Thursday, June 29, 2017


UB40, British Reggae Band
HIJAB-CORE, All-Girl Muslim Rock Band, Indonesia
Darius Rucker, Black Country Singer

Brownsville Artist Honoring Indigenous Art

Oops! I Left Out My Principal Argument on Cultural Appropriation~Music!

This should the final segment on the criticism of a local artist for creating art in a style similar to indigenous folk who once lived somewhat south of our border.  The charge was "cultural appropriation" or, actually misappropriation.

Some local artists and others seem to feel one needs the necessary lineage to create in an already existing style, as if those with a different ethnicity are thieves of intellectual property.

One local Facebook commenter, Johnny Chingaz, reasoned otherwise: 

"It's a sad state of affairs and what it says about our current culture is nothing good. What is cultural appropriation? Did we not do the very same thing? I never heard anyone complain when we took the German Polka and made it our very own. I still hear it in our music today and so do many of my friends from Wisconsin and Minnesota, but they're not complaining. Quite the contrary, it is seen as an excellent example of imitation being the greatest form of flattery. I think we still have much to learn and even more of our culture to share."

A sensitive area of U.S. culture is the alleged "stealing" of black music by white artists, Pat Boone's sanitized cover of Little Richard's song Tutti Frutti, for example.

Little Richard was certainly pissed off that Boone covered, not only Tutti Frutti, but Long Tall Sally, Good Golly Miss Molly and Rip It Up, toning down the songs' sensuality and lyrics.  Boone achieved commercial success as whites at the time seldom bought so-called "race records," but got little regard historically for his efforts.  One could make a case for Boone simply "using" black material without respecting or embracing it.

If Boone ripped off Little Richard, the dominant groups of the so-called British Invasion DID recognize and acknowledge their affinity and debt to Black music.  Notice this John Lennon quote from Jet Magazine:

"We didn't sing our own songs in the early days
- they weren't good enough - the one thing we always did was to make it known that these were black originals, we loved the music and wanted to spread it in any way we could. in the '50s there were few people listening to blues - R + B - rock and roll, in America as well as Britain. People like - Eric Burdons Animals - Micks Stones - and us drank ate and slept the music, and also recorded it, many kids were turned on to black music by us. It wasn't a rip off. It was a love in."

Buddy Guy, Mick Jagger
The Rolling Stones also grew up with Black music, unashamedly utilizing the same style.  But, they credited and toured with blues legends like Buddy Guy or as Jagger introduces him:  "mutherfuckin' Buddy Guy!!!!"

Jagger at 2011 Grammy Awards
Who can forget Mick Jagger's tribute to blues legend Solomon Burke at the 2011 Grammys? It was not cultural appropriation as much as cultural appreciation.

Maybe England's UB40 shouldn't sing reggae, leaving only for natives of Jamaica! Lol!

The fact is that artists, yes artists from all over the world sing and perform all types of music, not just the music of their forebears, their ethnic group. In the music world, white men like Stevie Ray Vaughn or Eric Clapton are blues men, singing and playing a music originating with slaves on the Mississippi delta. 

Anyone thinking somehow this artistry is cultural appropriation is simply insecure and, in a way, racist.  

We apply the same sensibility to art.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Art, Politics, Racism Revisited After Publishing Letter Critical of BCFA's Exhibit of Artist Mark Clark

"Yes, my guard stood hard when abstract threats
Too noble to neglect
Deceived me into thinking
I had something to protect
Good and bad, I define these terms
Quite clear, no doubt, somehow
Ah, but I was so much older then
I’m younger than that now"

"My Back Pages," Bob Dylan

Mark Clark, Artist,
Owner of Galleria 409
When this blog published a letter from two Hispanic artists to the Brownsville Museum of Fine Arts, critical of the museum's decision to exhibit the work of artist Mark Clark, we received a substantial amount of feedback, particularly on Facebook.

Bill Young
Longtime local newscaster, Bill Young, who also happens to be the father of the Cameron County Republican Chair, Morgan Graham, described the viewpoint expressed by artists Celeste de Luna and Nansi Guevara as "liberal/progressive fascism," a phrase frequently used by Fox News' Sean Hannity to describe those who try to "smear President Trump."

Jack White

Jack White, Interim Director of the Good Neighbor Settlement House with a long association at UT-RGV, stated in defense of the exhibit:  "Gee...I will have to attend in support of an open society."

When Alix Torres told White that, "as a white man," he couldn't "get it," White responded:  "You are can I comprehend that culture? But to bar my expression would be inconsistent with enumerated freedoms. It's your choice to take a position...."

