Texas Liberal

All People Matter

So That People Can Have Jobs, I Avoid Doing Online What I Can Do With A Real Person In The Real World

To the extent it can be avoided, I never do online or on any automated system what can be done with a real person in the real world.

Working people need to help other working people keep their jobs. 

Some examples—

I don’t have direct deposit of my paycheck at work. The bank teller needs a job.

When I book a car rental, I do so over the phone and not by computer.

I take the real paper at home instead of only reading the online edition.  When I go out of town, I put delivery of the paper on hold by calling someone in the circulation department instead of doing it by computer. 

I try to buy things in stores and not online. I’m not perfect in this respect, but I do pretty good.

When I go to the racetrack with my father when visiting back home in Cincinnati, I use the ticket window staffed by a person to make a bet and not the automated ticket machine.

At the airport parking lot when it is time to pay up, I go to a booth with a person in it rather than to a  no-person exit.

When calling the cable company or the utlilty company, I hit the zero on my phone until I get a person.

I use computers in my life. I use technology in many different ways. I know many will value what they define as convenience over the the benefits of helping create work for people to do.

Some may need the savings that, sometimes, come from buying online. Though over the longer haul, when we have no work, it will be very hard to save money that we are not earning. 

I can’t do anything about what other people choose to do.

I’m simply saying that for myself, I try to use the services of human beings so that people will have jobs.

I ask you to please consider this course in your daily life to the extent  you feel you are able.

March 31, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Marjorie Grene—Existence Defined By Interactions With Wider World And Not By Self-Awareness

Marjorie Grene, a philosopher of biology, has died at age 98. Dr. Grene is pictured above.

I had not heard of Dr. Grene before reading her obituary in the New York Times earlier this week. 

Life is rough in that you can accomplish a lot, but the first thing you do noteworthy enough for many to take note of you is die. 

There was much of note in Dr. Grene’s life’s story. But the excerpt from her obituary that most caught my attention was this–

“She rejected Descartes’ belief that self-awareness defined the understanding of existence, arguing that meaning comes from interaction with the environment.”

This is excellent. The idea that an understanding of existence is based on interactions with the world around you, instead of on the narrow basis of simply being aware that you exist, is just the thing.

Folks—We’ve got to get out there and mingle in the world of people, places, and ideas. Just being aware of yourself is not enough.  

From the Times obituary—  

Marjorie Glicksman was born in Milwaukee on Dec. 13, 1910, and graduated from Wellesley College in 1931 as a zoology major. She then studied with Heidegger and Jaspers in Germany before earning her doctorate at Radcliffe. She taught at the University of Chocago where she met and married David Grene, a lauded classicist known for his translations of Greek tragedies….In 1944, she followed her husband’s dream and moved to an Illinois farm. As a farmer’s wife and the mother of two children, she got up early to study and write philosophy before beginning farm work. In 1952, the family moved to a farm in Ireland, where the routine continued….The farm life taught her a lesson, she wrote in “A Philosophical Testament” (1995): “Agricultural duties and critical philosophies didn’t mix.”… In Chicago, she had met Michael Polanyi, a distinguished physical chemist turned philosopher; she ended up helping him research and develop his important book “Personal Knowledge” (1958). The book proposed a far more nuanced, personal idea of knowledge, and directly addressed approaches to science

Please click here for the full Times obituary.

Here is the obituary from the Los Angeles Times

Here is a good blog post about Dr. Grene from World’s Fair.

It would be great to be paid to think as was Dr. Grene. Though it is also good that we all have the ability to think about our lives and world around us to a greater extent than we often realize. Maybe some of the ideas discussed on one of the links above will be a springboard to new thoughts of our own.

People are smarter than they grasp.

March 31, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Killer Whales Spotted In Gulf Of Mexico—Marine Mammal Reference Ideas

Killer Whales have been spotted in the Gulf of Mexico.

Below is a picture of killer whales seen in the Gulf of Mexico. Behind them you seen an oil rig which is pretty good evidence that you are looking at the Gulf of Mexico.

Here is information about the Gulf of Mexico.

