Here is the last post of 2010.
Let’s end the year by asking ourselves the big questions.
Below is a 17 second video of Admiral James Stockdale, who in 1992 was the running mate of Ross Perot, asking the eternal questions of who we are and why we are here at a Vice Presidential debate with Dan Quayle and Al Gore.
Context gives meaning to life.
I hope that folks get some peace over the holiday weekend ahead to take stock of life, and to think about what they would like to accomplish in the year ahead.
Everyday has value. Every place has a purpose. Almiost all work is honorable. All people matter.
See the big picture and, also, please don’t drive drunk over the holiday.
Good luck to everybody in the year ahead.
2010 is sailing away.
2010 is sailing away just like that ship you see above. I took this picture earlier this year while on riding across Galveston Bay on a ferry boat.
My blog traffic stinks this week. Just as well. Hopefully people are enjoying the holiday week.
Enjoy New Year’s Eve anyway you wish so long as you don’t drive drunk or drive tipsy.
Thanks for reading Texas Liberal in 2010. Please visit the blog every chance you get in 2011.
(Photo copyright Neil Aquino.)
Today is the 165th anniversary of Texas Statehood. Texas became a state on December 29, 1845.
(Above–Texas State Capitol. As you see, the U.S. Flag flies above the Texas State Flag. Photo by Daniel Mayer.)
While our Governor, Rick Perry, has engaged in seditious talk about Texas leaving our federal union, Texas is one of the 50 states of the United States of America.
Loyal Texans see no conflict between seeing what is best about the many contributions Texas has made to our nation, and, at the same time, being part of our great nation.
(The San Jacinto Battlefield Monument and the USS Texas battleship in LaPorte, Texas. LaPorte is just outside of Houston. Texas independence was won in 1836 at San Jacinto. The monument and the battleship are well worth a visit. Photo by Louis Vest.)
There are many fine resources to learn about Texas.
Lone Star Nation–The Epic Story of the Battle for Texas Independence by H.W. Brands will tell you all you need to know about how Texans won independence from Mexico.
Texas: A Modern History by David McComb is short and readable history of Texas history all the way up to the current century.
The Handbook of Texas Online is very comprehensive on many aspects of Texas both past and present. The Handbook is also published by the TSHS.
I’m certain there are many additional quality resources about our state.
Congratulations to all Texans for being lucky enough to live in a state that is justifiably famous all around the world, and that is also a proud part of our union.
(Below—The President of the United States of America.)
I was driving around Houston a few weeks ago when I encountered this now empty building.
(Photo copyright Neil Aquino.)
Have Respect For Your Fellow Working People Who Must Labor On A Holiday—So Many Ways To Ask If Burger King Is Open On Christmas
Last year I wrote a post about a Burger King in Houston being open on Christmas Day. The post was prompted by the picture you see above. I took that picture last December on a very rare snowy day in Houston.
(Picture copyright Neil Aquino.)
My feeling was that Burger King did not need to be open on Christmas Day. The employees would want to be at home with family and Burger King on Christmas Day seemed depressing. I realize many folks eat at Burger King and I pass no judgment on that fact. I’m simply not certain that Burger King on Christmas Day is needed by anybody if only for the reason that the staff would be forced to be work.
I can recall growing up in New England in the 1970′s when many business places were not open on Sunday. I don’t know if that was for the best or not, but it was at least a day of rest to a greater extent than we see today. On the other hand, more hours open means more hours for staff to be employed.
On the Christmas Day just past, I did in fact visit a local convenience store/gas station. So you can say I’m a hyprocrite. I walked over to the store to buy an early edition of the Sunday Houston Chronicle. I get the final edition delivered to my door. I did not need to buy the early edition.
However, I also bought two $1 instant lottery tickets and gave them to the clerk. I thanked him for working the holiday. It is up to you to judge if these facts exonerate me.
