Category Archives: Historia

Tacho’s Sabado Playlist

Lots of new music hit this week.

The Latin Breed – Come and Get It – Known for their ability to go from Tejano to R&B in an instant, the legendary Latin Breed lays down some amazing musicality with this funky tune. Give it a listen and enjoy the vocals of Ben Miranda and the hard-driving Latin Breed horns.

Los Palominos – No Le Digas A Nadie – They’ve been warning us that they were dropping a sure hit and they came through. Uvalde’s own Los Palominos released this first single, and Humildes classic, since their personnel change. One thing is for sure, they have not lost any of their commitment to the legacy sound that put them on the map decades ago. If anything, this recent musical styling brings back some 90s hey-day memories. Our friends at Tejano Nation have more.

Grupo Fuerte – Mucho Corazon – The Houston-area’s own, Carlos Maldonado y Grupo Fuerte, has a long history as a heavy-hitting conjunto. This rendition of a classic on their 25th Anniversary, with some nice pasaditas on the bajo sexto, the dueling saxes, and a great vocal, is what we needed.

Joe Lopez y El Grupo Mazz – Dame La Mano – This is another Tejano single which has been charting in Mexico radio and on online platforms from the King of Tejano’s latest album, Love From The Heart. Written by Lopez, the tune has more of an 80s synth sound that fits in with the current demand for new tunes. The entire album is definitely a must-have.

Uvalde

I was born and raised about 40 miles from Uvalde, TX in Crystal City. As much as the media talks about how small Uvalde is, those residing in the even tinier towns that surround it think of Uvalde as the closest big city that provides a small hospital, a big Wal-Mart, the KFC and other restaurants, car dealerships, and nice parks that provide more than dirt lots on which to run around in. There’s also Eagle Pass 40 miles in the other direction at the border, but we didn’t like to stop at Migra checkpoints because as Americans we didn’t enjoy having our citizenship questioned, unless we really had to go to La Aguila for the mall or the Social Security Admin office.

Uvalde also offers the area’s junior college for students who aren’t yet ready to leave the area for other universities or who seek workforce degrees in nursing, auto mechanics, HVAC, and law enforcement, or for dual credit courses at the high schools. I even took my ACT at SWTJC. The middle school field trip to the John Nance Garner Museum (FDRs VP aka Cactus Jack) was very interesting, too. The Uvalde Coyotes sports teams have been among Crystal City’s top rivals for decades. I’d add that many of us even have relatives and friends in Uvalde. So, what occurred in Uvalde affected the whole area, whether personally or emotionally and we feel so much for the families that were directly affected. Even those of us who have been gone for 33 years.

Before the news channels got ahold of the events, I was finding out about it through text messages from close friends who had friends with grandkids in the school. Later, when other friends were posting photos of unaccounted for children, and some who even knew slain teachers during their childhood, I found out we aren’t all that disconnected from each other in that area of Texas. In fact, slain teacher Irma Garcia’s father was the Principal at Crystal City High School before they moved to Uvalde during the 80s and Irma’s family are related to a cousin-in-law of mine. Eva Mireles grew up in Eagle Pass, which is the other little city in the area. The father of one of the little girls is from a town down the road from Houston where a friend of mine has taught for years.

When I started doing my internet searches of people talking about it on Facebook, there were so many stories going around that law enforcement had not even announced. One story blamed a “migrant bailout” after a chase because the Migra engages them dangerously and frequently. One news channel (CBS) even took notice of all the Border Patrol members in the vicinity that even that talking head was buying into the fake story. The reality is that BP has a checkpoint just outside of Uvalde on the way to Del Rio and Eagle Pass on the border. And they give all sorts of assists to LE when they’re not hunting brown people or causing accidents from chases. So, there’s a reason folks were questioning the Migra’s appearance and there are enough people there who love to blame “the other.” But it’s a small town and chisme happens really fast and that made things all the more frustrating when people were searching for their kids. The frustrations became more immense in the aftermath, though.

