Occupy Houston is holding a meeting later today about the next steps of the movement here in Houston.
I won’t be able to attend, but you should try to attend if you are able. There is so much to be hopeful about as we move ahead.
Here are details of the meeting—
Nov. 19th from 2- 4:45pm in the Program Room of the Houston Public Library
Come out to this discussion where we will be addressing 3 main items:
1) Causes of the economic crisis
2) Finding concrete solutions
3) OccupyHouston – what comes next? – sustainability of the movement
A conference room capable of holding 200 people has been reserved for this public discussion (from 2 – 4:45 pm in the Program Room of the Houston Pubic Library).
Let’s come together to learn about and address these issues!
Despite being raided, Occupy Dallas is not giving up.
You can bet that no Occupy effort in the nation will give up because they have been raided.
Hard work and sticking to it is what made this nation great. This is the etchic that will lead Occupy Wall Street and related efforts to success.
See above for an Occupy Dallas event later today on 11/19.
Occupy Houston And Occupy Wall Street Moving Ahead—Please Consider Taking Part In An Occupy Effort Near You
Thank you to the Occupy Houston protestors to marched yesterday in Downtown Houston. Regretfully, I was not able to attend this march which was held in part to mark two months since the beginning of the Occupy effort in New York city.
(Both photos in this post are from the Occupy Houston Facebook page. Above are folks in Market Square Park getting set to march yesterday afternoon. Below are non-violent protestors engaging in civil disobedience on a Downtown Houston street.)
It was important to make clear that Occupy is not at all over after the police raid of the first Occupy encampment in New York City. In many ways, Occupy will be better off not having to use resources to maintain the camps. With issues of income inequality and more fair taxation having been put back on the national agenda, it may be time for Occupy to move into a new phase.
Along these lines, Occupy Houston will be having a meeting on Saturday afternoon at the main Houston Public Library to discuss the next steps. This meeting will be at 2 PM in the fourth floor conference room.
Occupy Galveston will also be active this upcoming Saturday with a protest at 11 AM at 28th and Seawall.
There is now also an Occupy College Station. Occupy College Station took part in demonstrations marking two months Occupy Wall Street. There is a great video of this event in the Bryan-College Station Eagle. The video can be found under where it says The Eagle Videos.
My friend Teddy Wilson has written about Occupy College Station in his Left of College Station blog.
There are Occupy efforts all over Texas and all over the nation . Find one near you.
Occupy Wall Street had a crowd of over 30,000 in New York yesterday to tell Mayor Bloomberg that you can’t evict an idea. The event was for the most part peaceful. There will always be police who are more aggressive than they need to be, and there will always be protestors who make poor decisions about provoking people when peaceful actions would work better. The best option is to take every police officer as an individual, and to view that person from a starting point of respect. All we can control are our own actions.
The facts of gets arrested and who does not get arrested are clear enough. The bank executives and the executives from the finance houses who did so much to cause this recession do not go to jail. The people who engage in wage theft from working people as alleged this morning in a Houston Chronicle story do not go to jail.
There will always be the criticisms of people and interests who would not in any case be on the side of everyday working people. Many of these folks are people who have gone on and on about small government in recent years, but who now have nothing to say when First Amendment rights of free assembly and free speech are put under stress by the overreaction of public officials.
I don’t know the direction of the movement in the weeks and months to come. But I am very hopeful. New networks of committed activists are being formed. New people are being brought into activism. People who had long been frustrated that issues of economic fair play were not part of the national debate are now finding a home. Working people and the unemployed seeking work are seeing that they are not without allies. Democratic politicians are feeling more confident in more aggressively defending the 99%.
When you work hard, when you work for the benefit of others, and when you work to help guide your own future and the future of you nation—Then you won’t be anything other than hopeful about a better day ahead.
Matt Tabbi at Rolling Stone has been doing a great job blogging about the reasons behind Occupy Wall Street.
Every person has the ability to fight back and to make progress. While circumstance matters in life, we can all act for what we believe.
When the police state raids Occupy camps, the Tea Party and libertarians are nowhere to be found protesting an aggressive and violent government.
When finally a movement starts that opposes economic injustice, many progressives calculate if and when it will be safe to support it.
When a new Hispanic opportunity Council district is created in Houston after much fuss, hardly anybody votes.
When the GLBT Political Caucus in Houston gains influence on behalf of a just civil rights cause, the influence is used to back candidates who support right-wing economics.
The lessons are clear–Just like the ships in the Houston Ship Channel, you have to stay your own course even in polluted waters.
(Above–A ship in the Houston Ship Channel.)
Did you know that Houston city parks have designated “First Amendment Expression Areas?”
