Category Archives: Human Interest

President Trump will visit Western Wall in Jerusalem, but Prime Minister Netanyahu can’t come along

 

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The Western Wall: Photo by Rebecca Aguilar

When you visit the Western Wall in Jerusalem, you can see up close why it is considered the holiest place for prayer by the Jewish people. I was there last week during a journalism fellowship with Fuenta Latina, a nonprofit that educates reporters about Israel today.

Every year, millions of Jews from all over the world visit the wall to pray. Tourists who are non-Jews also visit the wall to pay their respects. Men and women pray in separate sections. 

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Men and women pray separately at the Western Wall/Photo by Rebecca Aguilar

Next week when President Donald Trump goes to Israel he will make a stop at the Western Wall. He will be the first U.S. sitting President to do so. Other presidents have visited the sacred wall but as private citizens.

People in Jerusalem I talked to are curious to learn more about the billionaire turn reality star turn U.S. President.  From hotel clerks to taxi drivers they told me they look forward to Trump’s visit to Israel. but wonder if he will create more chaos than peace. 

Trump is already getting bad press in Israel because it appears he has snubbed Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu. Israeli TV Channel 2 is reporting that Trump’s delegation has not only turned down Netanyahu’s request to go with Trump to the wall but also someone from the delegation insulted Israeli officials claiming the wall was not Israeli Territory.

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Each year a millions of Jews visit the Western Wall/ photo by Rebecca Aguilar

Tuesday National Security Adviser, General H.R. McMaster at a White House briefing confirmed “No Israeli leaders will join President Trump at the Western Wall.” McMaster would not confirm or deny whether Trump believed the Western Wall was not Israeli territory when asked by reporters.  

The wall is the only remains of the Second Temple of Jerusalem that was destroyed by the Romans in 70 CE.  Israelis seized the Western Wall in the Old City from the Jordanians, along with East Jerusalem in the 1967 Mideast war, and it is not officially recognized internationally as Israeli territory.

Rebecca Aguilar is an award-winning freelance reporter with 35 years experience. She was part of the May 2017 Fuenta Latina Fellowship to Israel.

 

 

 

 

Dallas Mega Marchers show commitment to unity and push for immigration reform

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Photo courtesy: DPD

The Dallas Mega March did not draw the 100-thousand people that organizers expected, but the ones who did show up were just as passionate as the ones in 2006. That’s when 500,000 marchers took to the streets of Dallas.

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Photos by Rebecca Aguilar 

Ashley of Sherman, Texas was at the rally in front of Dallas City Hall with a sign that read “Got White Privilege?” She thought it was important to take her little boy to the Mega March on Sunday, because she said it was history.

Thousands at the rally waved signs, some read “Will trade racists for refugees” and “Keep hope alive.” Dallas police estimated around 32-hundred people marched on Sunday.

I did a Facebook Live while I was there and walked through the crowd. People of different backgrounds, ages, and religions were there to show their support.

Three reasons why you should go the Dallas Mega March 2017

megamarch_2017Who is going to the Dallas Mega March 2017 tomorrow? I’ll be there. I reported on the last Mega March in March 2006. More than 500,000 people showed up to march.

Here are my three reasons why you should be this march:

1) For journalists and student journalists you know it’s a story.
2) If you care about immigration and unity you should be there.
3) If you’ve never experienced being in a march, go and be inspired by people who believe in a cause. Take your kids. My parents took us to marches and protests when we were children. I think those experiences as a child made me the strong, outspoken woman I am today.

The march starts at 2 p.m. in front of the Guadalupe Cathedral at 2215 Ross Avenue. Go early to find parking or take DART and walk over or arrange a ride to drop you off near the cathedral and pick you up at City Hall where the march will end.

If you plan to go wear sneakers and comfortable clothing. March organizers want you to wear red, white and blue t-shirts and bring an American flag. A backpack comes in handy for water, snacks, phone, sun block and a camera if you take one. Keep hydrated but remember finding a bathroom or port-a-potty may be a challenge. Good luck!

Go to the Mega March website for more information and the list of speakers.  Please share.  See you there!

https://www.megamarch2017.com/

Jon Stewart to the press: Stop whining, get your groove back and kick him to the curb

There’s nothing like getting a reality check from Jon Stewart. The former host of The Daily Show popped up from under the desk Monday night on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert.

And as usual he didn’t hold back. This time he zeroed in on Donald Trump and the press. Roll the video…

Millennial shames her generation ‘not contributing anything to society’

Alexis Bloomer accuses her generation “The Millennials” of not having any manners, being lazy, fans of obscene music that degrades women, idolizers of people like Kim Kardashian, and self entitled.

