Category Archives: Uncategorized

Event: 37th Festival Chicano ~ OCT 6, 7, 8, 2016

Time to lock-in Festival Chicano in your calendar! See you there!

festchicano16

The Krayolas Release “Piñata Trump” and “El Cucuy”

Just in time for the political convention season, Chicano rock-and-roll group The Krayolas have dropped two tracks for our listening pleasure.  Piñata Trump is a little self-explanatory and fun to dance–or to  break a certain piñata to. El Cucuy is the story of that scariest of characters who has been the basis of our parents threats, or maybe it’s just Trump.

Give these tunes a listen.

Register Today!: Mayor’s Back to School Festival

Click on the image to register for this mid-August event.

Back2School2016.11x17 FINAL

DC Reviews: Intocable ~ Highway

intocablecoverNot releasing an album in three years did not hurt Intocable. Twenty-two years of music has allowed them to amass quite a catalog of hits–hits that make for memorable set lists that always get their sell-out crowds singing along.

Still, one always wonders what else Intocable can accomplish on a new album. They have achieved much in the studio and on the road, but their newest album, Highway, is a project that reminds us of Intocable’s versatility, the excellent songwriters they hang with, and why we always get excited about their “next album” taking too long to be released.

In an interview a few years ago, band leader Ricardo Muñoz stated that he may not be the best vocalist in the business, but his on-stage confidence is bolstered by having some of the best musicians in the business. Highway leaves no doubt about this, especially the bajo sexto creativity of Johnny Lee Rosas. While Rosas recorded the entire album, he recently left to sew his own creativity with a band he founded years ago, Masizzo. Nonetheless, his and Alex Gulmar’s bajo playing on Highway is the best I’ve heard on a a Norteño album.

Although the run-up to the album’s release came with online releases of some of the tunes over the course of a few weeks, the band had been riding on a powerful single penned by Louie Padilla, Tu Ausencia. In another interview, Muñoz stated that the tune was a strong reminder of the loss of his father a few years ago. Having lost my Mom 6 months ago, I must say that as I sing along  to it, I usually get a lump in my throat. Released with an excellent video, the next single and video was a lighter one with Quiereme (Amame), a cumbia.

Highway is definitely a journey of experiences and of emotions. It’s also one of Intocable’s darker recordings, perhaps a journey of their own experiences as a band and as individuals. From love to love hurting to love lost, the band seems to describe just about anything that any given individual has gone through. Tunes like Te Perdono, a ranchera, reveal the pain of love lost by setting standards by which one forgives–and they’re not easy standards:  “Te perdono si un dia traes a Dios hasta mi puerta; cuando vea que a tus ojos salen lagrimas de sangre…” One even feels the sadness of the acordeon.

Equally haunting is the ballad, En La Obscuridad, about moving forward after losing on love, but what remains are the thoughts that cloud one forever. That much is noticeable in the song’s extended musical ending with the haunting back-and-forth of the acordeon and what can only be described as mind-noise in the background.

Intocable also hits on an important social issue, the missing and murdered women of Juarez. Wilfran Castillo’s Dia 730 tells the story of a 17 year-old girl with dreams of becoming famous lured by a man offering opportunities of success only to go missing and probably murdered. This cause has been around for years and the lack of response (few arrests and convictions) continues to instill fear in Juarez. Thankfully, Intocable adds to this discussion, including the pain families go through and the ineffectiveness of law enforcement. It’s a powerful and descriptive tune.

The band also reminds me that they grew up in the same rock era as I did, and Un Dia Sin Ti and Duele El Amor, both rancheras, have tinges of rock guitar and drumming (by Rene Martinez) that effectively set up the songs. The signature Intocable cumbias are also evident, with Cuando Me Vi En Tus Ojos and Sueño de Amor providing some danceable treats.

Intocable also invites a guest lead vocalist, Beto Zapata, on Cuestion de Tiempo, which he delivers quite well. The album is well-rounded out with Cuidare, Usted Me Encanta, and Quiza No Sea Tarde, making this a musically diverse album.

Intocable is:  Ricky Muñoz, Rene Martinez, Sergio Serna, Felix Salinas, Alex Gulmar, Juan Hernandez, and familiar new entrant, Danny Sanchez.

You can find the new album on various online outlets, but also exclusively for sale at Wal-Mart. Kudos to Ricky and the crew on a great production. They keep proving that independently produced records are the best ones out there.

TPA Round-Up

The Texas Progressive Alliance remembers the men and women who died while serving in our nation’s armed forces as it brings you this week’s roundup.

Off the Kuff rounds up coverage of Ken Paxton’s latest anti-transgender lawsuit and publicity stunt.

Libby Shaw at Daily Kos remembers Ken Starr and his role as the Republican’s Grand Inquisitor during Bill Clinton’s Presidency. The Grand Inquisitor for Bill Clinton’s sinning is mired in a sexual abuse scandal.

