Texas Liberal

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Seven Swine Flu Poems

Here are seven Swine Flu poems–

1.

Does your child cover her mouth when she coughs/Or is she a reflection of you/Because of the poor example you’ve set/Your kids are spreading the Swine Flu

2.

You’ve enjoyed those pork chops/And that pork rib B-B-Q/But now the table has been turned/And pigs are killing you

3.

Some are mad at Mexico/Because that is where the Swine Flu began/But when disease our ancestors brought killed Native Americans/We happily took their land

4.

Here is a problem/For all you creationists to solve/ If evolution is not true/How is it that viruses evolve

5.

Texas Governor Perry said/ Maybe Texas should secede/Then he called up Washington/And said send the flu medicine we need  

6.

People die in poverty and disease/All around the world each day/But we never hear the end of it/When people in wealthy nations get sick in some novel way  

7.

Between the global flu outbreak /And the global economic disaster/ Who can make a prediction/Of what will do us in faster  

April 30, 2009 Posted by | Poetry | , , | 13 Comments

First Swine Flu Case In Houston Area—Wash Your Hands, Cover Your Mouth, Stop Kissing

The first Swine Flu case has been found in the Houston-area. This case is in Fort Bend County. Fort Bend County borders Harris County. Houston is in Harris County. 

Here is the story from the Houston Chronicle

The Houston area’s first local resident to be diagnosed with swine flu has been confirmed in Fort Bend County. Officials at Fort Bend County’s health department said early Wednesday evening that they just received confirmation of the case from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The resident, a teenage girl, was not hospitalized and is recovering, said the officials. She is a student in Bellaire at Episcopal High School, which starting Thursday will close through the weekend. The illness started in the middle of last week, and she was treated by a private medical center. She had not recently traveled to Mexico.”

(Here is a later update on Swine Flu in Houston from the Chronicle.) 

(Here are my seven Swine Flu poems.)

So far we have one confirmed case in an area of over five million people and the girl who got sick did not have a severe illness. That’s we are at this point in Houston. It may well be a bad deal before it is all over. But all we can do now is take steps not to get sick.

Here is some more global Swine Flu information from the BBC.

Here are tips from the City of Houston Swine Flu web home about avoiding the Swine Flu—

What can I do to protect myself from getting sick?

There is no vaccine available to protect against swine flu. There are everyday actions that can help prevent the spread of germs that cause respiratory illnesses like influenza:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water. Alcohol-based hand cleaners are also effective.
  • Avoid close contact with sick people.
  • If you get sick with influenza, stay home from work or school and limit contact with others to keep from infecting them.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread this way.
  • Cough and sneeze into a tissue and throw it away promptly.  If there is no tissue available, cough or sneeze into your sleeve.
  • Avoid shaking hands.  Do not kiss in greeting.

Here is the full City of Houston site. It has information relevant from wherever in the world you are reading this blog post.  

Instead of a kiss or shaking hands, try a hat tip instead as you see President Calvin Coolidge doing back in 1924.

File:Coolidge after signing indian treaty.jpg

Remember, there is no point getting mad at pigs for all this trouble. They are just getting us back for how we eat them. Below is an illustration of the process of pork packing in 19th-Century Cincinnati. Cincinnati was known as “Porkopolis” in those days for all the pork packing. I don’t believe in Karma, but here may a case of what goes around comes around.

File:Pork packing in Cincinnati 1873.jpg

Here is how to wash your hands from the folks who bring you National Hand Washing Week

There’s a right way to wash your hands. A splash of water and a drop or two of soap won’t do the trick. Follow these simple steps to keep your hands clean:

  • Use warm water (not cold or hot).
  • Use whatever soap you like. Antibacterial soaps are popular but regular soap works fine. If you suspect that your hands have come into contact with someone with an infection, think about using an alcohol hand sanitizer.
  • Rub your hands together vigorously and scrub all surfaces: Lather up on both sides of your hands, your wrists, between your fingers, and around your nails. Wash for 15 seconds – about how long it takes to sing “Happy Birthday.”
  • Rinse well under warm running water and pat dry with a clean towel.
  • In public restrooms, consider using a paper towel to flush the toilet and open the door because toilet
  • and door handles harbor germs. Throw the towel away after you leave.

