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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

No Tea Party Highway Rest Stops Between Cincinnati And Columbus

Here is a photo I took two days ago of a State of Ohio highway rest stop on I-71 between Cincinnati and Columbus.

Many people were using this government provided rest stop.

I did not see any Tea Party rest stops on the highway. I’d not be surprised if some Tea Party supporters use this rest stop while traveling in Ohio.

Government provides many helpful things that people use each day. The reflexive critics of government have no real idea how they would replace these services.

September 5, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | 5 Comments

The Simple Things Often Make The Biggest Impression

It is not the biggest thing in the world, but can’t the Houston Public Works Department have a sign that is correct instead of missing a letter in the word Houston?

Why should anybody believe that government will do a good job fixing stuff when even this most basic matter can’t be done correctly?

(Photo copyright 2011 Neil Aquino.)

July 15, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | 2 Comments

When Will Government Get Out Of Our Lives?—Socialism In Clear View

Above is a picture I took two days ago in Cincinnati’s Eden Park.

Look at all the ways government intrudes in our lives.

Government tells us we are at the corner of Alpine and St. Paul.

Maybe we feel we are someplace else.

The government just wants us to think we are at the corner of Alpine and St. Paul.

Government tells us this is a one way street.

What about hard-working, English-speaking, tax-paying Americans who want to go another way down this street? 

First they tell us what we can do in our very own cars. Next they will harvest our organs for a United Nations organ bank.

The government wants us to stop at a certain place on the road.

What if this is not the place we wish to stop?

Should not free citizens be able to employ their superior knowledge of traffic management to know just the right place where they should stop?

Government says we can not turn left between noon and ten on Sunday. 

Where is that restriction in the Constitution?

Sunday is the sabbath. What if God directs me to turn left at Alpine and St. Paul in the middle of the afternoon on a Sunday?

If you look at the top of the stone wall near the pole of the traffic sign, you see that the stone wall was built by the New Deal Works Progress Administration in 1941.

Socialism.

When will the Cincinnati Tea Party come to tear down this wall and build a new one with citizen-volunteer labor?

How have the people of Cincnnati allowed this socialism to stand in clear view for 70 years? 

When will government get out of our lives?

( Photo copyright 2011 by Neil Aquino)

March 14, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Where Are Republican Objections To Federal Dollars For Galveston Seawall Improvements?—Where Are Seawall Bake Sales And The Citizen Volunteers?

The people of Galveston County will be enjoying the benefits of federal dollars as the federal government will be picking up most of the expense for $15 million in improvements to the Galveston Seawall.

(Above–Picture of Galveston Seawall I took earlier his year. Government, in concert with our own hard work, can help protect us from the storms of life.)

From the Houston Chronicle—

“….the seawall from Fourth Street to 83rd Street will be landscaped with palm trees and native grasses… Other improvements include solar lighting, benches and markers with information on history and local plants and wildlife. The bulk of the $15 million cost for the entire project will be paid for with federal transportation money…”

In 2010, the voters of Galveston County elected a Republican county government.

I thought the message of the 2010 election was to get government out of our lives.

Where are the objections to this project from Galveston County Republicans? Where are the Republicans of principle holding bake sales to raise funds for Seawall improvements? Where are the citizens forming volunteer parties to do this work without federal intrusion from Washington?

People can go on and on about government. But in the end, they take the money.

There is nothing wrong with taking the money for useful projects such as improving a resource as vital to the safety and prosperity of Galveston County as is the Seawall.

Also, there is nothing wrong with realizing the fact that government  has a role to play in our lives.

Wherever  in the country you live, you can bet that folks who complain about government  are taking government dollars for needed and helpful reasons.

We should be proud of the fact that we live in a civilized nation where funds are raised and people are helped for the good of the general welfare.

Here is some history of the Galveston Seawall.