Bloomer describes herself as a journalist. I’m not sure if she’s done news but her social media shows off her numerous rodeo show interviews and many modeling photos.

Her message posted on April 22 on Facebook is powerful but not really fair to young people. I’m sure many millennials aren’t going to like it.

Roll the video.

 

Bloomer wrote on her Facebook:

Disclaimer: I know that not all of Millennials are bad, when I posted this I had just watched as a young man stepped in front of a limping elderly man and didn’t hold the door open for him, it made me think…This video was not intended to offend anyone, in fact, it shouldn’t offend anyone unless you’re guilty of doing any of these things. The beauty of Facebook is that you can scroll past something you don’t like. I guarantee MOST of you that liked/shared/commented on this video do not have a problem with anything I said in this video because you don’t do any of these things. Also, I had 3 guys staring in my passenger window making funny faces as I posted this…So I apologize for the distraction (I’m ADD). I hope that when you watch this, you listen to the underlying message and don’t take it as an insult.

Alexis Bloomer it took guts to post what you had to say online.  I think it will make many millennials sit back and think about it. Thanks for sharing your message.

How a Dallas woman pitched an idea and got hired by Mark Cuban

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Is there a job you know you can do but it doesn’t seem to be out there? Maybe you have an idea for a job that you know could fill a void.

Rachel Kuhr had the right idea.

Kuhr recently told the Texas Standard  “I found that jobs that I really like don’t usually exist, so the best way to get the job you want is make it up and see if they hire you.”

The 28-year-old followed her own advice. She pitched an idea to billionaire Mark Cuban and he hired her. Listen to what Kuhr had to say to the Texas Standard.

 

 

 

Now get out there, start pitching and find that “dream job.” Good luck!

MORE ON RACHEL KUHR

Why Rachel Khur is the innovator for Mark Cuban’s Shark Tank startups – Dallas Morning News

 

 

World Water Day: The Water Crisis is Threatening your Life

photo courtesy: Thrive for Water

photo courtesy: Water To Thrive

We can’t survive without water. And while it’s easy for most of us to run to the faucet to fill a glass with water to quench our thirst, that is not the case in many parts of the world.  The United Nations reports that by 2030 we will have a serious water shortage.

We need water to keep us hydrated. Medical experts say we can only go without drinking water for three days before it becomes critical to our health. We also need water to grow crops for our food supply.

We need water to wash our clothes, for bathing and sanitation. Imagine having to ration water or not having access to a toilet because of the lack of running water.

The water crisis is not only happening in poor parts of the world, but also in beautiful states like California, a state hit hard by a drought in 2015.

Some countries are seeing rivers and lakes drying up. Water pollution adds to the problem.  The U.N. is giving us a warning. Watch this video and learn more.

 

 

 

On this World Water Day I share a few videos that bring the problem home. My hope is that these videos will inspire you to do something to help save the water many of us take for granted.  Watch how the water crisis could have been avoided in California.

 

 

Seventy percent of the Earth is covered in water but only one percent is fresh water.  That one percent is the water supply that 7 billion people on this Earth depend on to survive.  Here’s more on the world water crisis.

HOW YOU CAN HELP

Here is a list of programs and projects aimed at helping save our water supply and keeping it clean. Do your part.

Also call your local state and city officials and find out what kind of water conservation projects are going on in your communities.

Water.org

The Water Project 

Water To Thrive

 

 

 

Texas ‘Affluenza’ teen Ethan Couch taken into custody in Mexico

Update: Mexican officials say Ethan Couch and his mother entered Mexico under false names.  Telemundo 40 spoke to authorities in Mexico>>Ethan Couch Story

 

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UPDATE:  Tarrant County Sheriff Department hopes to have the case of Ethan Couch transferred from juvenile court to adult court when he is returned to Texas. At a Tuesday press conference, Sheriff Dee Anderson said the teenager’s mother will be charged with hindering apprehension.

One of my sources with the  U.S. Marshals Service, not directly on Couch case said Immigration authorities in Mexico are not done with Couch and his mother. Both face charges there of entering the country illegally.

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U.S. Marshals are on their way to Puerta Vallarta, Mexico where Ethan Couch has been detained with his mother, Tonya. Couch, better known as the “affluenza teen” has been missing for two weeks. CNN broke the story Monday night.

