Tuesday, January 31, 2006

News for 1/31/06

RGV Life 1/31/06
Dell sending 5000 jobs to India. It's not suprising. Probably some people are bemoaning the loss of jobs in the U.S. Simple Economics, India has a competitive advantage to the U.S. They have highly skilled people who work for less. I saw the direction of Tech when I majored in Computer Science and CIS. There are jobs out there, but they are few and don't pay as much as they once did. STC, UTPA, and other colleges are churning out techs. That's why I decided to change to a business degree.

I started using show notes to keep discussion on track. Visit http://slmpublic.schtuff.com to see where I prepare for my podcast and blog entry. Wikis are pretty helpful for keeping track of and organizing information. I would recommend one to anybody interested in a simple to run website.

The Courtesy Bandit has been caught. This guy would go to motels and convenience stores and hold them up with a knife. The whole time, he was polite to the victim saying please and thank you.

Correta Scott King, RIP, died at age 78. I honestly don't know much about her other than a potrayal of her in a movie about Martin Luther King, Jr. No doubt she was influential in promoting equal rights to honor the legacy of Dr. King.

Good-bye to Alan Greenspan. He's been working since 1987. Only Fed Chairman I remember since the economy started interesting me. Raised interest rates today, but that's OK. He is replaced by Ben Bernanke. I don't know who this guy is, so I'll need to read up on him.

GW is prepping for 5th State of the Union Address. I don't want to even begin to guess what issues he will address. I'll just wait and see. I hope he scolds Republicans for trying to outspend the Dems.

Judge Samuel Alito has been sworn into his seat on the U.S. Supreme Court today. He is replacing Sandra Day O'Connor, who is known to have been the swing voter on the court. Alito and the previously confirmed John Roberts should put some stability on the bench. Both men are relatively young, so we have many years of service to expect. The more liberal justices will probably hang in there until George W. Bush leaves office, assuming another Republican does not win the presidency at the next election.
Hispanic Pundit
wishes him a long life.
Dos Centavos is worried. It's as though Sam Alito is going to waive his gavel and our lives will be changed overnight. You libs have to chill.

Sad news from Scott Henson at Grits for Breakfast. His dog Bud died. I'm sorry to hear that. It's always sad to lose a family member.

Valley Politics has posted information about the candidates for HD 38. The candidates are David Gonzalez, Eddie Lucio III, Alfredo Montano, and Arnie Olivarez. I too am not voting in that district. I'm guessing Lucio3 will win easily.

Jessica Reyes-Martinez may be on the ballot against Mando Martinez for District 39 after all. She was disqualified by Dem. Chairman Juan Maldonado when she failed to fill in her address completely in her application. She has not been green-lighted, but a Texas Supreme Court ruling put two Republican candidates on the ballot for the Court of Criminal Appeals on Monday despite what are called "questionable voter signatures". The stated reason for the decision is that the errors could be easily corrected, which is also the case of Reyes-Martinez. She is running out of time before the primary on March 7.

The Rio Grande Valley Veterans Alliance gained another 300 members seeking health benefits in the Rio Grande Valley at an awareness fair this weekend. The effort is geared to raising the awareness of Congress of the need for a Veteran's Hospital in the Valley. They are also shooting for 250,000 signatures of people supporting the movement. So far, 13,000 veterans have signed up for benefits. All vets are encouraged to apply even if they may not qualify.
For those that missed the last enrollment fair, another is scheduled for March and will continue every other month. To enroll, veterans are also encouraged to visit the Hidalgo County Veterans Service office, 100 E. Cano in Edinburg, or to call (956)
My dad is veteran who recently needed help from the VA and had to travel to San Antonio.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Drugs, Alito, and the Circus

Zeta drug dealer caught in Hidalgo. Whatever punishment he gets will be nothing compared to ratting out his gang. The problem of drugs, I think, is different from the problem with illegal immigration. A wall would not stop drugs, as pointed out by Scott Henson. It would curtail illegal immigration. Drug dealers won't smuggle people through their tunnels unless they're "cool". Nobody wants somebody getting deported to snitch on the tunnel's location. Immigrants don't have the time or money to tunnel. Drug dealers have both.

Samuel Alito was confirmed. Yay! Victoria Kos is freaking out; it's the end of the world for her. Hispanic Pundit has a point in stating that judges should not be for or against an agenda.

Even the circus is scamming us. What is the world coming to?

It's a pretty slow news day.

Multiple Items

I've decided to not moderate comments. I had originally moderated them because I kept getting comment spam. I've set up notifications for when somebody comments, which should make it easier to delete spam.

I'm still messing around with iTunes. It's not a great since I don't have an iPod. There are some good podcasts available. Last night, I found that Chris Bell has a podcast.

This morning's news has info about McAllen Mayor Richard Cortez's new project to build a mini central park in downtown McAllen.

Efforts to get County Clerk candidate Arturo Guajardo, Jr. in trouble for campaigning on the job have proved fruitless.

Finally, the Rio Grande Valley county Health Departments are facing a lack of funding to fight Tuberculosis. The lack of money is exacerbated by the presence of multiple drug resistant strains of TB that cost more to treat. This is a public danger that can slowly creep up on us. Read more about it here.

I learned the hard way that I can't piece together recordings and podcast them. It has to be recorded in one shot.

Just trying out a format for future podcasts. It's a bit silly. Topics: Vioxx case in Rio Grande City and press release by JD Salinas about Judge Garcia Holding indigent health care hostage.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Shaine thought you would be interested in this article.

Shaine thought you would be interested in this article.
Vioxx trial turning city of 12,000 into media ground zero

Please do not reply to this email as it is an unattended account.

I haven't decided what the podcasting will be about. This is just an experimental audio post that will also be podcast. You don't have to listen, it's just sample audio so I can get the hang of this.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Free at last!

Today was my last day at Confetti. I showed Amanda and Krystal, my co-workers, now former co-workers, how to do some of the stuff they will need to do to keep the store running. I think they will be OK. Krystal has three weeks before she has her baby, so she'll be out soon. Amanda will try to hang in there as much as possible.

Now, I am gainfully unemployed. Yay! What freedom. What joy. I will put off finding another job as much as I can. I just got my W2, so my wife and I will be filing our taxes and getting a big return because we are poor and have 2 children. If I cut my spending and she does too, I figure we have about 1 month before I have to start looking for work and 2 months before I have to land one. Of course, I can still do odd jobs here and there for cash.

My plans during this free time is to hang out with the family. My daughter goes to school, so I won't get to spend as much time with her as I will with the boy. I'll take anything I can get. So, I'm off to go watch Gone With the Wind with the Mrs. Good night.

Another Brick in The Wall

Another Brick in The Wall: After reading this... I don't know.

I'm going to tear into the Republicans on this one a little. It's admirable that you want to build a wall to keep out illegal immigrants. I agree that we should keep people from coming into the country illegally. If building a wall will slow them down, that's great. I do have to say that keeping people out for the sake of keeping them from "taking American jobs" is wrongheaded. In the years I spent working in the fields as a kid, both here, Indiana, west Texas, and Wisconsin, I never, ever saw a white person or a black person working beside us. We were all Mexicans or other than Mexicans. I can say this with some authority because we would work the fields from sun-up to sun-down every summer. The only "Americans" we saw were the farmers and their sons.

It ticks me off when Republicans complain about Mexicans taking American jobs. Shut the... up. We do need these immigrants to do these jobs because I'm not out there doing it anymore. It's hard work! I agree with George W's idea of a worker visa and a possible track to citizenship. We need this program for two reasons. The first is that the guest workers would do the jobs that need doing but many of us Americans consider beneath us. The second is because of the baby boom bomb that's about to hit Social Security. We are going to have 40 million baby boomers retire at about the same time. ERISA requires that they cash out their retirement plans and they will receive social security benefits. Add to that, they will be old and will qualify for the new Medicare drug coverage. What makes politicians (including you, Republicans) think that I will want to have my taxes raised to pay for this? No way. We need immigrants to work and pay taxes. The wall along the border could stop them, sure. But, it would also hit our economy below the belt. Can you say huevos on the Internet? Well, I guess I just did. We need workers, we need the tax base.

Republicans need to get their act together on this one because I'm not going to stick around otherwise. London, baby! My family and I are going to the second most free country in the world, England if a guest worker program is not implemented. We'll be back after the baby boomers die off.

www.DosCentavos.net: Sheehan for Senate?


This is the problem the Democratic party is facing today, people like Cindy Sheehan. In my opinion, when our current baby boomers were younger, they discovered that if they cry bloody murder about a cause, people will give in to their demands just to make them shut up. Since the sixties, the playbook hasn't changed much. I see it happen over and over again. The baby boomers aren't the ones doing it anymore, now the baby boomers are the ones in power. But there are Cindy Sheehans, pro-abortionists, environmentalists, anti-free traders, and other whacked out groups on the left all screaming bloody murder for their pet causes. It's an old play, but it draws press.

