Category Archives: Media

Thoughts on Viernes – 07012022

COVID-19 Still On The Rise

This week’s COVID numbers reached another disappointing level. Positivity is now just under 26% and the wastewater viral load pushed passed 630%. Among the popular folks announcing they were infected were County Judge Lina Hidalgo and a bunch of others, including two state reps. What’s disappointing is that none of them are telling people to mask-up. Frankly, I think we all know the symptoms that they tell us they’re going through. We need to be told how not to get it. Again! Other than staying home, masking up is probably the surest way to stay uninfected if one has to be in a crowd or at the workplace. So, do it. It’s not that difficult.

FYI – The medical community is worried. As Dr Luis Ostrovsky tells us, “We have to think that there’s much, much more COVID in the community than we think from the official numbers.” We’ve known the direction these numbers were going and without much warning or push from the political folks, people seem to have gone their merry way straight toward a dose of monoclonal antibodies or Paxlovid, or worse.

Anyway, stay safe, folks. And for goodness sake, put on a mask!

Forced School Prayer

It seems we’re definitely headed in that direction after the SCOTUS went out of its way to destroy the Establishment Clause and somehow explain that a coach who was praying in the middle of the football field with his athletes somehow didn’t encourage them to join in and that it was in private.

I tried school athletics in Junior High. During that time, we had some “out of town” folks show up to coach in our little town and they brought with them their preachy-ness. And if one didn’t participate, they were bullied. It got worse in high school and those athletes who managed to get teaching degrees and return to the town pushed the whole public prayer thing. I wasn’t about to be bullied for not praying, choosing instead to be bullied for not participating in sports.

Needless to say, I came out OK.

Uvalde, TX

As I expected, Uvalde, Texas has turned into a clusterfuck of massive proportions. Parents still are not getting information from state or local Republicans. No one seems to be questioning all the “border” money which has gone to local law enforcement in the area to pursue brown people and cause crashes during migrant chases. Hell, Greg Abbott’s policies caused the death of 50+ migrants because they wanted to avoid Abbott’s National Guard and DPS. In Encinal, TX, a Migra migrant chase caused the death of 4 and more injuries. In our area, another migrant chase caused injuries. And more migrants were found in the back of semi in San Antonio–all alive, thankfully. Greg Abbott has thrown money at many photo opportunities and has failed at ensuring the safety of well, everybody. If you haven’t noticed how these things interconnect, well, you’re doing it wrong. But, Democrats need to offer a hell of a lot more than being an alternative.

Vigil in Remembrance of Migrant Deaths Held

At FIEL HQ in Southwest Houston, a vigil was held to honor the 51 migrants who perished in a tractor trailer in San Antonio on Monday attempting to escape violence and poverty in their home countries and to seek a better life in the US. The message to the Biden administration and politicians was: Do Something!

While news media and those in political circles insist on making this about the human traffickers, the speakers at the vigil stated that it goes beyond the traffickers. It starts with a Democratic majority and President that has failed to pass an immigration reform, it includes the Texas Governor whose DPS, National Guard, and local law enforcement he has drafted failed at their job of stopping mass human smuggling while using hate speech to vilify migrants to appease his supporters. And it also includes the Mexican government who works under Biden administration orders to detain, warehouse, and deport migrants who cross over from Central American countries into Mexico. Together, these political systems force migrants to attempt crossing in the most dangerous of situations.

FIEL CEO Cesar Espinosa stated that among those who were being smuggled in a hot trailer were 22 Mexican citizens escaping poverty and violence.

The Mexican government has done little to nothing to stop violence in Mexico and corruption within individual state and local government runs rampant and uncontrolled. Unfortunately, most Mexicans escaping to the US will not qualify for asylum as they account for the least applications approved. But these 22 people tell us much about what is going in their regions. And, they’re coming. In other words, it’s not just about asylum applications. It’s about a broken immigration system that legitimately and illegitimately enriches those who enjoy the status quo.

Just a reminder: This is nothing new. Thousands have died attempting to cross rivers, deserts, and through armed resistance from military, law enforcement, and racist militias for years. And nothing has been done to ensure a safe journey for migrants.

It is time for Democrats to do away with the filibuster and pass legislation that protects migrants and creates a humane immigration system.