The lack of information provided to parents of missing children was quite angering as the school district, law enforcement, and the hospital were not providing information. It seemed they were getting the “Don’t call us, we’ll call you” treatment. When they began to bring them in one-by-one for DNA swabs to assist in identity purposes, I knew what the outcome would be. One reporter stated they could hear the crying screams of parents as they were told why a swab was needed. One thing about small town folks in crises, we always hold out for hope because that’s one thing we always have and own, and most held out to the very end. But that they were left without a hint of a status for hours is a travesty.

Now, the information is still slow in coming and fast in changing to the point of inconsistencies, even after today’s DPS presser and Greg Abbott’s second presser. Greg Abbott’s first press conference featuring his political buddies was a joke and provided misinformation. Beto O’Rourke’s actions were quite welcome as he spoke truth to power, and their reactions showed us they knew it. A day later, the DPS press conference provided different information and left too many gaps to be filled. The one-hour gap between law enforcement getting shot at and the killing of the shooter was missing.

But then, there is also the allegations of mistreatment of parents by police, or rumors that law enforcement weren’t going in to the school, or others saving their own kids first, including BP agents. I know an investigation takes time, but when parents begin to provide facts of what they were met with when they arrived at the school, it seemed the presser became about defending law enforcement actions against parents, rather than actually investigating those allegations. That same regional director who headed up the first DPS presser, Victor Escalon, is the guy who interrogated Melissa Lucio, who almost ended up in the death chamber recently. That this guy has gotten promoted says a lot about Abbott’s operation.

The timeline is important, but we also need to know who was in charge during the various actions taken by law enforcement, from going into the school initially to the call-up of additional law enforcement and specialists to that one-hour gap to when they finally killed the shooter. It wasn’t until the aftermath that we found out Texas Rangers took over. But who was in charge the rest of the time? As DPS Director McCraw told the press, there is no need for someone in charge in an active shooter situation. One just goes in and takes out the shooters. (We found out later that the incident commander was Chief Arredondo of the school police, who gave the very first press conference on the evening of this tragic day.)

In Friday’s DPS presser, we found more truths, and maybe even more individuals to blame as a school resource officer was mentioned as driving into the school parking lot after the shooter had crossed the fence. Also mentioned was a back door that was propped up by a teacher who may have gone to his/her car to get a cell phone that he/she forgot. But let’s also recall that an awards ceremony had been held earlier that morning and there were a lot of parents going in and out of the building and it was probably close to the lunch period. It never fails that instead of finding systemic gaps in problems, they’ll find an individual to blame so that those in charge seem unblameable.

Congressman Joaquin Castro (because Uvalde’s right-wing guy Tony Gonzalez is useless) put out a request for the FBI to take over the investigation. I think this is a great idea considering that there were federal agencies involved in this. And the FBI responded after meeting with Congressman Castro.

It would seem to me that the kids who survived this tragedy, that were in the building, that heard the law enforcement demands and the shooter’s response, and heard the shots being fired at the children and teachers are providing the most information. And I commend the media for putting those stories out as DPS director McCraw went so far as saying some witnesses are “wrong.” Based on what, if he wasn’t even there. And why would victims lie? Let’s recall that 19 cops didn’t even go into the classroom where this happened.

We’ve spent decades debating gun control, gun safety, etc., and nothing has come about other than more guns. There are close to 400,000,000 guns out there. That’s more than one gun per person. They are accessible to criminals. But this shooter wasn’t a felon, wasn’t deemed mentally unstable, wasn’t reported by social media friends and was able to purchase two deadly weapons and over 1,000 rounds of ammo. The ammo purchase reminded me of Chris Rock’s suggestion that we need bullet control because whether it’s someone who is unstable or someone who gets off on shooting high-powered weapons for whatever reason, the fact that they are buying this much ammo should be a red flag in itself.

What’s the answer? Obviously people will protest and counter, and now the Senate has a committee to discuss disagreements and whatever else they discuss. Is there hope? There’s always hope, but there’s also a lot of right-wing nuts who will get in people’s faces to prove their point and I fear law enforcement will round-up anti-NRA protesters before they round-up armed idiots, no different than those cops who failed to go into the classroom until someone deemed a “specialist” arrived.

At this point, I want the investigation to continue, I want these families to receive the answers, all of the answer, they deserve, and I want Greg Abbott and his minions at all levels to stop the bullshit of covering each others asses. There were multiple agencies involved and a few days later, no one can determine answers until they agree on one that is favorable to them, it would seem.

