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Facts About Gulf Of Mexico Oil Spill From Deepwater Horizon Rig Explosion—Updated

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Blogger’s Note—This post has been newly organized and is now being updated at this link. Please visit the new post and thank you for reading Texas Liberal.

(Blogger’s Note–This post is updated through today June 24.  If you take the time to get all the way to the end, there are all sorts of links with the latest news and larger issues of  just why an oil spill is so bad and the history of other major spills. As you read down the list of updates, you’ll be able to see some of the events as they unfolded. I imagine most of the update links are still good so you can also read the stories that have been the lead-up to the events of the present time. )

Here is a blog post with facts and updates on the BP/Transocean Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

(Above–The spill from space.)

(Update-4/30/10–The first of the oil may have reached the Louisiana Gulf coast.)

(Update 5/1/10–Some feel BP has not done all it could to address the disaster.)

(Update 5/1/10–Here is what a worst case scenario would look like as the oil keeps spewing out.)

(Update 5/1/10–Commercial fishers in Louisiana are concerned.)

(Update 5/1/10–President Obama will be visiting the Gulf to see the spill.)

(Update 5/2/10–The BBC has a number of reports on the spill. This provides some sense on how the rest of the world sees what is taking place.)

The Houston Chronicle has a web page with all the ongoing coverage of the spill.

Here is oil spill coverage from the great liberal magazine Mother Jones.

This June 24 article asks if BP is also drilling risky wells in Alaska.

This June 23 report says that the judge who overturned President Obama’s drilling ban owns shares in the oil industry.

Here is a June 21 story about the health impact of the spill.

From this report—

Q: Has anyone gotten sick from the oil spilled in the Gulf?

A: Yes, there have been reports of illnesses, but relatively few among people not involved in the spill cleanup. Most of the reported illnesses were related to odors or fumes. Almost all were mild and temporary, and many were in early May, within the first few weeks of the April 20 explosion. The reports are based on a doctor’s assessment, not on lab testing. All but 35 of the 109 spill-related illnesses in Louisiana have been workers; Alabama has 27 reports of illnesses, and Florida and Mississippi have had none.

This June 18 NY Times story is about how President Obama, in getting BP to pay, is restoring some balance in the relationship between multi-national corporations and average folks.

This June 11 NY Times column says that it is not enough to boycott BP stations of you want to hurt BP. What you would really have to do is use less oil.

Here is information on filing a claim with BP if you have been impacted by the spill.

With the spill now said to be bigger than the Exxon Valdez disaster, here are many facts about the Exxon Valdez.

Here is a list of four environmental disasters worse than the Deepwater Horizon spill.

The spill has impacted Native Americans living in Louisiana. Native Americans in Louisiana have long felt screwed-over by oil companies.

Here is a report on a question many have wondered about—With all this oil in the Gulf, what will happen if there is a big hurricane?

Here is the BP blog on the spill response.

BP has had spills and safety issues in the past.

(Below—Efforts in the gulf to contain the oil. That ship looks a bit outmatched.)

Hurricane season does not start for a month, yet here is a threat moving towards the Gulf coast.

Here are facts about the Mississippi River Delta from the National Wetlands Research Center of the United States Geological Survey.

Here is an essay from the Nature Conservancy about Gulf Coast prairies and marshes. This is an area that may be hit by the advancing oil.

Here is the web home of the Louisiana Shrimp Association. This are folks who want to be able to go out and fish for shrimp and who want you to be willing to buy shrimp.

Greenpeace has questions about what is taking place in the Gulf.

Here is a BBC map of how the oil has spread since the initial explosion.

Here the web page of WKRG-TV in New Orleans. WKRG has a running meter of the estimated oil that has gone into the ocean.

(Below–Many people are not pleased with BP.)

( Update 5/2/10–Interior Secretary Salazar believes the flow of oil can be stemmed, but the timeline for this is not clear.)

Here is the White House blog on the disaster.

The U.S. Coast Guard has a useful site with plenty of facts and pictures.

( Below—A controlled burn of the oil.)

(Update 5/2/10—National Public Radio offers this report on a 1980 Gulf of Mexico leak that took a year to plug.)

(Update 5/2/10–Politico reports that blame is being assessed in a way that mimics the Hurricane Katrina  Gulf coast disaster.)

(Update 5/2/10–BP has held a press conference discussing the spill.)

(Update 5/3/10–President Obama asserts that BP will pay the full cost of the cleanup.)

(Update 5/3/10—The Louisiana  seafood industry is waiting to assess the impact of the oil.)

( Update 5/3/10–The Austin, Minnesota Daily Herald says it is even more clear we must find new energy sources so that we use less oil.)

( Update 5/3/10–This N.Y.  Times story discusses how bad the spill really is and how bad it may or may not become.)

( Below—Oil washing up on the Louisiana coast on May 8.)

Burning the oil to make it go away is part of the response to the spill. Here is an article from the Mobile Press-Regster about what burning could accomplish and expressing the view that the burning should have started earlier than it did.

The spill began when an offshore oil rig exploded and sank. 11 people were killed in this disaster. The name of the rig was the Deepwater Horizon rig. The rig was leased by BP.

