Texas Liberal

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Instead of Being Dumped, Ideas And Things Of Value Should Be Treated With Regard

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Above are some Christmas Trees I saw in Houston a few days ago.

Surely it is so that our feelings about Christmas and about holiday traditions merit more than just tossing these trees out into the dump.

These trees could have been composted.

Ideas and things that have value to us should be treated with respect.

This is true of Christmas Trees and of so many things.

January 11, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | 4 Comments

Festive Decorations At Houston’s Glenwood Cemetery—Life And Death Require Each Other

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The office at Glenwood Cemetery in Houston was decorated in a festive fashion on Christmas Eve Day.

There are poinsettias along the staircase and a wreath over the porch.

Life and death could not exist without the other.

Everything we need is around us each day and is accessible with hard work, imagination and luck.

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

Texas State Rep. Dwayne Bohac Thinks Jesus & Christmas Are So Weak In Texas That Government Regulation Is Needed To Prop Them Up—The Merry Christmas Bill

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Texas State Representative Dwayne Bohac thinks that “traditional” observances of Christmas and Hanukkah are so weak and under threat in Texas that government regulation is required to prop them up.

Here is what Rep. Bohac is proposing for the upcoming legislative session—

“Today, State Representative Dwayne Bohac (R-Houston) pre-filed legislation to protect the freedom of Texas Independent School Districts to acknowledge and educate students on the historic and cultural roots of traditional winter celebrations and holidays such as Christmas and Hanukkah. 

The “Merry Christmas Bill,” which is expected to receive bipartisan support, affords students, parents and educators the right to celebrate on school property with displays associated with those holidays, including Menorahs, Christmas trees and Nativity scenes.  The bill also clarifies the right of school districts and their staff to use traditional winter greetings such as “Merry Christmas,” “Happy Hanukkah” or “Happy Holidays” on school grounds.”

District 138 Representative Bohac represents a portion of Houston in the legislature.

Above you see Mr. Bohac in front of the Christmas Tree that is located in the Texas House chamber in Austin.

Here is speculation about the likely pagan origins of the Christmas Tree tradition from a web site called All About Jesus Christ. I studied this tree for a few minutes on Rep. Bohac’s Facebook page and saw nothing religious on it at all.

I guess Rep. Bohac picks his battles.

Is it really so that teachers and students in Texas can’t say “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Hanukkah” to each other? I have not heard any complaint in the current holiday season that these words are not allowed to be spoken in our public schools. Rep. Bohac’s press release that I link to above offers no specific examples of anybody being prohibited from exchanging these holiday greetings in Texas schools.

Are these traditional observances really so weak even here in conservative Texas that they require government regulation to thrive?

Mr. Bohac suggests government regulation just as the extreme right-wing National Rifle Association last week proposed an armed government presence in all schools.

Does Rep. Bohac believe that government regulation is the answer rather than trying to win the minds and hearts of his fellow Texans with a strongly articulated faith and with quality arguments for his views?

Does Rep. Bohac see his God as so weak that he must intercede on His behalf?

How fortunate it is that we have Rep. Bohac and Texas state government to defend Jesus and Christmas, since it appears from the necessity of the Merry Christmas Bill that the God-fearing people of Texas are not up to the task themselves.

December 27, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Christmas Wreath & Grave Marker With Similar Look—We Beat The Odds To Exist And To Recall The Dead

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I took a ride around Houston’s Glenwood Cemetery this afternoon.

I enjoyed how the wreath placed next to the grave marker you see in the picture above had an aesthetic as similar as you might find between a wreath and a grave marker.

The stone was the only one I saw like it in the cemetery. The wreath was the only one I saw up high on a single pole.

When you think of how so little of existence is comprised of living things, it is hopeful that we are here for any amount of time.

It is something that we can–even for just a brief time– hold back the law of existence that says things fall apart.

It is even more hopeful that we have the capacity  to recall people who have returned to from where they began.

December 24, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Reach Out To Folks During The Holiday Season—On The Outside Looking In

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Above is a picture I took a few days ago while at a bar in Downtown Houston.

In this picture I am outside looking in at people enjoying a gathering of some kind inside the bar. I was out on a porch.

I’m sure the folks in the picture are very nice.

This image made me think of people who may feel depressed or on the outside during the holiday season.

If you know such a person in your own life, you might consider reaching out to them during the holiday season.

And–of course–we should recall that folks can be lonely at any time of the year. Life is very difficult.

