Music Musings: Ariana Grande ft. Iggy Azalea “Problem”

Every so often, a singer comes along that forms an immediate, tangible connection with her or his fans.  They possess that unique combination of talent, dedication and relevance which allows them to become the voice of their generation.  For younger millennials  one of those voices seems destined to be Ariana Grande.

A native of Florida, the singer actually got her start in theater, landing a banner role on Broadway at the tender age of thirteen.  From there, she went to Nickelodeon, starring in hit shows Victorious and Sam and Kat.  Before belting a single professional note, Grande was on her way to becoming a pop phenom with a legion of fans.

But with a pop-friendly vocal tone and four octave range (particularly strong in the whistle register), music was never too far away.  Ariana has a very active YouTube channel, and posted several covers of songs by Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston and other artists, sharing her voice with the world.  It all proved to be a great lead-in to her  debut album Yours Truly, which spawned the smash hit The Way.

Now, Grande is back with her Sophomore effort, and it’s lead single Problem featuring rapper Iggy Azalea. This is a catchy tune that proves a nice venue for Grande to show off a nice power range in her upper register, along with some other vocal skills. Though she’s often compared to Mariah Carey due to the strength of her whistle register, Problem further reveals the singer’s voice as a true soprano with a strong head voice.

But enough with the musician’s speak. Take a listen to Problem and see what you think…


HPD Just Not Investigating Some Crimes… At All!

HPD is coming under intense scrutiny after a recent report showed that the department is way under-staffed to handle a mounting case load.  But after Houston Police Chief Charles McClelland’s statements this week, that’s clearly NOT the only problem.  Here’s the story from Mike Morris of the Houston Chronicle

Defending his department’s failure to investigate thousands of crimes last year, Police Chief Charles McClelland on Thursday said the understaffed Houston Police Department does not and should not have a goal of aggressively probing every crime reported to it.

“We work violent crimes first. If someone steals your trash can or your lawn mower out of your garage, there are no witnesses, there’s no evidence, there’s nothing for a detective to follow up on, it’s not assigned,” McClelland, a 37-year veteran of HPD, told City Council members during a budget hearing. “There has never been a time that I have been employed there that the Houston Police Department has had the capacity to investigate every crime that’s been reported to the agency.”

It was the chief’s first public comment since a city-commissioned study showed the department did not investigate 20,000 crimes with workable leads in 2013. The vast majority of the cases were burglaries and thefts, but also included 3,000 assaults and nearly 3,000 hit-and-runs.


Basically, Chief McClelland just admitted some cases will NEVER get investigated.  The way he talks here, HPD could care less about a person’s apartment break-in and stolen TV, because apparently they’ve got more important things to do.

Sorry Chief, but this is unacceptable.  All the time that our officers spend setting up speed traps around town, and sitting in one spot for hours to catch a couple of lead foot drivers?  All the time they spend patrolling the same 5 blocks in Montrose to profile bar patrons or nab a petty drug bust, while cars and homes are getting robbed a couple of streets away?  Surely there is a better way.

As a victim of police profiling myself, I simply have to call on HPD, Houston City Council and Mayor Annise Parker to not accept this answer.  Of course no department will be perfect… as fellow blogger Off the Kuff states, we all understand that the realities of police work call for prioritization.  But one would hope the police would always strive is to leave no stone unturned for the safety of all Houstonians.  It’s a shame that the city’s top law enforcement officer doesn’t seem to agree.  Houston deserves better than lowered expectations.  I hope the police chief figures that out, or can devise a better way to explain what’s going on in the department. His current job and any future positions may depend on it.


Houston HPD’s Staffing Crisis

No matter where you live, what you do or who you hang out with in the city of Houston, crime is something that affects everyone.  We all want to live in a safe environment.  But according to a new internal report, Houston is not as safe as it could be, and sadly not as safe as other Texas major cities.  Here’s the story from Mike Morris and James Pinkerton of the Houston Chronicle

The Houston Police Department, already reeling from a scandal involving shoddy work in its homicide unit, was dealt another blow Monday when a report revealed that some 20,000 burglary, theft, assault and hit-and-run cases with workable leads were not investigated in 2013.

The authors of the city-commissioned study surveyed HPD division commanders who revealed “excessively high numbers of cases with leads that were not investigated in 2013 due to a lack of personnel.”

The report noted that 15,000 burglaries and thefts, 3,000 assaults and nearly 3,000 hit-and-runs were not investigated last year. The data was based on monthly HPD management reports of cases with workable leads.