This Huffington Post article asserting that BP has resisted rig safety regulations, takes a somewhat different approach to the spill than does BP.

( Update 5/4/10–It may still be three days before oil hits the Gulf coast.)

( Update 5/4/10–Some BP shareholders are angry at the company because they feel BP did not do enough in advance to prevent the spill.)

( Update 5/4/10–-Some are concerned that the chemicals being used to clean the spill are also harmful to the ocean and to wildlife.)

(Update 5/4/10–The Democratic nominee for Governor of  Texas, Bill White of Houston, offered his views on the explosion and spill.)

The firm that owned the rig was Transocean. Here is the statement by Transocean about the explosion.

(Update 5/13/10–-Transocean feels lawsuit damages against the company for the blast should be limited at $27 million.)

There is a joint response web site which is being run by the both the companies and the federal agencies involved in cleaning up the oil. There is a lot of information at this site.

Here is a law firm that would like to file a suit on your behalf if you feel you’ve been impacted by the spill. It seems that this firm specializes in such cases.

(Update 5/5/10—Here is an excellent report from National Public Radio that is a timeline of what has taken place since the initial explosion.)

(Update 5/5/10—The Winnipeg Free Press asks what the spill will do to gas prices.)

(Update 5/5/10–Here is a report on damage to the underwater environment.)

(Update 5/6/10–A U. of Miami professor says the oil is entering currents that would send it up the U.S. east coast.)

(Update 5/6/10—Here is a story about the containment dome that will, hopefully, stop the ongoing flow of water into the ocean.)

Here are useful facts about oil spills and impact of oil spills on animals as prepared in 2002 by the Novi Meadows Elementary school in Novi, Michigan.

From the Novi site, here is how oil covered sea otters are cleaned—

“When sea otters are taken to a cleaning facility, the heavy oiled otters will be washed first. Workers will wash the otters with warm water because they hope it will break down the oil. The warm water also can warm the otters up. The otters also will get medical treatment while they are being cleaned. The otters will then have to wait so they can dry.”

(Update 5/7/10—Here is a story about a “social networking crisis map” of the spill.)

( Update 5/7/10—One idea to help keep the oil from reaching land is to increase the flow of water entering the Gulf from the Mississippi River.)

(Update 5/7/10—Here is a report on the progress of the metal box that was built to contain the leak.)

(Update 5/8/10—Efforts to place a big dome over the spill are not going so well.)

(Update 5/8/10—NASA has made an infrared image of the extent of the oil in the Gulf.)

(Update 5/9/10–The containment box has been parked on the bottom of the ocean and another effort will be made soon to use the box again.)

(Update 5/10/10–The next solution to be attempted to plug the leak will be to blast garbage into the pipes that are spewing the oil.)

(Update 5/10/10–-BP is spraying more chemicals into the Gulf to stop the oil from spreading.)

(Update 5/11/10–Hearings are being held in Washington today to get the causes of the disaster.)

(Update–5/11/10—The first hearings have been held. Shocker–Nobody said they were at fault.)

(Update–5/12/10—Here is a BBC map where you can track the extent of the oil slick from the beginning to the current day.)

(Update 5/12-10–BP thinks they may have a solution to the ongoing leak. There is also a video in this report of the oil gushing into the sea.)

(Update 5/13/10—Tar balls are beginning to show up on the Gulf coast.)

(Update 5/13/10–-The President of BP, Tony Hayward, says his job is on the line over the spill. No kidding.)

(Update 5/13/10—Criminal charges are being considered for this disaster.)

(Update 5/13/10—It is proving difficult to calculate just how much oil is being leaked into the ocean each day.)

The Independent newspaper in the U.K has an article abut the potential loss of marine life in the Gulf from this large spill.

(Below–One bird that could suffer losses from the oil is the Brown Pelican. You see that this pelican has already taken a severe hit.)

The Gulf of Mexico Foundation has many facts about the Gulf and about groups that advocate for the Gulf.

(Update 5/14/10–The latest efforts to stop the oil.)

(Update 5/14/10—President Obama had harsh words for the companies and federal regulators involved in the spill.)

(Update 5/15/10–Some accuse BP of using the Gulf as a “Toxic Testing Ground.”)

(Update 5/15/10–Here is a video of what it is like to actually be on the Gulf where the oil is floating around.)

(Update 5/16/10–Large amounts of oil are being found underwater.)

(Update 5/16/10–Tourism at some Gulf of Mexico beaches has begun to suffer.)

(Update 5/16/10—The combination of the use of chemicals to treat the oil and likelihood of  hurricanes in the Gulf  could cause the oil to appear on the Gulf coast for years to come.)

(Update 5/16/10—Progress is finally being made in diverting some of the oil away from spilling into the ocean.)

(Update 5/17/10—The oil may soon be headed up the Atlantic coast.)

(Update 5/17/10–Here is the latest on BP’s efforts to stop the spill.)

(Update 5/17/10–President Obama will be setting up a panel to investigate the spill. )

(Update 5/18/10—Tarballs have been found at Key West. Update to the update–These tarballs were not from the Gulf spill. They were from some other source. I’m not sure if that is good news or not.)  )

(Update 5/18/10–-BP says they have spent $625 million cleaning up the spill. I guess they will be passing that on to consumers.)

