(Update 8/26/12–If you click the first link below you will get the current report on Isaac. While I hope the storm breaks up, at current it is headed to Mississippi and Louisiana. These are conservative southern states that often send people to Washington who complain about the federal government. You can be certain though these places will looking for federal help in the unfortunate event that the storm does a lot of damage.)
As you see from the National Hurricane Center map above, Tropical Storm Isaac may be arriving in Florida at the same time as the Republican National Convention.
Though by Monday it may be known as Hurricane Isaac. Here is the hurricane center page on Isaac.
The convention is set to begin on Monday in Tampa. Tampa is on the Gulf of Mexico side of Florida.
I think the hurricane will go where it will go for whatever reason. I imagine though that some religious people might see a message if a hurricane comes and disrupts a major party convention.
There really are so many possible reasons.
Folks who live in areas prone to hurricanes will know that the area in which a hurricane might strike is called the cone of uncertainty.
You’ll see that there is a large swath of land and sea within the cone.
Also in a cone of uncertainty are your rights if the Romney/Ryan/Todd Akin ticket wins this November.
Mitt Romney met in 2012 with the Cincinnati doctor—Jack Wilke—who is an architect of many of Todd Akin’s extreme views. Dr. Wilke says that he–Wilke–and Governor Romney are in strong agreement on many concerns.
Hopefully the tropical storm will dissipate and people will not be hurt.
As for the Romney/Ryan/Akin Republican Party—You can bet on them inflicting full-blown misery on the American people every chance they get.
I want to add my voice to those concerned about the killing of 17 year old Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida.
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.
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.
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.
Texas House Republicans Consider Tax Breaks For Yachts As Vital State Services Are Cut—Texas Progressive Alliance Round-Up
At the end of this post you’ll find the current Texas Progressive Alliance round-up. The TPA is a confederation of the best political bloggers in Texas.
With the round-up this week, I’m passing on the news that the Republican-controlled Ways and Means committee of the Texas House of Representatives has okayed a tax break for the purchase of yachts.
(Above–Little comment needed. Photo by B. Straub.)
“Republican Rep. John Davis said other states have paved the way for his proposal — primarily Florida, which backers of his bill say is No. 1 in boat sales to Texas’ No. 2. ”We’re losing our yacht sales in Texas to Florida,” said Davis…. Davis said it’s not so much a big break for yacht owners as an effort to keep the economic activity surrounding the vessels. ”We’re losing a lot of downstream jobs and sales tax revenue,” he said, because Florida has limited sales taxes on yachts to $18,000. Davis’ bill, as filed, would limit the amount of boat tax to $15,625 – the amount normally due on a $250,000 vessel – regardless of sales price. He said he’s changing that to match Florida’s $18,000 maximum.The fiscal analysis on the original bill said it would cost Texas $1.4 million annually in lost tax revenue, but supporters including yacht brokers note the figure doesn’t take into account the ripple effect of Texas losing yachts. Rep. Mike Villarreal, D-San Antonio, said at a Ways and Means hearing on the proposal that he felt like “I just walked through the Twilight Zone.”
Beyond what this proposal says about some yacht owners, the Florida legislature, Rep. Davis, and our nation as a whole, let’s say that giving a tax break to yacht buyers really would spur some minor amount of economic activity and jobs here in Texas. I’m not conceding that point—But let’s just say.
Wouldn’t better educating our kids, providing greater resources for public health, and avoiding the public sector layoffs we are seeing in Texas also be good for our state? Wouldn’t these things create economic benefits and jobs in Texas? Yet our state legislature seems intent on attacking the most important aspects of our future in Texas in the current budget debate.
Let’s take teacher layoffs in Texas. Rather than maybe or maybe not keeping people employed in such a round-about way with tax breaks for the purchase of yachts, why not take the funds that will be lost from the yacht tax break and put those funds towards retaining teachers who would otherwise be terminated?
Or, instead, maybe we could just have tax breaks for the purchase of yachts.
Here is the round-up—
The long range plan to kill public education is reaching the end game. Over a tTexasKaos, lightseeker talks about seeing one of the (unintentional) moving parts at a public lecture given by one of the premier charter schools in the nation. Check out Educational Reform and Our Common Peril!
Bay Area Houston has the latest on state representative Larry Taylor’s emergency surgery.
What conservatives believe to be true ranks far above what is actually true,and even what is demonstrably true according to science and mathematics. PDiddie at Brains and Eggs points out that this why Rick Perry declares Easter weekend as ‘Days of Prayer for Rain in Texas’, and why John Cornyn “isn’t so sure” that Jon Kyl was wrong when he claimed that abortions were 90% of Planned Parenthood’s budget. It should consequently be no surprise that they place no value in teachers and education.
