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.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Sara Hates Laredo - Is She Wrong

Check out the U Tube Video:
Sara Hates Laredo. Is She Wrong?
I did not post her choice.

Check out the video, then let's talk.

Is Laredo a crime ridden town that is racist towards white people?  Is Laredo filthy, and a large 250,000 person ghetto?

The real answer lies somewhere in between what Sara says and what her "haters" say.

I have lived in Laredo for over 20 years.  I have grown to like Laredo.  But, when I first moved here is was total culture shock.  The idea that people could, or would not speak English in the United States took a lot of getting used to.  It still does after 20 years.  How would you like it if your food order at a restaurant would be screwed up on a regular basis, or you can't get a plumber or repair man to fix a problem because they don't speak English.  Yep, that took some getting used to.

Now Sara is wrong in her diagnosis of the language issue, as Laredo, unlike any other large border town I have been to, still has very strong ties to Mexico.  So, being a retail oriented town, it caters to Mexican shoppers.  It is almost impossible for a non-Spanish speaker to shop downtown, other than pointing a handing over money.  However, Laredo is 99% or so, Hispanic, and Spanish is what seems to be spoken at home with the kids.  I will not get into the educational aspects the language issues cause, but they are immense.

Real crime is not a big problem in Laredo, other than auto theft, and because of new techniques at the border, that crime statistic is falling some.  Laredo is as safe, and in some cases safer, than most cities of it's size throughout the US. 

Traffic and drivers are a problem in Laredo, and are NOT comparable to most cities in the US.  People do STOP at stoplights in other cities.  Laredo is the worst.  Also, the idea, that "My Time Is More Valuable Than Yours" seems to be what motivates Laredoans to have to be the first one in line at the next stop light.  Nobody, and I mean nobody, slows down to get in behind another driver, even if they are going to have to make a turn that would cause the other person to have to stop.  Yep, I must be first, because I am in a hurry, and the hell with you.  This is not normal.  Also, this is the only town I have ever lived in that does not turn stoplights to flashing yellow during slow/no traffic times.  Like Loop 20, why do the traffic lights need to turn red at the entrance to TAMIU at 3 a.m., or on Sunday early in the morning.  We spend millions on technology, but don't use it.

Trash....Sorry Laredo, Sara is right on.  There is an enormous amount of trash in Laredo and it is the people who don't care.  The litter just does not appear out of no where.

Is Laredo racist.  As a whole no, Laredo is not a racist town.  But, think about this, if you are standing in line at the grocery store and speak no Spanish, and the people in line are looking at you, and seem to be talking about you or your child in Spanish, and you hear a phrase you think is derogatory, you might come away and think folks are racist.  Sara is right, the little nicknames Hispanics use to designate whites can be misunderstood as being a slur.  Yep, end the wetta, wetto (SP) comments.  They are not taken well. 

Even the Laredo city council, when approving the "Hispanic Medal of Honor Monument", responded to a question as to what would happen is a white person from Laredo was awarded the Medal of Honor by saying, "Well in that case, we would build them another monument."

On the positive side, Laredo has some very good and unique attributes.  I love the food, and most of the culture.  I again, realize where I am, and what this town is.  It is not mid-America, nor, east or west coast.  It is a US/Mexico border town.  The habits and culture are different.  They will not change. 

However, driving, being kind and nice, and picking up trash are not cultural issues, but are issues of respect.  We can use a little more respect for each other in Laredo.

That being said, Sara, in my opinion, you are off base on most of your comments.  You really need to get some local friends who can help you understand more of the cultural differences you talked about.