Inaction Claims Migrants Escaping Violence and Poverty

The media reports that at least 46 human beings were found dead and another 16 barely alive in a semi trailer in San Antonio. All were migrants escaping poverty and violence in their home countries, exploited by traffickers who continually exploit the US political weaknesses of Republican hate and Democratic indifference.

Gustavo García-Siller, the Roman Catholic archbishop of San Antonio, wrote on Twitter: “Once again, the lack of courage to deal with immigration reform is killing and destroying lives. We do not learn. God teach us to change.”

Scenes with stacked bodies will provide fundraising opportunities for Democrats and masturbation material for Republicans (because they get off on the suffering of others). Greg Abbott, in all of his racist glory, chooses to make a political statement blaming others, instead of taking responsibility for his bigoted border policies which force migrants to choose alternate, more dangerous routes to get to this side of the river. Failed policies that hand out money to local law enforcement agencies who love participating in migrant chases, rather than saving children in classrooms threatened by active shooters. No Greg Abbott, this is on the entire political system. Especially on bigots like you.

Yes, there is a lot of blame to go around. And when Democrats have a President and a majority which has done nothing on most issues, instead supporting the re-election of anti-immigrant, anti-woman, and religious zealot Democrats (Cuellar), the message is clear and the same old platitudes are ineffective.

As much as Democrats used Trump’s racist policies to get this majority, they have failed miserably to make change regarding migrant policies, choosing to continue draconian human rights-violating enforcement, detention, and deportation practices, all while expanding legitimate and illegitimate profiteering opportunities for equally bad people.

But most Democrats will remain willfully ignorant of all of this and continue to support the incumbent leadership which continues to fail, well, everyone. Those who will definitely not like my comments probably get a paycheck from political leadership that has failed. Go figure. Anyway…

Locally, we heard that Sheriff Ed Gonzalez finally told the Biden Administration he was withdrawing his name from consideration to be the ICE Director after Senate inaction on a confirmation vote. Way to go, Ed! You don’t need to be tainted by inaction and bigoted policies that our own Party fails to change or even challenge.

I thought I’d sleep off my lack of hope, but I still remain lacking in hope this morning.

Tacho’s Sabado Playlist

Wow, I’ve missed a few tunes that are quite welcome in the Tejano sphere of things. Here are a few that ended up on my radar.

Joe Lopez y Grupo MazzAndo Que Me Lleva – The King of Tejano is back with a full-length album, Love From The Heart. The 12-track album offers up a mix of rancheras, cumbias, and ballads, boosted by the legacy sound that put Mazz at the top of the charts and touring schedules during the 90s hey-day. Although he’s put out a couple of tunes as singles, the one that really captured the legacy sound is Ando Que Me Lleva, with its powerful drumming and smooth accordion accompaniment. Give it a listen and listen to the whole album on YouTube before buying it.

Grupo Alamo – Confianza – One group that’s always captured my attention is Grupo Alamo from SATX. Led by accordionist Ernie Gonzalez and backed up by some amazing session players and fronted by DLG Alum Mark Ledesma (of LaDezz), they never fail at putting out some really good music. For good measure, the players include Grammy-winner Juan Trevino and current Mavericks squeezebox player Percy Cardona on Keyboards, which one really notices on this particular tune.

Santiago Jimenez, Jr. – Brincando Cercas – El Chief is back with a new album, Still Kickin’, and kickin’ and squeezin’ he is. Santiago offers up some classics played in his own way and backed up by Max Baca on Bajo Sexto and Noel Hernandez on the tololoche (upright bass). Brincando Cercas is a tune about a guy literally caught with his pants down when “en la movida.” It’s a funny tune and sounds great done in the traditional “singin’ ’round the fire” style.

Behind the Mic with Little Joe – My Friend AC Cruz has a new podcast up featuring the legendary King of the Brown Sound Little Joe Hernandez. After 60 years of recording and touring, Little Joe is still on the road. This podcast takes us through his career, his civil rights and labor advocacy, and even singing with Willie Nelson! Click here for the podcast.

Houston Back at Medium Risk for COVID-19

The Houston Health Department quietly announced that Houston is back at “Medium” risk for COVID-19, while this week the positivity rate reached 21.1%. Harris County still has us at “Yellow,” which they call controlled levels.

