My friend David Jennings, a top conservative blogger and reflexive mouthpiece for the so-called Tea Party here in Houston, wrote the following in his blog Big Jolly Politics a few days ago–
“Remember folks: these vile, vulgar, angry bigots on the left HATE YOU because you try to live clean lives and do right by other people. No amount of coddling to their wishes will change that.
The post was about a liberal blogger in town that Mr. Jennings feels is off the mark in a variety of ways.
I’ve been thinking for a few days about these two sentences from Mr. Jennings.
I live a clean life by conventional standards. I’ve been married for ten years and have never cheated on my wife. I don’t do any drugs. I don’t smoke. I drink in moderation. I go to work five days a week and I pay my taxes. I vote in every election. Regular readers of this blog know I never use obscenities in the blog. Anybody who has ever shared a meal with me at a restaurant knows that I’m as polite as could be and that I tip 20%. I am, in fact, quite conservative in many respects.
I live a clean life and try to do right by other people. And from what I know of Mr. Jennings, he values courtesy and hard work as well.
Here’s the difference between a conservative and a liberal —-A conservative likely favors repeal of the recently Health Care Reform that—Among many other helpful things— will help millions of Americans with the elimination of lifetime caps on policies, and the prohibiting of the practice of kicking people off insurance because they get sick. A liberal does not likely favor repeal of Health Care Reform.
I’ll side with the person who puts human life over small government ideology.
Let’s say that a conservative is in his or her own private life a wonderful person. I suppose this is possible. No type of person has a corner on right living. But what good will the private conduct of someone on the right do for our fellow Americans when health insurance is needed? Or when we need social security? Or when we need parks and libraries that are sufficiently funded?
Lot’s of really bad people love their spouses and love their kids.
Politics is about how we will run our society. It is about far more than private life.
In addition to how you live your private life, a test of character is are you willing to pay the taxes required for a decent society and not just for your own perceived gain?
The right wants to privatize every aspect of our lives. A view of good conduct that stops at private conduct is an insufficient view.
Character is about how you view the public sphere just as much as about how you conduct your private life.
We are obligated to each other by the simple fact that we exist.
Of course we must work if we are able. We must be kind to the people in our lives.
We must also see that morality involves progressive taxation, needed investment in our schools and parks, acceptance of people of all faiths, and Health Care Reform that will help millions of Americans.
These are aspects of morality just as much as how we live our private lives.
Aliens Said To Disable Nuclear Missiles—I Wish They Would Turn Off The Texas Electric Chair As Well So That No More Innocent People Are Executed
A group of former U.S. and British Air Force pilots have claimed that aliens are disarming American and British nuclear missiles.
” …The beings have repeated their efforts in the US and have been active since 1948, the men said, and accused the respective governments of trying to keep the information secret. The unlikely claims were compiled by six former US airmen and another member of the military who interviewed or researched the evidence of 120 ex-military personnel. The information they have collected suggests that aliens could have landed on Earth as recently as seven years ago. ..One of the men, Capt Robert Salas, said: “The US Air Force is lying about the national security implications of unidentified aerial objects at nuclear bases and we can prove it.” He said said he witnessed such an event first-hand on March 16, 1967, at Malmstrom Air Force Base in Montana which housed Minuteman nuclear missiles. Capt Salas continued: “I was on duty when an object came over and hovered directly over the site. “The missiles shut down – 10 Minuteman missiles. And the same thing happened at another site a week later. There’s a strong interest in our missiles by these objects, wherever they come from. I personally think they’re not from planet Earth.” Others claim to have seen similar activity in the UK. Col Charles Halt said he saw a UFO at the former military base RAF Bentwaters, near Ipswich, 30 years ago, during which he saw beams of light fired into the base then heard on the military radio that aliens had landed inside the nuclear storage area….”
I support these actions by our alien guests.
Given that they had the technology to visit the Earth, it is unlikely that they are concerned that we could use nuclear weapons to destroy invading alien ships.
