Texas Liberal

All People Matter

All Places Have Value

While it may not seem so at first, this boarded-up home at the corner on Nance and McKee in Houston, Texas has value.

All places have value.

This place has value for the following reasons.

1. It has a history of some kind. This history is part of the larger history of our city.

2. It took the hours of people’s lives to build this house. All work has value.

3. The current condition of this house is a reminder of our failures.

4. This house is an opportunity to accomplish something better.

5. This house has the ability to make us think about the world around us.

In these ways, and in ways I am likely missing, this house and this place has value.

July 31, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | Leave a comment

Here Is What Will Anchor Me

What will anchor me in the days ahead?

My relationships with my wife and friends will anchor me.

My political views, firmly on the left, will anchor me.

All people matter. Just like it says at the top of this blog.

The fact that the things we need to be hopeful and creative are all around us will anchor me.

I believe that, with effort, what we need to be optimistic and imaginative  are accessible to the average person.

This could be a park to enjoy, a free blog service that helps you communicate, or a library full of books and information.

Your own knowledge and a little time to think and collect your thoughts is the best source of hope and creativity.

These are some of the things that will anchor me in the days ahead.

You’ll have your own list.

The anchor in the picture can be found at the Washington State History Museum in Tacoma.

When in Tacoma, this is a good place to visit. And when you are in Seattle, you should make the time to visit Tacoma.

July 30, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | Leave a comment

Republican Texas State Senator Brian Birdwell Appears To Have Voted Twice In Same Election—Photo Of Glass House

Texas Republican State Senator Brian Birdwell from the Waco area apparently cast two votes in the 2004 Presidential election.

It is also not clear if Mr. Birdwell meets the residency requirements to serve in the Texas legislature.

Here is the story from the Texas Tribune.

From the story—

The newest member of the Texas Senate and Waco’s newest representative to that body, Granbury Republican Brian Birdwell, voted in the November 2004 presidential election twice — an apparent violation of law — making his choice between George W. Bush and John Kerry in Tarrant County in Texas and again in Prince William County, Va., according to election records in the two states.

The Tribune report also says Mr. Birdwell voted in Virginia in 2006. If this is the case, then Mr. Birdwell could not have lived in Texas long enough to be eligible to serve in the legislature. You have to live in Texas for five years to be able to serve in the legislature.

Republicans in Texas go on and on about voter fraud. They say that unless we pass a so-called Voter ID bill that we’ll overwhelmed with illegals and fraudsters casting ballots to elect Democrats.

Republicans go on about this alleged voter fraud despite the fact that hardly any cases of voter fraud can be found in Texas.

Above you see a photo of a glass house. (Photo taken by Staib. The Glass House was designed by Phillip Johnson and is located in New Canaan Connecticut.)

The Texas Republicans who live in the Glass House must have been out collecting Green Party ballot access signatures when this picture was taken.

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

The World Is Getting Warmer And Warmer And Warmer—It Gets Warmer Year After Year After Year

The world is getting warmer and warmer.

The National Atmospheric And Oceanic Administration has released data that shows that the world is getting warmer.

Above is a NOAA graphic illustrating the warming world.

From a NOAA summary of the report

“While year-to-year changes in temperature often reflect natural climatic variations such as El Niño/La Niña events, changes in average temperature from decade-to-decade reveal long-term trends such as global warming. Each of the last three decades has been much warmer than the decade before. At the time, the 1980s was the hottest decade on record. In the 1990s, every year was warmer than the average of the previous decade. The 2000s were warmer still. The temperature increase of one degree Fahrenheit over the past 50 years may seem small, but it has already altered our planet,” said Deke Arndt, co-editor of the report and chief of the Climate Monitoring Branch of NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center. “Glaciers and sea ice are melting, heavy rainfall is intensifying and heat waves are more common. And, as the new report tells us, there is now evidence that over 90 percent of warming over the past 50 years has gone into our ocean.”..More and more, Americans are witnessing the impacts of climate change in their own backyards, including sea-level rise, longer growing seasons, changes in river flows, increases in heavy downpours, earlier snowmelt and extended ice-free seasons in our waters.”

Here is the full NOAA report.

Many people think this is all a scam.

It is not a scam.

