Tag Archives: thoughts on viernes

Thoughts on Viernes…04182013


Castro Wins by A Chancla!

That NYT Article on The Castros

Jeff Horowitz mostly made the article about this.

Neither brother, both of whom graduated from Stanford and then Harvard Law, speaks fluent Spanish. And neither is learning it.

Much like the Castros, I grew up as a “pocho.” Thanks to parents who pushed me to learn it, I’m pretty comfortable speaking it, writing it, and translating documents to ensure some cultural relevance and not just some robotic Spanish that the media is dictating we should know. In other words, I consider myself kind of dangerous. But pochos like me are few and far between. In fact, folks in my generation (The Castros are 39 and I’m 42) generally aren’t the best Spanish speakers, although we are quite connected to the overall cultura, particularly Mexican American (Chicano) cultura. That Horowitz got a quote from a pollster who happens to be Peruvian (Bendixen) tells me he didn’t do much research in Texas on this particular cultural matter. In other words, Latinos aren’t all the same.

Is there a burgeoning immigrant population to which we must also communicate? Sure, but Anglo, African American, and other candidates must also learn to be culturally relevant to Mexican Americans and other Latinos. A one-size-fits-all approach will not work–and it hasn’t ever. And, by the way, wonky Spanish is just as boring as wonky English to folks who aren’t reporters, analysts, consultants, staffers, bloggers, etc. Of course, there’s that other matter that all Mexican American and Latino voters are, wait for it, Americans!

Anyway, when I heard about the article I didn’t want to read it, thinking it was just some hack trying to make something out of nothing. The gringo media needs to get serious about talking about Mexican American and other Latino candidates otherwise, they will keep giving us virtual toilet paper.

Latinos Are The Next Whites?

This was an article in Slate about something having to do with the color spectrum and Latinos. Something. I sorta joked that I attempted to become white by living in Kingwood for 10 years, but that it didn’t take.

I think, for the media to get what Mexican Americans go through, they just need to watch this. Or at least, talk to us!

Music Break:  Los Lonely Boys ~ Don’t Walk Away (2014)


About these ads

Thoughts on Viernes…04112014

Stop It With The Bush Loving

Bush #3 calls immigration “love” and the right-wing goes crazy and national pro-migrant groups get enamored. What is up with that? Did he release a policy proposal on making 11 million undocumented folks citizens? Did he call on President Obama to stop deportations? Will he cease and desist on previous calls for a whole new Bracero program? All answers, simply, are NO.

On everything else, Bush #3 is still anti-Latino. He hates health care access for poor people. He wants to dismantle public education. He is not pro-woman/pro-choice. And, worst of all, he’s another Bush. Let’s just stop the love affair before it really starts. OK?

The Houston NDO Thing

Seems like there’s a lot of chisme and scuttlebutt as to where Mayor Annise Parker is headed with the non-discrimination ordinance she is working up at City Hall. Obviously, something is needed, and I’m on the side of those who want something that affects private businesses, too. My buddy Texas Leftist has a pretty strong opinion with which I agree. Texpate wants an NDO, too. Others who are supportive of NDO and the Mayor seem to be pushing folks to get involved, call Council Members, and not place it all on Mayor Parker.

I’m not sure what to think. Unlike President Obama who made a Dem Primary campaign promise for immigration reform in 2007-08, Mayor Parker didn’t make any specific promises. But there’s no doubt the community expects action from the Mayor. It’s not a good spot (politically) to be in, I’m sure. So, from my end of things, I’ll keep watching from the sidelines and support folks like Texas Leftist. One thing is for sure, simply comparing and settling for what other cities got shouldn’t be the goal. Houston can do better.

Music Break – Flaco and Max – Beer Drinking Polka


Thoughts on Viernes…03282014

United We Dream Visits the Democrats

A national pro-migrant youth group called United We Dream visited Democratic Party HQ offices around the country today, including the local office at 1445. The purpose was to tell Dem Party leaders (local ones, too) that they must lead and demand that President Obama halt deportations and provide relief to families who have been left to suffer under the Obama Administrations deportation policies.

