Tuesday, July 27, 2010

"Federal agents raid 2 northwest-side homes seeking contraband "

Hmm. I smell something big coming down the pike.

SAN ANTONIO - Federal agents raided two homes on the northwest side Tuesday, collecting more than a dozen boxes of evidence but making no arrests.

For more than seven hours, with every window blind closed, federal agents searched a home in the quiet Colonies North neighborhood off of Prince George Road. The other home raided was just blocks away on Callaghan Road.

The agents from the Customs Division of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), along with a San Antonio SWAT team, were looking for contraband but would not specify what type.
(from KENS-5)

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Still here

I'm still around, and still very busy. And I might be so for the next few days or so. Until I can come back full force, please enjoy this odd graffiti discovered by Dave at Silver Creek 78250

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Getting busy

I've got a lot of stuff happening these days. Blogging may be light for awhile.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Squandering tax funds

This has got to be the biggest waste of taxpayer money in quite some time.
SAN ANTONIO -- San Antonio is hoping to shed its image as one of the fattest cities in America by implementing new health and fitness programs.

The San Antonio Metro Health District is spearheading the multimillion dollar campaign that uses stimulus money granted by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act Prevention and Wellness Initiative.

"Over 40 cities got the grant," said Maggie Thompson, of the city's Health District. "San Antonio has been called a fat city for quite a while and we have received quite a bit of stimulus money to overcome that image and actually change the health of the city."
(from KSAT-12)

Really? Federal stimulus money is being spent in San Antonio so we can feel better about ourselves, so we don't have to live with the shame of being labeled one of the "fattest" cities?


First of all, let's think about the propriety of using of federal stimulus money to make all of us in San Antonio feel better about our image! Stimulus money is supposed to stimulate the national economy to get us out of a recession.

Let's repeat that: STIMULUS MONEY IS SUPPOSED TO STIMULATE THE ECONOMY! Not to make us feel good!

If the mayor truly wants to make San Antonio a fitter city, then make it a priority of City Council. Don't take federal money to make it that way. Let's do it ourselves without sucking from the federal government with borrowed money.

And now, let's think about that "fattest city" label. That's a ranking that is thrown out there every year by Men's Fitness magazine to get media attention and sell magazines, and the way they score each city is really not an indication of how individual people pursue their activities. In fact, some of the measurements make little sense at all.

Here are the scores the magazine gave San Antonio in 2009
Fitness Centers & Sport Stores: C
Nutrition: F+
Sports Participation: D+
TV Viewing: F+
Overweight/Sedentary: D
Junk Food: B+
Air Quality: F+
Geography: C-
Commute: C+
Parks & Open Space: F
City Rec Facilities: F+
Access to Healthcare: B
Motivation: C-
Mayor & City Initiatives: C-
State Obesity Initiatives: B
So, the people at Men's Fitness counted the number of fitness centers and sports stores, and a higher number means fitter people, I suppose. But is that necessarily true? I can think of any number of ways to get exercise and fresh air without having to spend money to go to a fitness center.

Then they measure nutrition. What nutrition are they measuring? Are they simply saying the prevalence of Mexican food in this town makes everybody fat? That sure is an insult to sensible people who can eat Mexican food and still work out to stay fit.

Then, sports participation. I didn't find how this was measured on the Men's Fitness website, but, really, does someone automatically become fat if they don't participate in organized sports? Again, there are many other ways to stay fit.

And then the old stereotype, TV viewing makes you a couch potato and therefore fat. Maybe in some cases, but are you really going to use Nielsen ratings to judge a whole city?

Overweight/sedentary [I assume they mean "lifestyle"] -- OK, this is a good measurement. Medical people actually track this stuff, and this may be a good indication as to a city's overall health. I'll give them this one.

Junk food -- Availability? Kinds available? Definition of what exactly is "junk food"? How often people eat it? This is a throwaway category. It means nothing.

Air quality -- WTF? Air pollution means you're fat? Even so, we have some bad pollution days in the summer, but the worst ones are actually when farmers in Mexico burn their fields each May and the smoke blows up across Texas! We have no control over this pollution, so why should we be called a "fattest city" because of it? This is a useless category.

Geography -- Again, WTF? "You built your city in the wrong spot, so we think you're fat." Sheesh.

Commute -- Maybe. I might give them this one. More walking and more bicycling generally means a fitter population, so I'm not really going to argue with this measurement.

Parks and open space and city rec facilities -- But I am going to argue with this one. The mere presence of parks and city facilities doesn't make one fitter. Usage of parks and open space might, but overall acreage doesn't.

Access to healthcare -- I actually agree with this measurement. The more someone goes to a doctor, the more likely they are to take care of themselves and remain as fit as possible. No problem here.

Motivation -- Big problem here. How the hell do you measure motivation?

Mayor, city, state initiatives -- Well, at least mayor JoaquĆ­n Castro is working on this one.

And, of course, there's a whole other list of condescending ways Men's Fitness piles on San Antonio for not doing things the way other cities do. Again, these are all mostly pointless.

San Antonio residents are 80 percent less likely than average to participate in yoga/tai chi. Compared to other cities, San Antonio is the 1st least popular place in our survey for these activities.

