Spent Saturday in Abingdon, VA. I loved it. We went to the Barter Theater and saw the musical “Jimmie Rodgers.” It is IMG_4116based on the life of the father of country music, Jimmie Rodgers, the blues yodler. I didn’t even know who Jimmie Rodgers was before the show and now I am in love! He inspired people like Elvis Presley, Jhonny Cash and hundreds of others.

We hung out in Abingdon all day, which is only a few miles from Bristol, TN. I learned the area is part of what is known as The Crooked Road: Virginia’s Heritage Music Trial.

It was a big day in Abingdon with Plum Alley festival and a concert that eveing. We tried to make it to plum alley after the show but we missed it by 20 minutes. Who ends festivals at 3 pm anyway?

We passed by the Martha Washington Hotel. Built in 1832 like all things in Abingdon, it has an incredible story. Once a women’s college and a hospital during the civil war, it is now a spa and hotel and a major landmark on Main Street in Abingdon.

We walked around town, had an amazing Southen style dinner, shopped in antique stores and then rocked it out at the Memorial Day concert featuring The Teems (sp?). This group of Motown style singers had the entire town dancing. I even boogied the night away with my new friend Eddy.

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Hooray to Abingdon. Nicest people on the planet… more pictures to come…

Recently I took a road trip to Southern Virginia. It’s about a four hour drive from Washington D.C. As we got closer to our destination we started taking the small country roads to see the “ancient” road side attractions and some historical landmarks.

IMG_4071I love road trips, especially when I don’t have to drive. I have always dreamed of taking a big road trip down Route 66, stopping at all the classic road side attractions like the blue whale and the Wigwam village.

So when I had the opportunity to experience Route 11 in south west Virginia, I was excited. We stopped to see great places cities like Lexington, attractions like Foamhedge, something called Cowboys versus Dinosaur and Natural Bridge were I met this guy.

This is Archibald Tolley, well a wax version of him that I found at gift shop at Natural Bridge. He lived in the recess of Natural Bridge and in his 91 years he is credited of killing over 265 bears. IMG_4082

We hung out at the shop for a while. I took my picture with some massive stuffed bears and saw a bunch of stuff some people must like, such as miniatures, john deer items and a whole lot of knickknacks.

One of my fave pictures form the trip came from the campus of Washingon Lee Univeristy. Founded in 1749, it is named for both George Washington and Robert E. Lee. Washington provided the univeristy an endowment of $20,000 in 1796 to save the school. After the Civil War Robert E. Lee took over as President of the university and held increase the popularity of the educational institution.

I am not exactly sure what I took a picture of. I just knew it looked cool, a sunset in Lexington, VA.

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The entire area is full of Civil War history, trails and museums. Robert E. Lee is in fact buried on the campus.

It’s ironic that on Memorial Day weekend I accidently visit Lee’s burial ground. On Monday his original home in Arlington, VA will be the focus of many Memorial Day ceremonies. Lee’s home, Arlington House, once stood on the land that now houses Arlington National Cementary. The cementary was estabilished during the Civil War. Some say the reason the land, previously owned by George Washington, became a cementary is that President Lincoln wanted to make sure Lee understood what he was responsible for as General of the Confederates, so they started buring dead Union soilders on his land.

We pray and are thankful for all the sacrafices of all the brave men and women who serve and protect our great nation. Now off to enjoy my last day in south west VA…. Happy Memorial Day!

With the departure of to Justice David H. Souter from the Supreme Court much has been made about the possibility of President Obama nominating the first Hispanic to the bench. Most of the attention has been focused on the NewYorkRican Judge Sonia Sotomayor. She was first nominated by President George H.W. Bush and then later by President Clinton.

Here is a great conversation on Bloggingheads.tv highlighting conservative objections to Sotomayor: The (possibly phony) controversy over Judge Sonia Sotomayor

While the Bronx native, Sotomayor, is the most talked about Hispanic, a group called Hispanics for a Fair Judiciary wants to remind the President, and America there is more the one choice, “82 Hispanics currently serve as federal judges or on state courts” according to a report in C.Q.

