Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Alternative Fuels

Here we go again: the present presidential nominees are talking about alternative fuels.

You won't hear McCain, because he doesn't want to insult his "friends" in the Democratic party, and certainly not Obama, because he's not into the truth, that George W. Bush asked Congress to pass legislation investing in hydrogen fuel cells, solar power, etc.

The Democrats--then in the majority--blocked such talk; once in the majority, they were determined to not allow Bush any single success, the country be damned.

This is why we need to encourage third-parties. The two-party system is not about making America great, it's about getting elected.

p.s. Oil is not just for gasoline. We make plastics--like, you know, to save babies lives, for cars, for shoes, etc., from it. This is why everything made in China stinks pretty badly--like petroleum.

Obama: The Audacity of Hype

The Audacity of Hype with which Sen. Barack Obama presents himself is amazing.

Time and again he's allowed to use numbers and mention policies that just don't add up.

Go to http://wire.factcheck.org/ or http://www.factcheck.org/ to see how his campaign is wrong.

(This objective site lists how McCain is wrong too.)

I'm watching the debate and here's Obama talking like he's JFK--let's double the size of the Peace Corps and get off oil in 10 years, likening it to going to the moon, even mentioning JFK by name.

He's the first AfricAnglimerican to get the nomination from a major party. It's a shame he's the first; bringing in race--talking about: "Oh, and by the way, he's black" and such in a speech warning his followers of what others might say.

Obama says 95% of Americans will not be affected by his tax raises. The number's much lower than that--see FactCheck.org for details. Don't take my word for it. See a source that lists the sources.

Iraq does not have a 79 billion dollar surplus, Obama! Way off!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Puro Palin

How do y'all think Gov. Palin did in the debate? It was Sen. Biden's debate to lose.

How is it that these legislators, McCain included, are talking about their plans for this and plans for that as if they haven't been in a position to propose such budgetary issues--Congress (not the president) being charged with passing a budget?

In 2000 and 2001, Pres. Bush (as the pres.-elect and thereafter) proposed hydrogen fuel cell technology for vehicles. The Democrats in Congress, first in the minority, then as the majority, refused to allow discussion on the topic until very recently. The Democratic leadership has been so adamant about making Bush look bad, not giving him any success whatsoever, the American people be damned. They don't care, Pelosi and Reid, about America. They want Bush to look bad and are dying to have a Democrat in office to make him look good. In the meantime, they have been anti-Bush for the sake of being anti-Bush and not for the sake of arguing the topic and letting the American people and our representatives decide.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Mortgage Crisis--One True Cause Ignored

The mortgage crisis that is actually not much of a crisis if measured by foreclosures--about 1%--and is a crisis if measured by people that were screwed into non-fixed mortgages--ARMs (adjustable-rate mortgages)--and are in danger of losing their investment--was caused by all sorts of greed. But let's take a look at what that means, for real.

In Texas, visit http://www.sml.state.tx.us:8080/mblolookup/search.jsp and type in your Texan city or county of choice. (After it loads, use the arrow to view results on same page.) This page is part of the Texas Department of Savings and Mortgage Lending: http://www.sml.state.tx.us/ and will list all of the tons of unlicensed (and very few legitimate ones who are) mortgage brokers, loan officers, entity mortgage brokers, mortgage bankers and financial services who advertise themselves as all of the above and shamelessly have their licenses expired, or never got a license, but applied.

Where the hell's the regulation? Where's the attorneys general across the state and country doing simple searches in their own jurisdiction and going after these greedy SOBs who are falsely advertising themselves as legitimate mortgage and loan purveyors, some of them even publishing their license numbers, expired as they know they are, etc.? Where's the advertising departments of newspapers and real estate guides publishers doing their homework and making sure the "lenders" are licensed? This lack of effort by publishers is one reason for loss of newspaper readership.

Even folks from Lending Tree.com, etc., are guilty of this. Some person in their company at one point was licensed and that's supposed to be enough?

Yes, the large companies that buy up these contracts--the same ones that offer bonuses to these primarily unlicensed lenders for jacking up the annual percentage rates (APR) on the folks buying houses out there--are largely responsible. Let's go after them. But let's not ignore these, our neighbors and friends who, being local, and knowing the locals, are screwing their own neighbors.