On the right, all you can possibly label as extreme is the "religious right" whenever a whack job decides to blow up abortion clinics. There is no "cut tax right", small government right, kill the forests right, kill the minorities right, or sell America out right. There is just the right and the religious right. There is some solidarity amongst the constituency.

On the left, on the other hand (the left one perhaps?), each one of the extreme groups wants the limelight for their own cause. The Democratic party is not a united party of like-minded people. It's a union of somewhat-along-the-same-lines minded people. I'll say this very clearly. The only thing holding the Democrats together is that they are against Republicans and George W. Bush in particular.

The best way I would characterize the party is this. Republicans stand for tradition, personal responsibility, a strong country, and just being left alone. Democrats are the complete antithesis. Tradition is bad. If it's traditional, it's no good; it's homophobic, anachronistic, bigoted, oppressive, and evil. You are not responsible for what you do, it's society's fault. We should not impose our values upon others; it's ok if they live in dictatorships that rape women, kill with the slightest provocation, starve their people, oppress freedom of expression, and many other atrocities because it's their culture. Furthermore, it's Government's job to interfere with your life as much as possible. Those are your values if you are anti-Republican.

There is salvation for you Dems, however. All you have to do is stand for something other than Anti-Republican. Give us a reason to vote for you and maybe we'll vote for you. Don't make out the Republicans to be evil incarnate; you don't believe in God so why believe in Evil? You can't run your lives by being anti-republican. Dems are going too far left and still tilting. I think, the best thing for the Republicans at this time would be for Cindy Sheehan to be elected. She is so, so out of touch with the majority of Americans and stands for nothing except being anti-George W. Bush, that she would drive people right in droves. She is the epitome of where the Dem party is headed, a conglomeration of single-issue campaigners.

We know we can count on Cindy, on behalf of all Democrats, to vote against military appropriations, military excursions, intelligence, and anything that might get anybody killed. If she gets voted in, she'll have Democrat written all over her. Do Dems really want to have our military, who are giving their time, effort, and even their lives to defend the country against them? This is not Vietnam. There is no draft. Those people over there volunteered, many of them more than once. Furthermore, these soldiers have families who will remember this.

Being that I am conservative, let me encourage you to get Cindy Sheehans elected into office. These radicals are a blessing for the Republican Party. She most of all will keep the issue alive in the eyes of voters. If Dems had just kept quiet about the war effort, Americans would have forgotten about 9/11 and lost interest. However, by raising question after question about the effort, it keeps the issue alive. This is exactly what George W. Bush needs.

Friday, January 27, 2006

To Podcast or Not to Podcast

I just added a link to the sidebar that looks like

That is the address to download audio for RGV Life. I have it there, but it's empty. I haven't yet decided if I should actually post audio. I'm not certain what format it should take. Should I read my blog entries? Should I conduct it like a radio show? Should I just delete the button and forget it ever happened? The podcasts would be awesome for posting class lectures, if you were all in my class.

Another thing I could do is post each entry directly onto my entries like in the past. Actually, I can do both. I found out that I can call in the blog entry and then push it into the podcast. Hmm. Let me think about it.

Almost free

Tomorrow will be my last day to work at Confetti, the party store where I work in McAllen. I was given a choice, be happy or quit. So I'll be free and happy on Monday. I was offered the opportunity to get out today, but there are some things I need to do to make sure they are all squared away. There is so much of me in that store after three years of working there that I want to prepare my likely successor with last minute details so she won't struggle. Confetti is the last vestige of my struggle to support my family. With my wife earning more than me, I'm just struggling for nothing. So, back to school.

I was just talking to my wife about my decision. She has been very supportive of me going back to school for my degree. She is also supportive of my decision to leave the store; she says I should have done that two and a half years ago. I guess I'm kinda slow. Alma began to worry today at lunch time as I have always had a job since we got married. The more she thought about it, she realized we'll be fine.

Besides, I plan on doing some odd jobs for money. I have a crazy plan on going door to door offering my computer repair services. Lots of times you don't want to call a tech for a computer problem that is mostly annoying because it's gonna cost you an arm and a leg. The problem may not be annoying enough to unplug the computer and take to somebody either. So, if I just show up, fix those kinds of problems for $20, I win, the customer wins. Gardeners used to have routes like that, they were called itinerant gardeners. That's roughly how I want to implement it. I figure, the worst that could happen is I lose some weight from all the walking and $20 for the business cards.

I also learned in class yesterday that attorneys can always use a process server. These are the people who knock on your door and tell you that you've been sued. Of course, some people may be irritated and take it out on you, which is no different from day to day customer service.

I also used to do handywork. I've got a friend who called me recently with a lead for a lady looking for a handyman to fix houses she's selling. I passed it up because of my still present job.

It's sad to me that so many people complain that there are no jobs. The truth is, there is plenty of work and plenty of opportunity to make money if you look. College does give you professional skills, but it also teaches you to be an employee rather than an independent person. If you can't find a job, make one for yourself in the meantime. Yes, I am going to college to learn finance and accounting. When I finish, I know I will be able to earn a good living doing something challenging. If nobody hires me, I'll make my own jobs until somebody does.

This is one advantage that immigrants, in general, have over most Americans. They do what they have to do to survive. They don't sit around wondering what they'll do to make a living. I know plenty of people who have low-paying jobs and also go out to sell tamales. They buy stuff to sell at the flea market. They get a lawnmower and go house to house offering their service. They wash windows. They clean houses. Maybe they don't get rich, but they earn a living. They hustle. We could learn from them and take initiative to make things happen for ourselves rather than depend on one source of income.

I'll step off the soap box now. I'll soon be free.

Rio Grande Valley Politics: Hidalgo County Candidates Flog One Another

Rio Grande Valley Politics: Hidalgo County Candidates Flog One Another

Rico Politico has an entertaining entry today. It tells of the recent debates amongst candidates.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

A cool blog

I just found the Hispanic Pundit blog. I didn't really get to read too much, but it's a fellow conservative hispanic, which makes him cool to me. I'll be adding him to my links later. I should be studying right now but I couldn't help checking the latest posts. I liked one by The Daily Texican.

That reminds me, I find it easier to keep up by subscribing to blogs using the google feed reader at http://reader.google.com.

There's this entry by Grits for Breakfast. My take is that we created the Meth problem by restricting narcotics and weed. Our chemists cooked up an alternative drug for those of us bent on getting high. Now that we are declaring war on pseudoephedrine, a decongestant that gets you wired and serves as an ingredient for meth, we are handing the Mexican drug cartels another high profit product that they can make themselves instead of importing from Colombia. Pseudoephedrine is not restricted in Mexico. Nobody stuck that in their calculator. Add that to the DOH! column.

More than just simple peasants

Today's Monitor has a story about 5 Mara Salvatrucha gang members being caught crossing the river in the past 4 days. Here is a quote that you should know:
All of those arrested in the Valley sector were from El Salvador and had
criminal histories in the United States, including attempted murder...

It's not really the Mexicans looking for jobs we ought to worry about, it's the threat to national security. This comes on the heels of a recent story about drug smugglers wearing camo crossing the border in SUVs loaded with drugs.

I sympathize with our Mexican brethren who are seeking a better life where there is opportunity and less corruption (that means here in the U.S.). However, we need to secure this country from the likes of MS-13 (and 18) and terror threats. If Dems really want to clobber the Republicans with their own dropped ball, they would take up the issue of securing the border. This issue, however seems to be one of those third rails in politics that everybody is afraid to touch because of the increasing size of the hispanic population.

I hate to point this out, but hispanics run countries like Mexico, Cuba, Argentina, Brazil, Venezuela, El Salvador, and Colombia. All countries being evacuated by the illegal crossers. We can't afford to let the U.S. mirror them. Instead, we ought to try to get them to mirror us. Where is your pride in being American? Why is everybody so ashamed of being U.S. citizens? This is our home and we need to take the necessary measures to protect it and our culture.

Just so you don't think I'm all criticism and no solutions, I heard a great idea on the Laura Ingraham show recently. A caller suggested that national guard and reserve units spend their two weeks a year guarding the borders instead of camping. All the military would have to do is rotate the schedule a little. This way, the national guard and reserves would get practical use of their two weeks of training. We spend money on the training anyway, so it wouldn't take any major expenditures by the government. Heck, we could even get the Feds to reimburse the states for services rendered. That could save the state some money. If anything, let's just seal off the Republic of Texas border with Mexico. Let the Feds figure out which is a hole in the ground and which is... something else.

Other entries mentioning this topic:
One Confused Mexican
Illegal Immigration and the Chinese

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

$1 Billion Dollars!