People wear surgical masks to help prevent being infected with the swine flu as they shop in a grocery store on 29 April 2009 in Mexico City

April 30, 2009 Posted by | Houston | , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

The Specter Switch—Republicans Unable To Get A Hold On Senate Since 1929 Crash

File:MLKjr and Specter.jpg

The switch of Arlen Specter from Republican to Democrat leaves Republicans with just 40 Senators in the 100 seat Senate. After Al Franken is seated in Minnesota there will be 58 Democrats and 2 independents who mostly vote with the Democrats in the Senate.  

( Above–Arlen Specter with Martin Luther King. Please click here for the best Martin Luther King reading list on the web.)

This weak Republican presence in the Senate is not out of line with Republican membership in the Senate since the 1929 stock crash. Beginning with the 1930 election, the first after the crash, Democrats have reached 60 or more seats in the Senate 11 times. Mr. Franken’s seating will make that 12 times.

The peak of Democratic control was the 76 seats won in the 1936 election.

(Below–Charles McNary of Oregon was leader of the very small Republican Senate minority after the 1936 election.)

File:Charles mcnary.jpg

The Republican high since 1930 is just 55 seats. This mark was reached in the elections of 1996, 1998 and 2004. The last time Republicans were as strong in the Senate as are Democrats today was after the election of 1920 when they had 59 seats. The Senate at that time had only 96 seats as Alaska and Hawaii were not yet part of the union.

Democrats have won more than 55 seats in the Senate 20 times since 1929 in contrast to the inability of Republicans to win as many of 56 seats since that year.

( Here  is the link to the web home of the U.S. Senate. There is a lot of information to be found at the Senate site. Here is a link to the divisions by party going back to the beginning of the Senate in 1789.)   

The last time Republicans reached 60 seats was the election of 1908. Republicans won 60 seats that year in what was a 92 seat Senate.

Democrats have had two main periods of dominance in the Senate since was 1929.  In the years between and including the first election of Franklin Roosevelt in 1932, and his final election in 1944, Democrats never fell below 57 seats.

( Below—Republican Robert Taft of Ohio was Senate Majority Leader at the time of  his death in 1953.

File:Robert a taft.jpg

In 1958 Democrats won 65 seats and in 1978 they took 58. In between those years, they never went lower than 54 and seven times eclipsed 60.  

(Below–Mike Mansfield of Montana was Majority Leader of the Senate 1961-1977. That is the longest tenure in that position.) 

File:Mike mansfield.jpg

Republicans have only had two stretches since 1929 where they’ve won control of the Senate in consecutive elections. 

In the Reagan years, Republicans ran the Senate after the 1980, 1982 and 1984 elections. After the Republican Congressional landslide of 1994, Republicans won at least 50 seats each election up to and including 2004.  Though after the 2000 election Republican control was ended when Jim Jeffords of Vermont switched to the Democrats giving Democrats a 51-49 edge.

( Below–Howard Baker of Tennessee served as both Majority Leader and Minority Leader of the Senate.)

File:Howard baker jr.jpg

A qualification to all this could be that many Democrats in the years of Democratic control since 1929 were Southern Democrats who often voted with Republicans. True control of the Senate often eluded the more progressive elements of the Democratic Party.

There is truth to that qualification. But it must be said that the New Deal and Great Society programs that conservatives would like to undo were passed in these years. Civil Rights legislation also passed in these years though it took a long time and required the principled support of some Republicans in the Senate.

Today’s strong Democratic majority has moderate members, but nothing like the segregationists of the past. 

For 40 years, since the Sunbelt driven election of Richard Nixon in 1968, we’ve been hearing about the supposed realignment of American politics towards Republicans. Well–Where is it?

( Please click here to read about the Senate’s art collection.) 

Today’s Democratic majorities and the states that Barack Obama won come from all around the nation. In the South, Mr. Obama won North Carolina, Virgina and Florida. Senator Specter’s switch only adds to the 80 years and counting slump of the Republican Party in the U.S. Senate.

