Tag Archives: 2020

DC Reviews: The Mavericks – En Español

For tried and true fans of The Mavericks, En Español has been a long-awaited work. Since their founding, The Mavericks have offered up some Spanish tunes belted out by their leader, Raul Malo, at their performances. More than a few times, fans have asked them when a Spanish-language album would be released. Well, it’s here and it doesn’t disappoint.

Their live playlist is so diverse that they are considered multi-genre (and Americana) with performances sprinkled with country, tex-mex, cuban, rock, jazz, and other rhythms, which says a lot about their collective musicianship. Whether it’s the dueling guitars of Malo and LA-born guitarist Eddie Perez, the tickled ivories of Jerry Dale McFadden, or the diverse drumming of Paul Deakin, or their sidemen, they can play anything–sometimes, at a moment’s notice.

En Español is an eclectic mix of Latin rhythms and American sounds that only The Mavericks could put together in an honest and sincere fashion. Songs of love and heartbreak abound on this collection, as well as Cuban folk and classic ones from another time.

Classic songs, such as La Sitiera, Sombras, Mujer, and Sabor A Mi are already well-known at their concerts and previous Raul Malo solo works. Yet, they’re given a new and bold flavor that fills ones ears and hearts.

The first single, Poder Vivir, a ska-ish-tinged song backed by the sweet accordion sound of Michael Guerra, has already been making the rounds on radio and various other platforms. In fact, it’s already reached the top of some Tejano music charts, which shows their ability to penetrate markets beyond their usual audience. Recuerdos features that signature Mavericks sound that has fans swaying at their concerts.

Another favorite tune is the danceable (for us Tex-Mex folk)  Julia Iglesias tune, Me Olvide de Vivir, along with the mariachiesque No Vale La Pena, made famous by Juan Gabriel and given quite the squeezebox assist by the legendary Flaco Jimenez and the trumpets of Julio Diaz and Lorenzo Molina. Another cover is a Spanish-version of Englebert Humperdink’s Man Without Love, Cuando Me Enamoro.

But it’s the haunting and heart-wrenching Pensando En Ti, backed by the requinto and the accordion, that will have one thinking about love lost and searching for a drink. Finally, they offer up some Cuban folk music with the Celia Cruz tune, Pinar del Rio, in case you haven’t danced enough.

NPR has a great article on some Mavericks history and the process of making this album, as does TejanoNation. My FB friend Hector Saldaña at the Express-News delves into it, too.

En Español is available on all platforms, but, since bands aren’t touring, drop them a few bucks and buy the album and their merch at their website.

Also, The Mavericks will be performing a live, pay-per-view concert at Nugs.tv on Saturday, August 22, featuring the new material from En Español. As I’ve always said, any Mavs performance is an experience, even from the comfort of your own couch.

Reviewing the DNCC – Day 2

Well, Day 2 was a lot more palatable.

It was good seeing Texas folks in some of the coverage, including Congresswoman Veronica Escobar of El Paso and State Rep. Victoria Neave of the Dallas area–both early Biden endorsers.

Although I wish Stacey Abrams had spoken longer, I liked Senator Chuck Schumer’s speech as it highlighted what Joe Biden is offering the people, which I think needs to be pounded into the brain of voters. Bill Clinton delivered some good lines that stabbed at the failure that is Trump. The heartstrings were pulled with Jimmy and Roselynn Carter’s speech, perhaps because of my own family memories of watching the DNCC, or the fact that they are up in years, now.

I was not too thrilled with the “empire” portion of the show. Bringing out military and intelligence folks to buttress the US’s drive for world domination, but in a kinder, gentler way, is not my thing.

Much like Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio Cortez stated in her nominating speech of Bernie Sanders, I, too, was hoping for a different kind of foreign policy in 2020 that only Senator Bernie Sanders offered. Unfortunately, Democrats have this need to prove toughness during convention time, rather than promote peace between nations that should be our allies, if the poor and indigenous were not looked down upon by US interests backed up by the US military. These policies pushed by both parties, which are anti-democratic and labor-exploitive must end, or else, the challenges of violence-based, climate-based and economic-based migration will continue.

