Adonis Genes and an Adonis Name

By Oliver Ramsey

The truth is that he became the richest man in the world by smashing all his competition through an intense desire to succeed.  The rage of success is only by fueled arrogance and an extreme belief in your own abilities.” – David K on Charlie Sheen

There is some truth to what David is saying, but there is another truth or truths that David is overlooking.  Guys like Charlie Sheen are not new.  We have seen them before, and we still see them again. 

When Charlie says he has “Adonis genes” what he really means to say and won’t say is that he has a great name.

Apocalypse Now, Gandhi, Wall Street, Gettysburg and The Execution of Private Slovik.  What do these movies and television show have in common?  Ramón Gerardo Antonio Estévez, also known as Martin Sheen, Charlie’s father. 

Hollywood is cutthroat.  Hundreds, if not thousands, of people have packed up their bags and left for LA seeking fame and fortune, but only to find a gig as an extra here and there, and part-time job as a waiter. 

Charlie Sheen, thanks in large part to the success of his father, was able to start a successful career in Hollywood. 

True, his most recent successes are his own, but we do not know,  and never will, whether or not Carlos Irwin Estevez would have had a shot auditioning for one of the greatest movies made in the 80s – Red Dawn – had it not been for his father’s own success and name.

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What’s a Girl to Do?

By Oliver Ramsey

Norma Chávez should be old news. But apparently Chente Quintanilla has resurrected her.

Just last week, Quintanilla filed several bills pertaining to the El Paso County Water Improvement District No. 1. If that sounds familiar it’s because it is. In 2005, Quintanilla along with the late-Senator Madla filed bills relating to the district. The purpose? To prohibit non-landowners from voting in district elections.

The reason it was filed back then was because Norma and her then arch-nemesis Chuy Reyes fought it out during the District’s board elections. Reyes did not like the fact Norma had rounded up seniors or other folks who did not own property to vote in the District election. Never mind the fact Reyes’ slate of candidates won. By golly he was going to the Legislature to make sure those pesky elections ran as smoothly as possible.

But that unstoppable force, Reyes, met an immovable object, Chavez. After a long hard fought battle, Chavez killed Reyes bill. And Reyes was pissed.

So then comes along Marty Reyes. Marty Reyes ran against Norma claiming she was bought by TLR (Sound familiar?) and was a tool for Craddick. As it turned out, if there was anybody more disliked than Chavez, it was the Reyes name.

Since then though, Chavez and the Reyes’ have kissed and made up. But how long is that kiss going to last?

Chavez on her campaign website, which she oddly still maintains, boasts of the fact that she killed that bill. She claims it was in violation of the Constitution, Voting Rights Act, and Magna Carta. Well, maybe not the Magna Carta. But I digress. She claims that she prevented over 75,000 voters from being disenfranchised.

The question is now, since Norma has probably some time on her hands, is she going to stand idle and let this bill pass and let 75,000 voters become disenfranchised? Or is she going to help the Reyes’ pass it? Or will she fight it?

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A Penny for Your Thoughts

I read an article online about the National debt and suggestions offered by Americans. Suggestions can be made at http://www.fiscalcommission.gov/. So here is my contribution.

Even though this has about as much weight as the ‘public input’ for the ASARCO smoke stack escapade. We, as a nation, need to change our attitudes when it comes to the perceptions regarding entitlements. Our society has become dependent upon government handouts. Handouts that have been paid for with borrowed money for many, many years.

Personal responsibility needs to return to the forefront of American culture. It is this societal attitude of individuality and self-reliance that has been the bedrock foundation of our national identity. I fear that FDR may have committed a greater harm than good with the passage of unemployment, welfare, and other pieces of legislature that have no end in sight. These laws created programs that have gradually sapped our internal strength; leaving us nothing more than a shell of our former being. Subsequent legislators have done NOTHING to reduce this dependency. And in many cases have worsened the situation. As such these are my recommendations, in no specific order of precedence, to assist in reducing this travesty that is our national debt as well as reforming our political landscape: (Bear in mind that they are not perfect and some are overly simplistic) Install term limits for ALL elected officials. Professional politicians are a very large reason we are where we are today. It is also a primary reason Congress’s poll numbers are so low. Politicians are also more beholden to their financial contributors then their respective political parties in that order. They never need the public except for elections.

Our government was organized the way it was in order for persons to become elected, SERVE, and then return to their former way of life. Not to remain and remain and remain. Many politicians are harder to get rid of than the clap. We do not need politicians, we need statesmen; leaders. In my opinion, our founding fathers did not envision a world where persons would be sufficiently of means (wealthy) so as to be interested in nothing other than “directing” our country.