I was learning last night in BLAW class about choosing a court for a lawsuit. If you will file suit against somebody, you will have to do it in a court that has jurisdiction over the matter. In the case of Merck & Co., a large corporation that does businesses nationwide, the choices for the suit could be county, state, or federal court because there is concurrent jurisdiction. In this case, the venue chosen is a state district court. The complaint is that VIOXX caused the death of a Starr County man. The plaintiffs seek $1 Billion.

I also learned that Starr County, being one of the poorest in the nation, has some of the biggest awards in the nation too. If the defendent has money, it's forfeit there. As a defendant, you need to change the venue to Cameron county, which is more conservative in its awards. As a plaintiff, you should try a suit in Starr County. I guess here in Hidalgo county we are somewhere in the middle.

Still, $1 Billion! If awarded, the attorney would get, what, maybe $500,000,000? The other half for the family would be tax free. That's a lot of cash for anybody. I'm almost speechless.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

The Wierdest Thing

In case you're new to this blog, I have recently enrolled at the University of Texas-Pan American for the Spring Semester 2006 in an effort to finish my degree in Finance. I've been frustrated at work and was fixing to find another job, which I'll probably do after Valentine's Day, the big season at the store. Well, once I decided to quit working there, at Confetti, and get my old life back after 3 years, cool things have been happening. I'm not sure if I can explain it. To some extent, things are going my way.

For example, I had not planned to go to school this semester. I thought I would not be able to get in. There was a small obstacle at first, but everybody at UTPA was very helpful. So, I registered and enrolled in one day, the Friday before classes started. In my BLAW class, I met my professor, Israel Ramon, Jr., whom I saw in the paper later in the week running for a Judge's position that will be opening up. I mentioned this to Laura Hinojosa, another great person whom I've had the opportunity to meet. She expressed the highest regards for Mr. Ramon. This reminds me that I've also met a couple people, Sally and Michael, who have helped me understand some things about how a campaign is run. Soon, I'll be meeting another person who is coming to McAllen from Washington D.C. I hear she's a great campaigner. So, today, as mentioned in the previous blog, I got an opportunity to meet a reporter who wanted to meet young Latino voters from the Rio Grande Valley. I thought, "Wow, things could not be more interesting." Well, it seems like things could be getting better. There was this guy in the back of my BLAW class who kept putting in his two cents on some topics in class. I turned around and saw an older hairy guy. Most of the people in class are young twenty-somethings except for me and a couple other guys. Then, I heard his voice well during one of his interruptions and it occurred to me that it sounded like... could it be Sergio Sanchez from KURV? I wasn't sure because of the goatee. I checked out his bag, which had the KURV logo all over it. That and the professor checked the class roll for a Sergio Sanchez. So, there you have it. For a whole semester, I have access to one of my favorite talk show hosts. It's amazing how my life, once I decided to take back control of it, is heading in a positive direction. I don't have a job lined up for after Valentine's Day, but I'm quitting anyway. I'm going to print up a crapload of resumes and just pass them around everywhere I go. Or, I can just do handywork like I used to do. Back to the point, I wonder, what else is in store for me?

Quick Entry

I only have a few minutes before my BLAW class. I just finished chatting with Corrie MacLaggan from the Austin-American Statesman. I asked her to join me over at the Laura Hinojosa campaign office because Sally and Michael are more involved in politics than I am. We had a good chat, the four of us. We covered a good range of political topics. I think it's strange that my opinion on issues has any value to other bloggers. I freaked out when The Rep linked to my blog. Later, I started to see links from other blogs to mine. Then, I started seeing my entries quoted in other blogs. And now, it's wierding me out that a reporter would want to chat politics with me. It's one of those things I never would have expected. I'm amazed that I get comments. Who would have thought?

How do you other bloggers do it? Are you seat of the pants, opinionated people like myself, or do you actually make blogging a job. Do you have other jobs like me? How old are you? Do you appreciate when your blog gets attention?

Well, I appreciate everybody who stops by to read RGV Life. I hope that I can continue to give you interesting news and opinions. Thanks a bunch.

Video Experiment #2

This is my second video experiment. I wanted to add a soundtrack and play with a couple transitions. I probably violated copyright laws. If I get arrested (cuz I ain't paying a dime as I've more time than money), I'll use my one phone call to audioblog. Can it be defended as political speech?

I really couldn't think of a subject for the experiment and wound up using Omar Guerrero. His was the first pic I saw in my folder, sorry. Montxu, I used your art too. I'm just going to post and go to bed. It's late and I have class in the morning.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Note to Campaign

My work schedule has me in the morning all week and all day Saturday. I have Thursday off, so I'll be able to work for a few hours on Thursday before heading back to UTPA for classes. Put together a punch list of things for me to do when I get there, please. I'll be calling later.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Day at the Park

I made a short movie for my kids from pictures I took when we went to the Sonic playground in McAllen. I'm talking like Jacques Cousteau because Magnus is 4 years old and I want him to follow the story. This is my first movie. It took 10 minutes to make.

Cameron County Democrats Yahoo! Group

I just joined the Cameron County Democrats Yahoo! Group and was approved. If you are interested in joining, here is the link:

Click here to join camerondemocrats
Click to join camerondemocrats

The main website is at http://www.camerondemocrats.com/.

More About Politics and Family

Elizabeth Pierson has a piece in The Monitor about Sen. Eddie Lucio, Jr. and Eddie Lucio, III along the same lines as an earlier article in Rumbo. It alleges that Sen. Lucio is using strong tactics to get campaign contributors to help the younger Lucio and abstain from supporting other candidates.

On the one hand, it COULD happen. However, it seems illogical that a business person would throw money at one candidate and then turn around and throw money at an opponent. It would make more sense to spread the money vertically than horizontally. By this I mean that if I had spare cash to throw around, which I don't, it would make more sense to support a Senator (especially an incumbent or somebody with good name recognition), a representative, a judge for each court, one candidate for clerk, etc.. Why dump all your money on one race supporting different candidates? If your objective is to buy influence and access to officials, it would make sense to have access at different levels of government rather than just one particular office.

I think this is the resistance that Jim Solis's candidate, David Gonzalez is getting when seeking contributions. If you recall back when George W. Bush ran for Governor, it was a walk in the park for him to raise a crapload of money. For one, he had name recognition because of his shared name with the former President. For the younger Lucio, name recognition can't hurt; and I think contributors realize this. Adding to that, Lucio III has had the good fortune of rubbing elbows with government types since his youth. They know him. They know and have probably supported his dad for years. If I'm going to "invest" in a candidate, I want the money to go where I know I'll get a good result. Therefore, Gonzalez and Solis should not be suprised that contributions aren't coming as easily. They don't have the same brand name that the Lucios do. You have to go with the winners.

Why Politicos Should Blog

Are you running for office? Are you already in office? Do you aspire to run for office? Are you a politician?

You should have a blog.

"Why have a blog," you may wonder. The reason is simple. A blog is direct voice to voters and to the press.

Obviously, you want to get your message across to as many people as you can with the least expense. You just turned in your campaign expenses thus far. I bet some of your money may have gone to ads in the papers, signs, and maybe some TV or radio. Then there are the push cards and other material that tell people your position.

The only drawback to all of these is that you have to keep buying them. Even when you get free press, you have to be careful what you say lest you be misquoted. If you are misquoted, you have to spend the next day doing damage control. Then you have to spend more time getting out the message you wanted in the first place.

A blog can't eliminate the problems entirely, but it does put you in greater control. For instance, by writing here tonight, I am reaching an audience of readers who come back to see what kind of harebrained thoughts I have about events in the RGV. If you are a politician, people can just go to your site to find out what you are doing. Of course, you need to update your blog frequently, otherwise don't bother. My point is, those voters who visit your blog, will visit frequently because they care about your job. One great example is Rep. Aaron Pena's blog. When Congress is in session, he keeps us informed about what's going on in Austin. There is no filtered press or delayed reports. You get it straight from the floor (or his office).

Once you have your blog, you can tell people where you will be so they can meet you. You can post your latest thoughts on a issue that affects your office. If you are misquoted, you can say so on your blog and make the correction right away without having to go back to the press. A blog allows you to get feedback from your constituents via comments. Your constituents can tell you exactly what they think. Even if a voter disagrees with you, at least you are aware of what issues could cause problems for you. Perhaps you get positive comments.

Even at the county level, a blog is not a bad idea. A blog shows a record of your accomplishments during your term. Your opponents can't say that you did not do anything because you'll have an online record of what you achieved in your term. If you have challanges stopping you from reaching your goals, a blog can attract suggestions from the public or even attract help from somebody who can help you solve your problem.

Of course, a blog is not for everybody. Shady individuals should probably not do it. You'll trip yourself up at some point.