Here is a link to YouTube video footage of killer whales in Texas waters.

Below is from the Houston Chronicle story on the killer whales

“Scientists say orcas have been in the Gulf for years but are rarely seen because they live far from shore and beyond the typical range of commercial fishermen. Still, a recent sighting of killer whales 95 miles off the Alabama coast has captivated those who work and play in the warm waters of the Gulf. “It was like being at Sea World because they’d come right up to the boat,” said Eddie Hall, captain of the Shady Lady, the charter boat that spotted as many as 200 orcas feeding on tuna. Hall recorded the close encounter on video, and the National Marine Fisheries Service confirmed that they were, indeed, killer whales. Tony Amos, a researcher with the University of Texas Marine Science Institute in Port Aransas, said confirmed sightings of orcas in the Gulf date back to at least 1985.”

The guy in the Chronicle story said that it was just like Sea World. Yes–It was just like Sea World except that the whales were free and not in a kind of sea jail in the form of a (sort of ) big tank.

A killer whale is not a whale. It is a kind of dolphin. It is a very big killer dolphin. Its presence in the Gulf is not so much a surprise when you consider that it is the most widespread of any whale or dolphin. Here is some discussion of the differences between whales and dolphins.

Killer Whales can grow up to 30 feet long and live up to 90 years. Female killer whales can hang on for 80 to 90 years while males make it between 50 and 60.

A great book on marine mammals is the National Audubon Society’s Guide To Marine Mammals of the World(Books remain the stronger source on very many issues and questions than what you are able to find on the internet. Please consider getting off the computer and reading a book.)

Here is a bit of what the Audubon Guide says about killer whales—

“The world population of killer whales seems to consist of specialized subpopulation, each adapted to live off the resources available within its home range. In this sense killer whales are much like wolves.”

A book I don’t own but that maybe someday I will is The Marine Mammals of the Gulf of Mexico.

There are many types of marine mammals in the Gulf of Mexico. Please click here for a list of such creatures.

The American Cetacean Society is a good on-line reference for marine mammals. You can find killer whale information at the ACS.

Here is the link to the Texas Marine Mammal Stranding Network.

March 30, 2009 Posted by | Books, Sea Life | , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Brownsville Sugar Mill Photo/Steam Turbine Painting

The photo above is of the inside of a sugar mill.

The image is from a collection of  of pictures taken along the South Texas border between 1900 and 1920. This photo was taken in Brownsville, Texas. 

Here is a link to the full collection.

The photographer was Robert Runyon.  His life story is interesting. 

Here is the proper credit for the photo —The Robert Runyon Photograph Collection, [image number, e.g., 00199], courtesy of The Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin.

Above is a picture of a machines. Below is a painting of machines. The name of the painting is Steam Turbine. It is from 1939 and was painted by Charles Sheeler.  

March 29, 2009 Posted by | Art, Texas, Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment

One World Flag Ideas

flags

At the blog Make Wealth History, my blogger comrade Jeremy recently posted the above images of designs for one-world flags that were created in response to a call from Adbusters magazine. 

I did not really like the winning flag in the contest—You can see it by clicking here. Though the idea behind the winning flag is useful enough.

I really don’t have any problem with most people in the world. I don’t feel a border exists between me and most people.

March 28, 2009 Posted by | Art | , , , | 7 Comments

Iraq & Afghanistan Veterans Have High Unemployment Rates

USA Today reports that 11.2% of veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan are currently unemployed

From the article—

“The economic downturn is hitting Iraq and Afghanistan veterans harder than other workers — one in nine are now out of work — and may be encouraging some troops to remain in the service, according to Labor Department records and military officials.

The 11.2% jobless rate for veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan and who are 18 and older rose 4 percentage points in the past year. That’s significantly higher than the corresponding 8.8% rate for non-veterans in the same age group, says Labor Department economist Jim Walker.”

This high unemployment is the thanks we offer as a nation for the service these veterans have offered.

Whether it be children, old folks, or veterans, the widespread expression of public sentiment in our society for any group of people is often the kiss of death. 