(Blogger’s note—This is the second version of the Texas Liberal Gulf of Mexico facts and history post. There are links here to learn about the BP/Transocean disaster, to learn some background on past spills and about oil in general, and to learn about some of the areas impacted by the spill. The posts ends with an extensive collection of links to stories about the disaster I’ve collected since my first spill post began on April 30. If there is a link you feel I should add, please make a suggestion. Thanks for reading Texas Liberal.)
(I’ll be on the road for a few days, but his post still has many links about the spill and the collection of articles I list is a good history of the events of the disaster.)
7/16/10—The test cap is working so far, but the government is not yet convinced. This is as of 6 PM central time.
Blogger’s Note—This post has been newly organized and is now being updated at this link. Please visit the new post and thank you for reading Texas Liberal.
(Blogger’s Note–This post is updated through today June 24. If you take the time to get all the way to the end, there are all sorts of links with the latest news and larger issues of just why an oil spill is so bad and the history of other major spills. As you read down the list of updates, you’ll be able to see some of the events as they unfolded. I imagine most of the update links are still good so you can also read the stories that have been the lead-up to the events of the present time. )
Here is a blog post with facts and updates on the BP/Transocean Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
(Above–The spill from space.)
(Update-4/30/10–The first of the oil may have reached the Louisiana Gulf coast.)
(Update 5/1/10–Commercial fishers in Louisiana are concerned.)
(Update 5/1/10–President Obama will be visiting the Gulf to see the spill.)
(Update 5/2/10–The BBC has a number of reports on the spill. This provides some sense on how the rest of the world sees what is taking place.)
From this report—
Q: Has anyone gotten sick from the oil spilled in the Gulf?
A: Yes, there have been reports of illnesses, but relatively few among people not involved in the spill cleanup. Most of the reported illnesses were related to odors or fumes. Almost all were mild and temporary, and many were in early May, within the first few weeks of the April 20 explosion. The reports are based on a doctor’s assessment, not on lab testing. All but 35 of the 109 spill-related illnesses in Louisiana have been workers; Alabama has 27 reports of illnesses, and Florida and Mississippi have had none.
This June 11 NY Times column says that it is not enough to boycott BP stations of you want to hurt BP. What you would really have to do is use less oil.
With the spill now said to be bigger than the Exxon Valdez disaster, here are many facts about the Exxon Valdez.
The spill has impacted Native Americans living in Louisiana. Native Americans in Louisiana have long felt screwed-over by oil companies.
Here is a report on a question many have wondered about—With all this oil in the Gulf, what will happen if there is a big hurricane?
(Below—Efforts in the gulf to contain the oil. That ship looks a bit outmatched.)
Hurricane season does not start for a month, yet here is a threat moving towards the Gulf coast.
Here is an essay from the Nature Conservancy about Gulf Coast prairies and marshes. This is an area that may be hit by the advancing oil.
Here is the web home of the Louisiana Shrimp Association. This are folks who want to be able to go out and fish for shrimp and who want you to be willing to buy shrimp.
Here the web page of WKRG-TV in New Orleans. WKRG has a running meter of the estimated oil that has gone into the ocean.
(Below–Many people are not pleased with BP.)
( Below—A controlled burn of the oil.)
(Update 5/2/10–BP has held a press conference discussing the spill.)
( Below—Oil washing up on the Louisiana coast on May 8.)
Burning the oil to make it go away is part of the response to the spill. Here is an article from the Mobile Press-Regster about what burning could accomplish and expressing the view that the burning should have started earlier than it did.
The spill began when an offshore oil rig exploded and sank. 11 people were killed in this disaster. The name of the rig was the Deepwater Horizon rig. The rig was leased by BP.
( Update 5/4/10–It may still be three days before oil hits the Gulf coast.)
The firm that owned the rig was Transocean. Here is the statement by Transocean about the explosion.
There is a joint response web site which is being run by the both the companies and the federal agencies involved in cleaning up the oil. There is a lot of information at this site.
Here is a law firm that would like to file a suit on your behalf if you feel you’ve been impacted by the spill. It seems that this firm specializes in such cases.
(Update 5/5/10–Here is a report on damage to the underwater environment.)
From the Novi site, here is how oil covered sea otters are cleaned—
“When sea otters are taken to a cleaning facility, the heavy oiled otters will be washed first. Workers will wash the otters with warm water because they hope it will break down the oil. The warm water also can warm the otters up. The otters also will get medical treatment while they are being cleaned. The otters will then have to wait so they can dry.”