Time and again the local and national news media, attorneys general, and legislators have been ignoring this core issue. It's easy to identify, easy to prove, easy to prosecute, easy to stop.

"Newsweek" has yet again one of these "how did this happen" stories out about the background of the bailout. Yet, it's those in the arena, those who are actually signing those papers, telling the big companies that Joe Schmuckatelli in front of them has enough income to make the payments--knowing he doesn't, but jacking up the numbers, selling Joe Schmuckatelli on higher interest rates and ARMs, that is largely to blame.

Let's go after them, too. That's the damned story!

Let All That Breathe Partake--Let Nader & Others Debate!

Dear Editor,
I am writing to demand more coverage of all independent presidential candidates. served in the United States Navy and Navy Reserves for 12 years and I think I've earned that right--to be allowed to make my own decisions on politics.I am an American, born to Mexican parents on the border of the Rio Grande Valley. I am now a public school English teacher. Yet I am not a Democrat, or Catholic, or a member of a teacher's union. I vote mostly Republican, but McCain is not the conservative that we'd have wanted to front our party and our nation. The conservatives who ran for president cancelled themselves out and now we're stuck with McCain.

As much as I disagree with Ralph Nader on many issues, I would like to at least like to hear what Nader/Gonzalez have to say. I think that including other than Democrats and Republicans in debates would help keep those "major party" candidates honest and bring in real issues into the debate. As much as Obama is promising change it's all hype. As much as McCain is promising to champion conservative ideas, it falls short. Americans are grown up enough to decide for ourselves who we'll elect. The media, by not covering Nader and other party candidates, are playing Big Brother and it's insulting. This is why cable and blogging news are gaining in popularity. Charlie Gibson calling himself Charles does not a more objective journalist make.

Let us have our say and our look at all the options out there. It's time to let third party candidates have their say and their chance to affect the policies and issues affecting our nation. We need third party candidates to gain enough votes to have an easier time getting on the ballots in the future. This is a healthy thing for America. I am a conservative, but McCain having won the Republican primary shows that our primary system is flawed--with independents in early-primary states being able to affect an entire election and dishearten true conservatives in later primaries. We need third parties to balance things out, to let us be reminded of what democracy truly is. As it is, when the news media refuses to include those on the fringe, they are forgetting that nothing is impossible.

The Giants were supposed to lose to the Patriots last Superbowl. Foreman was supposed to beat Ali in Zaire. Mark Spitz's record was supposed to last forever. Hilary was supposed to easily beat Obama. McCain was supposed to be a broke joke.

Let us see and hear the options out there. Let us decide for ourselves. Let us see more coverage of the independents out there. Let us decide whether or not they are valid.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Art That Heals, Inc. Seeking Volunteers/Directors

Dear Friends,

Art That Heals, Inc. is seeking interested people to help with programs and services. We are accepting applications for our board of directors and volunteers. Please visit http://www.athinc.org/Application.html to fill in the application. We hope to start meeting with interested persons in August and September 2008.

The mission of ATH to encourage cultural literacy in the Rio Grande Valley by promoting the arts, and to use the arts to help bring an end to the AIDS epidemic.

Art That Heals, Inc. is a 501 (c) 3 federally tax-exempt organization. Donations are welcome and are tax-deductible.

~Daniel García OrdazFounder & DirectorPlease visit http://www.athinc.org/

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Videos/Photos of Dolly Aftermath, etc. in Rio Grande Valley

For videos of Hurrican Dolly--before, during, and after: check out these:

KVEO-23 (Brownsville, TX): http://www.kveo.com/home/ondemand/video

KRGV-5 (Weslaco, TX): http://www.krgv.com/News

KGBT-4 (Harlingen, TX):--photo page (video page hard to find): http://www.kgbt4.com/news/photos.aspx

Friday, July 25, 2008

Poet Mariachi's Live TV Interview

Here's a link to an interview I had on KVEO-23, the NBC affiliate. Please pass the word!


Let me know what you think.

FYI: Cindy Garcia, the anchor, was so gracious in invititing me and made sure I felt welcome and comfortable and I truly appreciate her for that.

In the segment, she talks about Shakespeare and hip-hop and we'd talked before we went on the air and I told her something like, "Go ahead and ask me that on the air and I'll talk about that." or something like that. So I'm not dissing her or putting her in her place at all. She set up the question for us to discuss so I was not defending Shakespeare against her own attitude but rather that of much of the general public.

