Texas Liberal

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Fixed Points Of Reference Guide A Conservative Like Myself—Everyday Life Offers Both Clear Facts And Hopeful Imagination

Above is a picture I took last week while on a walk in Houston’s great Tony Marron Park.

It is hard to get lost in a flat city like Houston because Downtown is visible from so many vantage points.

This is a fine metaphoric example for a conservative like myself to say that we need fixed points of reference to find our way in life.

Hard work, reading, civic involvement, my marriage, longtime relationships of many kinds, and my core beliefs serve as some of my fixed reference points in life.

You will have your own points of reference that help you move ahead in life.

At the same time, imagination and metaphor are also essential to a complete life.

As Sojourner Truth said—It is the shadow that sells the substance.

As for today’s so-called political conservatives who have beliefs rooted in denial of the clear facts of climate change and who see America symbolically as a white Christian nation—These are people rooted neither in facts or in hopeful imagination.

A complete life requires both the seen and unseen.

A complete life requires both the clear facts of the matter and imagination.

Look around you each day and you will see all these things in everyday life.

July 31, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Bolivar Ferry Gibb Gilchrist In Houston Ship Channel Boat Yard For Work—Free Ferry Is Socialism

Where are boats in the Bolivar Ferry fleet sent when they need maintenance or repairs?

From the picture above that I took last week, I’d say they go to a boat repair yard in the Houston Ship Channel.

Above you see the Bolivar Ferry called the Gibb Gilchrist in a boat repair yard in Houston Ship Channel.

The Gilchrist is the yellow boat in the middle of the picture.

The Bolivar Ferry runs from Galveston Island to Bolivar Peninsula. It is a “free” service run by the Texas Department of Transportation.

Where are the cries of socialism?

I thought a real Texan could cross a few miles of Galveston Bay on his or her own and without help from a meddling government.

Where are the citizen-volunteers to fix the boat, instead of the tab taxpayers are no doubt picking up for whatever work is being done?

Here are facts about who Gibb Gilchrist was from the excellent Handbook of Texas Online.  The upshot  is that Mr. Gilchrist was once President of Texas A & M.

The Bolivar Ferry is a great ride. You can walk on and take a round-trip that will run about 50 minutes. You’ll see big ships and you might see some dolphins.

While you are riding the Bolivar Ferry, you are using a taxpayer-provided government service that enhances the common good.

July 30, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

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—A Houston restaurant I visited last week. This conveys Texas well-enough I’d say. Though the fact is that Houston and much of Texas has all sorts of restaurants and all sorts of people.)

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.

I run these words each week in this space. This is because there is nothing more important that I can tell you.

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

Here is the round-up—

Off the Kuff notes that Medicaid expansion would be far less expensive than originally claimed.

 
BossKitty at TruthHugger is sad to see history repeating itself more frequently. More and more people are “loosing” their sanity and getting away with it. Because of the recent mass murders in Colorado, I re-post I Have A Gun and I Have A Grudge – Aurora Update.

The Romney campaign is blatantly lying, and CNN and Fox News are going along with it. It’s what WCNews at Eye on Williamson calls The horribleness of our media. Continue reading

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

Demolition Is As Natural As A Stroll In The Park

I took a walk this afternoon in Houston’s great Antonio Marron Park.

There is a trail in this park that runs along Buffalo Bayou.

Walking on this portion of the park, I saw across the bayou the demolition yard you see in the picture above.

In a big industrial city like Houston, demolition is as natural as a stroll in the park.

In the whole of existence, stuff is created and destroyed. There is no contradiction to be found in this fact.

How could we have a walk in the park if there was not a recycling of the elements?

If the elements were not recycled, how could anything exist?

Every part of life and death—and of beginning and ending— serves a purpose.

July 28, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ready For Church

Here is an outdoor church service ready to go at the corner of Avenue S and Macario Garcia here in Houston.

Peace and blessings to participants in this service and peace and blessings to each of you.

July 27, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | 4 Comments

Man Fishing In Houston Ship Channel

Last week I was out and about driving in Houston.