Juan Fidencio Trevino,
Publisher of the Brownsville Bright
Juan Fidencio Trevino, publisher of a local blog, Brownsville Bright, felt that artist Clark was taking a "step out of (his) lane" to "represent a bit of culture that an educated and talented indigenous individual should be presenting. . . "

Trevino continued his line of thought:  "The thing is, here, you have an outsider to the culture, albeit a nice guy from what I've seen, benefitting from information that those who pertain to said culture have not had the opportunity or the luxury to learn and cherish."

There were many other cogent comments from Mary S. Rey, Teresa Saldivar, Maggie Galvan, Johnny Chingaz, Saul del Angel, Israel Galindo and others.

Eduardo del Rio
Eduardo del Rio, a UT-RGV professor, originally from Havana, Cuba, countered Juan Fidencio Trevino's arguments with:  "Those two things are not mutually exclusive. Both are possible, and needed. Instead of criticizing and claiming "cultural appropriation," we should celebrate Anyone's effort to educate others on art and culture, regardless of the artist's race or ethnicity."

Josie del Castillo
One local Hispanic artist, Josie Del Castillo, made a Facebook statement in support of Clark:  "I want to give a big thank you to Mark Clark for giving me the opportunity to work on my paintings at his gallery. He helped me frame my work, invited me for dinner, and had a lot fun talking about art and artists. He is truly a great man! I am very thankful for everything he has helped me with."

While Ms. Del Castillo includes several styles of personal work on her Facebook page, we submit an example of her "reflective art," a self-portrait:

Monday, June 26, 2017

Bill Russell : NBA Lifetime Achievement Award, National Hero

Bill Russell, June 26, 2017 at NBA Awards Banquet

Muddy Waters lyrics conjure up an image of Bill Russell:

"I'm a man
I'm a full grown man
I'm a man"

"Mannish Man," Muddy Waters

It was almost redundant for the NBA to give Bill Russell its Lifetime Achievement Award.  Those of us growing up in the 50's, 60's, following the NBA, always knew Russell was "a man," the man.  The Muddy Waters song cited above was a reaction to the fact that black males were referred to as boys, no matter how old.

Russell won an NCAA, NBA and Olympic championship in his first 13 months on the basketball scene, following with 10 more NBA championships, 11 in his 13 years with the Boston Celtics, then two more as the first African-American coach in professional sports.

Russell carried himself in a dignified, erudite manner, explained basketball and life with 50 cent words without talking down to his audience. He handled himself as a man.

In Russell's era, Boston was a very racist city.  He came home on occasion to find racial epithets written on the walls of his home and human excrement in his bed, but NEVER gave the perpetrators any notoriety.  He kept silent, cleaned up his home, hugged his kids, locked his doors.

Years later, in his book, "Second Wind," he described Boston as a "flea market of racism."

Russell became a mentor, father to all NBA players coming into the league.  Even the loquacious Charles Barkley shut his mouth in Russell's presence. 

In the 60's the three greatest athletes in their respective sports, Jim Brown in football, Muhammad Ali in boxing and Bill Russell in basketball, took center stage in the civil rights movement.  All three were bigger than their sports achievements.

Yesterday, at the NBA Awards Banquet, surrounded and introduced by NBA greats Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Shaquille O'Neal, Alonzo Mourning, Dikembe Mutombo and David Robinson, the 83 year old Russell looked each former player in the eye and said:  "I would kick your ass!"

Then, he was handed his cane and he accepted the award with a short speech.  No one today calls Russell a "boy."  They know he's a man.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Celeste de Luna Art~"Tu Cuerpo Es Una Frontera"

by Celeste de Luna from her Facebook page


LNG Plants Explodes in Algeria in 2006, Killing 26
Proposed plans for three LNG plants, extending from the Port of Brownsville to near the city limits of Port Isabel is a very bad, short-sighted idea, not just because of the danger of explosion as happened in Algeria in 2006, killing 26, but because it would leave towering metal carcasses with a chemical cleanup Cameron County can't afford, once the short term profiteers have left town.

And, they will leave town, after pocketing millions in profits and likely avoiding millions in taxes from abatements, pocketing millions more in incentives off the backs of hard-working taxpayers.  

LNG, the concept of condensing liquefied natural gas to 1/600th of its normal volume, is, not only a highly polluting enterprise, it is short term. Currently, markets are shrinking and will continue to shrink as the global economy moves away from fossil fuel.