Cindy is excellent and very smart and pro-poetry. (She had Amalia Ortiz on to help promote the inaugural Rio Grande Valley International Poetry Festival.) She's very supportive of the arts and I truly appreciate her for that. It's not always easy to find in the news media.

We'll start registering poets for the 2nd Annual Rio Grande Valley International Poetry Festival--last weekend in April--soon!

Dolly Photos/Major Local News Print One Edition

Thanks for your warm wishes for the Valley to all who've commented or e-mailed. Several have also sent photos of your own hurricane drama.

I encourage y'all to upload them to http://www.freedomgalleries.com/vmstar/main.php?g2_itemId=16509 (there's a link on left for uploading photos.)

This link is also good for anyone interested in seeing images of the storm--before, during and after--by professional photographers at Valley Morning Star Newspaper as well as anyone who uploaded them.

Today's (Friday, July 25, 2008) edition of the Rio Grande Valley's Freedom Newspapers was just that--one edition . . . for all papers: The Monitor, The Brownsville Herald, Valley Morning Star, as well as the Spanish-language La Frontera and El Nuevo Heraldo . . . all rolled into one edition due to printing and electric outage problems. Freedom News Service also owns the Mid-Valley Town Crier as well as the island-based South Padre Island Breeze and the Coastal Current Weekly. No word on those.

I know distribution's off because we've been getting somebody's The Monitor, but no one's asked for it; no clue who's missing it.

It's a different kind of TGIF for folks. The weekend will not be restful for many and shelters are still quite busy in many places. Even as power is restored, flooding remains an issue for many in Mercedes, Weslaco, Harlingen, Rio Hondo, Brownsville, San Benito, and La Blanca; likely also in Santa Rosa area, etc.

New rain totals show up to 20 inches in some of the hardest hit areas just mentioned.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

DOLL-E Has Left The Building . . . Mostly

Wow, what a night last night. We lost power in my neighborhood in McAllen at around 4 p.m. and did not get it back until 5:50 p.m. today--Thurs., July 24--which exlpains, I hope, the lack of updates in the interim.

Dolly's remnants are still out there heading west, but she's not making a graceful exit as she storms into the sunset.

Initial reports are that there's been an estimated $750 million in damages; about 250,000 (at least 240,000) people were left without electricity.

As of 10 p.m. local t.v. news channels were reporting 30,000 people in Harlingen without power. Last night KURV reported 36,000 people without electricity in Haringen, so there seems to have been little progress made in 24 hours in that city.

My own neighborhood fared quite well: some downed wooden fences, some shingles, some roof leakage across the street; just about everyone across the Valley--certainly from first-hand accounts I can tell you every neighborhood in McAllen and Mission--lost some branches, limbs or whole trees--uprooted, not just broken off.

But there is a tremendous amount of flooding in places in Brownsville, Harlingen, Rio Hondo, San Benito and even in Weslaco, Mercedes and La Blanca--which is due east of Edinburg on State Hwy. 107.

National news--FOX, CNN, etc., are too soon, in my opinion, jumping the gun and declaring that the levees held. The verdict is not in, though. We won't know until water from the watershed starts drifting into the Rio Grande from all its tributaries north and south of the river whether the levees will hold. Two weeks ago, the Rio Grande Valley received a five-day non-stop drenching, so the reservoirs were full.

In Mercedes, the floodway is already filled; that is, overflow from the Rio Grande is already to capacity; drainage ditches in places like Santa Rosa, Weslaco, La Blanca, etc., are overflowing. Some are so filled to capacity that there are "lakes" connecting irrigation canals--with water from the Rio Grande--to drainage ditches--which look like canals, but are made to carry water, often effluent (treated wastewater) toward the Arroyo Colorado, which eventually flows into the Laguna Madre/the bay (west of South Padre Island.

Well, in Harlingen, where the Arroyo finally gets deep and wide (due to the barges going to and from the Port of Harlingen) the Arroyo was near to overflowing. There's no doubt in my mind that it'll spill over its banks once more water is released. In McAllen they're asking us not to shower or flush toilets because they're trying to keep us from contributing to drainage problems downriver (well, down-Arroyo).

