Archive for August, 2011


We will not be subtle about this: the self-proclaimed “movement” called the Tequila Party (which btw according to its organizers has only 2,000 members worldwide) is a farce, an insult and mockery to all Latino voters in the United States.

Our poll, which clearly shows that the vast majority of our readers think the name Tequila Party is just plain misguided and dumb, continues to get votes. The verdict is clear: over 80% of our readers think the name just does not work.

Now there are rumblings that Tequila Party spokesperson DeeDee García Blasé, who is making the rounds on mainstream media promotion an organization that quite frankly has no members (our Facebook page has more members that the TP), is just a puppet figure of a bigger (and strange) plan by the Republican Party to pander to Latino voters for the 2012 elections. In the next few weeks, we plan to expose this connect and quite simply, follow the money.

In the meantime, a new Facebook page called Stop the Tequila Party has been formed tonight by Facebook users and their mission is crystal clear. As their page’s mission states:

It is clear that the recent media lovefest with DeeDee García Blasé and the Tequila Party (which claims to have 2,000 people) is sad. Blase García is making a mockery of Latino issues in this country by using a stereotypical image of a Mexican drink to “represent” the Latino voices in the US. We respectfully disagree and are committed to show the hypocrisy of this so called “movement.”

Already a few members have joined the page and have said exactly what we are hearing from political insiders: Blase García is just a front of the Republican Party. Here is one post:

This is a FARCE of a group! A front! This group was started by a Republican for the purpose of getting the Hispanics to vote Republican. Typical of these Republicans. In this case, we have a woman that will say or do what she sees fit to fight against women’s rights and gay rights. She is an evangelical right wing nut job.

So, stay tuned as we begin to explore what the real political motive is about a “movement” that insults Latinos everywhere.

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Maybe it was a publicity stunt that went totally wrong, or maybe BarstoolSports.com really had no problems with their decision last week to publish a naked photo of Tom’s Brady 2-year-old frolicking on a beach in Costa Rica, but yesterday BS founder David Portnoy got a visit from the Massachusetts State Police and now the photo is no longer on the site.

As reported by The Boston Globe today, Portnoy told the paper that state troopers showed up at his Milton home and asked Portnoy to take the the photo down from the site.

“I’ve never had cops knock on my door for anything in my life,’’ Portnoy said in an interview yesterday. “That is not a coincidence that this is one of the first times I’ve taken something down.’’

In addition, the Globe article also reported that Attorney General Martha Coakley said that the police went to talk with Portnoy as a first step to determine if Portnoy’s actions fell under child exploitation laws. Coakley also said that she was “grateful” that the photo came down.

The article continues by questioning the Portnoy’s first amendment rights, and also revealed that the modeling agency of Brady’s wife —Gisel Bundchen— sent Portnoy a cease-and-desist letter:

“I think it’s a real stretch that this is a criminal matter,’’ said Jonathan M. Albano, a Boston lawyer who specializes in media law. “And there’s an inherent element of coercion when civilians are faced with police in uniforms.’’

Portnoy said that he did not feel pressured to remove the posting, but wrote on his site that “when staties show up at your door, it’s hard to say no.’’

The free speech specialists said that law enforcement should not intervene in such a situation unless they have already made a determination that a posting may be criminal.

Portnoy said he removed the post shortly after police visited his home Friday evening. He had previously taken it down briefly after receiving a cease-and-desist letter from the modeling agency of Brady’s wife, Gisele Bundchen, but soon reposted it.

Coakley said her office found the picture “troubling, to say the least.’’ She said her office was investigating whether the post amounted to child exploitation, but after speaking with him determined charges were not warranted.

“We went to see Mr. Portnoy and asked if he would be willing to remove it,’’ she said. “He was, and we’re grateful for that. We think that was the right result and, in light of all of that, we believe that the matter is closed.’’

In the meantime, Portnoy faces a lifetime ban from WEEI sports radio in Boston. However, he made appearances on The Howard Stern Show and local public radio yesterday. According to the Globe, Portnoy remains “unapologetic.”

“I obviously still stand by the fact I had every right to do everything I did, but I’m not looking to make cops jobs more difficult than it already is, so I complied,’’ Portnoy wrote. “I went with my gut, and my gut said just make it easy on everybody at this point.’’

