I recently read the following about the State of Virginia in Vernon Parrington’s Pulitzer Prize winning The Romantic Revolution In America 1820-1860—” The navigable rivers of the tidewater region were favorable to the development of a decentralized economics, and despite royal commands to create adequate seaports and heavy taxes….trading towns did not prosper. For two hundred years Virginia refused to create a native middleman group to handle its staples….Each planter insisted on putting hogsheads of tobacco aboard ship at his own wharf, and receiving his merchandise direct from London.”
You can look at the above image of Virginia and see the many rivers on the right hand side of the map. They flow into Chesapeake Bay. Each of those rivers had many inlets and tributaries and this allowed people to set up farms and plantations on navigable waterways. So located, plantation masters could bypass cities and do business for themselves.
However, when I look at the many rivers of Eastern Virginia, what I see is that these rivers flow into the same place. Right into Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. Beyond that, the fact is that the distinctions between oceans are man-made, and that all the world’s salt water is connected. Look at this map and you’ll see what I mean.
When folks wanted to protect ill-gotten profits and defend slavery, they saw the world as disconnected. When we are looking for brotherhood and sisterhood, we see that all rivers flow into the same sea.
Above is a picture of a home in Martinsville, Indiana of a Confederate flag on the flog pole and an Obama sign on the lawn.
The wife is an Obama supporter and the husband, who seems to be source of the flag, does not vote. The wife says the husband is a “non-conformist” rather than a racist.
Here is information about Martinsville. It was once called the “Goldfish capital of the world.” Apparently there are many fisheries in Martinsville that distribute fish around the globe.
Below is Martinsville from the air. Just under 12,000 people lived in the city in 2000.
It might seem like just another small town. But all people are unique in some way.
Or, if not quite unique, at least not entirely predictable.
As Planet Mercury Is More Interesting Than We Knew, Maybe The Same Holds True For People In Our Lives
A NASA probe says the planet Mercury is more lively than people imagine.
It’s more than just a dusty black and white place. That’s been the image of Mercury over the years. Now we know that there is blue stuff (Above) on Mercury and that it was once a volcanic hotbed—
“Astronomers used to dismiss Mercury, the planet closest to the sun, as mere “dead rock,” little more than a target for cosmic collisions that shaped it, said MIT planetary scientist Maria Zuber. “Now, it’s looking a lot more interesting,” said Zuber, who has experiments on the Messenger probe. “It’s an awful lot of volcanic material.” New images of filled-in craters — one the size of the Baltimore-Washington area and filled in with more than a mile deep of cooled lava — show that 3.8 to 4 billion years ago, Mercury was more of a volcanic hotspot than the moon ever was, Zuber said. But it isn’t just filled-in craters. Using special cameras, the probe showed what one scientist called “the mysterious dark blue material.” It was all over the planet. That led Arizona State University geologist Mark Robinson to speculate that the mineral is important but still unknown stuff ejected from Mercury’s large core in the.”
Maybe as we learn that Mercury is more than we imagined, there are people in our lives that we need to reconsider. People may have previously unknown talents or insights that we have simply missed over the years.
Think about somebody you know and give them a new look.
This all took place in the years after the terrible Hurricane of 1900. The 1900 hurricane killed many thousands of people.
In Galveston it says this—”In 1886, a commission of city leaders considered building a seawall to protect Galveston Island. Citizens rejected this proposal because it seemed costly and unnecessary.”
When folks are voting this year on the absurd idea to do away with the income tax in Massachusetts, or voting for McCain because they just can’t accept a black President, think about the folks in Galveston in 1886. If they had been a bit more forward looking they would have likely escaped a great tragedy.
Please think before you vote.
(Below–Galveston in 1900)
A kind Texas Liberal reader by the name of Kathleen has e-mailed me asking the results of recent Presidential elections in Texas.
You will see that Texas has voted Democratic for President just once since Lyndon Johnson of Texas left the White House. Regretfully, 2008 seems likely to continue that pattern.
Here is how Texas has voted for President since 1948.