The study’s findings arrived at a critical time for HPD. The Houston Chronicle on Sunday reported on almost two dozen homicide cases dating back a decade that were barely investigated by HPD detectives. That scandal erupted earlier in the year when eight detectives were disciplined for their lack of work on the cases.

The article went on to note that Houston’s crime rate is significantly above other major cities in Texas, even when factoring in population differences.  Basically, we have more almost three times the number of violent crimes reported in the Bayou City than in the next nearest large city.  21,610 violent crimes were reported for Houston in 2012… while only 8,380 were reported in the city of Dallas.  This is evidence that Houstonians are living in a time where we need a strong HPD more than ever.  Here’s more from the Chronicle…

“When we have tens of thousands of cases with solvability factors, with leads, where suspects could be arrested, that simply shouldn’t be happening in the city,” [Council Member C.O.] Bradford said. “I am not shocked, because we don’t have the personnel to do it.” Bradford said he favors hiring 1,500 new officers, but said 800 – at a cost of $80 million – would be a starting point. HPD currently has 5,100 officers

Mayor Annise Parker said her administration has taken a number of steps to have more of the city’s officers investigating crimes, but added that “massive” funding is on the horizon.

“We investigate everything we have the capacity to investigate,” Parker said. “We need more police officers. The only way we can have more police officers is to have more tax revenue to pay for them. We have done an extraordinarily good job of utilizing every resource, putting more officers back on the street, doing all these really innovative things to maximize it, but ultimately, that’s just kept us treading water.”

This is a compounding situation, as job stress/ overworking is inextricably linked to other HPD issues.  For those few police that are out there, the stress of having such a huge workload can’t be good for their job effectiveness. We see that stress through a constant stream of difficulties for the department, including incidents of unfair treatment to citizens, profiling and even police brutality.

It’s never going to be politically popular to entertain the thought of raising taxes on hard-working Houstonians, but this report shows HPD bordering on a staffing crisis.  All options to provide for the safety of Houston’s citizens should be on the table. As most are aware, HPD is far from the only police force in the city of Houston.  Mayor Parker has done some “stream-lining” with other agencies like METRO Police, school district officers and other law enforcement entities.  But we’re still falling far short of what needs to happen.

The report is an important first step… we can’t truly fix a problem until we understand it thoroughly.  But now that the knowledge is out there, let’s hope that this becomes a top priority of Houston City Council.

Off the Kuff and the Chron’s Lisa Falkenberg have more on this shocking report.

Texoblogosphere: Week of June 2nd

The Texas Progressive Alliance celebrates the passage of the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance as it brings you this week’s roundup.

Off the Kuff tries to figure out what the runoff results might mean for November.

Libby Shaw at Texas Kaos is disgusted by the low blow campaign tactics employed during this election cycle. Where are the issues? Texas GOP: No Blow is too Low. Bring on the Boats, Hoes and Abortion Barbie.

Letters from Texas contemplates the existential dilemma of Log Cabin Republicans.

Horwitz at Texpatriate laments the state of Texas after Dan Patrick moves one step closer to the Lieutenant Governor’s office.

How much does it cost for Greg Abbott to change his mind? PDiddie at Brains and Eggs is glad you asked! That’s on sale right now for $350,000, and if you buy before the end of the month, he might be flexible on the price.

After a landmark week in local politics, Texas Leftist shares the true importance of passing the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance. It’s not just about preventing discrimination. HERO actually makes Houston a safer city as well.

WCNews at Eye on Williamson points out that Congressman John Carter (R-Round Rock) didn’t care about the problems at the VA until he thought he could score political points with them, Carter Knew About VA Problems Back In 2012.

CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme wonders if your local paper was pushing the propaganda for the energy oligarchs. The Dallas Morning News, as well as others, did.

Neil at All People Have Value offered support to folks protesting against the huge wasteful amount of money being spent on World Cup soccer in Brazil while basic needs go unmet. Neil says the real money needs to go to everyday people and not only the well-connected few. All People Have Value is part of

And here are some posts of interest from other Texas blogs.

Nonsequiteuse relates a sadly too common tale of street harassment.

Grits worries about the high number of child abuse rulings that are subsequently overturned on appeal.

Todo Texas wonders who the next batch of rising Latino political stars in Texas will be once the Castro brothers go national.

Texas Vox notes the correlation between smart subsidies for solar energy and job growth.

The Lunch Tray pens a letter to Michelle Obama.

Texas Watch gives five things you need to do to get ready for hurricane season.

PTA Mom asserts that everything she needed to know about politics she learned from school board elections.

Juanita tells the best story ever about Pat Robertson and Saran Wrap.

And finally, BeyondBones commemorates the Normandy invasion on its 70th anniversary.