Get rid of excessively large pieces of legislation.

No Amendments.

If a piece of legislation is not suitable to go before Congress by itself then it is not worthy of our attention. This is one method of reducing the amount of pork that Congress has grown to love. Congress passed Obamacare with comments to the effect of “pass it now, we will read it later”.

Gradually eliminate Social Security.

Technology has come a long way since the ticker tape and teletypes, as has the savvy of the individual. There are literally dozens of investment tools available. Americans need to be enabled to become responsible for their financial futures. I’m sure that there is an App for that…

It has taken American society decades to become dependent upon this government program and it will take us decades to get over it. The only option currently available is to quit cold turkey when Social Security collapses. Establish a cut-off date (for example 1 Jan 2015). Persons born on or after this date will not receive social security benefits. Persons will still pay into Social Security through payroll taxes. These taxes to the public can gradually be reduced as eligible persons pass away and the required amount needed also reduces.

This system began with approximately 13 payers for every recipient and it will never return to this level ever again. Declare victory and return our deployed forces from Afghanistan and Iraq. We have no business conducting “nation-building” operations.

History has proven how wasteful this can be through rampant corruption on all sides. If the United States needs to go to war then DECLARE WAR, conduct offensive operations; destroy the enemy then come home. We are not the policeman of the world, nor can we afford to rebuild the entire world. Penalize, through corporate taxes, companies that have their operations outside of the US in order to reduce their liabilities. This, along with my next point, are primary in reducing the number of jobs. The attitude of the “almighty profit margin” needs to go the way of the Dodo bird.

Efforts to reduce overhead need to be negated through corporate taxes.

Close loop holes that enable corporations to fore go the payment of taxes.

Get rid of the unions.

Their never-ending demands for more money and less responsibilities has directly contributed to the cost of American made products to increase.

Businesses need to be held accountable for working conditions, safety and all of the other issues that brought about unions in the mid-20th century.

Get rid of Welfare.

It was originally designed to ASSIST persons who had fallen upon hard times. We are now into our fourth generation of professional welfare recipients. Set a time limit for welfare assistance and enforce it.

Ditto with unemployment.

Nobody should receive 99 weeks of unemployment. There are jobs available. I’m sure that many persons will have other suggestions such as seal the border and tax the wealthy…

These are ideas that are over exposed every week in El Paso.

Brian Edwards

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Bringing Home No Bacon

By Oliver Ramsey

We know who the Delegation is, but we do not know what their committee assignments
are. And we will not know until late January or early February.

El Paso community leaders are probably hoping that at least one member is assigned to a
budget-writing committee, either the House Appropriations Committee or Senate Finance
Committee. Last session, only one member of the delegation was on a budget-writing
committee.

Truth be told, for this upcoming session, there is little to be gained, if anything there is
probably much to be lost, by ensuring that someone from El Paso is on a budget-writing
committee.

With a $20-25 billion shortfall, there will be no goodies to bring home. If anything, the
goodies you already have could be gone tomorrow. Sure, you could argue, “But we need
someone there to fight for us!” Five of the 6 members of the Delegation are Democrats.
The budget-writing committees will be overwhelmingly Republican. Democrats can
make all the impassioned speeches they want, but it will be Republicans who will have
the final say.

Yes, there is one Republican member of the Delegation, but he is going to vote with his
party on the cuts.

So why bother asking the Delegation to serve on these committees? Budget-writing
committees are a time-drain on members, and time is something that they have little of
in a legislative body that only meets 140 days every two years. That time wasted could
be spent more effectively pushing legislative proposals that actually have a chance at
becoming law.

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Chente’s Problem

By Oliver Ramsey

It ain’t even 2011 yet and folks are already making plans for 2012. One of those folks is
Robert Grijalva, Chente Quintanilla’s assistant. It appears that Grijalva is interested in
the seat held by his former employer, Paul Moreno.

Truth be told though, Grijalva has been eyeing that seat even when he was working for
Moreno, but Robert probably needed more money so he went to work for Chente. Not
to worry, all Robert had to do was wait for Moreno to retire so he could triumphantly
return to House District 77 riding on a Democratic donkey and run for the seat. But
something happened. To be more precise, SOMEONE happened. That someone was
Marisa Marquez.

Unlike everybody else, Marisa was not going to wait on Moreno. As it turned out, the
district was not going to wait on Moreno either. Apparently though, Robert thinks the
district wants Moreno, or at the very least his former assistant, back.

Granted, Robert has not made a declarative statement that he is indeed running. On the
other hand, he has not ruled it out either. In politics though, when you do NOT say “no”,
you are implying “yes.” So until Robert states unequivocally that he is NOT running,
he in fact IS running. That is going to make things somewhat uncomfortable within the
Delegation.