Truman (D) 65.4%
Dewey (R) 24.6%
Thurmond (Dixiecrat) 9.3%
Eisenhower (R) 53.1%
Stevenson (D) 46.7%
Eisenhower (R) 55.3%
Stevenson (D) 44.0%
Kennedy (D) 50.5%
Nixon (R) 48.5%
(Below–Richard Nixon in World War II.)
Johnson (D) 63.3%
Goldwater (R) 36.5%
Humphrey (D) 41.1%
Nixon (R) 39.9%
Wallace (I) 19.0%
Nixon (R) 66.2%
McGovern (D) 33.3%
Carter (D) 51.1%
Ford (R) 48.0%
Reagan (R) 55.3%
Carter (D) 41.4%
Anderson (I) 2.5%
Reagan (R) 63.6%
Mondale (D) 36.1%
Bush (R) 56.0%
Dukakis (D) 43.3%
Bush (R) 40.6%
Clinton (D) 37.1%
Perot (Reform) 22.0%
(Below–Clinton, Bush and Perot in 1992.)
Dole (R) 48.8%
Clinton (D) 43.8%
Perot (Reform) 6.7%
Bush (R) 59.3%
Gore (D) 38.0%
Nader (G) 2.2%
Bush (R) 61.1%
Kerry 38.2 %
(Below–George W. Bush)
Thanks to Kathleen for the question.
I have many reference sources on politics and would be happy to reply to any question on American political history that you the blog reader might have. Just leave a question in the comment space.
Thank you for reading Texas Liberal.
( Please click here for one of the most popular posts ever on Texas Liberal—Blog Readers Demand To Know What Is Done With Shamu’s Body After He Dies.)
I just read that in Mississippi party identification is not on the ballot. This is a concern for some Democrats because many first time voters are expected in Mississippi.
(Here is information about visiting Jackson, Mississippi. The photo above is of the statehouse in Jackson.)
(Here is information about visiting other spots in Mississippi.)
I’d just like to pass on that former Governor Ronnie Musgrove is the Democrat on the ballot in Mississippi.
The Mississippi Democratic Party could stand to improve the quality of its web home.
I urge my fellow Southerners in Mississippi to study who the Democrats are on the ballot before voting. A new day is coming in Mississippi and in America and you want to be certain to be a full part of the change.
Yesterday I parked my car in Downtown Houston. I took a nice walk to Discovery Green Park.
When I got back to my car, I saw that a big S.U.V, a gas guzzler that helps our enemies abroad, was parked in front of me. The license plate was a U.S. Congress license plate that strongly suggested that the Congressperson for Texas House District 8 owned the car.
This is Republican Kevin Brady.
Sitting in my car, I turned around and saw Congressman Brady trying to pay the solar power powered parking meter.
The meters can be a bit difficult if you do not use them often. Mr. Brady seemed to be having a bit of difficulty.
I was watching him and hoping he would become enraged with the meter. I was hoping he would give up and not pay. Maybe even spit on the thing. Then I could could leap out of my car and ask Mr. Brady if he loved America enough to pay the parking meter. How can Houston pay for police to protect decent citizens of our community if Congressman Brady does not pay the parking meter?
Alas, Mr. Brady did pay the meter. He messed around with it for about two minutes and then paid up.
Who would want to run for public office when your every move is watched by crazed bloggers?
Who is running for the Texas Supreme Court? Who is currently on the court?
There are three Democrats running for the Texas Supreme Court in 2008. The current Court consists of nine Republicans and zero Democrats. Three of the nine seats are up for election this year.
Even if you are not a liberal such as myself, do you think a court of nine Texas Republicans will rule in a way that helps average people in Texas? I think only a hard right partisan would hold such a view.
Electing the three Democrats on the ballot in 2008 would simply restore a measure of balance to the Texas Supreme Court.
The three Democrats are Jim Jordan for Chief Justice.
Texas Watch discusses here the bias on the current court in favor of insurance companies and polluters.
How can nine justices of one party, and zero justices of the other party, be good for our democracy and for our State of Texas?
Yestrerday I early voted at the Harris County Administration building (above) located at 1001 Preston Avenue in Downtown Houston, Texas.
The electronic voting gizmo, which I feel is programmed to flip all my votes to the Republican Party, allowed me to vote in Vietnamese—
(Sunset in a Vietnamese fishing village called Mui Ne)
…And in Spanish as well.
