Texas Liberal

All People Matter

Two Protests Against Cruel Proposed Houston Anti-Food Sharing Ordinance On Tuesday, April 3—Annise Parker Wants To Limit How You Can Help Those Most In Need

There are two upcoming events to protest the ongoing efforts of Houston Mayor Annise Parker and  Houston City Council to criminalize many acts of sharing food with the homeless in Houston.

Both protests are taking place on Tuesday, April 3.

Here is the first event–

Those wanting to share food with one another can gather in anticipation of the Free To Give public rally which meets @ 1:00 PM outside Houston City Hall.

Starting at 11am, feel free to come to the people’s park: Hermann Square Park around the reflection pool at City Hall. Bring homemade snacks, treats from some of our great local businesses, a blanket, and your 1st amendment right to gather with edibles.

We’re also trying to get as many of our needy friends out to share lunch with us. If you work with a community like this, please invite them out! We will be signing up people to speak at that time.

Lots of people have a lunch hour. Let’s support the people who are trying to make our government work FOR us, not against us.

Here is the Facebook page for this event.

Here is the 2nd event–

Public Rally at 1:00 PM outside Houston City Hall by reflection pool. Also, if you can sign up to Speak at Houston City Council meeting at 2 PM for 1, 2 or 3 minutes or just attend the public meeting to show support against the City’s continued effort to criminalize feeding the homeless. To speak call the Houston City Secretary at 832/393-1100 and ask to speak under the subject “Anti-Giving and Sharing Food Ordinance” Chapter 20 and choose 1, 2 or 3 minutes.

Here is the Facebook page for this rally.

Conservative Mayor Annise Parker merits a challenger from the left in 2013. This link also details Mayor Parker’s odd views about how public space in really private space.

How in these hard times can it made illegal to help those most in need? How can this be the right course at any time?

I will be at these Tuesday protests. I hope to see you there as well.

March 31, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | 8 Comments

A Houston Oasis

I was driving around Houston a few days ago, and came upon this water and palm tree.

With this being a construction site and with a highway in the background, this seemed just how an oasis would be in Houston.

This would be an oasis with water you could not drink, and with a tree that was planted in a parking lot rather than “naturally occurring.”

This might sound critical of Houston. Yet I’m not sure where in the nation you will find a landscape not impacted by human beings.

I’m dubious of any claim that something is “natural.”

Here is a definition of an oasis from an online dictionary

1. a small fertile or green area in a desert region, usually having a spring or well.
2. something serving as a refuge, relief, or pleasant change from what is usual, annoying, difficult, etc.
Surely that spot above qualifies as an oasis within the context of being in a parking lot and near a giant highway.

Below is an oasis near the city of Ica in Peru. (Photo by Ericbonder.

I’m certain this would be a nice place to visit. But I would prefer the parking lot oasis in the top picture.

The parking lot oasis is within miles of my home, and the books and cable TV found within my home. It is near movie theaters and Astros’ games.

If I want any real nature, I could watch a show about that on my TV at home.

March 30, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | 1 Comment

Photos From Sunday Trayvon Martin Protest At Houston City Hall

This past Sunday afternoon, I attended a rally in at Houston City Hall calling for justice in the case of Trayvon Martin. This rally was organized by the Houston NAACP and by LULAC in Houston.

I went to this protest and took some  pictures.

The Trayvon Martin shooting , which took place in Sanford, Florida, is relevant to Houston because everything is connected. The killing of Trayvon in Florida could happen to a young person any place in our nation.

Above you see a picture of the Houston rally. There were estimates that 1,000 people showed up. Most of the people were black. But by no means were all the people at the rally black.

What people wanted at this protest was simple.

They wanted peace, justice, an end to racism, and the right to be who they are.

These are goals as American as apple pie.

These citizens made their own signs and came on down to the rally.

You will see that one of the signs indicates that the person holding the sign is his or her brother’s keeper.

What could be more basic and accurate?

Among the speakers at the rally were Congressperson Sheila Jackson Lee in blue, former Harris County Commissioner Sylvia Garcia in the hoodie, and two students from Texas Southern University.

