Friday, December 17, 2010


December 16, 2010
CONTACT: Ricardo Lopez-Guerra
                         (512) 463-0578
McALLEN- Beginning December 20, Texas shoppers purchasing eligible ENERGY STAR appliances may receive a rebate between $40 and $1,000 through a mail-in program administered by the Texas Comptroller's office, Rep. Gonzales announced.
"I encourage my constituents to take advantage of the rebate program and update their old appliances with energy-efficient models, which save money by using less energy and are better for our environment," Gonzales said. "Hopefully, shoppers will be able to find good deals during this holiday shopping season that will make these purchases even more cost effective."  
To receive a rebate, customers must purchases appliances such as heat pumps, air conditioners, washers, dishwashers and more on or after December 20. Once the appliances are installed, the rebate application and a copy of the receipt must be mailed to the Texas Comptroller's office, which has $18.5 million in federal funds available. The rebates will be distributed on a first-come first-serve basis based on the postmark on the application until all of the money has been dispersed.  An ENERGY STAR appliance that replaces an old model can result in an additional $75 rebate if the old appliance is recycled. Proof of recycling is required on the rebate application.
The rebate application form is available at , which will also display a daily tally of processed rebates and monies available.  Shoppers may call the customer information line at (855) 556-1312 to request a form through the mail, and to find out the daily amount of money remaining in the program.
Eligible Star Appliances
Rebate Amount
Air Source Heat Pumps
Central Air Conditioners
Clothes Washers
Freezers (14.5 cubic feet or greater )
Refrigerators (14.5 cubic feet or greater)
Room Air Conditioners
Water Heaters that meet current Energy Star criteria

Explore McAllen - Valley Symphony Orchestra & Chorale Holiday Concert 20...

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

An Unauthorized Defense of Aaron Peña

Yesterday was the big day that Texas State Representative Aaron Peña announced that he would switch to the Republican Party. There have been many questions with respect to why he would do it. There many many vicious accusations of betrayal, or doing it for opportunism.

Overall, the Democratic Party, which is bleeding power in the current political climate is behaving like a wounded animal, lashing out at anything that causes further injury. In that sense, I can understand some of the reaction. However, since we're talking about people, I had hoped that reason would play a larger role in peoples' reactions.

Let's Get it Out of the Way

Many of you know, or are about to find out, that I work part-time for Peña. He and I haven't talked about his decision to switch parties. I found out on Twitter just like many of you that he would be switching. And, we have not had time to sit down and talk about his motivations. But, I can guess based on my own experience. First, let me lay out some facts.

A Few Facts

Fact 1: The Rio Grande Valley is a safe Democratic region. If you have a D next to your name, you have almost a 2 to 1 chance of winning in the general election.
Fact 2: Democrats run almost all of the public offices in the region, except for some judges and appointments by the Governor.
Fact 3: Peña's district has a lot of poverty and rural areas that stand to suffer from the budget cuts that are sure to take place in this legislative session.
Fact 4: Other Democrats who have flipped are in districts that have become conservative, unlike Peña's district (I think this puzzles people the most).
Fact 5: There are going to be budget cuts to deal with a $25 Billion shortfall. Boy, are there going to be budget cuts!
Fact 6: Redistricting is back. In the superminority, Democrats have little say in how their districts are drawn.
Fact 7: Republicans have a supermajority in the Texas House.

I think that last fact needs to be expanded a little. What does it mean that Republicans have a supermajority? Peña was one of the Killer Ds who left to Oklahoma to break quorum in the redistricting fight early in his legislative career. Without quorum, the House cannot pass laws.

With a Republican supermajority, if all House Democrats banded together and squeezed really tight, they couldn't stop a fart from passing. Breaking quorum is not an option this time around. Democrats can, at most, chub bills before Sine Die, or *gasp* cut deals with Republicans in exchange for... what?

What Were Our Options?

What options do House Democrats have at stopping budget cuts and immigration bills harmful to our region? What options do House Democrats have at redrawing districts that maximize their chances at winning reelection? Clearly, in this legislative session, the deck is very stacked against the Democratic Party of Texas achieving their aims. Even worse, redistricting is going to kick over their anthills.