( Below is Valparaiso, Chile.)
If English is the official language of the United States, how come I can vote in Vietnamese and Spanish in a right wing place like Texas? We’ve even been at war with Vietnam and Spain in the past.
I’m glad we have the ability to make peace with former enemies. We are all brothers and sisters.
I’m very glad I got the chance to vote for a black man named Barack H. Obama for President of the United States. That is what I call progress.
( Below–Blacks voting in 1867. Here is a history of Reconstruction. )
I voted for each Democrat on the ballot. Though I did not use the straight party ticket button. I enjoy voting and I went down and selected the name of each candidate.
I’ve written before, and still assert, that the straight ticket voter is possibly the most rational voter of all. Party identification serves as a kind of shorthand for voters to be able to navigate the large number of issues we confront in our complex society.
However, we do retain the right not to support all the candidates of our favored political party. Inevitably, some will be hard to take.
I paused over the names of Michael Skelly for the 7th U.S. House district from Texas and David Mincberg for the office of Harris County Judge Executive.
Mr. Skelly has campaigned in large part on the false issues of earmark reform and a balanced budget. These are irresponsible postions at a time when swift and decisive action from government is needed to bring our economy back to health.
Here is what Nobel Prize winning New York Times columnist recently said about government’s role in our economic recovery—
….there’s a lot the federal government can do for the economy. It can provide extended benefits to the unemployed, which will both help distressed families cope…It can provide emergency aid to state and local governments, so that they aren’t forced into steep spending cuts that both degrade public services and destroy jobs. It can buy up mortgages (but not at face value, as John McCain has proposed) and restructure the terms to help families stay in their homes. And this is also a good time to engage in some serious infrastructure spending, which the country badly needs in any case. The usual argument against public works as economic stimulus is that they take too long: by the time you get around to repairing that bridge and upgrading that rail line, the slump is over and the stimulus isn’t needed. Well, that argument has no force now, since the chances that this slump will be over anytime soon are virtually nil. Will the next administration do what’s needed to deal with the economic slump? Not if Mr. McCain pulls off an upset. What we need right now is more government spending — but when Mr. McCain was asked in one of the debates how he would deal with the economic crisis, he answered: “Well, the first thing we have to do is get spending under control.”
If Mr. Skelly’s opponent has been bringing earmarks to this district, that is one way we would be better served by keeping the incumbent. Regretfully, the incumbent is quite far to the right.
David Mincberg has been running a tone deaf negative campaign against the Republican incumbent. After so many years of Republican rule in Harris County, there are so many unmet needs and things to to be done. Why don’t we hear about some of that? Instead, what we are getting are attacks against incumbent that are simply not going to resonate with the public after his very visible role during Hurricane Ike.
Also, Mr. Mincberg has a campaign sign—one so big that it needs to be propped up from behind with rods—located on the right of way on a 610 feeder road near the Galleria. I’d like to take that sign and nail it to the side of Mr. Mincberg’s house. (I won’t though. And don’t you either.)
I did in the end vote for Mr. Skelly and Mr. Mincberg. Though I’m not sure that was the right course. There is little doubt these men would be better than the incumbents. But from my view, as a liberal who has lived in a city all his life and had my vote taken for granted by Democrats who deliver little, both Mr.Skelly and Mr. Mincberg send up warning flags.
It’s not about ideological differences. There are only two main political parties for 300 million people and a big tent is required. It’s about the issues you choose to focus on and how you campaign. There is plenty of room for political creativity and correct behavior in even the most Republican of constituencies.
In contrast to Mr. Skelly and Mr. Mincberg, there were votes I was glad to cast—
Rick Noriega for the United States Senate—Mr. Noriega will be quite a contrast to the far right incumbent. He has served his country in war and is now ready to serve in Washington. Also, his wife has been known to visit this blog.
Ellen Cohen for the Texas House District 134—It is good that Ms. Cohen appears to have an easy race after banishing the lousy Martha Wong in 2006.
Loren Jackson for Harris County District Clerk—Mr. Jackson is very honest, never puts a campaign sign in the public space, and once gave me a campaign tee-shirt. Below is a picture of Mr. Jackson. If you see him be certain to shake his hand and to tell him you share his commitment to freedom.