An anonymous comment below, left in the comment section of two local blogs, implies some discord among those in opposition to LNG in our region, the RGV.  That's unsubstantiated, but would not surprise. Advocacy groups are made up of strong-willed people with strong opinions:

"As a former member of this group, You should know that There is currently a lot of in fighting going on among the save the rgv from LNG people. Power struggle for and a lack of leadership from The current people in charge. I stopped supporting them because they can't get anything done. Fundraising has been disastrous. We would get together and just talked in circles and accomplish nothing. The lack of support from the community at large is disheartening. I am still anti LNG but really have nothing good to say about them. A couple of us younger more active people are thinking of starting our own anti LNG group. Stay tuned."

While this commenter reports some dissension within the local anti-LNG community, we have to consider it could simply be disinformation from the deep-pocketed proponents of LNG intended to divide and weaken the protesters.

Vlad Putin: "America Could At Least Thank Me!"

Vlad Putin

Saturday, June 24, 2017


From the editor:  We submit this article from the Neta website to foster discussion of the issues raised.  

Celeste de Luna
Two local Hispanic artists,
Nanci Guevara
Celeste de Luna and Nansi Guevara, disapprove of the Brownsville Museum of Fine Arts displaying an exhibition by Mark Clark on the basis that Mr. Clark is a "white male artist whose main body of work is composed of colorful reproductions of Aztec codices."

Mark Clark

They describe Clark as  "a tourist in our struggle and in our long attacked art tradition" and assert that "presenting this artwork as his own sends a dangerous message to our community that this imagery and tradition comes from the dominant culture."

While we disagree with the two protesting artists and consider Mark a friend, we submit their viewpoint for your consideration:

Dear Brownsville Museum of Fine Arts,

While we acknowledge the work that artist Mark Clark does within the community to create space to promote the arts in the Rio Grande Valley region, we will not be attending his current exhibit Mexica: Paintings by Mark Clark.

We value artistic and the freedom of expression, but are not in favor of cultural appropriation.

(For all the folks that are not familiar with the Rio Grande Valley in Texas, it is predominantly made up of Latinx/Mexican immigrants and mixed status families. Mark Clark is a white male artist whose main body of work is composed of colorful reproductions of the Aztec codices.)

Art by Mark Clark | Photo from Galeria 409 Facebook page

We get that his time on the border might have inspired him (as well as other outsiders) to take on that subject matter and imagery. But Mr. Clark is a tourist in our struggle and in our long attacked art tradition. The imagery that he has chosen to appropriate, is part of a long indigenous tradition, the Aztec codices have a deep and sacred significance to its descendants that no cultural outsider can understand. These codices depict Aztec cultural and spiritual life, prophecies and visions, journeys and astrological knowledge. Colonization has kept trying to erase these images and stories for the past 500 years. And, this rich indigenous history is not taught in our local public schools or cultural institutions and is intentionally kept from us.

As our cultural history continues to be ripped out of our curriculums, Clark presenting this artwork as his own sends a dangerous message to our community that this imagery and tradition comes from the dominant culture. We live in a racist society and country, where colonizing forces have been historically prized and recognized for ripping and taking ownership of the knowledge and excellence of indigenous and people of color. Indeed, local college art departments discourage students from working in a style that is considered “too cultural.” Centering a white artist appropriating Aztec imagery while discouraging local brown students from using culture as content is surely a symptom of racist systems.

Art by Mark Clark depicting a woman in a bikini as border patrol agents on the Rio Grande watch attentively and migrants cross the border behind them.

It is okay to appreciate native and indigenous art as a non-native person. It becomes deeply problematic and dangerous when someone who is not native starts painting native imagery and claims it as his or her own.

We will not gaze over appropriated renditions of our ancestors’ art and community. This is harmful to the community, this art is harmful to the community. It perpetuates the racist idea that white people dominate in excellence, instead of our own communities where that work comes from.

We envision a city, especially in this critical time, that will evolve into a place that celebrates the ingenuity of this place and work to support and cultivate young local artists.

Finally, Brownsville Museum of Fine Arts, cultural and arts institutions should hold themselves up to high critical standards. That includes the question of cultural appropriation. Traditionally our border community has been taught that we can only better ourselves through unquestioningly accepting the views of the dominant culture. This includes stories about ourselves and cultural heritage.

Mark Clark has every right as an artist to depict whatever images he chooses regardless of whether or not it is blatant cultural appropriation, but the community doesn’t have to passively and uncritically accept them. Cultural appropriation in the borderlands during Trump Nation cannot pass without comment.