December 12, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Who Was The Real St. Nicholas?

Who is the St. Nicholas who become our Santa Claus?

(Above—An 1898 painting called St. Nicholas of Myra Saves Three Innocents From Death. Painted by a Russian named Ilya Repin.

St. Nicholas was a fourth-century Bishop of Myra. Myra was then in Greece. It is now in Turkey.

Not much is known of the life of St. Nicholas. He is said to have been generous to children and to the poor. St. Nicholas is the patron saint of children. Here is a link to a list of Saints.

St. Nicholas is said to have been born into a prosperous home. His parents died when he was a young man and he was left an inheritance. Nicholas used this inheritance to help a poor man support three daughters who otherwise would have been sold into prostitution to support the family home.

It was this gift giving that is the connection between the St. Nicholas of old and the Santa of the modern day. In the spirit of the gifts for the three children, people in Germany, Switzerland and the Netherlands began to give each other gifts at Christmas. Santa Claus is, after a few mutations, St. Nicholas.

It is said Nicholas brought back to life two or three boys who had been cut-up and tossed in a brine-tub by an innkeeper. The innkeeper was going to sell the boys as pickled pork.

It is claimed that God his or herself indicated to the people of Myra that Nicholas should be selected as Bishop.

Nicholas was renowned as a champion of the falsely accused. He saved the lives of three men who were going to be put to death based on a sentence that had been made on this basis of a bribe. That account is the basis of the picture above.

Many falsely accused people are put to death and placed in jail in the United States in the current day. Please click here to read about The Innocence Project.

Nicholas is the patron saint of prisoners and prostitutes. All people merit concern. Here is a list of the many groups that can claim Nicholas as patron saint.

St. Nicholas is said to have stopped a raging storm in Greece and in so doing saved the lives of many mariners. In Greece, he is the patron saint of sailors.

Santa is about more than gift giving.  I don’t think St. Nicholas would have lined up at Best Buy at 5 AM the morning after Thanksgiving to get a bargain on a laptop.

Here is a brief account of St. Nicholas from AmericanCatholic.org.  

One source for this post was The Oxford Companion To The Year—An Exploration Of Calender Customs And Time-Reckoning. It’s a great book.

(Below–A statue of. St. Nick in Myra, Turkey. Photo by Lindi44.) 

December 8, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | 5 Comments

Where In Houston Can You Recycle Your Christmas Tree?—As Admirable Act As Recycling Your Tree Is, America Refuses To Address Climate Change

Christmas Day is over.

While you may be more tired of your relatives than you are of your Christmas Tree, it is the tree that you will have to ditch.

The City of Houston offers Christmas Tree recycling services.

This is just one of the many ways that government helps everyday people.

The City of Houston has also been nice enough to make available the flier you see at the top of the post.

Free materials for bloggers to use is indeed a fine city service.

Here is what the City says on its web page about Christmas tree recycling.

Every year, Houstonians discard thousands of used Christmas trees that could be recycled into useable items. The COH is encouraging residents to recycle their Christmas trees to give them a new lease on life and make the recycling of Christmas trees a family tradition.

Please remove tinsel, lights, ornaments, plastic tree stands and plastic water bowls from the trees. The recycled trees will be converted into mulch, which will in turn help save landfill space and help preserve the environment.

That is very helpful information.

Here is a Houston Chronicle story about various places you can bring your tree in the Houston area.

Of course–as good a deed as recycling your tree may be and as good as it make you feel–this does not change the fact that climate change is real, and may well be due to human activity on the Earth.

The problem is that Republicans, and the wealthy interests that own the Republican Party, won’t even allow us to collect the data that would help resolve this issue.

And if climate change impacts the poor around the world more than the comparatively wealthy?

That is a problem for somebody else far away.

Our pious nation lives the Christmas spirit of consumption all year round.

Here is a website that has a lot of information about Christmas tree recycling and, also, offers a list of links from around the nation about where you can recycle your tree.

December 26, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | 8 Comments

Please Have A Nice And Safe Christmas Day

Please have a nice and safe Christmas Day.

Thanks for reading Texas Liberal.

Now step away from the computer or turn away from the mobile phone, and go say hello to family and  friends.

If you’ve had enough of such people by now on the holiday, then go read a book.

December 25, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | | Leave a comment

What Is Open On Christmas Day?—Do You Really Need To Go There And If You Must Then Please Tip Very Well

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What is open on Christmas Day?