The young lady in red is a TSU student. I’m sorry that I did not catch the names of the two young people from TSU, but they did a good job at the podium.

In addition to Congressperson Jackson Lee and Ms. Garcia, Richard Shaw from the Harris County, Texas AFL-CIO was present.

I do regret that while many local black officeholders were at the event, that white and Hispanic elected officials did not seem to be present.

We are all connected.

It is especially confusing  that Houston Mayor Annise Parker was not there, or that she could not send a representative.

Mayor Parker, a so-called Democrat, was in 2011 able to attend the Reagan-Lincoln Day fundraiser of the Harris County Republican Party.

What Mayor Parker needs is a challenger from the left in 2013.

While there was a strong crowd at City Hall last Sunday, there is always room for your involvement.

The work of freedom and democracy is up to each of us.

March 29, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Conservative Houston Mayor Annise Parker Keeps After The Homeless And Says That Public Is Private—A Progressive Challenger Is Needed In 2013

Houston Mayor Annise Parker has been pushing an anti-food sharing ordinance in Houston that would criminalize  many acts of kindness towards those most in need in our city

(Above–The type of sharing with others that may soon be illegal in Houston.)  

Beyond that, Mayor Parker, in explaining her support for the anti-giving ordinance, has some strange views about the public’s right to use public space.

From the Houston Press

“Mayor Parker argued that City property is, indeed, private — it’s owned by the City, she reminded people — and that the owner of City property should have the same rights as any homeowner or other private property owner…. “It’s a mistake to conflate city property with my front yard,” said Raj Mankad, editor of Rice University’s Cite Magazine, as he addressed the Council in response to Mayor Parker. “They’re completely different kinds of property. City land is public space; there’s a different history and a different body of laws that apply in public space.”

( Here is the website for Cite Magazine.) 

Mayor Parker views our public resources as somehow private.

No surprise from somebody who received an A- in fiscal conservatism from the Texas Conservative Review.

The anti-food sharing ordinance is not dead. It may well be back before council–in a watered down but still obnoxious fashion–On Tuesday, April 3.

Call the Mayor and members of Council to make your voice heard.

In Houston, the homeless get three laws in nine months directed at them, while millions of city dollars go to dog shelters to win the dog-owner vote, while soccer stadiums and so-called arthouse movie theaters get tax dollars, and while tailgating Downtown at the soccer stadium is encouraged so we can have more drunks driving on–of all places–Houston highways.

Funny how the fiscal conservatism the Mayor asserts when appealing to the right does not seem to preclude these panderings and give-aways.

Everybody is having a great time! Folks are out at the movie theater, or are drinking in public so they can hit the highways and drive drunk. The developers and the private concerns are feasting on taxpayer dollars.

It is big whoopee for all but the homeless who are getting moved along and arrested, and for those helping the homeless who will get a ticket from the police.

Mayor Parker won a fraction over 50% of the vote in 2011 against 3 minor candidates despite raising over $ 2 million dollars. She did this in an election where something like 10% of eligible voters cast a ballot.

The Mayor is hardly democratically legitimate. Her real support in Houston is maybe 6% or 7% of the whole city.

I hope a progressive candidate emerges in 2013 to oppose this conservative Mayor.

How long do we go along being afraid that we can’t do better than folks like Annise Parker?

Why don’t we try for once try reaching out to all of Houston, and try a hopeful inclusive  message in our diverse and optimistic city?

(Below–The address for a great Facebook site that has been working hard to defeat this cruel ordinance.)

March 28, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | 5 Comments

Call For Amnesty International To Come To Texas In Response To State-Mandated Rape Of Forced Sonogram Law

As regular readers of this blog will know, I’ve been writing often in recent weeks about the fact that the Texas forced sonogram law is state-mandated rape.

In addition to my postings here, I’ve co-written a letter to Amnesty International asking that this organization come to Texas to investigate this matter, and to take any steps they find appropriate to bring this concern to greater national and international attention. This letter was sent to Amnesty on March 26, 2012.

My co-authors on this letter were fellow Texans Amy Price and Sarah Slamen.

