over the male colleagues in the room?"

I thought it was fitting to see women fighting for women's rights.  We'll see if Davis and Van de Putte take center stage again next week since Governor Rick Perry called for another special session to start Monday, July 1st.  Back in the 956 hinterlands, we have the locals trying to make sense of abortion law.  I give you Louis Bruni.

We get the politicians we deserve.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

DJ Dumbass Does It Again

Media outlets have been busy covering several heavy issues.  One of the latest was yesterday's decision by the Supreme Court to remove an important provision from the Voting Rights Act.  Naturally, civil rights proponents saw this as an affront to the voting public, especially to minorities.  Our town idiot Jay St. John didn't think the decision was so egregious.  But what was more interesting was in the way that he expressed himself.

Here is the text he posted on his group's Facebook page.

Some grammatical errors here and there, nothing weird.  Not until you compare it with what Rush Limbaugh said.

Look for the passages that were ripped by Jay.  He changed a word here and there.

Jay's not only lazy, and dumb, but he obviously doesn't know the difference between right and wrong.

Don't plagiarize, boys and girls.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Where Were We?

I've always thought that women's issues should be discussed and settled by women, but what faith can I have in the process when airheads like Jodie Laubenberg don't put forth a valid effort concerning abortion?

On another note, I went to see the latest zombie movie release starring Brad Pitt.  I think the message was that you're supposed to prepare for the zombiepocalypse by stocking up on guns and ammo.

Did I mention that I'm available for voice-over work?

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Long Weekend Thread

I need to really cut down on my carb intake.  I don't think it's killing me, but it's not helping in my mid 40s.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Walls Between Us

The LMT's online front page features a shot of city leaders announcing their taking ownership of the old federal courthouse downtown.  Nothing special, but it reminds me of what a recent interviewee said of our local politicos, that they sit in their ivory towers and do as they please. 

City hall dwellers did a nice job of tucking themselves away from the common folk here.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Announcement Thread

WHAT:Official Deed Transfer of Old Federal Courthouse to City of Laredo
WHEN &       Friday, June 21, 2013             10:00 a.m.
WHERE:       Old Federal Courthouse front steps, 1300 Matamoros
That is all.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

It's HR 1797 Wednesday

Henry Cuellar voted for a more restrictive abortion bill (HR 1797).  Unfortunately he's all we've got.  Will wait for a press release on this new vote but I'm not holding my breath.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Employee Needs

LISD Board Trustee Jose Valdez Sr. wants the district to cover the upcoming health insurance premium increase for employees.  Staff is looking at a 15 percent hike in the cost of continuing their health coverage.  Whether self-serving or not on the part of Mr. Valdez, it looks like he wants to help ease the burden that employees have to face.  The masses, judging from online message boards, view Valdez's move as a misappropriation of funds.  Apparently people have never heard of cost-of-living expenses. 

A curious passage in the LMT story is this:

For example, someone enrolled in the employee and family low plan would pay
$1,110 in monthly premiums, up from $849.
That’s if health insurance enrollment stays the same, a dubious prospect considering
the mandate of the federal Affordable Care Act that everyone be insured.
Higher enrollment would mean higher premiums.

Putting the numbers aside, it's curious how (the writer) school officials figure that scores of people will suddenly pour into the LISD health plan rolls.  And that that higher participation would be the reason for even higher premiums.

First of all, I find it hard to believe that LISD employees are currently going without health insurance.  And one talking point of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) is that the more people that join the ranks of the medically insured means that prices will go down for customers.  We'll definitely learn more about this issue as LISD grapples with its finances.

Monday, June 17, 2013

More With Les: Outlet Shoppes Edition 2013

I met with downtown businessman Les Norton this weekend to talk about the earth-shattering announcement the city made Tuesday concerning the private investment the Horizon Group is making on the old River Drive Mall.  He stressed that the outlet project is a private venture that the city has little control over.  The retail space downtown is owned by Horizon, and it wouldn't make sense for them to open an outlet mall elsewhere in Laredo when they have that property at their disposal, Mr. Norton commented.  A project of this magnitude wouldn't only be beneficial for downtown, but for the different taxing entities involved, especially LISD.  Mr. Norton challenges city hall to show him the list of improvements it has made in the past several years. 

I'll update this post later today with what Mr. Norton had to say about the matter.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Laredo Flooding 2013

The Chacon Creek Trail viewed from the S. Meadow bridge.

The same view this afternoon.  Water has backed up into the Chacon Creek because of the overflow the Rio Grande has experienced.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Share The Joy

A billboard along Zapata Hwy is calling motorists to stop in at any Stripes Store to pick up a 32 oz. soft drink for a buck.  As you see with many a roadside ad in Laredo and south Texas, the text included will also be shown in Spanish.  It's a common occurrence, one that we've probably learned to ignore.

I highlight this ad because we've taken offense, at one point in our lives, to the tactics used by corporations that cater to Mexican nationals.  We cringe when clerks address us in Spanish.  We lament the ubiquity of music with Spanish lyrics.  Gawd forbid someone should wave a Mexican flag around here; that'll send us into a tailspin.  Any type of sentiment that's directed towards the Hispanic culture we meet with disdain. 

I don't know why that is since we grew up going back and forth between English and Spanish with our friends and family.  We spent our leisure time in Laredo and Nuevo Laredo.  In my case, Tejano music, or polkas were never my cup of tea, but I was always there on the dance floor when Juana la Cubana was played during wedding receptions.  Yet, for some reason, people relate to me that Laredo has turned into 'Little Mexico,' or use the mocking refrain, "Con la pansa aqui, pero el corazon en Mexico" when talking about someone showing Mexican pride. 