We often despise people who remind us of our potential weakness as individuals and who remind us of our obligations to others.

March 27, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | 7 Comments

Texas Senate Votes 31-0 To Let You Take Your Gun To Work

The Texas State Senate voted by 31-0 to allow people to take guns to work. 

Yep—31-0. The Democrats in the Senate voted for it as well. There are something 11 or 12 Democrats in the Senate. 

Note to Democrats—Thanks for nothing.

At current, employers have the right to ban guns on workplace property.

The measure will allow you take you gun and ammunition to work as long as you leave it in your car and as long as it is not visible in your car.

So after your layoff or after your fight with a co-worker, you’ll have a cooling down period of the time it takes you to get to your parking lot and find your car.

I wish it were so that when this law is passed by the malignancy known as the Texas Legislature and signed by our terrible governor, that every person who voted for it could be prosecuted as an accessory to murder when the first person with access to a gun at work kills somebody.

I would double-charge all the Democrats who voted for the bill since I expect nothing from Republicans in any event.

31-0. Imagine that.

March 27, 2009 Posted by | Politics, Texas | , , , , | 6 Comments

Houston Council Candidate Noel Freeman

Noel Freeman is running for At-Large position 4 on the Houston City Council. Mr. Freeman is a Democrat.

Above you see a picture of Mr. Freeman. He is in front of Houston City Hall. Mr. Freeman works for the Department of Public Works in Houston.

What was Mr. Freeman thinking while posing for this picture? He looks serious enough, but he might have been thinking of something silly.

I think Mr. Freeman was thinking about this truck full of puppies you see below.

File:Pupsinavan.jpg

Mr. Freeman first attracted my regal notice by making a friend request on Facebook. Blogging is an act of vanity and I’m glad for all attention.      

Mr. Freeman and I later exchanged messages on Facebook regarding the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library  in College Station, Texas. I’d mentioned I was thinking of visiting the library and Mr. Freeman said such a visit would be worth my time.

Reading about Mr. Freeman on Facebook, I learned he is a graduate of Texas A & M in College Station.  

Checking out his campaign web home, I learned he is a member of the Houston Area Stonewall Democrats.

I never get tired of telling people that I was a Stonewall Cincinnati endorsed candidate for the Cincinnati Board of Education in 1997.

Mr. Freeman is a former Republican who supported Barack Obama in 2008. He had a conversion. 

Below is how Michelangelo painted St. Paul’s conversion on the road to Damascus.

File:4paul1.jpg

 Mr. Freeman addressed his political switch in a comment on the Houston blog Dos Centavos.

I’ve linked to Mr. Freeman’s campaign web home up at the top of this post. You can see what he is saying. Of course what Mr. Freeman is saying at his web home is what many candidates for office in Houston say.

Mr. Freeman loves Houston. Mr. Freeman is for safe streets. Mr. Freeman is for a strong economy in Houston.

And that’s great—I’m glad Mr. Freeman has these views.  

Regular readers here know I have a longstanding concern that the Democratic Party in Houston—and in cities across the nation— use minority voters without offering much in return for the loyalty at the polls. I’ve also said that the concerns of Houston’s many poor people are ignored at election time.   

I’d like to see Mr. Freeman please address these issues. What will he do to make the Democratic party in Houston more responsive to the needs and hopes of all Houstonians?   

Houston is a Democratic city. Many council races this year will be fought out between Democrats. I’d like to know what Mr. Freeman sees as the role of the Democratic Party in Houston. 

Politics is at core an act of imagination. You envision something that does not yet exist and you work to make it real. What does Mr. Freeman see as undone in our city? There people in our city who are not on the agenda at City Hall. What will Mr. Freeman do to get them on the agenda?     

I recently met Mr. Freeman for the first time. He seems like an okay guy. He said if I had any questions I should get in touch. All righty—I can do that. I’m going to place the link to this post on his Facebook page and see what he says in reply. I’ll keep the blog reading public updated on this matter.  

(Below—The Bush Library in College Station.) 