( Coming soon -A look at membership of the U.S. House of Representatives since 1929. The story is much the same as it has been in the Senate.)

(Below—Democrat Robert Byrd of West Virginia has seen a lot of Senate history since he entered the Senate in 1959.  He is the longest serving Senator ever.) 

File:Robert Byrd Majority Portrait.jpg

April 29, 2009 Posted by | Art, History, Political History, Politics | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Swine Flu—Don’t Ask For Whom The Bell Tolls

File:Catedral de León Nicaragua.JPG

Please click here for the City of Houston Swine Flu information home page.  It is very helpful.

Another reason I’m linking to it is what it says at the bottom of the page. It says this—

Other sources of information:

The needed facts to deal with Swine Flu, and the tools needed for a proper response to this threat, come from city government, state government, the federal government and from world health authorities. People are going to have to work together.

The 17th-century poet John Donne wrote the following—

Therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee”.  

Everything is connected. This is not a hurricane where you can evacuate.  While it may well be that this threat does turn out as bad as feared, once again we are reminded that our fates in life are tied together.

The bell in the picture above is from the Cathedral de León in Nicaragua.

April 28, 2009 Posted by | Houston | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Roads Closed By Flooding In Houston Limits Ability Of People To Give Each Other Swine Flu

Heavy rains in the Houston area are limiting the ability of people to get around and give each other the swine flu. These rains may extend well into today.

Already the global financial panic has cut down on international travel and visits to stores and restaurants.  Folks are missing out on a lot of the exchange of germs and disease.

If only things would get even worse we would be just fine. Life going well is our enemy.

Below is a photo taken by a Chronicle reader named Sakar Bhusal with the caption ” I wonder why these people were in such a hurry?” 

Lake Hillcroft @ Harwin

(My blogger friend AmyEmilia has a picture of the flooding at her blog A Normal Life.)

Maybe they were in a hurry to meet up and give each other the Swine Flu.

Maybe they thought they were driving away from the Swine Flu.

Or maybe it was the just the same dumb behavior we see on our roads in Houston each day.

(Please click here for information on the Swine Flu and for handwashing tips.)

April 28, 2009 Posted by | Houston | , , | Leave a comment

Why I Don’t Follow Hockey And Basketball

I know the world is in the midst of financial collapse and a flu pandemic, but I’d like to write here about hockey and basketball.

( Above—Women playing ice hockey 120 years ago.) 

I saw in my morning paper—which remains the most civilized and reflective way to get the news—that the Anaheim Ducks had eliminated the San Jose Sharks in the first round of the National Hockey League Playoffs.

This happened despite the fact that the Sharks had gained the best record in the NHL for the past season and that the Ducks were only the 8th best team in their conference.  Here are the final NHL standings for this season.

Hockey has something like 30 teams. 16 of them make the playoffs. Why even bother to play the regular season? Anybody who can muster just a halfway decent record makes the playoffs and then the best team can be knocked out in the first round. These same circumstances exist in pro basketball.  

The only sport I follow is baseball. In baseball 8 of the 30 teams make the playoffs. That’s better. The games mean something and fewer teams can coast knowing they have a playoff spot locked up.

In hockey and basketball, the games lack context and meaning. It’s a muddle. They just skate around or run up and down the court for six months waiting for the real action to start. Who would pay money to see all that meaningless mess?  

Our time and what we do with our time should have meaning and context.     

(Here is a history of hockey.)

April 28, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | 5 Comments

Houston Council Candidate Noel Freeman Holding Campaign Kick Off

File:Arlen Specter, official Senate photo portrait.jpg

Houston At-Large position 4 council candidate Noel Freeman will be holding his campaign kick off event on Thursday April 30. This event will be held at the Cafe Adobe restaurant at 6:30 PM. Cafe Adobe is at 2111 Westheimer. You can call 713-828-7821 for details.

Above is Arlen Specter. Like Mr. Freeman, Mr. Specter was once a Republican who has now become a Democrat.

Please click here for more details on Mr. Freeman’s event.

Mr. Freeman is a thoughtful candidate who has offered his viewpoints for readers of this blog.