United We Dream leaders are gathered in Houston for a movement building training to launch it’s #WeCantWait campaign, created to address the most pressing and most painful issue facing the undocumented community: deportations. Under President Obama, we’ve lost 2 million mothers, fathers, sisters and brothers to an enforcement system created only to tear our families apart, and now we’re saying that we can’t wait.

Can you blame them? These young people are asking for an audience, but, unfortunately, doors have been closed to them–even the doors to the negotiation room with the President. Some coffee, pan dulce, and a conversation wouldn’t really hurt.

In Case You Haven’t Noticed…

…Latinos have much to be upset about, given what recently occurred in Hempstead. Small town, but close enough to home. When people entrusted to ensure positive outcomes for students–all students–make up their own rules, well, do you really want to question why leaders of all political stripes are being questioned by activists? Again, communication is important–even from allies.

Cesar Chavez at the Movies

Go check out the flick this weekend! You’ll thank me. Republicans will avoid it, but I’m hoping Democrats support it a lot more. My review here.

Music Break – Little Joe y La Familia – Viva Cesar Chavez!



Thoughts on Viernes…03142014


Yes, it’s that time again for another meeting. As I stated last night, President Obama called for a review by DHS to find out how he can more humanely deport people. A whole bunch of people “liked” it when I shared it on Facebook. But as I stated, he still wants to deport, and he sure isn’t stopping deportations during this review. In today’s meeting with the same groups as always, Ali Noorani from one of the invited immigrant groups called it a stopgap, but he doesn’t seem to know the definition of the term:  a temporary way of dealing with a problem or satisfying a need. Obama just wants more of the same, but with feather-lined handcuffs.

So, who got to go to the meeting? The NCLR leader who called him “deporter-in-chief” was there, but not the pro-migrant groups who have been calling for an end to deportation and a sensible immigration reform. What is up with that? Well, like I stated in the other post I did this week, I’m not taking seriously the sudden “insults” from people who have done Obama’s bidding this whole time, and today’s meeting proved my assertion.

To School or Not To School

That was the question before the HISD School Board yesterday in what was a heated meeting in which school closures was the topic. Ultimately, Jones HS will be converted into a “futures” academy and Dodson ES will be closed. What’s a futures academy? Click here to find out. It doesn’t sound like a bad thing, but it’s really for kids who are decided on a career track. A kid graduates on the high school curriculum, and by the end of summer of his/her graduation, they earn an AAS degree from HCC. My worry is about transferability of courses into four-year degrees that aren’t necessarily in this original career track. Because kids do change their minds. Considering that most HISD students qualify for some sort of financial aid and Texas Republicans are intent on cutting financial aid (or imposing time limits to graduation), well, you see my concern.

Music Break ~ Max Abrams (f/ Raul Malo) In My Solitude

Thoughts on Viernes…03072014

Wendy Davis at the Trib

wendyThe Texas Trib had a good episode of TribLive this week, featuring Democrat for Texas Governor Wendy Davis. Among other things, Davis talks about her defense of a woman’s right to choose and the all-important border vote. I agree with Davis and know she will take South Texas handily since it is solidly Democratic and because the alternative, Greg Abbott, is a hate-monger who will be bogged down by Dan Patrick’s mouth (my opinion). Give it a listen.

The HISD School Closing Situation

Like any good liberal should not be, I was not happy with the proposal to shut down some schools. But given the argument that enrollment had decreased and that HISDs freedom to transfer schools seemed to have hit some of these schools, I was at least willing to listen. After much debate and, I’m sure, lobbying by parents and advocates, HISD Board Prez Juliet Stipeche took off the three elementary schools from the closure list, opting to give them an extended chance to grow. On the other hand, it seems like two others are still on the closure list. So, the Board has an opportunity to split the difference. Bottom line:  demographic and population shifts happen, and tough decisions need to be made. I don’t envy the Board, especially those who truly support public education–unlike my own board member whose campaigns are paid by charter school interests. Anyway, the Board will decide next week where all of this is going. I do agree with Trustee Wanda Adams that the board needs to solidify this whole local school choice thing.