I believe that if you are a public official, you are better off blogging. You can't beat a direct connection to the public. Within seconds of posting, the world will know what you think, what you are doing, what you want to do, or what you got done. What you write is up to you. You control the message. If you are a politico, go on and sign up for a blog. You won't regret it.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Eddie Zamora Website

I just had an anonymous submission for Eddie Zamora's website. Zamora is running for District 15 Representative against incumbent, Ruben Hinojosa, and another challenger Paul Haring. I visited the site, of course, and it is a blog. Here is some information that I garnered from Zamora's site:

-Grew up in Hebbronville, Port Lavaca and Austin, TX
-Graduated from David Crockett High School in Austin, TX
-Served in the U.S. Navy for six years
-Graduated from Southwest School of Electronics
-Graduated from U.S.Navy Electronics Technician "A" School
-Graduated from Naval Nuclear Power School
-Graduated from S1C Navy Nuclear Prototype Training Unit
-Certified Welder from Piedmont Community College
-Licensed and Ordained Minister in full fellowship with Abundant Grace Community Church
-Leader and teacher -singles' bible study group
-Studiously followed politics on the national level for over 20 years

Some more info about Zamora

-Pro Life -choose life every chance you can
-Defines marriage to be between one man and one woman
-Lower taxes -the people know how to spend their own money better than the government
-Curb deficit spending -we need fiscally responsible people in Washington to limit spending of the peoples' money
-Support our Troops -our men and women in uniform are the greatest of Americans and deserve our respect and support
-Vigilant Human Intelligence -no more walls of separation between intelligence agencies
-Maintain Social Security while looking for ways to improve
-Education for our children, not Indoctination -The U.S. Constitution should be required reading for all high school graduates
-Rugged individualism -you have the primary responsibility to affect your outcome, not the government

It seems the blog just started earlier this month. Hopefully, Eddie Zamora will post more updates about his activities, appearances, and more about his stances on issues. I congratulate Zamora on joining the blogging community.

Omar Guerrero Campaign Kickoff

Omar is having his Campaign Kickoff tonight at the Habanero Cafe, located at 321 S Cage in Pharr. The event will be from 6 to 9 PM. As the joke goes, Ifa you decide to go...

...well, tell me how it went. I would go except that I am scheduled to work tonight. It would be interesting to find out who was there. Have fun.

More Art

Montxu has sent another piece of political art. Is this Laura Hinojosa? I got this message in the email:

with no pic of Robert Mendoza, next week'll be another race.

I wonder which race it will be. Thanks for the art, montxu. I look forward to next week's work.

Laura Hinojosa's Campaign Ad (Spanish)

This ad is the Spanish version of Laura Hinojosa's campaign ad. This is also scheduled to air at a later date. The original files for both the English and Spanish versions can be found on her website.

Laura Hinojosa's Campaign Ad (English)

This ad is not scheduled to come out for a few days. I thought I'd give Laura a head start. The original file is in Quicktime and is 3 MB. This has been reduced to about 1 MB. I will be posting the Spanish version next.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Campaign Update

I went into the Laura Hinojosa campaign headquarters to volunteer today. Sally tells me I just missed most of the action in the morning when the block walkers were in. They have already made and handed out most of the campaign lawn signs. This is a good sign as it means that Laura is getting a lot of support from the community.

The block walkers have also been working hard handing out push cards. I counted the remaining cards with Sally, we'll need more. After that I cleaned up the warehouse. There were boxes all over from making the signs. After that, I did a little bit of data entry and then hung out until it was time to go to work.

I had the pleasure of meeting Laura's mom and Laura's son, Esteban. He helped me sweep the warehouse, by the way. He was really committed to keeping the place clean. Laura's mom seems like a very down to earth lady, I showed her yesterday's article in Rumbo about the political families in the RGV. She seemed amused by it.

Laura told me something about her television ads, I can't remember what it was. I think they aren't supposed to come out until later, but they got posted on the web. I'm going to take a peek and I'll try to put them on here.

Before I left, I actually got to see a few people offer their services to the campaign and get turned away because we have plenty of volunteer workers. Laura is way ahead of Juan Maldonado's push to control politiqueras. She simply won't have them. Isn't this a great sign of her character? Well, that's all for now. I'll try to get the ads up.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Osama is back

According to the tape just released about a half hour ago, Osama bin Laden is threatening the U.S. again. He claims that we have not been attacked because Al Quaeda has been making preparations, not because of our heightened security. The tape comes out on the heels of our recent strike that killed some of his top people. The tape is said to be dated in December.

In the tape, Osama offers a truce so that he can rebuild Iraq and Afghanistan, in his image, of course. He also criticizes Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the head of operations in Iraq, as going too far by attacking civilians. This could be a wedge that can be used to destabilize Al Qaeda.

Al Jazeera recently ran an article in which they believed that bin Laden may have died in April.

The tape, if authentic, would be definite proof that bin Laden is still alive and still a threat to the United States.

It will be interesting to watch how national Dems spin this. On the one hand, George Bush is accused of going too far in fighting the terrorist threat. He has run into obstacles from the left at every turn. If Osama's threat to attack the U.S. is carried out, the President will then be accused of not having done enough. This is the danger that the national Democratic party faces by being so anti-war. By deterring the President in everything, they are lending a hand to the enemy. If something DOES happen and it could have been prevented with something they quashed, be prepared for some backlash. In these days of video archives and electronic media, we have easily accessible records of who did what in Congress. Adding to that, elections are coming up. Will we see some back pedaling? Will we see some calls for backing down and appeasement? This close to elections, it will be tough to pull a John Kerry (being for something before being against it), especially after the recent Republican stunt of getting votes on record in calling for immediate withdrawal from Iraq. Prepare to be clubbed over the head with congressional voting records. Imagine trying to explain yourself as believing something, but voting the opposite.

It's good for Republicans that Osama has made the tape. This reminds Americans that there still is a threat out there. Suddenly cries that we have lost too many troops and that we are in the wrong war fall on deaf ears. Nobody with any sense wants to sit back and wait to be attacked. It's not American. In this country, we do things. We get things done. It's our heritage. It's our culture. Telling us that we are losing is telling us that we are weak and incapable of spreading freedom. National Dems, just watch us do it.

La familia manda en el Valle

I was just reading today's Rumbo, pg 4. The piece is put inside a picture frame with Eddie Lucio, III in focus and Eddie Lucio, Jr. in the background. The article is more about other families in the Rio Grande Valley that have a tendency to run for elected offices. At first, the article leads you into thinking that if you want to run for office in the RGV, you need to seek the permission of the Flores-Salinas in western Hidalgo County; the Palacios in the Pharr area; and the Vela and Gonzalez in Cameron County. The article also mentions the Lucios and the Hinojosas who are showing the start of family public service with Eddie Lucio, III and Laura Hinojosa.

At the end of the article, however, Laura Isensee writes that getting the blessing of the prominent families in the RGV is a thing of the past due to our increasing and increasingly diverse population. Now, before running for office, candidates go to these families out of respect. The reason for doing this is that although they don't control elections, these families have a lot of clout and can turn out votes in favor of their chosen candidates by simple endorsement and support.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Business Law Class

Yesterday, I met my professor for Business Law at UTPA. He is a practicing attorney who likes teaching as a hobby. It was an interesting class. We did not go into any heavy duty arguments. Mostly, we reviewed the syllabus and he prepared us for what is to come. One thing that struck a chord with me is that he brought a list of laws that are, to put it mildly, stupid. He suggested that as an attorney, he often has to work with the laws on the books whether he agrees with them or not. His point was, our governments sometimes pass laws that are really dumb. They stay on the books because nobody bothers to repeal them until somebody gets arrested for that crime.

Another major point in class was that in business, you always have to be careful because you run the chance of being sued, or may be in a situation in which you have to sue somebody. It is for this reason that business schools require that students take a course in business law. This is a risk you take when you are in business. We'll be discussing tort law, criminal law, real property, and all manner of business related legal stuff. I'm new at the subject, but it seems we are going to be discussing many things. I like classes where we can argue.

As another point of interest, he mentioned that he has turned the occasional business major into an attorney after taking that class. I gave it some thought. My ultimate goal is to be self-employed in some fashion. I guess being a lawyer wouldn't be so bad. I'd set my own work hours, charge a gazillion bucks an hour, and live OK. I'll think about it during the semester. I used to want to be a physician, but I changed my mind after thinking about how doctors work many hours, have messed up schedules, and then have to deal with lawyers suing them all the time. I'd always be working. As an attorney, there wouldn't be many "emergency" contracts or other business to do in the middle of the night. I'll know by the end of the semester. I am still on a quest to find my "calling in life". Maybe I'm just destined to write crap on the web.

