Texas Liberal

All People Matter

Picture Of Friendly Mini-Horses—Still Working On New Website

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Above you see a picture I took of friendly mini-horses a few hours ago at Bear Creek Pioneers Park here in Harris County, Texas.

In this picture you see that these mini-horses are talkng to each other about fun games they would like to play.

Here are facts about mini-horses.

Though I’ve not been around here on Texas Liberal as much as late, I am working on a new website that I plan to have up and running in April.

This new website will have a photo essay of a kind, a metaphoric universe and solar system, some poems, and a blog about the 2013 City of Houston elections.

There will also be other things on the website that I have not yet thought about.

Thanks to everybody still checking out the blog from time-to-time and thanks to folks visiting the blog for the first time. I’ll still be posting on Texas Liberal off and on until the new site is published.

February 26, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

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

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Below 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.

(Above–El Paso from space.) 

As I say each time I post the round-up—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.

We can also seek to impact society by consistently acting in a way that reflects our best values. Or by working on an artistic or creative effort that expands the range of thought and imagination we have in our society.

I repeat these thoughts so often on the blog because there is nothing more important I can say.

Here is the round-up—

Off the Kuff looks at the partisan shifts in State Rep districts from 2008 to 2012.

We have enough money in Texas to fund our needs public education, expanding Medicaid, as weel as transportation and water infrastructure projectes. But our current leaders don’t see it that way. WCNews at Eye on Williamson shows that their adherence to ideology over what’s best for Texas is the problem, Transportation funding, the state budget, and ideology.

Two issues in the Texas Lege last week — one of them the regulation of payday lending operators — show bright potential for bipartisan legislation. PDiddie at Brains and Eggs is encouraged by the news.

CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme wants you to know that Lamar Smith is a dim bulb going for same old Republican ‘ideas’ on immigration.

At TexasKaos, Libby Shaw asks if Ted Cruz has any decency. Unfortunately, the answer is no. Read all about it here: Senator Ted Cruz: Have You No Decency?

Neil at Texas Liberal wrote about Houston Mayoral candidate Ben Hall. Neil is still posting at Texas Liberal every few days. However, Neil is most at work at a new website that will be up in April that will feature a photo essay focusing on the value of the things that are around us each day, a metaphorical history of the universe and the Earth, some poems, and a new blog on 2013 City of Houston election politics.

February 22, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | Leave a comment

Wayne Dolcefino At Houston City Hall—Mr. Dolcefino Is No Sam Houston

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I think I caught former Channel 13 investigative reporter Wayne Dolcefino a little bit by surprise under this picture of our father Sam Houston recently at Houston City Hall.

Mr. Dolcefino is currently employed doing opposition research on Houston Mayor Annise Parker for her opponent Ben Hall.

February 21, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment

I Hope That Houston Mayoral Candidate Ben Hall’s Misspelling Of The Word “Government” Is Not Indicative Of A Hostility To The Common Good

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When I have my new website up and running this April, one part of the effort will be a blog about the 2013 Houston municipal elections.

Every so often along the way to that new site, I’ll have updates here at Texas Liberal.

Attorney Ben Hall is running for Mayor of Houston against incumbent Annise Parker.

Here is Mr. Hall’s Facebook page.

Above you see Mr. Hall discussing his agenda of education and safety for the people of Houston.

Who could argue with any of that?

While we all make mistakes—I make them all the time—I do note that Mr. Hall has above misspelled the word “government.”

I hope this misspelling is not indicative of an aversion of some kind on the part of Mr. Hall to the helpful role that government can play in the lives of our citizens.

If I were simply basing my vote on the entertainment value of the candidates, I would have to give Mr. Hall the early edge.

However, what I’ll be looking for in the months ahead is any real sign that a liberal could support Mayor Parker, Mr. Hall, or some other candidate who makes the race.

Election Day 2013 is Tuesday, November 5th. 

(Blogger’s Note 2/14/13–In the first version of this post that I put on-line, I made the exact same error as did Mr. Hall.  A difference though is that I am not running for anything. We are all flawed. The good news is that Mr. Hall has many months ahead to show that he offers something to liberal voters in Houston.)

February 15, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | 2 Comments

I Am Still Here As I Work On A New Website—Photo Of Emu

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I’ve not been around much here on Texas Liberal of late, but I am still working hard for the blog reading public.

I’m working on a new website that I plan to have up and running in April. This new website will have a photo essay of a kind, a metaphoric universe and solar system, some poems, and a blog about the 2013 City of Houston elections.

There will also be other things on the website that I have not yet thought about.

Thanks to everybody still checking out the blog from time-to-time and thanks to folks visiting the blog for the first time. I’ll still be posting on Texas Liberal off and on until the new site is published.

Above you see a picture I took recently of an Emu at Bear Creek Pioneers Park here in Harris County, Texas.

Here are facts about Emus.