Whatever is open on Christmas Day, do you really need to go out to anyplace that is open on the holiday?

If you do, please treat the staff of such places very well. Please tip very well.

It is true that I often went out to a bar where a band was playing on Christmas night when I was younger. Christmas night was always a big bar night.

Convenience stores are open on Christmas as are some restaurants.

Just please treat people well.

And don’t forget that the 26th is the federal holiday for many people. Tip well and treat people well on that day as well.

Clearly these are things you should do each day–But you get what I’m saying.

How we treat other working people is a measure of our self-respect.

You see the picture of Santa at the top of this post.

Santa is checking who is naughty and who is nice based on how we each treat the 99%. 

December 24, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | | 7 Comments

Terrifying Santa Face Breads Want To Kill Us In Our Sleep

Here are some terrifying Santa face breads that I saw at the supermarket a few hours ago.

I think they yearn for nothing more but to come to life and cut our throats as we sleep on Christmas Eve and Christmas morning.

December 23, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | 2 Comments

Give Yourself & Others The Gift Of Involvement In Public Affairs In 2012—Texas Progressive Alliance Round-Up

At the end of this post is the most recent edition of the Texas Progressive Alliance round-up. The TPA is a confederation of the best political citizen-bloggers in Texas.

TPA bloggers blog away even at the holidays.

We also wish for you and your family to have an excellent holiday season

For example, the family you see below is enjoying a fine Texas Christmas.

And , of course, Texans know that Santa is from Texas. Nobody else is aware of this fact, but I’m certain it is being taught in our schools by order of the far right-wing Texas State Board of Education.

Not all Texans celebrate the same holidays. Below we see Texas Governor Rick Perry helping light a menorah. Governor Perry is quite ecumenical in the sense he is willing to use the cover of any faith to obscure how he is running a terrible Presidential campaign, and getting all the government money he can for his own pockets as he slashes funds for education.

No matter what holiday you celebrate, a great gift  you can give yourself, to the people in your life, and to your fellow citizens, is the gift of your increased  involvement in politics and public affairs in 2012.

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 democracy is up to each of us. This work is a gift we can all give ourselves and our fellow Texans and fellow Americans.

Things are a little different from what they were this time last year. The Occupy Wall Street movement is strong across the nation. What a hopeful move in the right direction after the Tea Party year of 2010.

Find an Occupy effort near you by searching the web or on Facebook. If there is not one near where you live, start one yourself.

The stakes are going to be very high in so many ways in 2012. Like the elves in the picture below who are Occupying Santa’s workshop, we are going to have to fight and advocate for ourselves and for the 99%.

Here is the round-up—

SCOTUS has issued a stay and scrambled the 2012 elections again. Off the Kuff tries to make sense of it.

BossKitty at TruthHugger notes that it’s business as usual for Texas politicians to tilt the voter tables in their favor by gerrymandering: US Supreme Court May Like New Texas Gerrymandering.

Occupy went to Washington and comes to Houston on Monday, December 12. PDiddie at Brains and Eggs follows along. Continue reading

December 18, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | Leave a comment

Who Was St. Nicholas?

Who is the St. Nicholas who become our Santa Claus?

(Above—an 1898 painting called St. Nicholas of Myra Saves Three Innocents From Death. Painted by a Russian named Ilya Repin.

St. Nicholas was a fourth-century Bishop of Myra. Myra was then in Greece. It is now in Turkey.

Not much is known of the life of St. Nicholas. He is said to have been generous to children and to the poor. St. Nicholas is the patron saint of children. Here is a link to a list of Saints.

St. Nicholas is said to have been born into a prosperous home. His parents died when he was a young man and he was left an inheritance. Nicholas used this inheritance to help a poor man support three daughters who otherwise would have been sold into prostitution to support the family home.

It was this gift giving that is the connection between the St. Nicholas of old and the Santa of the modern day. In the spirit of the gifts for the three children, people in Germany, Switzerland and the Netherlands began to give each other gifts at Christmas. Santa Claus is, after a few mutations, St. Nicholas.

It is said Nicholas brought back to life two or three boys who had been cut-up and tossed in a brine-tub by an innkeeper. The innkeeper was going to sell the boys as pickled pork.

It is claimed that God his or herself indicated to the people of Myra that Nicholas should be selected as Bishop.