Helping Out an Exchange Student

I received an email from a French couple whose daughter, Pauline, goes to school here in Mission. They have asked if I can help find another host family for their daughter by the end of the month.

She is in Mission until june and she wants to go to the end of her stay in the
valley. But on the moment we think that she doesn't feel very well. We think she
is stressed. So she needs to get an other environnement, to know new people and
to live a new situation. But we don't know how to find a new host family, and it
will be very difficult to find a new one.
Perhaps you have got some news or
you can send to us some useful information.
Sorry to take
your time once more, we thank you for your attention with our unusual

Merci beaucoup, au plaisir de vous lire, à
bientôt Marie et Marcelin in France
So, if you are interested in hosting and exchange student until June, contact Marie and Marcelin at marcelin.petit2@wanadoo.fr.

Accusation that Doesn't Stick

Arturo Guajardo Jr. is said to be campaigning on county time by two of his rivals, Andrew Pérez and Joseph Campos. At the heart of the matter is that his website and push card have some similarities. Guajardo explains that the site came up first and he simply used some of that to make his push card.

This doesn't sound serious. Andrew Pérez and Joseph Campos should have damning evidence when they allege this sort of thing. Show us some video or pics. Otherwise, it's petty.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Possible Service Interruption

Starting tomorrow, I will begin classes at the University of Texas-Pan American. I have been out of school for the last 3 years, which will make going back a bit of a challenge. Especially with a morning Stats II class. I hardly remember Stats I. Consequently, my ability to keep up with what is going on in the Rio Grande Valley may suffer. I probably will not write long opinions as frequently. I will, however, write short opinions. I don't think I will be able to stay away from blogging. Blogging is like being a crack addict. I've spent many late nights getting my fix. I'll sneak a post here and there in free moments. My name is Shaine Mata, I am a blogaholic.

After being really dissatisfied with my work situation and having limited options without a degree, I decided that going back to school is the only way to achieve the things I want. I am a business student, which means that I'm considered a professional nobody in the job market. In the Rio Grande Valley, everybody wants to pay you minimum wage. The implication of getting paid the minimum is that your employer is telling you that they would gladly pay you less if they could. Of course, I earn more than minimum and certainly more than what my position merits. I want out of my current job, but I'd be going from one unchallenging job to another for probably less pay. One option that keeps cropping up is doing handywork. I am often asked if I can do this or that job for somebody. I may decide to work on my own in the end. In the meantime, it's off to school I go tomorrow morning. I've got plenty of hard work coming my way in the coming two years.

As for the blogging, worst case scenario would be that I audioblog my entries rather than wait for internet access. That's not so bad, is it?

Fighting The Man

After writing the last post, it occurs to me that we really don't have true activists anymore. Martin Luther King, Jr. was an activist. Hugo Chavez was an activist. Malcolm X was a militant activist. Ghandi was an activist.

In contrast, Jesse Jackson, the people pushing for the class action lawsuit, PETA, the environmental wackos, worker unions, and a host of other organizations are activist wannabees.

What distinguishes the former from the latter is that the true activists sought to promote ideals for the betterment of all mankind. MLK peacefully brought attention to the injustice of the segregated south. He never thought that reciprocal violence was a solution. Ditto for Ghandi. Malcolm X actually did think violence was cool, but he mellowed out as he got older and changed his position. Hugo Chavez, I don't know. Unions actually did a lot of good when they first started. They all effectively brought attention to the plight of the oppressed. They made The Man see that what was happening was wrong. Not by demonizing. Not by name-calling. Not by outright lying about The Man. In their triumphs, these activists actually elevated the oppressors as much as the oppressed.

The current crop of activists like Jesse Jackson, et al. They don't elevate anybody. They make themselves more important by putting others down. Jackson is a master shakedown artist. If he spots something slightly racist, or if it can be spun as such, he's there to ask for money in order to avoid a public protest. The environmentalists are the same. Rather than helping us make better choices for the environment, they demonize us for driving big vehicles. They belittle us if we don't have the time to recycle. PETA wackos equate us with animals. Unions are no longer satisfied with a safe workplace and an 8 hour day. They demand higher pay and less work. In my experience, the more I work the more I earn. Pro-choice is actually pro-abortion. If it was pro-choice, why hate us for choosing life? There are so many examples of the modern day activist falling short of the great ones of the past. Their words ring hollow.

You know what has happened? The activists of yesteryear fighting The Man are now The Other Man. So, when they try the same tactics of their youth, their protests sound hollow. There is no moral backing. Environmentalists say that our country is one of the biggest polluters. Have they been to Reynosa? The Rio Grande Valley is pristine in comparison. Pro-abortionists, who by the way try to hide this by calling themselves pro-choice, hate us for defending life. What is so evil about defending life? Racism is not such a big deal anymore, at least by old whitey. Now there is reverse racism. Minorities think that because whites of the past were racist that they are entitled to discriminate against the whites of today. Isn't that just as wrong?

What is really sad about modern "activists" is that they have things down to a science. It's a business. While I studied UT-Austin, the Texas liberal mecca, I worked with U.S. PIRG (Public Interest Research Group) in cooperation with the Sierra Club. I made more money for them when I dressed as a poor Mexican trying to make a difference than when I dressed up in nice clothes, very like The Man. The campaign was basically to sign up as many people into the Sierra Club as possible to help save the spotted owl in the Pacific Northwest. "With more members, the Sierra Club has more clout when speaking to congressional representatives." We cut the turf in Austin. We knew where all the Republicans lived and targeted the Democrats as the most likely donors/new members. We knew how to push buttons. All we had to do was say that a certain Republican Texas Senator was doing such and such and people would run for their checkbooks.

It's all a scam. Modern liberal causes are cleverly disguised tax-exempt businesses that pay big salaries to the leaders of the organizations in return for "being represented" through lobbyists. These organizations do hire lobbyists to keep up the farce. To rag equally, there are some ministers who are equally good at scamming church members for a good living. The point is, modern activism all comes down to money. With money you can buy signs and posters. With money you can hire a lobbyist. With money you can buy commercials. With money you can support a candidate. Doesn't this sound like the corporations that represent The Man? After all, these organizations always put the message "Paid for by Whatever Organization". That's what I'm saying, modern causes are run by The Other Man.

There is no longer the moral message of years past. It's all business. Modern activists no longer seek to actually help anybody directly. They mostly focus on legal action and government influence. The seek press. They tell us we are polluters. We are haters. We are killers. We are selfish. We are greedy. We are wasteful. Modern activists want our money, or some sponsor's money (hello, George Soros) at the same time they tell us we are the spawn of Satan. Sadly, you see these people in Congress. They still think that they are fighting The Man, who is currently epitomized by George W. Bush. They don't realize that they are The Other Man. At least GW is not in denial about who he is. If modern activists really cared about people, they would elevate both the oppressed and the oppressor. Instead, they seek to oppress the opposition. Not cool, man. Nice try. The Other Man does not fool me, my brothers and sisters.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

It can't be so soon

I was just reading an article in The Monitor about the people involved in "helping" the residents around the contaminated pesticide plant in Mission, Texas. I wrote about this earlier in another post. This is turning into a mess.

To summarize the article, Mauro Reyna, who is running for Hidalgo County District Attorney, paid Ester Salinas, a very prominent "activist" in bringing attention to the plight of the families living in and around the contaminated plant. He says he paid her "a lot of money". Reyna is suing a long list of companies with the help of our County Judge, Ramon Garcia. Garcia claims to not be involved with whatever agreement Reyna had with Salinas. Attorneys are not permitted to share attorney's fees with non attorneys. So, Reyna's contract with Salinas is argued to be void. Whatever payments she received are said to be for hourly work.

Our current DA, Rene Guerra, understandably will not investigate Reyna. I say understandably because it just looks bad to investigate your opponent. Where do you prove you were doing your job and not just trying to destroy the competition. So, Rene Guerra gets a pass from me for not investigating. Guerra did propose that other law enforcement entities cold investigate.

This probably won't affect the case. I don't see how it would. It does cast some suspicion on the arrangement between Mauro Reyna III and Ester Salinas. We all know that the attorneys are in the fight for money. If you look at the long list of well known defendants in the lawsuit overview, you'll see that there is some good money to be made. I don't begrudge the attorneys making money, it's expected. I guess the problem here is how they go about it.

If stuff happens with this matter, we will have the first scandal of 2006. I could not make this stuff up if I tried. Now, Ester Salinas, the strongest voice in the cause appears to have had other motives for bringing attention to the matter. Activist? It doesn't appear so. Hugo Chavez was an activist. He helped people first and then campaigned. Getting paid was not the first thing on his mind.