Gov. Rick Perry and Sen. John Cornyn took a plane ride with Cameron County Judge Carlos Cascos to assess damage; Hidalgo County Judge J.D. Salinas also took a chopper ride and the county released photos of the flooded areas. Scary stuff. In some cases, there was water up to the waist. The worst shown on TV was four-feet of water in neighborhoods, with two feet of water inside people's homes.

Rescues by the National Guard and local sherrif's offices were conductedy by deuce-and-a-half trucks; later, even those could not navigate roads, and yielded to flat-bottom boats/pontoons.

Into Thursday evening several businesses and sections lost power in McAllen, despite crews working overtime; KURV 710 AM radio reported that work crews came in from other states and upstate to help electric coops and AEP Texas repair damaged power lines, etc. Nevertheless, several businesses, again, remained closed, or opened then had to shut down due to power failures. North of Robin, there was no light, so several restaurants closed down after having opened.

H-E-B and other grocers reported having to throw out fresh produce and meat; some H-E-B stores in McAllen did not open until 6 p.m. So in that sense, financial damage (and damage to fresh foods) will likely add to the blow to the economy, strong as it is locally. That having been said, shopping was furious before the storm at grocers and home improvement places and hardwares stores before the hurricane hit and shoppers will likely flock to grocers to replace frozen foods and refrigerated stuff gone bad.

Even fancy, semi-high end or high-end resorts and hotels at South Padre Island and Port Isabel took some bad hits, including the Raddison Hotel. KRGV-TV showed major damage to vehicles still parked there at 6 p.m.--dented, windows broken, some half-crushed by debris; the buildings suffered gaping holes, broken rooftops to smaller establishments or resort entrances, downed hotel signs, etc. Damage at S.P.I. is major.

Calls throughout the day--yesterday and today--have been difficult due to downed power lines and perhaps--this is strictly speculation on my part--damage to the cell phone infrastructures/cell towers, etc. Lost signals and lost calls were the order of the day yesterday and today. Phone calls to friends at Valley Morning Star Newspaper in Harlingen were not getting through as I tried to reach former colleagues there.

Dolly was not the most powerful storm ever, but she lingered and lingered, pummeling the same spots incessantly.

We had 40 PMH winds and light rain starting at 2:08 p.m. in McAllen; then higher winds and heavy rain 70 MPH winds from about 4 p.m. At about 8 p.m. it started getting scary. The heavy stuff lasted until 4 a.m. almost not-stop, diminishing by 5:30 a.m. Wind speeds jumped from 22 MPH to 33 to 40 within minutes of my previous post and then hovered at 50--70 MPH. I've never been in a tornado, but it sure sounded frightening too many times last night.

At 11:30 p.m. the meteorologist at KURV radio said the eye was just getting over McAllen--meanwhile we'd been getting pummeled all that time, thinking the eye was already upon us. The eye went NW over Red Gate (north of Edinburg on U.S. 281) on the northern end at around that time. We slept with a few windows cracked open to allow for ventilation, as despite the wind and rain, the heat--coupled, of course by the humidity--was quite thick. The rain and wind essentially power-washed everyone's roofs around here--and then some; from my vantage point the wind came from the West or NorthWest the entire night.

Whatever frozen meat had thawed out I barbecued for lunch today; the rest of the stuff in the fridge we put on ice and later took it to a relative's house, where they had power. The morning started with drizzle and soft rain in McAllen while the eye was winking at Rio Grande City and Roma from about 5 a.m. to 4 p.m. or so, according to a friend who works at Customs at the international bridge in Rio Grande City and news reports, mainly from KURV radio. I barbecued in the near 96 degree weather (though it was slightly cooler yet) after the rain subsided.

Again, Dolly essentiall hugged the Rio Grande, moving parallel to its banks, albeit north of the river, up towards Laredo and Eagle Pass and beyond, so the likelihood of more flooding and levee breaks is yet a probability, not just a possibility.

The national news media, almost as if waving goodbye to the "bigger" story of a levee break, has opined that all is well with the levees--without even so much as an interview with anyone to substantiate their theory. I am by no means hoping for a flood or a break in the levee system, but realistically, judging from Dolly's path and lasting rainfall--with outer bands affecting Austin, San Antonio, Houston and Louisianna, it would be premature to say the Valley's levees will hold.