(Update 5/18/10—BP had little planning in place for a disaster such as they one that has occurred.)

(Update 5/18/10-–Here are four videos of the leak under the sea.)

(Update 5/19/10--Here is a story suggesting what type of new federal oversight is needed to prevent another spill of this kind.)

(Update 5/19/10—The American Veterinary Medicine Association says responders are ready to deal with wildlife harmed by oil. Though to this point there have few animals found that have impacted.)

(Update 5/19/10—The European Space Agency says it has photos showing that oil is headed towards coral reefs off the coast of Florida.)

(Update 5/19/10--BP does not seem to have a plan in place to help Vietnamese immigrant fishermen who are losing business to the spill.)

(Update 5/20/10–The U.S. and Cuba are discussing the possible effects of the spill on Cuba.)

(Update 5/20/10—Self-regulating oil companies are the norm around the world.)

(Update 5/20/10—A so-called “top kill” procedure will be tried this upcoming Sunday to stop the leak.)

(Update 5/20/10—Here are where things stand as of  noon Central Time.)

(Update 5/21/10–BP denies covering up the extent of the spill.)

(Update  5/21/10—A New Orleans Times-Picayune editorial directs the blame at BP for the story.)

(Update 5/22/10–The Hindu newspaper in India has written a report about the commission President Obama has formed to investigate the spill.)

(Update 5/22/10–Here is the latest  forecast for where the oil is headed.)

(Update 5/22/10–For all the talk about using hair to stop the spill, it turns out that such an idea will not work.)

( Update 5/22/10—A leading scientist for the National Wildlife Federation discusses the effect the oil may have on marine life.)

While it is clear enough that an oil spill is bad for the marine environment, the effects of oil in ocean are specific beyond the basic fact that such a spill is bad.

The web site Green living tips, written in Australia, has some of the specifics on the harmful impacts of an oil spill.

(Below–Tarballs washing up on the Louisiana coast on May 14. They do not look very nice.)

From the Green Living facts –

“When oil is spilled in waterways, it spreads very quickly with the help of wind and currents. …When oil starts mixing in water, it can change composition and becomes what’s known as “mousse”. This is a sticky substance that clings even more to whatever it comes in contact with. Many marine animals don’t know to avoid a slick and some fish may even be attracted to it as it can resemble food.”

The National Institutes of Health has an excellent web page of resources to learn about the effect of oil spills.

(Update 5/23/10 --Where the spill stands as of the morning of the 23rd.)

(Update 5/23/10–Off shore drilling is banned in British Columbia, Canada and that is not going to change anytime soon.)

(Update 5/23/10—Folks are mad in Louisiana. Though I wonder how many of these folks drive gas-guzzling SUV’s and broke the laws about proper fishing from their fishing boats.)

(Update 5/23/10–BP may not be able to start the latest attempt to stop the oil until this Wednesday.)

(Update 5/23/10–Here is what folks in Canada are reading about Interior Secretary Salazar criticizing BP.)

(Update 5/24/10—Here is the latest. The oil is still belching into the ocean and the costs of the cleanup keep rising.)

(Update 5/24/10—Is it  feasible for the government to take the lead role in the cleanup from BP?)

(Update 5/24/10–Most Texans say they still support offshore drilling on the Gulf. I imagine they do support that rather than giving up the big trucks.)

(Update 5/25/10–The NY Times has report about the situation in Louisiana as oil hits the shore.)

(Update 5/25/10—There is disagreement in the Senate over to what extent BP should be liable for the spill. Republicans want to limit how much BP should have to pay.)

(Update 5/25/10—BP also had a part in the poor response to the Exxon Valdez disaster in Alaska in 1989.)

(Update 5/26/10—President Obama will hold a news conference on tomorrow. Here are five questions about the government’s handling of the spill that a Washington Post reporter thinks should be asked of the President.)

(Update 5/26/10—Here is how the Voice of America is reporting the so-called “Top Kill” effort to plug the leak.)

(Update 5/26/10—People are still staying at Gulf Coast hotels.)

(Update 5/26/10–Here is a 42 second video of an eel investigating the gusher of oil beneath the sea.)

(Update 5/26/10—Here is a report on the Top Kill as of 10 PM CDT.)

(Update 5/27/10–Rather than the 5,000 barrels a day we’ve been hearing for weeks, the leak has been 12,000 to 19,000 barrels a day.)

(Update 5/27/10–The Coast Guard says that Top Kill is working.)

(Update 5/27/10–The public has questions about how the President has handled the spill.)

(Update 5/28/10—The flow of oil has been stopped for the time being. But it is not a given that this will last.)

(Update 5/28-10–President Obama is going to the Gulf Coast for a second time since the spill began.)

(Update 5/29/10--Scientists believe  there are large plumes of oil floating around under the sea.)

(Update 5/29/10–25% of the Gulf of Mexico is now closed to fishing.)

(Update 5/30/10–It may not be until August before the oil stops gushing.)

(Update 5/30/10—The White House is becoming more confrontational with BP.)

(Update 5/31/10–The British newspaper The Mirror says “Obama Furious at Oil Spill Hell.)

(Update 5/31/10–-Here is a review from CNN of where things stand at the moment.)