Nicholas was renowned as a champion of the falsely accused. He saved the lives of three men who were going to be put to death based on a sentence that had been made on this basis of a bribe. That account is the basis of the picture above.

Many falsely accused people are put to death and placed in jail in the United States in the current day. Please click here to read about The Innocence Project.

Nicholas is the patron saint of prisoners and prostitutes. All people merit concern. Here is a list of the many groups that can claim Nicholas as patron saint.

St. Nicholas is said to have stopped a raging storm in Greece and in so doing saved the lives of many mariners. In Greece, he is the patron saint of sailors.

Santa is about more than gift giving.  I don’t think St. Nicholas would have lined up at Best Buy at 5 AM the morning after Thanksgiving to get a bargain on a laptop.

Here is a brief account of St. Nicholas from AmericanCatholic.org.  

One source for this post was The Oxford Companion To The Year—An Exploration Of Calender Customs And Time-Reckoning. It’s a great book.

(Below–A statue of. St. Nick in Myra, Turkey. Photo by Lindi44.) 

December 15, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

How The Liberal Elite Enjoy The Holidays—Enjoy The Season Any Way You Wish

With a fiber optic Christmas tree, some Little Debbie Cookie Wreaths and a few holiday lottery tickets, I am ready for the holidays.

Lottery tickets are a rip-off.  (Only time I’ll ever link to Dave Ramsey.)  I can afford a few every so often. Don’t buy lottery tickets if you can’t afford them.

Or don’t buy them at all if you have any sense.

Here is the Little Debbie website.

I wanted to give you this insight to the lives of the liberal elite. We live like kings and queens.

Just 24 more non-stop retail store and online 24/7 shopping days until Christmas.

And just 19 non-stop shopping days until Hanukkah.

Find your way to a fun holiday season. Enjoy the season in any way you wish and with any and all people who make you happy.

Enjoy as much time to yourself as you can.

Buy what you can afford or buy nothing at all.

Enjoy any holiday to choose to observe, and wish people holiday and Christmas greetings in any way that suits you and is respectful of others.

Stay connected and stay your own course.

And—of course—Occupy Wall Street. 

December 1, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | 2 Comments

Have Respect For Your Fellow Working People Who Must Labor On A Holiday—So Many Ways To Ask If Burger King Is Open On Christmas

Last year I wrote a post about a Burger King in Houston being open on Christmas Day. The post was prompted by the picture you see above. I took that picture last December on a very rare snowy day in Houston.

(Picture copyright Neil Aquino.)

My feeling was that Burger King did not need to be open on Christmas Day. The employees would want to be at home with family and Burger King on Christmas Day seemed depressing. I realize  many folks eat at Burger King and I pass no judgment on that fact. I’m simply not certain that Burger King on Christmas Day is needed by anybody if only for the reason that the staff would be forced to be work.

I can recall growing up in New England in the 1970’s when many business places were not open on Sunday.  I don’t know if that was for the best or not, but it was at least a day of rest to a greater extent than we see today. On the other hand, more hours open means more hours for staff to be employed.

On the Christmas Day just past, I did in fact visit a local convenience store/gas station. So you can say I’m a hyprocrite. I walked over to the store to buy an early edition of the Sunday Houston Chronicle. I get the final edition delivered to my door. I did not need to buy the early edition.

However, I also bought two $1 instant lottery tickets and gave them to the clerk. I thanked him for working the holiday. It is up to you to judge if these facts exonerate me.

Burger King stays open on Christmas Day and on other holidays for a very good reason. Many people want to spend money to eat at Burger King on Christmas Day.  At the end of this post are just some of the search terms that internet users wrote on or around Christmas Day 2010 to see if Burger King would be open Christmas Day. There is something like 65 different versions of the question listed below. That is not all of the listings. My blog got more than 900 page views on this topic alone for a post over a year old. (I guess that is some assurance that Texas Liberal has at least a little pull on Google.)

(Above–A Whopper. Here is nutritional information on Whoppers. A Whopper will meet almost all your daily saturated fat needs. Here is nutritional infromation for all Burger King menu offerings.)

Business places have plenty of profit motive to be open on holidays. So I suppose the question is what can we do as working people to acknowledge the fact that some folks must work holidays for non-essential reasons. And ,of course, the same consideration must be accorded to people who must work for the public safety or in any type of business that cannot shut down for a day.