The average amount of rainfall from Dolly for the four-county region is 7", according to KRGV-TV. Most parts of the Valley got 8.5"; several areas got 12" to 15".

The Texas National Guard started distributing food, ice, and water today. The Salvation Army is expted on S.P.I. and perhaps other areas on Friday.

I know this is much to take in, but I know that there are several of you from out of town and wish to stay abreast of what's up. So I hope this helps.

Overall, we're okay; no reports of death yet; severed fingers, broken arms (and egos)--some dude fell of a balcony in S.P.I.--but otherwise, we're okay. Now tell that to the folks with "water" beds in their colonias. So flooding--diesel, and pesticides, and cemeteries, and toxic chemicals, and wastewater--is still an issue for many folks. Not so in Mission and McAllen, but in other parts it's scary.

So by no means is this hurricane's damage completely known or completely gone. Dolly came to dance with a full dance card, then went ahead and danced some more. And she was a horrible dancer who stepped on lots of toes.

Thanks to all for your warm and well wishes and prayers. Let's keep the folks in the flooded and no-power areas in our prayers still. Thanks.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Good Golly, Ms. Dolly!

McAllen--2:45 p.m.

Wow, no sooner said than done. Dolly must be reading my blog and not liking it.

I hit enter last time and bam!

Hard rain--not heavy--but hard. Again, at that same 40-45-degree angle and consistent as all get out. Quite windy now, consistently.

KRGV-TV reports McAllen metro area has received 1/2" to 1" of rain per hour. If that trend continues--though it doesn't sound bad at a glance, that won't fare well for some of us.

Brownsville, Harlingen, Raymondville and low-lying areas like Green Valley Acres near San Benito will likely have it bad before it's all over.

Dolly is twirling and whirling and moving right along, soaking up as much water as she can. We'll see how it goes.

Dolly Makes Landfall--Chugging Along Dangerously

McAllen--2:08 p.m. July 23, 2008

The National Weather Service is now saying Dolly has made landfall at South Padre Island, TX and is now calling it a Cat. 1 hurricane, as sustained winds are clocked at 95 MPH. (95 is Cat. 2).

Dolly's over Laguna Madre and still churning and burning. She'll move through McAllen area--north side, where I live, maybe in 4 hours, at this pace, so about 6 p.m, roughly--hopefully not too roughly.

Friends--see comments--report flooding, wind gusts, and power outages in Brownsville.

Hang in there, friends. Thanks for your prayers.

In McAllen it's just as suddenly not so calm; wind consistent now and gusts from time to time; still not much rain, though.



Dolly be Bad! Hurricane Update

McAllen--2 p.m. July 23, 2008

The National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is reporting that Hurricane Dolly is likely to drop 8--12 inches of rain in the Rio Grande Valley.

Updates can be found at http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/text/refresh/MIATCPAT4+shtml/231658.shtml

CNN and other national stations are reporting that wind speed maximums are 100 MPH. That's only half-true. That's the highest wind speeds reported thus far. It's not like a hurricane can't decide to blow harder, Category notwithstanding. MSNBC is interviewing the mayor of Corpus Christi, 125 miles north of Brownsville, who reports funnel cloud activity and tons of rain.

Dolly finally crossed--or is crossing over South Padre Island and the eye wall is near land, but there has been no official landfall--in the mainland.

A KRGV-TV news vehicle (or perhaps a private one belonging to the cameraman) had its door blown away when the reporter, Stephanie Stone was asked by the news anchors to try to open the door to take a peek outside.

About 37 people had to be evacuted in Laguna Vista and Laguna Heights area, KRGV-TV reports.

In McAllen we are seeing relative calm, but some gusts had the rain falling at a 45-degree angle for several minutes about 20 minutes ago. Still relatively calm, and not pouring rain just now.

Landfall is expected near Port Mansfield--where Hurricane Allen hit land as well, in 1980.

NOAA's National Hurricane Center (National Weather Service Advisory #13: "...DOLLY HESITATES...EYEWALL OF DOLLY CROSSING SOUTH PADRE ISLAND..."


Dolly, Be Good! Hurricane Update!

McAllen--12:10 p.m. July 23, 2008

News Channel 4 (KGBT-TV) is reporting almost a dozen downed power lines; they showed video of several poles cracked or fallen. The wind gusts are consistently near 79 MPH in some parts of Brownsville.

