Saturday, October 22, 2016

Punk Rock Band from Guadalajara Invades Chapas Bar on 14th Street

by Diego Lee Rot

Punk rock is not Brownsville's favorite art form, but Friday's punk rock lineup at Chapas Bar proved that punk has a following in Brownsville.

Last February I went to see Leftover Crack at B.A.M., Brownsville Artists and Musicians, on Washington Street. 

While there was no disturbance of any kind, I knew the event was over when I saw Assistant Fire Marshal Raymond Harris running up the street toward the venue with the zeal of a revenuer about to smash some moonshine stills. 

The band, Leftover Crack, was driven from B.A.M. after "the shutdown" and finished their set at Chapas Bar on 14th Street.

This time, the punk rock event started at Chapas. I bought my cousin Ryan a ticket, since he benchpresses 500 lbs., and can be useful in two or three against one situations.

Acidez, a hardcore punk rock band from Guadalajara, Jalisco headlined.  They played songs from their new album, Welcome to the 3D Era. According to their website, the group has been performing since 2003. but they were not much better than more local groups, like Hasta de la Tierra from Corpus Christi, or the Poor Uglies. A Brownsville guy from the Poor Uglies was pretty cool and came down and talked with Ryan and I for a few minutes.  He had to leave before Acidez took the stage.

Acidez made it a point to remind us and re-remind us they were from Mexico.

"How many of you are from Mexico?" they asked.  3 or 4 of the crowd of about 50 raised their hands.  

"Can you believe our drummer is not even from Mexico?" the lead man asked.  "He's from 'El Valle!" he explained, as if it was a joke to be from here.  I quickly got a vision of Donald Trump in spiked hair.

At about 12:45 AM, as Acidez took the stage, my cousin Ryan shouted:  "Watch out!"  An obviously drunk man was coming at us like a bulldozer.  We sidestepped him like two bullfighters and he went down into the mosh pit, elbowing and throwing people around.  We watched as he crawled on his knees to the bathroom, escaping the pursuit of security.

From the editor:  Diego Lee Rot, the guest writer of this article, occasionally covers the local music scene for the Brownsville Observer.

Donald Trump Calls Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte "A Strong Leader"

President Rodrigo Duterte

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Has Donald Trump Dumbed Down, Desensitized, Divided the Country in One Year?

Trump Mocking Disabled Person
I suppose countries, like people, can go backwards.  Progress can be reversed, average intelligence can be lowered, manners and respect lost.

If 2016 is the Year of the Donald, it's been a forgettable year, at best.  The presidential candidate gave school kids another vulgar phrase, "grabbing pussy," that seems to not recognize actual female anatomy.  Perhaps Trump was experienced at "grabbing dick" and got confused.

In my school days, we called other kids "retards" and "spastics," denigrating those with learning challenges and disabilities.  In the kinder, gentler decades since, we've learned to refer to those with "special needs," to admire the courage of those fighting muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis, polio and other debilitating diseases.  Trump, pictured mocking reporter Serge Kovaleski above, took many of us back to our ignorant, insensitive school yard days.

Brownsville, a city largely populated by people who've migrated from Mexico, must know that Trump's description of those immigrants as "rapists, killers and some good people" is inaccurate and irresponsible, certifiably racist. Nena's deceased father, Manuel Perez, did swim the river, after leaving Ciudad Victoria, but he joined the U.S. Army during WWII, gaining citizenship.  At his death, he  passed along to his widow, both a U.S. Army and U.S. Border Patrol pension.  There was no more vocal U.S. patriot than Manuel Perez.

Grown Brownsville women, with religious pedigrees, have  waxed eloquent on Facebook in their support of Trump, despite his obvious disrespect of women.  He doesn't just grab them, he insults them, calling them dogs, slobs and disgusting animals.  When nine women recently came forward, claiming Trump had forced himself on them sexually, he responded by saying they were not pretty enough to warrant his predatorial assaults.