I have not had a chance to discuss Peña's motivations with him; but to me, these are major problems facing the Rio Grande Valley. I don't mean just District 40. I mean the entire Rio Grande Valley. While our region's strength has been a unified voice through the Democratic party, in this session, it paints a big red target on us.

Uphill Battle

The problem I have with people accusing Aaron of being an opportunist is that he has to gain something big in return for the major sacrifice of losing your support. We naturally distrust politicians, and most of them deserve it; but, the Rep. has had no personal gain in all these years. I don't expect that to change.

You've seen the election numbers; it is going to be one hell of a fight to be reelected as a Republican. So, there has to be a BIG payoff. The problem is that a BIG payoff can't be hidden, as other elected officials have discovered. Clearly, Peña has a lot to lose by switching.

Yet, the Rio Grande Valley has a lot to gain from this defection. But, it all hinges on one thing, that Aaron Peña is still Aaron Peña. When you change parties, you don't get reprogrammed. As a Democrat, Aaron voted his district. I don't see that changing either.

Peña is not suddenly going to start hating the poor and walking around in a white hood (a popular mischaracterization of Republicans). Anybody who has paid attention to his voting record would know that he has been a moderate Democrat. In fact, he got more grief from Democrats because he wasn't Democrat enough for their likes. I think that he'll probably get grief from the ultra conservatives for not being Republican enough for their likes.

Clearly, becoming a Republican is not a walk on easy street for the Rep.; because, it's not about him.

What It's Probably All About

What does the Rio Grande Valley have to gain from having a Republican legislator in this session?
1. More say in redistricting, which will affect our region for many years to come. Yes, Peña is drawing YOUR districts.
2. More say in how much State programs get cut, or don't get cut.
3. More say in moderating bills that offend Hispanic sensibilities.
4. Better chance at getting bills through committee and on the House floor.

It's obvious to me that the Rio Grande Valley is getting the better deal here. Our other elected officials can eat their cake and have his too.

Tough Choices

Whatever shortcomings Rep. Peña has, I do respect that he looks out for his district and his people. Knowing him these few years, I know that his decision to switch parties is rooted in carrying out his duty to those who elected him, even when they don't understand. I've seen him anguish over tough political decisions. This can't have been easier.

He has doubled my respect by doing what he has done despite knowing the vicious attacks and rejection that would be hurled his way by the very people he is trying to protect.

Like it or not, what Aaron Peña has done will affect the entire region's future for many years to come. Open your eyes beyond District 40. Look at all that Aaron Peña touches and how that affects our future prosperity in the RGV. Look at what ALL Rio Grande Valley districts have to gain by having a friend amongst those who would otherwise make decisions for us and without us.

Does he face a monumental reelection challenge? Absolutely, without question.

Could he stand around on the sidelines while an opposing party hacks his region to pieces? Abolutely not.

His conscience would not allow it. You're looking at one legislative session; he's looking at the coming decade. Lift your gaze from what is immediately before you; you will see the many years of hardship that are beyond if nobody is there to speak for us amongst an unstoppable majority.

At this point, I look forward to hearing from the Rep. himself what his motivations are. I have a good enough sense that his first thought is towards protecting his community.

I didn't ask for permission to write this post. I've abstained from political blogging these past few years because it complicates things for our office. But, given that everybody hates him now anyway, I feel compelled to write this on my day off because I have been a witness to his way of thinking. Normally, I'm a fly on the wall in these matters; but, clearly, everybody is attributing nefarious motives where none exist.

If you don't understand why Aaron Peña would switch parties, then at least cut him some slack. Though it's not immediately apparent, he's going to do right for his district, his county, and his region.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

2010 Fiesta Marathon & Relay Marathon - Food Bank RGV

Fiesta Marathon is set for December 12, 2010.

Explore McAllen - Story of Hanukkah

Explanation by Rabbi Steven Rosenburg.

McAllen High School Christmas Concert

Pharr Chamber Tamalada December 16th

Pharr Chamber of Commerce Tamale Luncheon

Thursday, December 16th -  

Attention Chamber Members and Community Associates....