Of course, as noted in my previous post, I'm suspicious of the people organizing the whole thing. The affected people still live around the site. If it were me and my family living there, I would have moved at the first idea that the pollution could be dangerous. I'd worry about getting out first and then I'd worry about a court battle. If I were one of the "activists", I'd be raising money to move those people out, get them medical attention, and at the end finding them legal representation. Except that they went for the lawyers first. So, is everybody doing right by these families? What if the lawyers can't bring any compensation for another 5 years? Keep in mind, attorneys are not free. A big case like this can be very costly. Any awards would then be split between the lawyers and their clients, who will ultimately receive meager amounts when spread out. Sure, the guilty will pay. Whom will they pay?

The simplest remedy to the whole matter is to make things happen now. Don't make the affected families wait for a settlement or award that may take years or never come. I read a quote in McAllen recently. Do the Right thing. Do it Right. Do it Right now. The right thing is to get these people to a safer environment. The right way is to help them with their housing and medical costs. Most importantly, do these things now, when they need the help. Why is it when people get struck by disaster we jump to give them aid while those who are being slowly poisoned are left there without any? Why don't the "activists" get called on their failure to do something meaningful rather than simply seeking legal action? Do something out of compassion, not compensation.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Political Art

I received this anonymous art in my email. It is a pic of Omar Guerrero, the current Hidalgo County District Clerk. I was going to trash it, but there is no specific bias for or against Omar in the picture, so I decided it couldn't hurt to post it for the public.

If you read the papers, you know that this was in The Monitor from his court appearance. But, in art, it has another quality to it. He has an almost pensive, peaceful look. I was born without talent, but I appreciate the work of others. Good job anonymous artist.

Silly People

I live in Mission, Texas, where a pesticide plant was recently "discovered" to have dangerous levels of chemicals in the soil. Here are a couple of articles:

Chemical plant report public
City, owner idle after EPA report’s unveiling

I'm going to get hate mail and be quoted out of context. I just can't help wondering at the absurdity of it all. But, here goes.

Have you ever seen Monty Python's Life of Brian (1979)? Towards the end of the movie, while Brian is being carried off for crucifixion, the Judean People's Front and the People's Front of Judea are arguing about which action to take. They know they have to do something, but they can't come to agreement about what should be done. They are stuck in committee waiting to come to some consensus. In the meantime, Brian is being hoisted up on timbers.

This is what the whole situation reminds me of in Mission, Tx. This IS a criticism of the people involved in the whole mess. Here is my criticism. There is a pesticide plant. To me, it's common sense that there will be spills, big ones, small ones, and all manner of contamination, which can, over time, result in elevated levels saturation. It's expected.

I work in a party store where I inflate balloons. Common sense dictates that some will pop while being inflated. Some will pop soon after being inflated. There is a strong correlation between inflated balloons and popped balloons. There is a strong correlation between having a pesticide plant and having pesticide contamination. This is up there with research to determine that boys and girls are different. DUH!

So, you have all these groups like La Raza Unida, who have a site at http://mission-texas.com/, by the way, Lloyd Doggett, and others involved in the issue who are now angry it took so long for testing by the EPA. Now we absolutely know that there are concentrated levels of toxins and carcinogens there. They are now complaining that the testing was not complete and did not test the air and other things. IT'S CONTAMINATED! People in the area and in Mission have known for years that there was contamination. When the first birth defects, cancer, and other maladies started cropping up, that was a big hint that something was wrong.

Again, it's not a major discovery. The location made chemicals that were intended to kill. It's expected that some would spill. The plant is located right next to the railroad because they received train cars full of chemicals. A few gallons of spilt pesticide here and there would have happened. All businesses expect a certain amount of lost materials and products from handling. So, why is everybody surprised? Why is everybody upset? We all knew it. We've known for years. Even if you did not know, you would not be faulted for having reasonable suspicion.

Here is what is so much like Monty Python's Life of Brian. The people who are affected are still living there. They continue to live in an area that they have long known or suspected was not safe. They are still in danger. In the meantime, politicians, attorneys, and groups like La Raza Unida want more evidence. They want to take the companies involved to court to make them pay for damages, loss of property value, medical care, and a whole list of actions. Do they think that these companies are simply going to say, "Oh, ok. Our bad. Here's some money." No! Those companies have lawyers too. It could be more months or years before there is any money paid. In the meantime, these people are still there, slowly being poisoned.

Do you see the priorities here? They are more concerned about being right and getting money than they are about actually helping these people. They are holding conferences, fighting in court, raising awareness, and arguing about more testing rather than actually doing something. This is where you can apply the old saying, "To a hammer, everything looks like a nail." Politicians make this a political cause. Attorneys make this a legal matter. The Press makes it a story. Nobody is actually helping. How about talking to these people and convincing them to move? How about raising some money to help with relocation? How about making a health care fund? These people could get off their high horses and do something to help NOW. Actually, they could have done some of these things to help years ago. Again, they are more concerned about being right than doing right.

First, if you are a victim or are helping one, get the heck out of there. Find someplace better to live. Don't worry about lost property value, or the expense of moving, or "leaving your memories behind". The place is killing you. While these pinhead officials are arguing about who is responsible, who should pay, and whether there ought to be more testing, you're still being poisoned. You can still sue the companies from another part of town.

If money is your concern, think of this, the money you may be spending on attorneys, medical bills, and lost work from staying there could buy you a house. If you are "helping" the people, your awareness campaigns, press packets, trips to Austin, Washington, and other official business cost money that could have done something more meaningful, like move these people out.

Shame on all of you. Do something first. After you have ensured the safety and well-being of the people affected is when you should go out and pursue legal remedies. Stop asking for more or better testing. We already know there is poison there. That's where they made poison. Safety first, money later. Get your priorities in order.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Campaign Update

Today I did a little bit of work, not too much. After work, I went to pick up my children from Grandma's and took them with me. I had some signs to deliver and something to pick up. Sally was dressed really nice, so I think they were going to some event tonight. I delivered the signs and could not determine what to pick up, so I'll try again tomorrow.

Oh, hey! Red light.

You need to read Grits for Breakfast to know what I'm talking about in this comment.

I think the Australian example was a good one. He does agree that
rear-endings and similar accidents increased, but "FATALITIES and
vs additional injuries from rear end collisions were
weighted according to economic costs associated with each".

The argument of equal protection under the law when weighing the guaranteed $75 fine versus a POSSIBLE $200 fine has one shortcoming, these are punishments, not protections.

Whether it's a $75 fine or a $200 fine, the PUBLIC is equally protected by keeping inconsiderate drivers from running red lights, in general. That's equal protection. So, it causes a few fender benders. It also helps save lives and serious injuries.

In an accident, you take your car to the shop and it's fixed. One-time expense and it's over. People, on the other hand, may require hospitalization, home health care, physical therapy, or any combination of these for months. Not to mention lost wages and productivity.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Alright Aaron!

Aaron Peña has posted his second Audio Blog. This is a great addition to his effort to keep the public informed about issues important to him. Way to go Aaron!

I think that you will find that prior to the audio blogging, Aaron found his "voice" in his blog. This refers to the style of writing that he brings forth. You know when somebody is pushing PR crap your way. You don't get that sensation when you read his blog. With voice, you can really tell if somebody is feeding you a bunch of BS. Again, you don't get that when you hear him post an audio entry. This will, no doubt, bring The Rep closer to his constituents and followers of his blog. This is a great move on his part.

Campaign Post

I didn't make it to the campaign today. I stood them up; sorry Laura, Sally, Michael, Michael, and Michael (seriously, there's three of them). They have some work lined up for me already. I get out of work at three tomorrow, so I'll be going over. A friend of mine with ties to Omar Guerrero wants me to take him a Laura Hinojosa lawn sign. He's gonna get some grief about it; but, he's committed to change. So, I'll be glad to drop off the sign.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Campaign Post

I have not had a chance to go to the Laura Hinojosa Campaign HQ this week. I wanted to go to the meet and greet on Friday night at España, but could not find somebody to watch the kids and still had to work. I called in to find out what's going on. One of the Michaels was busy making signs. I'll be going in to make signs tomorrow.

I hear that this Saturday one of our block walkers filed a police report against another in San Juan. It was reported that somebody from Robert Mendoza's camp came up to the block walker and snatched away some push cards. I'll try to get details later.

In other news, the politiqueras are already making their rounds asking for money. Of course, Laura wants nothing to do with them. She was against the practice before Juan Maldonado came out against them this week. By chance, we were talking about politiqueras last week. It appears that if you don't play ball with them, they hold a grudge against you.