SocraticGadfly, looking ahead to the general election, and his mentions already of “Plan B” and Green Party voting, takes note of what he calls anti-third party electoral bigotry.

Some incredible pictures of the sky were included with flood photos from Houston’s most recent monsoon at PDiddie’s Brains and Eggs.

==================

And here are some posts of interest from other Texas blogs.

Lone Star Ma focuses on the eleventh of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): “Make cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.”

The Lunch Tray explains the logic of serving federally-compliant donuts at school.

The TSTA Blog traces the origin of the STAAR test.

Paradise in Hell contemplates Ken Paxton’s potty issues.

Run-Off is Done; Dem Slate is Set

donkickIt was the kind of run-off that mostly had good candidates. I picked my favorites and went 3 – 5, and other races, I didn’t even pick. Still, come the time to click [REFRESH], there was a little excitement.

Big congrats to Ed Gonzalez who will be the Democratic nominee for Harris County Sheriff. I’ve known Ed for a while and I’ve always given him my support. I think he’d make a great sheriff; actually, I think he’d be great in any position to which he sets his mind.

In the 61st District Court, Fredericka Phillips had a great election day and squeezed out a 200+ vote victory over Julie Countiss, who had a strong mail ballot showing. This was the most exciting race of the night as we awaited the results and saw an exchange of leads.

Constable Chris Diaz of Pct. 2 had a decisive victory in his race earning over 72% of the vote. Congrats, Constable.

I’d like to give a huge tip of my sombrero to Tanya Makany-Rivera, candidate for JP Pct. 1. She was outspent by a lot and took on some heavies in the local establishment, but she never gave up until the last vote was cast. She’s good people and I hope to see her on the ballot again in the future. Congrats to Eric William Carter who won the race. I met him during the race and he’s personable and friendly, which are a couple of qualities needed on the people’s court. Good luck to him.

To my friend Rabeea Collier–You ran great race for the 11th District Court! I met Rabeea back in 2008 when the Hillary-Obama race was at its hottest–during Senate District Convention. She fought hard for her Obama delegates, while I fought hard for the Hillary delegates. It was quite fun. She’s another candidate I hope to see on the ballot in the future. Congrats to Kristen Hawkins who will carry the Donkey flag toward November. She’ll be a great candidate.

And congrats to all the Dems from the top to the bottom of the ballot.

Run-Off Day – May 24, 2016

Today is run-off day, and as is usually the case during low-turn-out elections, polling locations will be consolidated around Harris County. So, you better check with Harris County before you go to your usual election day polling location. While you’re at it, get a copy of your sample ballot.

Of course, there is the Stace Run-Off Slate to consider:

My choices:

SBOE6:  Jasmine Jenkins

District Judge, 11th District:  Rabeea Collier

District Judge, 61st District:  Fredericka Phillips

District Judge, 215 District:  JoAnn Storey

Sheriff:  Ed Gonzalez

The NIMBY, but I would if I could vote for them Slate:

JP1:  Tanya Makany-Rivera

Constable Pct 2:  Christopher Diaz

Constable Pct 3:  Michel Pappillion

 

 

Texas Progressive Alliance Round-Up

The Texas Progressive Alliance would like for everyone to be able to pee in peace as it brings you this week’s roundup.

Off the Kuff is encouraged by a surge in voter registration from people who can’t wait to vote against Donald Trump.

Libby Shaw at a Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick roast at Daily Kos received a fair share of push back when she suggested GOP primary voters defaulted to Trump because most get it that they’ve been conned by the GOP establishment. They lost because they serve billionaires. Voters finally figured it out.

SocraticGadfly looks at the Texas Supreme Court’s school finance ruling and says Texas GOP voters have reaped what they have sown.

The difference between murder and manslaughter is “I didn’t mean to”, observes PDiddie at Brains and Eggs.

Neil at All People Have Value sees a lot of value in everyday life. You should as well. APHV is part of NeilAquino.com.

Dos Centavos expresses outrage about the administration’s latest immigrant raids, and hopes that Bernie Sanders delegates to state conventions will hold fast — and hold the Clinton delegation’s feet to the fire — on deportation issues.

======================

And here are some posts of interest from other Texas blogs.

Lone Star Ma highlights the 10th of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): “Reduce inequality within and among countries.”

Space City Weather salutes the Addicks and Barker reservoirs for their stalwart flood mitigation.

The Great God Pan Is Dead updates us on the Rokudenashiko case.

Phyllis Randolph Frye explains what the law really says about bathrooms.

John Nova Lomax questions Houston ISD’s school renamings.

BOR frets that the combination of Zika virus and anti-abortion laws could have a large and negative effect on public health in Texas.

Cody Pogue would like us all to get over our bathroom issues already.