Dime Con Quien Andas…

There’s been a lot of uproar over Venezuela lately, but I didn’t fall for it. It’s easy to fall for students protesting and fake photos, but in any movement, one must ask:  Who’s really in charge? Who’s funding it? And what is the real intent? I take this approach even with the latest “pro-migrant” evangelical movement because one doesn’t know what the real intent of things are nowadays. Perhaps I’m cynical, or perhaps I just want to stay true to my leftist beliefs. Or perhaps I’m true to governments truly elected by the people–poor ones included. I’m glad Danny Glover gets it. And my friend Roberto Lovato, too.

MUSIC BREAK:  Adalberto ~ Somos Novios (from Una Voz Enamorada)

Thoughts on Viernes (End of EV Edition)…02282014

Early Voting Is Done!

A whopping (as early voting goes) 5,657 Harris County Democratic voters showed up to early vote today–the last day. Along with mail ballots that have already been returned, over 30,000 Democrats have voted, thus far.

To compare, back in 2010, over 40,000 early and mail ballots were cast, leaving another 60,000+ to vote on Primary Day. So, Dems are lagging a bit, if the numbers I see in the archives are correct. Some blame it on fewer contested races than 2010, others blame it on the fact that no one seems to really be campaigning, unless you’re a lawyer trying to buy a judge. I’ll go with all of those reasons. Let’s hope we get un chingo on Tuesday.


Just another reminder to vote for Julia Maldonado for the 246th Family District Court. Julia’s gotten the nod from the hardest-working Dem clubs around the county, the Labor nod, fellow lawyers, and even the Chron. Early on, she also go the nod from two of my favorites, State Rep. Garnet Coleman and State Senator Sylvia R. Garcia. So, spread the word. Heck, print out this virtual push card or share it online. If chosen by Democrats, Julia will be one of only two Latinas running for a District Court. Let’s spread the word about Julia!

And Vote Steven Kirkland for the 113th

 Steven Kirkland is a proven jurist with a love  for the diverse community that is Houston. Kirkland has been an excellent campaigner, taking his campaign to all segments of the Democratic Party, unlike his opponent who has sent targeted mailers to one or two groups. Kirkland will represent all of Harris County–much like he always has. So, vote for Steve Kirkland.

As I mentioned, there’s a lawyer trying to buy a judge, and that prospective judge is Lori Gray, Kirkland’s opponent. Call it negative campaigning, but I call it pre-judging people with doctored evidence. Which means Gray is a bad lawyer and would be a bad judge. VOTE KIRKLAND!

Or, I’ll just let Mayor Annise Parker say it:

And The Rest…

And if you need to know who I am picking, go to my last Viernes post.

MUSICA BREAK – Flaco Jimenez and Max Baca – Me Voy Lejos (Legends and Legacies) – The DC Review Comes Out This Weekend!

Thoughts on Viernes (Early Vote Sabado Edition) 02222014

Go forth and vote early!

During early voting you can vote at any polling location, which can be found here. Don’t know who’s on the ballot? Well, click here and find your very own sample ballot.  And did you know you need an acceptable ID to vote? Well, click here and find out what IDs are acceptable.

Vote JULIA MALDONADO for the 246th-Dem Primary

I may be helping her out on her campaign, but State Senator Sylvia Garcia, Democrats, Organized Labor, Colleagues and the Chron can’t be wrong.