Here is Mr. Freeman’s campaign web home.

April 28, 2009 Posted by | Houston, Politics | , , , | Leave a comment

Immigrants In Houston & Harris County Should Be Assured That Flu-Related ER and Clinic Visits Involve No Immigration Check

With Swine Flu cases possible in Houston and Harris County, it should be made clear to our Spanish speaking population that they will be able to visit hospitals or clinics with flu symptoms and not be subject to immigration checks.

This message should be broadcast to all our immigrant communities because it is not just Spanish speaking people who are in the county without documentation.

The Swine Flu may or not become a major health problem in the United States. It should not be made worse because of political concerns that have nothing to do with the issue at hand.

Local governments in Harris County should be working with the county, state and federal government to make sure that everybody who needs help gets help, and that public health officials are able to track the spread of any Swine Flu.  

( Please click here for Swine Flu information and handwashing tips.)

April 27, 2009 Posted by | Houston | , , , | Leave a comment

Yellow Card If You Might Spread Swine Flu—Red Card If You Are Really Sick

The federal government will be handing out yellow cards to foriegn visitors arriving in U.S. airports to tell them how to avoid the Swine Flu and what symptoms to look for.

Many sports, including soccer, use yellow cards to warn players of misconduct.

Read information about these swine flu cards at Graphic Arts Online. Maybe Graphic Arts Online would like to design a Swine Flu logo.

Red cards, as you see below, are given in many sports if a player is to be ejected from the game.

Maybe people who arrive in America and who seem sick will be given red cards and ejected from the country.

( Please click here for Swine Flu information and for handwashing tips.)

April 27, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | Leave a comment

European Union Says Don’t Visit U.S.—What Will Europeans Be Missing?

The European Union has recommended that people avoid non-essential travel to the United States.

This is so they will not catch the Swine Flu.

Though a case has already been confirmed in Spain.

( Please click here for Swine Flu facts and for handwashing information.) 

What will European travelers be missing?

They’ll be missing the Milwaukee Art Museum.

File:Milwaukee Art Museum 1 (Mulad).jpg

They’ll be missing the world’s tallest thermometer in Baker, California.

File:Tallest thermometer.jpg

They’ll be missing hot dogs at Wein-O-Rama in Cranston, Rhode Island.

File:Weiners.jpg

They’ll be missing the Florida Scrub Jay. This bird lives only in Florida. The Florida Scrub Jay is “blue and friendly”

File:Florida Scrub Jay.jpg

I don’t think people in Europe should avoid coming to America just because of some Swine Flu.

April 27, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Michael Jackson Saw Swine Flu Outbreak Before We Did

Above is a picture of Michael Jackson wearing a mask a few years ago.

We laughed at the time—But soon masks may be all the rage.

Though odds are we’ll still shake our heads when we think of Michael Jackson in the mask.

( Please click here for an explanation of Swine Flu and for handwashing tips.)     

(Here is some good biographical information on Michael Jackson from MTV.)

April 27, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | 5 Comments

Despite Seccession Talk, Texas Governor Perry Asks For Federal Help On Swine Flu

Despite talk of secession, Texas Governor Rick Perry has asked for flu medicine  from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. He wants these drugs to help deal with possible Swine Flu cases from Texas. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention are part of the federal government.

What? The Republic of Texas does not have thousands of doses of this medicine on hand in its science labs?

(Here is an explanation of Swine Flu with handwashing tips.) 

From the Associated Press

Gov. Rick Perry has asked for 37,430 courses of anti-viral medicine from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention because of the swine flu outbreak…..As a precautionary measure, I have requested that medication be on hand in Texas to help curb the spread of swine flu by helping those with both confirmed and suspected cases of this swine flu virus, as well as health care providers who may have come in contact with these patients,” Perry said in a prepared statement.”

Here is what the Governor said two weeks ago—

“Texas is a unique place. When we came into the union in 1845, one of the issues was that we would be able to leave if we decided to do that,” Perry said. “My hope is that America and Washington in particular pays attention. We’ve got a great union. There’s absolutely no reason to dissolve it. But if Washington continues to thumb their nose at the American people, who knows what may come of that

Governor Perry knows that in the end there are many issues that only the federal government of the United States of America has the ability to address.