I feel that the most likely scenario is that they are disabling nuclear weapons all across the world so that we do not blow ourselves up.
I encourage these benevolent visitors to not stop at just nuclear weapons.
I suggest that they disable the Fox News television studios.
I think it would also be good if they were to turn off the Texas electric chair so that no more innocent people are executed.
“Most Americans trust our country’s justice system, but the fact that mistakes are made should lead many to question the “justice” involved in seeking the death penalty. No matter how good our justice system is, it is based on human reason and judgment and is subject to error. Jailhouse or “snitch” false testimony, mistaken eyewitness identification, misinterpretation of evidence, incompetent legal representation, unreliable expert testimony, and community prejudices and pressures all too often impact the verdict and sentencing. More than 125 people have been released from death row since 1973, due to credible evidence of their wrongful conviction, including 8 here in Texas. Independent investigations have also made very credible cases that at least 3 innocent people have been executed in the state.”
What would be best of all, if these visitors are truly are friends, would be if they would stop all guns and weapons of war from working.
I’d like to see the National Rifle Association complain about that.
If these aliens intended to eat us or to take all our water, I don’t think they would be going around protecting us from our nuclear weapons.
If the aliens would like to contact me to discuss what they can do to make the Earth a better place, they are free to leave a comment on the blog with contact information.
(Update—My friend Perry Dorrell, a top Houston political blogger who writes Brains & Eggs, reminds me that in Texas we execute people by lethal injection. I can’t imagine though that this would matter to such powerful aliens who are working hard for a better Earth.)
This picture of a snow cone on the Galveston Seawall has proved popular when I’ve e-mailed it to friends.
So I thought that it might go over well with the blog reading public.
It was as hot as could be the day this summer I took this picture.
I had to rush to take the picture before the snow cone melted.
I don’t suppose that answers the question of why I had to take a picture of the snow cone in the first place.
Not so long ago, I did not have e-mail so that I could sent things to my friends in an instant.
Nor did I have had a camera in my phone or a blog.
Now I have these things and I’m always looking for material.
It is like—at times— I’m not my own person anymore. I’m someone in frequent pursuit of words and images meant to appeal to others.
(Above–Incumbent Governor Rick perry refuses to debate this year. I think the League should set up an empty chair for the Governor. Above you see a Saddle Chair. Maybe the Governor would attend if he could imagine himself a cowboy during the debate.)
The debate will be moderated by Melanie Lawson. Her name sounds familiar for those of you who live in Houston because she is an anchorperson on the TV news.
The Libertarian nominee will be there as well. I don’t want to mention that person’s name. If you’re really a Libertarian, you’ll look it up yourself and not count on me to do that for you.
Though if you are a Libertarian, I bet you’ll take Social Security when it is time and I bet you’ll call the local fire department if your house is on fire. It is services for others that Libertarians don’t like.
( Governor Perry might attend the debate if chairs were set up in a palatial setting that reminds Mr. Perry of the $10,000 a month rental home he has been living in since the Governor’s mansion burned down. Picture taken by Hennrik Bennetsen.)
Incumbent Governor Rick Perry will not be at the debate. Mr. Perry is refusing to debate Mr. White and his other opponents.
It is not really so much that Governor Perry is afraid to debate Mr. White. It is, instead, that Mr. Perry has a small lead in the polls and his base of supporters does not care if he debates or not. It does not serve the Governor to debate. The fact that a debate involving all candidates would serve the democratic process is not so important to the Governor. It is about that is best for Rick Perry instead of what is best for the people of Texas.
(Above–The League could bring a park bench in for the Governor. Photo taken by James Perry. Seeing a public asset, the Governor could seek to privatize the bench by selling it to a company that would charge a fee or toll to citizens who wished to sit on the bench.)
Listening to others in a debate can be difficult when your personal and political identity is often rooted in disliking people, and in being afraid of people not like yourself in our minority-majority state. This describes the mindset of many Tea Party/Republican voters in Texas.
By not debating and by refusing to meet with newspaper editorial boards, Mr. Perry helps his supporters live in their own private world.