Burger King stays open on Christmas Day and on other holidays for a very good reason. Many people want to spend money to eat at Burger King on Christmas Day. At the end of this post are just some of the search terms that internet users wrote on or around Christmas Day 2010 to see if Burger King would be open Christmas Day. There is something like 65 different versions of the question listed below. That is not all of the listings. My blog got more than 900 page views on this topic alone for a post over a year old. (I guess that is some assurance that Texas Liberal has at least a little pull on Google.)
(Above–A Whopper. Here is nutritional information on Whoppers. A Whopper will meet almost all your daily saturated fat needs. Here is nutritional infromation for all Burger King menu offerings.)
Business places have plenty of profit motive to be open on holidays. So I suppose the question is what can we do as working people to acknowledge the fact that some folks must work holidays for non-essential reasons. And ,of course, the same consideration must be accorded to people who must work for the public safety or in any type of business that cannot shut down for a day.
Here are some possibilities for us to act in a respectful way that asserts that value and dignity of all labor—
1. In jobs where tipping is customary, we could tip at the time-and-a-half rate that all workers should expect on a holiday. If you normally tip 15% for good service, than you could tip 22.5% instead on holidays. If you normally tip close to 20%, as you should consider doing if you have the resources, than a tip near 30% would be fair. This may seem high, but the fact is that your waiter is working a holiday and working people should be mindful of the needs of other working people.
2. We could thank the person for working the holiday. How hard is that?
3. We could tip well and acknowledge the fact someone is working a holiday even if we feel somehow mistreated at our own work. Part of the respect we can show for fellow working people is not to spread around the misery we may feel simply because we lack the personal discipline to care about others.
4. We could advocate year-round for better treatment for working people. All work has value. It is a measure of our own self-respect that we see value and commonality in the circumstances of people who also give the hours of their lives to earn a living. All too often in our nation we have put aside our own best interests and the best interests of fellow working people so we can focus on hating people not like ourselves.
New Year’s Day 2011 is coming up. There is always some holiday on the horizon. Let’s treat people well.
We all have the ability to make life better for ourselves and for others. This ability to make life better never takes a holiday.
Here are but some of many ways people inquired as to the availability of a Whopper on Christmas Day—
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burger king hours of operation schofield christmas day
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is burger king open on christmas day 2009
do burger king opens on christmas
what time does burgerking close at christmas eve Read more »
Here is the weekly posting of the Texas Progressive Alliance Round-up. The TPA is a confederation of the best political bloggers in Texas.
Today is the day after Christmas and I’m in a light blog posting holiday frame of mind.
Is this round-up of the best bloggers in Texas not enough?
Don’t forget–The best gift you can give yourself and others is the gift of your greater involvement in public affairs in 2011.
This is also the last round-up I’ll be posting in 2010. Be sure to raise a bit of hell between now and the New Year.
Do pretty much whatever you want as long as you don’t drive drunk.
The EPA Imminent and Substantial Endangerment Order to Protect Drinking Water in Southern Parker County has spawned a media frenzy but news sources only tell part of the story. TXsharon has a short timeline of events surrounding the water contamination that should change the conversation, atBLUEDAZE: Drilling Reform for Texas.
Led by the so-called “professional left”, Texas Democrats locked Aaron Pena in the virtual town square stocks and hurled rotten tomatoes at him until he cried. “Call Out Aaron” Day was the social media hit of the holiday season, by all accounts (except Pena’s). See PDiddie and Brains and Eggsfor details.
Here is Patriotic Ocean Santa.
I saw him on the Galveston Seawall three days ago.
He sure must have been hot in that suit because it was 82 degrees three days ago.
Please have a nice and safe holiday. Please be kind to others.
(Photo copyright Neil Aquin0)
Where Are Republican Objections To Federal Dollars For Galveston Seawall Improvements?—Where Are Seawall Bake Sales And The Citizen Volunteers?
The people of Galveston County will be enjoying the benefits of federal dollars as the federal government will be picking up most of the expense for $15 million in improvements to the Galveston Seawall.
(Above–Picture of Galveston Seawall I took earlier his year. Government, in concert with our own hard work, can help protect us from the storms of life.)