Joe Biden will keep the US war machine well-oiled and funded when our priorities should be elsewhere during this pandemic, or else the Lincoln Project wouldn’t be so supportive. And he will likely continue US-Latin America policy that has been detrimental to the poor and indigenous of those nations, while supporting right-wing regimes who allow foreign corporations to exploit their natural resources and workers. I mean, ask anyone which Latin American countries have the most mass graves, missing and dead climate and political activists and it will be nations led by right-wing monsters supported by the US.

Thankfully, Dr. Jill Biden saved the day with her presentation. It’s obvious that she would be a first lady who would be proactive and kind, rather than dead inside. No doubt the story of Joe and Jill Biden offers some humanity, rather than the current “blooper reel.”

I think the favorite part was the roll call of states who announced their delegate totals. My favorites were North Dakota and New Mexico, which featured Natives and Chicanos. Somos Indios, cabrones!

And for those that freaked out over Sanders being nominated, that’s all part of the rules and convention process. Those of us who voted for Sanders gave him enough delegates to qualify for nomination, thus, AOC and the UAW guy were asked to give the nominating speeches. Don’t worry, I blame those at the DNC who fail to explain the process for those watching because they think you’re ordinary voters who won’t bother to watch democracy in action.

By the way, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are the nominees, officially.

Anyway, let’s see what Day 3 offers.

Reviewing the DNCC – Day 1

I think the only part of the Democratic National Convention (Day 1) in which I got teary-eyed was during the singing of the National Anthem and “America,” because I was hoping beyond hope that these tunes would actually mean something, again, in the future. Otherwise…

This first day seemed to be all about appeasing the middle, the right, and the white. That tried and true strategy that never works. Devoting 5 or so minutes to Republicans for Biden who basically stated that Joe Biden was not the big bad leftist portrayed by Trump didn’t leave me feeling warm and fuzzy. If anything, it makes me think that they’ll be quite comfy with the status quo that still enriched them during Dem administrations. The fact that Dems think that this is a workable strategy to gain white Republican votes still leaves me dumbfounded.

The use of Meg Whitman reminded me of her 2010 run for CA guv when she was considered the “cool republican” who suddenly turned on immigrants to the point where she supported the deportation of her undocumented housekeeper if republinuts gave her the nomination. All I saw was a reminder of bigotry and hypocrisy; but, that’s the kind of thing I look for in these kind of events. Let’s face it, after all of these years of immigrants being used as a political piñata by republicans, the Dems using them for votes leaves me disappointed. But, Dems refuse to learn.

Even more embarrassing was the use of Art Acevedo, the HPD head cop, in a racial justice discussion. He still hasn’t answered for HPDs killing of Nicolas Chavez, he refused to release bodycam footage of the killing, yet, the Democrats seem to think he’s part of the “racial justice” solution. What’s his answer? Crocodile tears and high-fiving protesters before gassing them and wrongly arresting them? I’m not the only one who was perturbed by this. Hell, Julian Castro has been doing some great work regarding police reform; why wasn’t he in this discussion?

Senator Catherine Cortez Masto and Senator Bernie Sanders were exceptional in pointing out the Biden agenda (which is what we all need to hear), especially Bernie. Bernie even did a better job on the issue of immigration and hate in his few minutes of speaking. And I’ll be the first to agree that a guy that looks like Bernie Sanders (old and white) should be stating these positions and not just brown folk. I hope Biden states them so eloquently.

Michelle Obama gave a great speech, as always, but I know I wouldn’t be able to say that being President reveals who you really are knowing my spouse deported 3 million immigrants and warehoused hundreds of thousands more (kids included). Of course, when it comes to remembering the “good ol’ days” of the Obama administration, I’m pretty much dead inside. Still, good speech.