“As I pull out to take notes on the clay, stone, jade, bone, feather, straw, and cloth artifacts, I am disconcerted with the knowledge that I, too, am passively consuming and appropriating an indigenous culture. I walked in with a group1 of Chicano kids from Servicio Chicano Center, and now we are being taught secondhand our cultural roots twice removed by whites. The essence of colonization: rip off a culture, then regurgitate it’s white version to the ‘natives.'”


Celeste De Luna & Nansi Guevara

Friday, June 23, 2017

Belated 75th Birthday Paul McCartney!!

Paul McCartney(June 18, 1942)



This hungry lady has been sitting for several days in front of the downtown post office on Elizabeth Street.  Her sign reads: "HUNGRY LUNCHIES OR MONEY."  After we took her pic, she reached under the purple towel and picked up one of several boxes of snacks in her shopping cart.


The four finalists to be the new president of Texas Southmost College as announced yesterday on the school's website:

Hector Aguilar, Ph.D.

Wednesday, July 12
10:00 a.m.

Hector Aguilar has worked at Austin Community College for 20 years, the last seven as Dean of Continuing Education, a Division the size of a college comprising of more than 120 workforce and education programs, more than 12,000 students, and about 400 faculty and staff. This innovative division helps people with programs in IT/Computer Science, Engineering and Trades, Healthcare, Education and Teaching, Business, multiple personal enrichment community programs, and an extensive corporate training department that works directly with multiple industries. Prior to being part of the Continuing Education Division, Hector Aguilar was Professor and Chair of multiple STEM Two-year and Certificate Programs in Nanoelectronics, Electronics, Traditional Power Plant Technology, Renewable Energy Technology, Robotics Automation and Controls, etc. Prior to working at Austin Community College, Hector Aguilar worked for Applied Materials, the largest Semiconductor Equipment OEM and Rockwell International Allen Bradley. Hector Aguilar has a BS in Electrical Engineering, a Master in Business Administration, and PhD in College Administration.

Kenneth P. Gonzalez, Ph.D.

Wednesday, July 12
3:00 p.m.

Dr. Kenneth P. Gonzalez is a national leader in higher education with more than two decades of experience in administration, teaching, and research. Currently, he serves in two roles: first, as the Director of a Joint Doctoral Program in Educational Leadership, second, as a data coach for the National Initiative Achieving the Dream, where he has guided more than 40 community colleges in large-scale, collaborative student success initiatives. Previously, he served as Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs at Our Lady of the Lake University where he led efforts in accreditation, academic program development, faculty development, and student success. Dr. Gonzalez also served for 16 years as a full-time faculty member at the University of San Diego, San Jose State University, and California State University Fullerton, where he received multiple national and institutional awards, including the Outstanding Teaching Award in 1999, 2003, and 2010. His scholarly work appears in the Journal of College Student Development, Urban Education, the Journal of the First Year Experience, and the Journal of Hispanic Higher Education (JHHE). His article,"Understanding the Role of Social Capital in Access to College for Latinas" has been the number one cited article in JHHE for more than a decade. Dr. Gonzalez' book (with R.V. Padilla), "Doing the Public Good: Latino Faculty and Civic Engagement," examines the challenges and strategies of Latinos in aligning their faculty work with local social justice initiatives.

Jesus Roberto Rodriguez, Ph.D.

Thursday, July 13
10:00 a.m.

Dr. Jesus Roberto Rodriguez is Dean for the Business Center of Excellence at Houston Community College District. He is responsible for the planning, development, implementation and supervision of curriculum, instruction and course scheduling at 23 instructional sites. He oversees/supports 200 FT/Adjunct faculty and 5,000+ business major students. Prior to HCC, he was Dean at Lone Star College System and Butler Community College where he excelled in strengthening programs, student engagement, and community partnerships. Prior to higher education, he served as Executive Director for an economic development organization and a maquiladora association. He graduated Sam Houston State University with a B.B.A., Texas A&M International University with an M.B.A., and UT Austin with a Ph.D. Blending business acumen with a deep commitment to academic values, Dr. Rodriguez embodies passionate dedication to helping students and communities develop and succeed. A native Texan, he and his wife Ana Carolina Rodriguez reside in The Woodlands.

David E. Pearson, Ph.D.

Thursday, July 13
3:00 p.m.