“We’ve done a million Brady blogs,’’ Portnoy said. “Every one of them, we try to put a different spin on why he’s the best. For this, the pictures we had, that was the spin. The content – everybody’s focusing on the headline, but if you read the text below it, it is clearly about Tom Brady.’’

He dismissed the idea that he meant the post as a publicity stunt, saying he had “no intention of this going viral.’’

“We are a Boston blog,’’ he said. “We have a long history of posting Brady photos. Whatever Tom Brady does, we talk about.’’

During the opening of the Stern show, the self-proclaimed king of all media agreed with Coakley and others, when he said the following:

Stern: “Dave, people said you must take this down, it’s kiddie porn. And I saw the picture and, quite frankly, I do think it’s kiddie porn. I don’t think you should put a picture of a 2-year-old nude.”

Below is a quick video summary from The Boston Globe about this story:

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It appears that the Puerto Rican spin machine of Governor Luis Fortuño is moving on at full speed, even with current polls showing that 54% of the island thinks Fortuño’s policies are doing harm to the world’s oldest colony, a territory of the United States since 1898.

Puerto Rican Governor Luis Fortuño

Today, Fox News Latino (a media organization that we think is one of the most responsible around when it comes to US Latino issues) published an opinion piece by Justin Vélez-Hagan, National Executive Director of The National Puerto Rican Chamber of Commerce. With the headline: Puerto Rico’s Unemployment Rate Plummeting: Proof that Conservative Fiscal Policy Can Quickly Turn an Economy Around?, a casual observer would think that this is a news article and that serious journalism had occurred. Our inboxes were flooded with emails from pro-statehooders who claimed political victory. You see, you crazy socialist Marxist (me), Puerto Rico is coming back! However, if one were actually to read the article, you would note that this is piece is actually an opinion piece that only serves as a sounding board for Fortuño’s fiscal policies.

As the opinion piece states:

Despite the naysayers, protestors, and congressional opponents who doubt the predicted effects, few can argue the current successes of these policies.  Since 2008, Puerto Rico’s deficit has dropped by nearly 70%, credit rating upgrades have allowed for increased bond sales and a reduction in interest payments, and new and existing businesses are taking advantage of lower tax rates and a decreased bureaucracy.  Notwithstanding these immense improvements that have come as a result of Governor Fortuño’s admittedly conservative philosophies, in order to convince the public that the economy has improved, jobs need to be created.

Puerto Rico may have just provided the political evidence that effectively sways the minds of the public, finalizing the debate surrounding conservative fiscal policy.  Since March of this year, Puerto Rico has exhibited the greatest decline in unemployment numbers anywhere in the country, allowing for the creation of more jobs at a faster pace than most of the states.  Although Puerto Rico still has the country’s highest employment rate at 14.9% (latest, unrevised June figures), if the trend continues it will be one of the biggest turnarounds in recent economic history.

Easy there, cowboy. Let’s break this down a bit:

  • While Vélez-Hagan talks about credit upgrades in Puerto Rico, he (and FNL’s fact checkers) failed to mention that Puerto Rico suffered a credit downgrade by Moody’s on August 8. As Moody’s said on August 8: “The downgrade to Baa1 and the assignment of a negative outlook reflect the commonwealth’s continued financial deterioration of the severely underfunded retirement systems, continued weak economic trend, and weak finances, with a historical trend of funding budget gaps with borrowing. Needed retirement system reforms, in our view, may exacerbate strains on the commonwealth’s economy and budgetary finances in the coming years.”
  • According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, Puerto Rico actually had a 15.9 unemployment rate in January, 2011, which climbed to 16.9 by March, 2011. As of June, 2011, the unemployment rate is back at 14.9, but it must be said that these are JUNE numbers, two months before US debt ceiling debacles and Moody’s August 8 downgrade. Fortuño’s critical time is NOW, where he must hope that jobs will grow in August and September amid a negative credit downgrade. We think that with a recent credit downgrade, jobs will be lost, not gained.
  • Since Puerto Rico does not have a large population, the REAL JOB NET GAIN from January until June was 6.000 jobs. According the US labor statistics, Puerto Rico had 1.081 million employed individuals on the island in January of 2011 and 1.087 million employed individuals in June of 2011. 6,000 jobs gained. Economic miracle? So while Vélez-Hagan talks about unemployment plummeting via percentages, we are really talking about 6,000 jobs gained over the course of 6 months. That is 1,000 net gain jobs per month. And this was before the WAPA poll came out in July that says 54% of all Puerto Ricans disapprove of Governor Fortuño’s policies.
  • By the way, one of Puerto Rico’s largest industries and the SECOND LARGEST PERCENTAGE INCREASE IN JOB GROWTH were government jobs. In fact, of the 1.087 million jobs in Puerto Rico, roughly 271,000 of those jobs are government jobs. That is roughly between 25% and 30%. Also, government jobs from January of 2011 until June of 2011 increased 4.3%, second to a 6.6% increase in information jobs. So let us get this straight, Governor, you want to decrease the size of government, but the second-largest job increase has occurred in the government sector?
  • Last time we checked, Puerto Rico stil has 191,000 unemployed people out of a civilian labor force of 1.278 million people. Vélez-Hagan’s logic is like saying that his baseball team, which was down 11-0, had just won the pennant because they scored 3 runs in the 7th inning to make the score 11-3.
  • Finally, Vélez-Hagan drives a major point with a logic that still confounds us. Yes, Puerto Rico has the largest unemployment rate in the United States (if it were to be categorized as a state), but IF the current trend continues (remember, the unemployment rate rose 1 percentage point in two months before going down two percentage points form March until June, leading to 6,000 net jobs gained) then it will prove Fortuño’s success. If the last few months of fiscal chaos have shown us, THAT IS ONE BIG IF.
  • By the way, the industry with the biggest job loss on the island the last six months? Construction. That is not a good sign.
So, Fox News Latino, you know we think you have done a very formidable job in not being so Fox-y in your news coverage, but we are calling a penalty on this one. If you are going to run an opinion piece, run the piece as an opinion piece, and don’t portray it as a news story. And tell your fact checkers that the next time they include an opinion piece about Puerto Rico, do your homework before printing the piece.

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This morning, as I was researching stories for this week, I noticed something extremely cool: 100,000. Yes, today, the little blog that could surpassed an amazing little milestone: 100,000 unique visits here.

So, in the spirit of Sally Field’s Oscar speech, I would like to thank the following people who helped make this blog a destination point on the Internet, ever since it was launched in early 2009:

  1. Latinos in Social Media (LATISM): You were there from the beginning, and I am eternally grateful. Can’t wait to see everyone in Chicago this November!
  2. The Original Twitter Posse: you made me laugh, you challenged me, you picked me up when I was down, and you have made my online and offline experience a joy. Much love to you all!
  3. Jeremy Clarkson: thank you for being a anti-Mexican boor.
  4. Republican and Pro-Statehooder Puerto Rican Governor Luis Fortuño: your vendepatria ways have allowed this blog to be one of the top ones when it comes to Puerto Rican politics.
  5. CNN Latino in America: without your uneven and poor show two years ago, there would be no Latino Success Stories blog.
  6. Fernando Varela: my brother is a talent and I was honored to co-translate a Spanish version of Coldplay’s YELLOW for him.
  7. All the trolls who want me to move back to Mexico. Memo to you: I am an American citizen. Bite me.
  8. The Rebeldes!!!!: my new group of ruffians, The Latino Rebels, are perhaps some of the most like-minded people I have ever met.
  9. The Two Raúls: Raúl Ramos y Sánchez and Raúl Colón. There are so many others who have helped this blog (see LATISM), but the two Raúls have been there from Day 1. Thank you for your unwavering support.
  10. And YOU: all the subscribers who take a moment from their busy lives to read this blog. Without you, this blog would never have achieved what is has done so far.
The future is even brighter in 2011: new books, new companies, new ventures, new topics, and two elections in 2012, one in the United States and Puerto Rico. Should be freaking fun.


Hit it, Sally!

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After writing about the Tom Brady Naked Baby Picture Controversy today, it all made sense to me. Boston Barstool Sports, even though they crossed the line, got a lot of media attention the last few days. Maybe that was what BBS wanted, and even though i think they handled it poorly (really, getting banned from WEEI?), it is clear when it comes to blogging and webpages: in the online world, people devour controversy.