( Update 6/1/10—After the failure of Top Kill, Bp’s shares in London are at their lowest price since April of ’09.)

( Update 6/1/10–President Obama will be meeting today with his new oil spill prevention commission.)

(Update 6/2/10—Prices of BP shares continue to decline. )

( Update 6/2/10--The oil is advancing on Pensacola, Florida.)

(Update 6/3/10--This may not surprise you, but BP says they were not ready for this accident.)

(Update 6/3/10—A new permit has been allowed for offshore drilling within 50 miles of the Louisiana coast. This is a bit difficult for me to understand given the events of the moment.)

(Update 6/4/10—President Obama is putting off a trip to Asia to deal with the spill.)

(Update 6/4/10—They are getting ready for the oil in Florida.)

(Update 6/4/10–Laura Bush says President Obama should not be blamed for the spill.)

(Update 6/5/10–President Obama made his weekly five-minute address form the Louisiana coast. You can watch the speech from this Voice of America link. )

(Update 6/5/10—The Miami Herald has this story about “oil globs” washing up in Pensacola.)

(Update 6/5/10–Here is how The Age newspaper in Australia sees the threat to Florida poised by the oil spill.)

(Update 6/6/10–-Some are saying that BP in North America should be placed under temporary government control until this matter is resolved.

(Update 6/6/10—The President of BP says he will not quit over the spill.)

(Update 6/6/10–The Pensacola News-Journal says people are still going to the beach despite some oil at the beaches.)

(Update 6/7/10–Time magazine asks if the oil could reach Europe.)

(Update 6/7/10—This analyst says that the future of BP may be in doubt.)

( Update 6/7/10–People are concerned about the possible health effects of the oil spill. But these effects may not as bad as feared. )

(Update 6/8/10–-President Obama says the BP CEO should be fired.)

(Update 6/8/10–-The Toronto Star says that a spill such as the current one that took place in frozen Canadian  waters would be even more difficult to clean.)

(Update 6/9/10–The first signs have been posted on Florida beaches warning people about oil.)

(Update 6/9/10–BP share prices are at the lowest point in 14 years.)

(update 6/9/10—What public policy changes and what conservation measures by average folks would prevent another terrible spill?)

(Update 6/10/10–President Obama will be meeting today with families of the people who died in the rig explosion.)

(Update 6/10/10--Here are three audio accounts from the BBC of people in Louisiana  who have been impacted by the spill.)

(Update 6/10/10–Folks in Louisiana are upset with the slow pace that BP is paying out damage claims.)

(Update 6/11/10—British Prime Minister David Cameron will be discussing BP with President Obama tomorrow. There is pressure in Britain for the Prime Minister to defend BP)

(Update 6/11/10–Plans to burn the oil are raising health concerns.)

(Update 6/11/10–Here is how the Pensacola News-Journal is reporting the advancing oil.)

(Update 6/12//10–The price of shrimp is likely to rise.)

(Update 6/12/10—Florida has resisted offshore drilling, yet now they are being nailed by a huge spill.)

(Update 6/13/10—Some Folks in Britain feel they are being bashed.)

(Update 6/13/10—BP is putting some sensors around the leak to get a better sense of how much oil is being spewed. I’m glad they could finally get around to that.)

(Update 6/14/10—President Obama has compared the oil spill to 9/11 in some respects.)

(Update 6/14/10–BP may be punished by the U.S. government  with the loss of operation in the U.S.)

(Update 6/15/10—Oil company  chiefs are telling a House committee that the BP spill is an event not likely to be repeated. Sure.)

(Update 6/15/10–-Here is a list illustrating how the amount of oil said to be leaking has gone up and up and up since the disaster began.)

(Update 6/15/10—President Obama says the best way to help the Gulf is to come to the Gulf and spend money.)

(Update 6/16/10–This BBC report is about small coastal communities in Alabama dealing with the spill. The Mayor of one of these towns says domestic violence is up in his town as people face job losses.)

(Update 6/16/10–Here is how the Indian newspaper The Hindu reported the President’s speech.)

(Update 6/17/10—It  is not just the oil that needs to be cleaned up, it is the role of the money from big oil in our politics.)

(Update 6/17/10—Here is the video of the heckler removed the Tony Hayward testimony.)

(Update 6/18/10—BP CEO Tony Hayward went before Congress yesterday, but it is not clear that much was learned.)

(Update 6/18/10—Here is a quick round-up of where things stand with spill on the morning of June 18.)

(Update 6/19/10—Congressman Joe Barton of Texas seems to have gone into hiding since he apologized to BP.)

(Update 6/19/10– Congressman Barton’s views are not far from the views of the Republican Party. These folks do in fact feel that BP has been wronged.)

(Update 6/20/10—Interior Secretary Ken Salazar is under pressure from the White House to do a good job in handling the spill.)

(Update 6/20/10—The President’s Chief of Staff  said  today that Republican views in favor of BP are dangerous  for the American people. )

(Update 6/20/10-–BP had reason before the spill to know that the impact of  an incident such as this could be very severe. It does make seem to make the case that BP lied at first about how much oil was leaking.)

(Update 6/21/10–BP says the costs of dealing with the spill have reached $2 billion.)