It just occurred to me that if you are big into the Texas Longhorns, winners of this year's Rose Bowl, and you also like politics, you should order one of Laura's beautiful burnt orange colored lawn signs for your yard. You can pick one up at 120 N 17th St in McAllen. They have nothing to do with UT, but they will match all your other UT colored lawn decorations. ;-)

District Clerk Omar Guerrero awaits hearing in case

January 09,2006 Victoria Hirschberg The Monitor
EDINBURG — It could be weeks before Hidalgo County District Clerk Omar Guerrero enters a courtroom following his November arrest for driving while intoxicated and possession of marijuana.

The case is currently under review in District Attorney Rene Guerra’s office and has not been assigned to a court yet.

Guerra said he will wait for a chemical analysis of the substance McAllen police officers found in Guerrero’s vehicle, which is registered to the district clerk’s father.

Guerrero, 28, was arrested the morning of Nov. 30, when officers said he showed up disoriented at a crime scene they were working, with bloodshot eyes and slurred speech. The elected official refused a blood test, citing his beliefs in the ancient African religion Ifa.

Guerrero is seeking his second term and faces Laura Hinojosa and Robert Mendoza in the March 7 Democratic Primary.

His attorney, Al Alvarez, said it is unlikely Guerrero will even have a hearing before early voting begins Feb. 20, in seven weeks.

"It’s in a pile with a whole bunch of other piles and they don’t get to it until 90 days," said Alvarez, who has represented numerous public officials. "The problem is my client doesn’t want to be treated differently than anybody else."

Alvarez said he would have asked for the district attorney’s office to consider the case early, but Guerrero said no.

"He said let it run its normal course," Alvarez said.
Victoria Hirschberg covers Hidalgo County government and general assignments for The Monitor. You can reach her at (956) 683-4466.

We are not alone

I was just visiting Michelle Malkin's blog and read this article about the tire slashers in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. It just goes to show that the Rio Grande Valley is not the only place with election problems.

Anonymous Comments Turned On

For a while, this blog required all comments to be from members of blogger.com. This was because it attracted comment spammers. Recently, Blogger introduced comment moderation, which allows me to delete the spam. If you wish to opine anonymously, go right ahead. So long as your comment does not have spam in it, I will post it (even the haters). I may disagree with you, but I'll still approve your anonymous comment. Of course, I'd prefer comments from people who are not afraid to voice their opinion openly. However, if you feel you need anonymity, I'll respect that. Let me hear from you.

The Race for Hidalgo County Judge from Rumbo

I have linked to the Rumbo article about the race for Hidalgo County Judge between Judge Ramon Garcia and J.D. Salinas. Some readers may not be able to read Spanish very well, so I'll roughly translate the article.

The article starts off with an introduction of Judge Ramon Garcia. The Judge states that his success is evident by Hidalgo County's financial state. According to Garcia, the county has had the best budget in 153 years. He goes on to cite the 2003 budget, which was $87 million with a $5.3 million emergency fund. Compare that with this year's budget of $122 million with a $13 million emergency fund.

J. D. Salinas, who quit his post as Hidalgo County Clerk in order to run for Hidalgo County Judge, claims that the county is losing state and federal funds. The article mentions a $6 million loss, but fails to specify what the loss was. In continuation, J.D. has seen the county lose millions of dollars by not spending the state and federal funds.

Garcia counters that he has used available funds and has cut spending to help keep County taxes down.

Salinas wants to increase funding for Hidalgo County's 7 health clinics. The funding would go towards longer hours of operation of the clinics to improve indigent care. The reasoning is that the County's indigent population gets out of work at 5 pm, which is the time the clinic closes. Garcia, on the other hand, states that the county health services have improved over the last three years and that indigent care has doubled.

A thorny issue is J.D. Salinas's creation, the Combined Government Task Force, which combined forces between the county and municipalities to help reduce crime. The program was shut down in December 2005 due to lack of funding. Salinas wants to reinstitute this program.

Judge Garcia states that under his administration, the county has increased its police force by 40% and has a $16 million Juvenile Detention Center to show.

Both candidates agree that the County needs to improve drainage, improve service to colonias, and help prevent possible flooding by restoring our levee system.

Salinas says that he will be a good pick because he would be a full-time County Judge as opposed to Ramon Garcia who is a full-time attorney.

Judge Ramon Garcia brushes that off by stating that he is delivering the results of a full-time County Judge.

Monday, January 09, 2006

My Man Rick Perry is Ahead

I was just reading on Taegan Goddard's Political Wire that Rick Perry, Governor Goodhair, as Sergio Sanchez from KURV calls him, is ahead in the polls. The article quotes a Rasmussen Report that polled the four-way Texas race for governor.

I know that there are many Democrat readers of this blog who are wondering why I would support Rick Perry. Well, for one, I'm conservative. Mostly, I support Perry because he has been working to get things done for Texas. The main issues to me are Education Reform and Fiscal Responsibility. There is only so much that a Governor can do with respect to these issues. For those of you who remember learning about Texas Government, the Texas Governor is weak. Most of the work goes on in the legislature and by the Lieutenant Governor.

You say that the Governor has failed to properly fund education? Baloney. All he can do is sign a bill. The Texas legislature has failed to properly fund education. Remember the special sessions the Governor called so that our Reps and Senators could come up with something? Remember that they could not agree on anything so that the courts had to step on and take some action? The courts basically kicked it back to the Legislature.

Now, keep in mind that your kid is still going to school despite the "lack of funding". The education budget keeps growing year after year. If you have some time to kill, find a year in which the Texas education budget decreased. I don't mean a decrease in the projected growth. I mean a decrease in the actual budget from one year to the next.

With respect to Fiscal Responsibility, Rick Perry has been doing his best to promote less spending and lower taxes. Of course, he can only push for it. Ultimately, it's the legislature's job to put it to paper and send it to him to sign. I would rather have a government starving for money than not knowing what to do with it. I have a tight budget already, I don't need Austin raising taxes and taking my meager earnings.

Now here is the ultimate reason why I support Rick Perry. It is common knowledge that despite the overwhelming Democrat majority in the Rio Grande Valley, Texas is trending towards Republican. This means that Chris Bell, the Democrat challenger, will have to fight a Republican Legislature for every single piece of legislature sent. If Jumping Carol Strayhorn were to win, would the Republicans let her back into the fold after defeating their front-runner? No. Of the three challengers, I'd give Kinky Friedman a better chace of getting anything done than the other two. Why not just stick with Rick Perry?

Anyway, that's what I think.

2006 RGV Corruption Game

So, I was chatting with John Kerry's anonymous foreign leaders. As you know, you can walk into any restaurant in McAllen and run into a foreign leader. Anyway, they tell me that asking readers to name candidates or officials who will be arrested, indicted, come under suspicion, or under investigation could be libelous. These foreign officials tell me that I ought to change the game a little and ask readers to guess how long it will be before one of our local officials falls into one of those situations. I agree. I don't want to embarrass anybody by being listed as a dirty politician by a reader. I understand that it's not libel if it's true, but I don't have the means to investigate false accusations. So, here it is.

How to Play the Game

You must leave a comment with your guess as to when a local official from Hidalgo, Cameron, or Starr County will fall into one of these categories:
  • arrested
  • indicted
  • under investigation
  • under suspicion

The official can work for the state, county, city, school district, or other special district (water, irrigation, etc...).

Your guess should have a date in 2006. Your comment will record the date you submitted. So, obviously, you have to submit your guess before corruption is discovered and it has to be at least 3 days before the fit hits the shan for the politico. Only one guess per comment with a three comment limit.

If You Win

The closest guess wins a gift card to China Wok worth $10. Hey, nobody pays me to do this and I've got a family to feed. Do it for the sport. Good luck.

A CAPITOL BLOG: Rio Grande Guardian: Hidalgo County Democratic Party Chairman Takes On Politiqueras

A CAPITOL BLOG: Rio Grande Guardian: Hidalgo County Democratic Party Chairman Takes On Politiqueras

I was just reading Aaron Pena's blog and came across this story where Juan Maldonado, the Hidalgo County Democratic Party Chairman is taking on the use of politiqueras by members of the party.

This is a good step forward for the Rio Grande Valley because our region is basically one party without any Republican challengers this year. The Valley draws attention and embarrasses itself every time we have crooked elections. We have to stop doing those tlaquachadas. The politiqueras are especially shameless to be preying on old people.

I'm trying to figure out how to do something I put on my comment in Aaron's Blog. I want to take submissions by the public as which of our elected officials will be arrested, indicted, or come under investigation or suspicion in 2006. When I asked a friend earlier, she could not tell me who, but she had no doubt that somebody would. According to her, "most of our politicians are shady. It's just a matter of time."

Let this serve as a public reminder that we need to clean up the RGV. Our local officials so far have either participated or failed to act on corrupt practices. We have often had to have Texas Rangers and the FBI take care of matters for us. Of course, the press is only too glad to point out our shortcomings.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Listen to Rio Grande Valley news as recorded live.