From the Houston Chronicle—
“….the seawall from Fourth Street to 83rd Street will be landscaped with palm trees and native grasses… Other improvements include solar lighting, benches and markers with information on history and local plants and wildlife. The bulk of the $15 million cost for the entire project will be paid for with federal transportation money…”
In 2010, the voters of Galveston County elected a Republican county government.
I thought the message of the 2010 election was to get government out of our lives.
Where are the objections to this project from Galveston County Republicans? Where are the Republicans of principle holding bake sales to raise funds for Seawall improvements? Where are the citizens forming volunteer parties to do this work without federal intrusion from Washington?
People can go on and on about government. But in the end, they take the money.
There is nothing wrong with taking the money for useful projects such as improving a resource as vital to the safety and prosperity of Galveston County as is the Seawall.
Also, there is nothing wrong with realizing the fact that government has a role to play in our lives.
Wherever in the country you live, you can bet that folks who complain about government are taking government dollars for needed and helpful reasons.
We should be proud of the fact that we live in a civilized nation where funds are raised and people are helped for the good of the general welfare.
(Photo copyright Neil Aquino)
(Above–Bountiful Thanksgiving table. Photo by Ms. Jones.)
Mr. Eversole has pleaded not guilty.
Above–Christmas gifts. Photo by Sigismund von Dobshcutz.)
I’m sorry to say that Mr. Eversole is my Harris County Commissioner.
I’m sure the Tea Party—If it even exists anymore—will be focusing their energies on Mr. Eversole real soon.
Let’s hope that after this gift of an indictment is unwrapped we will find that it contains a conviction.
I’m not glad that Mr. DeLay and Mr. Eversole are in hot water simply because they are Republicans. I don’t think all Republicans are crooks.
What I’m glad about is that wrongdoing by powerful people can be called to account, and that members of a party that calls Democrats Communists and traitors can be brought to justice.
Who are the Republicans serving with Republican County Judge Executive Ed Emmett on our Harris County Commissioner’s Court?
We have the indicted Jerry Eversole.
And then we have incoming Commissioner Jack Morman who will replace the unelected Sylvia Garcia. I say “unelected” because Ms. Garcia would still be serving if enough Hispanics in Harris County had bothered to vote, and if the Harris County Democratic Party and the Texas Democratic Party made serious efforts to encourage Hispanic voting.
These Democrats don’t want to make serious efforts because then they would actually have to address the concerns of this voting group, and because Hispanic elected officials in low-turnout one-party constituencies might face a primary challenge or might have to really talk about serious issues.
As for Mr. Morman, he still has not updated his campaign web page to even address the fact that he won the election. Also, there is nothing at all on his web page that suggests at all what his views are on issues before the county.
Click the link above and read it for yourself.
Here is what Houston TV station KHOU reported on Election Night about Mr. Morman—
“Even GOP leaders Tuesday night could not place where they might have seen Morman on the campaign trail or at pre-election events. He was nowhere to be found on Tuesday night at the GOP party.”
Mr. Morman will be representing something like 750,000 people, and nobody has any idea of his positions impacting the county and he can’t even thank voters for putting him in office.
What a crew of Republican alleged criminals and blank slates at our Harris County Commissioner’s Court.
(Above–Smoke as observed from space in the aftermath of the 9/11 attack.)
Republicans have said they are concerned that the bill would add to the deficit. Yet adding to the deficit did not seem to be a concern for Republicans when it came to protecting tax cuts for the most wealthy Americans.
Republicans care that the wealthy become more powerful and wealthy.
How is it that tax cuts for the rich are okay with many Republicans, but assistance for those who risked their health to help after the destruction of the World Trade Center is not okay?
Here is some of what Mr. Huckabee said—
“There are people who need medical care right now, and frankly, the clock is running out on them. Their lives are fading away, even as we sit here talking about it,”
Republican Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma has renewed his commitment to not allowing the bill to proceed. Senator Coburn is a doctor.
Senator Coburn says he does not like the process that has been used to bring the bill to the floor of the Senate.
How do average working people tolerate these things?
How can any loyal American support Republican actions in this matter?