(Update 6/21/10–Here is a story that attempts to  illustrate how much oil has spewed into the sea. From this story– “More not-so-dreadful context: The amount of oil spilled so far could only fill the cavernous New Orleans Superdome about one-seventh of the way up. On the other hand, it could fill 15 Washington Monuments. If the oil were poured on a football field — complete with endzones — it would measure nearly 100 yards high.There have been many large oil spills in the past.”)

(Update 6/23/10—Republicans will not demote Congressman Joe Barton from his high committee post for his apologizing to BP. If Republicans gain control of the House in 2010, Mr. Barton will be the main person in Houser on oil industry issues.)

(Update 6/23/10–Here is the latest on the spill as of  the afternoon of June 23.)

(Update 6/24/10–Here is the latest as of the morning of June 24.)

(Update 6/24/10–Despite all the trouble, Louisiana remains loyal to big oil and to underwater drilling.)

Here is a picture gallery of major oil spills from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

(Below–Growing up in New England, I recall the sinking of the tanker Argo Merchant off the coast of Massachusetts.)

Here is a list of the ten biggest oil spills ever.

Here is a Miami Herald Story from May 24 discussing oil spills that were as large or maybe even larger than the one we are seeing today.

While many look to learn about an issue when there is a big story in the news, it is always the right time to learn.

Here are some very useful facts on just what exactly oil is from the San Joaquin Geological Society.

Here is a list of the some of the things that oil is used for in our world.

Here is what is like to work on an offshore rig.

The University of Georgia Department of Marine Sciences has a blog on the spill.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has daily updates on the disaster.

Here is the blog of the Louisiana  Environmental Action Network.

Here is the live spillcam from PBS.

(Below–Mississippi River Delta without any oil cover.)

April 30, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 18 Comments

Where Is Houston Mayor Parker On Arizona Immigration Law?—Where Are Houston Hispanic Political Leaders?

The new immigration law in Arizona has prompted a strong response across the nation.

Under this new law, American citizens could be asked by law enforcement officer to prove that they have a right to be in Arizona.

Based on your race, you could be asked for your papers by a police officer.

President Obama and Attorney General Holder are deciding if the federal government should sue Arizona.

The Mayor of St. Paul, Minnesota, Chris Coleman, has ordered a ban on city travel to any event in Arizona.

Meghan McCain, daughter of Arizona Senator John McCain, has said she opposes the law.

There were protests against the law in Chicago that lead to arrests.

However, regretfully, we have heard little of substance from Houston Mayor Annise Parker.

This silence is despite the fact that Mayor Parker began her rise to the Mayor’s office by championing the human rights cause of justice and fair play for gay folks.

And this silence is despite the fact that at least 40% of people in Houston are Hispanic or Latino.

My fellow Houston blogger Stace Medellin of Dos Centavos is also waiting to hear more from Mayor Parker on this important human rights concern.

Congressman Duncan Hunter of California says he would support deporting Hispanic children born in the U.S. This even though being born in the U.S. makes you a citizen.

Republican Texas State Representative  Debbie Riddle says she will propose a law similar to the Arizona law.

In an election year—In a political climate where Tea Party people are running around with all sorts of far right-wing views— we don’t have the luxury of silence.

Mayor Parker, who knows as well as anyone that people can be deprived of human rights and basic justice, needs to speak up.

Beyond the Mayor, where are Hispanic political leaders in Houston?

I’ll tell you where they are.

They are sitting in low-turnout districts happy to have a clear path to re-election, hoarding campaign war chests, and doing nothing of substance to increase Hispanic turnout in Houston, Harris County, and Texas.

If this low turnout makes Hispanics more vulnerable to being accosted for the crime of existing—So it goes.

The freedom of all people is connected. Yet many of our local Democrats in Houston would have folks go it alone against the forces of intolerance and against police state tactics.

The good news is that there will be a march in Houston on May 1 in favor of the human rights of immigrants. Please click here for the details.

April 29, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Ukraine Parliament Fight—Reasons Behind The Fight

Above is a picture of the fight in the Ukrainian parliament yesterday.

These folks were hitting each other and hurling eggs and smoke bombs in the parliament chamber.

What were they fighting over?

They were fighting over the future of a Russian naval base in Ukraine. The debate was over an extension of the lease that allows the base to remain in Ukraine.

In exchange for use of the base, Russia is cutting the price of natural gas it exports to Ukraine.

Here is a useful story from The Montreal Gazette explaining the dispute.

Would you want a naval base from another nation in your country?  Especially a naval base belonging to very large, powerful and often unpleasant neighbor.

While the fight is the of kind entertainment I want with my democracy, the history between Russia and Ukraine is not so funny.

Here is a 2009 Time magazine article about the intertwined history of Russia and Ukraine.

This connected history directly relates to the Russian concern that Ukraine will fall into the orbit of the west and away from the influence of Russia.

Ukraine was part of the Soviet Union before the U.S.S.R  broke apart.

Here is an overview of Ukraine from the BBC.

From this overview—

“A significant minority of the population of Ukraine are Russians or use Russian as their first language. Russian influence is particularly strong in the industrialised east, as well as in Crimea, an autonomous republic on the Black Sea which was part of Russia until 1954. The Russian Black Sea Fleet is based there.”