(Update 5/8/10—Efforts to place a big dome over the spill are not going so well.)
(Update–5/11/10—The first hearings have been held. Shocker–Nobody said they were at fault.)
(Update 5/12-10–BP thinks they may have a solution to the ongoing leak. There is also a video in this report of the oil gushing into the sea.)
(Update 5/13/10—Tar balls are beginning to show up on the Gulf coast.)
(Update 5/13/10–-The President of BP, Tony Hayward, says his job is on the line over the spill. No kidding.)
(Update 5/13/10—Criminal charges are being considered for this disaster.)
(Below–One bird that could suffer losses from the oil is the Brown Pelican. You see that this pelican has already taken a severe hit.)
(Update 5/15/10–Some accuse BP of using the Gulf as a “Toxic Testing Ground.”)
(Update 5/16/10–Large amounts of oil are being found underwater.)
(Update 5/16/10–Tourism at some Gulf of Mexico beaches has begun to suffer.)
(Update 5/17/10—The oil may soon be headed up the Atlantic coast.)
(Update 5/17/10–Here is the latest on BP’s efforts to stop the spill.)
(Update 5/17/10–President Obama will be setting up a panel to investigate the spill. )
(Update 5/18/10–-BP says they have spent $625 million cleaning up the spill. I guess they will be passing that on to consumers.)
(Update 5/18/10-–Here are four videos of the leak under the sea.)
(Update 5/19/10—The American Veterinary Medicine Association says responders are ready to deal with wildlife harmed by oil. Though to this point there have few animals found that have impacted.)
(Update 5/20/10—Self-regulating oil companies are the norm around the world.)
(Update 5/20/10—Here are where things stand as of noon Central Time.)
(Update 5/21/10–BP denies covering up the extent of the spill.)
(Update 5/22/10–Here is the latest forecast for where the oil is headed.)
While it is clear enough that an oil spill is bad for the marine environment, the effects of oil in ocean are specific beyond the basic fact that such a spill is bad.
The web site Green living tips, written in Australia, has some of the specifics on the harmful impacts of an oil spill.
(Below–Tarballs washing up on the Louisiana coast on May 14. They do not look very nice.)
From the Green Living facts –
“When oil is spilled in waterways, it spreads very quickly with the help of wind and currents. …When oil starts mixing in water, it can change composition and becomes what’s known as “mousse”. This is a sticky substance that clings even more to whatever it comes in contact with. Many marine animals don’t know to avoid a slick and some fish may even be attracted to it as it can resemble food.”
(Update 5/23/10 --Where the spill stands as of the morning of the 23rd.)
(Update 5/23/10—Folks are mad in Louisiana. Though I wonder how many of these folks drive gas-guzzling SUV’s and broke the laws about proper fishing from their fishing boats.)
(Update 5/24/10—Here is the latest. The oil is still belching into the ocean and the costs of the cleanup keep rising.)
(Update 5/24/10–Most Texans say they still support offshore drilling on the Gulf. I imagine they do support that rather than giving up the big trucks.)
(Update 5/25/10—There is disagreement in the Senate over to what extent BP should be liable for the spill. Republicans want to limit how much BP should have to pay.)
(Update 5/26/10—President Obama will hold a news conference on tomorrow. Here are five questions about the government’s handling of the spill that a Washington Post reporter thinks should be asked of the President.)
(Update 5/26/10—People are still staying at Gulf Coast hotels.)
(Update 5/26/10—Here is a report on the Top Kill as of 10 PM CDT.)
(Update 5/27/10–The Coast Guard says that Top Kill is working.)
(Update 5/29/10–25% of the Gulf of Mexico is now closed to fishing.)
(Update 5/30/10–It may not be until August before the oil stops gushing.)
(Update 5/30/10—The White House is becoming more confrontational with BP.)
(Update 5/31/10–-Here is a review from CNN of where things stand at the moment.)
(Update 6/2/10—Prices of BP shares continue to decline. )
( Update 6/2/10--The oil is advancing on Pensacola, Florida.)
(Update 6/3/10—A new permit has been allowed for offshore drilling within 50 miles of the Louisiana coast. This is a bit difficult for me to understand given the events of the moment.)
(Update 6/4/10—They are getting ready for the oil in Florida.)
(Update 6/4/10–Laura Bush says President Obama should not be blamed for the spill.)
(Update 6/5/10–President Obama made his weekly five-minute address form the Louisiana coast. You can watch the speech from this Voice of America link. )
(Update 6/6/10—The President of BP says he will not quit over the spill.)
(Update 6/7/10–Time magazine asks if the oil could reach Europe.)