(Photo copyright Neil Aquino)

December 23, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Ohio Republican Gov.-Elect Kasich Goes To Washington To Ask Barack Obama For A Lot Of Federal Money To Be Spent On Many Different Projects & Programs

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What does Republican Governor-elect John Kasich of Ohio want?

Federal money for Ohio is what Republican Governor-elect John Kasich of Ohio wants.

From the Cincinnati Enquirer

“Gov.-elect John Kasich said Thursday after a meeting at the White House that he’s not optimistic that the Obama administration will let Ohio use the money intended for passenger rail to upgrade freight lines…Kasich has said the $400 million federally subsidized 3-C corridor project, which would provide passenger rail service among Cincinnati, Columbus and Cleveland, would be too costly for the state. He wants flexibility to use the money for other transportation needs. He’d also like flexibility in how the state spends federal money designated for job training, Title I (education) and Medicaid….Kasich said he was confident that the state would get the $400 million Race to the Top grant that the state won under outgoing Gov. Ted Strickland. Kasich has said he wants to make changes to the state’s education system, and some have voiced concern that his changes would jeopardize the money. “I have no reason to believe that we’re not going to get that,” Kasich said.”

Mr. Kasich wants money for freight rail instead of for passenger lines.

Where is his call for free enterprise for freight rail?

Must Ohio’s freight rail industry be burdened by socialism? Where are the freight rail executives in opposing this socialism?

Mr. Kasich wants job training, Title I, and Medicaid money.

Where is all the Tea Party/Republican talk about the federal government staying away?

Mr. Kasich says the federal government denies him flexibility in how federal money will be spent.

Yet Ohio will still get the Race To The Top money despite the change in Ohio from a Democratic Governor to a Republican Governor.

What a bunch of hypocrisy is so many respects from Mr. Kasich and from the Republican Party in Ohio.

I lived in Ohio for 18 years and I go back to Ohio twice each year.

Here is what I’d say to fellow Ohioans—

“You can elect every government-bashing Republican you want, but in the end the federal government and government in general has a role to play in helping Ohio.

Your new Republican Governor is tripping over himself looking for federal money. He is going to the White House and asking Barack Obama and Joe Biden for federal money.

Mr. Kasich is doing this because the reality is that government is a needed part of life and because private industry, while essential, can’t meet all the requirements of our lives.

Life and and society is more complex than what the Tea Party/Republican Party is talking about. Most folks in Ohio know all these facts full-well despite the recent Ohio election results.”

This is what I would say to my fellow Ohioans.

December 6, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Does Anybody Refuse Use Of The Free Government Service Of The Ballard Locks In Seattle?—I Wager Not

Here are two photos I took a few hours ago of the Ballard Locks on the Lake Union Ship Canal in Seattle, Washington.

These locks assist all sorts of boats and ships in reaching Puget Sound and the Pacific Ocean.

These locks are owned and operated by the U.S government. They are free to use by all craft.

The tour guide on the boat ride I took to see the locks, said that big ships, fishing boats, tour boats and pleasure craft use these locks.

Do any of these vessels refuse this service because it is run by the government? Isn’t this socialism?

I bet nobody refuses use of the Ballard Locks because they are run by the government.

This is just how conservatives accept Social Security and veteran’s benefits and all sorts of government benefits and services, even as they complain about government.

People like government just fine when they are the ones benefiting.

Beyond selfishness, Liberals, progressives and other thoughtful folks also like government for all the good it can do, and for all the good it does in fact accomplish in our society.

July 20, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Public Servants And Right-Living Folks Need A Government Strong Enough To Protect Them From The Large Numbers Of Violent, Law-Breaking & Nutball Fellow Citizens

We hear often about that the people need protection from government.

We often hear this from folks who make use of government programs in their life, but who don’t want to pay for these programs and who don’t want others to be helped.

Such as—The disproportionately white, affluent and older membership of the so-called Tea Party movement.

In any case, the fact is that public servants often need to protected from the general public.