The Tarrant County Sheriff’s Department has been looking for the 18-year-old Couch ever since he allegedly violated his probation. Investigators were also looking for his mother who they said was missing.  A warrant was issued for Couch to be taken into custody after his probation officer couldn’t reach him earlier this month.

Two years ago, Couch made national news when he was sentenced to probation for a drunken driving crash that killed four people. A psychologist had testified that Couch suffered from “affluenza” and that the 16-year-old at the time of his court case was a rich kid whose parents didn’t teach him the difference between right and wrong.

WHAT HAPPENS TO COUCH NOW?

The U.S Marshals Service North District of Texas office will return Couch to Texas. According to one of my sources with the U.S Marshals Service, if a fugitive from the U.S. is a U.S. citizen, the Instituto Nacional de Migracion (INM), which is Mexico’s Immigration Service will make a formal determination if the fugitive has an legal status to remain in Mexico. The fugitive will remain in its custody until that determination is made.

 

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Tonya Couch,  Photo Courtesy: Tarrant County Sheriff’s Department

INM generally views U.S. fugitives as undesirable aliens, and will order them to be deported from Mexico. The U.S. Marshals who arrive in Mexico will then escort the fugitive to a U.S. destination on a direct flight from Puerta Vallarta.

My source who is not on the Couch case and was speaking in general terms said there should not be a lot of paperwork involved with Couch, because it is an internal Mexican immigration process and not a formal request from the U.S. like an extradition. The U.S. Marshals Service will provide documentation and photos to Mexican authorities.

The process to return a fugitive from Mexico to the U.S. can take between 24 to 48 hours. That means Ethan Couch could be back in North Texas very soon if there are no problems with the paperwork. As for his mother, Tarrant County Sheriff’s investigators still have to determine if she was allegedly involved in her son’s decision to take off and hide in Mexico.

 

 

 

Be Merry at the U.S. Post office

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The post office has been my second home for the past few weeks. I’m busy sending out Christmas gifts to friends and family. Twice during my visits, I have witnessed people burst through the post office doors, looking at the long line of customers and start verbally abusing the postal clerks.

Stop it!

Stop blaming the post office clerks for the lack of workers at the counter and for the long line of customers. Can we say budget cuts? And have these idiots forgotten that the internet and lack of business has forced the U.S. Postal Service to tighten its budget and that means having fewer workers dealing with customers at the post office.

Here’s my recommendation. The next time you go to the post office and you get to the counter, smile and ask the clerk how they are doing, and say “thank you” before you leave. They are hard workers who deserve our respect.

Happy Holidays!

Mercado Bilingüe, the small Dallas newspaper with a big vision for our Latino community

It’s nice to see that two of my stories have made the front page of  Mercado Bilingüe’s online site. One was about the impact of Pope Francis’ visit and the other about a Texas group fighting to get water breaks for construction workers.

But this blog is actually a big shout out to Mercado Bilingüe and Editor-and-Chief Phillip Morales who allows me to write opinion pieces and cover stories that affect our DFW Latino community. Something I’ve always wanted to do as a journalist.

A while back I realized Mercado Bilingüe was making an impact in North Texas. It is a small weekly newspaper but one with a big vision. The vision is to cover stories that mainstream media often ignores. Stories that are impacting Latinos and their families. You can also read Mercado Bilingüe online.

When I worked in local television news in Dallas, doing a positive story on Latinos was nearly impossible. Breaking news and blood and guts feeds the local television news beast every day. The only Latinos I covered as a TV reporter were those accused of committing a crime or victims. I also covered many immigration stories. That was my job and I was good at it.

But Latinos are more than stories about immigration and undocumented workers.  We’re business leaders, scientists, doctors, lawyers, community leaders, teachers, fundraisers and much more. We are contributing every day in local neighborhoods and businesses.

Today small news outlets around the country like Mercado Bilingüe are giving readers, even non-Latinos a good and important choice. Would you rather watch another local crime story on television or read a story in Mercado Bilingüe that can inspire and empower you as a person?

I also applaud Morales for embracing this veteran news woman. At a time when many news managers are actually posting jobs that read “Looking for a young eager reporter to cover…”, Morales realizes that age has nothing to do with good journalism.

Funny story, a local newspaper manager turned me down for work because he claimed I didn’t have enough newspaper experience.  My decades of experience in television news didn’t count for him. Yes, doors are closed even for women like me with 50 journalism awards and nominations.

My last bit of good news, I will be covering the 2016 Presidential race for Mercado Bilingüe. I love politics. As Latinos we are a huge voting block and I will be finding out what the candidates have planned for us.