(See here all that Health Care Reform does for hard working Americans. These are benefits that any American might require at any time.)
It is not such a nice world.
Hopefully, Mr. Perry will soon come to the realization that the people of Texas deserve to see all the candidates for Governor debating the issues on the same stage.
(Above—The chair Governor Perry merits most for his petulance. Photo taken by Yvwv.)
This house in Galveston comes with a matching blue car and even a matching blue sky.
I Support Green Candidate Edward Lindsay For Texas State Comptroller—Texas Progressive Alliance Round-Up
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 is a picture I took last week of Edward Lindsay. Mr. Lindsay is the Green Party candidate for Texas State Comptroller.
There is no Democrat running for Comptroller. If Mr. Lindsay gets 5% of the statewide vote, then the Green Party gets automatic ballot access statewide in Texas for 2012.
I’m going to vote for Mr. Lindsay and I hope he reaches 5%. I think Texans would benefit from a Green option in 2012.
Many Democrats care a lot about the people they represent. Other Democrats are beholden to corporate interests and/or are complacent in safe districts that often have serious problems of poverty.
This is my own view. I’m not speaking for the TPA or for TPA member blogs.
Here’s the round-up—
This week on Left of College Station Teddy analyzes the positions Chet Edwards and Bill Flores take on American foreign policy, and looks at the polls as the primaries end and the general election begins. Left of College Station also covers the week in headlines.
CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme notes that Texas remains 6th in the nation as poverty levels soar. What are Republicans doing about it? Defunding education and health care, two of the most important pillars of success for Texans.
It’s been a terrible week for Todd Staples. McBlogger notes that it’s rare for the failure of a public official to be so glaringly obvious. It’s exceedingly rare for the coverup of that failure to be bungled quite so badly. Then again, it’s not often that said public official is facing Hank Gilbert.
Both Rick Perry and Todd Staples committed their own comedies of errors, preserved forever on video. See PDiddie’s Brains and Eggs and LYAO.
Neil at Texas Liberal used a picture he took this week of an unattended lifeguard station in Galveston to show how the Tea Party/Republican Party would govern America.
There were a number of people I ate lunch with at this table in Cincinnati’s Fairview Park.
I also sat at this table alone a number of times.
Though when I often visited this table, it had four chairs. I wonder where the other two chairs went. I wonder if they will ever be replaced.
I took this picture last July.
This picture likely means nothing to you.
Maybe what this picture and this post can do is help you to think about the people and the places in your own life that have meaning.
Life requires context to have meaning. The present and the future demand a past.
I’d not intended to make another post today. However, a video and story from Galveston Daily News reporter Chris Paschenko merits consideration.
“He handed me his ID and said when the police come, give this to them,” Thompson said. Then he just went off the end and jumped in the water — started bobbing up and down.” Thompson yelled to the man before he went into the strong surf. Lifeguards flew red flags, warning of dangerous swimming conditions Thursday. “I said: ‘Hey man! Come here. Let me talk to you,’” Thompson said. “He just went on and jumped in the water — just drowned.”….A counselor with The Jessie Tree, a nonprofit, Galveston organization that offers help with social services and ministerial resources, assisted (Jeffery Ray) Lane’s family at the end of the pier …Galveston police found Lane’s car a few blocks from the seawall…“He drove down here alone, called his family on the way down and said his goodbye,” ….”
I’m sorry that this is the case for all involved. I can’t imagine Mr. Lane would have done this if he were not quite disturbed. I’m sorry for his family and for the people fishing out on the jetty who had to witness this suicide.
Life is harsh and people are sometimes not well and need help. Others are caught up in circumstances they did not create. This is why I am a liberal.
Caring about people in trouble is not at all exclusive to liberals. I’m just relating my own thinking.
The world is often a nasty noisy brutal mess. We must make the most of the time we have. I don’t know why. Just because.
All people matter.
Above you see Franklin Roosevelt Action Figure, Andrew Jackson Action Figure, and George W. Bush Action Figure . They are standing with a $50 money order that they bought at the supermarket, and are going to send to the Democratic National Committee.