(Above–Houston City Hall Plaza is well-protected from any misplaced outbreak of free speech.)
They sure do.
You might have thought that every part of a Houston city park was a “First Amendment Expression Area.”
You’d be wrong at least as we are told by our Houston Parks and Recreation Department.
From the Parks and Recreation Department—
“First Amendment Expression Areas are open to users for exercise of their First Amendment rights during park hours. Locations of First Amendment Expression Areas are listed below in alphabetic order. Although it is not a requirement of the area’s use, it is recommended that all users register to avoid conflicts. Users must register with the HPARD Permits Office (832) 395-7012 in order to reserve the area in advance.”
Right. The bold type is from the Parks Department.
You don’t have to get a permit. But you should. Imagine the problem if two citizens of Houston wished to exercise First Amendment rights at the same time? And remember– First Amendment activity is allowed only in the designated area and only during certain hours.
To give you a sense of this, here is how the free speech area is described for Brentwood Park in Houston—
“The area inside of the red square only is considered the First Amendment Expression Area. This is a 10ft x 10ft square located at Latitude: 29°38’9.39″N Longitude: 95°26’7.82″W”
It’s not enough to know that Brentwood Park is at 13220 Landmark here in Houston. You’ve also got to know about Latitude: 29°38’9.39″N Longitude: 95°26’7.82″W to exercise your First Amendment rights at Brentwood Park.
The free speech area at Brentwood Park is a 1oft X 10ft square.
How about City Hall Plaza?
You have some free speech rights at City Hall Plaza. Here is a link to a picture of where you have First Amendment Rights at City Hall Plaza.
In case the picture is not clear, let me help you out with information from the City of Houston about the free speech area at City Hall Plaza—
“The area inside of the red square only is considered the First Amendment Expression Area. This is a 10ft x 10ft square located at Latitude: 29°45’35.95″N Longitude: 95°22’8.55″W”
I wonder if all the corporate lobbyists who come in and out of Houston City Hall have to come outside and to discuss what they want from city officials in the free speech zone?
Here is the text of the First Amendment—
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
How many of these rights are restricted in Houston parks?
Has anyone been cited for engaging in free speech or any other First Amendment activity outside the First Amendment zone?
How long have these zones been in effect?
Why does the City of Houston feel these zones are needed?
(Below—The Houston Parks and Recreation Department is quite serious when they tell you it is “Our Park.” Here is the free speech area for Our Park.)
Newt Gingrich is currently the leading anybody-but-Romney choice of far-right Republican extremists.
At first it was Donald Trump who held this position.
Then Michelle Bachmann.
Then Rick Perry.
Then Herman Cain.
And now, as mentioned above, it is Mr. Gingrich’s turn.
This all reminds me of the La Brea Tar Pits in Los Angeles.
At the La Brea Tar Pits back in Ice Age times, a creature would fall in the sticky tar and start to sink.
Another creature would see this vulnerability and leap in expecting an easy meal.
That predatory beast would sink as well.
They are all leaping in—One after another after another.
If Governor Romney is nominated by Republicans , how will he be able to withstand the pressures within his party to govern from the extreme right? Mr. Romney rarely score above 25% in polls. What will he have to do to win over a voter base that will support anybody at all to avoid backing Mr. Romney? Already Mr. Romney has gone back on his own health care plan from Massachusetts.
(At the top of the post—A 1921 illustration of the Tar Pits by Charles R. Knight. A Giant Sloth has been trapped in the pit while foolish snarling Sabre Tooth Tigers think they are going to get fed. Above are some California Condors who can maybe –blissfully unaware of how rough a future they are going to have— swoop down for some sinking flesh. )
(Below–Elephants–of one kind or another–have been lured into a pit of no return for many years. Here is a post I wrote in 2009 about a big fossil find at the Tar Pits and about if the DNA of Ice Age beasts should be used to someday bring them back.)
I’ll be speaking at the next meeting of the Meyerland Area Democrats.
Here are details of this event—
Occupy Wall St. and the 2012 Election at Nov. 21st Meyerland Area Democrats Meeting
Nov. 7, 2011 –Activists Neil Aquino and Sarah Slamen to speak on Occupy Houston, and Dr. Bob Stein to review the 2012 election landscape on November 21
The regular monthly meeting of Meyerland Democrats is held at Fadi’s Mediterranean Grill, located at 4738 Beechnut. Dinner is at 6:30 p.m. and the meeting starts at 7 p.m. There is no charge to attend, but attendees pay for their own food and drinks. The Meyerland Area Democrats Club is made up primarily of residents of election precincts in the Meyerland area, including Westbury, Maplewood and Marilyn Estates.
My good friend Art Pronin runs the Meyerland Area Democrats.