(Update 6/7/10—This analyst says that the future of BP may be in doubt.)
( Update 6/7/10–People are concerned about the possible health effects of the oil spill. But these effects may not as bad as feared. )
(Update 6/8/10–-President Obama says the BP CEO should be fired.)
(Update 6/9/10–BP share prices are at the lowest point in 14 years.)
(Update 6/11/10—British Prime Minister David Cameron will be discussing BP with President Obama tomorrow. There is pressure in Britain for the Prime Minister to defend BP)
(Update 6/11/10–Plans to burn the oil are raising health concerns.)
(Update 6/12//10–The price of shrimp is likely to rise.)
(Update 6/13/10—Some Folks in Britain feel they are being bashed.)
(Update 6/13/10—BP is putting some sensors around the leak to get a better sense of how much oil is being spewed. I’m glad they could finally get around to that.)
(Update 6/16/10–This BBC report is about small coastal communities in Alabama dealing with the spill. The Mayor of one of these towns says domestic violence is up in his town as people face job losses.)
(Update 6/17/10—Here is the video of the heckler removed the Tony Hayward testimony.)
(Update 6/20/10-–BP had reason before the spill to know that the impact of an incident such as this could be very severe. It does make seem to make the case that BP lied at first about how much oil was leaking.)
(Update 6/21/10–Here is a story that attempts to illustrate how much oil has spewed into the sea. From this story– “More not-so-dreadful context: The amount of oil spilled so far could only fill the cavernous New Orleans Superdome about one-seventh of the way up. On the other hand, it could fill 15 Washington Monuments. If the oil were poured on a football field — complete with endzones — it would measure nearly 100 yards high.There have been many large oil spills in the past.”)
(Update 6/23/10—Republicans will not demote Congressman Joe Barton from his high committee post for his apologizing to BP. If Republicans gain control of the House in 2010, Mr. Barton will be the main person in Houser on oil industry issues.)
(Update 6/23/10–Here is the latest on the spill as of the afternoon of June 23.)
(Update 6/24/10–Here is the latest as of the morning of June 24.)
(Below–Growing up in New England, I recall the sinking of the tanker Argo Merchant off the coast of Massachusetts.)
While many look to learn about an issue when there is a big story in the news, it is always the right time to learn.
(Below–Mississippi River Delta without any oil cover.)
These folks cannot the help they need in Haiti.
Florida Governor Charlie Crist has written a letter asking the federal government to pay some of the costs of treating these patients in Florida.
Other states have also received a smaller number of these patients and those flights have stopped for the moment as well.
This dispute could not have been resolved while the flights continued?
Some say it is the military that is halting the flights. The military says some hospitals are denying the patients.
Governor Crist is running in a Republican primary for the U.S. Senate against a tea party-type. This primary is closer than had been expected.
Is Governor Crist raising this point to protect himself from a charge that he is allowing Florida to spend money on dark-skinned foreigners?
Could nobody in the federal government contact the White House so the President could order flights to continue? I’m sure that in the end something will be worked out to pay for these treatments.
Meanwhile, it is possible that somebody has died already because they could not get airlifted out of Haiti and receive better treatment.
Can’t people get their acts together when lives are on the line?
It really is sickening. It’s all about money.
The relief effort in Haiti is ongoing. Doctors Without Borders is one of a number of groups that is offering needed help.
Here’s my proposal for how Democrats should resolve the mess of how to include delegates from Michigan and Florida at the National Convention.
Each state should be penalized 20% of its delegates for breaking the rules.
Michigan should simply re-vote since Barack Obama was not on the ballot when that state held its primary.
For Florida, the primary already conducted should count for half of awarded delegates. A caucus should be held for the other half.
There you have it.
Just that simple!
The Florida Presidential primary has a long history.
In 2008, it is a big contest for Republicans with all the major candidates in the mix for the first time in the nominating season. For Democrats, a silly dispute over the timing of the vote means there will be no meaningful Democratic primary competition in the fourth-largest state.
Here is the U.S Census Florida quick facts page. Just over 18 million people live in Florida.
The first contested Florida primary took place way back in 1932. This before primaries had the decisive role they have today in selecting nominees. In 1932 Governor Franklin Roosevelt of New York won 88% of the vote against Governor William H. (Alfalfa Bill ) Murray of Oklahoma. (Photo Below)
Governor Murray was just the piece of work he appears to be in the photo.
The next contested Florida primary was in 1952. This was again on the Democratic side.
Senator Richard Russell of Georgia won 55% of the vote against Senator Estes Kefauver of Tennessee. Neither of these men would win the nomination. The honor of losing to General Eisenhower would go to Governor Adlai Stevenson of Illinois with Mr. Kefauver as his running mate.