F.D.R.A.F. says that Health Care Reform is as close to a New Deal program that we going to see in our corporate owned nation. He reminds that HCR, among many helpful things, ends lifetime limits on policies, stops the practice of kicking people off insurance because they sick and offers free immunizations to kids. (Read about Health Care Reform on your own.)
Andrew Jackson A.F. says that in his day, slavery was expanded and Indian removal was aggressively pursued all in the name of expanded democracy and liberty. He says he would have done something about it all, but for the fact that he was in favor of all the bad things taking place. Old Hickory says that in our day, the so-called Tea Party and the Republican Party use talk of expanded democracy and liberty to empower the rich even further and to make sure that millions won’t have access to health insurance. (A good to book to learn about the “evolution” of democracy in the first half of the 19th century is The Rise of American Democracy–Jefferson to Lincoln by Sean Wilentz. )
George W. Bush A.F. says that many of our problems are indeed his fault.
The donation does not change my view that the Democratic Party sometimes ignores the poor and urban voters who are often it’s most reliable supporters.
Nor does it mean that I’m any less frustrated with President Obama‘s failure to communicate effectively for progressive values.
But we are where we are, and we must move ahead past the upcoming election.
The Republican Party has from the moment President Obama took office said no to everything he has proposed. They never had any intention of saying anything other than saying no.
They have said no regardless of the severity of the recession, regardless of the millions without health insurance and regardless of the reality of climate change.
They don’t appear to care about the severity of these problems.
I suggest that you please consider what you can do to help Democratic candidates in the weeks ahead.
After the election is done, there will be plenty of time to discuss what comes next.
The so-called King Street Patriots, a local Tea Party cell in Houston, care a lot about black people when they are dead. It is just the living ones that they don’t worry so much about.
The King Street Patriots are taking part in an effort to clean the Olivewood Cemetery in Houston. It’s a campaign stunt by the Republican running against Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee in the 18th Congressional district of Texas.
Olivewood is a historic black cemetery in Ms. Jackson Lee’s district. Above is a picture of Olivewood that I took a few days ago.
At the same time they are tending with such respect for the dead, the King Street Patriots and the Republicans want to repeal Health Care Reform.
Here are some of the things that HCR accomplishes—
- Deny coverage to kids with pre-existing conditions. Health plans cannot limit or deny benefits or deny coverage for a child younger than age 19 simply because the child has a pre-existing condition like asthma.
- Put lifetime limits on benefits. Health plans can no longer put a lifetime dollar limit on the benefits of people with costly conditions like cancer
- Cancel your policy without proving fraud. Health plans can’t retroactively cancel insurance coverage – often at the time you need it most – solely because you or your employer made an honest mistake on your insurance application.
- Deny claims without a chance for appeal. In new health plans, you now have the right to demand that your health plan reconsider a decision to deny payment for a test or treatment. That also includes an external appeal to an independent reviewer.
Consumers in New Health Plans Will Be Able to:
- Receive cost-free preventive services. New health plans must give you access to recommended preventive services such as screenings, vaccinations and counseling without any out-of-pocket costs to you.
- Keep young adults on a parent’s plan until age 26. If your health plan covers children, you can now most likely add or keep your children on your health insurance policy until they turn 26 years old if they don’t have coverage on the job.
- Choose a primary care doctor, ob/gyn and pediatrician. New health plans must let you choose the primary care doctor or pediatrician you want from your health plan’s provider network and let you see an OB-GYN doctor without needing a referral from another doctor.
- Use the nearest emergency room without penalty. New health plans can’t require you to get prior approval before seeking emergency room services from a provider or hospital outside your plan’s network – and they can’t require higher copayments or co-insurance for out-of-network emergency room services.
These are the facts. This is what the Tea Party/Republican Party opposes. And as the plan rolls out, millions will do not now have access to coverage will get access to coverage.