The eye of the hurricane is still hovering near S.P.I., but has not yet officially made landfall itself, which means, likely, that at this pace (7 MPH) it will take about 25 hours to cross the Rio Grande Valley--Cameron, Willacy, Hidalgo, and Starr Counties--and drop an increasingly scary amount of rain. It's as if she'll be taking bucketfulls of water from the tub of the Gulf and constantly soaking the Valley; fighting us from a distance; fighting her own debilitating death. But not before she inundates us.

There's a tornado watch until 7 p.m. for the Valley.

Channel 5 (KRGV-TV) is reporting debris at Port Isabel--rain gutters, etc. They also showed video of a downed light pole--the parking lot variety, not a power line--at Wal-Green's in downtown Harlingen; there, gusts are consistently at near 40 MPH (at the Harlingen Medical Center gauge).

The last hurricane to hit the area directly was Hurricane Allen in 1980. It made landfall at Port Mansfield and did a good job of blanketing the Valley in rain and flooding--but not nearly as devastating as Beulah in 1967.

God help us.

Getting Dolly-ed up: Update on Hurricane

Hurricane Dolly update: 10:53 a.m. July 23, 2008

MCALLEN--Right now Hurricane Dolly is still gaining strength; now a Category 2. The outer-to-middle bands are over us, but the eye is still percolating in the Gulf, still outside South Padre Island. Wind gusts in Raymondville have been reported to up to 119 MPH, so the region is already feeling it, but still calm in McAllen. Less calm as the day progresses.

KRGV-TV 5 is reporting that a shelter in Harlingen, Harlingen South High School, as far as I know--has lost power. With winds so high, it's not unlikely. Channel 5 is broadcasting now in Spanish and English--usually only English; and also has a translator for the deaf. Right now it's my cousin, Chris Ordaz, an experienced translator for the deaf.

Tops of trees in McAllen are swaying gently still. Neighbors are walking their dogs, etc. Not much rain just now, but overcast. Still pretty bright, though. We're caught between two squalls--one to the east, one to the west. So people in cities around us are feeling the hurricane already.

The eye is still off the coast, technically not yet over South Padre Island. Moving about 7 MPH, and gaining strength with winds at 100 MPH (<95 is Cat. 1).

KNVO-48 is reporting that Matamoros and Brownsville city officials are coordinating their emergency efforst to some degree-cross border interaction despite the Rio Grande that divides the two cities/countries. There at at least 300 Mexican soldiers deployed to help with storm issues in Matamoros, the city just south of Brownsville. Gov. Perry called up some of the National Guard before the storm even hit; usually they wait until it's over before calling them up.

Dolly, Pardon Us! Hurricane looms. Notes from McAllen.

Dolly was upgraded to a hurricane on at about 4 p.m. on Tues., July 22, 2008. Presently—at 9:35 a.m. the outer bands are already inland, but the real trouble hasn’t started yet in McAllen, Texas. Video from South Padre Island shows the wind is already an issue there.

The eye, unfortunately, is still several minutes away. What we thought was going to be a fast-moving storm has been instead incubating, sitting in the deep, warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico, gaining strength. It may yet turn into a Cat. 2 storm instead of the barely Cat. 1 hurricane predicted.

Most folks around here have sandbags out, but few have boarded up their windows, because the destructive wind speeds weren’t expected. If this thing churns out any tornadoes, which it likely will, this will all be a different story—never mind the flooding that will occur eventually.

Sadly, the construction of the "border wall" began this week in South Texas. The County of Hidalgo is actually in charge of construction, because the county has been begging the federal government for money to rebuild the levee system--like the one that failed in New Orleans in 2005--because this area, the Rio Grande Valley, is prone to flooding during hurricanes and tropical storms. The last time the levee broke was in 1967 during Hurricane Beulah. It was really destructive here.

The county decided to make a deal with the Department of Homeland Security to basically combine the construction of the border wall with the strengthening of the levee system, which is why Hidalgo County is in charge of the construction. The cost of the border wall; just in this area (22 miles): $113.9 million. The county does not expect the federal government to ante up; instead it’s expecting reimbursement next year. The Anzaldua's Dam was constructed in 1960 but that did not keep Hurricane Beulah from flooding the region.

The poorer people in Mexico are going to have it bad, even if the levees don't break. (Their levees are practically non-existent.)