I wanted to write about this because we support the likes of Sebastian delaCruz for singing the National Anthem but we chastise the culture he represents in wearing a charro costume.  The little boy got a lot of heat on Twitter for his performance.  People jumped on those making nasty comments towards him, labeling them racists.  I'm not saying we're racists, but I do wonder when it was that we became pussies.  When did we become so sensitive to Mexican culture when it's been so much a part of our lives?

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Beer Run Talk

The beer run activity isn't as flagrant as it used to be but people are still concerned about the image it portrays.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Downtown Laredo 2.0

Hearing the news of an outlet mall being built on the site of the former River Drive Mall is exciting.  But city leaders have to expect some skepticism from the masses, especially when so many things haven't panned out throughout the city.  Les Norton - someone who knows a thing or two about the history of downtown -should not be taken for granted.  His tenure as a businessman should've earned him some respect.  Instead we have Carlos Villarreal blowing him off and calling him "negative."

UPDATE on January 2, 2019.  Photo showing stores that used to make up River Drive Mall.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Things Eventually Come

Several days ago KGNS featured the hike and bike trail along the southern end of Chacon Creek.  This trail is part of a larger, outdoor amenity that's supposed to link the Santa Rita subdivision with TAMIU.  Unfortunately it's nothing new.  Four years ago I interviewed then-Councilman TITO!!! Garcia about the project.  Here we are now and people still don't know how to access the trail that's already there.

Nice job, Laredo.

Monday, June 10, 2013

99 Days Till Blog Anniversary

I saw "Promised Land," starring Matt Damon, this weekend.  The movie goes through the life of an energy company representative who is sent to a small, rural community with the goal of winning over the people on the benefits of leasing their land for natural gas exploration.  The movie touched on some of the politics involved within the corporate culture, and how that spills over into the communities in need of revitalization.  I think the story made some valid points in regards to land stewardship.  Some of the public concerns were played out overtly, but there was one scene that conveyed a subtle message about wealth.  Matt Damon gives a girl $1 for a homemade lemonade.  The young saleslady insists on giving him change for the 25-cent drink.  Contrived and cynical, perhaps, but nevertheless a worthwhile example for society.       

Thursday, June 6, 2013

French Open Thread

I like playing tennis more than I like watching it on t.v..  Nevertheless, clay court play makes for great background noise.

Today is the first official summer day off for LISD students.  Congrats to those who are graduating.  And who do I thank for not running the valedictorian/salutatorian t.v. promos every five seconds?  Gawd love 'em, but they were a little annoying after a while.

A couple of other local bloggers have been itching to conduct a blogging forum.  Count me in.  I want to set a tentative event date for July 4, 2013.  Place to be determined.  We'll offer tips, discuss possibilities and share anecdotes.  South Texas bloggers, unite!


Wednesday, June 5, 2013

My Oh My

They never learn.
The money is just too tempting.
Rodolfo Heredia, 54, pleaded guilty to one count of accepting a bribe, punishable by up to 10 years in prison, in a federal courtroom here.
UPDATE:  It's mostly going to be chit chat, and not so much challenging him on the ethics committee being ignored, and nepotism as it relates to him.

Come Meet Your Council Member On The Corner
Dist. VI Cm. Charlie San Miguel to meet with constituents to discuss district issues

WHO:           District VI Council Member Charlie San Miguel
                       City of Laredo Police Department
                       City of Laredo Traffic Department
                       City of Laredo Parks & Leisure Services Department

WHAT:         Meet to discuss ideas, concerns, plans
WHEN&       Thursday, June 6, 2013 from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
WHERE:      Exxon Speedy Stop, 7615 McPherson, corner of Del Mar &

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Tuesday Thread Blog Post

I saw Councilman Esteban Rangel on the news last night talking about a punch list like we're supposed to know what that means.

Not a big fan of viral videos or parent blogging, but this is cool.

Monday, June 3, 2013


I hadn't done a photographical (is that a word?) post in a while, but a certain bumper sticker provided some inspiration this weekend.
Along San Dario Ave. and Calton I noticed a peculiar sticker on a truck's tailgate.  It was of an Autobot.  For those unfamiliar with the Transformers franchise, the Autobots are the good (robot) guys who battle the evil Decepticons.  Enough background.  The sci-fi logo was altered, in this case with a religious bend.

Unfortunately this is as much as I can zoom in for the shot, but the caption beneath the mask says transformate, and a cross is embedded in the logo's brow.  A reference to Scripture is included as well.   

Here's an English version of the sticker.  It references Romans 12:2.

Here's the passage:

2 Do not conform1 any longer to the pattern of this world,2 but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.3 Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is4--his good, pleasing5 and perfect will.

I don't recall if this same quote was used on the truck sticker above, but the revised logo speaks volumes of the culture in Laredo. 

Not everyone speaks Spanish in Laredo, especially the younger generation, but the message is pretty clear.  The biblical reference is enough to get the point across, that is, if people have trouble understanding what transformate means.  In the Gateway City moreso, you'd expect to see things translated into Spanish.  That's not necessarily a bad thing, even though the locals would be quick to frown on the practice.

The sticker is a good example of many cultures colliding.  You have the Spanish influence.  There's the religious on top of the pop culture reference.  There's a call to rejoin the faith while taking liberties with copyrighted images.  The capper has to be, in my opinion, the spiritual melding with fantasy.  Can we at least acknowledge the irony in that?

In no way do I mean to mock the sticker's message, or its significance as it relates to our culture.  But it's not a trivial little piece of propaganda if you really think about it.