The Rest of Team DC

U.S. Senate:  Undecided Between Alameel and Scherr
Congress, District 7 – James Cargas
Governor – Wendy Davis
Lt. Governor – Leticia Van de Putte (Unopposed, but yeah!)
Ag. Commissioner – Hugh Asa Fitzsimons
Railroad Commissioner – Steve Brown
113th District Judge – Steven Kirkland
246th District Judge – Julia Maldonado
280th District Judge – Barbara Stalder
308th District Judge – Bruce Steffler
District Attorney – Kim Ogg
County Clerk –  Ann Harris Bennett
County Court at Law #10 – George Barnstone
*Senate District 15 – John Whitmire (I reside in SD13, but this one is the obvious choice for my friends in 15.)
* Texas House District 145 – Carol Alvarado (I reside in 137, but the Rep. is another one of those obvious choices.)


In a tough district, there’s no doubt that we need to build toward winning. My friend James Cargas has been doing that since 2012, and he deserves another shot at Tea Party Culberson. James has the experience and the maturity that Congress needs to get things done. At the moment, we are stuck on neutral (some say, reverse) and we need a common sense voice to bring solutions to DC, rather than the same old “gotcha” politics of Culberson. Cargas is right on all of the issues, especially comprehensive immigration reform. I’m sticking with him in 2014.

The Referedum Referenda Referendums?

There are also four non-binding referendums on the Democratic Primary ballot and I suggest you answer YES to all of them.

IMMIGRATION REFORM:  The United States Congress must pass immigration reform; including an earned path to citizenship for those individuals contributing to the economy and the dependents of those individuals.

A LIVING WAGE FOR ALL TEXANS:  Congress should pass legislation raising the federal minimum wage to at least 110% of the federal poverty level for a family of four without exception.

MEDICAID EXPANSION:  The Governor and the Texas Legislature should accept federal funds; as provided in the Patient Protection & Affordable Care Act of 2010; for the expansion of Medicaid to provide coverage to millions of uninsured and underinsured Texans.

NON-DISCRIMINATION LEGISLATION:  The Congress and the Texas Legislature should adopt legislation that expands protections against discriminations in employment; housing; and public accommodations based upon sexual orientation and gender identity.

MUSIC BREAK – Little Joe – Las Nubes

Thoughts on Viernes…02142014

Abbott and Pé

Finding no credible brown face from South Texas or the RGV to defend him, it looks like Greg Abbott settled for a defense from the Little Brown One, AKA “Pé” (en la frente). And it was a pretty weak defense since the people of South Texas are still waiting for an apology from Abbott.

Pé Bush isn’t doing himself any favors defending a condescending gringo non-Latino elected official. I mean, c’mon, doesn’t Pé know that those of us who grew up in South Texas had to deal with condescension and general meanness from right-wing bigots? One would figure he would have learned this at his private school in Florida growing up.

Anyway, South Texas awaits a sincere apology from Abbott for “third world,” as well as for defending K-12 funding cuts, trying to block health care for those who can’t afford it, etc. There’s a long list of stuff for which he owes South Texas an apology.

Contaminated Soil and METRO

This made the news earlier this week (pay wall) and I must say it is quite concerning. The community fought a plan to build an overpass for the East End rail line and negotiations ended up with agreement for an underpass so the rail would cross some freight rail lines. Building an underpass would ensure the area wasn’t divided by a huge wall of an overpass. It was even an issue CM Robert Gallegos ran on in his race for District I as he was among the community activists who supported an underpass.

Well, now, it was revealed that there is a nice-sized area contaminated with gasoline and even some cancer-causing pollutants which leaked from some of the freight rail tanks. According to consultants, if they don’t dig the underpass, then there is no need to clean the site. And that’s when my alarm went off, since I grew up in a town with an area close to schools and housing projects that was polluted so bad it became a Superfund site back in the 80s. Since 1994, according to the article, the contaminated area in the East End seems to have grown–unless they didn’t measure right the first time; they weren’t clear.

The METRO folks are correct, it takes years to mitigate–it was in the mid-90s when the mitigation in my hometown was considered a success to the Feds. But to just leave it there? One way or another, the soil needs to be dug up and removed from the area before anything is built. But it does beg numerous more questions about contamination in the East End, particularly in areas around freight rail lines. I hope we hear more about this soon because I find the solution of simply not digging a bit hard to believe.