Along with a picture of a fishing boat I took in Corpus Christi, Texas earlier this year, here are some quick Sunday links.
Corpus Christi is a nice place to spend a weekend.
Have a great week ahead and thank you for reading Texas Liberal.
I’m very glad to be a Cincinnati Queer Blogger. If you go to QueerCincinnati.com and look on the right side blogroll, you’ll see that Texas Liberal has an honored place as a Cincinnati Queer Blogger.
( Here is my post about attending a half gay wedding in Cincinnati. Isn’t it disgusting that we put of the matter of gay people getting married on the ballot? How would you like to have your most basic rights voted on? Do you think all rights for Muslims would pass if they were placed on the ballot? People have essential freedoms that need to be protected. We have a right to the relationships we want in this brief and brutal life.)
It’s great to have this connection to my longtime hometown and to this fine blog. As I never tire of telling folks, I was a Stonewall Cincinnati endorsed candidate for the Cincinnati Board of Education in 1997.
Thank you QueerCincinnati.
( Above is a snowy day in Cincinnati. In the center left is the corner of Martin Luther King & Eden. I lived on that corner for a couple of years. The smoke stack is from a power plant used by the nearby University of Cincinnati. How could I have known when I was on that corner in my college years that I’d someday be living in the semi-tropics of Houston and dealing with hurricanes?)
I’d also like to thank my friend Teddy at Left Of College Stationfor the number of times he has linked to me in recent weeks. Teddy keeps on figthing despite being in an epicenter of the right in College Station, Texas.
Patti at Texas Education sent me a nice e-mail a few weeks back and I have been very slow to respond. I apologize for this transgression. Patti does a great job and I promise I’ve not forgotten her.
Perry at Brains & Eggs, written here in Houston, often gives me a link. Perry is a senior statesman among Texas political bloggers and a link from him is a strong endorsement that you’re doing a good job.
It’s been nice to have comments here from Tiffany who has just begun a blog of her own called What You Got Tired Of Reading On MySpace. I hope she sticks with the blogging and I’ll add her to my blogroll this week.
Jobsanger in Amarillo always does good work. Please read his blog often.
Finally, let me say hello to my friend Lunchcountersitin at All Other Persons out of Washington, D.C. The October 24 post on All Other Persons about the need of the National Urban League to get more with the times in its advocacy is on target. Many times I’ve walked past the Urban League building in Houston and wondered just what it is those folks are doing.
It is great to have so many blogger friends.
Alan Greenspan admitted yesterday that he may have been wrong in some respects in his extreme free market approach to the American economy during his time as chairman of the Federal Reserve.
From Mr. Greenspan’s testimony yesterday before Congress—
“I made a mistake in presuming that the self interest of organizations, specifically banks and others, was such that they were best capable of protecting their own shareholders and the equity in the firms,” Greenspan said. Having run the… central bank from 1987 to 2006 — under…three Republicans and a Democrat — Greenspan acknowledged that views he’s long held are now in question. “The problem here is that something that looked to be a very solid edifice and indeed a critical pillar to market competition and free markets did break down. And that, as I said, shocked me and I don’t fully understand why it happened,” he said. “And to the extent I figure out where it happened and why, I will change my views. And if the facts change, I will change.” Word of Greenspan’s confession spread quickly in Washington, where until recently he was treated as royalty….”After years of confrontation about the role of government regulation, I’m glad to see he now recognizes that his ideas are flawed,” Sen. Bernie Sanders, an independent from Vermont and frequent Greenspan sparring partner, said in a statement.”
Less noticed yesterday was that former President Bill Clinton criticized his own administration’s handling of issues related to the world food supply—
“Former President Clinton told a U.N. gathering Thursday that the global food crisis shows “we all blew it, including me,” by treating food crops “like color TVs” instead of as a vital commodity for the world’s poor. Addressing a high-level event marking Oct. 16′s World Food Day, Clinton also saluted President Bush — “one thing he got right” — for pushing to change U.S. food aid policy. He scolded the bipartisan coalition in Congress that killed the idea of making some aid donations in cash rather than in food. Clinton criticized decades of policymaking by the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and others, encouraged by the U.S., that pressured Africans in particular into dropping government subsidies for fertilizer, improved seed and other farm inputs as a requirement to get aid. Africa’s food self-sufficiency declined and food imports rose.”