David E. Pearson, an Army veteran, graduated magna cum laude with honors in Sociology from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. He received his M.A. and Ph.D. degrees, also in Sociology, from Yale University, and was a postdoctoral fellow in International Security Studies at the Ohio State University. During his academic career he has served as Professor of Sociology, as Academic Senate President, as a member of the editorial board of The American Sociologist, as Founding Director of the Dual Language Certification Program, as a member of the University of Texas System's Faculty Advisory Council, as host of the radio show Society Under Fire, as a University Leadership Fellow, and as Vice President for Partnership Affairs at the University of Texas at Brownsville/Texas Southmost College. Most recently he served as Dean of the Campus at San Diego State University's Imperial Valley Campus, where he established the Imperial Valley University Partnership and the Center for Sustainable Energy. He is the author of three books and numerous articles in the scholarly, scientific, and popular presses.

Last September the TSC Board of Trustees voted 5-2 to terminate Dr. Lily Tercero as president.

In March 2017 the board hired Byron McClenney
Byron McClenney
to perform a nationwide search for president based on credentials established by the board. Screening of applicants began May 1, 2017.

On June 22, 2017 the four finalists as detailed above were announced. The four candidates will participate in an open forum, July 12-13 at the TSC Arts Center. According to the TSC website:

"Each of the four finalists will participate in an open forum in the TSC Arts Center, in which faculty, staff, students, and interested community members can interact.

One trustee, not totally comfortable with the
TSC Trustee Dr. Tony Zavaleta
process is Dr. Tony Zavaleta:

Zavaleta feels "out of the loop" with respect to the selection of a new TSC president.

"I'm not certain it's in the bi-laws for an executive committee to act on behalf of the board with respect to the selection process."

Zavaleta recalls the board's vote to select an executive committee composed of Adela Garza, Trey Mendez and Ruben Herrera as President, Vice-President and Secretary, he just doesn't recall giving the commission sole responsibility to monitor the search and selection process.

"With my years of experience in reading resume's and examining qualifications, I feel I should have been involved in this process," declared Dr. Zavaleta.


Eddie Lucio III Tells News Center 23 Reporter He's "Withdrawing" As Pipeline Attorney

Representative Eddie Lucio III
In carefully chosen words, Representative Eddie Lucio III explained to News Center 23 reporter, Marlane Rodriquez, that he is withdrawing as attorney for Valley Crossing Pipeline:

“I don't represent LNG there was a pipeline company completely unaffiliated with LNG that is just moving natural gas to Mexico,” Lucio stated. 

“We have withdrawn as counsel, we heard some concerns from environmentalists.”

Of course, this blog did not claim Lucio worked for LNG, just the "pipeline giant," Valley Crossing Pipeline.  The two industries are different, but symbiotic.  

The pipeline companies transport natural gas via 42" or 48" diameter pipes, while the Liquefied Natural Gas plants compress natural gas to 1/600th of its original volume to make it economically viable to ship.  That process is, not only labor intensive, but requires the release of an enormous amount of contaminants into the atmosphere and millions of gallons of heated effluent daily into the estuaries.

Lucio also stated that concern from environmentalists had motivated him to sever his connection to the pipeline outfit:

“I'll go ahead and withdraw so I filed my motion to withdraw as counsel.”

“Because I do want to continue to have a great relationship with the Sierra Club and other groups that I've worked with over the past,” the representative said.

When will this happen?

 “Well since it takes some time… It will be finalized I hope this afternoon.”

John Hancock of Save RGV from LNG cautioned fellow environmentalists on Facebook from getting too giddy about Lucio's public statement:

"This is the danger of grouping everything involved with natural gas as LNG, it is not. Lucio took this as an opportunity to make it look like the opposition was misinformed and over reacting. He will simply assign the legal work to an associate law firm and take a finders fee or commission now."

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Liar-In-Chief Takes 40 Days to Admit: "No Tapes""

"I Lie Because I Can!"
It matters not to Trump's so-called base, the true believers, the 39%, who get their truth from Fox or Breitbart News, that he lied about having tapes of his conversation with former F.B.I. Director James Comey.

The Trumpites operate on faith, actually blind credulity, waiting for the spin, then gulping it down like babies on Gerber.  

Clear thinkers recognize Trump is a liar, but not a very good one.  

But, know this, local Trump cultists; when he implied to the nation and James Comey on tweet May 12 that he had tapes of their conversations, he lied.  

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

TSC Signs Memorandum of Understanding with Tamaulipas

by Steve Taylor, Rio Grande Guardian

BROWNSVILLE, RGV – Texas Southmost College and the State of Tamaulipas’ education department can show the rest of Texas and the nation how to build bridges and not walls.