So, when people who fear politics tell us to not get political, my response is to grow guts, or a pair, and get in the fight. Or get out of the way. Although this is the issue of the week, the fact that the inaction and failures at all levels occurred in South Texas tells you how little they care about the area and how easily they get their vote with rhetoric that blames “the other,” for the problems elected leaders cause. And, this isn’t just about gun laws, it’s about how the victims are being treated by authorities.

So, yes, it is political. Get over it. As someone who grew up down in that area, it’s also personal. The fact that so many people are interconnected with the victims makes it personal. And not just the murders, but also the ineptitude of those in charge.

Finally, if you really want change, vote out Abbott, Patrick, and all of the Republicans. They are not on the side of the people.

PS…GOFUNDME sent an email to users listing legitimate fundraisers raising money for victim families. There are alot of fraudsters out there, so, be aware.

The “Glad That’s Over” Dem Run-Off Report 2022

With 100 percent of the polling locations around the state reporting, it looks like the Democratic candidate for Lt. Governor will be Mike Collier as he has around 55%. A little closer than I hoped, but I was surprised to see Beckley showing well in South Texas. That said, Collier will be an active participant in this election.

Also, Rochelle Garza was doing extremely well in South, Central, and North Texas on her way to a decisive victory with over 62% of the vote. Glad we’ll have some highly qualified diversity on the ballot because the rest of the statewide team is not diverse at all.

Janet Dudding (61%) and Jay Kleberg (52%) end up as the Dem nominees for Comptroller and Land Commish, respectively.

In a race that took a negative turn in the last days of the campaign, Lesley Briones held a steady lead with 54% (or so) of the vote over Ben Chou on her way to becoming the nominee for Harris County Commissioner Pct 4. I guess the unfounded, negative attacks against her didn’t work. Briones will take on right-wing incumbent Jack Cagle, who recently voted against a county resolution decrying gun violence. Yes, on the day of the Uvalde, TX shooting, Cagle made it clear that he doesn’t care about dead children. I’m all in with Briones and it is time for all to come together to win this race.

It was also a sad day for incumbents Criminal District Judge Jason Luong and Family District Judge Chip Wells. I guess I need to learn more about the winners. Beverly Armstrong defeated Kim McTorry for the Dem nod for 208th District Judge in an open race.

Also, Treasea Trevino didn’t make the cut for County Court #4, though she was a great candidate who was challenging the local Dem establishment with her race against Monica Singh. Don’t give up, Treasea! Also, Sonia Lopez ran a great race for JP Pct 1, falling short to Steven Duble. Sonia has a great future in local politics.

In San Antonio, Judge Peter Sakai won the Dem nomination over Ina Minjarez for Bexar County Judge. He’s not a bad guy; actually, quite beloved, so Bexar County will be alright once he defeats the Republican.

And in Congressional District 28, Jessica Cisneros was nipping at the tail of Nancy Pelosi’s anti-woman lapdog, Henry Cuellar, down by less than 200 votes most of the night. While Bexar County results showed a few boxes still out, they didn’t seem to change the final result. Newsflash: Nancy Pelosi will get nothing for Democrats from Cuellar, other than a “W” for selling out women, migrants, and poor people.

Anyway, the results are in and we have a ballot to support, while also having the ability to demand more from our candidates in the form of GOTV, issues support, etc. It should already be expected, though.

Cartoonista Lalo Alcaraz in the News

Lalo Alcaraz and Me at the 2007 Latino Book and Family Festival

Recently, editorial cartoonist Lalo Alcaraz was awarded the Herblock Prize for his work on La Cucaracha and his syndicated editorial cartoons. Lalo has been a finalist for a Pulitzer twice, with the last nom not being awarded to any of the nominees for some reason that even ended with the category being cancelled. The Herblock is huge nonetheless, considering Lalo is the first “nonwhite” to earn it.