Anyway, we’re all trying our damnest to be good soldiers despite the things that piss us off about those in charge of the Democratic Party. As Bernie reminded us, some of the issues we have fought for are now part of mainstream messaging (if not thinking) in the Party. It’s our job to keep those we elect accountable is what we’re told about democracy. Therefore, expecting better candidates does not end when the ticket is decided, either.

On to Day 2.

 

Local Dem Ballot Finally Done

The Harris County Democratic Party’s precinct chairs met this past weekend to discuss and approve the final two candidates to be placed on the ballot:  County Clerk and Harris Co Dept of Education Trustee.

Precinct Chair-slash-Blogger, Charles Kuffner, provided us an inside look to the happenings.

As I expected, Teneshia Hudspeth was unanimously approved and without any opposition. In the race for HCDE Trustee, though, there was some competition among the three candidates. According to Kuff:

Three candidates were nominated for this position: David BrownObes Nwabara, and Jose Rivera, as was expected. Brown led the voting with 38%, followed by Nwabara with 35% and Rivera with 27%. The rules say that a majority is needed, so we went to a runoff, and there Brown prevailed with a 53-47 vote. The closeness of the vote was appropriate for a tough choice, as all three candidates were excellent and well-qualified.

I was rootin’ for my friend, Jose, but he was a good Democratic sport about the result.

My work and passion for community will continue and I support 100% David Brown for HCDE Trustee for the Fall election. I would also like to congratulate Obes Nwabara on a spirited and great race as well. I am excited to see the energy and momentum of a new generation of leadership that is ready to work to ensure our community is equitable and accessible for all.

I’m pretty sure that Jose is not done and that someone with his deep history and connection to Democratic causes will be on the ballot (or for consideration to some sort of appointment) in the future.

That said, looks like the Democratic ballot is done. A comprehensive and Democratic list of candidates is available here.

 

The Noticeable Lack of Latinos at the Dem Convention

There’s a lot of talk among the brown masses about the lack of brown faces at this week’s national Democratic convention, which will formally nominate Joe Biden and Kamala Harris to be the top of the ticket for 2020.

The latest list of brown faces on a shortened 2-hour per day program, includes:  Senator Catherine Cortez-Masto (Nevada); Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY); Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (NM); and an article by Adrian Carrasquillo mentions early Biden endorser Congressman Filemon Vela (TX) who will be pre-recorded.

Let’s face it. Showcasing our best is not just about selling Biden, but also about giving Latino leaders a national spotlight to show us as more than just leaders of Latinos, and as people who can run a country.

The same article also gives reasons for the lack of brown faces:  Not enough time in the program; they don’t want too many elected officials speaking; and there were not enough early brown-faced Biden endorsers (Julian Castro and others didn’t endorse Biden until June). One former Obama brown person stated:

“At the end of the day, the convention is for party insiders, and in the times of COVID, I question the number of ordinary people who are paying attention and tuning in,” Stephanie Valencia said. What will move voters instead is the kind of field, television, digital and radio program the campaign has invested in, she added.

I think my “ordinary” Chicano parents just turned over in their graves, and not just because Republican John Kasich is on the list of speakers.

Frankly, I’m not too trusting of Democratic messaging for Latinos. In Florida, Biden will again (as Hillary did in 2016) run attack ads against dead Latin American presidents and other Latin American countries with democratically-elected leftist leaders who support things like universal health care and public education, while the other states will be reminded of Obama and DACA–and that’s about it. At least that’s my guess. But at this point, it seems that the excitement of Biden’s Latino agenda has sort of stalled because of the lack of brown faces at the convention. I’m thinking Biden and the DNC didn’t want things like “Abolish ICE” to be said too many times to a national audience.

So, it’s back to pointing fingers at Trump as a means of convincing brown folks to vote for Biden. But, as I’ve stated before, if Biden wants to win big, he needs to portray himself as more than the next guy brown people will be protesting.

The reality is that we won’t be seeing too much complaining from those brown faces considered “high-profile.” They are either getting support for their PACs to help regional campaigns, they don’t want to be brownballed by the DNC and state parties, and/or they are hoping for a job.

Seriously, though, nothing surprises me anymore.

 

 

 

Los Blogs de Tejas – TPA

The Texas Progressive Alliance says “Person, woman, man, camera, TV”. Also, “Play ball!”, “Get the federal stormtroopers out of American cities”, and “Here’s this week’s roundup”.

Off the Kuff has (you guessed it) another Presidential poll to dissect.

SocraticGadfly has non-RIP sayonaras for two Dallas notables. First, he waves at faded Dallas media legend Jim Schutze, COVID0-canned by the Dallas Observer a while back. Second, he says don’t let the door hit you on the way out to John Wiley Price elections hack Toni Pippins-Poole.

DosCentavos had another slow week, but he’ll get back on it this week. He did tell us about the the latest 2020 campaign tune by Chicano music legend Johnny Hernandez.

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

Amanda Marcotte reminds us that feminists had warned us about the likes of would-be judicial assassin Roy Den Hollander.

Christopher Hooks documents the goat rodeo that was the state Republican Party convention.

Grits for Breakfast outlines the sunset review process for the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement.

Allyn West has a conversation with City of Houston Transportation Planner David Fields about transportation and health.

The Texas Craft Brewers Guild would like your help saving Texas’ microbreweries.

The Current reports on the plight of the Kerrville Folk Festival, which is soliciting donations to stay afloat after cancelling its 2020 event.

Johnny Hernandez Drops Anti-Trump Tune

The legendary Johnny Hernandez is making his feelings about the current resident of the White House heard in a new protest tune, co-written by Chalo, he just dropped this week.

It’s Time To Unite is an anthem calling on folks to unite to rid us of Trump in November with a Motown funk-heavy beat that offers lots of soul.

In case you’re wondering, YES, Chicanos can perform just about anything and Hernandez’s musical upbringing includes all the standard genres that influenced everything else.

It is refreshing to see a Tejano legend tell it like it is and if you follow him on Facebook, it’s easy to see where Johnny stands. His brother Little Joe has recently endorsed a lot of Democrats, including Joe Biden. The new schoolers in the Tejano industry could learn a few things from these guys and the industry’s history of being a part of the Civil Rights and Farmworker movements.

Here’s the link to the song. Enjoy and have a great weekend.

Los Blogs de Tejas – TPA Roundup

The Texas Progressive Alliance is fanning itself with one hand and sipping from a frosty beverage with the other as it brings you this week’s roundup.

Off the Kuff catalogs the many ways Greg Abbott failed during the COVID crisis.

SocraticGadfly says that if Black Lives Matter, and Confederate statues are a worry, even in Gainesville, it’s interesting that, as part of that Young Republicans PR also matters. He also offers a few thoughts on various statues issues in general.

It was a slow week at DosCentavos , but he reminds everyone to send healing thoughts and vibes to Tex-Mex Legend and great Democrat Little Joe Hernandez.

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

Big Tex says we’ll meet again at the State Fair in 2021.

Paradise in Hell was sad to see that happen.

Reform Austin lists a number of prominent Texans who have contracted COVID-19.

Progress Texas argues that our district attorneys are not prosecuting enough abusive cops.

Rick Casey posits that Greg Abbott misses having Joe Straus around to serve as the main punching bag for the wingnut coalition in the GOP.

The Texas Signal highlights Sen. Eddie Lucio’s ties to the private prison industry.

The Dem Primary Run-Off Results

As far as Texas Democrats are concerned, I’m sure we are all glad it’s [almost] over. For DC, well, it wasn’t the best night for those I supported. Still, it’s on to November like the good little Democrat I try to be.