In 2007, 19.5% of black Americans had no health insurance. This was in comparison to 10.4% without insurance for whites. And these numbers were from before the recession.
Republicans had years to do something about the problem of access to health insurance in our nation. They did nothing.
The King Street Patriots, the Tea Party movement, and the Republican Party have such regard for dead people, that they want to make sure we have as many dead people as possible from the lack of health insurance.
Yet you can bet your last dollar that just like with Social Security, these people will take the benefits of Health Care Reform when it serves their personal needs.
In 33 of the 36 midterm elections held since the end of the Civil War, the party in the White House has lost seats in the United States House of Representatives.
We need to recall this as the 2010 midterm elections approach. There are underlying patterns in all things. This historical fact and pattern of midterm losses for the party holding the Presidency is one that has impacted both major parties over many years.
Beginning with 1866, only in 1934, 1998 and 2002 has the party holding the White House gained in the U.S. House.
In 1934, Democrats picked up nine seats to add onto an already large majority, as President Roosevelt remained popular and Republicans continued to be associated with the 1929 crash.
In 1998, Democrats won five new seats as part of the backlash against the Republican vote for the impeachment of President Clinton. Despite the Democratic pick-ups, Republicans retained narrow control of the House.
In 2002, Republicans gained seven House seats in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks and due to the widespread public support of President George W. Bush at that point. This allowed Republicans to expand a slight House majority.
(Below–Dennis Hastert of Illinois was selected House Speaker in 1999 and held the office through 2007. Mr. Hastert was the longest serving Republican Speaker in Congressional history.)
What each of these elections has in common is that they took place in the shadow of larger history-making events. The Great Depression. A vote to impeach the President. The September 11 hijackings.
While in some cases the party occupying the White House has lost only a few House seats, the trend is unmistakable. Midterm elections offer voters a chance to vent against the party holding the Presidency.
In terms of a switch of party control in the House, this has occurred ten times in the 36 post-Civil War midterms. This is something I’ll be writing about in an upcoming post. I’ll also soon be discussing Senate results in midterms.
Liberals and all Democrats should recall that what is taking place today is is often how it is in our politics. It is difficult to see republicans doing well for the moment, but there is reason for hope in the days ahead.
Liberals and all Democrats should also recall that the election has not yet been held.
Consider donating or volunteering in the weeks ahead to the Democrat of your choice.
Here is some history of the House from the House Clerk. You can find, among many other things, the party breakdown for each session of Congress at this site.
A useful book is House–The History of the House of Representatives by Robert Remini.
Harris County Judge Ed Emmett Paints Himself As Voice Of Reason, Yet At The Same Time He Panders To Tea Party
David Jennings, a top conservative blogger who serves as a mouthpiece for the local so-called Tea Party movement, writes that the campaign manager of Harris County Judge Executive Ed Emmett appeared at yesterday’s meeting of the so-called King Street Patriots. The King Street Patriots are a local Tea Party cell that advocates sending out poll watchers for the 2010 election in Harris County, in an attempt to forestall through intimidation the demographic changes that will soon leave the Republican Party in the minority in Harris County and in Texas as a whole.
The Republican Party will do anything at all to hang on a bit longer because once Democrats start winning, they will go on winning for a long time.
The Tea Party says elections are being stolen in Harris County. They have no proof, but they keep on saying that elections are being stolen in Harris County. It’s easy to say that when you think that conservative white folks are the only true Americans. Illegitimate people by definition cast illegitimate votes.
Here is what Mr. Jennings wrote in his mouthpiece blog, Big Jolly Politics, for September 20—
“I have to admit that I was shocked when Ryan Walsh, Campaign Manager for Harris County Judge Ed Emmett, was the first speaker with a message from the judge. His message? That now is the time more than ever to get involved and get trained to be a poll watcher, that he supports the efforts of King Street, and that we need to make certain that every person gets one vote counted accurately.”
Judge Emmett likes to paint himself as a voice of reason. He knows that if he wants to last more than one more term, he will have to appeal to a diverse county that is trending Democratic.