Here are some possibilities for us to act in a respectful way that asserts that value and dignity of all labor—

1. In jobs where tipping is customary, we could tip at the time-and-a-half rate that all workers should expect on a holiday.  If you normally tip 15% for good service, than you could tip 22.5% instead on holidays. If you normally tip close to 20%, as you should consider doing if you have the resources, than a tip near 30% would be fair. This may seem high, but the fact is that your waiter is working a holiday and working people should be mindful of the needs of other working people.

2. We could thank the person for working the holiday. How hard is that?

3. We could tip well and acknowledge the fact someone is working a holiday even if we feel somehow mistreated at our own work. Part of the respect we can show for fellow working people is not to spread around the misery we may feel simply because we lack the personal discipline to care about others.

4. We could advocate year-round for better treatment for working people. All work has value. It is a measure of our own self-respect that we see value and commonality in the circumstances of people who also give the hours of their lives to earn a living. All too often in our nation we have put aside our own best interests and the best interests of fellow working people so we can focus on hating people not like ourselves.

New Year’s Day 2011 is coming up. There is always some holiday on the horizon. Let’s treat people well.

Here is a series of articles from the public policy magazine The American Prospect dealing with how the rights of labor could be improved right now.

We all have the ability to make life better for ourselves and for others. This ability to make life better never takes a holiday.

Here are but some of many ways people inquired as to the availability of a Whopper on Christmas Day—

burger kings hours for christmas

burger king 33433 christmas hours

is burger king open december 25 in liberal

is burgerking open on christmas

burger king hours of operation schofield christmas day

burger king open xmas day

is burger king open on christmas day?

bk open christmas eve

burger king open christmas eve prattville al

is mcdonalds open on christmas day

is burger king open on christmas day 2009

do burger king opens on christmas

what time does burgerking close at christmas eve Continue reading

December 27, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Trouble For Republicans DeLay And Eversole Are Fine Holiday Gifts

The conviction of former U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay of Sugarland, Texas right before Thanksgiving Day last month was a wonderful Thanksgiving offering.

(Above–Bountiful Thanksgiving table. Photo by Ms. Jones.)

Tuesday’s indictment of Republican Harris County Commissioner Jerry Eversole for bribery and income tax charges is indeed a Christmas gift.

Mr. Eversole has pleaded not guilty.

Above–Christmas gifts. Photo by Sigismund von Dobshcutz.)

I’m sorry to say that Mr. Eversole is my Harris County Commissioner.

I’m sure the Tea Party—If it even exists anymore—will be focusing their energies on Mr. Eversole real soon.

Let’s hope that after this gift of an indictment is unwrapped we will find that it contains a conviction.

(Above–Unwrapped presents on Christmas Day. Photo by Steve.)

I’m not glad that Mr. DeLay and Mr. Eversole are in hot water simply because they are Republicans.  I don’t think all Republicans are crooks.

What I’m glad about is that wrongdoing by powerful people can be called to account, and that members of a party that calls Democrats Communists and traitors can be brought to justice.

Who are the Republicans serving with Republican County Judge Executive Ed Emmett on our Harris County Commissioner’s Court?

We have the indicted Jerry Eversole.

And then we have incoming Commissioner Jack Morman who will replace the unelected Sylvia Garcia. I say “unelected” because Ms. Garcia would still be serving if enough Hispanics in Harris County had bothered to vote, and if the Harris County Democratic Party and the Texas Democratic Party made serious efforts to encourage Hispanic voting.

These Democrats don’t want to make serious efforts because then they would actually have to address the concerns of this voting group, and because Hispanic elected officials in low-turnout one-party constituencies might face a primary challenge or might have to really talk about serious issues.

As for Mr. Morman, he still has not updated his campaign web page to even address the fact that he won the election. Also, there is nothing at all on his web page that suggests at all what his views are on issues before the county.

Click the link above and read it for yourself.

Here is what Houston TV station KHOU reported on Election Night about Mr. Morman—

“Even GOP leaders Tuesday night could not place where they might have seen Morman on the campaign trail or at pre-election events. He was nowhere to be found on Tuesday night at the GOP party.”

Mr. Morman will be representing something like 750,000 people, and nobody has any idea of his positions impacting the county and he can’t even thank voters for putting him in office.

What a crew of Republican alleged criminals and blank slates at our Harris County Commissioner’s Court.

(Top Houston bloggers Charles Kuffner and John Coby have also written about Mr. Eversole’s indictment.)

December 22, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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