If the overall intelligence quotient in our country has lowered, Trump can take full credit.  Our nation just seems dumber, more segmented, more polarized, more insensitive since he's dominated this year's news.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Port Isabel City Manager Jared Hockema Accuses LNG Firms of "Economic Racism," Also Chastises Port of Brownsville for "Poor Stewardship"

TCEQ Board, Representative Rene Oliveira
With the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality releasing the mp3 audio of public comment during last week's air quality hearing for Texas LNG, it's possible to isolate a gem or two from one of the speakers.

It took three calls to the TCEQ office in Harlingen to learn how to navigate the TCEQ Integrated Database.  Ms. Martinez from the Harlingen office took me step by step through the search form.  I will explain HOW to make a search for the audio at the bottom of this story.  There is simply not enough information on the website to complete the form.

Port Isabel City Manager Hockema
Port Isabel City Manager Jared Hockema presented the TCEQ board with a resolution from the City of Port Isabel opposing the LNG plants, also two formal questions about the environmental impact.

Hockema stated that, although his comments might not be relevant to air quality issues, he wanted the board to be aware of how those plants will impact his community.

"So many in Brownsville support a plant that will pollute in Port Isabel.  What about the thousands of tourism-related jobs in Port Isabel and South Padre Island that will be threatened by the polluting plants," Hockema asked.

"When companies from Houston and other areas come to a largely Hispanic community of low to moderate income, proposing polluting industries they don't want in their own neighborhoods, its simply economic racism,"  Hockema continued.

Hockema next reiterated that the Port of Brownsville, not voted in by residents of Port Isabel and South Padre Island, decided to allow plants that will pollute those areas.

Hockema stated that the region had "struggled for years" with the "bad stewardship" of the Port of Brownsville.  He reminded that the Bahia Grande Restoration project, that the Port of Brownsville "opposed for years," will be undone as a "sacrilege to Mother Nature" if the LNG plants are allowed.

How to Search the TCEQ Site for the Audio

Click "Open Items"
Click "Applicant/Respondent
Applicant/Respondent Name:  Texas LNG Brownsville
Program Area:  "Air Quality"
County:  Cameron
TCEQ Region:  Region 15, Harlingen
Regulated Entity Number:  RN109146928
Customer Number:  CN605117431
Hit Search Under Step 3
Go to bottom of next page and hit "Public Meetings"
The audio should load in some form of mp3.

Obama Supports Donald Trump for President

Malik Obama, the President's half brother and a Trump supporter, has been invited by Donald Trump to sit on the front row of the Clinton-Trump debate in Las Vegas tomorrow night.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Blogger Jerry McHale Chastised for Grabbing Republican Pussy

True Believer Jessica Puente-Bradshaw
Are some more susceptible than others to being influenced by cults?  What exactly is brainwashing? Intelligent, educated people followed Jim Jones of the People's Temple into Guyana, drank the cyanide-laced Kool-Aide to their death and, in some cases, to the demise of their offspring.  It matters little what bullshit they believed.  It's more interesting that they were vulnerable to being lied to and accepting the lies for their own personal reasons.

When we wrote a recent article about otherwise pristinely religious Brownsville women, who would NEVER violate their marital bed, be seduced sexually or intellectually, laying their personal values at the door in support of Donald Trump, we noticed that fellow blogger Jerry McHale took a different approach.

Morgan Graham, Cameron County Republican Chairman
Jerry went straight for the jugular with his wordless article: "Donald Trump: Morgan, I Want to Eat Your Pussy"

If Jerry actually knows Morgan, the Cameron County Republican Chairman, the daughter of longtime, local newsman, Bill Young, that kind of conduct doesn't represent her values.

Elizabeth Dierlam Loses Respect for Jerry McHale
but Embraces Donald Trump
Local Republican, Elizabeth Dierlam, took Jerry to task for even suggesting such a scenario, stating:  

"Jerry shame on you for doing this! I have lost all respect for you!"