Just Because You’ve Been Provided With A Phone Booth Does Not Mean You’ve Been Given A Way To Effectively Communicate
Just because you have been provided with a phone booth, does not mean you’ve really been provided with a place to talk and communicate.
Take for example the phone booth you see above that is located in Cincinnati’s Burnet Woods Park. I took this picture last February.
Beyond the fact this phone booth is most likely filthy and quite possibly out-of-order, it is also stuck behind the snow in the freezing cold.
There are today more forums to express ourselves than ever before.
Yet the responsibility to effectively communicate remains with us as individuals. We are all individuals with the ability and obligation to communicate our values in way that gives our individual lives greater purpose and meaning.
Many forums exist, but we need to understand that these forums may be controlled by others who have no genuine interest in allowing us to connect with each other in ways that can better our collective lives.
We need to understand that these forums provided by others may in essence be out-of-order in that there is nobody truly listening on the other end.
If the phone booth we wanted to use is out-of-order, or if it in not accessible because it is stuck behind snow on a cold day, there are still many ways we can effectively communicate.
We can write a letter. We can talk to each other in person. We can allow our actions to set the example. These are ways we can communicate that do not depend on a working or accessible phone booth.
We have the ability to donate money, to run for office ourselves, to start a blog, to volunteer for causes and candidates that we support.
Other may provide tools of communication that are of varying use for us to be effective citizens.
Yet in the end it is up to us to make the best possible use of these toools, and, most importantly, it is up to us to make the best use of our abilities.
(Picture copyright Neil Aquino.)
Mean Rachel And TPA Bloggers Leading The Fight On Texas Rep. Aaron Pena’s Shameful Betrayal Of His Constituents
Texas political blogger Rachel Farris has been leading the charge to draw attention to the sorry behavior of party-switching Texas State Representative Aaron Pena.
Ms. Farris, who writes the blog Mean Rachel, initiated “Call Out Aaron Pena Day.” The intent of this event was to encourage people to block Mr. Pena’s twitter feed, defriend him on Facebook, and, for those who gave Mr. Pena when he was running as a Democrat just last month, to ask for a return of campaign donations.
Ms. Farris also contends, correctly, that Mr. Pena should resign and run to win his seat as a Republican.
Mr. Pena is from Edinburg, Texas in the Rio Grande Valley. This district Mr. Pena claims to represent is strongly Democratic.
Things Mr. Pena will now support as a Republican, such as drastic cuts in social services and often harsh views towards persons not of Anglo origin, will not be of service to the people of Mr. Pena’s district who thought they were electing a Democrat.
Please visit Mean Rachel and follow her ongoing efforts to bring Mr. Pena to account.
Mean Rachel is a member of the Texas Progressive Alliance. The blog you are reading and many others are also TPA members. These bloggers took a leading role in call Out Aaron Pena Day.
TPA bloggers will be working hard in the months to come to be a center of opposition to the far-right Texas Legislature.
We all have the ability to take action, to fight back, and to make preogress.
This will mean that gay Americans are now one step closer to equal citizenship in our nation.
However, the Dream Act, which would allow young people brought to the United States as children to become citizens if they go to college or join the military, was rejected.
While the repeal of Don’t Ask is a great victory, we need to be mindful of the fact that the freedom of all people in connected.
There is no point in making young people suffer for the actions of their parents.
The work of progress is never completed.
The end of Don’t Ask is a reminder that victories can be won.
The failure of the Dream Act is a reminder of the tasks ahead.
This work and these tasks are the responsibility of every American.
Texas Progressive Alliance Round-Up–You Can Also Start A Blog Or Be Involved In Public Affairs In Some Way
Here is weekly posting of the Texas Progressive Alliance round-up. The TPA is a confederation of the best political blogs in Texas.
(Above–Texas is but one state in a vast federal union.)
Please read these fine blogs every chance you get.
Please be mindful of the fact that you also have the ability to start a blog, donate money to a candidate, run for office yourself, talks to friends and family about political issues and do whatever it is you feel useful to bring about a better Texas and a better nation.
Letters From Texas projected out the grim possibilities for state representative Aaron Pena as he contemplates switching to the Republican Party.