Here is an Amnesty mission statement from their website—

We work to protect people wherever justice, freedom, truth and dignity are denied. Currently the world’s largest grassroots human rights organization, we investigate and expose abuses, educate and mobilize the public, and help transform societies to create a safer, more just world. We received the Nobel Peace Prize for our life-saving work.

Amy, Sarah and myself believe that addressing the state-mandated rape of the Texas forced sonogram law is consistent with the purpose of Amnesty International.

It is up to everyday citizens to do the work of freedom and justice. If you’d like to be involved with fighting  this cruel law, please leave a comment  on the blog or e-mail me at naa six-one-eight@att.net.

Here is the letter—

To Amnesty International and Amnesty International USA,

In its 2011 legislative session, the state of Texas enacted the “Women’s Right to Know Act”, which states that any woman seeking a constitutionally- protected abortion must undergo an ultrasound prior to the abortion. According to a study done by the Centers for Disease Control, 88% of all abortions in the United States are conducted in the first trimester. Realistically, this bill amounts to a de facto mandate of trans-vaginal ultrasounds for Texas women seeking abortions.

A trans-vaginal ultrasound requires that a hand-held device be inserted directly into the vagina. Unless the abortion is being performed for medical reasons, Texas women can not opt-out of this procedure.

This physically coerced medical procedure qualifies as sexual assault under section 22.011 of the Texas Penal Code, which reads as follows:

A person commits an offense if the person: intentionally or knowingly causes the penetration of the anus or sexual organ of another person by any means, without that person’s consent.

It qualifies as rape under federal definition, revised this year:

Penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object…without the consent of the victim.

It qualifies as rape as defined by the Word Health Organization:

Physically forced or otherwise coerced penetration – even if slight – of the vulva or anus, using a penis, other body parts or an object.

By these definitions, the State of Texas has mandated rape. To date the United States government has not intervened. The women of Texas deserve protection from this rape. The citizens of Texas should not have rape committed in their name. We, as citizens of Texas, are asking Amnesty International to investigate this human rights abuse.

Sincerely,

Neil Aquino Amy Price Sarah Slamen

March 27, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | 10 Comments

The State-Mandated Rape Of The Texas Forced Sonogram Bill, The Cruel Houston Anti Food-Sharing Ordinance & A Report On A Trayvon Martin Protest Are The Topics For The Week Ahead

Above is a photo from a rally for justice for Trayvon Martin that was held in Downtown Houston on Sunday afternoon.

I attended this rally. I’ve seen one estimate of 1,000 people at the protest. All I can say is that there were many people present.

We’ve all got to stick up for each other. What happens to one person happens to everybody.

My time is a bit short today, but I will have a lot to discuss in the days ahead.

Topics of concern at the blog this week will be the state-mandated rape of the Texas forced sonogram law, the cruel anti-food sharing ordinance being pushed by Houston Mayor Annise Parker, and a more complete report on the rally that is pictured above.

Thanks for reading Texas Liberal.

March 26, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment

NAACP And Many Others To Stand At Houston City Hall On 3/25 For Justice In Trayvon Martin Case And For Justice For All

There will be a protest later today at Houston City Hall to call for justice in the Trayvon Martin case.

While Trayvon was shot and killed in Florida, his death is a matter of national concern.

I will be attending this event.

We’ve got to stick together and show up for each other when times are difficult.

We don’t always do that in Houston and in the nation. The rights and freedoms of all people are connected.

I encourage you to take part in this protest at Houston City Hall.

Here are details of the City Hall protest—

On Sunday, March 25, Houston will join the official Justice for Trayvon Martin Movement. The Houston Unites for Justice Rally happens Sunday at 3PM at City Hall’s Reflection Pool, 901 Bagby Street, in Downtown Houston.

The event is organized by the NAACP-Houston Branch, Rev. Reginald Lillie-President and Texas NAACP, Gary Bledsoe-President. Partnering organizations and officials include, area Churches, the Houston Urban League-Judson Robinson, Executive Director, LULAC-Mary Ramos, President, Local Unions, Greek fraternities and sororities, Congressional Representatives Sheila Jackson Lee, Al Green, and a host of other officials and groups.