Early Voting: May 16 – May 20

donkey-fightWell, it’s that time, again. Democrats didn’t finish the job of setting the slate for the November ballot, so, it’s time for us to return to our polling locations and finish the job.

On the ballot are one statewide post, several judicial posts, an SBOE post, some JP jobs, and most importantly, ensuring Ed Gonzalez is our Democratic nominee for Harris County Sheriff.

Early voting begins today, May 16 and goes on until May 20, 7am to 7pm, and you may vote at any early voting location. Run-off election day is Tuesday, May 24. Find a early voting location here.

My choices:

SBOE6:  Jasmine Jenkins

District Judge, 11th District:  Rabeea Collier

District Judge, 61st District:  Fredericka Phillips

District Judge, 215 District:  JoAnn Storey

Sheriff:  Ed Gonzalez

The NIMBY, but I would if I could vote for them:

JP1:  Tanya Makany-Rivera

Constable Pct 2:  Christopher Diaz

Constable Pct 3:  Michel Pappillion

 

A State Rep Working On Real Issues

With today’s news that Dan Patrick is more interested in potties and sending back billions in federal education dollars to DC, it’s time to remind folks that there are folks representing us in Austin that are actually serving their constituents.

Last weekend, I attended State Rep. Gene Wu’s (HD137) town hall. Having lived in the district for a few years, I had yet to attend one, but since this one would have much to do with moving toward a set of legislative priorities, I thought I’d better go.

Upon arrival, I found a pretty diverse crowd that looked just like Houston. “De todo un poco,” or, a little of everything. And Wu didn’t make the meeting all about him, though I wouldn’t blame him since he’s up for re-election. In fact, he showcased some local experts on issues, such as education, health care, and public safety.

H.D. Chambers, chief at Alief ISD, presented on the realities about public education in the area, and especially on the lawsuit filed by numerous Texas school districts regarding education finance. (The lawsuit was decided today by the Texas Supreme Court and, let’s just say, the kids, the people, and the schools lost). The lawsuit was mainly about having the courts decide how enough resources would be provided to meet expectations that we place on our schools. The Court decided that the state met minimum constitutional standards of funding.

Anyway, he reminded us that there are 5 million students in K-12, but that there are 3.5 million children age 0-3, who by 4 should be getting into Pre-K. Of course, Pre-K support from the state is non-existent. This poses a major threat to the future of Texas, which includes a startling statistic:  If a child cannot read by 3rd grade, there is a 35% chance that the child will dropout of school.

Freddy Warner from the Memorial Hermann system spoke regarding health care from a major system standpoint. He stated that health care and education are among the top funding priorities in the Texas legislature and that in the coming session, they may be crowding each other out. Considering Texas was just bailed out by the Obama administration regarding Medicaid, one would think that Medicaid expansion would be a priority. Warner stated that there is zero chance it would be addressed as health care doesn’t seem to be a priority for most in Austin. He did mention that Memorial Hermann does provide $1.4 billion in charity care.

A startling statistic he provided is that we shouldn’t be surprised if there is a budget shortfall in 2017. While the State Comptroller based a budget on $65 per barrel oil, we’re currently at $40 ($46 today) per barrel. It just doesn’t look good for our next budget.

Now, take Dan Patrick’s potty boycott of $10 billion of our federal money that we’ve paid into the system into consideration. Now, open a bottle of booze and start worrying.

Next up was Januari Leo of Legacy Health, which is a federally qualified health center. The majority of people seen by them are uninsured who cannot afford the emergency room or private clinics. They weren’t helped when Harris Health changed their qualification threshold, thus cutting 19,000 patients from their services.

With uncompensated care growing, and Obama bailing out Texas Medicaid, if a politician for state or local office (Republicans) promised you a cut in property taxes, it is not going to happen. Texas needs to pay its bills. How that is accomplished when we take losses in oil revenue, dismal tax collections and other budgetary nightmares into consideration, well, go ahead and open a second bottle of booze.

The public safety presentations by Assistant County Attorney Vinson and Lt. Conn from HPD centered on some of the things their agencies are working on. The County Attorney’s office is mostly working on ridding the district of nuisance businesses–massage parlors and after-hours clubs. They attract crime, drugs, etc. HPD’s Midwest division helps businesses develop surveys of the areas they serve as to type of crimes and how to protect themselves. They have programs to work at Lee HS with at-risk youth.

Overall, a very interesting meeting that has prepared me for the 2017 session. While State Rep. Wu will definitely have a list of priorities based on open communications with constituents, he’ll have to deal with some of the odd-ball and bigoted priorities being presented by Dan Patrick and his potty buddies.

Ultimately, elections matter. We have a run-off coming up and early voting begins on May 16. You best start practicing for November.

Thanks to Rep. Wu’s staff for putting on an informative meeting and for that open door.