File:BushLibrary.JPG

March 26, 2009 Posted by | Art, Houston, Politics | , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

That Train Has Left The Station

A favorite saying of mine is “That train has left the station”

Below are two pictures of trains leaving the station.

Here is a little train leaving the station at Kondoros in Hungary.  

And here is a train leaving the station in ShuangSi Township, Taiwan.

Below is a train leaving the dock in France . This could be a new saying— “That train has left the dock.”

March 25, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | 3 Comments

UTMB Rehiring—Why All The Layoffs To Start With?

The University of Texas Medical Branch is now hiring people back after massive layoffs in recent months

I’m glad about this. Though I’m still concerned about the future of UTMB in Galveston.

At the moment though, what I’d really like to know is why all the layoffs to start with? Surely there was some other more transparent way to do this that did not cause so much misery and anxiety for UTMB workers and for the people of Galveston.

March 25, 2009 Posted by | Galveston | , | 2 Comments

Texas Progressive Alliance Round-Up

The Texas Progressive Alliance of bloggers is hard at work serving you the blog reading public. Here is the latest round-up of TPA blogs. 

(Above–Pecos, Texas.)

The Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas is now saying that the economic downturn has landed full force in Texas. Spared from the worst job losses during the first 6 months of the current recession, Texas is shedding jobs at an alarming pace. Wcnews at Eye On Williamson looks at the trends and offers a sobering assessment of the hard-line-let-‘em-crash mentality of Gov. Rick Perry and the Texas GOP.

Off the Kuff points to a bill by state Rep. Dwayne Bohac to demonstrate that the push for voter ID really is about vote suppression.

If Republicans really cared about election integrity, then why do we still have non-auditable electronic voting machines? CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme wants to know.

BossKitty
at TruthHugger sees an opportunity to get a degree in the dark arts in If Texas HB-2800 Passes, I Want A Masters Degree In VooDoo.

In a post that took some work and came out well, Neil at Texas Liberal wrote about what Google searches miss. Also, Neil read the bird sermon of St. Francis to a dancing duck chicken.

Continue reading

March 25, 2009 Posted by | Blogging, Politics, Texas | , , , | Leave a comment

That Free Web Content You Enjoy Is Likely Costing Somebody A Job

The Economist has an editorial this week saying that the model of free web services sustained only by advertising revenue is for the most part not viable.

From the editorial—

The idea that you can give things away online, and hope that advertising revenue will somehow materialise later on, undoubtedly appeals to users, who enjoy free services as a result. There is business logic to it, too. The nature of the internet means that the barrier to entry for new companies is very low—indeed, thanks to technological improvements, it is even lower in the Web 2.0 era than it was in the dotcom era. The internet also allows companies to exploit network effects to attract and retain users very quickly and cheaply. So it is not surprising that rival search engines, social networks or video-sharing sites give their services away in order to attract users, and put the difficult question of how to make money to one side. If you worry too much about a revenue model early on, you risk being left behind.

Ultimately, though, every business needs revenues—and advertising, it transpires, is not going to provide enough. Free content and services were a beguiling idea. But the lesson … is that somebody somewhere is going to have to pick up the tab for lunch.

(Just as a note, I have a paid print subscription to The Economist.)

I’m glad The Economist ran this view because I often wonder how people think the web services they enjoy and use can operate if they are given for free. Even more so, I wonder how it has come to be that people feel entitled to use something for free.  

For all the financial  problems with newspapers these days, the problems are not the  result of a lack of readers. When you figure in web editions, more people are reading the newspaper—in one form or another—than ever before. It’s just that people are not willing to pay for the services they are using.

At core what folks want is something for nothing. The bottom line is not some type of information revolution or technology revolution. It’s the lure of something for nothing.

Content costs money to produce. People may think they are getting something for free–But what is really happening is that people are losing their jobs because nobody will pay up. This is the cost of so-called free content.

March 24, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | 9 Comments

Why I Oppose Legalizing Marijauna

I oppose the legalization of marijuana because I can’t imagine any more idiotic behavior taking place out in open society.  While I realize people already are smoking marijuana, making it legal would mean even more people would smoke marijuana and that public conduct would become even more dumb and offensive. 