In my travels I saw this man fishing in the Houston Ship Channel.

This was not far from the Turning Basin at the end of the channel.

While you see no ships here, you see the demolition yard behind the fisherman.

Maybe he lives near the Ship Channel and lacks transporation to go and fish elsewhere.

I don’t know.

In case this does not seem like a very good place to catch fish to eat.

I can only extend to him—and to each of you—my peace and blessings.

July 26, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | 2 Comments

Six Years Of Texas Liberal—A Conservative Such As Myself Focuses On Simple Things

(Blogger’s Note—July 25th marks the 6th anniversary of regular posting on Texas Liberal. I’m glad to say I’m nearing 2 million page views. That is pretty good for one yahoo sitting at home. I was thinking today of what I wanted to say for my blog anniversary. I came to the view that the post below that I wrote earlier this year would well-convey the spirit of the blog. Thanks to everybody who has read Texas Liberal. Please know that in addition to the blog, I have an artsy creative project I hope to have online later this year.  A conservative like myself focuses first on friendship and simple virtues such as sticking to something–such as a blog–one day after the other.)

On my recent visit home to Cincinnati, I met up with a number of friends.

In some cases I took their pictures. These are the pictures you see above.

I met some of these folks in the 1980’s. Two I have met since I left Cincinnati in 1998.

Strong and long-lasting relationships make us better able to deal with the hardships of life.

Also–if we pay attention– these relationships provide us with context to understand the lives that all sorts of people lead in our difficult world.

Everybody I met up with for lunch, dinner, coffee, or a drink had a story to tell.

This is no different from any person you know.

The lives my friends lead have great worth.

I like the people my friends have become over the years.

I work hard to keep up with my friends. I suggest you do the same. Don’t wait for others to act.

Every person has value. Every place has value. Every day has value.

July 25, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | 3 Comments

Lissa Squires For The Democratic Nomination In Texas U.S. House District 7

In the ongoing Texas Democratic primary runoff voting, I’m support Lissa Squiers in the 7th Congressional district.

(Above is a photo of Ms. Squiers noting something that I’m certain was important.)

The incumbent in this race is Republican right-wing extremist John Culberson. Ms. Squiers’ opponent in the runoff is energy attorney James Cargas.

Ms. Squiers is an energetic and progressive local Democratic leader who will work hard to win a Republican-leaning district.

When no Democrat challenged Mr. Culberson in 2010, Ms. Squiers took up the fight as a write-in.

Ms. Squiers can always be counted on for leadership and for hard work in the service of others.

I know Lissa and I trust her to advocate for all people in the 7th district with consistently progressive views, and, also, to give Mr. Culberson a strong challenge.

Here is the Squiers website.

Here is the Facebook page for Ms. Squiers.

While almost all of the Democratic establishment  has supported other candidates in the nominating process for the 7th Texas U.S. House district, Ms. Squiers finished a strong first in the multi-candidate first round of the vote with 40%. This good showing was due to the fact that Ms. Squires works hard and is able to connect with voters.

Please consider helping Ms. Squiers get to 50% in the runoff.

Top Texas blogger and longtime political activist Perry Dorrell supports Ms. Squires. 

Primary Runoff Day is Tuesday, July 31.  Early voting ends on Friday, July 27.

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

Interesting And Expansive Definition Of Life—No Matter How Stupid Everything May Seem, We All Have The Ability To Think Deep Thoughts

I recently read an interesting definition of life in New Scientist magazine.

New Scientist is a challenging and accessible weekly that I subscribe to in print and on-line.

We all merit things that both respect our intelligence and that are accessible.

This definition of life was put forth in an interview by a Australian cosmologist named Charlie Lineweaver.

Here is a portion of the interview from New Scientist

So how would you define life?
To the extent that the question makes sense, as a “far-from-equilibrium dissipative system”.

What do you mean by that?
A system that feeds on the free energy associated with the gradients in the environment. For example, a hurricane is a dissipative structure because it feeds on the free energy of air pressure, humidity and thermal gradients. Hurricanes dissipate the free energy – they undo the gradients and bring the environment closer to equilibrium. That’s what life is. We take chemical energy and undo it – move it closer to equilibrium.

By your definition, a hurricane and a star are both alive. Are you really saying that?

If you want to chain me to a black and white view, then yes, I am. The distinction between far-from-equilibrium dissipative systems and near-equilibrium features is clearer than the traditional boundaries that people put on life and non-life… 

I’m far from being a scientist af any kind. I’m a lowly blogger. But I’ve been thinking about this definition of life for a few days now.

What this Lineweaver gentleman seems to be saying is that anything that draws energy from the environment–whether that environment be terrestrial or up in space—is life of a kind.

While the article does not address the subject, I wonder if this concept might make an airplane or an automobile a type of life. If that seems odd, don’t we often consider the idea that machines could at some point act in an autonomous way? Don’t machines more and more each day mimic what we thought before were things that only people could do?

(When I use the word “autonomous” I mean to the extent that anything is autonomous in an existence in which everything is interdependent on something else.)

The interview with Professor Lineweaver has gotten me to thinking about the value and nature of any entity or system that changes or has some impact of one kind or another.

Professor Lineweaver uses the term “chemical energy.” But for the purposes of our day-to-day lives why limit our ideas even to that broad framework?

We sometimes talk about situations and issues that “take on a life of their own.”

Maybe that common has phrase has more meaning than we realize.

There is such vitality all around us and this vitality is present every day.

All people have the ability to see the world around us in many unique and intellectually valid ways.

The expansive concept of life put forth by Professor Lineweaver can be used as a helpful point of reference in your own ideas about life, energy, change and existence. This can be so even if you have to read the interview a few times like I did to get a more clear idea of what he was saying.

No matter how idiotic so much of life is each day, we all have the ability to think deep thoughts and to apply our thoughts to everyday life.

July 24, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Yogi Bear Train Car

Above is a train car I saw a few days ago in Houston that has Yogi Bear and Boo Boo graffiti.

At the extreme left of the train car you also see a bear hand stealing a picnic basket.

I enjoyed this train car a great deal.

Here are facts about Yogi Bear.

July 23, 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 map by TUBS.)

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.

I run these words each week in this space. This is because there is nothing more important that I can tell you.

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

Here is the round-up—

There will be no Medicaid expansion in Texas. Off the Kuff discusses why this is such a bad thing.  

BossKitty at TruthHugger knows that hate groups abound in Texas, but is very concerned about the recent developments demonstrating American undercurrents of hate threatening the First Lady.

Is the leading GOP US Senate candidate so far to the right that so-called moderate Republicans would cross over and vote for the Democratic candidate in November? That’s what WCNews at Eye on Williamson tries to get to the bottom of, in “Would a Cruz win end the crossover myth?
Continue reading

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

Houston Mayor Annise Parker Makes Strong Statement About The Right Of Working People To Engage In Civil Disobedience In The Fight For Fair Wages

Yesterday I wrote that on the blog that Houston Mayor Annise Parker’s police were reportedly ticketing people who were honking their horns in support of striking janitors. I also said that Mayor Parker was no place to be found in support of these janitors as they fight for a living wage.

I’m glad to report that Mayor Parker made a strong statement today backing the janitors.

Beyond that, the Mayor also made a broader assertion about the rights of all working people.

(Above–Mayor Parker)

Here is what she said—

“I am calling on the contracting companies to go back to the negotiating table.  Their unwillingness to talk has left the union with no other choice but civil disobedience.  That is not good for the City of Houston or our economy and it is not how we do business in Houston.  We work hard, we work together and we treat each other fairly.  The union has made good-faith offers.  Now it’s time for the janitorial contractors to sit back down at the table to work out an agreement that is fair and just.”

Here is the Houston Chronicle report on the Mayor’s comments on the rights of working people.

The great Houston blog Dos Centavos has posted about Mayor Parker’s hopeful and constructive views.  

In her statement the Mayor not only backed the janitors, she also said that working people have the right to civil disobedience when confronted with the refusal of an employer to offer fair wages.

I’ve criticized Mayor Parker many times in recent years for her frequent appeals to so-called fiscal conservatives.

So it only seems fair to relate to the blog reading public the statement the Mayor made today about the inherent freedoms of all working people.

Let’s hope that Houston can count on more and even stronger support from Mayor Parker in the never-ending battle for decent wages and fair treatment for the hardworking people of our great city.

July 21, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | 3 Comments

Colorado Shooting

I’m sorry for the folks who were killed, injured or harmed in any way by the Colorado movie theater shooting.

Here is a list of the 26 mass murders in the United States in the past 30 years.

This nation is violent and sick.

July 20, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | 2 Comments

Houston Mayor Annise Parker’s Police Reported To Be Ticketing People For Horn Honking In Support Of Striking Houston Janitors—Mayor Parker & Houston Council Democrats Can’t Be Looked To For Very Much That Is Hopeful Or Progressive

(Update 7/21-12–Mayor Parker has spoken out strongly  in favor of the strking janitors. Let’s hope this is the beginning of consistent support for working people in Houston from Mayor Parker.)

There are reports that Mayor Annise Parker’s police are writing tickets for illegal horn honking for people honking in support of striking Houston janitors.

This horn honking is taking place as people drive past protests by the janitors.

Above is one such ticket that was posted today on the Occupy Houston Facebook page.

From Occupy Houston—

“So, in the latest attempt to stifle political dissent the Houston Police Department is now ticketing people for honking their horn in solidarity with the Houston Janitors. Way to go Annise Parker, guess you’ve got to have something to do when you’re not drafting legislation that will result in starving the local homeless population. Please show support for the Houston Janitors……”

In addition to the ticket above and the report from Occupy Houston, I’ve read another account of a ticket for the same “infraction” that was written by an acquaintance.

Each of these reports is about a pro-janitor protest that took place yesterday in Downtown Houston.

Here is the Facebook page of the Houston Janitors.

Below is a picture of the janitor’s protest yesterday in Downtown Houston. The picture is from the janitors Facebook page.

Here is the Houston Chronicle report on this protest.  There were 15 arrests at the protest.

The great Houston blog Dos Centavos has been covering the janitor’s strike.

Below is Mayor Parker yukking it up Stephen Colbert. This photo is from Mayor Parker’s Facebook page. 

Mayor Parker was the guest on The Colbert Report last night.

Everything is so funny!

I saw Mayor Parker’s interview with Mr. Colbert. Mayor Parker talked about how Houston is a place where you can get a job.

What the Mayor failed to mention is that Houston also appears to be a place where you can get a ticket from the police for supporting the efforts of people to be paid a living wage while working in Houston.

Burning the flag is protected speech in the United States. It seems though that honking your horn in support of a cause is a problem in Houston, Texas.

In addition to the prospect of a ticket for horn honking , there was the unnecessary and violent arrest of a pro-janitor protester at an otherwise peaceful march last month in Downtown Houston. 

Mayor Parker and Democratic members of Houston City Council are no place to be found in support of Houston janitors.

What Mayor Parker and many Democratic members of Houston City Council have been able to accomplish in recent months is to criminalize many acts of sharing food with the homeless in Houston.

If we don’t publicize these concerns of police overreach, and if we don’t ask more of the elected representatives who should be standing up for working Houstonians, then we have nobody to blame but ourselves.

The work of freedom is up to each of us.

Every Houstonian, 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.

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

The Role Of Luck And Circumstance Means That We All Need Help And That We All Must Help Ourselves

I was walking around a few days back here in Houston and saw the scene you see above where one tree was still living and another tree right next to the living tree was cut down.

Who knows why stuff like that happens?

It does not remove any of the meaning from life to say that the only reason one tree made it and the other tree did not was simply blind luck and circumstance.

Acknowledging  the role of blind luck and circumstance does not mean that we don’t have to work hard in life, and that we are not in good part responsible for the outcomes we get in life.

What making note of such factors means is that we have a role in helping others, and that a government that gains legitimacy only by the consent of the governed has a role in helping people who are also willing to help themselves.

July 19, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | Leave a comment

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