But, the irony for all these righteous, Republican women, is that they find Jerry's writing offensive, but not Donald Trump's conduct.  It's a byproduct of the cult mentality.  Trump, as he himself has stated, could murder someone in plain view on main street and not lose his cult following.

Perhaps, these religious women have already shown a predisposition to being deceived and Trump is merely the current placeholder.  Maybe, anyone who "wants to believe" is in danger of deception, mind control and cultism.

Biblical Christianity is itself a leap of faith and the Book of Mormon, while said to be delivered on golden tablets in 1823 by the angel Moroni to Joseph Smith, plagiarizes the King James Bible of 1611 with chapter after chapter an exact copy of that book.

Perhaps, these women, so eager to believe that Barack Obama was not born in the United States, should do more study on the origin of their current belief system.  

Friday, October 14, 2016

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton Observed Checking into Brownsville's Motel 6 Last Night

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton

AG Ken Paxton, who recently filed suit to overturn Brownsville's plastic bag ban, was observed, according to one observer, checking in at Brownsville's Motel 6 yesterday evening.

For Mexican Towns Attacked by Cartels, Few Answers and No Justice

By Ginger Thompson and Alejandra Xanic / ProPublica

It was a brazen attack. Some 60 gunmen linked to the brutal Zetas cartel descended on a quiet cluster of towns just south of the Mexican border in the spring of 2011 and launched a door-to-door extermination campaign that went on for weeks, leaving an untold number of people dead or missing. Yet in the five years since the slaughter in the northern Mexican state of Coahuila, the Mexican government has failed to fully investigate, much less address the needs of the victims and their families, according to a preliminary report released today by a panel of scholars and human rights investigators.

“It’s horrifying because it was all so blatant,” said Mariclaire Acosta, a veteran human rights investigator who advised the panel. “This wasn’t a hidden crime. It all happened out in the open, and not one government agency did anything to stop it.”

Such charges have become a disturbing echo in Mexico, where hundreds of thousands of people have been killed by drug violence, either at the hands of traffickers or corrupt security forces, and the crippled — often complicit — justice system is incapable of pursuing those responsible. Sunday’s report suggests that Mexicans have begun to look for ways, at the very least, to get to the truth, rather than sitting idly and wait for justice from their government. They are increasingly calling for help from external experts, both at home and abroad, to oversee investigations into the most egregious crimes. And government leaders — who may or may not be committed to real reforms, but seem prickly about public opinion polls — are relenting.

Experts who worked on the report — led by scholars from the prestigious Colegio de Mexico and from an autonomous victims’ rights commission — said their focus was on providing answers that might help the affected families and communities heal. They issued numerous recommendations for ways to improve the way authorities treat the country’s untold numbers of victims. And they urged the government to apologize for leaving communities, like the ones in Coahuila, unprotected. “The victims, their relatives and society have the right to know what happened and to be treated with dignity,” the report said. “Until now, the term that best describes victim’s experiences is abandonment.”

Sunday's report also draws links between the violence ravaging Mexico and the United States. Many of the rugged communities of ranchers and factory workers that were assaulted in 2011 in Coahuila are located less than an hour’s drive from the U.S. border. The attack was started when the leaders of the Zetas cartel discovered that they had been betrayed by their own operatives, and dispatched their henchmen to Allende and several neighboring communities to seek revenge against the traitors and anyone related to them. Numerous victims’ relatives fled for their lives across the border, as did some of the traffickers on the Zetas’ target list. American authorities have provided protection to a handful of the traffickers in exchange for their cooperation. But, according to the report, American authorities have so far refused to discuss what they know about the massacre.

“The opacity of the United States obstructs the truth,” the report found. It called the massacre an example of “bi-national criminal violence,” and added, that American authorities “hold important information for understanding what happened in Mexico.”

“The opacity of the United States obstructs the truth,” the report found. It called the massacre an example of “bi-national criminal violence,” and added, that American authorities “hold important information for understanding what happened in Mexico.”