I favor legalization of medical marijuana.

Every couple of weeks or so, I drive on a local highway here in Houston around midnight on a Saturday night. I don’t have much choice but to drive at that hour. I’m convinced at least 25% of the drivers I’m sharing the road with at that time are drunk or, at the least, have been drinking. Isn’t that enough? Do we now need stoned people (or even more stoned people) on the highway to go with the drunks and drag racers and assorted nuts?

Just look at how people behave as a general matter. Even when not drunk or stoned. Isn’t it rotten enough already? Should we legalize acts that will bring about even more bad public behavior? Aren’t things idiotic enough?   

I don’t favor harsh penalties for drug users. I support drug courts that work to get people to stop using drugs. 

I don’t want to have to share the public space with a bunch of stoned people when going out into the world is often maddening as it is. 

If you can find a way to legalize marijuana with a law that nobody can leave home while stoned, I might consider supporting that. By this I don’t mean not driving while stoned. But not being able to leave home at all while under the influence of marijuana—With a big fine for being out after smoking weed.

Stay the hell away from me when you are smoking weed.  There are enough hassles already. 

(Here is a history of marijuana use.)

March 24, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | 19 Comments

Do-It-Yourself Exiting On Houston Highways

200903221026.jpg 

The picture above of a Houston highway is a scene familiar to anybody who has spent time on Houston-area roads.

The picture shows cars leaving the highway because they are stuck in traffic or stuck behind an accident or some other delay.

Maybe this is something going on around the nation, but I sure don’t recall such actions in the years I lived in Cincinnati. I’ve not seen this anywhere else.

The highway has marked exits for a reason.  I was never aware that getting on or off the highway at some other point than the marked exits was an option.  

This picture is courtesy of a blog called The Houghs.  I don’t know the Hough family, but they were nice enough to let me use the picture. Here is the link to the Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Overland Park, Kansas. This church seems to play a large part in the life of Hough family.

March 23, 2009 Posted by | Houston | , , | 3 Comments

Cincinnati NAACP Hires Right-Wing Attorney With Poor Civil Rights Record—Can’t Black Folks And Gay Folks Get Along Better?

The Cincinnati NAACP has hired conservative lawyer Christopher Finney to serve as it’s Director of Legal Redress.

The Cincinnati NAACP has done this despite Mr. Finney’s record of opposing the rights of gay folks in Cincinnati.

(The links above are to my blogger friend at Queer Cincinnati.  Texas Liberal is always glad to be listed at that shop as a Queer Cincinnati blogger.) 

Mr. Finney had a large hand in the passage of the terrible Issue 3 in Cincinnati back in 1993. This measure denied legal protections to gay citizens of Cincinnati that were extended to all other Cincinnatians.( It has since been repealed.)

The rights all people are connected.

I’ve long had the frustration that some advocates of gay rights don’t look behind their own interests. They don’t always seem to see the link between their rights and the rights of all people. Sometimes they come of as elitist and looking for more of a kind economic empacipation rather than looking for the freedom of all people.

Yet what impression can be left with gay rights advocates and with all freedom-loving people in the Cincinnati area when  Christopher Finney is hired to work for the Cincinnati NAACP?     

Why can’t black folks and gay folks get along? When will leaders in the black community speak more forcefully about accepting all people as they were born? Black folks and most gay folks came together to vote for Mr. Obama last November.  Can’t this fact be used as a starting point for better relations between the two groups?  

Writing about this issue and seeing that Chris Finney is still causing trouble after I’ve been away from Cincinnati for 11 years reminds me of the Jean Sartre play No Exit. The same people year after year after year afflicting each other by dredging up bad memories and the inability to leave the room even though they may in fact have the option to go elsewhere.

It’s not really different anywhere else. Though in a big spread-out place like Houston, with a young and often transient population, fewer people make the pretense of caring.  I don’t advocate widespread apathy, though sometimes I see its virtues. 

March 23, 2009 Posted by | Books, Cincinnati, Houston, Politics | , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

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