In today’s Houston Chronicle there is an article about Houston police officers writing tickets on the side of the road who are being struck by passing motorists.

From the article—

“Last year, 26 HPD units were struck by motorists, a 37 percent increase from the 19 incidents the year before, said Capt. Carl Driskell, who heads HPD’s traffic enforcement division. Driskell said two officers and a motorist were injured in the 19 incidents in 2008. In 2009, four officers and four motorists were injured in roadway crashes involving HPD vehicles. Drunken driving was involved in 17 of the 45 wrecks during the two years, he said. “Just those two numbers would indicate we have a problem, and we have to educate the driving public,” said Driskell, who added there does not seem to be as big a problem on rural roadways. Last week, an HPD officer writing a ticket on a roadway was hospitalized after being struck by a tire that flew off an 18-wheeler. Police do not know if the vehicle was in the lane next to the officer, but they say the enforcement operation already was planned because of the growing number of incidents. In October 2007, Pct. 5 Deputy Constable Jason Norling, 38, had pulled over to issue a traffic citation when he was struck and killed by a distracted motorist.”

There is a law in Texas regarding this subject. Again from the Chronicle—

“The state law went into effect in 2003 and requires motorists approaching an emergency vehicle with its lights flashing to vacate the lane next to the vehicle or slow to 20 mph below the posted speed limit.

We all know that millions of our fellows in the general public are out there driving drunk, driving crazy, packing guns, shooting guns, ignoring jury notices, not voting in most elections, and cheating on their taxes.

Government officials and right-living persons need protection from these people.

I want a government strong enough to protect public servants and all the decent folks in our communities from all the nutballs and wacko people.

All people matter and have value, but there is no inherent virtue in the conduct of the people taken as a whole.  Virtuous conduct comes from the personal decision to be a good person and a good citizen.

July 12, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

Infestation?!—Zebra Mussel Found In Lake Texoma

The Texas Parks And Wildlife Department reports that a single Zebra Mussel has been found in Lake Texoma.

One Zebra Mussel can lead to millions of Zebra Mussels and to big trouble. They started in Russia and have spread throughout the world clogging up pipes and valves and sticking to things. Below you see a picture from Lake Michigan of  just what I’m saying.

Lake Texoma, a big reservoir, is partially in Texas and partially in Oklahoma.

From the TPWD release—For the fifth time in four years, an alert citizen has assisted Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) and the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation (ODWC) in their efforts to keep zebra mussels from invading Lake Texoma. On April 3 Brent Taylor, an employee of a private landowner on the south shore of Lake Texoma, reported to TPWD Inland Fisheries biologist Bruce Hysmith that he had found a suspected zebra mussel on a boathouse communication line under water. The find marks the first time the dangerous exotic species has been found living in Lake Texoma. It is known to occur at several other sites in Oklahoma. TPWD personnel confirmed the identification and inspected the boathouse but found no additional specimens. Hysmith immediately notified the local U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at Tishomingo, Oklahoma; local game wardens and area marinas to be on the alert.

Here is the full release.

I’ve written about zebra mussels before at this blog. Please click here for some more information and links on this topic.

Below is a picture of Lake Texoma and the Oklahoma shoreline side of the lake. I know it looks like any other lake in that picture, but I’m certain it is a nice place to visit.  Many people make use of the lake.

Lake Texoma is in a very Republican part of the country. Yet the lake was built by the Army Corps of Engineers and it will be government taking a lead role in fighting the further infestation of the lake by Zebra Mussels.

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April 23, 2009 Posted by | Texas | , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Quick Observations On Bailout Bill Failure

The House of Representatives has voted no on the Wall Street Bailout bill. Here are some quick observations I have on the subject.

I support this legislation.

1. If this nation ran on a parliamentary system, the government would collapse. 

2. While I am ideologue in many respects, this vote is being held hostage to ideologies of both the right and the left.

3. After the failures and lies of Iraq and this possible failure of our financial system, how can average people trust anything they are told?