Personally, a lot of my fellow bloggers like to avoid controversy, and if you think about it, it makes sense. I think it is cool. Because once you start taking stands on things and writing strong opinions about passionate topics (you can never go wrong with politics, sports, and religion), you might notice that those visitors who weren’t coming to your site, are now visiting it more and more.

When you start posting that kind of content, reader comments do come. Now, MOST of the people on the Internet who comment on blogs, Facebook, Twitter (and now Google+) GET IT. Even if you disagree with someone, you can still be respectful and civil. Ever since I started this blog in 2009, we learned that pretty quickly. You earn people’s respect by following those golden rules.

However, as Peter Parker’s uncle (btw, will new Afro-Latino Spiderman Miles Morales have a Tío?) once said, “with great power, comes great responsibility.” Ok, that is for superheroes and comic books, but I will say this: “with good content, comes great responsibility, and when you feel attacked, insulted, lied about, slandered, called bad names, or are just the recipient of general negativity, RESPOND and RESPOND QUICKLY.” And if you start getting trolls (those amazing bullies who hide behind computer screen and spew anger at the world, but if you ever saw them in person, they would never say those same things to your face), you deal with it just like Mom used to say about dealing with bullies: you call them out and you expose them.

Here at JRV.com, the bullies are alive and well. This week, we were proud to receive this lovely nugget:

Do your free ride is over….We don’t want to pay for you anymore.

Oh there are some of your people who are in my state because they
told me they suck all the benefits from two or three other states dry
and when me state go’s broken they will more on like the rats they are ….Sorry it’s not my fault you were born in that shit hole called

Instead of blocking this person (not cool) or deleting this comment (this an open forum), I responded, like I always do. This is what I said:

Ok, last time I checked, I am an American citizen. Sorry you have me for life. GOD BLESS AMERICA!!!! WOOT!!!!

In most of my dealings with the Bully Trolls of the Web, that is what I have done. When people starting ripping Alisa Valdes for her brilliant use of social media earlier this year, I answered the trolls. When we posted the TOP GEAR VIDEO that the BBC didn’t want you to see, I went right after them too. When the pro-Fortuño Puerto Ricans call me a “fake Puerto Rican,” you will get an answer from me.  By the way, the Fortuñistas are alive and well on this blog ever since a new poll on the island said that the Governor is doing an awful job in running Puerto Rico.

And when people spread lies about your relationships to other Latino pages and other social media people, you make sure you make your case. Now mind you, I normally talk to people face to face, but when the attacks are so bad and so personal, I won’t. Simple as that. I find that writing is my defense shield.

This past week, I have been the recipient of some very salty and nasty language from a bully troll we will call Tomatito. Now Tomatito and I were part of a Latino-based page had some very cool and very engaging people. Long story short, people move on, they focus on other things, and you wish the people you leave the best of luck. He said I said something first, that I had taken advantage of others to further my web business (full disclosure: I have several businesses online and I do try a make a living out of them). Some people called me a hypocrite and a faker. Other people say WTF? And over, and over, and over. After a certain point, I remind myself that I don’t want to relive my junior high experience so I move on

Not Tomatito. Tomatito continues to spread rumors and lies about my relationships with mutual colleagues, he continues to make claims that I should be lucky to have been involved with this certain Latino-themed paged and that I would be a nobody without them. (BTW, that very large Latino-themed page got me 50 visits to my site. 50. I wrote four months for them. That is one visit every two days.)

Well, Tomatito, let me shed the light on a little bit of history:

  • I started doing social media for my amazing brother Fernando. I was blessed to have met a lot of similar-minded individuals who wanted to help me and I wanted to help them. Ah, 2008, it was a heady time in social media, and it was awesome. So much so, that me and Fernando were able to build a nice little niche for his music, and because of that a certain Spanish-language television network hired me to help them out on their social media strategy. Yes, I got a job with Univision all because of some tweets and the desire to help others. Crazy. And that opened up more doors for me, and I am still amazed that you can make a living doing social media.
  • In the meantime, I had always dreamt of forming my own Latino Daily Show, so around late last year I formed Latino Rebels, which will soon be on freakin cable TV (still can’t believe it) all over the country. Now Tomatito is saying that I couldn’t have achieved such success with the Rebels if it weren’t for the fact that I was associated with the larger Latino-theme page we both contributed to. Nope, that is not the case. Just like anything I do, I worked it and worked hard, and I am proud to say that the Rebeldes are doing just fine. And you know why the Rebeldes are having so much fun? Because we don’t care about who is better than others or who has the most followers or the least fans, we have a GREAT GROUP of talented performers and writers who all share the same vision as I do: to unite and entertain. And we treat ANY of our fans as if they were the most important person in the world, which is a lesson that Tomatito should take to heart.
  • In the meantime, Tomatito, keep hating and keep spreading those lies. My web traffic appreciates it so much. And since you have called me and other great people such loving words such as “shameless self-promoters,” “cafeteria communist,” “loser,” “rejects,” and “crazed Napoleans,” I just want to say THANK YOU. Thank you for hating, for harassing, for cursing me out online, and for just being the awesome online bully troll that you are. In the end, hate gets you nowhere, and besides, my skin is thicker than Fort Knox.
So, bring the bully trolls on. I got a shield. It’s called the people who really know me and know my true intentions.

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God bless @mskittyalvarez. Not only is she an amazing Twitter and Facebook friend (even though she went to Penn), she is one of the most positive angels who has entered my life.

Kitty is the real deal and she is one of the most smart and engaging online peeps in our universe. Today, Kitty came up with an AMAZING IDEA that will make the #LatinoLit community even better. This is what she tweeted out:

So, Kitty, we are SO IN! What book should be read first?

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Ok, first of all, we are not prudes, so this blog post is not going to be about the political correctness charge that some of our readers claim we follow blindly. And it’s definitely not about “cafeteria communism,” the newest term that one of my detractors is lovingly calling us these days. (Big sidenote: We like to make money, last time we checked that we prefer “cafeteria capitalist,” thank you very much.)

However, it does appear that once in a while this blog enters certain trend stages, and it looks like this week it, the trend is NUDITY. First, Hope Solo (please, please, please pose all Solo in ESPN the Magazine), and now the 2-year-old son of New England Patriot quarterback Tom Brady, also known in Brazil as Mr. Giselle Bundchen.

This all started when Boston Barstool Sports posted a paparazzi posted a pic of Tom’s and Giselle’s, 2-year-old, having a fun little naked blast on a beach in Costa Rica. No, we aren’t going to post the pic here, if you want to see it, Google it or give BBS some more traffic hit. Even though the pic is not being posted here, we will say that it is extremely common for certain cultures to have their children run around naturally on a beach. And if we were Brady’s lawyers, we would be chatting with the photographer on a couple if issues.

We WILL post what BBS —a very raw and occasionally funny Boston sports web page— said about the picture:

“That’s a big f–king hog for a 2 year old right?  Just swinging low like a boss.  I guess we shouldn’t be surprised though.  That’s what MVP QB’s do.  They impregnate chicks and give birth to big d–ked kids.   Does Peyton Manning have any children?   If he does I bet they got pencil d–ks.

PS – The mom’s a– ain’t bad either.  I was going to try and save this for GTA tomorrow, but just couldn’t do it.  Not with Brady’s kid’s d–k staring me in the face.

Our thoughts? We think that BBS owner David Portnoy crossed the line. There is comedy, and then there is insult. Like we said, we aren’t prudes (just check out what we post on Latino Rebels on a daily basis), but when we try to write comedy, we tend to raise the bar a bit and not go after the cheap laugh.

Now Portnoy’s narcissism is getting him into more trouble and he is facing consequences, and rightly so. First mistake was getting banned by WEEI’s The Big Show, a Boston sports talk institution. It appears that Big Show host Glen Ordway really took Portnoy to town. Hey, it’s a free country and we applaud WEEI for being courageous and telling Portnoy to suck it.

As for Portnoy, looks like he won’t be apologetic. His statement to New England Cable News (NECN) was weak, to say the least. But we let you decide.

“We saw the Brady’s kid picture and basically I saw it and thought it was a funny joke. I mean really that’s the nuts and bolts of it. For me it wasn’t so much about the kid, it’s an ongoing theme with us is that Brady is the best, Brady is God and really for us that blog was just another way to say it. It’s like Brady’s kid is the best, Peyton Manning’s is the worst.”

Here is a video response from Portnoy.

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