Houstonians of diverse races and affiliations are passionate about expressing our outrage and righteous resolve to see that justice is done in this matter. We join the National Movement calling for the arrest of George Zimmerman and a thorough investigation of the Sanford Police Department.

To… ask questions please contact the NAACP Chairman of Religious Affairs, Bishop James Dixon at (713) 688-2900, extension 224 or by e-mail crystalj@clearsail.net or Yolanda Smith at the Houston Branch at (713) 545-9696.

March 25, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment

I Hope Vice President Cheney’s New Heart Lasts Long Enough For Him To Be Prosecuted For War Crimes

Former Vice President Dick Cheney has received a heart transplant.

(Above–Former Vice President Cheney)

Good.

I hope that Mr. Cheney’s new heart lasts long enough for him to be prosecuted for war crimes.

Human Rights Watch says that both former President Bush and Mr. Cheney should be investigated for war crimes because they ordered people to be tortured.

I suppose it is not likely that this will ever take place.

But with Mr. Cheney having a new lease on life, we can keep on hoping that justice will be done.

(The U.S. Senate website is a great resource to learn about each of the Vice Presidents.)   

March 25, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | 1 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.

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 and justice is up to each of us.

Here is the round-up—

Off the Kuff wrote about the forthcoming end of the Women’s Health Program in Texas.

John Coby ay Bay Area Houston finds a press release from Austin: “Texas Governor Rick Perry calls for reforms to men’s prostate exams“.

The US Department of Justice refused preclearance on the Texas GOP’s Voter ID law this week.WCNews at Eye On Williamson calls it a victory for voting rights in Texas. Continue reading

March 25, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | | Leave a comment

Fully Functional

Here is a fully functional marine propeller that I saw in Galveston, Texas a few hours ago.

It is simply functional in a different way than first intended.

Here are facts about marine propellers.

Here is previous post on the blog about some marine propellers being stored with washing machines.

March 24, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | Leave a comment

Galveston Seawall Parking Fees Should Be For Seawall Improvements—Just As Voters Thought They Had Approved

When Galveston voters approved parking fees long the Seawall last year, they did so with the expectation that they were voting for Seawall enhancements.

All you need to do is look at the picture above to see what I am saying. I took that picture last year during the campaign for parking fees on the Seawall that was claimed to be about Seawall enhancements.

And yet here is what was reported by the Galveston County Daily News on 3/22

“A private company would get more than 70 percent of the projected first year’s revenue from parking fees on the seawall under a proposed contract… some voters are asking how such a deal could be in line with a ballot proposition approved May 14. Language voters approved in that referendum led some to believe 75 percent of the program’s gross revenue would go toward seawall enhancements, such as lighting, bathrooms and showers…The controversy lies in a draft agreement being negotiated between city staff members and Tennessee-based Central Parking System…seawall parking would generate gross revenue of $1.127 million during the first year of operation. After taxes and credit card fees, the city and Central Parking would have $962,256 to split, under the terms of the formula. That would mean $285,135 — 29.6 percent — for the city, and $677,120 — 70.3 percent — for Central Parking, according to the proposed agreement……state Rep. Dan Huberty, R-Humble, is a vice president in Central Parking System.”  

Why must everything be a scam where public dollars for public purposes flow to well-connected private firms?

It is these type things that erode people’s faith in government, and strengthen the hand of the private sector to rip us all off.

Surely the City of Galveston can do a better job respecting the will of the voting public, and maintaining a public resource as valuable as the Galveston oceanfront.

March 23, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | 5 Comments

Trayvon Martin Case Requires Justice

I want to add my voice to those concerned about the killing of 17 year old Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida.

(Above–Trayvon Martin)

From what I have heard and read, it appears that this young person was shot and killed for the offense of walking while black or being outside while black.

He also seems to have been killed because of someone else’s improper sense of entitlement and impunity.

Hopefully the so-called  justice system will further investigate this matter, and a fair trial will be held for George Zimmerman. Mr. Zimmerman is the man alleged by many to have shot and killed Mr. Martin.

Here is an overview of the Trayvon Martin case from ABC News. 

This case has brought to needed attention the ongoing and seemingly never-ending fact in our nation that you can kill black people and get off easy for doing so.