The judges stated “Powerful versatility. That is one way to describe the work of cartoonist Lalo Alcaraz. Alcaraz is equally as comfortable creating a faux woodblock print to address our country’s history of racism and xenophobia as he is mocking up a blueprint to satirize a rich white billionaire with a space rocket. From a stark dripping red MAGA hat that could be the corporate logo for the bloody January 6th insurrection, to a complex movie poster parody ridiculing right-wing conspiracies, Alcaraz’s cartoons always hit their mark.

and

Alcaraz is active in using cartoons and animation to battle vaccine hesitancy and Covid misinformation in the Latino community with the organization CovidLatino.org and the California Department of Public Health. He is currently Virtual Artist In Residence for the School of Transborder Studies at Arizona State University. He is a graduate of San Diego State University (BA in Art) and UC Berkeley (Master’s in Architecture).

The New Yorker’s Graciela Mochkofsky penned a feature on Lalo describing his long journey to “mainstream acceptance.” Is it really acceptance? Well, that’s a question whose answer continues to develop, but the road to get this far hasn’t been easy.

Now he has finally been accepted. Or has he? “I get a lot of hate mail,” Alcaraz said in his acceptance speech. A few days later, during a Zoom call from Los Angeles, he told me, “There is still this American societal attitude that we are foreign.”

It’s a great read, particularly the reminder that at one point the local fish wrap (The Chron) buckled to their right-wing readers’ offended sensibilities and banned La Cucaracha. A low-point for the Pulitzer winning operation, huh? (I guess that category wasn’t cancelled.) That impromptu protest against the Chron at the Latino Book and Family Festival was fun!

Anyway, read the New Yorker piece about Lalo Alcaraz. Learn something.

The Stace Slate – 2022 Dem Run-Off

It’s that time again. Early voting for the 2022 Democratic Run-off begins on Monday, May 16 and continues through May 20. Run-off Election Day is on Tuesday, May 24. You can find your nearest polling location by clicking here. Need a sample ballot? Find yours by clicking here.

And for whom am I voting?

Here’s the Stace Slate:

Lt. Governor – Mike Collier

Attorney General – Rochelle Garza

Comptroller – Angel Luis Vega

Land Commissioner – Sandragrace Martinez

Judge, 185th District – Jason Luong (Incumbent)

Judge, 208th District – No Recommendation

Judge, 312th Family District – Clinton “Chip” Wells (Incumbent)

Judge, County Civil Court #4 – Treasea Treviño

County Commissioner, Precinct 4 – Lesley Briones

Races not on my ballot, but maybe on yours.

Justice of the Peace, Pct 1, Place 2 – Sonia Lopez

Congress, District 38 – Diana Martinez Alexander

State Rep, District 147 – Danielle Keys Bess

Others further away.

Congress, District 28 – Jessica Cisneros

Bexar County Judge – Ina Minjarez

The Joe Bravo Sabado Playlist – QEPD

The world of music lost a legendary performer this past week. Joe Bravo’s sixty-year career is emblematic of the ups and downs of Tejano music performers and Bravo experienced it all in his career. From a beginning working with El Zarape Records to a 90s hey-day comeback under the guidance of Manny Guerra, to once again working with the Legends of Tejano (Agustin Ramirez, Freddie Martinez, Carlos Guzman, Sunny Ozuna, and Carlos Miranda), he never lost his fandom or his unique voice. I remember meeting him at a performance at Chicano Park in Austin in the 90s–I even got his autograph. Such a gentleman. I was glad I got to see him perform a few weeks before the pandemic hit at the Freddie Records 50th in SATX.

So, here are a few tunes that I enjoyed beyond his huge hit, Que Casualidad. Actually, there are too many, but these are on my mind this morning.

And one of the last songs here recorded with Avizo.

The Other Side of the Stace Slate

My voting experience went pretty flawlessly at Tracy Gee on Day 1 of the Primary. The TDL was scanned, my information appeared, and I was given excellent instructions before heading to my station to vote. And I wasn’t even asked to remove my mask to prove my identity.

All in all, I think there were 89 candidates that I picked, though, some were unopposed. But those contested races did add up to a few minutes of clicking through the ballot and ensuring I clicked the right person. A few minutes. Not bad at all if you go prepared.

Now, some have asked who I’m picking in other races. Hell, I don’t live in those districts! But some are my friends and I know they appreciate the support. Others probably despise me for making picks, so, con mas ganas I’ll make a pick! More than anything, just vote…in the Democratic Primary! Find your sample ballot and your polling location.