The examination of the so-called Allende massacre, named for the Coahuila town hit hardest by the violence, marks the first time that the government’s investigation of the killing has been opened to external scrutiny. Among the report’s most withering elements is its abbreviated chronology of government files showing for the first time in detail how much authorities knew about the extent of the bloodshed and how they did next to nothing to investigate it for three years. Once officials did investigate, the report said, they based their case almost entirely on uncorroborated confessions by those accused of participating in the killing, along with statements by firefighters who responded to calls for help. Authorities said they have recovered some 68 pieces of teeth and bones from one of the killing sites, but it’s unclear whether they have ever attempted to identify the remains.
Tamaulipas "72"
The report includes some details on the bargain rates for bribing local officials: In the years leading up to the killing, the Zetas paid off Allende’s entire municipal police force with just $3,600 a month, while a single trafficker operating there at the time boasted of earning $4 million every 10 days.

The first person to file a complaint about relatives who had gone missing in the attack was arrested a year later by municipal police and has never been seen again. The mayor of Allende at the time told authorities he was unaware of the killing until it was over, a claim that defies credulity for anyone who’s ever been to Allende — one of the houses that was destroyed during the attack sits across the street from the mayor’s. And the state attorney charged with investigating the killings was eventually removed from office for having provided protection to the cartel.

The report accuses the governor at the time of downplaying the extent of the damage. And, while it credits the current governor, Ruben Moreira, with implementing important law enforcement reforms, including creating a special unit to investigate disappearances, it says his handling of the Allende investigation shows “less interest in the truth and more in closing the matter,” by pushing victims’ relatives to accept that their loved ones are dead and move on.

“Their main concern is to collect incriminating statements,” the report said. “There is minimal investigation that validates the veracity or falsehood of what is said. That impedes precision in establishing the facts, assigning blame, and delivering justice and reparations.”

Sergio Aguayo, the lead author of the report and a widely respected human rights advocate, acknowledged in an interview that numerous important questions remain unanswered, particularly those relating to how much federal authorities were aware of the violence and what they did or did not do about it. The report also left open the key question of how many people are dead or missing, saying the government has information on 42 victims, while other “extended accounts” say there are as many as 300.

Aguayo said the panel’s work so far had focused largely on a review of the voluminous investigative files from the federal human rights commission, and the state prosecutor’s office in Coahuila. But he said he would seek access to more federal investigative files, and interviews with authorities at all levels of the government to produce a more complete report early next year.

It’s impossible to predict how much more authorities are willing to cooperate with Aguayo’s efforts.

Last year, Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, seeking to lift his dismal approval ratings, took the rare step of inviting an international panel of legal experts to examine the government’s investigation of the massacre of 43 students at a teachers college in the southern State of Guerrero. But the effort ended acrimoniously when the investigators contradicted the government’s version of events, and accused federal authorities of attempting to obstruct their work.
Former close friends left: EPN, Humberto Moreira
The work by Aguayo’s panel poses similar potential political pitfalls for Governor Moreira, of Coahuila. His brother, Humberto, was governor during the time that the Zetas occupied the northern part of the state. Humberto Moreira, once a close political ally of Peña, has dodged numerous accusations of corruption and money laundering since leaving Coahuila with a debt 100 times larger than when he took office.

To illustrate the balancing act in his efforts, Aguayo said that on the day that the current governor agreed to give him access to the Allende files, the former governor announced he was suing Aguayo for $500,000. Aguayo had previously written a column about the former governor, describing him as a “politician who stank of corruption.”

In addition to looking into the killings in Allende, the panel also examined the 2011 massacre of 72 Central American migrants in Tamaulipas, another border state located southeast of Coahuila. The panel’s findings there were similar.

“I truly believe we are living an emergency in some parts of Mexico,” Aguayo said.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Bob Dylan Awarded the 2016 Nobel Prize in Literature

I remember exactly where I was when I first heard  "Positively 4th Street" by Bob Dylan, a song that shocked me so much that I pulled my '59 VW to the side of the road to listen:  

You see me on the street, you always act surprised
You say "how are you?", "good luck", but ya don't mean it
When you know as well as me, you'd rather see me paralyzed
Why don't you just come out once and scream it

No, I do not feel that good when I see the heartbreaks you embrace
If I was a master thief perhaps I'd rob them
And tho I know you're dissatisfied with your position and your place
Don't you understand, its not my problem?