4. Average people–the Main Street we keep hearing about—have some fault here. Many sought to live beyond their obvious means.

5. The flawed initial proposal from the White House, John McCain’s seemingly pointless suspend the campaign stunt, and the rabid free-market ideology of many House Republicans, show that Republicans are simply not competent to govern.

6. The idea that any speech by Nancy Pelosi killed the bill is silly. If House members felt this bill was good the country, why would a speech change people’s minds?

7. I understand that this bill came from the White House and that House Republicans are often very far to the right, but Democrats have a majority in the House. They have the obligation to make this work in the House.

8. Members of Congress had the right to vote as they saw fit. Even in crisis we have to keep our faith in democracy and move ahead to the next solution.

September 29, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Let’s Take The Lemon Of The Bailout And Make The Lemonade Of Greater Regulation And Universal Health Care

With the $700 billion Wall Street bailout moving towards a vote in Congress, let us no longer hear that government should stay out of our economy.

This proposal came from a far-right Republican President and has had the support of most Republican senators.

If we can do this, we can have universal health care. If an argument in favor of the bailout is that in time taxpayers will get the money back from the bailout, why not also invest in average Americans? Won’t we also get a return on an investment in average folks?  

(Here in Texas, many are making use of government programs to help recover from Hurricane Ike.  Even in Texas people are finding that stuff happens and that help is sometimes needed from government.)

It’s clear now that we can have more regulation of our economy and that government can take steps needed to protect Americans from the excesses of Wall Street and irresponsible banks and financial firms. 

Do you think your retirement is safe in the hands of an unregulated Wall Street? And in regard to health insurance, do you trust the private sector to ever deliver on the right that all have of access to health care?   

I understand the bailout is hard to accept in many respects. Who wants to bailout Wall Street?

It is conservatives from the White House and Senate who have made the case here for government intervention in the economy. We should take advantage of this unexpected support for a place for government in our economy. We should do this just as Franklin Roosevelt turned the Great Crash into something better. Let’s take this lemon and make lemonade.

September 29, 2008 Posted by | Campaign 2008, Politics, Taxes---Yes!, Texas | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Outside The Houston Public Library

Here is a picture I took of the plaza in front of the newly renovated Downtown branch of the Houston Public Library.

I took this picture from a third floor window.

The library is a fine example of how government makes a positive difference in people’s lives.

September 28, 2008 Posted by | Houston, Taxes---Yes! | , , , | 3 Comments

Billions In Hurricane Aid For Texas—Please Stop Talking About Small Government

Texas is going to get billions of dollars in federal money for hurricane relief after Hurricane Ike.

Good.

When Texans refuse this money, I’ll believe all the talk around here about small government and government out of our lives.

Maybe as we get the help we need from money raised by the taxes we pay, we can begin to see ourselves as part of a community instead of lone rangers or whatever.

Stuff happens and people need help—Even in Texas.

September 26, 2008 Posted by | Houston, Politics, Taxes---Yes!, Texas | , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Personal Bankruptcy More Difficult—Giant Bailouts Of Banks And Big Firms Okay

I’m not going to pretend I understand all the ins and outs of this most recent financial meltdown.

(Below is Three Mile Island where a meltdown was also avoided.)

I don’t need to know all the details to get the drift of who gets bailed out and who does not.

In 2005, a bill was passed and signed by the President that made it more difficult for Americans to declare personal bankruptcy. Click the link to see how Joe Biden and Harry Reid voted the wrong way.

( Below is the King’s Bench Prison which was used as a debtor’s prison in 19th century London.) 

Here is more on Senator Biden’s support for the bankruptcy bill and on the kind of person who is left with no option but to file for bankruptcy. Some good news is that Barack Obama has at least mentioned that bankruptcy laws need to be changed for the better. John McCain has offered no relief for average people. 

We are told that the institutions being bailed out are “to big to fail.” I guess that means everybody else is not big enough to matter.  