You see right there that a situation like that is trouble waiting to happen.

Here is a history of Ukraine.

While the fight in the Ukraine parliament is silly, the tensions behind the fight divide Ukraine society right down the middle.

In addition, many nations that border Russia face the same type of issues over to what extent Russian influence should be permitted, and concern over what Russia will do if ignored.

(Below–The Black Sea in Ukraine. Looks nice. Here are facts about the Black Sea.)

April 28, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | 4 Comments

Keys To A Successful Marriage

I’m glad to report that I’ve been married for ten successful years.

Above is a picture I took of my wife at the baseball game.

The keys to our successful marriage are found in this picture.

Here are these keys—

1. We always keep one seat between us.

2. We never look at each other.

3. In order to avoid conversation, we always have something to read.

Beyond a measure of distance, I think a marriage works when people are themselves—assuming they are not jerks by nature—and when people work hard to be nice to each other.

These things and a measure of good luck.

This is what I have to offer on this subject.

April 28, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | 3 Comments

Texas Republicans Love Earmarks As Much As Liberals Like Myself Love Big Government—The Yang Of Truth And The Yin Of Hypocrisy

Despite all the talk we hear about Texans not wanting the federal government in their lives, Texas gets a great deal of money in federal earmarks. Many of these earmarks are sought by Republicans.

From the Houston Chronicle

“Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison’s status as a Washington insider proved politically toxic in her bid for governor — but those same skills reaped more than a billion dollars this year for Texas cities, universities, medical centers and military installations. Hutchison’s prolific use of earmarks placed her third among the Senate’s 100 members, behind only California Democrats Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer. ..A 17-year Senate veteran who serves on the powerful Senate Committee on Appropriations, Hutchison continues to capitalize on her capital connections by inserting 166 special spending requests worth more than $1.2 billion into the federal government’s 2010 budget, which runs through Sept. 30, according to data collected by the nonpartisan watchdog group Taxpayers for Common Sense.. Overall, Texas raked in $1.6 billion for projects sought by its members of Congress. That total swells to $1.8 billion when earmarks requested solely by the White House, mostly for military projects, are added. Houston-area lawmakers are among the most prolific fans of the earmark in the Texas delegation, totaling about $322 million in this year’s budget. They sponsored or co-sponsored 85 of the 573 Texas earmarks. Five of the top seven Texas earmarkers come from Houston, led by Democratic Rep. Gene Green and Republican Rep. John Culberson.”

This is all good to hear. As a liberal, I support the use of government funds to benefit the lives of our people. It is reassuring to know that this common sense position is one held by office holders and citizens across the political spectrum.

As has been reported before, so-called libertarian Congressman Ron Paul of Texas loves earmarks. Mr. Paul goes on about not wanting federal dollars, but he goes after the money just like a liberal.

Congressperson John Culberson, who I’m sorry to report is my own Representative, once said the stimulus package was meant to turn America into France.

Yet based on the article above, Mr Culberson, just like Mr. Paul, loves to bring federal dollars to Texas.

What is behind this apparent duality?

Below are examples of dualities.

I think that for Senator Hutchinson, Rep. Paul and Rep. Culberson, the chart should be updated to show the Yang of a truthful person and Yin of a hypocrite.

The same can be said of all Republicans in Texas who take the money from Washington.

These Republicans may win elections in Texas for the time-being, but it is big government liberals like myself who enjoy the ongoing role of the federal government in the lives of Texans and in the lives of people all across our great federal union.

April 27, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Three Observations On Arizona Immigration Law Where People Can Be Asked For Documentation As If We Live In A Police State Run By A Dictator

In Arizona, U.S. citizens can be asked for their papers if a so-called law enforcement officer has an alleged reason to believe that a person is an undocumented resident of the state.

(Above–Writing this post about the new police state law in Arizona allows me run this nice picture of the Grand Canyon. Here is the link to the National Park Service Grand Canyon web page.)

This has been all over the news. Here is a New York Times story about the new law with some of the details.

From that story—

“…Ron White, 52, said he felt a sense of relief that something was finally being done about “the illegals” — whom he blames for ills like congregating on the streets, breaking into homes in his neighborhood, draining tax dollars and taking jobs from Americans..“I sure hope it does have an effect,” Mr. White said of the new law as he packed his car with groceries. “I wouldn’t want to show proof of citizenship, but I also don’t feel it is racial profiling. You are going to look different if you are an alien, and cops know.”

You don’t want to be caught looking different in Arizona.

I have three observations about this new law.

1. The people of Arizona have no doubt been happy enough to take advantage of low-wage services offered by  undocumented folks.

2. As we all know—though you can’t say enough—our land here in America was taken from the original inhabitants in what was little more than a genocide. None of the yahoos who ran all over Indian land had to show any documents.

3. If President Obama had signed a law allowing for police officers to ask for the documents of people legally in the United States, he would be called a fascist or a Hitler by the right. However, when far right-wingers actually do enact such legislation, that is okay with conservatives.

April 26, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | 7 Comments

How Is It That I Retain My Faith In Democracy Despite The Idiocy Of Daily Life?

How is it that I retain my faith in democracy despite the idiocy one observes each day in life?

