Texas Liberal

All People Matter

So-Called Proposed Tower Site

I took this picture in Houston a few days ago.

The sign says ”Proposed Tower Site.”

Yet there is already a tower at that site.

Ha!

Decsions people make and the hard work we do can make a big difference.

Yet sometimes in life stuff is already a done deal.

Here are some facts about cell phone towers.

January 20, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

Houston School Board Member Manuel Rodriguez Got Away With His Anti-Gay Campaign—He Had A Lot Of Help

At Houston’s Gallegos Elementary School on Harrisburg Drive, they appreciate School Board Member Manuel Rodriguez.

We know this is true because–at least as of 2 days ago–there was a sign in front of the school that said so. You see that sign above.

In contrast to the views expressed on the sign, I am uncertain that Mr. Rodriguez is a good example for school children or for any resident of our community.

Mr. Rodriguez circulated anti-gay campaign materials in his recent successful reelection effort. Please click this link to see what Mr. Rodriguez circulated. The bottom right corner of the circular is where you will find the hate.

Here is what the Houston Chronicle reported at the time

“Rodriguez, who is seeking re-election to the District III seat, noted in the brochure that his challenger, Ramiro Fonseca, has “spent years advocating for gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, transgender rights … not kids.”  The ad also points out (Ramiro) Fonseca’s endorsement by the Houston GLBT political caucus and underlines the words “gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender rights.” Rodriguez describes himself in the flyer as a “family man” who is married to his high school sweetheart and is the father of four and the grandfather of five. The ad says Fonseca has a male partner and no children”

There were some protests regarding Mr. Rodriguez.

A website was set-up to draw attention to the issue. There was also a Facebook page.

While the people who organized the protests and set up the website are to be commended for the work they did, these protests were not able to be sustained.

This failure is an indictmant of our entire city of Houston.

If local civil rights groups and advocacy groups had spoken out, maybe the protests could have been sustained.  Maybe it only matters when people in your own group are attacked.

If local political leaders had spoken up, maybe the protests could have been sustained. Many of these officials seek the endorsement of the Houston GLBT Political Caucus, yet they were no place to be found when a school board member responsible for the education of children used anti-gay words.

If the Houston GLBT Political Caucus had focused on the issue, maybe the protests could have been sustained.

In a previous post on this subject I noted that news of Mr. Rodriguez’s deeds were not on the Caucus website.  This is still the case.

Yet Mr. Rodriguez is still on the board and is still making decisions about our Houston schools.

There is a measure of irony in the absence of Rodriguez issue from the Houston GLBT website. The Houston GLBT Caucus endorsement questionnaire for local candidates is well-known for having very many questions and for taking a long time to complete.

Candidates for public office are expected to take hours to complete that form in the middle of a campaign, but the Caucus itself can’t take a few minutes to update a website when a school board member responsible for the education of children attacks gay folks and remains on the board.

I update this blog each day.

If the parents and all the other folks who live in Mr. Rodriguez’s district had spoken up, maybe the protests could have been sustained.

If everyday people in Houston had spoken up, maybe the protests could have been sustained.

Instead–What has happened is that Mr. Rodriguez communicated a terrible message and got away with it just fine. If you motor on down Harrisburg Dr., you’ll know Mr. Rodriguez as nothing other than a great guy helping out school kids.

Sure.

On the back of the sign at the top of this post was a reminder that Martin Luther King Day was approaching. I have no idea if the incongruity of this was considered at a place where people are supposed to be learning history.

You see this side of the sign at the bottom of this post.

Here is former NAACP chairman Julian Bond speaking in support of gay marriage. Coretta Scott King supported gay marriage. 

The work of freedom and justice is up to each of us. You can’t wait for somebody else.

If you are a gay kid in our Houston schools— or any freedom loving young person who sees that all people are created equal—you just got a lesson from all sides of the aisle.

Regretfully, one of the most valuable things you can learn from your elders is very often how not to be like them.

January 19, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Occupy Houston Forum On Corporate Personhood To Be Held On Jan. 20

(Blogger’s Note–This is a reposting as the event in question draws near. Thanks for reading Texas Liberal.)

Below are details of an upcoming Occupy Houston event pertaining to corporate personhood in the United States.

Former Houston City Council candidate Amy Price has worked hard to put this event together.