You are cordially invited to our Annual Chamber Member and Community Associate Appreciation Tamale Luncheon on Thursday, December 18th from 11:00a.m. to at the Pharr Chamber of Commerce located at 308 W. Park in Pharr, Texas.
It is our pleasure for us to provide not only networking and marketing leads to our Chamber Members and Community Associates, but also free educational and informative seminars that has lead to many new business relationships amongst new and old members during this 2010 year and we want you to know that we truly value your business and appreciate your continued support and loyalty during these difficult times.
In appreciation and gratitude of your dedication to our Chamber, we are hosting this Tamale Luncheon especially for you and look forward to many more years of  partnerships. We wish all our Chamber Members and Community Associates a very Merry Christmas and much success.

For more information, please call us...

Chamber LogoPharr Chamber of Commerce
308 W. Park St.
Pharr, Texas 78577


Pharr Chamber of Commerce | 308 W. Park St. | Pharr | TX | 78577

Weslaco Chamber and TXU Mixer - Legistature Kick-off

Info On The Web


Weslaco Area Chamber Of Commerce
301 W. Railroad St., Weslaco, TX  78596
(956) 968-2102 office  (956) 968-6451 fax
Weslaco Area Chamber Of Commerce | 301 W. Railroad St. | Weslaco | TX | 78596

Monday, December 06, 2010

Weslaco Christmas Parade

Info On The Web


Weslaco Area Chamber Of Commerce
301 W. Railroad St., Weslaco, TX  78596
(956) 968-2102 office  (956) 968-6451 fax
Weslaco Area Chamber Of Commerce | 301 W. Railroad St. | Weslaco | TX | 78596

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Isla Tours at South Padre Island

For more information, visit

Explore McAllen - Concert Pianist Adam Wodnicki

South Texas Film Casting Seeking Talent for Feature (RGV)

The Brownsville Border Film Commission is pleased to announce a Mexica Films Casting Call:

Final auditions for specific roles in a feature film. The film, EL DIABLO, is an action film that also features a love story. It is a homage to the Mexican Luchador films from the 60's & 70's. This is a bilingual film, however not all persons auditioning need to be bilingual.

Auditions will be held at the Brownsville Southmost Public Library - 4320 Southmost Boulevard, Brownsville
Saturday December 4th from 2:00pm-6:00pm
Sunday December 5th from 2:00-pm-6:00pm

We are holding auditions for the following specific roles:

Lead Male (age 23-35),
Lead Female (age 24-35),
Lead Female MUST be Blond (age 20-30)
Supporting Male Roles (ages 55-70),
Supporting Male Roles (age 35-50),
Supporting Female Roles (ages 30-45)

All persons interested must schedule an appointment by contacting: Dulce Navar Email:
Phone: 956.537.7692

Road Work Along Rio Grande City FM755

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

South Texas Film Casting - Feature Film Auditions (RGV)

The Brownsville Border Film Commisssion is pleased to announce a Mexica Films Casting Call:

Auditions for a feature film: The film, EL DIABLO, is an action film that also features a love story. It is a homage to the Mexican Luchador films from the 60's & 70's. This is a bilingual film, however not all persons auditioning need to be bilingual.

Auditions will be held at the Brownsville Southmost Public Library - 4320 Southmost Boulevard, Brownsville
Saturday Nov. 6th from 2:00pm-6:00pm
Sunday Nov. 7th from 2:00-pm-6:00pm
Saturday Nov. 13th from 2:00pm-6:00pm
Sunday Nov. 14th from 2:00pm-6:00pm

All ages (children, teens, 20's - 80's needed), backgrounds, and ethnicities are needed!!

Anyone under the age of 18 MUST have a parent/guardian present at the audition.

Auditions will be held on a first come-first serve basis. Preference will be given to anyone with a head shot and resume.

For more information please visit or call 956.537.7692

Friday, October 29, 2010

I Vote Do You? Helps Attract Voters in Hidalgo County

Sofia tells us about I Vote Do You?, a non-partisan effort by Hidalgo Vote 2010, to mobilize Hidalgo County's 30,000 registered voters to turn out for early vote and on election day. We meet up outside a polling location at the University of Texas Pan American. You can find out more about the effort by visiting

Gopedicabs of McAllen Texas Brings In UTPA Votes

GOpedicabs, a business from McAllen, Texas that offers rides in the historic 17th Street district is helping bring in the vote at the University of Texas Pan American by giving rides to students to the voting booths.

Free Taco-N-Madre Tacos at UTPA

There are tacos, hot dogs, drinks, and other items available at the UTPA polling locations. There are also pedicabs on the way to offer rides.