The best advice given by Houston Health is to “consider” wearing a mask if one is at high health risk. They have also stopped using “low” to describe the positivity rate, while pushing vaccines to help lower the numbers. The good news about vaccines is that children under 5 have been cleared to get the COVID-19 vaccines. Whether parents will do the responsible thing and get them vaccinated is to be determined.

Among the famous to report testing positive now is White House COVID-19 advisor Dr. Fauci himself. He’s experiencing mild symptoms and is on paxlovid, the anti-viral med approved to fight COVID-19. One story on the drug is that it is most effective on folks at high risk for severe symptoms based on health and age. That’s 50% of the people around the world. The hope is that better antivirals will be produced to help alleviate symptoms for all categories of people.

Well, all of this time later, people should know the drill. Masks help, especially the good ones like KN-95s and KF-94s. Staying away from crowds is even better. Encourage your bosses at work to get back into the masking groove to protect employees and lower workplace risk. Diving head first into a crowd of strangers unmasked is probably not a good idea. Sure, you might live if you’re vax’d and boosted, but why even get sick? Just be safe.

Expanded Trail On The West Side

I was quite happy to read that the Brays Bayou trail will finally be connected at the West Belt.

Officials on Thursday announced the start of construction on a 7.7-mile segment of trail along the bayou, from Braeburn Glen Park near Gessner and Interstate 69 to Archbishop Fiorenza Park at the Westpark Tollway and Eldridge Parkway. The $20.5 million project completes trail work along Brays and is the longest segment in the Bayou Greenways plan.

What’s exciting are the added options regarding which direction one can go when on this trail. Although, the trail will go through Chinatown and Arthur Storey Park, then snake west to Fiorenza Park, a stormwater detention parkland between Highway 6 and Eldridge, and beyond, there will be a connection to the Westchase Trail, which I use a lot for recumbent triking. That I’d be able to head west is a great option, though, heading east to the Medical Center is nice, too.

This project won’t be completed until the end of 2023, so, there’s no telling where I’ll be at that point in time, but I’m glad for the folks on the West Side of town who need this completed alternative transportation route. Walkers, runners, and cyclists will definitely enjoy it.

I’ll Say It: Gun Deal Is Window Dressing

Too many people are celebrating the bipartisan deal on a framework that may eventually become a weak response to gun violence. It’s like they are celebrating a weak attempt at bipartisanship than what actually came out in the end.

The tentative deal, for which Cornyn was the lead negotiator, includes a mix of modest gun control proposals and funding for mental health. It would incentivize states to pass “red flag” laws, which are designed to keep guns out of the hands of individuals who pose a threat to themselves or others; boost funding for mental health services, telehealth resources and more school security; permit juvenile records to be incorporated into background checks for purchasers under the age of 21; and crack down on the straw purchase and trafficking of guns.

After all of these years, after some pretty awful mass shooter events, and after a re-invigorated movement to stop guns from getting into the wrong hands, this is the best that can be done because Republicans really don’t care and because Democrats have little fight to make even the killing of children an issue. There’s more fight for faux bipartisanship than for actual issues.

Let’s face it, the funding of mental health can easily come from our own state dollars if Republicans and Greg Abbott hadn’t already made deep cuts that were given to the border boondoggle. Texas being given the option for free federal money to pass red flag laws isn’t much different than giving Greg Abbott the same option to deny federal money for Medicaid expansion. Abbott won’t do it, or the money will be misspent. More money for security that has been proven lax and weakly trained, though they make a big deal for photo op purposes. Deeper background checks for those under 21 is an even weaker response to this as most “issues” a kid may have go undetected. There are still too many questions left to be answered.

It is window dressing that will do little to stop the next mass shooter. The only thing it may be is a small dent in the Republican’s NRA armor. Still, I expect them to just laugh it off as a victory against gun control advocates who I think would be kneecapped by this deal. In other words, even the window dressing used for political purposes is hanging by a thread.

Kuff is a little bit more hopeful than I am.

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.

Today is Democratic Run-Off Election Day!

The Ultimate Goal

Today is the day Democrats finish up deciding just who will represent them on the ballot in November. It’s an important election as we vote on state positions, such as Lt. Governor, Texas Attorney General, Comptroller, and Texas Land Commissioner, and local ones, like County Commissioner Pct 4 and judicial posts. Get it done!

FIND A SAMPLE BALLOT HERE

FIND A POLLING LOCATION HERE

And VOTE THE STACE SLATE