San Antonio residents are 85 percent less likely than average to participate in gymnastics, the lowest rate in our survey.

San Antonio residents rank near the bottom in cardio kickboxing, with a participation rate that's 80 percent below average for cities in our survey - the lowest participation rate of all cities we surveyed.


We may have more fat people than other cities, but so what? Staying fit is a personal choice, for the most part, and I don't have a problem with the mayor trying to encourage his constituents to get more fit. What I do have a problem with is the use of federal tax dollars to promote the mayor's agenda as part of the national effort to stimulate the economy.

And I think the Men's Fitness rating is bogus.

Bonus strangeness: The concept of an "F+" rating.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Car crashes into storage

Poor truck. It doesn't know the difference between a house and storage building.
Police were contacted by a representative from "LoJack" around 9:00 a.m. Tuesday, who said a vehicle had been stolen from the Downtown area. Police launched their "Eagle" helicopter and were able to locate and follow the truck to a convenience store at West Martin and Northwest 24th Street on the West Side.

As he started to get out of the truck, the suspect spotted officers approaching and jumped back into the truck and sped off. As he took off, the truck hit a police car. As the suspect was driving on Martin Street near General McMullen, he crashed the truck into a storage facility.
(from WOAI-TV)

All the other house-hating cars are ashamed of that truck. It even missed that choice, ripe fence.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Mugging for the camera

There's a new publication in town. And it's chock full of mugshots for your viewing pleasure.

Behind Bars is a biweekly newspaper packed with mugshots from Bexar County. The publication is now in 38 stores across San Antonio and it's online at www.behindbarsusa.com.

The publishers say it's a public service that has already helped capture two wanted men. It also has a section for missing children and resources for people who are down and out due to an arrest.

(from KENS-5)

Check it out for yourself. Here's a sample.

Monday, July 05, 2010

"New S.A. coalition is saying 'no' to changes in city smoking law"

This is a bit weird. All across the nation local, regional, and state governments have been strengthening smoking laws and restricting smoking where ever they can get away with it. But I don't think I have ever heard of anyone resisting such laws because of a racial angle.

But, then again, this is San Antonio. Our issues with race and culture tend to play out differently than in other parts of this great country.

Some smoke in this crowd. Some do not. But all share the same thoughts on this Independence Day holiday: that government needs to butt out when it comes to tinkering with the current smoking ordinance.

The “Save Our Jobs” Alliance says they have come together to support the existing San Antonio smoking ban ordinance. And they include not just bar and restaurant owners, but the local NAACP and LULAC [League of United Latin American Citizens].

“We’re not saying that it’s not bad for you. What we’re saying is that we need a choice,” said Traci Hunter with the NAACP.
The local NAACP and LULAC say minority bars and restaurants on the east, west and south sides of town will be hit especially hard in the pocketbooks.
(from KENS-5)

There you have it. In the Alamo City, tough smoking laws will hurt Hispanic and black business owners more. LULAC says so. How much you wanna bet City Council actually listens to them and does something like restricting smoking for the North Side businesses only?

Car crashes into house

OK, it's an apartment, not a house. But an apartment is still a home, and cars do not belong there!
SAN ANTONIO -- A woman crashed her car into another woman's North Side apartment.

The accident happened around 9:00 a.m. Sunday at the Churchill Park Apartments. Police said the woman drove her car through the intersection of Patricia and Parliament and then crashed into the living room of the apartment.
(from WOAI-TV)

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Friday, July 02, 2010

"Pro Soccer Could Come To SA"

Or not.
There is also the question of a venue. [The Spurs' Leo] Gomez said they will try to work with one of the local school districts.

"Ultimately there is a high school district in this area that is going to need to either build a new high school stadium or redevelop its old high school stadium," Gomez said.

Gomez also said there will be no team if there is no venue.

"It's got to be done the right way at the right time," he said.
(from KSAT-12)

Just think: When is the right time for soccer?

Thursday, July 01, 2010

"Police: Mother Suffocates Infant Daughter"

Remember Silver Starr Hernandez, the woman who was part of a mob that killed a Kerr County man for his home and property a couple of years ago? It turns out she's got more problems than we thought.
Police and paramedics responded to a home in the 6000 block of Blanco Road on June 14 and found 11-month-old Faith Escamilla unresponsive, an arrest warrant affidavit stated.

Police said the child's mother, Silver Starr Hernandez, 25, told officers she had put the baby down for a nap on the floor of her bedroom and later returned and found the baby had stopped breathing.

The affidavit stated an autopsy performed on the child at the Bexar County Medical Examiner's office revealed signs of trauma on the baby's nose and mouth.

Police said during questioning, Hernandez admitted she had suffocated the child by holding her nose and mouth closed for an extended period of time, the affidavit stated.

Hernandez was one of 16 people indicted in 2008 in the death of Allan Kowalski, 52. Kerr County sheriff's investigators found Kowalski buried in the back yard of his home with a gunshot wound to the head.
(from KSAT-12)

Silver Starr Hernandez pled guilty to a lesser crime as part of the Kowalski case and got probation. With this charge, she could get the needle, if convicted.