This was the message TSC Interim President Mike Shannon delivered when he signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Tamaulipas Secretary of Education H├ęctor Escobar Salazar.

According to Tamaulipas’ international trade director, Francisco Galvan, the MOU could result in hundreds if not thousands of Tamaulipas students studying in Brownsville and the same the number of Brownsville students studying in higher education institutions in Tamaulipas.

“This is a momentous occasion for our college and our communities,” Shannon said, in remarks from a podium just before the MOU was signed. He pointed out that TSC was formed as far back as 1926. He said now was the time for the college to look beyond international borders.

“It is my belief our community should extend beyond the border and now we have an opportunity through this agreement to begin exploring possibilities to see students, to see faculty, travel back and forth, exchanging ideas, holding dialogue for the benefits of our communities, both culturally and economically,” Shannon said.

Shannon said he was alarmed to learn that some Brownsville students commute to Laredo in order to take a class. He said this was unacceptable.

“We need to create opportunities for students on both sides of the border to obtain an education locally at a reasonable cost,” Shannon said.

“We at Texas Southmost College are ready to work with our colleagues in Tamaulipas. I am looking forward to a very long and productive relationship as we work together to improve the quality of life of our citizens. I hope we can serve as a model for the rest of the country, that we can show our leaders that we should be building bridges not walls.”

Secretary Escobar agreed. “I am sure that it will be through these agreements of collaboration and respect between our universities, that we can train more and better professionals for the good of our communities,” he said.
Bachelor’s Degree in Applied Technology

TSC Trustee Tony Zavaleta said he was excited about the prospect of Brownsville and Tamaulipas students earning a Bachelor’s degree in Applied Technology at his college. Zavaleta said he first proposed this program to his board and then to state Rep. Eddie Lucio. Zavaleta said Lucio’s legislation did not look as though it was going to pass during the recent legislative session, but that it was, thankfully, picked up by the chairman of the Senate Committee on Higher Education, Sen. Kel Seliger of Amarillo.

“We held our breath to see if Sen. Seliger’s bill, SB 2118, was going to get signed by the Governor, but thankfully it was. The bill allows community colleges of a certain size to offer a Bachelor’s Degree in Applied Technology,” Zavaleta said.

“This is huge for us. It’s the whole world for us and Tamaulipas, to be able to offer this Bachelor’s degree. South Texas College has had it for a number of years. They had it on an experimental basis and it has been very successful. Now, we will be able to do it. It is tremendous.”

Asked why Applied Technology is so important, Zavaleta said: “Our future has to incorporate technology. We have SpaceX coming, LNG, more maquilas develop in Reynosa and Matamoros, the Sata Group foundry. All these projects require people with an education above an associate’s degree.”

After some setbacks, Zavaleta said TSC is moving forward in a positive direction.

“Things are really looking up. If we can get our nursing program back on track and our workforce training program back on track, it is going to be good for our community. We have 5,000 students. A large portion are dual enrollment but they count.”

Galvan Impact

Zavaleta and TSC Board of Trustees Chair Adela G. Garza paid tribute to Galvan, Tamaulipas’ international trade director. They said he was the catalyst for making the MOU happen.

“We will start with a small program, TSC and the State of Tamaulipas. But, by the end, we are talking about the hundreds and then thousands of students involved in exchange programs,” Galvan predicted.

“Oh, I love it,” Zavaleta responded.

“Let’s start with 20, 30, 40 students and go from there,” Galvan said. “We can interchange our experience. Even though we are neighbors we do not have enough communication. We are trying to enhance, to build bridges of communications so we can be on the same channel for information and technology.”

Galvan said there is no question, the TSC-Tamaulipas MOU is historic. “There have been MOUs signed by private universities in Tamaulipas with colleges in Texas. But, this is historic, the first time the State as a whole has entered into such an agreement with a college here in Texas. And, we are going to do many more.”

Chair Garza said the MOU came about thanks to Galvan. He said that at the very first exploratory meeting, Galvan brought Escobar and his state education officials.

“We had not even told our board. They said, how come we don’t know about this. We said, we did not know it was going to get so big. He (Galvan) has an idea and he runs with it. I am proud to know Francisco. He is so positive. He cannot see anything go wrong because he will make sure nothing goes wrong. He brought us together and we agreed there are just so many possibilities,” Garza said.

“And working with the Tamaulipas officials is so contagious. Look at the Cabinet the Governor has assembled. Everyone is under 40. It so contagious, how can you not want to bring Mexicans into this group. They bring so much. I am so excited.”