I’m not suggesting these most recent bailouts are the wrong idea. It seems we were just a few days from a real panic. Nancy Pelosi’s insistence that their be more regulation of Wall Street as part of any bailout seems prudent.

( Below is a crowd that assembled outside the New York Stock Exchange after the 1929 Crash. I guess today we might just text each other.) 

Yet I’ll also say that a lot of well-educated, well-paid folks who made bad business decisions, engaged in predatory lending practices, and bought into a lousy system of finance must be getting bailed out. At the same time, more average folks and poor folks are getting nothing but trouble.

It is stuff like this why people are so unwilling to trust government, even when it is government that is the most likely source of possible solutions to big social and economic problems.

September 21, 2008 Posted by | Campaign 2008, History | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

After Hurricane Ike Blog Post From Main Branch Of Houston Public Library

Greetings from the Downtown Main branch of the Houston Public Library. The people’s tax dollars are working well as I have a computer from which to make a blog post. I have 51 minutes left in this session before my time is up. Other citizens must be allowed to use the computer.

We can share even in times of trouble!

This is my first after Hurricane Ike blog post.

People sure do want government help when they need ice, or are asking if staying at a hotel during an evacuation will be covered by FEMA. 

Or when they need a computer at the Downtown Public Library. 

Our power has been out since Friday night. That was the night of the storm. I am writing this on a Tuesday afternoon. 

I know the absence of power is a great hardship for some. It’s been okay enough for us. We have a small battery operated TV. Late last night we watched this sit-com called Still Standing. The well-meaning but goofy dad told a boy that his teenage daughter had a crush on him. Needless to say, the dad spent the rest of the hour making it up to the girl.

The show would not be so funny in most contexts. But after three days of hurricane coverage it was funny enough. Anything that did not involve somebody suffering was good. 

The wife and I had plenty of food and water ready to go as Ike approached. Yesterday I had a marshmallow and peanut butter sandwich and a banana and peanut butter sandwich for dinner.

( The guy next to me just rubbed his eyes after touching these dirty keyboards. I bet he gets pink eye.)

My wife has been working since the day after the storm. I have not worked since the storm. I miss my wife when she is gone.

When she gets home at night I hand her a nice warm bottle of water and a granola bar. We turn on the camping lantern that is strong enough to light an entire room. Then we fiddle with the tiny TV to see what channels we can pick up. Just because we picked up a station the night before, does not mean we can pick up the same channel the next night.

(As a prank I try to convince the wife that the curfew is lifted and that she can go out after nine. I’ve yet to fool her.)

We’ve had water all the time. We have many bottles of water. The city water from the tap has been working as well. Not for consumption since the city has been telling people to boil water, but for toilet flushing. We had water saved up in buckets for that purpose. Yet it has been a relief not to have to worry about that issue. As long as you can flush your toilet everything else is okay.

I sure have not missed hearing about the presidential campaign. I’m making a point not to check on it in my hour session here at the library. I’ve been reading the paper, though averting my eyes at any campaign report. What a dumb campaign it is. I hope that when I am fully back in the world Senator Obama will have a 15 point lead. I hear also there has been some type of financial collapse on Wall Street.

Problems everywhere.

My parents in Cincinnati lost power from Ike as well. They are back up and running though.

The big issue from Ike is how people are doing in Galveston, Bolivar, and the Beaumont area. I’ve got my check book in my back pocket and I’m going to stop at the United Way office on my way home and offer a donation. I heard they were taking donations. So is the Red Cross and other agencies.

I’m also concerned for folks in Houston and elsewhere who are losing wages from not being able to work.

I’m down to my last 19 minutes and I want to check my e-mail. I hope people are doing as well as they are able to do. Good luck to all. I’ll likely come back to the library tomorrow and offer another post. Thanks for reading Texas Liberal.

September 16, 2008 Posted by | Galveston, Houston, Texas | , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

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