It can be hard to keep trust in the judgements of the people. The people often conduct themselves in a misguided fashion.

One way that I retain my belief in democracy is by striking a balance in the extent to which I interact with people.

For example, while I enjoy going to the Houston Astros baseball game along with all the other baseball fans, I also enjoy sitting up in the top row far away from others.

In this way, I am both with the people and apart from the people.

You see an example of this in the picture above. You see that I am in the best seats in the house.

I can view the people in an abstract and philosophical manner from such a vantage point.

I have no desire to be removed from the masses. I’m happy to enter the stadium through the same gates as everybody else. I am fine with waiting in line to get my nachos.

Yet, of course, there is only so much one can take. That is why I take my nachos up to the cheap seats.

April 26, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | 2 Comments

Texas Progressive Alliance Round-Up W/Picture Of The Cast Of Dallas

Here is the weekly posting of the Texas Progressive Alliance round-up. The TPA is a confederation of the best political bloggers in Texas.

With the round-up this week is a picture of the cast of the TV show Dallas.

That show was some real fine entertainment.

I’ve been in Texas for almost 12 years now, but I’m sorry to say I’ve never been to the Southfork Ranch.

You can take a tour of the Southfork Ranch in Plano, Texas. Here is part of what you can see and do if you visit Southfork –

“Re-live some of the memorable moments from “Dallas” in the “Dallas Legends” Exhibit. See the gun that shot J.R., Lucy’s wedding dress, video clips from the series, interviews with the stars, and other memorabilia that will make you feel right at home with the most infamous Texans of them all, the Ewings….As you depart the Mansion, feel free to stroll through the ranch grounds, and stop and visit “Lincoln’s and Longhorns,” displaying Jock Ewing’s original 1978 Lincoln Continental. Guests can shop here for “Dallas”-inspired men’s and ladies apparel, decor, and accessories.”

You can’t beat all that for culture. I’m going to have to visit Southfork some day.  Doing so would indeed make me a real Texan.

Here is the round-up—

Something bubbles up from the ground in Bartonville. Could this be why so many dogs nearby have cancer? Since drilling toxins were found in Barnett Shale residents’ blood and urine, maybe it’s time to test the animals too. TXsharon struggles to keep pace with the latest Barnett Shale news at Bluedaze: DRILLING REFORM FOR TEXAS.

The Texas Cloverleaf highlights the case of the Christmas goose in Flower Mound.

Off the Kuff writes about the pitch from the gambling industry.

CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme wonders about the wisdom of building a silly, damaging border fence while allowing foreign companies to control our ports.

It was a wild week for the economy and, surprisingly, for economic history. McBlogger takes a look at one historical revisionist who likes misrepresentation almost as much as Ayn Rand. Then he goes on to explain just what Goldman Sachs did. Continue reading

April 25, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | 2 Comments

The Black Guy Is Jimmy Wynn

The guy in the yellow shirt— the black guy—is Jimmy Wynn. Mr. Wynn was a very good player in the 60’s and 70’s for the Houston Astros and the Los Angeles Dodgers.

I don’t know who the white guy is.

I’m at the Astros game this evening. I’m blogging with my iPhone instead of watching the game.

Update—Back home now from the game. I did not know how lousy that picture would turn out.

Below is a 1973 baseball card of Jimmy Wynn. Here is a link to Mr. Wynn’s career statistics. Notice the high number of walks and the decent number of home runs in a time where home runs were often hard to come by.

Jimmy Wynn was a good player.

April 24, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

Please Direct Your Questions To The Giant Ghandi

I’m short on time today. I don’t have time to post anything more than this picture of a giant Ghandi.

I’d say the giant Ghandi was about eight feet tall.

I took this picture at the Houston International Fest last week. The festival has one more weekend to run.

I know you come to Texas Liberal for the answers to all your questions, but for today you’ll have to direct your questions to the giant Ghandi.

It is hard to imagine that I would have more answers than would a giant Ghandi. You are better off with the giant Ghandi.

Here are facts on the life of Ghandi.

April 23, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

Texas Liberal Now Has New York City Correspondent

I’m glad to announce that Texas Liberal now has a New York City correspondent.  My friend Lyuba Halkyn will post on the blog at least every two weeks. Lyuba is pictured above. I’m very glad to have Lyuba on-board. I’ve long wanted to report that Texas Liberal had a correspondent somewhere in thee world. Below is Lyuba’s introductory post. I’ve put in bold to indicate how glad I am to have now a far-flung network of bloggers at Texas Liberal—

When I first moved to New York City from the Midwest in 1998, I was told that after living in the City for ten years, one acquires official New Yorker status.  So that means that I have been official for about two years.  I still love the lifestyle that NYC provides.  It can be a love-hate relationship at times.

It is a city in which you practically have to give a DNA sample in order to get approved for a rental lease.  What New Yorkers go through, in order to legally be on a lease, is what people in other cities go through to purchase dwellings.  Not to mention, if you would like to purchase a humble abode on this island of Manhattan, you should probably plan on selling your first-born.