Garza said TSC students benefit from hearing students and faculty from Tamaulipas speak in Spanish.

“I promise you nothing bad is going to happen from this agreement. I am amazed with our leadership, Mike Shannon and Melinda Rodriguez. We said, I don’t know how you are going to do it (secure an MOU) but make it happen and they did. I am proud of them.”

Good News for Mexico! Energy Generated by Solar Panels Will Pay for Border Wall!

President Donald J. Trump pitched an idea to Republican leaders that was gleaned from one of the bidders on construction of a border wall between the U.S. and Mexico.

One unidentified bidder proposed building a 40-50 foot wall covered in solar panels. That power could then be "sold" to Mexico to pay for the cost of the wall. That proposal got Trump's attention and he's been passing it along to others in his administration.

Interestingly, the website has petitioned the president to use the border wall to generate electricity via solar power:
1. Lease parts of the wall to solar utilities 

2. Sell some of the energy to Mexico to finance the wall, as well as the US grid.

Given current costs of photovoltaic cells, the wall should generate hundreds of MW of power and self-finance in energy generation over a span of 20-40 years.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

City Commission Gives Lukewarm, Tacit Support to Broadcast of Public Comment

City Attorney Mark Sossi
City Attorney Mark Sossi, presenting Agenda Item #14 about the broadcast of public comment, a first reading, had a tiny legal assignment for Tuesday's meeting, amending the applicable City Code.  His efforts were appropriately miniscule. He moved up the time to sign up for public comment by one hour and gave preference to public commenters not participating in the last 30 days.

"Since this means that the City Secretary will have to scan the list of those on public comment in the last four meetings, I suggest we move up the signing for public comment to 5:00 PM, not 6:00 PM", stated the attorney. 

Actually, Mark was incorrect.  The city only has two commission meetings per month, not four, so there would only be two meetings to research, ten signees to scan, but whatever.  He gets paid the big bucks.  LOL!

City Secretary Griselda Rosas now has one hour to scan ten names to determine which commenters get priority. Brownsville taxpayers merely have to come an hour early if they wish to participate in public comment.  Hopefully, none have jobs preventing them from being at City Hall by 5:00 PM.  Once signing in, they can cool their heels for an hour in the City Commission chambers by fawning over the portraits of Brownsville's previous mayors.

The agenda item, presented by Sossi, a first reading, was not voted on, but, unnecessarily commented on by city commissioners revealing skins as thin as Trump and still lacking basic understanding of participatory democracy.  Small-minded, thin-skinned, the commissioners stated their REAL view of public commenters.


Commissioner Rose Gowen
Always arrogant Rose Gowen pontificated that public commenters were "personality building, especially those who comment again and again."

What the hell!

The kid, Cesar de Leon offered:  "The moment they drift, we can step in."

"Why should commenters hold 240,000 hostage?" quaked the young de Leon.  

Drift?  I wish we citizens could cancel your ticket whenever you drift, which is frequently, young man!

Commissioner Jessica Tetreau
Commissioner Tetreau only hoped that commenters would "stay on topic, be respectful.  It's not comedy hour.  We need guidelines.  It's not a spectacle," she stated.

Commissioner Ricky Longoria wanted taxpayers to know that it's not "a comment circuit."  

He wants anyone who comments to "stay for the entire meeting," claiming he's watched some comment at the city commission, then take their diatribe to the Brownsville Independent School District, who hold meetings on the same night.

Ricky was referring, obliquely, to his "educator," former teacher Roberto Uresti, a frequent public commenter.

Longoria continued:  "They rattle our cage and then, go rattle their cage."

Yes, public comment will eventually be part of the telecast just like the sage words of the mayor and commissioners.  It's just a bit disconcerting that their heart is not in it.  They still don't understand what the word "democracy" means and possibly, never will.

Punk Rock Group, "The Hormones," Asks Fans to Go-Fund Next Record

Diego Lee Rot, Brownsville Observer
Music Reporter
From music reporter, Diego Lee Rot:  "The Hormones," who played Saturday night at the Kraken Lounge in Brownsville to a very sparse audience have now put out a request to their fans to fund their next record.  

Contributors of $15, $20, $25, $30 and $35 will receive various packages of 45's, stickers, t-shirts, a badge and a CD as well as some "premium" packages.

For $1,500, The Hormones will play in your home. 