I wish that for just one time you could stand inside my shoes
And just for that one moment I could be you
Yes, I wish that for just one time you could stand inside my shoes
You'd know what a drag it is to see you

It was 1965 and KJR of Seattle played cutting edge stuff.  I'd been traveling on the Benson Highway between Renton and Kent, Washington when I heard a man sing honestly with anger.  In my naivete, I still remember saying to myself: "You can't tell someone they'd rather see you paralyzed.  We don't talk like that!"

But you can and Bob Dylan did in hundreds of equally honest, angry, touching, illuminating songs, poems, anthems, ballads.

My all-time favorite angry line comes from Bob's song, "Idiot Wind":

Idiot wind blowing every time your move your mouth
Blowing down the backroads heading south
Idiot wind blowing every time you move your teeth
You're an idiot babe
It's a wonder that you still know how to breathe

In 1963 Bob Dylan and Joan Baez joined Dr. Martin Luther King and 250,000 others for the March on Washington. Bob and Joan performed at the Lincoln Memorial before Dr. King gave his "I Have A Dream" speech.

Here is an excerpt from Bob's song, "Blowin' in the Wind":

How many years must a mountain exist
Before it is washed to the sea?
How many years can some people exist
Before they're allowed to be free?

How many times can a man turn his head
And pretend that he just doesn't see?
The answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind
The answer is blowin' in the wind.

Attorney General Ken Paxton Sues City of Brownsville Over Plastic Bag Ban, Calling It "An Illegal Sales Tax"

From the editor:  This past August this blog broke the story posted below, indicating that the Texas 4th Court of Appeals had struck down Laredo's plastic bag ban, a law modeled somewhat after a similar regulation in Brownsville.  Now, Attorney General Ken Paxton has sued the City of Brownsville to reverse its current bag ban law.

While sympathetic to the need to control plastic and other litter, we've previously indicated that the current law is poorly implemented, aids profiteering by grocers and diminishes quality of life for Brownsville residents.  There simply has to be another option than sending shoppers out into the one hundred degree sun of the H.E.B. parking lot with unprotected meat, ice cream, dairy, eggs and produce loose in a metal shopping cart.

Below is a reprint of our August 17, 2016 story:

Pat Ahumada's Oppressive Plastic Bag Ban May Soon Be Over! 4th Court of Appeals Strikes Down Similar Law in Laredo

Plastic Pat Ahumada
Six or seven years ago, the "Fickle Finger of Fate," as they used to call it on Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In, in the form of a plastic bag, slapped Pat Ahumada  on the chest while he was riding his motorcycle.

City Attorney Mark "The Sossi" Sossi
Likely, after the dramatic, life-changing incident, Mayor Pat immediately dropped to his knees to seek celestial guidance from the green gods and goddesses of the universe, whose spirits likely directed him to seek spiritual guidance from City Attorney Mark Sossi in co-drafting an ordinance banning demonic plastic bags from the city.

BISD Trustee Cata Presas-Garcia Speaking Against Ban
Despite the "diversity" of public "commenters," speaking out against the proposed ban of plastic bags in the city, including school board trustees, preachers, political advocates, truck drivers and even shoppers, the city's self-proclaimed "quarterback" at the time, Pat Ahumada, along with his much-maligned "blocking linemen" on the the city commission, passed the ban.

Soon, Brownsville shoppers were walking out of H.E.B., pushing shopping carts of loose grocery items, unprotected meat and ice cream in the 100 degree Fahrenheit heat, with eggs in styrofoam cartons tumbling from the bottom of the cart to smash on the hot asphalt.  Oh, bags were available for a single George Washington, that is, a dollar, greenback or buck.