Free market policies, many of them quite extreme, regarding our most basic needs of money to live on and food to eat have failed. (Government oversight of these free market policies failed as well.)
Let’s hope that Senator Obama, if elected, and the newly strengthened Democratic Congress can make again the case for government’s—and by extension the average person’s— role in our economy and society. It’s clear that the old order has abdicated. For the moment at least. Now is the time for policies that favor people over greed in both the United States and the rest of the world.
Above is a tree in Downtown Houston knocked down by Hurricane Ike.
You always hear that when you fall down you should get up and start again.
That’s good advice. But I’m not so sure it is relevant for trees. When a tree is knocked down they cut it up and haul it away.
The Houston United Way is collecting donations to assist people in the recovery from Hurricane Ike.
In these last two weeks of the Presidential campaign, the two major party candidates only travel to states that they feel serve some purpose to visit. They only have so much time.
Senator Obama visits states he feels he has a chance to win.
Senator McCain, at least at this writing, goes where he feels must to spark a comeback or to keep up appearances.
Is this a course we should follow in life? Given that we only have so much time, should we only go to places where we are reasonably certain things will go well? Or, if things have gone wrong in life, should we allow ourselves to reach a point where we go places only because we feel we have no option?
It’s easy to go where we know things will be good. It’s easy to go somewhere because we feel we have no choice.
Politicians are practical to a fault. Most are at least. They will use what works and discard what does not.
I think a good course to follow is to go as many places in life as one can regardless of underlying circumstances. These places can be geographical locations, or mental places where you consider ideas outside your normal day-to-day thinking. This could also mean seeing people and talking to people that you do not normally speak with.
As a general rule, it is best to not behave as politicians do. This is for no small reason that politicians often feel they have little option to act beyond the narrow range allowed them by the general public.
As the candidates pursue their schedules for the needs of the moment and put forth ideas that they feel people want to hear, remember that you have a far wider range of options in your life.
Kronberg’s Quorum Report , which reports on Texas politics, posted today about early voting and a possible Democratic trend in Texas. The post is full of numbers that might make you sleepy and might be out of date within hours, but the upshot is that maybe U.S. Senate candidate Rick Noriega and Texas Democrats have a chance in 2008.
From the Report—
“Although two weeks is multiple lifetimes in politics… polls released today suggest the McCain campaign is collapsing. The Wall Street journal/NBC poll…this morning reported Obama with a ten point lead. A Pew Research Center poll says Obama is up by 14. These two polls contrast with the Real Clear Politics rolling average of polls that indicates a spread of 6.8%. However, if you factor in Libertarians and Greens, Obama’s lead is just shy of 10%. Combine that with this morning’s stunning Houston Chronicle endorsement of Rick Noriega over incumbent Republican John Cornyn, and the possibility of something serious looming in Texas becomes a more reasonable hypothesis. Unfortunately, since we are not considered a battleground state, there is a paucity of public statewide polling in Texas. Extrapolating is the order of the day. But consider these numbers. Both George W. Bush and Kay Bailey Hutchison won with 63% in 2004 and 2006 respectively. According to Real Clear Politics average, McCain is down by 9% at 53.7% in an average from September 29 to October 15. Obama tracked a little better than the historical Democratic base vote of 39%. No resources are being spent in Texas but considering the national trend lines and daily drumbeat of 500 point market losses, lets round it up and say McCain trails Bush and Hutchison’s number by an even 10% in public polling.It is not unreasonable to hypothesize that the ten point drop is moderate Republicans and independents that are at least up for grabs. Meanwhile, Rasmussen’s polls have not shown John Cornyn above 50% since last June. Throw the libertarian into the mix and anything can happen.”
You might think it is crazy to think that Texas is a prospect for Democrats in 2008, but consider the early Earth. It was a hellish place. It was a place inhospitable to any kind of intelligent life.
But in time things got much better.
Things can indeed get better.
And sometimes things can get better in less than a few billion years. They might get better sooner than you imagine.