July 29, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

Will Progressives And Progressive Groups In Houston And Across Texas Speak Up And Mobilize In Advance Of The Upcoming Arizona-Style Immigration Bill In The Texas Legislature?—I Would Not Bet Very Much That They Will

Leading members of the current Republican majority in the Texas legislature say that an Arizona-style immigration law will be at the top of the agenda of the next session of the Texas legislature.

The Texas legislature will convene again on January 11, 2011.

From the Houston Chronicle—

“Sen. John Carona, R-Dallas, chairman of the Senate Business and Commerce Committee, said he expects a “huge push” for immigration reform. “If the Legislature were to choose an Arizona-style path to go down, then I do believe that the emotions will run very high,” he said. It is important, he said, that lawmakers have public hearings and review the issue before deciding a course. “We need to be very cautious. We need to be mindful of all of the concerns among the public. But, above all, we would be mistaken as a legislative body were we to choose to ignore the issue entirely in favor of other issues,” he said. “The voting public here in Texas has made it clear that immigration is one of its top concerns, and, as such, I think legislators of both parties are obligated and have a responsibility to address the issue.” (Texas House Speaker Joe) Straus spokeswoman Tracy Young said, “Speaker Straus agrees with Gov. (Rick) Perry that the heart of the issue is the immediate need to focus on border security and the safety of Texans, and that the federal government should do its job.” Legislators next year will face severe budget problems, divisive redistricting, school funding troubles and reviews of major state agencies, including the Texas Commission of Environmental Quality and the Texas Department of Insurance.”

Here is the full Chronicle article. The article makes it clear that the Tea Party is calling the shots for Texas Republicans.

It’s funny in a way because you can tell here that Senator Carona, Speaker Straus and Governor Perry really don’t want this fight.  Those guys would sell out their core voters in a moment to keep the cheap labor in Texas and to avoid national controversy that could upset the business climate in Texas. These cats are bought and paid for by corporate money.  These top Republicans also know that whenever Hispanics do get around to voting in strong numbers in Texas, they will remember  who treated them as human beings and who treated them as criminals. Texas is one of four majority-minority states in the union and the future here is not with the Tea Party.

This is part of what makes the Tea Party folks in Texas so angry all the time. They know that any victory they gain in Texas is just delaying the inevitable change in what it means to be a Texan.

That said, Texas Republicans have announced months in advance that they will be going after people of Hispanic origin in our state.

The core issue is not immigration. It is about race and culture.

Will progressive forces in Houston and in Texas now speak-up mobilize to meet this challenge? We’ve been given plenty of warning.  A threat to the freedom of one person is a threat to the freedom of all people.

How about the Texas NAACP? Maybe they can get some money to start an effort of all-races solidarity from the “corporate advisory board” listed on the side the Texas NAACP web home. I’m sure Wal-Mart, Coca-Cola and Dell would like to help.

How about the Houston NAACP?

How about the folks who saw the election of Annise Parker as Mayor of Houston as a victory for human rights?

Here is the web home of the Houston GLBT Political Caucus.

The rights of all people are connected.

How about Mayor Parker? Mayor Parker got her start in politics fighting for human rights.  What would Hispanics owe the Mayor if she remains silent when her voice is most needed?

Mayor Parker’s campaign web page has a whole list of local progressives and progressive groups that could help lead the fight against an Arizona type immigration law in Texas.

What about Democrats on Houston City Council? Wouldn’t be it something if they met in caucus on a regular basis and offered a vision for Houston’s future?

That sure would be something.

Will the Hispanic community mobilize in the face of this threat?

Will folks on our side of the aisle speak up or will they remain silent?

I’m betting that for the most part silence will carry the day.

If we can easily ignore a nearly 50% child poverty rate in Houston, I figure we can ignore pretty much anything.

July 28, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Follow The Lighthouse To Marcee Stone’s Campaign In The 34th House District Of Washington

As regular readers of the blog may have noticed, I enjoy the ocean. I often make posts about ships and sea creatures.

Last week in Seattle, I saw the political yard sign you see above.

I saw that sign and said to myself that if I were to run for office, this is just the type of sign I would use for my campaign.

I like the simple symbolism of the lighthouse that helps folks steer away from the rocky shores that could sink their boats.