This is the last day to vote for early vote. Come on out and be counted.

STRATFOR Dispatch: Drug Politics in Mexico

RGV Ghost Unit teaser trailer for Jose Fernandez Building

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Pharr Chamber Scruffy2Fluffy Howl-O-Ween Contest

Scruffy2Fluffy  to host Howl-O-Ween contest on Sunday, Oct 31st  
Attention Chamber Members and Community Associates

Scruffy2Fluffy is one of our October's new Chamber Members and they are inviting everyone to their 1st Annual Howl-O-Ween Pet Costume Contest on Sunday, October 31st, from 1:00p.m. to 3:00p.m. at 600 E. Ferguson St., Suite E in Pharr, Texas. All leashed pets in costumes welcomed. Prizes awarded to several categories. Activities to include pet photos and more!



Eddie Rodriguez, Owner
600 E. Ferguson Street, Suite E (495 Plaza)
Pharr, Texas 78577
About Us...
Pharr Chamber of Commerce
308 W. Park
Pharr, TX 78577

Monday, October 25, 2010

USA La Feminil Women-Only Bicycle Tour in Brownsville, Texas

NOVEMBER 7, 2010
Join us for a ride as we "Salute to Women's Health".
Open to all levels of riders and types of bikes.
We encourage you to bring a friend, family member, or co-worker!

T-shirts to the first 100, Goody Bags, Water Stops, yummy food
from the newly remodeled Umix Frozen Yogurt, Self-Service Bike Station, Nutritional info, Raffles, and


Brownsville, TX

Quick Links
(Note: prints on legal size)

Find us on Facebook
Save $5.00
per person!
Register 5 or more, and get $5 off each... that equals one FREE entry!

Must register at the same time!


Interested in Volunteering?
contact us at:
leave a message at:
Join Our Mailing List

Unlimited Sports Adventures | 4642 Lakeway Drive | Brownville | TX | 78520

La lucha del Ejército Mexicano contra Zetas y Cartel del Golfo en Tamaul...

Should have bought sugar

Although sugar isn't necessary in one's diet, it makes things more edible.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Shopping for the Texas Food Stamps Challenge

Tonight, I went shopping for groceries in anticipation of the Texas Food Stamp Challenge. The budget for the week is $20. Tonight's shopping came in at under $10. I held back so I could have extra money to adjust my meals. I bought the following:
  • Nescafe Clasico (instant coffee, gotta have coffee)
  • Moms Oats (cholesterol thing)
  • Parade Hot Sauce (anything that tastes bad can be improved with hot sauce)
  • Carrots (for snacking between meals)
  • Whitehall Specialties Jalapeno Cheese slices (cholesterol free)
  • Chicken bologna
  • Riceland Rice
  • Bimbo soft wheat bread
  • 2 lb bulk pinto beans
  • 2 garlic bulbs
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 1 bunch of cilantro
The plan is:
  • Breakfast: Oatmeal and coffee
  • Lunch: Sandwich with rice or beans (alternating)
  • Dinner: Rice and beans, beans and rice (Dave Ramsey Diet)
  • Snacks: Carrot sticks
Tonight, I cooked some rice with cilantro for flavor. This gives me three bowls. It's a bit late for cooking beans, so I'll leave that for tomorrow evening. 

I considered buying potatoes. I could always pop one in the microwave or boil it. I also considered a can of mixed vegetables, milk, and cereal. I'm also thinking cabbage might serve well for soup with the carrots and garlic. Depending on cost, I might buy zucchini, yellow squash, or cucumbers for a nice soup with a bouillon cube. Or, I might throw in a ramen soup. I may need more rice. I really considered a pack of tortillas. 

Friday, October 22, 2010

Join the Texas Food Stamp Challenge

The Texas Food Bank Network is organizing the Texas Food Stamps Challenge, an event geared to raising awareness of potential cut in funding for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

The event challenges participants to restrict their diet to an average "food stamps diet" for five days. The Challenge's limitation is that participants only spend $4.50 on meals each day, which is the current average benefit. Then, on the final two days of the challenge, the budget is decreased to $3.70 to reflect the impact of budget cuts. You can read the full details here.

My dear friend Ruby Martinez of the Food Bank of the Rio Grande Valley naturally thought of me and some other friends as the perfect victims to volunteer for the challenge.