So why are Judge Emmett’s representatives pandering to the Tea Party?
I suppose it is likely for the same reason that Judge Emmett himself did not appear at the King Street meeting.
Judge Emmett wants to be all things to all people. He’ll reach out to the Tea Party—But just so much.
I wager the Judge and his people are all over the county telling folks just what it is they wish to hear.
Let’s hope it is an act. We would not like to find out later that Judge Emmett has dabbled in witchcraft.
I’ve begun to carry the U.S. Constitution with me when I am out and about.
Above you see my copy of the Constitution being held and read by my friend Hamburger Wearing An Astros’ Hat.
I am walking around with a copy of the Constitution in case I am accosted by an advocate of so-called “states rights” or I am confronted out of the blue by someone asserting that Health Care Reform is unconstitutional.
There are so many crazy people out there right now that Hamburger and I feel we need to be on the ready at all times.
For the states right crowd all I have to tell them is what part of ” In order to form a more perfect union” do you not understand?
The Constitution was written in large measure in response to the failures of the Articles of Confederation and the corruption of state legislatures.
As for Health Care Reform, The Commerce Clause of our Constitution allows extensive federal regulation of a variety of economic activities.
A Republican is someone who wants to go back to when an insurance company could kick you off your policy because you got sick. This is practice is now banned by HCR.
My copy of the Constitution is The Penguin Guide to the United States Constitution by Richard Beeman.
The book can fit in your back pocket or your purse and has both original texts and expert interpretation of our founding documents.
We can’t allow far-right extremists to misrepresent our past so they can steal our future. Learn the Constitution for yourself. Don’t get your notion from the ideological descendants of the same people who opposed Civil rights and who opposed the New Deal.
(Blogger’s Note–Brilliant Harvard Kennedy School of Government graduate and Burnt Orange Report blogger Phillip Martin has teamed up with Annie’s List to report on some of the most competitive races for the Texas House of Representatives in 2010. Phillip has been nice enough to allow me to share this analysis with Texas Liberal readers. Today’s post covers Texas House district 101. This district covers Mesquite and other portions of Dallas County. Above is a picture of the former Big Town Shopping Mall in Mesquite. Demolished in 2006, this was the first covered shopping mall in the southwest.)
Here is the report for Texas House District 101—
District Overview: The Numbers, The Issues, and the Candidates
State Representative Robert Miklos represents the eastern parts of Dallas County, including Mesquite. A former Chief Prosecutor for the City of Dallas and a past President of the Mesquite Bar Association, Rep. Miklos joined the State House in 2009, after defeating Republican Mike Anderson in 2008. Rep. Miklos is running this time with the support of firefighters, police, and teachers. A Democrat who represents the needs of his district, Miklos’ campaign has knocked on over 14,000 doors already this cycle, before the Labor Day field plan kicks in.
The district is one of the many in suburban areas of Texas that has turned to Democrats on the State House level in recent years — predominantly because of the focus on pocketbook issues in areas undergoing demographic change. With his emphasis on issues like utility and insurance rates, as well as jobs and the economy, Rep. Miklos has turned most of his legislative attention into reducing the rising costs associated with Republican rule in Texas. Miklos’ legislative agenda has earned him support from numerous community leaders and organizations, and as an incumbent he’s shown a propensity to pro-actively get engaged with the people he spent his life working with.
Why Rep. Miklos Returns Next Year
Rep. Miklos’ opponent, Cindy Burkett, is a Tea Party supporter whose support for school vouchers has alienated her from Republicans who support public education. Burkett was the much more conservative candidate in the primary, and her track record of extreme fringe positions is not expected to help her in a relatively moderate district. In a tough election year, anything is possible — but Miklos’ record , hard work and popularity in the district are expected to carry him to a victory in November.
June 30 Campaign Finance Report:
|HD 101: Miklos vs. Burkett
||Cash on Hand
|Rep. Robert Miklos (D)
|Cindy Burkett (R)
||$1,170 – Miklos||-
||$5,218 – Miklos