We say corporations have the same rights as do people in our nation, yet they don’t serve in our wars or get called for jury duty.

Move to Amend is working for a constitutional amendment  to end corporate personhood.

Here are some facts on corporate personhood and on the Move to Amend campaign.

Here is the Occupy Houston event—

On Friday evening, January 20, join us for “Corporate Personhood vs. Your Personhood: Who Has More Rights?”  This panel discussion commemorates the 2nd anniversary of Citizens United v. FEC, the latest in over a century of Supreme Court decisions establishing the doctrines that corporations are people and money is speech. Panelists include politician Chris Bell, lifelong activist Arthur Shaw, and legal scholar Leslie Griffin.

This event is from 7:30 PM–10 PM.

University of Houston, main campus, SEC building room 102, FREE PARKING! Drive down Cullen to park in the stadium lot across from Entrance 14. Walk across the street into Entrance 14 and you’ll see the SEC building immediately to your left

January 19, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Concerned About SOPA—But Leaving Some Lights On

As varying alliances of corporations fight over the so-called Stop Online Piracy Act, I’m not going to black out Texas Liberal today.

This is a different approach from my comrade Perry Dorrell who has blacked out his blog Brains & Eggs out of concern for the effects of this legislation.

While I have no trust in the corporations that back SOPA or for the intentions of the legislators in Washington that these corporations purchase, I also say that people who work to create content for a living should be paid if they produce something that others value in one way or another.

Instead of blacking the blog out, I’m going to offer up a picture that I took of  Downtown Houston in the dark of night, but with lights on in the buildings to suggest that people who work should be paid. (I’m guessing Houston City Hall is in red because Houston Mayor Annise Parker is a closet socialist. We can always hope.)  

Here is an overview on the issue from CNN.

Here is an article on Daily Kos written by a freelance film editor who says that while he feels he should be compensated for his efforts, that the legislation now before Congress is a threat to civil liberties and goes beyond protecting the little person hoping to sell his or her music for a fair price.

Here is Occupy Wall Street on SOPA. 

It is important that we focus on threats to web openness, and that we work to prevent government-corporate partnership that favors large interests over everyday citizens and that could lead to forms of censorship.

At the same time we should realize that government has a role to play in many aspects of commerce, and that even the biggest most impersonal corporation has people who depend on that corporation for a job.

January 18, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

Car For Economic Freedom And Justice At Houston Martin Luther King Day Parade—Move To Amend

Here is a great car that was in the 2012 Houston Martin Luther King Day parade.

This car is correct. Corporations and money do rule the nation.

Martin Luther King died in Memphis, Tennessee fighting for the rights of working people. He died fighting for striking sanitation workers in Memphis.

Here is Occupy Wall Street.

Here is Occupy Houston.

Here is Move to Amend. Move to Amend is fighting the pernicious idea that corporations are people.

People are people. Corporations are not people.

January 17, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment

ACLU At Houston Martin Luther King Day Parade

Local members of the American Civil Liberties Union were at the 2012 Martin Luther King Day parade.

Above you see them marching.

Here is the ACLU of Texas. 

Here is the national ACLU. 

The Houston ACLU also has a Facebook page.

With attacks on our freedoms coming from both government and the private sector, the work of the ACLU is essential.

January 17, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

Houston Roller Derby At Martin Luther King Day Parade

The good folks from the Houston Roller Derby were at the 2012 Houston Martin Luther King Day Parade.

I’ve seen these ladies at the parade for at least the last 3 or 4 years. They always seem friendly.

Here are facts about roller derby. 

Here is a history of roller derby from the National Museum of Roller Skating. 

Here is the Roller Derby Foundation. 

January 17, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Everyday Is Martin Luther King Day If We Act With Goals, Self-Discipline And Care For Others.

Today is Martin Luther King Day.

Today is a good day–as is every day–to recall that fact that Martin Luther King died fighting for striking sanitation workers in Memphis, Tennessee.

Treat working people well today. Tip well. Treat working people well as a measure of respect for yourself and respect for others.

We are part of the 99%

Today is–as is every day–a great day to learn more about Martin Luther King. The Martin Luther King Reading & Reference list I post each year on the blog is a good place to start to learn more about Rev. King.