When asked why poor people should pay a dollar for a sack to take out their groceries, Pat Ahumada replied:  "Poor people litter too!"  Had Pat made  that profound statement in 2016 someone would quickly have founded the organization "Poor People's Lives Matter."

The Texas 4th Court of Appeals may have given the poor in Brownsville a helping hand.  They just swatted down Laredo's copycat version of Brownsville's anti-plastic bag ban, citing the law as "unenforceable."  The Laredo Merchants Association had challenged the law in 2015.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Jorge Lerma About LNG: "It's a Done Deal!" Joseph Cantu About the 600 Construction Jobs Promised: "They Will Not Go to Locals"

Jorge Lerma
From the editor:  Our friend, firefighter, union leader, political activist, Jorge Lerma, commented on one of our stories about LNG posted on Facebook as below. He sees the inevitability of the pollution-heavy, dangerous "plants" that will utilize tremendous amounts of energy to convert natural gas into a liquid, 1/600 of its original volume to make shipping economical. Obviously, transporting on one vessel, as opposed to six hundred, greatly adds to the bottom line.  Please read Mr. Lerma's comments below.

Actually, once the good old boys of the Port of Brownsville signed the leases for the three LNG plants, the deal was likely done.   Did those commissioners even understand at that point what was involved in the LNG process?  Likely not.  They were patting themselves on the back for adding industry to the port.

Did they realize these plants would spew hundreds of millions of tons of hot effluent into the cleanest estuaries in the United States, release mercury, hydrogen sulfide, helium, carbon dioxide and other impurities just downwind from the state's most popular beach?  Of course not.  They were merely signing leases, adding to their industrial base.

Joseph Cantu
Joseph Cantu, a martial arts instructor in South Padre Island and Port Isabel, added an interesting comment below about the way construction jobs and contracts are dispersed by LNG companies.  Remember, Dave Glessner of Texas LNG, promised "600 construction jobs for 3 years and 80 permanent staff." As Cantu explains below, LNG firms look for construction firms familiar with their specs, needs and skill sets.  These firms won't advertise in the Brownsville Herald or the Bargain Book for skilled workers, but simply bring their own crews.

As for the permanent crew of 80, consider that LNG plants are complicated, dangerous and extremely safety conscious.  They hire those experienced in LNG, not unemployed or underemployed fold off the street.  

From Facebook:

Jorge Lerma:  YES. It is a done deal. They know they can get away with it in a low income area. The masses are worried about their next meal and not the well being of their grandchildren.

Jim Barton:  Of course, you're correct. Those who spoke out for LNG all mentioned the need for jobs. What I've learned about LNG employment is that, because of safety concerns, they tend to hire employees with LNG experience. While Dave Glessner of Texas LNG said they would look to hire locals, I'm not convinced the higher salary positions aren't filled by transplants. What I'm saying is that the extreme need for locals to find substantial employment may not be helped much by LNG. Landscaping, janitorial, security and secretarial, yes, but, the so-called higher skill sets may be filled by outsiders.

Jorge Lerma:  You are preaching to the choir. I am completely for protecting the environment at all costs. I have lost my faith in this area having any legitimacy in the political process. The average voter should be taking a flamethrower to some of the political rats that have taken advantage of our community.

Joseph Cantu:   I was there last night. I spoke to ch 4 and asked Dave Glessner a few questions at the mic. As someone who has actually opened a brand spanking new plant on the houston ship channel i am fully aware of the thousands of voc emission points in the entire plan process including piping, compressors and pumps etc. I was also responsible for permitting the 100s of contructions crew members work. I saw them start with 400 at construction, then down to 200 in 6 months then 50 then none. Those are the jobs they are bragging about but even those will go to same old companies who are familiar with this work like Austin Industrial, Brn & Rt, Zachary, the newer const companies, etc etc. A friend of mine was privy to talking with lng leadership a few years back. One thing i remember him overhearing was this: " if we cant do it here then we will go to south texas where the politicians are cheap, the land is cheap and the labor even cheaper." That's environmental racism but hey if you're a sonso you dont know your a sonso.