Of course, misery loves company, so I invite you to take the challenge with us by signing up for the Texas Food Stamp Challenge.

I'll be writing some follow-up posts on the challenge to explore some of the major hurdles that this challenge poses. On the surface, it seems that living on an extremely tight budget can be accomplished; but, there's more to it. We'll explore those additional considerations in upcoming posts.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

RGV Life Show 10/21/2010

Listen to internet radio with RGV Life on Blog Talk Radio

Quick introduction and hashing out of some ideas of what is to come at RGV Life.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Groupon is Coming to McAllen

Do you like getting good deals?

What if there were a way to get alerts for deals every day?

Well, there is some good news, Groupon is moving into the McAllen, Texas market to offer locals great bargains at our favorite shopping locations. Watch this video to learn more about Groupon.

Learn How Groupon Works! from The Point on Vimeo.

Of course, the success of Groupon in McAllen all depends on getting local businesses to participate. So, let your favorite shops, restaurants, and service providers know that they have a way to generate a guaranteed amount of sales if they provide a discount. If you have any suggestions or own a business and are interested, send a tweet to @GrouponMCAshley.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

The Alleged Pirate Story of Falcon Lake

By this time, most of us have heard about the Mexican bandits shooting David Hartley on his jet ski as he and his wife Tiffany tried to get away. She returned for him amidst the gunfire; but was unable to pull his body up on her jet ski. She further related that as the bandits grew nearer, she feared for her own life, left her husband behind, and went to seek help from the U.S. side.

According to the press, the story would read something like:
The American couple, knowing full well that it is dangerous to visit Mexico, disregarded all warnings for a sight-seeing tour. Tiffany Hartley returned by herself because she and her husband were allegedly ambushed and fired upon by Mexican "pirates". All the facts point to her coming back without her husband with no witnesses to confirm her alleged story. It is well known that criminal enterprises operate in the area, so it would be very easy to commit a crime and blame the poor, innocent pirates.

I embellished a bit to make a point. The word, "alleged" started being used in news as a de rigeur word in criminal cases, even when the person under investigation or indictment publicly committed a crime with many witnesses. This is because the person has not been convicted of a crime. Writers use "allegedly" up to the point where the criminal is convicted. Most importantly, it protects the news outlet from being sued for defamation by implying that somebody was guilty of a crime before being tried in court. At that point, the suspect becomes a convicted criminal or found not guilty.

In the case of the Hartleys, there is no trial. Mrs. Hartley is not under investigation or suspicion. We can't prosecute the Mexican bandits who committed the crime. And, it is unlikely the criminals who did it will sue any news outlet for defamation. In other words, other than what she says, there is no story. We can't seek justice for what happened in another country. The ball is in Mexico's court.

When you use "allegedly" in a story that is not justiciable, you are effectively saying that you doubt the story of the witness, whose only desire, at this point, is to retrieve her husband's body. It appears is that the press is jaded; they obviously don't believe her story and are afraid to outright say it. It is much easier to throw in an "alleged" or "allegedly" to cast doubt on the victim.

Think of it this way:
Fred liked to climb up the sides of buildings without safety gear. On October 1st, 200 onlookers state that he allegedly climbed up a building and fell off to his death as he neared the top.

How is that alleged? Fred can't be prosecuted. The incident can be investigated; but, it's not justiciable. He's definitely not going to sue for defamation. Furthermore, the witnesses all agree on what happened.

Yes, there is always a possibility that the Hartley story was made up; however, law enforcement has not made any indications that they consider Tiffany a suspect. Until that happens, all these implied allegations have no basis. Furthermore, it detracts from the urgency of finding David Hartley's body and bringing him home. It's looking for a story where none exists yet.

If there is a story, it will come out. Be patient. Until then, using "alleged" for this story makes you an ass for piling on and for not putting real thought into your choice of words.

Immigration Enforcement Results for ICE for 2010

Find more videos like this on Our Border

Find more videos like this on Our Border

Find more videos like this on Our Border

Find more videos like this on Our Border

Friday, October 01, 2010

Alton Firefighter Bash

Alton Fire Fighters have organized a bash for Oct. 2, 2010 from Noon to midnight. There will be entertainment for the entire family, including Tejano group La Mafia. The event is set up behind city hall.
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