Richard Russell (photo below) is seen by some as a “Giant of the Senate.” What he really was though was a segregationist who held up progress and freedom for millions of Americans.
In 1956, Mr. Stevenson contested Florida and beat Mr. Kefauver 52-48.
In 1960, “favorite son” candidate Senator George Smathers was the only name on the Democratic Florida ballot. A “favorite son” candidate is one favored almost exclusively in his or her own state. That candidate will then often have a great say in how that state’s delegates will vote at the convention. In 1960, Florida’s first-ballot delegates went to Smathers’ fellow Southerner Lyndon Johnson of Texas.
The Florida Republican primary was the one of greater interest in 1964. Here a slate of uncommitted delegates won 58% of the vote against Barry Goldwater. That suggests that even as late as May 26, when the primary was held, Florida Republicans were not yet sold on Mr. Goldwater. No doubt many Florida Republicans were ex-New Yorkers who did not flock to Mr. Goldwater. ( Ex-New Yorkers are part of Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s 2008 strategy in Florida.)
Also interesting in 1964 was the respective vote totals in the two party primaries. An unchallenged Lyndon Johnson won 393,339 votes.The Republican primary drew 100,704 votes. This long-standing Democratic partisan advantage would not last.
Another thing that would change was the date of the primary. The Florida primary had always been held late in the process and did not much effect the outcome. For 1972, just at the time when primaries began to take a larger role in the nominating process, Florida moved the primary up to March 14. This made it the second primary—One week after New Hampshire.
The primary has kept an early date ever since.
This change did not change the party. The segregationist wing of the Democratic party took the day as George Wallace of Alabama won the ’72 primary with 42%. (Wallace is shown here with James Webb of NASA –center–and Wernher Von Braun hugging the rocket. No matter how much Southerners say they hate the federal government, they are always willing to take the federal money)
However, by 1976 things had changed for the better. (Putting aside the national regression of Reagan 80′s and beyond.) Jimmy Carter beat Governor Wallace 35% 31% in Florida. This marked a New South and a switch in control of the Democratic Party.
In the legendary Ronald Reagan-Gerald Ford (photo of Ford below) race of 1976, President Ford won Florida 53-47%. The “Reagan South” would arrive a few years later. Governor Reagan beat the first George Bush 56-30 in the 1980 primary.
After 1980, the Florida primary became part of the Super Tuesday and large Southern regional primaries and did little to alter the outcome of the nominating races.
2000 was the first time there were more Republican voters in a Florida Presidential primary than Democratic voters. Though Republicans had been doing quite well in Florida long before this point.
John Kerry was the easy 2004 Florida Democratic winner. The Republicans did not bother with a primary in an uncontested race.
Below is a Florida Scrub Jay. This bird is found only in Florida.
Texas Liberal is going to be your leading source for political history blogging in 2008. Please click here for a history of the South Carolina primary. Please click here for a variety of political history posts on this blog.
The Manatee is the Texas Liberal Marine Mammal of the Week.
The Manatee is a large herbivorous creature with a torpedo-shaped body, little hair and thick lips.
The Manatee most Americans are familiar with is the West Indian Manatee. This is the Manatee that lives in Florida. These Manatees also swim up and down the Atlantic Coast up to Long Island and in the Gulf of Mexico as well.
The West Indian Manatee can wiegh up to 3000 pounds and live over 60 years. Female West Indians reach 13.5 feet. This is a foot-and-a-half longer than male Manatees.
West Indian Manatees live in temporary groups for purposes of mating or looking for food. Otherwise, W.I. Manatees are likely to be found together only in a mother and calf pairing.
W.I. Manatees spend between six to eight hours a day eating. That’s a long time. They eat sea grasses and sea plants. However, in Jamaica W.I. Indian Manatees have been seen eating fish from nets.
While W.I. Manatees are protected throughout their range, they are still hunted. People eat Manatee meat and use the bones and oil in folk remedies. Manatees also die from collisions with boats, ingesting fishing gear, getting caught in nets and drowning in locks.
We sure have a lot of ways to kill Manatees.
It is estimated that between 3,000 and 4,000 Manatees live in Florida.
Click here for a great New York Times article suggesting Manatees are far more clever than they’ve been given credit for by scientists.
Florida’s Republican Governor Charlie Crist has suggested reducing the level of protected status extended to Manatees. This proposal has come under criticism.
Since you’re at a political blog, please consider clicking this article about how to help America’s middle class. We need to find a way to live decent lives in the age of the global economy.
Please click here for other Texas Liberal posts about sea life and marine mammals.