April 27, 2009 Posted by | Politics, Texas | , , | 1 Comment

Swine Flu—An Explanation With Hand Washing Tips

Many people in Mexico have died from Swine Flu.

(4/26/09 –The latest update from the Los Angeles Times. People are being checked as they cross the border to see if they have the Swine Flu.)

( 4/27/09–The Centers For Disease Control and Prevention has a Swine Flu web page up.)

( 4/28/09—Now 1oo cases outside of Mexico though it is still not clear how bad it all be.)

( 4/29/09—More than 2,500 cases worldwide. Almost all deaths still within Mexico.)

(4/30/09—Still not certain how big a threat the outbreak will end up being.)

(5/1/09—The science of fighting flu is much advanced since 1918 epidemic.)

(5/3/09–Not spreading as fast as feared and not as deadly as feared.)

( 5/5/09—1124 cases in the world so far. Virus remains mild.) 

Here are my seven swine flu poems.

Below are three people in Mexico City who are hoping not to catch the Swine Flu.

Women wear masks as they wait inside a Mixcoac health centre in Mexico City (Source: Reuters)

What is Swine Flu? Here is the answer from the Canadian Broadcasting Company (CBC) —

“Swine influenza (swine flu) is caused by type A influenza virus and gives pigs the flu. Swine flu viruses cause regular outbreaks of flu in pigs but death is infrequent. The viruses may circulate among pigs throughout the year, but most outbreaks occur during the late fall and winter months similar to outbreaks in humans. The classical swine flu virus (an influenza type A H1N1 virus) was first isolated from a pig in 1930.”

This CBC Q & A article covers many of your questions.

Here are  the symptoms—

“The symptoms of swine flu in people are expected to be similar to the symptoms of regular human seasonal influenza and include fever, lethargy, lack of appetite and coughing. Some people with swine flu also have reported runny nose, sore throat, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.”

Seems a lot like your normal flu—But it is worse.

A terrible flu epidemic was the 1918-1919 Spanish Flu outbreak.

Here is information from the Federation of American Scientists—

The “Spanish” flu pandemic of 1918 and 1919 caused the deaths of 20-50 million people worldwide including up to 675,000 in the U.S. While only about 1% of those infected with the virus died, it became one of the deadliest viruses ever known to man. The 1918 flu has been described as capable of sickening and killing a person on the same day. The virus is an H1N1 type A influenza. Symptoms of infection were similar to, but more severe than typical, seasonal flu. Viral pneumonia leading to acute respiratory distress was the primary cause of death. Recently, the virus was reconstituted from frozen tissue samples from a woman who died from the virus.

Here is the full article.

Here is another article on the 1918-19 epidemic from the BBC.  The article discusses how the virus did so much harm.

With both the Swine Flu and the 1918 epidemic you see that an A H1N1 virus is involved. What does that mean? Here is what it means.

File:Ford meets with Rumsfeld and Cheney, April 28, 1975.jpg

There was a Swine Flu outbreak in 1976. President Gerald Ford asked that all Americans be innoculated. As it turned out, the disease only killed one person but the vaccine harmed hundreds and may have killed some. It is still debated if President Ford did the right thing. This article addresses that question.

(Above is a picture of President Ford with his then Chief of Staff Donald Rumsfeld (left) and his Deputy Chief of Staff Richard Cheney (right) . That’s enough to make you ill. Please click here for some good information on Gerald Ford from the Miller Center for Public Affairs at the U. of Virginia.

Swine Flu comes from pigs. Pigs often make people sick.  Diseases that go from animals to people are called zoonotic diseases. AIDS is a zoonotic disease that jumped from chimps to people. This took place after people ate chimps.

We can’t forget that people do a lot more harm to animals than animals to do people.

File:XN Sus domesticus Animal husbandry 912.jpg

There are many diseases people can catch from animals. Like Cat Scratch Disease.

Please wash your hands after you play with your pet or with an animal.