Once you have found a place to live, you really can never get lonely in this city, literally people everywhere. Free entertainment is one of the perks of living in the City.  Some of the places that you can find worthwhile entertainment is on subways and subway platforms, certain street blocks, and especially underground walkways that connect all of the subways (some of the best).  The variety of entertainment ranges from symphony worthy string performers, a mariachi band, to blues band.  In a busy NYC life, it is easy to take such entertainment for granted.  Knowing it’s there is a comfort.

Having Central Park for a back yard is pretty cool too.

‘Being a New Yorker’ as my official title, I would like to introduce myself as a jetsettin’, New York livin’, first generation from Ukrainian parents, thirty-something, dog & people lovin’, female (and then some) who will be your NYC correspondent.

Victory for our doormen and apartment workers, whose Union was able to negotiate a four-year contract with a ten percent wage increase and no givebacks in benefits while avoiding a strike.  Yahoo!

(Below–Manhattan in the early 1930’s)

April 22, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | 2 Comments

If Socialism Is The Way We Are Headed, Where Are The Socialist Marches And Candidates?

I keep hearing that the nation is moving towards socialism, yet I have not seen one socialist rally or heard of a socialist radio program.

While I imagine that there are socialist candidates for office in the United States, I am not aware of any.

We do, I’m glad to say, have one avowed Socialist in the United States Senate—Bernie Sanders of Vermont refers to himself as a Socialist. I wish we had more Socialist elected officials.

There was a time when Americans were open to Socialism. In 1912, Socialist Eugene Debs won 6% of the overall vote for President. There were Socialist parties in states across the union.

The 1912 Socialist platform had planks such a minimum wage and an income tax.

The Nation Magazine ran an article last year about ideas of Socialism in the United States today.

There is nothing that says Socialism can’t again become a force in the United States.

Just as I feel we should be open to the Green Party as on option when Democrats fail the American people, Socialism and the ideas of Socialism can be part of the agenda on the left.

April 22, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | 3 Comments

What Shall I Do With My Day?—Houston Ship Channel Leads Out To A Wide Sea

I’ve got the day to myself and there are things I plan to accomplish.

1. I’m going to make a blog post. The blog is a daily demand and I sometimes assess if it is worth the effort. I feel it is worth the effort for the moment because it  allows me to have a voice in the world. Even when I am out doing other things, the blog is getting traffic. I view it sometimes like that record playing on the Voyager space probes that transmits facts about the Earth as the Voyagers fly off into space. My message is out there.

(Below–Voyager. Here is the Voyager web home at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory.)

2. I’m going to have lunch at Brady’s Landing which is located on the  Houston Ship Channel.

I enjoy driving down historic Harrisburg Blvd. in Houston. That is how I will get to the Ship Channel. I think about things that once were and how these things are connected to the present day. All things are connected.

The Ship Channel is both organic and man-made. It is the widening and deepening of an existing body of water. You and I are both organic and man-made. We are who we are and we are the creation of the world around us.

Also, the Ship Channel is a narrow body of water that leads out to a wide sea. I find that hopeful. You never know what something will lead if you make an effort.

On my ride, I’ll take my camera and my Flip video camera in case inspiration hits. You never know when you will have a good thought.

(Below–The Houston Ship Channel)

3. I’m going to take a walk in Memorial Park here in Houston. There is a jogging/walking trail in this park. Jogging is not civilized. While I’ve never done any jogging, it looks jarring. All that wear and tear. On the other hand, a nice thoughtful walk  will make me a better husband, friend and citizen.

(Below–Memorial Park.)

4. I have a bunch of other stuff to do as well. Boring stuff like laundry.

If I sit here all morning with the blog, I will never get to any of those things—So now I’m hitting the road.

Thanks for reading the blog and please have a hopeful, creative, and liberal day.

April 21, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Seven Principles For Communication And Creativity

Here are what I see as seven possible guiding principles of communication and creativity for an individual looking to make an impact in the world with his or her views, talents, and effort.

1. The things we need to effectively and creatively express ourselves are all around us and are accessible if we make the effort.

2. The average person is able to understand more than they realize—Though they may not care enough to try to understand more.

3. No type of individual or group of people is by definition anything at all. You best communicate with many people at once by viewing everyone as an individual.

4. Have the confidence to make judgments about people, places, and events. Of course you have a viewpoint about what you see in the world.

5. The metaphoric meaning or value of a word or deed is as significant as the intended purpose of a statement or action.

6. Everything is connected.

7. While circumstance and luck plays a big part in life, you’ve got to work hard on your own to be creative and to successfully communicate.

April 20, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | 2 Comments

My Bumper Stickers Are Driving Bill White’s Surge In The Polls—White Just Four Points Behind

The latest poll has Democratic nominee for Governor Bill White within four percentage points of incumbent Republican Governor Rick Perry.

Why is former Houston Mayor White doing so well in the polls in Republican Texas?

I feel the reason is the combination of bumper stickers that are on the back of my car. The picture above is of the back of my car.

My call for universal brotherhood and sisterhood is sweeping Texas. Caught up in the good feelings I am engendering is Mr. White.

People see my bumper stickers and they do feel that they love all people in all nations and that we need a new Governor who cares about the needs of average Texans instead of just Tea party extremists.

People in texas are at their best when they agree with my positions.

Please visit the Bill White for Governor web home and see what Mr. White is saying to the people of Texas.

April 20, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | 2 Comments

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