So, here is The Other Side of the Stace Slate:

Congress, District 38 – Diana Martinez Alexander

SBOE, District 4 – Larry McKinzie

State Senator, District 17 – Titus Benton

State Senator, District 15 – Molly Cook

State Rep, District 131 – Alma Allen

State Rep. District 132 – Chase West

State Rep., District 142 – Candis Houston

State Rep, District 147 – Reagan Flowers

County Commissioner, Pct 2 – Adrian Garcia

JP, Pct 1 – 2 – Victor Lombraña (Sonia Lopez is also a good choice.)

JP, Pct 2 – 2 – Dolores Lozano

The Stace Slate featuring those for whom I could vote is right here.

QEPD Vicente Fernandez

I have a confession. I wasn’t that big a fan of Chente as many, many others have been. I was born to parents who grew up and loved the music of the other grandes before Chente: Pedro Infante, Jorge Negrete, Javier Solis, and Tony Aguilar.

Aguilar was the last one from that group who passed away in 2007. After the first three were gone, my Pop didn’t think much of Fernandez, choosing to keep listening to the vinyl he had of the others. (Pop thought he was too much of an Elvis figure and he didn’t like Elvis, either.) Mom, on the other hand, was more accepting and watched Chente’s movies and listened to his music on the radio until her passing in 2016. As well as whatever chisme was being produced by Mexican stars and chisme shows. I chose Pop’s path and kept on listening to other grandes, but I was known to throw out a grito at a few college parties when Chente’s Volver Volver came on the stereo.

Both, though, boasted about catching the other grandes in concert during the matinees at the movies in which they starred and sang. Mom even attended a Tony Aguilar concert in Philly (The Spectrum) with my sis’s family in the 90s, although, Aguilar didn’t take his horses for the jaripeo portion of the concert. So, I understand the impact these performers can have on people.

Still, there is no doubt that Chente was an iconic figure for Mexicans, Chicanos, and Latinos all the way up and down the Americas. In Texas, even the king of Country George Strait was a huge fan and recorded his hit El Rey a while back. Tony Bennett even called him up to do a duet of Return To Me. But for Mexicans in the US, he was something special. Gustavo Arellano at the LA Times wrote a great article about Chente and his impact on those who crossed over the river for a better life.

The star and his fans conquered el Norte by adhering to rancho libertarianism, a philosophy that celebrates bootstrap individualism in a way that makes Ayn Rand seem like a commune-dwelling hippie. His tunes documented the pain and pride he and his fans experienced through life. There were never any excuses offered for hardships — just pride in being able to beat them down.

Latinos became the largest minority in the United States as Chente and my dad’s generation became older. My generation went from hearing Chente as the forced soundtrack of our weekends — he remained on the radio even as we begged our parents to let us play Nirvana or 2Pac — to a nostalgia act. He, like our parents, moved on into the realm of myth, until no longer quite human but living relics.

And that’s how it’s been for the generations that followed.

I’ve been watching human reaction to the death of Chente. Along with the various heartbreaks experienced these last couple of years, his death only exacerbates the feeling of woe while celebrating a long life. Even this less than fan has been listening to his tunes since waking up Sunday to the sad news and watching old interviews. And while watching the human reaction, whether on the news, in social media posts from LAs Walk of Fame, or while watching the homage in Guadalajara, it touched a nerve for me. Another, possibly the last, of los grandes is gone. His son, Alejandro, Tony Aguilar’s son Pepe, and some others whose careers are just starting are left to carry the culture and perhaps expand its reach.

Chente leaves quite an impact on society because he was enjoyed by multiple generations. Was he perfect? Hell, who is? As Arellano reminds us, there are some whose lives must be considered in totality as a means of having some perspective. And Chente is one of those big star lives that must be considered because we were privileged to all the chisme and truths being put out by chisme shows on Univision while enjoying his career.

He may be gone, but his art is still available for all to continue enjoying.