Art is working hard to secure the well-merited resignation of HISD board member Manuel Rodriguez. Mr. Rodriguez circulated campaign materials in the recent election that many view as anti-gay.
Having a speaking engagement allows me to roll out my publicity shot for the first time in a few months.
There I am above with a lobster bib as I enjoyed a lobster earlier this year in Rhode Island.
Nothing says Occupy Houston and nothing says Texas like having a lobster in Rhode Island.
But as Walt Whitman wrote–I contain multitudes and contradict myself and all the rest of what Whitman wrote.
People are a lot of things at once. This makes life all the better.
Please attend the upcoming Meyerland Area Democrats meeting if you are able and if you so wish.
(Blogger’s Note–Time for the thaw a turkey post. It’s updated a bit, but is for the most part a rerun . Thawing a turkey does not change very much over the years. )
Thanksgiving Day is almost here and you need to know how to thaw your turkey.
Thanksgiving Day in 2011 is Thursday, November 24.
You do have the option of a vegetarian Thanksgiving.
Above are some PETA advocates. They are dressed as PETA Pilgrims.
As for myself, I’ll be having turkey–unless I have something else instead— and I would like the turkey thawed correctly.
These turkeys below are thawed, but are not quite ready for the table.
Follow these guidelines so you do not poison your family and guests.
If you feel that the government is always lying to you, thaw the turkey your way and take your chances.
From the USDA instructions—
Fresh or Frozen?
- Allow 1 pound of turkey per person.
- Buy your turkey only 1 to 2 days before you plan to cook it.
- Keep it stored in the refrigerator until you’re ready to cook it. Place it on a tray or in a pan to catch any juices that may leak.
- Do not buy fresh pre-stuffed turkeys. If not handled properly, any harmful bacteria that may be in the stuffing can multiply very quickly.
- Allow 1 pound of turkey per person.
- Keep frozen until you’re ready to thaw it.
- Turkeys can be kept frozen in the freezer indefinitely; however, cook within 1 year for best quality.
Do not play around with this stuff. Do not make others sick.
Here is more of what the USDA suggests—
Thawing Your Turkey
There are three ways to thaw your turkey safely — in the refrigerator, in cold water, or in the microwave oven. Read more »
Here is the most recent Texas Progressive Alliance round-up. The TPA is a confederation of the best political bloggers in Texas. TPA members are citizen-bloggers working for a better Texas.
With the round-up this week is a picture from the Texas Farm Bureau page on Facebook.
Here is how this picture is described—
“A worn and rusted Texas Farm Bureau sign, posted outside the old Arthur Wurzbach house in Rio Medina, Texas. The name on the sign is Herbert E. Wurzbach, born in 1915 and passed away in 1997. ”
Whether it be the example Texas political bloggers blogging on their own time, or that of our fine enterprising Texas farmers, a do it yourself outlook is also well-represented by the self-starters at Occupy Houston and Occupy Galveston. Find an Occupy effort near you. Or start one yourself.
Every Texan and every American has the ability to attend a public meeting, attend or organize a protest, write or call an elected official, talk to friends and family, start a blog, donate money, write a letter to the editor, volunteer for candidates and causes, engage in acts of civil disobedience, and to run for public office.
The work of democracy and freedom is up to each of us.
Here is the round-up—
I saw the B 52′s last week here in Houston.
The band was cheery, professional, creative and energetic. They struck the right line between being friendly, and yet a bit removed from the audience.
They appreciate that you bought a ticket and that you would like to see them play, but they are not going to invite you up on stage or out for a drink after the show.
That is just how it should be.
I try to avoid knowing much about the baseball players I follow or about people in bands I like.
I just imagine them all as nice enough people—or least not bad people—and let it go at that.
The video with this post is Song for a Future Generation.
It is a happy song.
Here is an introductory history of music with links to additional information if you are so inclined.
(Below–The B-52′s in Houston last week.)
Today is Veteran’s Day.
Above is the Navy bugler who played taps at my father’s funeral service last July In Rhode Island.
My father, a Korean War combat veteran, had his ashes scattered at sea.
On Veteran’s Day, we should recall our veterans here in America, and all people who have suffered needlessly from war around the globe.
I know my father said on a number of occasions he was not angry at the Chinese and North Korean troops he fought against. He said he had no problem with any Chinese or North Korean people.
Let’s work for peace at home and abroad.
Let’s treat our veterans with respect, and let’s make sure they have what they need when they return from service.
The sons and daughters of America’s elite are rioting and fighting police so as to defend the honor of former Penn State football coach Joe Paterno.
Mr. Paterno is alleged to have helped cover up for a Penn St . coach who had allegedly engaged in illegal and quite disturbing sexual condiuct with children.