Odds and ends from the air quality forum for Texas LNG at the Brownsville Historical Museum, 10/12/16:

David Glassner said Texas LNG would create
600 construction jobs for 3 years and 80 permanent staff."  He claims the "average salary" to be $70,000."  He is proud that his company will reduce worldwide emissions by reducing the dependence on coal.

Glassner stated that Texas LNG will be powered by electric motors, not gas turbines, greatly reducing emissions.  He even hinted the may look for alternate energy sources like wind.

He stated that Texas LNG will institute a program calling for leak inspections every three months at the plant.

Several commenters at the hearing stated they represented the Sierra Club.  One of their concerns was the need for a cumulative impact study, combining the emissions from all three LNG plants, added to the other pollution in this area. The TCEQ, that is, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, only considers emissions from the plant currently making application, in this case, Texas LNG.

Joseph Cantu had questions about flaring, the process of burning off gases and contaminents during the compression process. Dave Glassner of Texas LNG claims that flaring occurs perhaps "seven days per year."  Other sources indicate it occurs much more frequently. Glassner admitted that "excessive pressure goes to flaring" and that it normally takes "16-24 hours" to remove the CO2 from a batch of natural gas, necessitating flaring. 

Port Isabel City Manager Jared Hockema asked about "nonattainment expenses," that is fines from the EPA for not meeting air quality standards.  He was also concerned about construction and diesel dust and pollution associated with construction, noting that "Highway 48 has a dust problem currently."

Will the Port of Brownsville and Cameron County Allow Short-Sighted LNG Profiteers to Wreck Our Region's Tourism?

Excerpts from our 4/20/16 article:  

2004 LNG Explosion in Algeria
Short-sighted profiteers who push for LNG plants at the Port of Brownsville, extending to the city limits of Port Isabel, may be a decade or so late. Lowered oil prices, lessening demand for LNG has resulted in lowered production worldwide.  

Actually, littering Highway 48 with LNG plants would be the dumbest mistake our region could ever make. Imagine scenic Channel View adjacent to Houston.  The water is there, but the air wreaks of oil and the skies seem always overcast.  Certainly, no one is swimming or kayaking in the bay.

If the LNG plants are built, they could become a decaying carcass of chemical cleanup Cameron County could never afford, not only a permanent eyesore, but a health hazard.  

Hopefully, the LNG companies will honor the $4 million in leasing fees, but choose not to throw good money after bad.  Pope Francis, Barack Obama and the world are encouraging moving away from fossil fuel technology. Whole cities in Germany are now off the grid, powered by wind. 

World reports, many from LNG World News, the PR vehicle for the industry, indicate demand for LNG is decreasing.  

Community Questions Air Quality Safety at Public Hearing for Texas LNG

Packed Room at Brownsville Historical Museum for
TESC Air Quality Hearing for Texas LNG
During a ten minute intermission at last night's TCEQ Hearing on air quality for a single LNG applicant, I noticed Port Isabel City Manager Jared Hockema sitting in the front row of the Brownsville Historical Museum's meeting room.

"You are opposed to the LNG plants at the Port of Brownsville, are you not?" I asked.

"Oh, absolutely!" Hockema replied.  "Point Isabel ISD rejected their request for $200,000,000 in tax abatements for a second time and will continue to deny them," he explained.

Representative Rene Oliveira Opened Meeting,
Then Left before Public Comment
Hockema agreed with me, that if the LNG plants are allowed to set up, twenty or thirty years from now the stretch from the Port of Brownsville to Port Isabel will pass the highly-contaminated metal wreckage of abandoned LNG plants.  After all, studies show the market for LNG is shrinking as countries like China develop their own natural gas and the world moves to alternate sources of energy.

Pertinent questions were duly noted by the TCEQ panel and recorded to be part of the public record. Scott Nicol asked if devices to monitor air quality had been set up near schools.  He was told that the EPA requirement was met with one meter in Brownsville to measure ozone and another in Port Isabel to gauge particulates.  