February 13, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | 4 Comments

Expanded Use Of Drones Will Lead To Abuses Of Power

Dec. 17 airpower summary: Reapers touch enemy forces

It is wrong for the President to have the power to use drones to kill American citizens without accountability to Congress and without judicial review. President Obama is asserting that he has this right.

It will be just a matter of time until the range of Americans we target with drones will expand. We will widen the definition of who poses a threat to American interests.

At the same time here at home, surveillance drones will watch and follow domestic political dissenters and evermore militarized police will be called upon to intimidate and repress lawful protests. Large defense contractors will gain from these actions abroad, and corporate interests will play a big part in defining our domestic “security” objectives.

These things will happen with the support of elected Republicans & Democrats.

These things will happen–as they are already starting to happen– unless we realize and understand the fact that the work of freedom is up to each of us.

February 6, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | 1 Comment

The New Counterculture

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This VW Van I saw in Galveston a few days ago was driven by folks who have supported the last three national Republican tickets.

I guess this is the new counterculture as I don’t suppose these are the type of folks who would have driven such a van to Woodstock.

February 6, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | 1 Comment

Mo Cowan Of Massachusetts Is 6th Post-Reconstruction Black U.S. Senator

(Blogger’s Note 1/31/13—I update this post each time there is a new Black Senator. Today is such a time.)

There have been six Black United States Senators in post-reconstruction America.

Just six.

Here is a post on the three black post-reconstruction Governors.)

Here are the five Black Senators to date—

Ed Brooke (above) was a Republican elected from Massachusetts in 1966 and 1972.  He was defeated in 1978 by Paul Tsongas who went on to a notable career himself. Mr. Brooke was part of the moderate to liberal wing of the Republican party that does not so much exist anymore. The decline of moderate Republicanism is a big reason why Democrats are so strong in New England and New York state today.

Here is a Time Magazine article from 1971 pondering if President Richard Nixon would consider replacing Vice President Spiro Agnew on the ticket with Senator Brooke.

Carol Moseley Braun (Above) is the only Black woman to have served in the Senate. She represented Illinois. Ms. Moseley Braun defeated an incumbent Democrat Senator in a primary in 1992 and went on to win the General Election.

People had hopes for Carol Moseley Braun. For a variety of reasons, some maybe relating to her own mistakes and some maybe a product of unreasonable expectations, Ms. Moseley Braun lasted only one term.  This New York Times story from Ms. Moseley Braun’s 2004 run for President offers some perspective.

If Ms. Moseley Braun had been able to hold on, Barack Obama would most likely not have been elected to the Senate as the third post- Reconstruction black senator.   Mr. Obama won the seat once occupied by Ms. Moseley Braun. The Republican who defeated her in 1998, Peter Fitzgerald, did not run for reelection in 2004 against Mr. Obama in strongly Democratic Illinois.

Barack Obama of Illinois was elected to the Senate in 2004. He then went on to even bigger things.

The fourth Black U.S. Senator was Roland Burris (Above) of Illinois.  Mr. Burris was appointed by the Governor of Illinois to replace Barack Obama. His appointment was made under controversial circumstances as Governor Rod Blagojevich made the nomination while under indictment for a range of offenses including trying to sell the Obama Senate seat.

Mr. Burris was the first statewide elected Black in Illinois. He was elected as Comptroller of Illinois in 1979 and served in that post until 1991. In 1990 he was elected Attorney General of Illinois. He has also run unsuccessfully for the U.S. Senate, Governor of Illinois, and Mayor of Chicago.

Here is a comprehensive profile of Mr. Burris.

Mr. Burris did not run for reelection in 2010.

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The fifth post-Reconstruction Black Senator was Tim Scott (Above) of South Carolina. Mr. Scott was designated in December, 2012 to replace Senator Jim DeMint who resigned his office.

Here is profile of Mr. Scott from the PBS News Hour.

Mr. Scott is the fIrst Black Republican Senator since Ed Brooke. He is expected to run to fill the seat on a permanent basis.

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The sixth post-reconstruction Black Senator is Mo Cowan (Above) of Massachusetts.

Mr. Cowan was appointed to the Senate by Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick to fill the vacancy caused by John Kerry being appointed Secretary of State.

Mr. Cowan is a well-connected attorney who has served as Governor Patrick’s Chief of Staff. Here is a profile of Mr. Cowan from the Boston Globe. 

Mr. Cowan will serve in the Senate until an election takes place on June 25. Mr. Cowan is not a candidate for the June election.

Why only six black senators in post-Reconstruction America?

Here are some reasons for the low number —

1. Jim Crow and racism long denied Black people the right to vote and to run for office.

2. Even given the (not always uncontested) right of Blacks to vote today, a large proportion of Blacks in America live in the South where whites are not always inclined to vote for Blacks. This is how George W. Bush or Mitt Romney easily carries Mississippi even though 30% of people in Mississippi are Black.

3. Many states have very few Black people and so Black candidates are less likely to emerge from these places. Though it must also be said there were not so many Black folks in Massachusetts to help elect Ed Brooke.