Today is–as is every day–a great day to use the example of Martin Luther King to take political action to make America and the world a more just and humane place.

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.Everyday is a great day to treat each other with respect.

Everyday is a great day to treat others and ourselves with respect. Everyday is a great day to learn. Everyday is a great day to take action.

Everyday is Martin Luther King Day if we act with goals, self-discipline, and care for others.

January 16, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | | Leave a comment

Texas Progressive Alliance Round-Up—The Work Of Freedom Is Up To Each Of Us

Here is  the weekly posting of the  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.

(Above–The six flags that have flown over Texas. Photo by Ann W.  Here are facts on the six flags from the exclleent Handbook of Texas Online. Texas has no one proper or correct identity. Here is the Handbook on Native Americans in Texas.)

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 freedom is up to each of us.

Here is the round-up–

Off the Kuff discusses the state’s appeal of the injunction granted against the horrible sonogram law.

WCNews at Eye On Williamson posts on the fact that our politics can’t be fixed until the money is taken out of our political process: It’s the money.

The case against the Texas Republicans’ redistricting argument (beginning before the SCOTUS on January 9) rests almost entirely on two generations of legal precedent. And with a Court that has indicated an interest in eviscerating the Voting Rights Act,precedent doesn’t mean diddly, either. PDiddie at Brains and Eggs elaborates.

BossKitty at TruthHugger has had enough of the religious bullying by the 2012 Republican presidential candidates, specifically Rick Santorum. Why do we need a Jesus candidate?

At TexasKaos, Libby Shaw explains why Romney’s “job creator” lies are, well … lies. Check it out: Mitt Romney: A Job Killer, Not Creator.

From Bay Area Houston: The Texas Ethics Commission, Jerry Eversole, and the GOP. Texas sized embarrassments.

BlueBloggin sees the consequences of not paying attention when corporate-funded American politicians make it easy to break environmental rules, ruin natural resources and not be held accountable to the human victims.

Neil at Texas Liberal noted a certificate he received in the mail from the Department of Veterans Affairs that marked his recently deceased father’s military service. Neil’s dad, a Korean War combat veteran, would have been glad that the certificate was signed by Barack Obama and not by a draft-dodging liar like George W. Bush.

January 15, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | Leave a comment

Each Day Offers The Ability To Understand The World

The news of the world each day has relevance. (Though we don’t need 24 hour news.) But what often goes without sufficient thought is the meaning of the things that are around us all the time.

We can interpret the world and come up with a coherent worldview by looking at everyday lives we lead, and by considering the course of our relationships and the lives of the people we know.

There is a lot to be learned by just looking around at the physical world and the infrastructure we build to support our lives.

History, day-to-day news, our own lives, and the lives of others can be woven together to see the world in a way that is both wide and precise.

We all have the ability to make sense of what is taking place around us, and to be a relevant part of the world around us.

January 14, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | | Leave a comment

Good Jobs Great Houston March For Fair Corporate Taxation On Jan. 24

There will be a Good Jobs Great Houston march and protest against the failure of U.S. corporations to pay a fair share of the taxes in our great nation.

From a Reuters story about a government study conducted during the administration of G.W. Bush

The Government Accountability Office said 72 percent of all foreign corporations and about 57 percent of U.S. companies doing business in the United States paid no federal income taxes for at least one year between 1998 and 2005. More than half of foreign companies and about 42 percent of U.S. companies paid no U.S. income taxes for two or more years in that period, the report said. During that time corporate sales in the United States totaled $2.5 trillion, according to Democratic Sens. Carl Levin of Michigan and Byron Dorgan of North Dakota, who requested the GAO study.

Here are detail of the Jan. 24 march.

FACT: You have more money in your pocket than a majority of US corporations paid in federal income taxes last year. 

FACT: Several of these corporations are headquartered downtown.

FACT: While these corporations dodge paying their fair share of taxes, we’re the ones getting cut and fired. What’s wrong with this picture?

Join us at the reflecting pool in front of Houston City Hall on Tuesday, January 24 at 1:30 PM, where we’ll go hog wild and march to some of these corporate HQs downtown to tell them to pay their share!

January 13, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | 7 Comments

Republicans Attack Romney For His Predatory Anti-Worker Business Practices—Everybody For Themselves In Every Respect

It is simply amazing how quickly Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry have engaged in bashing the predatory business practices of Mitt Romney.