Thoughts on Viernes…11192021

Abbott’s Steel Stupidity

We all remember that Greg Abbott parked DPS vehicles to form a “steel wall” on the border, right? Well, now, he’s added those steel shipping containers. They look old, the colors don’t even match, and, oh yeah, it’s all for show. Just as Eagle Pass was getting purty, Abbott adds eyesores (beyond his own presence). Who got the contract for this? And how much did it cost? Since there is a shortage of shipping containers, I’m sure it’s a pretty penny.

SBOE’s Pearl Clutching

The State Board of Education is burning banning books that teach sexual responsibility. Apparently, healthy practices like masturbation are an abomination, but by all means, let’s leave kids to learn on their own in the back of pickup trucks by the lake, just like their mommies and daddies learned, right? It’s irresponsible. I’m always thankful for good parents who not only explained responsibility to us, but got us better books than the “health” education provided at the schools (like the ones that will be left on their own to find materials to teach kids something).

$2 Million

I’m not surprised at Beto’s first day haul. I’m on a Beto facebook page not run by him and his fan base was chomping at the bit to start sending money to his campaign. Greg Abbott is already at $55 million given to the enormous price tag hanging from his hind side, so Beto needs to catch up. But Beto’s current tour, which started in South Texas has injected some energy to voters. The middle-of-the-week crowds have been pretty awesome and he has honed his message to really get voters excited. He is in Houston tonight at Discovery Green!

The Dean Is Running

Texas Senate Dean John Whitmire filed to run for re-election for SD15, but at his fundraiser/party he put rumors of running for Houston Mayor to rest by saying he would indeed run in 2023. Well, it’s still way too early to get excited about anything 2023 and the 2022 campaign has barely started. I’m waiting to see if I’m even residing in the city limits by then to get excited about anything. Anyway…

Trib Gets Chicanos Riled Up

There is a lot to unpack in James Barragan’s “Dems So White” Trib article. It’s the same old song about if the Republicans have some brown sell outs Latin@s, why don’t the Democrats? Texas AG candidate Rochelle Garza has the best quote about that: “It’s not enough that folks on the Republican ticket are people of color. You need to show your work,” she said. “What do you stand for? And who do you stand for? What we’re seeing on the right is folks that stand for corporations and big interests and don’t stand up for the little guy, for everyday Texans

It’s not like we don’t have a bench of experienced brown people who’d love to run statewide, but brown folks don’t have the fundraising prowess at that “Beto” level. We just don’t have those wealthy (non-Latino) connections to make us seem viable to white folks, so we keep running in our own neighborhoods and districts. Hell, the first challenge is convincing white Dems that one is qualified beyond their resume, like saying one is related to an Alamo “hero” or being a “descendant” of Sam the big statue or some pendejada like that. Having to jump through hoops and do a little jarabe tapatio (Mexican hat dance) for the powers that be just isn’t worth the task of serving as a sacrificial lamb. Because they will leave you out on your own, no matter if it’s Lupe Valdez or one of the Castros. They will find some excuse to go with whatever great white hype is offered up. So, I won’t get riled up. Go ahead, gabachos, run, represent, say all the things that need to be said. Just don’t sell us out or the first Tuesday in November will be lonely.

Joss Favela Gets A Turn at NPR Tiny Desk

Regional Mexican artist Joss Favela recently put on a 17-minute performance that was quite impressive on NPRs Tiny Desk Concert (at Home) series. It was a history-making performance as he was the first Regional Mexican artist to appear on Tiny Desk. Kudos to NPR for that effort.

Favela, from Sinaloa, MX, is a 30 year old composer, musician, and vocalist whose Latin Grammy-nominated music (Llegando Al Rancho) usually lands in the “banda” category as he is backed up by a Mexican horn band at his performances and on his albums, though he does take his music to the pop genre, too. By age 27, he had already been chosen as ASCAPs Songwriter of the Year. In fact, I didn’t know about him until Grupo Intocable recorded some of his tunes on their album, Percepcion. Soon, I found out his songs and videos had thousands and thousands of views and that he was in fact “a thing.” I’ve become a fan even though banda is not my thing.

This performance on NPR, though, took more of a Norteño pop feel as he belted out some of his popular hits backed by acoustic musicians, like Pienso En Ti and Me Vas A Extrañar. The former was originally recorded with pop star Becky G. My favorite is El Alumno. Favela’s guitar playing is also pretty impressive. Here’s his performance: