Thursday, December 27, 2012

Brain Dead Kids? Is the computer ruining our children?

In August 2011, I wrote(View Article) about the lack of imagination that our children seem to have these days.  I listed the internet and video games as a likely cause.  Now, "The Mail" has published their own article.

If you have a 10 year old boy and he has never held a hammer, a piece of wood, and nails in his hands and tried to build something, shame on you as a parent.  You cannot let the sterile inside of a house or computer screen drive your child's imagination.  They must have alone time outdoors, away from you and your spouse.  

If you have a 10 year old daughter who has not done the same as a 10 year old boy, shame on you. Even though few girls take up any kind of building, it is about imagination and creativity.  

Let kids be kids.  This is why I stand so strongly against 3K and preK education.  Once the kids enter the walls of the education establishment, they are in it for the next 13 to 20 years.  In the education system they will deal with structured learning and creativity.  Yes, even the creativity is structured as it is graded and fawned over. 

Yet, if allowed to discover on their own, and allowed to be kids without overly strict guidelines, they garner experiences that no school will ever teach them. They see things through the eyes of the innocent.  This is where they develop curiosity and the desire to learn. 

Don't get me wrong.  The internet is the best thing to come along since sliced bread.  But, it must be used for what it was designed as, a tool, not a replacement for learning, common sense, and hands on experiences. 

Even today, we see parents with their heads stuck in the Ipad, Iphone, or laptop.  I am as guilty as anyone in this sense, and am trying to spend less time online.  

Your thoughts...........

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Laredo Town Center Alive and Well

Looks like the Laredo Town Center is coming back to life.  For those that do not remember, there was a huge fight between the Rio Grande International Study Center and the owners of the Laredo Town Center (LTC) over the "wetland" area just south of the big hill of dirt.  The US Corp. or Engineers has apparently ruled.  I am assuming since the LTC is back on the books that the US COE ruling went the way of the developers.

What new tactics, if any,  will the RGISC employ now to keep the project from moving forward?

DECEMBER 27, 2012
12:15 P.M.

2. Ordinance approving the sale of a tract of land containing 88.6913 acres,
more or less, legally described as Lot Numbers One (1), Two (2), and Three
(3), in Block Number Two (2), Laredo International Airport Passenger
Terminal Subdivision, as per Plat recorded in Volume 16, pages 45-47, Webb
County Plat Records and authorizing the City Manager to execute all
conveyance documents to Laredo Town Center, L.P., in the amount of
$15,865,000.00 and providing for effective date.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Quit Scaring the Kids

People should be ashamed of themselves for taking this horrible tragedy in Newtown Ct. and using it to scare little kids.

Why did so many school districts in the United States rush to practice their security drills immediately after the shooting?  What real purpose did is serve except to scare the kids?

Explain to me how scaring elementary school age kids is going to make them safer?  I remember as a kid in third or fourth grade having to get under my desk in school, or "duck and cover" while on the playground in a exercise that was supposed to prevent us from being vaporized if a nuclear bomb were to go off in the neighborhood.  Even as kids, we knew these drills were futile, the TV people told us so.  So, we went to bed at night dreaming about being vaporized.

Would we have dreamed about it anyway?  Maybe, as it was all over the news.  But the schools were the only real re-enforcement that such an incident was possible.  If you are a kid, you do not understand probability, or risk analysis, you only understand what adults tell you.  And if you are told to practice something, you, as a kid, assume that practice is for an upcoming event.  This is not to mean I am against practicing emergency drills, but let's be careful about how we explain them to the kids.

I would like to see a quick poll of how many elementary kids think they are in danger of being shot and killed while at school.  Unfortunately, I would bet that number is extraordinarily high while the chances that a kid would be shot at school are microscopically slight.

I know people say "We must do anything to protect the children, there is no limit."  Well friends it is time for the adults in the room to stand up and say, yes, there are limits and we need to analyze and understand our actions and what the unintended consequences are before we implement something.

Tom, how can you say we do not do everything we can to prevent children from being killed?  I will give you a couple of examples and you can go from there:

1.  Cars, we allow kids to ride in cars traveling 75 mph in Texas.  Many parents drive much faster than that, even with speed being the number one cause of traffic accidents.  Parents still run red lights with their kids in the car.  Parents drive with kids in the car after having a drink or two.  A quick, kneejerk fix:  at a national level, we could reduce the speed limit to 20 mph.  At that speed traffic deaths would be minimal, if there were any at all.  Hello, I am talking about saving lives here.  In 2009 there were 1,314 kids under 14 killed in automobile accidents, and over 179,000 injured.  Where is the outrage?  Lower the speed limit to 20 mph?  Save the kids.

2.  Swimming pools.  Swimming is one of the top killers of children.  Yet, fly over Laredo and look at the swimming pools.

Both of the above are examples of risk.  Both have bad consequences if abused foolishly.  Yet both are legal and are practiced with the understanding that children will die in accidents that could be prevented if very strict laws and bans were put in place.

So, after all this, my point is, do we put our children in school prisons, with metal detectors, razor wire, steel doors with no windows, playgrounds surrounded by 20 foot high walls with armed security guards manning towers?  Or do we learn to understand risk and make adjustments to our security without scaring our kids?

What say you?

Bans and Laws That Work

Here is a comprehensive list of banned items that criminals use or produce that are no longer used or produced by criminals:

and so on......

Here is a list of criminal actions that are against the law and are never violated:

and so on......

Oh well.................

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Betty Flores to Run For A County Seat (Treasurer????)

I just saw on Facebook where it looks like former Laredo mayor Betty Flores may run for a county office.

My sources think it will be for the Treasurers seat.

Update on Gun Issues

I do not support President Obama on many issues of the day.  However, and we will see how it progresses  I do support his call for a group to really study the causes of  mass murders.

I am ready for the adult dialogue on this issue, which would review gun usage  mental heath issues, the impacts of specific actions a mass murderer may  perform or encounter on a regular basis.

Mass murder really boils down to a type of mindset that must be identified and then remove the ability of the mass murder to commit these acts.

Hopefully, politics will not lead the investigation.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Assault Weapons Ban - Will it matter?

A friend I taught to shoot.
Unless you have been off the planet for the last few days, you are most likely aware of the horrific mass shooting that took place in Newtown Ct.

This mass shooting, as they all do, re-opened the questions about banning certain types of firearms and accessories.  However, this time, the timing is a little different.  We have a newly re-elected President Obama, who has in the past supported banning certain types of firearms, and we have a lame-duck congress with a lot of members not returning as they were defeated in the last election.  Plus the fact that the majority of the victims in this case were 5 and 6 year old kids, makes the climate in Washington and the country different than it has been in the past.  But, this fact remain the same.  Banning the "assault rifle" will have no real effect on mass murders.

I really will not put a lot of data on this initial post, as I will respond to each comment I get with facts and my opinions.  The only data I will list on the top page is this:

Newtown, Ct shooting 12-14-2012:  Shooter used a Bushmaster rifle as the primary weapon, killed 26.

Binghamton, Ny shooting 4-3-2009:  Shooter used pistol as his only weapon, 13 killed, 4 wounded.

Ft. Hood, Tx. shooting 11-5-2009:  Shooter used FN Five Seven pistol, 13 killed, 29 wounded.

Killeen, Tx shooting 10-16-1991:  Shooter used Glock 17 and Ruger P89 pistols, 23 killed and 20 wounded.

Of course I did not list all the mass murders, and I was selective in picking those murders committed with only handguns.  The point is, the rifles have done no more killing in mass murders than handguns at any single event.  The assault weapon ban, in my opinion, will do nothing to reduce mass murder.

PS, more people are killed in the United States each year by clubs, hands/feet, knives, and shotguns, than are killed by rifles.  Facts are pesky are they not?

Now, please comment here, and let's start the discussion.  Please be civil.

I have been out for a while.

I am back to updating the blog now.  I hope to start reporting more often.  The gun control debate has brought me back.

Thanks for viewing.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Top Five Items From Last Week

Here is a list of my top five issues that popped up this week.  They are abbreviated, and beg your thoughts and discussion.

(Presented in no particular order)

1.   Romney's tax return and summary for his taxes.  The Romney's paid 14.1% in effective tax rate for 2011.  Why less than the 15% capital gains tax, of which most of his income is based on? Because of charitable donations to his church and foundation.  He actually donated less to charity to keep his tax rate higher so the tax the rich whiners would maybe be silenced a bit.  Ain't that great, he had to give LESS TO CHARITY, to appease democrats.  So goes the world.

What really struck me was that his 2011 tax return was 379 pages long. No wonder small business is having a hard time.  PS, you regulation is good folks, just imagine the cost, time, and effort required to fill out 379 pages of IRS forms.

2.  The national news media is again in the tank for the president.  No mention at all about how the administration failed in protecting the US Embassy in Libya.  It was a "planned" terrorist attack which we were warned about.  Yet the president and state department failed in providing protection for our ambassador and embassy employees.  And nothing in the media except the administrations claim that the attacks are because of a stupid 14 min U Tube video.

3.  Letter to the editor today on wanting to limit corporations from spending by corporations in elections.  Well I suggest those who might agree with the letter writer read the comments from the US Supreme Court Justices before getting all worked up to defend his comments.   First of, just remember that all the major media sources are, wait for it, CORPORATIONS..........Now do you start to see the issue.  If a corporation could not spend money on elections, the news media (and this is just one example used in the justice's comments) would not be able to report on election news.  No corporation would be allowed to publish information on elections.

But Tom....the news media would only have to quit editorializing and print only the facts.  This would be good, but totally unenforceable, just because of the simple journalistic practice of subjective story admission or deletion.  For example, posting only good stories about one candidate, and only bad stories about the other.  Simple and effective, and in practice today.  See number 2.

Anyway USCOTUS got it right on the Citizens United ruling, and thank goodness for it.

4.  Local politicians again stating that money from the state or federal government is not tax dollars and does not cost Laredoans a thing.  Please, quit lying to the public.  Every Laredoan pays for anything that comes from the state or federal government.  We may pay less state and federal taxes than a more successful area (note I did not say richer area, as they are more successful for a reason).

5.  City politics.  I still cannot understand why locals only support democrats and thier policies.  All I hear on the blogs is the constant discontent with the local governments.  This town is full of masochist.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

First Responder Fees - They are in the works

It looks like the city of Laredo is investigating the potential to charge citizens for fire department responses to emergency situations.

In talking with a certain city staffer today, it appears the fire department is investigating the idea of charging "non-residents", and maybe even local residents, a fee for each LFD response to an vehicle accident or other emergency.

We already pay an extra fee for ambulance service that is provided by the fire department, and now we may be asked to pay for a fire department response to an auto accident.  Most of these fees are covered by a persons health, auto, or home owners insurance. The plan is to charge those with insurance for responses.

I was told that the idea that non-residents may be charged for accidents that occur in the Laredo city limits. I did not ask about a potential fee structure, as the LFD appears to be in the very early stages of studying this idea.  But the staffer stated over and over that the fee would be paid by insurance carriers and not the victim.  I of course disputed that by saying that insurance rates at some point would have to increase to cover the new cost.

There are many municipalities that collect fees for fire department, and some police, responses to accidents, and other "emergency calls."  These fee collections have been deemed legal if the state has statutory provisions that allow  them.  Apparently Texas has such a statute.  I have yet to read it.

So my friends, it is your turn to start the discussions.

Some of my worries:

a.  we already pay for this service, and if we charge our insurance rates could go up, even if we are not at fault.
b.  if only the person at fault is to be charged, who is going to determine who is at fault, and how many more court cases will flood the dockets?
c.  how will this affect international travelers from Mexico?
d.  at first accidents, then where does the fee charging lead to, suspicious persons calls, house and car fires, grass fires?
e.  will the "new revenue" be used to reduce taxes that we already pay for these services?

What say you?

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

That McAllen Cannot Make Convention Center Work- Does not bode well for Laredo

This is the headline from the McAllen Monitor on August 31, 2012:

Chamber proposes taking over McAllen's money-losing convention center

McAllen Convention Center

As you may or may not know, a few years back McAllen spent $62 million on a new convention center.  As you can see now, it is not producing.  These two paragraphs from the article say it all:

“When we’re giving it away free — meaning to any association that’s going to come down here and it doesn’t cost them anything to rent the facility, and we’re still being told ‘No’ — that tells me we’re in the wrong place,” said McAllen Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Steve Ahlenius, speaking Tuesday night to the City Commission about the convention market.
In the past 18 months, three groups have rejected the convention center despite being offered free meeting space, said Nancy Millar, vice president of the McAllen Convention and Visitors Bureau.

The reason I post this, is that your city council, which is in the process of implementing a huge number of fee increases, has had a new convention center on it's mind for the last few years.  

Why do you think they are trying to sell the Civic Center to LISD?  In order to generate the need for a new convention center.

Now if the McAllen region, which we all honestly must agree, has many more things to do than the Laredo region, cannot make a convention center work, then how does the City of Laredo, and city council think that Laredo will make a convention center work?

Beware of Kell Nunoz and gang who have tried to sell the convention center idea in the past.  

PS, watch out for city council when they try to convert the "1/4 cent Sports Venue Tax" to an economic development tax.  I support that idea, but not if they are going to use that as a vehicle for a new convention center.  So, if and when this idea comes up for a public vote, which is required by law, we must press the city council and get them to commit what the funds will and will not be used for.

Frac-A-Phobes: More bad news

Oil field services giant Schlumberger  has created a new process for hydraulic fracturing that reduces the cost of the process by reducing water usage up to 50% and reduces sand and other chemicals also.

Read Story Here

This cannot be good new for the hardcore environmentalist who wants to see the world revert back to caveman technologies.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Massive Fee Increases - Are they a good idea?

The cost to build a new business or home in Laredo is going
up with the proposed fee increases that will be implemented
by city council.
If you look at the Sept. 4th Laredo City Council Agenda,  (see agenda here) you will notice that there are a large number of fee increases, including some new fees that are being proposed.

The increases range from clean up at the library to doubling and tripling the cost of adding sewer connections to houses.

One to note was the new $50 fee each new business will have to pay to file with the city.  File for what?  Any new business must file with the state and federal governments and pay those taxes.  What is next in line I guess is a new business tax to come down the pike at some point.

These fee hikes, many of which may not even be noticed to the general public (except in utilities bills), could be detrimental to the city in the long run.  When new businesses run cost analysis to determine where to build, many of these fee hikes will come into play.

Here are just a few of the fee hikes that will be voted on tomorrow:
 building cost on housing
 parking meter and lot rates
garbage pickup
swimming pool fees, including swimming lessons
health department clinic visits
birth certificate fees
death certificate fees
restaurant inspection fees
plumbing permit fees
library meeting fees
civic center rental fees
new garage sale permit fee
zoning change fees
 and many more too numerous to list.  Many of these fees are dramatic, especially in the building, planning, and utility divisions with fees going up thousands of dollars.  They will add greatly to the cost of building in Laredo.

What you see here is a morphing of a city government that has grown beyond it's means and is now charging for the very services we taxpayers originally intended to pay for with our tax base.  This shows that the city is not in as good of financial shape as some may have you believe.

Most of these fee increases will greatly affect the poor.  Yes, you heard it here, local Democrats are hurting the poor.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Yes Business Owner, YOU DID BUILD THAT.....

“There is nobody in this country who got rich on his own — nobody! You built a factory out there? Good for you. But I want to be clear: You moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for; you hired workers the rest of us paid to educate; you all were safe in your factory because of police forces and fire forces that the rest of us paid for. ...

“You built a factory, and it turned into something terrific or a great idea? God bless. Keep a big hunk of it. But part of the underlying social contract is, you take a hunk of that and pay forward for the next kid who comes along.” 

-- Elizabeth Warren

Just north of Mission, Texas.
This is the now famous quote that President Obama employed a month or so ago at one of his campaign rallies.  “We Did Build That” is now the theme of the 2012 Republican National Convention.

These 121 words could initiate the downfall of many Democratic house and senate seats this fall, as well as being used in the defeat of President Obama in the election.

Fact, the United States was not built by a government, but by the people.  There were no roads, teachers, firemen or policemen when the first Americans arrived.  But over generations, the people built those things, after they established businesses and trade.  Then, they built the government.

Anyway, let’s take a look at those words.

“The rest of us paid for”:  Literally translated that implies that “you,” the business owner, received something paid for by “us.”  And that implies that “you” paid nothing.

“Underlying social contract”:  The only social contract I know of in the United States is not underlying.  It is called the Constitution of the United States of America.  It is law, and is not to be ignored by any American.  There is no other “social contract.”  No one can force you to like someone, hire or fire a particular individual without cause.  No one can make you believe something you don’t want to.  No one can chose what business you wish to enter, or prevent you from entering a lawful one.  A “social contract” is something that the liberals wish could be made law, a law where they could control your thinking and beliefs, thereby controlling your lives even more. 

But the President, Elizabeth Warren, and many other mainstream media types have ignored the Constitution.  If they would have bothered to read the Constitution, they would understand that the powers for “any” (federal, state and local) government are granted by the people.  This means that there IS NO GOVERNMENT IF THE PEOPLE DON”T WANT ONE.  And since the people want a government, the people tax themselves (through a representative form of government) and the people built those roads, bridges, hired those teachers, firemen, and police officers.  And an American business owner is one of those people.  The United States government is powerless without the will of the people.   It is that simple. 

One thing the Constitution does not guarantee is that all Americans will be equal in desire, competitiveness, understanding, and the willingness to sacrifice for achievement.  These are things the government does not teach. These are lessons that are learned in life and that are passed down generation to generation.  The Constitution does not guarantee that any one person will be successful, nor be equal in income or life’s outcomes.

Now by reading the Warren/Obama quote as a playbook for a social contract they wish they could force upon us, I would conclude they wanted America to operate something like this:

The Government shall:

·         Have the power to chose what profession the citizens pursue.
·         Have the power to set a “living” wage with a cap on maximum income that can be earned by the citizen, in the name of equality.
·         Have the power to determine where the citizen may live.  To be determined by a mix of job type, ethnicity, and sex.  We must be balanced.
·         All citizens will be taught a uniform curriculum determined by the Government.
·         Decide when and where to build any government building or project.  Citizens will have no say.
·         Determine and enforce the citizens diet, to help keep health care cost down.
·         Determine the citizens medical treatments.
·         Pay Government employees more than non-government citizens.  This is needed so the best, brightest and indoctrinated citizen will work for the government.
·         Shall determine what type of vehicle and home the citizen shall use and occupy.

Now, I may have gone overboard on the government shall list, but I warn you, some people see that as a dream they are pursuing. 

Anyway, let’s keep America great.  You and your ancestors DID BUILD THAT.

Texas Voter ID and Redistricting Laws to US Supreme Court

Looks like both the Texas Redistricting Law, and the Texas Voter ID law are on the way to the US Supreme Court.

Cases very similar to these two laws were upheld by SCOUS in the past.  We shall see.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Trash Fee Increase - Statistically Sound, but Politically and Motivation Wise, Who Knows

This chart appeared in today's Laredo Morning Times. It shows that Laredo is paying less than the cities shown for trash pickup, even with the proposed increase.

Are they right in comparing cities like Austin and Brownsville with Laredo.

I really never like these kinds of analysis, because they fail to get to the heart of the matter, which is; "Can the community afford it?".

In this case, the answer is yes, if these trash collection fees are apples to apples numbers.  I do not have the "free" time to dig to that level.

But, I did do a very quick, unscientific, look at the following numbers.  I have listed each cities the percentage of people in the city at or below the poverty level, and the trash pick up bill.

Notice, that Laredo is third highest in the percent of people in poverty.  This simple chart shows that the cities with higher poverty rates have lower trash collection bills with the exception of Brownsville.  Not sure why they are out of whack.   Note, that I have divided the trash rate for bi-weekly pickups in half.

What is not shown here are the recent expenditures by the city to have trash collection done by robot armed trash trucks requiring less labor to operate.  This was supposed to reduce cost through less employees and a reduced risk and cost of injuries to workers.  Where, and how much was that savings?

One man trash truck
Overall, Laredo does not appear to be out of line with it's increase, at least from a simple statistical standpoint.  Politically, and as for motivational reasons, those are different issues, and I wonder if we would really need this increase if our police and fire departments did not consume over 65% of the city budget.

This is the kind of analysis that I would like see when we talk about any pay scale increases for any city employee.  Yet, no one seems to want to take the couple of hours to do it.  So sad that the local media fail in this respect.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Pin Headed Decisions and Whiners - Lance Armstrong's Debacle

7 Time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong
Lance's Title to be Stripped After He Quits Fight:
read full story here

I for one am tired of all of the bicycling groups trying to take racing titles away from Lance Armstrong, arguably the best cyclist in the world with seven Tour de France titles.

Lance has finally said he is tired of all of the defending he is having to do to keep his titles.

Lance has NEVER failed a drug test after taking hundreds of them.  Yet, some whiners who are either jealous, mad, or will do anything to tear down a good man, cannot accept that.  They wish to continually investigate Lance, and he has had it.

Good for you Lance.  You beat cancer, and you beat hundreds of riders in the many races you ran.  You need to prove nothing more to me or most Americans.  You are a true sports hero.

Note:  To the whiners in this country, whether you be going after Lance, or anyone who is successful (rich) in this county, SHUT UP, I AM SICK OF YOUR WHINING, JEALOUSY, AND CHILDISHNESS.  TAKE YOUR WHINE TO ANOTHER COUNTRY, I A SURE THEY WILL LISTEN.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

The Troops are Getting Restless

Some ICE agents are suing the Department of Homeland Security for failing to allow them to do their jobs.  This will be interesting.  Not sure they can do that, but we shall see.

Read the whole story here.

Rape and Abortion

How can a community, like Laredo, that is well over 50% Catholic support President Obama and a national Democratic Party that supports abortion?  How is that possible?

"LIFE" of the unborn should outweigh the taxpayer entitlements promised by the President.  Without the gift of life, there is nothing.

All this uproar over a "democratically supported/funded" Senate candidate in Missouri who made a stupid comment about illegitimate rape, is overshadowing the fact that the Democratic Committee has inserted a plank in it's platform that calls for unlimited abortions at the taxpayers expense.

How can a Catholic support this?

Peace Activist Blame United States for Mexican Drug War

Here is the headline from the San Antonio Express News article today:

Activists blame America for toll of Mexico drug war

Read full story

While the activist are somewhat correct in their statements that the US consumption of drugs has lead to violence in Mexico, they try to shift too much of the blame to us.

For one, had the Mexican government long ago not gotten so close to the cartel bosses and groups, and they had actually enforced Mexican law, I doubt we would be having near the problems of drug violence we are seeing today.

As for the legalization of some narcotics, I agree we need to really discuss that and look at funding shifts from the "War on Drugs" to the prevention of use of drugs and treatment for those afflicted.

But that will never happen until Mexico and it's citizens look deep inside their government institutions and take action to fix what is broken.

Leave the Prince Alone

Of all the stupid and idiotic things for the world press to be concerned with.   Prince Harry partying in Las Vegas with some of his fellow soldiers who are leaving for the Afghan war zone soon.

He is a young man with the means to have a huge party.  So be it.  Are all you press morons jealous...of course you are always whinning about the rich and famous.  Grow up.

Harry, enjoy your time in Vegas, and keep your head down in Afghanistan.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

US Dept. of Justice's New Motto: To stupid to know better, to crazy to care.

Just when you think you have seen the federal government do everything along comes this memoout of the US Dept. of Justice. (Read the entire memo here.)

It appears that in a memo outlining the types of disabilities that are acceptable by the DOJ, these two pop out:

  • severe intellectual disability
  • psychiatric disability
As PJ Media reports, the plan is even worse than you might think:
Those with “targeted disabilities” may be hired through a “non-competitive” appointment. That means they don’t have to endure the regular civil service competition among applicants, but can be plucked from the stack of resumes and hired immediately instead.

According to the documents, those with these “targeted disabilities” may be hired “before the position is advertised” and even “before the position’s closing date.” Moreover, lawyers with psychiatric disabilities and “severe intellectual” disabilities receive a waiver from the requirement that a new DOJ employee have practiced law for one year before being hired.
Yes, it is true folks that the DOJ is looking for lawyers that are stupid and crazy...Now I see how "Fast and Furious" came to be.  And many other DOJ actions now start to make more sense.

Big Ado About Nothing

Explain to me how a city of 250,000 people care that a school principal got a ticket for a suspended drivers license?  What could possibly make that front page news, or even newsworthy enough to make the local television news?  What should probably be the headline is who convinced the paper and KGNS to put the story out?  A potential new principal wannabe in the making....

Headline in today's LMT:  "Police Arrest LISD Principal with Suspended Drivers License"  Read story here

The only really interesting thing in the story was the amount of unpaid tickets that were held by the driver.  The real story should be why are drivers in Laredo allowed to accumulate thousands of dollars of fines without paying them?  City hall should be held accountable.

Oh well, as we say here;  "That's Laredo."

Braincloud......maybe "That's Laredo" could become our motto...

Monday, August 20, 2012

Voter ID Vs. Ammunition Purchase: Which is more demanding?

From the Laredo Morning Times August 19, 2012
It appears as though Mr. Neseman of the Laredo Morning Times is as uninformed as most liberals are on the issue of guns and what it takes to purchase a gun or ammunition.

Mr. Neseman is asking whether it is harder to get an ID to vote in Texas, or harder to purchase ammunition online.  Mr. Neseman means this to be a rhetorical question versus a real question, because he obviously believes that it is harder to get a Texas ID than it is to purchase ammunition online.

Well Mr. Neseman, I have an answer, and it obviously does not fit the answer you are trying to elicit.

It is harder to buy ammunition online than it is to get a Texas ID as I show below:

To get a Texas ID from the state, the easiest of ID's.

a.  You must produce a birth certificate, or passport and prove you live in Texas.  Of course you have to drive to the license bureau and file.

To purchase ammunition, as well as anything else online.

a.  You must have a state issued ID.  In other words you have to at a minimum, do all of the things required to obtain a state ID.
b.  You must have a bank account or credit card, which the banks require a state ID to issue, and the credit card companies require a bank account.
c.  You must have a job or a source of income to get a bank account or credit card.
d.  You must have a ship to address that matches the credit card you used to purchase the ammunition.

All of these require more time an effort to obtain than a state ID card, and they require constant management, as a voter registration card does not.

So, another liberal deduction meets reality.  As usual, reality wins out.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Austin Bans Plastic Bags - Should Laredo?????

Downtown Laredo  merchants will not be happy,
nor will Mexican shoppers.
The Rio Grande International Study Center has posted that Austin has banned plastic bags.  So what.  Austin joins about 20 or so cities in the United States that have banned plastic bags like the ones you get at the grocery store, or any retail establishment.

I have included the article that was printed in the Austin Statesman.   Click Here

I want you to read the article, then read the comments made by the public.  They are 10 to 1 in opposition to the ban.  And they threaten to vote out the council who passed this ordinance.

Laredo city leaders, take note.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Where Were His Parents??????????

In today's Laredo Morning Times there is a front page story about a boy/young man whose parents decided to bring to the United States illegally.  Yes, it was a concious decision.  How do I know that?  Well they went through the trouble of obtaining an matricular consular card from Mexico which allows the holder to enter the US border zone for up to 36 hours.

Well the young man was stopped for a traffic violation and had no drivers license, but apparently showed his Mexican ID.  The Laredo PD officer notified US Border Patrol and they detained the young man.  He would face deportation, except he may be eligible for forgiveness due to President Obama waiving the deportation proceedings for kids brought here illegally.

My questions are:

Why aren't the parents deported for brining this poor kid here, getting him a Mexican ID card, and leading him to believe he would have no future issues?  Apparently, and I draw this maybe false conclusion that one of his parents, or he works at Wells Fargo Bank, as he stated at the end of the article that he was not sure if there was a Wells Fargo in Mexico.

If he or one of the parents do work at Wells Fargo, how did they get the job?  Did they get a green card?  Or did they use a fake work permit?  If they got a legal green card,why not apply for US citizenship for their son the proper and legal way?

These people are not your farm worker crossing the border looking for work.  They have some status to allow them to enter the US, get a job, and send their child to college.    Why didn't they do it legally?

The parents are at fault here, and it is they who should be deported.

I will save my rant on the attorney's complaining about Laredo PD calling Border Patrol for another day.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Coincidence, Or Am I That Smart?

I just saw this across the AP Wire.  I posted early this week about the need to ban knives...hummmm.   Be sure to read the last sentence.  China is pretty strict on guns for the civilians.

BEIJING (AP) -- A teenager killed eight people with a knife and wounded five more in northeast China after falling out with his girlfriend, state media said Thursday.
The teen killed two of her family members and six more people before fleeing, the state-run Legal Daily newspaper said. It reported he was caught but did not describe the circumstances.
The official Xinhua News Agency said the attack took place Wednesday night in Liaoning province. Media said the 17-year-old suspect is from Fushun city and his surname is Li. The attack happened in Yongling town.
Police in Xinbin county, which oversees the town, declined to comment.
Violent crimes are growing more common in China. There was a string of knife attacks against schoolchildren across the country in early 2010 that killed nearly 20 and wounded more than 50.

OK gun grabbers, fire away.........

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

LMT, Help Us Out- Pie Chart the City Budget

Chart the Budget
Laredo Morning Times, how about a little help for the people who pay for the city to operate, the taxpayers.

Show us a pie chart of the proposed city budget similar to the one I have put up to the left.  Show us what percentage of the city budget goes to which departments, so we can see where our money is going.

Note:  my chart to the left has each department allocated equal portions of the budget, which I know are not true, nor are they realistic expectations.  What will be interesting is just how much goes to police and fire (when all costs including retirement/insurance) are added in.  We, the taxpayers, need to know just how, to borrow a phrase from my environmental friends, "sustainable" our city budget is.

In fact, if the LMT really wants to show "sustainability", they would chart the last 10 years of city budgets and show just where the money is going.

However, my bets are on receiving a newspaper article reporting only what the city says and presents on its own, which will be of little value to the taxpayers.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Just Teenagers Ringing Doorbells - Me Thinks NOT....

Last week there was a group of "teenagers" roaming the streets in Winfield ringing doorbells at 3 a.m. in the morning.  At least that what the police reported to the local media.

However, the truth is these "teenagers" were in their twenties, and had gang style tattoos and were wearing dark hoodies and carrying baseball bats.  Yet, the police released them with no charges filed.  The police department spokesman said that the "Winfield Home Owners Association" had worked out a deal and that was that.

Now, I believe I read there have been some other home invasions in north Laredo over the last couple of weeks.

What I cannot believe is that there was no action taken by the police in regards to these "kids."  At a minimum, disturbing the peace comes to mind.

What say you?

Friday, July 27, 2012

Ban the Assault Rifle???? Why Not Knives?????

In the rush to ban "assault rifles" people seem to forget about a weapon that is responsible for 5 times more murders.

In a data check of the FBI's Uniform Crime Reporting System, I found the following data:

Rifles used in 348 murders
Shotguns used in 418 murders
Knives used in 1,825 murders

Rifles used in 358 murders
Shotguns used in 373 murders
Knives used in 1,704 murders

You are 5 times more likely to be killed by a knife than a rifle.  That is a fact.  So, where is the outrage?

Monday, July 23, 2012

Gun Control

Assault Rifle
Now that there has been another mass shooting, the national news media and others are pushing for a "gun control debate."  Well, not really a debate, but a call for stricter gun control.

The problem they have by using this incident, is that there is very little that any law short of banning guns could have done to prevent this shooting.  Even the banning of guns would not stop the guy from buying a gun on the black market (See Mexican Gun Laws for details.)

You have a person with no criminal record, no record of mental health issues (although those will come to light later, as it is inconceivable that a person can shoot that many people in this scenario without being mentally damaged), who bought guns and ammunition in a legal way.

Of course there are a couple of talking points (and my quick answers) the anti-gunners will try to use:

1.  If the assault rifle ban was still in effect, he would not have had a rifle to shoot with.   Answer:  wrong, semi-automatic weapons are readily available and could inflict the same damage.  In fact, we will soon find that the majority of the victims in the Colorado shooting we hit with buckshot from the shotgun he fired in the opening moments of the attack.  Shotguns have never been mentioned as needing to be banned.

2.  He had over 6,000 rounds of ammunition.   That should be illegal or at least trigger an investigation of the person.  Answer:  Most people have no idea of how much ammunition is purchased and shot by regular gun sport enthusiast.  I can probably name 20 to 30 people in Laredo, and they are not gun store owners, who have much more than 6,000 rounds of ammunition at home.  This type of regulation would swamp the feds, or whomever was designated to investigate such things.

These are just a couple of things being tossed about by the anti-gunners.  There will be much more heard on this issue in the next few weeks as more facts surface.

Even Mexican President Calderon thinks we should abolish the Second Amendment.  He has a great knowledge of just how great strict gun control laws work.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Bag Ban Survey

The Rio Grande International Study Center is going to survey the people (800 or so) of Laredo to see if they really want a ban on single use plastic bags.

The RGISC called for volunteers to show up at the public library yesterday evening.  The volunteers would go out into the community and knock on doors and complete the survey.

Well, I wonder just how accurate a survey can be when the people taking the survey obviously are intent on banning plastic bags at any cost to the community.  The volunteers are obviously in favor of the ban, or they would not show up to volunteer.  And being an un-scientific survey, what value is it really to the community or the city council who will be voting on the ordinance, if it gets that far?

If the all the survey questions have not been completed, I propose a couple of questions for the citizens:

1.  Are you willing to support a ban on single use plastic bags, knowing that you will now be paying for any bags that you will need to use to carry your purchased products home from the store?  And knowing that the retailers will be making additional money on your purchase by selling you bags?

2.  Are you willing to support a ban on other items that litter our community, like tires, construction materials, food wrappers, plastic bottles, cans, newspapers, or anything that the public might discard into the environment?

We'll see just how above board this survey is soon enough I am sure.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

A "MUST" Read on Education in America

This is North Kansas City High School.  Note, no fences, more on that
at a latter dateThis school originated in 1917, and the above building
 was opened in 1925.  It is stlla high school serving 1,700 students
 yearly.  It just goes to show that kids do not needbrand new buildings to learn.
NKC High School Info
School Performance Data
Note:  Laredo could use a website like the one on school performance.
I know many of you will disagree with the attached article, but the facts are that our kids are not being educated to the level required to maintain our workforce or global competitiveness.

Post your thoughts after reading a few clips:

.For full story click here.

(From the Wall Street Journal  July 9, 2012)

My comments in yellow.

America Has Too Many Teachers
Public-school employees have doubled in 40 years while student enrollment has increased by only 8.5%—and academic results have stagnated.
"Since 1970, the public school workforce has roughly doubled—to 6.4 million from 3.3 million—and two-thirds of those new hires are teachers or teachers' aides. Over the same period, enrollment rose by a tepid 8.5%. Employment has thus grown 11 times faster than enrollment. If we returned to the student-to-staff ratio of 1970, American taxpayers would save about $210 billion annually in personnel costs."
Or would they? Stanford economist Eric Hanushek has shown that better-educated students contribute substantially to economic growth. If U.S. students could catch up to the mathematics performance of their Canadian counterparts, he has found, it would add roughly $70 trillion to the U.S. economy over the next 80 years. So if the additional three million public-school employees we've hired have helped students learn, the nation may be better off economically.
To find out if that's true, we can look at the "long-term trends" of 17-year-olds on the federal National Assessment of Educational Progress. These tests, first administered four decades ago, show stagnation in reading and math and a decline in science. Scores for black and Hispanic students have improved somewhat, but the scores of white students (still the majority) are flat overall, and large demographic gaps persist. Graduation rates have also stagnated or fallen. So a doubling in staff size and more than a doubling in cost have done little to improve academic outcomes.
Nor can the explosive growth in public-school hiring be attributed to federal spending on special education. According to the latest Census Bureau data, special ed teachers make up barely 5% of the K-12 work force.
Again, more proof that money is not the answer to the education problems we are facing today.
While America may have too many teachers, the greater problem is that our state schools have squandered their talents on a mass scale. The good news is that a solution is taking root in many states.
Every time I read the first line in this paragraph, I go back to watching LISD scool board meeting with all the petty complaining and childish politics.  Our parents and school administrators are lacking in commitment and imagination.  If it only takes a couple of hundred out of thousands of voters to elect a school board member, we are doomed, and NO amount of money can fix it.
Mr. Coulson directs the Cato Institute's Center for Educational Freedom and is author of "Market Education: The Unknown History" (Transaction, 1999).

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Supreme Court Rules Obamacare Mandate A Tax

The US Supreme Court just ruled that the mandate provision of the Affordable Care Act is Ok under the US Constitution. The only way it is allowed is if the mandate is considered a TAX. Of course President Obama and every democratic legislator said during the congressional battle that the mandate was not a tax and therefore should be approved was obviously a multi billion dollar lie. More to come.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012


Why I love speak a thousand calories....

Any way, I'M BACK.  My little 4 month sabbatical is over, and I am ready and willing to jump back into the blog world.

Let's see, what have I missed:

1.  Bucks left....of course they did, attendance was way down.  Lots of causes, some self inflicted, some not.  Anyway, spilled milk now.   PS, informed rumor, there will be a Junior team coming to Laredo.  Actually the hockey is pretty good, and will surprise a lot of folks.

2.  Baseball stadium opens.  It will always be the ballpark to me, no matter what the naming rights.  Of course plenty of you in Laredo hate the ballpark, like you hated the arena, and will hate the city golf course.  Not much one can do to change your minds, but it surprises me that while you hate these venues for fiscal reasons, you never say anything bad about the park system and the money wasted there, nor about the enormous percentage of the city budget spent on fire and police.  Oh well, pick your fights I guess.

Anyway, I attended my first game 5 days after the grand opening.  I cannot stand political glad handing and backslapping, so I stayed away from opening day.  No matter what anyone says, the ballpark is a great venue for watching America's pastime.  Not a bad seat in the house as they say, and ticket and food prices are good.

3.  The Floor....of course city council bought a basketball floor for the BB team in Nuevo Laredo so they can play some games here.  OK, let's see what the city's deal is with the BB team...I have heard it might be zero rent at the, if only the other team had that deal, we would still have a CHL team.  PS< I really wonder if LISD or UISD will pay to play any playoff games at the LEA.  It would cost (my guess) $2,000 to $5,000 to put on a game (staff, cleaning crews, off duty fire and police, etc....)  Just have to wait and see.

4.  The Roses or whatever scantily clad football team was named, they were unable to play at the ballpark last weekend.   Not a Ventura Sports decision, but a city of Laredo decision.  Now, I hear the fireworks for July 4th at the ballpark have also been cancelled.  Wonder if the city did that to stop competition with their fireworks show at the Civic Center on July 4th.  If so, how stupid, idiotic, childish, dumb (and many more descriptors I can't think of right now) is that?

Oh well, that covers the sports scene.

5.  The plastic bag ban is another topic of discussion.   I would ask the banners why just plastic bags, why not cans, bottles, tires, and all the other trash in Laredo?  Oh, that is a littering problem.  Anyway watch out for bags that jump into trees.

6.  Local elections.....all Democrats as usual, enough said.

7.  Gas prices.  Laredo, we are getting screwed by our local gas companies.  Gas is much cheaper all around us.  Thank you neighborhood gas man for that.  PS, gas should be under $2.50 nationally, except we still refuse to allow more oil drilling access and we refuse to embrace natural gas as a vehicle fuel.  Electric cars are not the answer, never have been.  Just ask a golfer or golf course manager what is better, a gas cart, or an electric cart?   Gas wins out the majority of the time.

8.  National politics...I will save this for some later post.

Anyway Laredo, I woke up, and am back.  Hope you all tune in regularly.


Wednesday, February 29, 2012

This President Wants Higher Gas Prices - Confirmed Again

Read this if you don't believe me and my past post on this issue.  From Politico via the Junk Science webpage:

Obama Energy Chief Bombshell Admission

“The Energy Department isn’t working to lower gasoline prices directly, Secretary Steven Chu said Tuesday after a Republican lawmaker scolded him for his now-infamous 2008 comment that gas prices in the U.S. should be as high as in Europe.”
Politico reports:
The Energy Department isn’t working to lower gasoline prices directly, Secretary Steven Chu said Tuesday after a Republican lawmaker scolded him for his now-infamous 2008 comment that gas prices in the U.S. should be as high as in Europe.
Instead, DOE is working to promote alternatives such as biofuels and electric vehicles, Chu told House appropriators during a hearing on DOE’s budget.
But Americans need relief now, Rep. Alan Nunnelee (R-Miss.) said — not high gasoline prices that could eventually push them to alternatives.
“I can’t look at motivations. I have to look at results. And under this administration the price of gasoline has doubled,” Nunnelee told Chu.
“The people of north Mississippi can’t be here, so I have to be here and be their voice for them,” Nunnelee added. “I have to tell you that $8 a gallon gasoline makes them afraid. It’s a cruel tax on the people of north Mississippi as they try to go back and forth to work. It’s a cloud hanging over economic development and job creation.”
Chu expressed sympathy but said his department is working to lower energy prices in the long term.
High gasoline prices will make research into such alternatives more urgent, Chu said.
“But is the overall goal to get our price” of gasoline down, asked Nunnelee.
“No, the overall goal is to decrease our dependency on oil, to build and strengthen our economy,” Chu replied. “We think that if you consider all these energy policies, including energy efficiency, we think that we can go a long way to becoming less dependent on oil and [diversifying] our supply and we’ll help the American economy and the American consumers.”

There you go folks, President Obama's team WANTS HIGER GAS PRICES.  They could care less about you or your family. 

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

A Scientific Breakthrough on Plastic Bag Bans

Plastic bags on Hwy 59 east of Loop 20
I think I read somewhere that Corpus Christi is going to vote on a plastic bag ban this week.  Well ain't that wonderful for you Corpusites....

I should tell you though, that I made a serious scientific discovery last week when I drove to Independence, Kansas from Laredo.

We, (south Texans) have been told by local environmentalist that plastic bags are polluting our landscape and waterways.  And if you look around you might believe that, as there are bags everywhere, in trees, in creeks, along the river, everywhere I tell you.  So, the environmentalist arguments might seem reasonable, and a ban is the ONLY way to prevent this pollution.

However, on my drive to Kansas, (I-35 to San Antonio, 281 to Wichita Falls, I-44 to Tulsa, US 75 to Independence) I noticed the further north I got, the less plastic bags there were hanging from the trees along the highway.  In fact, during some spare time in Independence, Ks., I made a trip around town (small town of 17,000 folks) and could not find one plastic bag hanging in a tree.  And I know they issue plastic bags at the mini-marts, grocery stores, and even at the big Walmart in Independence.  Again, let me repeat, I did not see one plastic bag hanging in a tree or for that matter, I saw very little if any litter at all.  

So, I was able to come to this conclusion based on my scientific method of observation and recording:  Plastic bags do not jump into trees, streams or ditches. 

Hence my hypothesis is this:  Plastic bags only end up in streams, trees, or ditches if the person to whom the bag has been issued allows that to happen, either by willfull disposal of the bag by just tossing it out onto the landscape, or accidental disposal by not keeping an eye on the bag, and it blows out of the motor vehicle in which it has been placed.

This hypothesis rightly shows then that plastic bag bans are not needed.  What is needed is a willingness of people to not litter and enforcement of existing litter laws . 

This hypothesis will save the shopper many dollars and headaches if bag bans are voted down.  What it will also do is stop the HEB's and Walmarts from being able to increase charging you for a service that you receive today.  Yes, you do pay for those small plastic bags today in the cost of your product.  But I promise you it is not noticeable on your bill.  That versus having to pay a minimum of a dollar per "reusable" bag.

Anyway, science, and the consumer wins again.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Frac-A-Phobes Rejoice - You have nothing to worry about.

An update....looks like some locals still don't understand the difference between drilling and fracing.  Go to La Sanbe's blog and you will see what I mean.

To all you South Texas can now sleep easier.  The University of Texas Energy Institute (not funded by big oil) has released it's study of the fracing process and reached this conclusion: 

"Hydraulic fracturing in shale formations “has no direct connection” to groundwater contamination."

The article printed in the San Antonio Express News goes on to say that the fracing process itself has not polluted groundwater, but that some aspects of the drilling process (note the word drilling) can cause pollution to occur.

Now, why is this important?  Because the national Frac-A-Phobes did not start complaining about fracing until it was determined there are billions and billions of cubic feet of natural gas that can now be accessed and this diminishes the need for their very expensive and inefficient solar panels and wind farms.  They hate fossil fuels and anything/anyone that is associated with capturing and using them.

So, if you really are opposed to "drilling", let us know that.
So, sleep easy now.

PS, to the Safe Fracking Coaliton, if you don't want other opinions on your Facebook Page, please set it up so people cannot post comments, versus you deleting a comment.  Pretty closed minded if you ask me.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Sara Was Right About One Thing - English in Laredo

Complain as you wish about Sara, but she may have been somewhat prophetic in her rant.
Take some local news that I just heard, 94.9 FM will no longer be an English speaking station and most likely will not carry rock and roll music.

That leaves just 3, repeat 3 English speaking stations in Laredo that I can find on "seek" on my FM dial.  FM 106 point whatever is English speaking RAP music, not going to get my ear.  FM 98.1 is English speaking country music, which I listen to on occasion.  1490 AM, is ESPN sports, which is temporarily off the air now, and may come back, which I still listen to.  And of course there is KHOY 88.1....I know their commercials are in English, but no DJ's. 

Yet, there are lots and lots of Mexican FM and AM stations to chose from.  Of course I get WOAI 1200 AM pretty good, so I am still happy.  But local advertisers on the radio, you have lost me (which may not be a big deal, but to the hundreds of locals who do not speak Spanish, adios...)

So, a United States city with over 250,000 people has only 4 English speaking radio stations, one rap, one country, one sports, and one general music with no DJ's.

Laredo, what say you?

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Well, Well, Did Laredo Finally Wakeup???????

The Planetarium at TAMIU.  Photo by me.

It is amazing the outpouring of pride in Laredo over the last 48 hours.  I am really happy to see all the comments that have been posted on all the social media, print media, television and even this blog (ps, check out some of the blogs listed on the right of this page for their Sara comments).

If you take the time to read the comments, you get the feeling that while almost everyone likes Laredo, there are areas for improvement.

Traffic,  driving habits,  trash,  language barriers, as well as cultural respect and understanding.  Just remember folks, that it is up to YOU, and no one else to make improvements to our city.  How do you do that?

First you get out and vote.  And don’t just vote for someone because you like their signs, or know someone who knows someone who knows the candidate.  Find out for yourself who is running and why.  Then vote for them based on how you think they will improve things for you and the city.  Vote for leaders, not followers.  It really is pretty simple.

Second, you take an interest in the educational system in this town, even if you do not have kids.  How can we let our city continue to be under-educated.  We have a supposed 50% dropout rate.  That is just not acceptable.  It must be fixed, and only the people can fix it. 

Third, treat the rest of Laredo with respect, when driving, when conversing, even in the parking lot at the grocery store.  On the road, remember everyone has  the same “time” issues you have.  Do not cut in and out of traffic and remember, being second in line at the stoplight is not representative of you manhood (insert womanhood if required).  While at the grocery store, do me, and the rest of the folks a favor and put your shopping cart in one of the cart holders.  Don’t leave it in a parking space.  That just screws up everything for everybody else.

Fourth is trash.  Put you trash in a trash can or keep it in your car until you get home.  Nothing is more noticeable to a visitor to our community than the amount of trash they see along the roads or piled up in parking lots.  There is no excuse for littering.  Laziness is not an excuse.

Fifth is community involvement.   Pay attention to what is happening around you.  Join a group, any group that has a community focus.  Offer your special talents, and who knows, you may be the leader that helps the city move forward.

Sixth, and this is really important for Laredo going forward.  Community leaders, and community groups, be they trade groups, charities, or whatever, YOU MUST GET YOUNG PEOPLE INVOLVED.  Over 50% or so of Laredo is under age 25.  How can we not have those people involved in the decision making process.  So, you old timers who make the circuit of being officers in clubs and organizations, MOVE OVER and let the youth in.  You would be surprised what they might come up with.

Finally Laredo, let us not be selfish.  Ah, now you say this is about charity.  Nope.  Actually, quite the opposite.  Quit thinking that you are owed something from your neighbor, fellow city resident, or fellow American, because you are not.   Take responsibility for yourself and your family.  Do what you can to see to that your children are in school, and work with them in the learning process.  Quit being jealous of those that have more than you do.  If you want more, earn it, work for it.  I have heard too many times in Laredo people say’ “Well you got yours, now we want ours.”  I have no problem with that statement as long as you are willing to work for it and earn it.  Charity is for the truly downtrodden. 

If you are really proud of this city as you all seem to be in your posts, PROVE IT.