Also, the so-called “stand your ground”  law in Florida seems to be first of all about shooting people. 

We are a nation that often seems crazed with violence, and where some lives appear to have less value than other lives.

We need to work for justice and decent treatment of all people in our own lives and in our society as a whole.

The work of freedom and justice is up to each of us.

My friend Errington Thompson at Where’s The Outrage has been posting about the Trayvon Martin issue  for a number of days now.  Errington has also been writing usefully about race in America in recent days. Please check out his blog. 

March 22, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | 10 Comments

This Hippie Had It Right—We Are All Connected

Above you see a photo being circulated around Facebook just like a million other photos being circulated around Facebook.

It is just that this photo makes the most essential point.

The hippie type in this picture gets it that all people are connected.

I could sit at this computer for the rest of my life and there is not much more that I could convey.

We’ve got to look out for each other and fight for each other.

That is the only way we are going to make progress as individuals, and as people sharing the same world.

March 22, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | Leave a comment

Firebombing Of Office Of Texas State Senator Wendy Davis An Act Of Brutality Consistent With The Enactment Of State-Mandated Rape In Texas

The Fort Worth office of Democratic Texas State Senator Wendy Davis was attacked with Molotov cocktails on Tuesday.

(Above–The aftermath of the attack. Photo from the Facebook page of Anthony Spangler via the Burnt Orange Report.) 

While two staffers were present in the office at the time of the attack, nobody was hurt. Senator Davis was not present when the Molotov cocktails were thrown at the office.

Senator Davis has been quite vocal in opposing Governor Rick Perry on a number of issues.  She has recently spoken out against Governor Perry and Republicans in control of the Texas legislature gutting funding for women’s health services such as cancer screenings.

While it is not currently known who committed this act, it is a deed consistent with the mindset and actions of people who support cutting off funding for cancer screenings for women, and who support laws such as the Texas forced sonogram law which is state-mandated rape.

It is also an act that is consistent with people who do not recognize the rule of law. They are trying to intimidate, to frighten, and to destroy law and people.

By tossing Molotov cocktails at an office, the person who did this thing should be strongly punished. This person is rightly termed a criminal.

At the same time, a measure of irony is found in that we address people who cut off cancer screenings and who enact state-mandated rape with titles such as “Governor” and “Senator.”

What act of terror will be next in the war against Texas women?

What will you do to change the climate in Texas, and to repeal the state-mandated rape of the forced sonogram law?

(Off The Kuff  has also posted about this attack.)

March 21, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | 10 Comments

Photos From Possibly Last Legal Sharing Of Food By Food Not Bombs In Houston—Annise Parker Says It Has To Stop

(Blogger’s update 3/21/12–Mayor Parker has changed the ordiance and the issue remains before Houston City Council. I’ll have more to say about this in the days ahead.) 

This evening I attended that may be the last legal sharing of food here in Houston by Food Not Bombs.

Houston Mayor Annise Parker and Houston City Council are considering a city ordinance that would criminalize some acts of sharing food with the homeless in Houston.

Above you see what may soon be illegal.

These proposed restrictions would be the third city ordinance directed at the homeless in Houston in nine months. 

In her inaugural address a few months back, Mayor Parker said the homeless would be a focus of her administration in her second term.

I guess she was not lying.

Councilwoman Helena Brown was at the Food Not Bombs food sharing tonight.

Above you see Ms. Brown speaking to a citizen of Houston.

While Councilwoman Brown is a right-wing extremist who denies fulltime hours and access to City of Houston health insurance to her staff, it is good that she was present this evening.

Councilwoman Brown is right to see this proposed ordinance as overreach by government.

Above you see a final photo of the events of this evening.

The American flag is quite appropriate here as people in need are offered help by their fellow citizens.

I’m sorry that Annise Parker has a problem with the scene in the photo above, and that she is engaging in a legislative barrage against the homeless in Houston.

As it stands now, the Houston City Council meeting at 2 PM on Tuesday, 3/20 will be when this ordinance is discussed and possibly voted on.

Call the Mayor and members of Council to make your voice heard.

March 20, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | 16 Comments

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