Royce West’s campaign against the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee (and MJ Hegar) fell short, but I sure am proud of my friends who worked on West’s campaign and came up with a respectable result against the odds and the DC cash. We shall see what kind of campaign is run against Cornyn, now. Issues? Trump? Both? Will the DSCC even stick around? Questions that must be asked and answered, and now.

Family friend and fellow Cristaleño, Roberto Alonzo, gave it a go for Texas RR Commish, but it was obvious that Chrysta Castañeda was too much to overpower in the big cities. Still, we are proud of Roberto and the whole Alonzo family because they just don’t give up when it comes to the issues that matter.

Michelle Palmer cruised to victory in her race for SBOE-6, as did Te’iva Bell for the 339th District Court. Judge Alexandra Smoots-Thomas was soundly defeated by Cheryl Elliot Thornton for the 164th. Thornton is well-qualified and will be impressive in November. Cheri Thomas came up short for one of the appellate court seats against Tami Craft, but she is a great candidate who should remain in the game for future consideration. And Mark Alan Harrison is on his way to November in his run for Constable Pct 5.

Diana Martinez Alexander ran a great grassroots race for County Commissioner Pct 3 against big money and influence. I’ll still give her credit for being the only candidate in the running to shake my hand when asking for votes at one event I attended with most of the candidates in attendance. After doing some campaign finance sleuthing and seeing how she was outspent, and considering the final result, I must say that I am quite impressed with what she accomplished. She’s another one that should stay in the game because her activism will be an asset to Democrats up and down the ballot.

The race that was the most interesting was Texas House 148 with Penny Shaw and incumbent Anna Eastman, who won a special election to replace retiring Jessica Farrar earlier this year. No doubt, Eastman has said the right things on most issues important to Democrats, but it was Penny Shaw who may have gotten a late boost because of the policy differences she had with Eastman on public education and the out-of-town PACs that filled Eastman’s campaign coffers. It always seems to be the difference in these races–Teacher Unions -vs- Big Charter School Money. In this case, it was the union-supported Penny Shaw winning the early voting period and election day to put her over the top. While one side blames “negative campaigning,” it really was all about who turned out the most votes from their targeted base. I mean, c’mon, it was 200 votes difference. In non-COVID times, that would be a candidate attending a quince in the northside as the difference. As this is a Democratic district, Shaw will likely win in November.

Akilah Bacy cruised in HD138 and it seems incumbent State Rep Harold Dutton will squeeze by to another term. Incumbent Constable Chris Diaz was unseated by Jerry Garcia by less than 300 votes. Again, whomever turns out their base wins, no matter how negative it gets.

Big wins elsewhere include Dr. Jennifer Cantu for Fort Bend County Commish Pct 1, Delia Garza for Travis County Attorney, Jose Garza for Travis County DA, and Candace Valenzuela for Congressional District 24.

In Austin, it looks like State Rep. Eddie Rodriguez and former Travis County Judge Sarah Eckhardt will be in a run-off later this fall for Senate District 14. While this special election brought out Republicans to support their own, it’ll be interesting to see which candidate Republicans choose as their candidate. It could be the difference in the race if Republicans decide to even come out.

It’s been real, y’all. Let’s win in November!

The TMAs COVID-19 Risk Assessment Chart

A chart has been floating around the facebooks and it is quite interesting. What activities pose the most risk for contracting the coronavirus? It’s not too surprising, but as we keep reaching record-setting numbers, and as Greg Abbott and his ilk continue to fail Texas, and as people keep making bad excuses for not practicing CDC guidelines (masks/distancing/stay home), this is good information to know. Click here for a PDF of this. Or, click on the image below.

What’s the riskiest thing you’ve done these last few months? For me, it’s been mostly opening the mail, pumping gas, and grocery shopping. And it wasn’t until last week that I picked up some Popeye’s Chicken and had to run a few errands with a sibling while wearing masks in the vehicle. But, that’s it! Everything else would seem like walking into a COVID spit cloud, unless they practice those CDC guidelines (like at a professional office for work purposes).

Anyway, check yourself!