Music Break – Los Lonely Boys – Fly Away (Official Video)

Thoughts on Viernes….01312014

Texas Media Loses It?

Apparently, members of the Texas media aren’t too happy that they weren’t allowed into a “local” Democratic Party fundraiser in Austin which featured State Senator Wendy Davis as the speaker. I’ve been to plenty of fundraisers in my long involvement in stuff and I’ve never seen media at one. Sure, it’s Wendy Davis, but she’ll be making plenty of appearances from here on out. As a blogger, I didn’t mind the Texas Tribune featuring the video feed on their site. It’s not as if the Texas media asked a lot of questions of Greg Abbott after he and his supporters unleashed some pretty nasty, sexist, and even misogynistic commentary about Wendy Davis. All Senator Davis was doing at this speech was giving her side of the story and a defense. Why does the media want to ask questions, now?

Anyway, as I mentioned in this week’s podcast with Rey Guerra, I think the Texas media is looking for a fresh story since the career of Rick Perry is basically done and no one seems to care about that pot supportin’ guv.

In case the media still missed it, here’s the youtube.

Texpatriate expands on it. And McBlogger nails it.

Repubican Amensty Princibals*

*I spelled it as it would appear on a Tea Party protest sign.

Anyway, did you catch Boehner’s principles on immigration reform? Even after 2,000,000 Obama deportations, the GOP seems to think it’s not enough. They won’t be happy until 50,000,000 Latinos are deported–“no matter if their citizens.” But it seems what made Ted Cruz’s tanga pop is the term, “no special pathway” to citizenship. Why? Because that would mean they’d get to “the back of the line” and still be able to become citizens…eventually…maybe. But even the distant possibility of citizenship is driving the far right crazy.

And while some of my friends who have been willing to accept anything less than citizenship, the bottom line is that the principles call for no “deportation relief.” If anything, “zero tolerance” of unauthorized migration is clearly specified in the blueprint. But they do dangle a carrot for DREAMers, which includes a path to citizenship. Of course, nothing happens without, wait for it, “triggers.”

As most of the pro-migrant groups are saying, “it’s not an actual bill.” But it is pretty obvious that the Republicans have moved backwards from an already awful Senate Bill 744. That said, right-wingers led by Ted Cruz are already saying NO to anything. Middle of the roaders are saying, “not this year.” And Nancy Pelosi and Democrats are saying, “special path to citizenship or nothing.”

It’ll make for great campaign rhetoric, especially in the race for Lt.Governor here in Texas and other Republican primary races. And Democrats will once again have a direction in which to point fingers in November. But it seems that that will be about it. No idea if it actually means votes for either side.

Music Break – Los Lonely Boys – Live at B&N on the Release of Revelation

Thoughts on Viernes…01242014

The Big Freeze

I was lucky that I didn’t have to hit the freeways today; the thing is, dangerous roads or not, there’ve been some loco drivers these last couple of wet days. People seem to be in too much of a hurry–or maybe they’re just running late? Anyway, stay safe out there. Some folks may laugh at us, but we don’t live in a 24-hour-a-day frozen hell, either. So, cut us some freakin’ slack, Norteños!

Tweet of the Week – Mayor Julian Castro

Tu dile, Julian! Dan Patrick and his buddies running in the Tea Party have been going ape-shit against Latinos and immigrants lately in the run-up to the Republican Primary and Mayor Castro called him out, to which Patrick responded with a challenge of a debate on immigration.

Expect some usual common sense from Mayor Castro and the usual pendejadas from Patrick. I don’t think it will lend much to the overall debate in DC, but it will solidify the Texas Republican Party line on anti-Latino hate, and, thus, put to bed any significant attempts at Latino outreach. (Not that any was really expected given the Republican planks on public education, higher education, health care, economy/jobs, etc.)

Music Break ~ Flaco Jimenez/Max Baca – Me Voy Lejos (Legends and Legacies)