“After top Penn State officials announced that they had fired Joe Paterno on Wednesday night, thousands of students stormed the downtown area to display their anger and frustration, chanting the former coach’s name, tearing down light poles and overturning a television news van parked along College Avenue.”
These Penn St. protestors are not Occupy Wall Street protestors who some claim are lazy and and troublemakers.
These are the sons and daughters of some of our most privileged people. They feel the need to take to the streets to defend Joe Paterno.
Here is the best line in the NY Times story–
“Paul Howard, 24, an aerospace engineering student, jeered the police. “Of course we’re going to riot,” he said. “What do they expect when they tell us at 10 o’clock that they fired our football coach?”
Don’t worry though. These kids will get away with it all. Soon enough they will be your boss. They’ll share a good laugh at the 25 year reunion.
It’s those dirty Occupy Wall Street protesters who are the real menace.
There will be a protest later today against newly reelected Houston Independent School Board Member Manuel Rodriguez.
Mr. Rodriguez, who won by 24 votes, circulated what many view–including myself—as anti-gay campaign materials.
Mr. Rodriguez has apologized. That is not enough in this case. There is simply no way that Mr. Rodriguez can be seen as an advocate for all kids in Houston schools. Nor can he be seen as an example to follow by either students or HISD employees.
Here are details of the protest this afternoon—
JOIN US in protest of HISD School Board Trustee Manuel Rodriguez, who according to the Houston Chronicle, displayed “appalling homophobia” over the weekend. The HISD School Board is the LAST place that we want this kind of homophobia to be in power.
What: HISD School Board meeting
When: Thursday, Nov 10; outdoor protest beginning at 5pm, public hearing at 6:30pm
Where: The Hattie Mae White Educational Support Center, 4400 West 18th Street, in the board auditorium.
PLEASE SHARE THIS INVITATION. We have several signed up to speak, but also want as many as possible there to stand with us in solidarity against bigotry on the HISD School Board!
For background on this issue, see: http://blog.chron.com/k12zone/2011/11/gay-rights-group-condemns-hisd-trustees-ad-updated/
There will be a big punk rock blast this upcoming Saturday at the Southgate House in Newport, Kentucky.
Newport is just across the Ohio River from Cincinnati.
I’m sorry I’ll not be able to attend this fine event.
This concert is another Jockey Club reunion concert being put on by Cincinnati’s Aurore Press.
The Jockey Club, which closed in 1988, was the best punk rock club in all the midwest.
I’ve been fortunate enough in the past few years to contribute to three Aurore Press books and to host one of the Jockey Club reunion shows.
A number of people were arrested at Occupy Houston last night.
They were arrested for having a tarp out in the rain and for jaywalking.
If members of Occupy Houston could come up with a lot of money and bundle it into large anonymous donations so as to legally bribe politicians, that would have been protected speech under the Citzens United case.
Also–correctly–protected by the Supreme Court are the anti-gay protests of the Westboro Baptist Church at military funerals.
In Houston however, the presence of a tarp during rain and jaywalking merits arrest.
It would be great to see conservatives speak up about the use of state power to stifle First Amendment protections.
The office of Houston Mayor Annise Parker released following on November 4—
“Here’s a statement Mayor Parker tweeted last night regarding Occupy Houston: “There has been misinformation spread regarding the Occupy Houston protests. We have not made plans to ‘evict’ the participants. The City and Occupy Houston have a working relationship to allow protesters to exercise their first amendment rights without endangering public health or safety”
Occupy Houston held a press conference this morning about the arrests and I attended.
I took some pictures at the press conference to run here on the blog.
Below—The press conference. Many Houston media outlets were interested in what had taken place.
Below—Two Occupy Houston participants being interviewed. In the background is a sign with a quote from Martin Luther King that reads—“Reconstruction of society itself is the real issue to be faced“
Below—A member of the National Lawyer’s Guild speaking to the press. The Guild has been helping Occupy efforts across the nation with legal issues. The building is the foreground with the American flag on top is Houston City Hall. City Hall is dwarfed by the corporate tower in background.
My understanding is that the interactions with Houston police will be YouTube at some point soon.
Houston police officers are everyday working people no different from anybody else.
You can also find Occupy Houston, Occupy Wall Street and many other Occupy efforts on Facebook and on the web.
The placement of tarps and the actions of peaceful protesters were the most important things that Houston police had to deal with last night?
Occupy Houston protestors merit jail while the bank and financial executives who did so much to cause this recession with lies and fraud run free?
How can any person of any ideological viewpoint not be concerned with what is taking place with the arrests in a number of cities of Occupy protestors?
First it will be somebody else. Next time it will be you.