Here are Swine Flu facts from Web MD. There is no vaccine to prevent the Swine Flu. You can not get it from eating pork. Washing your hands and avoiding touching your nose or mouth will help you avoid the Swine Flu and all flu.

Here is how to wash your hands—

There’s a right way to wash your hands. A splash of water and a drop or two of soap won’t do the trick. Follow these simple steps to keep your hands clean:

  • Use warm water (not cold or hot).
  • Use whatever soap you like. Antibacterial soaps are popular but regular soap works fine. If you suspect that your hands have come into contact with someone with an infection, think about using an alcohol hand sanitizer.
  • Rub your hands together vigorously and scrub all surfaces: Lather up on both sides of your hands, your wrists, between your fingers, and around your nails. Wash for 15 seconds – about how long it takes to sing “Happy Birthday.”
  • Rinse well under warm running water and pat dry with a clean towel.
  • In public restrooms, consider using a paper towel to flush the toilet and open the door because toilet and door handles harbor germs. Throw the towel away after you leave.

April 25, 2009 Posted by | History, Please Wash Your Hands | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

48% Of Texas Republicans Say Texas Would Be Better Off As An Independent Nation

A Daily Kos/Research 2000 poll reports that 48% of Texas Republicans believe Texas would be better of as an independent nation  rather than remaining part of the United States. 35% of all Texans hold this view.

Please click here for the full poll.

Another result is that Texans disapprove of Barack Obama by a 53%–45% margin. If they don’t like him now when he has a national 64% approval rating, it seems an uphill climb to win the state in 2012.

(Texas is one of four states with a majority-minority population. Most of those minorities are Democrats as are a substantial portion of white voters.  Where are these folks? Are they illegals? Do they only have cell phones and can’t be reached for surveys? Are they citizens who don’t vote? I’m sure it’s a little bit of all that. In any case, it’s frustrating.)

I’ve addressed the disloyal comments of Texas Governor Rick Perry and Congressman Ron Paul a couple of times this week here at the blog. Regular readers may note that this is more often than I generally acknowledge the existence of the Republican Party.

I think criticizing the same people time after time is a waste of time and effort. Life is short and there are so many other things to address. I don’t think repeating the same thing over and over changes people’s minds.

But I feel the point should be made that these folks are so extreme. Can you even imagine that the comments of Governor Perry have made secession something we are talking about? How can real progress ever be made in this state when the governing party consists of people who hold these views?

In Washington, we see a Republican Party that seems to have learned nothing from the failures of the last 8 years. In Texas, we see this extremism in its full flowering.

It seems clear that the main loyalties of the American right are concentrated on anger and grievance and not directed towards our nation and its people.

April 24, 2009 Posted by | Politics, Texas | , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Texas Progressive Alliance Round-Up With Bonus Jobsanger Link

File:Tyler skyline.jpg

Below is the weekly Texas Progressive Alliance blogger round-up with a bonus link to the great Texas blog Jobsanger

Above is a picture of Downtown Tyler, Texas. Please click here to learn more about Tyler.

They grow a lot of roses in Tyler.

The round-up—

BossKitty at TruthHugger finds Texas Agencies ‘undersight’ totally unacceptable. Texas Agencies that toss ‘seemingly viable’ programs to the wind and provide no follow up to insure integrity are the fault of Texas legislators. Consolidation of some Agencies, specifically Texas Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation (TDMHMR), eliminated follow up after merging with Department of Aging and Disability Services. Follow the bread crumbs: Texas To Students With Disabilities, Educate Yourself or Become Slave Labor.

The House passed its budget! Somewhat surprisingly, as Off the Kuff notes, it doesn’t suck.

CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme notes that the Obama administration is doing the hard work to solve problems at our border. The right wingers, on the other hand, see only brown and white.

WCNews at Eye On Williamson points to the most recent nonsense from our member of Congress in TX-31, John Carter and right-wing extremists.

Justin at AAA-Fund Blog explores the possible Rice ­-Baylor College of Medicine merger.
Continue reading

April 24, 2009 Posted by | Blogging, Politics, Texas | , , , | Leave a comment

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