Because the bottom of the sign was cut off from view, I could not tell what office Marcee Stone was running for or what party she represented.

As it turns out, Marcee Stone is a Democrat running in the 34th House district of Washington.

Here is Ms. Stone’s campaign web home.

Below is a picture of Ms. Stone.

Marcee answers a question about property rights.

Here are some facts about Ms. Stone from her campaign site–

“Marcee Stone has been the Board President for statewide organization Washington Public Campaigns (www.washclean.org) since 2007 and has been active in fighting for public campaign financing bills in the legislature. In 2008 the Governor signed SB 5278 allowing the use of public funds to finance campaigns for local office and Marcee is currently working for the passage of the Supreme Court Fair Elections bills (SB 5912/HB 1738). All three legislators from the 34th have signed on to these bills and the following is excerpted from the 34th District Democrats’ past platform, “We support limitations on individual and corporate contributions and on candidate spending, and public financing for elections for national office.” To that end, Marcee has pledged not to take contributions from corporations or PACs.”

Washington State has no income tax. Here is what Ms Stone says about this fact—

“I believe that it is time for comprehensive tax reform here in Washington.  Washington is one of only four states that do not have some form of an income tax.  Instead, we rely on the sales tax which is very regressive and places a disproportionate level of taxation on low income families, the property tax, which is literally forcing seniors on a fixed income out of their homes, and the Business and Occupation tax which is driving businesses out of Washington State at a time when we need them the most.  We need fairness and stability in our tax system and we should have the added benefit of being able to deduct the taxes we pay here in Washington against our Federal Income Tax.  This issue has been studied and talked about for years.  The time for meaningful reform is now.  W need a comprehensive approach that puts everything on the table with the goal of a system that honors our seniors on a fixed income, provides fairness to low income residents, and encourages business growth here in Washington.”

This is a stance by Ms. Stone that takes some guts. It is the right stance for the hard-working people of the 34th and for all of Washington State.

A more fair tax structure would also be a great idea for Texas. It would be great if we had Democrats in Texas that were willing to address this subject.

Here is a profile of Ms. Stone.

The 34th House district of Washington is an open seat being vacated by an incumbent Democrat. The primary will be held on August 17.  Here is an article about this four candidate race.

34th District Democrats have a blog. The district includes West Seattle, White Center, Burien, and Vashon and Maury Islands.

Here is the web home of the Washington House.

I like Ms. Stone and I hope she wins.

(Below–Maury Island.)

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

Nation Magazine Addresses Income Inequality In The United States

The excellent magazine The Nation recently ran a series of articles about the rising income inequality in the United States.

Here is the link to these articles.

While I’m not as frustrated with President Obama as are some of my fellow liberals, I do wish he would speak up more on this topic.

Here is some of what former Clinton Labor Secretary Robert Reich said in his Nation article about the ever increasing gap between the rich and everyone else in the U.S.—

“Consider: in 1928 the richest 1 percent of Americans received 23.9 percent of the nation’s total income. After that, the share going to the richest 1 percent steadily declined. New Deal reforms, followed by World War II, the GI Bill and the Great Society expanded the circle of prosperity. By the late 1970s the top 1 percent raked in only 8 to 9 percent of America’s total annual income. But after that, inequality began to widen again, and income reconcentrated at the top. By 2007 the richest 1 percent were back to where they were in 1928—with 23.5 percent of the total….Each of America’s two biggest economic crashes occurred in the year immediately following these twin peaks—in 1929 and 2008. This is no mere coincidence. When most of the gains from economic growth go to a small sliver of Americans at the top, the rest don’t have enough purchasing power to buy what the economy is capable of producing. America’s median wage, adjusted for inflation, has barely budged for decades. Between 2000 and 2007 it actually dropped. Under these circumstances the only way the middle class can boost its purchasing power is to borrow, as it did with gusto. As housing prices rose, Americans turned their homes into ATMs. But such borrowing has its limits. When the debt bubble finally burst, vast numbers of people couldn’t pay their bills, and banks couldn’t collect.”

People must be able to get fair wages for the work that they do. Liberals must make sure that this issue is part of the political discussion. Average working people must insist that they be treated with respect. Average working people must treat other working people with respect.