Also, here are some great reads about Sotomayor and the situation at hand:

Hispanic Business: Judge Sonia Sotomayor a Frontrunner to Replace Souter on High Court

The New Republic: The Case Against Sotomayor

Esquire Magazine: Sonia Sotomayor: Obama’s Supreme Court Replacement for Souter?

Everywhere I turn I hear about a new group doing Hispanic outreach, this time is the Scouts (Boys and Girls). In an article in yesterday’s Sun-Sentinel it outlines what the organization, which is about to reach its’ 100th year, is trying to do to keep up with the changing demographics. The Boy Scouts launched a $1 million pilot program to boost membership. The Girl Scouts have added Dulce De Leche to their cookies and much more.

Here is an excerpt from the article: Scouts reaching out to Hispanics to grow troops

LAKE CLARKE SHORES – The Boy Scouts turned Richard Hernandez from a gang leader into a troop leader. Now, the tattooed 28-year-old Eagle Scout wants to make sure Hispanic youths don’t make the same mistakes he did.

Hernandez is helping create the first all-Latino Boy Scout troop in Palm Beach County. He’s the kind of guy the Boy Scouts are looking for to keep the 99-year-old Scouting tradition alive.

The country’s population is changing, and Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts feel they need to change too if they want to keep bringing in new members. They’re reaching out to the Hispanic community to grow along with the booming minority population.

“We’re changing with the times,” said Marcos Nava, national director of Hispanic initiatives for the Boy Scouts of America. “We mostly serve white, middle-class families and we’re not staying in par with the growth in the
country.

“The Boy Scouts of America launched a $1 million pilot program this year to boost Hispanic membership in six U.S. cities, including Orlando. It’s the national council’s latest effort to attract minority groups and the plan is to
double Hispanic membership over the next year through bilingual outreach to parents and community leaders.

Recent numbers show that Hispanic Boy Scouts make up about 3 percent of the nation’s 3 million Scouts. By comparison, 14.7 percent of the national population is Hispanic, according to 2007 U.S. Census estimates….(MORE)

I know as a young child I really wanted to join the scouts. My VERY traditional Hispanic grandparents, who really ran the show at home, would have nothing of it. Sleep overs were not allowed, period. So alas, I never got my scout experience but my Primahermana’s children are all scouts. They have honor badges, go on trips, force me to buy one too many Girl Scout cookies and even have sleep-overs (usually at their house, we haven’t changed that much!)

The new more “Americanized” generation is experiencing this great American tradition. And we all know anything made with Dulce De Leche has to be good.

A new survey based on residents of New York state provides some interesting (albeit, not new) information about the Hispanic/Latino population. The poll shows that an overwhelming majority of Latinos who identify themselves as Democrats, consider themselves conservative and are strong conservatives on social issues like same-sex marriage and abortion.

Some of the more interesting points are:

  • 18 percent of Latinos in New York identify themselves as liberal, 21 percent moderate and 31 percent conservative.
  • The favorite group for Latinos to join was a church (35 percent) and the least favorite was a political club (3 percent).
  • Only 26 percent of those surveyed think abortion should be legal in most or all cases.

Studies show that Latinos vote largely on kitchen table issues like the economy and education and not on social issues. Like in most of the country many Hispanics in NY feel Democrats better represent their interests in these areas. (Read the rest of the article here. )

The GOP has done a spotty job on communicating to the American public, and especially the Latino community, their agenda on how to improve on these important day to day issues.

Most of my life I have heard the 1979 Ronald Regan saying “Hispanics are Republicans, they just don’t know it yet.” While this might be true, it will be a tough conversion as long as the GOP is still known as the party for “los ricos” (the rich) and the Democrats are though of as the party for “los trabajadores” (the workers, the poor.) (this is for social, cultural and religious reaons.) It doesn’t help that many of our leaders try to keep a doubles arms length between them and Spanish or Hispanic-focused media.

The most important thing that I see in this poll and similar studies is the ever growing Hispanic conservative base. Many people aren’t commenting on it, but if you look at the last few Presidential elections the Hispanic GOP electorate is growing. While there will always be swing voters, there is most definetly a foundation to grow something much larger and stronger.