"Has the panel considered the combination of SpaceX and LNG plants in case of a rocket explosion or misfiring?" asked a lady representing the shrimping industry.  She came back later to ask if the TCEQ, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, could be sued later if the shrimping industry suffered as a result of the LNG plants.  She was told they could.

Dave Glessner, Permitting General Manager,
Texas LNG
Several questions were referred to Dave Glessner, Permitting General Manager for Texas LNG.  Although the hearing was limited to a discussion of air quality, Glessner took the liberty of mentioning the jobs Texas LNG would bring to Cameron County, "600 in construction for three years, then a permanent staff of 80."

When a resident asked if those jobs would be filled by locals, Glessner assured him that Texas LNG would look for people with "similar skills" and "spend a lot of money on training."  

Seemingly unnoticed by the audience, Glessner referred to Cameron County as the country's "second poorest region" with a "per capita income of $26,661," about half the state average.(Should we give car dealer Mike Hernandez's OP 10.33 group credit for pulling Cameron County out of the country's income cellar?)

Glessner was later asked if his company's stated regimen of "checking for leaks every 3 months" was adequate.  Certainly, a serious situation could develop in 90 days that could threaten community health.

Monday, October 10, 2016

How Brownsville's Christian Women Rationalize Their Support of Presidential Candidate Donald Trump

It's bemusing that strait-laced, Bible-thumping, yes, Hispanic women in our area, continue to support the pussy-grabbing, racist, misogynist candidate for president, Donald Trump. Wait! Before you even start.  This article has nothing to do with promoting the woman you call "Crooked Hillary" or sometimes, "Hellary," or excusing the misconduct of her husband Bill two decades ago. It just seems odd, incongruous, that professedly Christian women, who would not tolerate a Playboy magazine in their house or apartment, read the Bible daily and pray nightly, would unhesitatingly identify themselves with a man so openly disrespectful of women, minorities, the disabled and even war heroes like John McCain.

Letty Garzoria-Perez
Among others, my friend, Letty Perez-Garzoria, comes to mind. Letty plays piano for weekly services at the West Brownsville Iglesia Bautista, knows the Word like the back of her hand and would take a nickel found in an H.E.B. parking lot to the store office.  In other words, Ms. Garzoria, a widow, is the epitome of Biblical morality.

Yet, the virtuous Garzoria posts daily timelines on Facebook extolling the virtues of Trump, many being articles from the online vehicle, Liberty Writers News.

Jessica Puente-Bradshaw
Another friend, Jessica Puente-Bradshaw, once named as one of the
"Hottest Republican Politicians in the U.S.," a former congressional opponent of Filemon Vela and a candidate for several other local offices, like Ms. Garzoria, pushes daily the Trump candidacy.  

Bradshaw, who would slap the shit out of Trump if he tried to grab anything, is a devout member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

In continuing to support Trump, despite the lewd, racist and otherwise inappropriate mouthings, Bradshaw moves out of step with other Mormon politicians like Utah Senator Mike Lee, Representative Chris Stewart, former Governor Jon Huntsman, Governor Gary Herbert, Representative Jason Chaffetz and several other Mormon politicos, including former presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

Why, ladies of Christ, why?

Trump supporter, Vicki Sciolaro explains it all:

"God can use anybody. . . . He used the harlots. It's all about what God can do. God can do this. God can use this man."

Vicki is referring to Rahab, the prostitute who saved the lives of two Israelite spies, working for God, who invaded Jericho.  She hid the spies while Jehovah knocked the walls of Jericho down.

Rahab, the Prostitute, Doing A Good Thing
Prostitute Rahab, like Donald Trump, is a bad person, capable of doing good things.  That's what Vicki, Letty and Jessica seem to be telling us.  Will the Donald let them down?


Grandson Jack in Market Square Walking with grandson Jack downtown is a challenge.  He frolicks, skips, cuts in front of you, runs ahead,...