Economic fairness for working people is a lot of what being a liberal is about. It’s an issue that must be always be on our agenda because the forces of greed and plunder ever let up for even a moment.

July 26, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

Paralytic Shellfish Toxin Is Bad–Links To Safe Shellfish Consumption

Here is a picture I took a few days ago of a sign posted at a Seattle beach.

This type of sign can be found at beaches across the nation and around the world.

I’d say that paralytic shellfish toxin is likely bad.

Here is what the Washington State Department of Health has to say about paralytic shellfish toxin.

It’ll make you real sick.

Here is a more complete sheet on marine toxins from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC offers guidelines on safely eating shellfish.

Here is the link to the Shellfish in the News section of The National Shellfisheries Association.

Here is the link to the Haskin Shellfish Research Laboratory at Rutgers University.

It is important to note that many of  these problems  come from natural causes and not manmade pollution.

Though anybody who has lived near large bodies of water is mindful of sewage overruns and industrial pollution.

July 26, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Here Is What Happens When You Run On To The Field

Above is a picture I took of a man who run on the field at the Seattle Mariner baseball game of Tuesday, July 20.

The man was chased by a number of people, tackled, handcuffed and taken away.

A stadium usher said that the man was looking at a night in jail and a $ 6,000 fine.

I’m not certain that this person made the best decision by running onto the field.

July 26, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

Texas Liberal Is Four Years Old Today

Today marks four years since I began regular postings on Texas Liberal.

Thanks to everyone who has read the blog and who has left a comment.

Thanks to the fellow bloggers I’ve become friends with since I began the blog.

I intend to keep on with Texas Liberal.

Please read the blog as often as your are inclined and please suggest the blog to others. A blog grows one reader at a time.

July 25, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | 8 Comments

Texas Progressive Alliance Round-Up

Here is the most recent edition of the Texas Progressive Alliance round-up. The TPA is a confederation of the best political bloggers in Texas.

TPA bloggers are doing a good job in a harsh world. Please visit these blogs as often as you are able.

Neil at Texas Liberal visited the Houston Museum of Natural Science and took a picture of the corpse flower. The flower will smell like rotten flesh when it blooms. This has been a major topic of conversation in Houston over the past week.

CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme is happy that over 700,000 Texans will now be able to get health insurance despite the negative efforts of John Cornyn and Kay Bailey Hutchison.

Bay Area Houston has a lot to discuss, like the Socialist Republican, the Freedom Kissing in the Galveston GOP, and the WARTS of America.

Off the Kuff wrote about a new report on water conservation from the Sierra Club and the National Wildlife Federation. Continue reading

July 25, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Nice Way To Say No Tresspassing

Here is a person in Seattle who wants you away from their property, but also wants to be nice about the fact.

July 24, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | | 1 Comment

A Great Day In Seattle, Washington—Everyday Has Value

It was a great day today in Seattle, Washington.

You can see from the picture that I’m telling you the truth.

I’m sorry that you were not here to enjoy the day.

I don’t know that I would have wanted you with me. I need some peace.

But I’m certain that you work hard and thst you also merit a nice day at the ocean.

The good news is that no matter where you are, everyday has value and purpose.

July 23, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | 2 Comments

Unfairly Fired Shirley Sherrod Says The Real Issue Is Class

I read a story in the July 22 USA Today about unfairly fired U.S Agriculture Department employee Shirley Sherrod.

This is the woman fired because a right-wing blogger took comments she made about issues of race out of context.

I often do read USA Today. I’ve been gettiing the paper of late delivered at the door of my hotel room in Seattle. I’m in that hotel room right now writing this blog post.

In the USA Today article, Ms. Sherrod says that the real issue is not about race but “about the poor vs. those that have.”

Damn right. I could not agree more. I wish some of our fellow working people could see the facts as clearly as does Ms. Sherrod.

July 23, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | 2 Comments

Contrasting Messages On Display Near The University Of Washington

Here are messages of peace and violence that were visible from the interior of two cars parked near each other in a shopping district near the University of Washington.

The gun hat does not seem very friendly.

I walked around the campus of the U. of Washington yesterday. It looked like a nice place to spend four years.

July 22, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

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