As far as I know from local TV news, folks are drifting into area shelters, especially people who live in trailer parks. Unfortunately, the Valley has a history of placing people in school gymnasiums and cafeterias instead of in classrooms and hallways. Gyms and cafeterias are large spaces with too much roofing, which could collapse or fly away. Individual classrooms in schools--which are the go-to shelters in this region--are better suited for protection from the elements: more walls, less roof, more privacy.

God, help us.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

There's no "pee" in Jalapeño!

So, it seems that, finally, the culprit for all of these Salmonella infections is the jalapeño.

But, if the USDA, FDA and the American news media had it their way, they are blaming it on the so-called "holla-pee-no".

Here's the correct pronunciation--well, sort of: "ha-la-pen-yo!"
Note: (The Spanish "h" is silent, but the "j" in Spanish acts like the "h" in English.) Special note to the media: We do not live in "Hee-doll-go" (Hidalgo) County and there's not such thing as "Hoss-sienda" Ford (Hacienda Ford); again, the "h" in Spanish is silent. Therefore it's "ee-doll-go" (Hidalgo) and "oss-see-en-dah" (Hacienda).

Interesting how Barack Obama calls Pakistan: "pock-ee-ston" instead of the Americanized: Pack-iz-stan.
The tilde (~) above the ñ in jalapeño is a gnuh sort of sound, but "nio" or "nyo" is a lot closer than putting "pee" in jalapeño.

So, wash all raw veggies and fruits before eating. There's all those pesticides and such all over them anyway. For now, they're warning that we not eat raw jalapeños.

I like the veggie/fruit cleaner with a little lemon oil in it. Works wonders.

It's a heckuva way for McAllen to make the national news--it seems a plant here may be one place of origin for the outbreak. Who knows. Anyway, let's leave the "pee" out.

Hello, Dolly! God hates the Border Wall!

Well, it seems to me like the Lord is not real keen on the idea of a border wall. He's sending Dolly to trace the border, right where construction is set to take off this week.

Updates on the storm that would be a hurricane: http://www.noaawatch.gov/2008/dolly.php

In the meantime, stay safe and heed the warning of the Lord, Our God!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Nader/Gonzalez Southern Tour includes Austin, TX

Ralph Nader is starting his southern tour this weekend. Please help us promote these upcoming events in South Carolina, Georgia, Mississippi, and Texas by forwarding this email to your friends, family, and any organizations in your area or in the area of the event that you think might support our efforts. Ralph Nader's Vice Presidential running mate Matt Gonzalez, a native of McAllen, Texas, will be joining Ralph for the Texas events in Houston and Austin. Please volunteer to make these events successful by calling our local coordinators below:

Nader for President 2008 Speech in Austin, TXWith both Presidential Candidate Ralph Nader and VP Candidate Matt Gonzalez.

Sunday, July 27th 7:30pm
Trinity United Methodist Church
600 East 50th Street
Austin, TX 78571
More Info Contact Debbie: (512) 573-6194
Suggested contribution: $10/$5 student

Nader takes on the issues that corporate candidates, Obama/McCain, refuse to address. The Nader/Gonzalez campaign promotes:
Single-payer, Canadian-style national health insurance
Rapid and comprehensive military and corporate withdrawal from Iraq
Crackdown on the corporate welfare and crime that cost Americans their pensions and jobs
Labor law reform and repeal of the anti-union provisions of the Taft-Hartley Act
Overturning the Patriot Act
Solar-based sustainable energy

Nader/Gonzalez Southern Tour includes Houston

Ralph Nader is starting his southern tour this weekend. Please help us promote these upcoming events in South Carolina, Georgia, Mississippi, and Texas by forwarding this email to your friends, family, and any organizations in your area or in the area of the event that you think might support our efforts. Ralph Nader's Vice Presidential running mate Matt Gonzalez, a native of McAllen, Texas, will be joining Ralph for the Texas events in Houston and Austin. Please volunteer to make these events successful by calling our local coordinators below:

Nader for President 2008
RallyWith both Presidential Candidate Ralph Nader and VP Candidate Matt Gonzalez.
Sunday, July 27th 2pm
The Hilton at the University of Houston
4800 Calhoun Suite 207
Houston, TX 77204
More Information John: (804) 432-1611
Suggested Contribution: $10/$5 students