4. The overwhelming majority of Blacks are Democrats. As many Senators are Republicans, this limits the options for Black Republican Senators.

5. Since most Blacks are going to vote for Democrats no matter what, Democrats use this fact and do not push Blacks to run for the highest offices. If someone is going to do something for you anyway, why not take advantage of them?

6.  Since many Black office holders have safe majority-minority districts or serve in majority-Black cities, why take a chance on a tough statewide race?

7. Black politicians often have a terrible record of cultivating new people and young people for the tough battles ahead. It’s easy to sit in a safe seat and accumulate power . It is more difficult to help people and fight for people in a more constructive way.

(There have been a full total of seven black U.S. Senators in our history. The other two, from the Reconstruction Era were Hiram Revels a Republican from Mississippi who served in 1870 and 1871, and another Mississippi Republican, Blanche Bruce, who served from 1875 until 1881. Both of these men were appointed by the state legislature as was done for much of American history. Here is information about the 17th Amendment, ratified in 1913, that provided for direct election of Senators.

January 31, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Young People Marching Off As If To War At King Parade

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I believe Martin Luther King would have been sad to see young people marching as if off to war at a parade in his honor. This picture is from the MLK parade in Houston last week.

These are young people involved with the R.O.T.C. I have no problem with kids trying to do well in a tough world.

But can’t we imagine and create a more hopeful society? I did not see marching groups of academic or vocational standouts at this parade.

It would just take a little thought and action to offer something better for our people and for ourselves.

Here is my Martin Luther King Reading & Reference List.

January 30, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | 1 Comment

Narrow Houston Street—Thinking Stuff Out

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Here is a narrow street here in Houston that I came across a few days ago.

You might not equate such a narrow and old street with our sprawling and perpetually new city.

And yet there is indeed such a street in Houston.

My posts have been brief of late as I work on a new web site and think things out about how I want to proceed.

Thank you for reading Texas Liberal.

January 29, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | 1 Comment

Droopy Palm Tree At Intersection In Houston

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Here is a droopy palm tree at sunset at an intersection here in Houston.

January 28, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | Leave a comment

Binary Star Metaphor Gives Substance To Everyday Life

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I’ve been looking for an analogy or metaphor–because analogy and metaphor give substance to solid things–that would express the at-times insoluble gap between reaching out to people who have worked hard to see the world in flexible, hopeful and real terms, and to also live in a way that reflects my belief that the stone that was rejected will become the cornerstone no matter who it is that has been rejected.

Of equal frustration is the split between what I want to accomplish, and the stuff I have to do everyday. This is true for myself and billions of other people.

I read an article in New Scientist magazine recently that said that contrary to what had been thought, life could survive in solar systems that have two suns.

A planet in such a solar system would have a wild climate and a habitable zone of an odd shape that would be defined by the complicated variables of the orbits of the two suns. This is the analogy I was looking for.

The picture is of a binary star system called 61 Cygni. The picture was taken by the European Southern Observatory.

January 25, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Alizee’s I’m Fed Up Would Be A Fine New National Anthem—Thank You France For All You Have Done For America

This song & video by a French person named Alizee was recently posted on the Facebook page of Talking Heads drummer Chris Frantz.

The song is called I’m Fed Up. It has some of the fine lyrics and would be our national anthem if I were President.

I’d have this Alizee fly in from Paris and sing this song instead of that alleged lip-syncing Beyonce.

I’d ask Alizee to sing our new national anthem in French as appreciation for  French help in the American Revolution and as respect for the very wise French opposition to George W. Bush’s murderous Iraq War that was based on lies.

In the past on this blog I’ve also suggested that Aaron Copland’s Appalachian Spring should be our national anthem. I stand by that suggestion.

This is a great and powerful nation and we can have as many national anthems as we wish.

January 23, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Gandhi At Houston Martin Luther King Day Parade

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Here is Gandhi marching at the Martin Luther King Parade I attended here in Houston on King Day.

Here is a brief biography of Gandhi. 

Here is the M.K. Gandhi Institute for Non-Violence at the University of Rochester. 

Here is my Martin Luther King Reading & Reference List.

January 22, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

Stan Musial—Progressive & Decent

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I regret the death a few days ago of Hall of Fame baseball player Stan Musial at age 92.

(Above–Stan Musial.)

Mr. Musial was loyal to his wife, loyal to the Midwestern river city of St. Louis and welcoming to Jackie Robinson when he broke into the Major Leagues in 1947.

Mr. Musial campaigned for John Kennedy in ’60, was appointed to LBJ’ s President’s Council on Physical Fitness and supported Barack Obama.

Mr. Musial was active in the Polish-American community.

Mr. Musial had a basic decent progressive conservatism that I have a lot of regard for as an outlook of life. Mr. Musial was not a radical in any sense, but if more folks had his day-to-day commitments and values this would be a better society.

Here is the Associated Press obituary for Stan Musial.

Here is Stan Musial’s lifetime baseball record from Baseball Reference.com.

January 21, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

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