(Above–Mitt Romney. Photo by Brian Rawson-Ketchum.)

I can’t imagine that any of the loyal base of the Republican Party would be open to arguments based on that terrible evil of class warfare.

Never would such good upright people succumb to such arguments.

While Governor Romney has engaged in predatory practices that have enriched him on the backs of the people he has had a large hand in laying off , you’d think leading Republicans would have enough loyalty to the power of money in the United States to let it go unaddressed.

Nope. Mr. Gingrich and some of his fellow Republicans are loyal to the party in the sense that are loyal first of all to themselves. These folks understand the Republican message quite well.

Here is a link to the video released by a super pac allied with Newt Gingrich that talks about layoffs at hand of Governor Romney and Bain Capital. It is quite a video–Well worth your 28 minutes.

Perry Dorrell at the great Texas political blog Brains & Eggs has written on this subject as well. 

January 12, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

Socialist Government Snowplows Descend On Midland-Odessa

Above and below are Texas Department of Transportation photos of snowplows at work in the Midland-Odessa area.

Here is the caption with photo you see above—

“TxDot Odessa District crews plow the roads after receiving a record snowfall on January 9-10, 2012, and work tirelessly to clear roads and bridges.”

Government at work even in very conservative parts of our Great State of Texas.

The people of Midland-Odessa are not tough enough and hard-working enough to overcome this obstacle?  No citizen-volunteers have formed teams to come and get the snow off the roads?

Maybe it is only people someplace else, and people unlike however folks perceive themselves in conservative parts of the nation, who rely on government in a bad way.

Here are facts about snow from the National Snow and Ice Data Center.

Here is a history of snow removal.

January 12, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | 4 Comments

When Is The Houston 2012 Martin Luther King Day Parade?—How About More Honor Roll Kids Marching And Less ROTC?

When is the 2012 Martin Luther King Day Parade in Houston?

The Martin Luther King Grande Prade begins at 10 AM on Monday, January 16.

Here is how the parade route is described—“Originate In Mid-Town @ San Jacinto St & Elgin Street N/B On San Jacinto To Webster St.”

The website of the parade says that the parade route is 1 mile long and that it will last 2 hours.

I go to this parade each year. Each year I wish that the many high schools who send students to march in the parade would show a little more imagination.

There are always many marching ROTC. squadrons brandishing fake rifles. While I’ve got no problem with the young people marching, the fact is that Martin Luther King opposed war and would have been surprised to see young people marching in a parade in his honor as if to go to war.

Where are the honor roll kids or the young people in the debate club or on the student newspaper?

It would just take a bit more thought and a little courage to best remember Rev. King in this parade.

Here is the website of the 2012 M.L.K. Parade here in Houston.

Below is my 2012 Martin Luther King Reading & Reference List. Learn about King on your own. Go to the parade if you like–I’ll be there myself—but learn about Rev. King on your own and share that knowledge.

Here is a link to MLK Day events in Houston.

After you learn more about King–Follow his example and take action for a better and more just nation.

Here is the reference list—

Continue reading

January 11, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | 4 Comments

Occupy Houston Forum On Corporate Personhood

Below are details of an upcoming Occupy Houston event pertaining to corporate personhood in the United States.

We say corporations have the same rights as do people in our nation, yet they don’t serve in our wars or get called for jury duty.

Move to Amend is working for a constitutional amendment  to end corporate personhood.

Here are some facts on corporate personhood and on the Move to Amend campaign.

Here is the Occupy Houston event—

On Friday evening, January 20, join us for “Corporate Personhood vs. Your Personhood: Who Has More Rights?”  This panel discussion commemorates the 2nd anniversary of Citizens United v. FEC, the latest in over a century of Supreme Court decisions establishing the doctrines that corporations are people and money is speech. Panelists include politician Chris Bell, lifelong activist Arthur Shaw, and legal scholar Leslie Griffin.

This event is from 7:30 PM–10 PM

University of Houston, main campus, SEC building room 102, FREE PARKING! Drive down Cullen to park in the stadium lot across from Entrance 14. Walk across the street into Entrance 14 and you’ll see the SEC building immediately to your left

January 11, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | 7 Comments

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