Help The Hormones Make A Record

Hi, we're The Hormones. Currently based in Austin, TX., we've been playing old-school punk rock since beginning in Corpus Christi, TX, in 1985. Here's a clip of us in 1996, performing our 1st single, "Sell Out Young."

After a 15-year hiatus, we reformed with a new lineup in 2013 and have been going strong since. Now we would like to release our first new recordings since the '90s, and we need your help.

We will be relaunching the late '70s L.A. punk label White Noise Records - which issued classic records by VOM, The Avengers, and The Controllers, among others - as our own imprint. But we strictly get use of the name and the logo, as well as the art direction services of itx owner, Ronn Spencer, who did the graphic design for US release on Warner Brothers of Never Mind The Bollocks Here's The Sex Pistols. Which means we have to do everything else ourselves, including financing this enterprise.

Which is why we're coming to you, asking that you become an investor. Our plan is to release a quarterly series of singles, beginning with this tune as the 1st A-side hopefully in September. This one's called "Sing," performed here in Houston this past April:

We have to pay for Ronn's art direction, as well as recording, mixing and mastering by legendary Detroit producer Jim Diamond (The White Stripes, The Dirtbombs, The Sonics, etc.), manufacturing 500 singles apiece, printing of sleeves, etc., etc. And we simply do not have these funds, even gigging as often as we do.

We are asking that you invest in the first two releases in the series, at the least by pre-ordering "Sing" and the next 45, "Julie's In Love" b/w "Burn Victim." We will ship each as they are available. You can also purchase some fantastic premiums at various prices, each featuring the two records. You also will be listed as an executive producer in the inserts. Please specify which premium package you desire when donating.

Thank You,
Premium Packages
The 2 45s, including download card, shipped upon availability $15
7-inches plus exclusive sticker $20.00
7-inches plus exclusive badge $20.00
7-inches plus exclusive badge and sticker $25.00
7-inches plus exclusive t-shirt $30.00
7-inches plus exclusive t-shirt, badge, and sticker $35.00
7-inches plus exclusive t-shirt, badge, and sticker $35.00
7-inches plus The Hormones' Legendary Junk CD anthology $35
You not only get the singles, you also will receive the band's self-compiled and released best-of, Legendary Junk, available only at their merch table or online. 12 tracks, many unreleased, including all their singles, some comp appearances, and many unreleased vintage recordings, plus an exclusive new live recording from 2017. Comes with a badge, sticker, and a history fanzine.
7-inches plus Australian vinyl pressing of The Hormones' Legendary Junk anthology $50

Australia's Dirty Fences Records will be issuing a limited edition vinyl pressing of Legendary Junk in August. We will offer 10 premium packages containing the 2 new 7-inches plus the Legendary Junk record, which will be The Hormones' 1st LP release!
7-inches plus custom art shirt $50
Yes, you will receive both 45s and download cards, plus a custom art shirt like the ones Hormones leader Tim Napalm Stegall wears onstage, painted by Tim just for you.

7-inches plus custom art shirt and sticker $55
7-inches plus custom art shirt and badge $55
7-inches plus custom art shirt and t-shirt $60
7-inches plus custom art shirt, t-shirt, and badge $65
7-inches plus custom art shirt, t-shirt, and sticker $65
7-inches plus custom art shirt, t-shirt, badge and sticker $75
7-inches plus custom art shirt and Legendary Junk CD $85
7-inches plus exclusive t-shirt and Legendary Junk CD $85
7-inches plus custom art shirt, exclusive t-shirt, and Legendary Junk CD $100

7-inches plus custom art shirt and Australian Legendary Junk LP $100

Only 10 of these will be available.

7-inches plus exclusive t-shirt and Australian Legendary Junk LP $100
Only 10 of these will be available.
7-inches plus fine art print of Ronn Spencer's classic Germs photo $150
Only 10 of these will be available. Yes, besides doing the Sex Pistols' American graphics and running White Noise Records, our art director Ronn Spencer took one of the most famous photos of LA punk legends The Germs. Get a limited edition fine art print of this classic, in addition to our 2 new 45s! Details below.

The Hormones play at your house $1500

That's right! For $1500, you get to host a private record release party for The Hormones at your place! We will get in the van, drive to you, set up in your backyard or living room, and rock for you and however many of your friends as you can invite! We will also hand-deliver your copy of the 1st single or both, depending on how the scheduling. Mind you, you will also have to pay for our gas, PA rental, and feed and house us, as well. But think about it: You get the most bitching party of the season!
More premium pachages available soon.


Self-Portrait by Josie del Castillo