Sure, Robert has every right to run for office, but he is going about it the worst way
possible. Besides being potentially subsidized by a state office to run, he would end up
being subsidized by a member of El Paso’s own Delegation.

Robert is still Chente’s staffer, and one of the things a so-called good staffer does is
protect their boss. But Robert is putting Chente in a rather uncomfortable position
insofar his relationship with Marquez. Should Marquez trust Chente when discussing
policy or political matters when Chente is probably going to share those conversations
with her would-be opponent, Robert? Is Robert going to spend most of his time in Austin
monitoring Marisa rather than working for Chente and the district he represents?

With that said, whatever potential problems that occur because of this will not because of
Robert, it will be because of Chente. And it’s up to Chente to fix it.

As to whether or not Robert has a chance – short answer “no” – is a whole other story.

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The Delegation

By Oliver Ramsey

No more publicized text message feuds.

No more futile press conferences railing against the Governor.

Thousands of trees saved from being turned into annual apocalyptic border reports.

Thousands of dollars saved from not throwing needless parties.

For the first time in a long time, El Paso will not send anyone to Austin named Shapleigh or Chavez, and for that matter, Haggerty or Moreno.

For the first time in a long time, El Paso is sending a Delegation that they can be proud of, or at the very least one that it does not have to be embarrassed about.  Certainly there will be gossip about the new Delegation, but it will be just that, gossip.

If you were to ask each one – Chavez, Haggerty, Moreno and Shapleigh – what they had in common with one another, they would each reply, “Nothing.”  But truth be told, they had at least one thing in common: they were personalities.  These personalities have shaped people’s perception of El Paso in Austin.

Unfortunately, the El Paso’s reputation in Austin is based on the people they elect.  The city for several years sent a boozehound, a race-baiter, an ineffectual liberal orator and a spoiled brat to the Legislature.   And to think some El Pasoans wondered why they got no respect.  But they wondered no more.

These individuals may have reflected a past El Paso, but they did not reflect present or future El Paso.  It was for this reason they lost their races or had to step down. Their races or decision to step down had less to do with campaign donations, voting records or policy positions, and more to do with the fact is El Paso is changing.  And El Paso final got around to changing its Delegation.

Of course, some are probably already asking about Pickett. Soda fountain aside, Pickett has never been a personality.  Pickett would rather be reading TxDOT audits than attending taco plate get-out-the-vote pachangas, hanging out with Austin liberals, or golfing with lobbyists.  Then of course there is Chente.  But he does not matter much anyways, and there will always be one of those in every delegation.

The new Delegation probably will not be able to save many of the state-funded programs that some El Pasoans support from the budget ax or reopen Speaking Rock Casino, but at the very least, the Delegation will not embarrass you.

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Naomi’s Term

By Oliver Ramsey

Republicans have near absolute control of the Texas House of Representatives.  At 99 seats, they are just one seat short of a two-thirds majority.  They may very well get that extra seat.   As for Texas House Democrats, as a whole they will be as useful as furniture.

So what does this mean for El Paso?  More specifically, what does this mean for Naomi Gonzalez?

Norma Chavez, who was at one-time a reliable supporter of the tort reform advocacy group, Texans for Lawsuit Reform (TLR), argued to no end that Gonzalez would vote against the district, workers, seniors, children, teachers, and so on, because Gonzalez was beholden to TLR.  It was suggested that in a nearly even divided Texas House – 77 Republicans and 73 Democrats – Naomi would have to take some hard votes for TLR.

With 99 Republicans though, TLR probably does not need Naomi’s vote.  It is quite possible that TLR will let Naomi vote as she pleases on so-called TLR votes.  So would-be primary challengers are not going to find much, if any, Republican votes by Naomi.  She can spend all next session strengthening her Democratic credentials.

Would-be primary challengers are also going to have a hard time finding money.  In 2003, there were only 62 Democrats in the Texas House.  Since that time, millions of dollars and thousands of hours were spent helping Democrats obtain 74 seats in the Texas House.  But all that was lost this last election as Democrats were left with only 51 seats.   Democratic donors and special interest groups cannot afford to invest in primary races in solidly Democratic districts, like Naomi’s, in the next election cycle.  Besides soul searching, Democratic leaders will make modest attempts at recouping that which they lost.   Gonzalez, on the other hand, will have plenty of money from TLR.

With no money and no so-called Republican voting record, challengers are going to have a hard time mounting any sort of serious to campaign against Gonzalez in 2012.

House members are elected to two-year terms, but it could be said that Naomi was elected to a four-year term.

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