Site update

I added the candidate and office sites to the sidebar to make it easier for readers to find information.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Front Page News!

Front page news on The Monitor today has the news posted last night about Jessica Reyes-Martinez being taken off the Democratic ballot by the Juan Maldonado. Apparently, she did not fill in her address completely, only writing in "Weslaco, Tx". This was enough to disqualify her. The move was a technicality which has probably saved other races and the Democratic Party of Hidalgo some headaches over the next couple of months. Imagine having to not only have to run against your opponent in the public's eye, but having to run against that story for press coverage.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

RGV Political Grapevine

Last we heard, officially, Jessica Reyes-Martinez, wife of Rep. Mando Martinez, was in the race against her husband for his seat. I heard it mentioned, today, that Juan Maldonado, Hidalgo County Party Chairman, took her off the primary ballot. Earlier, he had taken her off, then reversed his decision by keeping her on. Will he change his mind again? Hopefully not. The race between those two threatened to eclipse the messages of other races. Now after reversing his decision to take her off, then back on, and off again, Maldonado has made it an even bigger deal. The press would have great fun with the story. As it is, blog searches for Hidalgo County turn up story after story about the race.

I thought this post was funny. I would agree that Sen. Joe Lieberman is not the most liberal of Democrats, but to include a couple of our Texas reps? I bet this has to do with CAFTA. Our region depends on import/export, which CAFTA facilitates. Besides, I have more respect for Reps who don't vote purely on party line. I respect officials who vote according to what is good for their districts over what their party desires. Here is some more complaining.

The Rio Grande Guardian is reporting that Republican Eddie Zamora, a 43-year-old salesman from Edcouch admits to going to prison after threatening his wife with a gun. Zamora is running against incumbent Ruben Hinojosa for Congressional District 15. He claims to have become a better person since that time. My question is, what were the Republicans thinking? Perhaps they want to buck the trend we have in the Rio Grande Valley of sending our politicians to jail. Republicans apparently want to reverse it and bring them into office from jail. Sheesh.

Campaign Post

Today, I went into the campaign headquarters a little late, around 4:30. Things did not work out for putting up signs, so Sally suggested I do a couple other things. I'd really been wanting to go at the lawn signs. So, I set a goal of making 500 lawn signs. I got them all done using my patented ass-kicking process. I bet I could beat that with more time. So, I'll go back and work at making more signs. Afterwards, I got to watch Laura and Sally hammer out the details for the January schedule. By the sound of it, January will be quite hectic for the team. For now, I can only watch and learn.

There are a couple of things of note. One is that the campaign will begin block walking in San Juan, Tx on Saturday, January 7th. If you wish to volunteer, you should be at the campaign headquarters by 9:30 AM. The address is 120 N 17th ST, McAllen, TX 78501.

The other item of note is that if you are a college student, you are able to apply for a mail-in ballot so that you can vote while you are away from the Rio Grande Valley. To apply for a mail-in ballot, call the Hidalgo County Elections Office at 318-2570.

If you have not registered to vote, you have until February 6th to register. Your registration can be turned in as late as 5 PM at the Hidalgo County Elections Office or mailed in with a postmark before 5 PM on February 6th. Voting is your responsibility for living in a free and open society like ours. If you don't vote, you allow other people make decisions for you. So please register and vote.

Laura Hinojosa Meet and Greet

If you would like to meet Laura Hinojosa, candidate for Hidalgo County District Clerk, she will be present at España on January 6, 2006 during the McAllen Artwalk. España will be serving Paella to guests. The McAllen Artwalk is scheduled from 6 pm to 10 pm. Laura will be glad to meet with you and answer any questions about her campaign or about the office she seeks.

Some of the highlights of the McAllen Artwalk will include España, Nuevo Santander Gallery, Jac-Lin's Florist, Art House, Casa Antigua, The Loft, Upper Valley Art League, Douglas Clark, S. Klein Gallery, U.S. Post Office, Fiorella Restaurant, and the Texas Commission of the Arts. Other scheduled Artwalk dates are February 3rd and March 3rd.

Now that the panic is over...

Now that the panic is over on President Bush's unwarranted wiretaps, I want to explain why it was not and is not a big deal. The argument is that if he is able to wiretap American citizens, he does not have to stop with terrorists, he can wiretap any of us. This is true to a certain extent. He technically can do this. But, think about what you talk about on the phone. The vast majority of us talk about nothing really important. GW doesn't want to know that Tia Lencha has toenail fungus. He doesn't want to know that you're out of milk and Pedro should bring some on his way home from work. There is so much minutae in our everyday phone conversations that it is silly to think that any one of us could be a target. Are all of us terrorists? No, of course not. Then what have we to fear?

What generally stops our intelligence services like the CIA and NSA from tapping American citizens is simply a legal demarcation. Intelligence can intercept and use information outside of the U.S. They are forbidden from doing this with Americans or on American soil. The trouble with terrorism is that the terrorists often live here. So, if a foreign terrorist calls one here, do we not gather intelligence because the local terrorist is also a citizen? What about the communities of terrorists who are here? They hate America and don't consider themselves one of us.

The NSA is capable of tracking all sorts of signals in many countries, including the U.S. They have computers analyzing recordings looking for key words and phrases. If any items of interest come up, the recording goes to an analyst who will determine if the recording is useful intelligence or not. The point is, they already can tap phones and listen in on radio signals from your mobile phone. They don't because you talk about really unimportant things, you don't pose a threat to the country, and they know that you don't know any terrorists. Most of all, they don't tap our phones because we are Americans and the overall presumption is that Americans don't hate America and want to destroy the country.

Anybody telling you that the President is violating the country's civil liberties by tapping terrorist phones without a warrant is trying to instill fear about something that in all most likelihood will never happen because we all have such boring lives. The expectation is that you will be more afraid of being tapped than you will be afraid of another terrorist attack. Terrorists are a real threat, versus the imagined threat of eavesdropping. Your conversation with mom or your girlfriend, although important to you, is really of no interest to most of us. Besides, the government can tap you with a warrant already without you knowing. Do you feel better now? If you don't know that your conversation is being recorded anyway, of what use is it to you whether it was warranted or not? It can't be used in court if it was unwarranted. The problem with terrorists is that they generally don't live long enough to go to court.

When terrorists do make it to court, it's usually for something unrelated like assault and battery or carrying illegal weapons. I had a brief conversation with a prosecutor who got a job with the State Department to help fight the terrorist threat. I asked how this person was hired into the position. The story is that she was a criminal prosecutor and whenever there was a middle eastern defendent, she and other officials noticed that there were other middle eastern men watching the proceedings. They noticed that these men were present at many trials involving young men who fit the profile of a terrorist. She also noticed that they often met bail despite not having family in the country. Naturally, her office started investigating and picking up information that they would then share with FBI and other agencies. She was a local prosecutor, so her scope was limited to the crime committed. So, she conducted the criminal investigations as a means for gathering intelligence to share with federal investigators.The point is, our ability to gather information to prevent another attack should not end at our country's border. We have been infiltrated, they live amongst us. Fortunately, they fit a profile and we have an idea who to target. In most cases, it won't be Juan, Pepe, Zenaida, or Pancho. I trust that the intelligence services are able to narrow down the list of suspects significantly so that most true Americans won't be affected by unwarranted wiretapping. Many Americans do, however, undergo warranted wiretapping by the federal, state, and local law enforcement. These people are often suspected of wrongdoing, as are terrorist suspects. Most of us are not criminals or terrorists, so we have nothing to fear.

If you are still concerned, write your Congressman or Senator and express your concern about his giving the President authorization for doing it. Your best protection, however is not to conduct terrorist plots or illegal business on a phone. Conduct your wrongdoing in person. Use the phone for everything else; unless you worry that the President will go around spreading chismes about you and the rest of the 260 million Americans, these are lottery odds. In that case, just don't use the phone. Of course, this is absurd! It's equally absurd to think that you will be tapped by the President. You are more likely to be tapped by cops with a warrant, yet you don't worry about that.

Click here for more reasons to be skeptical.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Rio Grande Valley Election Blog Links

Here are some blog entries that I found about elections in the Rio Grande Valley.

Off the Kuff

This story was in The Monitor today. It's about Rep. Armando Martinez and wife Jessica Reyes-Martinez. There are more blogs like it. I was at the event, but had to leave early, so I did not get to hear everybody speak. Link Here. Link Here. And on and on. This is popular in the RGV political blogs. It's one of those things that will probably drown out other campaigns for a while.

Valley in Exile has an entry about the pathetic state of the Republican Party in the Rio Grande Valley. Not one Republican. Here's Aaron Peña's take on the matter.

Then, of course, there is information about Chris Bell stopping by the Valley in The Monitor. He was also interviewed by Davis Rankin on KURV, yesterday I think.
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