Nader takes on the issues that corporate candidates, Obama/McCain, refuse to address. The Nader/Gonzalez campaign promotes:Single-payer, Canadian-style national health insuranceRapid and comprehensive military and corporate withdrawal from IraqCrackdown on the corporate welfare and crime that cost Americans their pensions and jobsLabor law reform and repeal of the anti-union provisions of the Taft-Hartley ActOverturning the Patriot ActSolar-based sustainable energy

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Upper Valley Art Leage presents artist Ben Varela Exhibit--and Open Mic: Aug. 23

Upper Valley Art Leage presents artist Ben Varela Exhibit/Opening Reception--and Open Mic featuring The Poet Mariachi, Daniel Garcia Ordaz. More readers wanted for open mic--open to writers, singers, comics, etc.

August 23, 2008 (Saturday) * Exhibit: 6 to 10 p.m. * Open Mic: 7 p.m. Event free and open to the public.

Contact: Maxilou Link, President of the Upper Valley Art League * 921 E. 12th St., Mission, TX 78572 * (956) 581-7669 or e-mail her at maxiloulink@att.net

Now seeking readers/writers and artists, musicians, etc.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

It's Hot Out Here For A Pimp!

It’s Hot Out Here For A Pimp

I am looking for a good hoe.

I am looking for a thin, strong, long, clean, lean hoe.
A solid hoe.
A smooth hoe.
An inexpensive but not cheap kinda hoe to meet my needs.

A reliable hoe.
A sturdy hoe.
An easily-accessible hoe.
Not one of those fancy, high-maintenance hoes.
A working-class hoe.
An everyday hoe.
A ready-to-go kinda hoe.

I am looking for a hoe that’s sharp
A well-rounded hoe.
A nicely-shaped hoe.
A curvaceous hoe.
A not-too-big, not-too-small kind of hoe.
A go-with-the-flow kinda hoe.

I do not want a broken down hoe.
A rusty, dusty, crusty hoe,
A nasty hoe.
A cut-up hoe.
A toothless hoe.
A good-for-nothing hoe.
I mean, that would be pointless.

I am looking for a hoe
To shape the field of my dreams and my desires.
A hoe to take off the edge,
A hoe that’s not afraid to get down to the nitty gritty kinda hoe.
I am looking for a hoe that I can just
Tear it up with kinda hoe.
A hoe that is not afraid to get down and dirty kinda hoe.
A hoe that I can just manhandle.
And just MMM.
Just take out my frustrations on kinda hoe.

But good hoes are hard to find.
See, the only hoe that I can get with my Amerian dough
Are those cheap-ass
Made in China
Kinda hoes.

Meanwhile the face of my vegetable garden
Will continue frowning
‘Til I can till the soil with an All-American hoe.

See, Chinese steel might be a steal,
But it just ain’t the real deal.

The Chinese government is a totalitarian Communist regime
Where children’s lives are burning in the hoe factories,
And the Barbie Doll factories,
And lead-based painted toy factories.

Yet the Olympic torch . . . is burning.
Tibet . . . is burning.
Freedom . . . is burning.

All I want is a good, clean hoe,
But Wal-Mart and Target and K-Mart and Sears and H-E-B and
The U.S. Department of State
Are nothing but a bunch of pimps
For Chinese hoes
And it’s getting hot out here for a pimp!

© 2008 by Daniel García Ordaz

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Friday, July 18, 2008

Good Riddance, $tarbuck$!!

Here's the list of the 600 stores slated to be stricken from the record, and from the minds of the jury; Starbucks was pretty stupid putting competing stores across the street.

The few times I've been there--mainly for professional reasons--I refuse to call anything but small, medium, or large, thank you very much.

Alas, only one store in Brownsville's on the list; so McAllen still has three locations. Here's the link to the list: it's PDF.


For the best damn coffee, period, visit Jitterz Coffee Bar in Mission. They roast their own beans and use only high-quality products--the best ice cream, etc. Lots of not-on-the-menu-but-we'll-be-happy-to-make-it-for-you items; nice artwork; great service; music on Fridays.


Failure = Success

Living is a form of not being sure, not knowing what next or how. . . . The artist never entirely knows. We guess. We may be wrong, but we take leap after leap in the dark.

~Agnes De Mille