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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

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—

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what time does burgerking close at christmas eve Continue reading

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

Give Yourself & Others The Gift Of Your Larger Involvement In Public Affairs—TPA Blogger 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 bloggers in Texas.

TPA bloggers blog away even at the holidays.

That said, we do indeed 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 Santa is a Texan. 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 at the lighting of our state menorah. Governor Perry is quite ecumenical in the sense he is willing to use the cover of any faith to obscure  how the Texas state budget will be balanced on the backs of the poor in the 2011 legislative session.

No matter what holiday you celebrate, a great gift  you could 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 2011.

In 2010, the so-called Tea Party out-organized and out-worked folks on the other side of the ideological aisle. The Tea Party/Republican Party is enjoying the holiday season right now looking forward to a Republican U.S. House of Representatives right after the new year.

We need to wise up and fight for each other and for a better world. Those elves you see below are not working to protect tax breaks for the rich. They are not going on about Muslims and immigrants. They are fighting for a better world and sticking together  even in hard times.

We’ve got a number of challenges ahead in both Texas and in our nation. You’ve got to decide for yourself that you are not going to let your state and your nation be taken over by right-wing extremists. You’ve got to decide that we can and will make progress.

Here is the round-up—

Off the Kuff celebrates the DeLay verdict.

Bay Area Houston has a visual suggestion to the judge in the Tom DeLay trial regarding the sentencing.

Did employers or their representatives provide ‘assistance’ to their employees as they voted in La Joya? CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme would really like to know.

Public Citizen over at TexasVox is getting ready for the sunset hearings on the TCEQ and Railroad Commission, coming up December 15-16, bylooking at a national report which gives Texas’ regulatory agencies a D-. Continue reading

December 5, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Have A Holiday That Keeps You In Touch With How Things Were–And Still Are

The photo above is of a Downtown Houston department store I was in today.

I walked around Downtown today. I often visit Downtown.

This holiday season—-Clip a coupon from a newspaper, walk around and see stuff, visit a department store, and give a few bucks to a charity of some kind.

Have a nice holiday that keeps you in touch with the way life once was, and in fact still is in many respects.

December 3, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Happy May Day!

HAPPY MAY DAY!

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HAPPY MAY DAY!

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MAYDAY! MAYDAY!

Photo above by Martin Hartland

Here is an explanation of the different ways May Day is observed around the world.

May 1, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

January 19 Is Martin Luther King Day, January 20 Is Inauguration Day—Take These Days Off Work If You Are Able

Monday, January 19, 2009 is Martin Luther King Day.  Tuesday, January 20, 2009 will be Inauguration Day for Barack Hussein Obama.

I’ve taken these two days off from work.  What great days they shall be. Take them off work if you are able and enjoy the holiday and the great events of the inauguration.

Of course, some get King Day off in any case. Though many do not. In 2009, take the day if you don’t get it and enjoy a holiday of history, justice, and hope.  Take the next day as well and celebrate with freedom loving Americans such as yourself.      

Below—True Blue Americans will be taking both these routes come the third week of January. Maybe a new sign and a new route will have to be made where you can get off at the same exit for Martin Luther King and 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.   

Here is the second edition of the Martin Luther King Reading & Reference List. There are three additions for 2009.  

While it is always instructive to watch a rebroadcast or listen to a recording of the I Have A Dream speech,  there is a next level for someone who wants to better understand Dr. King and his message. 

Reverend King asked serious questions about America as a war criminal nation in Vietnam and he asked if America  merited divine judgement as a wicked nation of racism and social inequality.  These questions, even in the time of Barack Obama, are still worthy of consideration.   

Here is an admittedly incomplete, but I hope, useful Martin Luther King viewing, visiting, listening, and reading list. The three additions for 2009 are noted towards the bottom of the list.  

An excellent book is Martin & Malcolm & America—A Dream Or A Nightmare by James H. Cone. This book follows the words and the careers of both these men. The premise, which holds up, is that Dr. King and Malcolm X  (photo below) were not as far apart as sometimes portrayed. Malcolm was a man with a broader vision than one of simple racial solidarity, and King was in many respects a fierce and almost apocalyptic critic of America.  

I’m glad to say I bought my copy of Cone’s book at the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site in Atlanta, Georgia.  This site is operated by the National Park Service. You can tour Martin Luther King’s boyhood home at this location. You’ll also want to tour the Auburn Avenue Historic District around the King home.    

Regretfully, the nearby Ebenezer Baptist Church (photo below) , King’s home church, is currently under renovation. It will reopen in late 2009.  Still, the District as a whole is very much worth a visit.

In Washington, when you visit the Lincoln Memorial (photo below), you can find a small marker indicating the exact spot where Rev. King made the “Dream” speech. It is a good place to stand.

The best one volume work on King’s life is David Garrow’s Bearing The Cross—Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference

Bearing The Cross was the 1987 Pulitzer Prize winner for biography.  You can’t help but feel the almost deep-sea like pressure on Dr. King in the final years of his life. I wondered if towards the end of his life King felt that death was going to be the only escape from the exhaustion, the misunderstandings and the conflicts.

An interesting DVD is King–Man Of Peace In A Time Of War. Much of the hour long presentation is a rehash of King biography. What makes this special is a roughly 15 minute interview Dr. King did with afternoon television host Mike Douglas.  Mr. Douglas asked tough questions about Dr. King’s stance against the Vietnam War and about the effect of that opposition on the Civil Rights movement. Dr. King is calm, cool and collected. You could see how King was a leader who could speak anywhere and to anyone.     

A solid explanation of Reverend King’s theology and a good analysis on the failure of Southern segregationists to mount an even more aggressive opposition to the Civil Rights Movement, can be found in A Stone Of Hope—Prophetic Religion And The Death Of Jim Crow by David L. Chappell. 

A Testament Of Hope—The Essential Writings And Speeches Of Martin Luther King, Jr is needed for a complete King library. In honesty though, I’ve always found this book to be sprawling and without  clear focus. It consists of King sermons, some interviews and excerpts from his books. You need to have it on your shelf, but there are more concise ways to get the “essential” King.  ( Photo below is Rev. King with Coretta Scott King.)      

Here are the three new titles for 2009—

A quality children’s book on King is Martin’s Big Words  by Doreen Rappaport. The writing in this book is clear and concise and respectful of the intellect of children. It’s a great introduction to King and a gateway to further studies by young people.

A comprehensive examination of King’s radical views on economic questions can be found in From Civil Rights to Human Rights—Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Struggle for Economic Justice by Thomas F. Jackson. King had leanings towards forms of socialism and came to see the fight for fair wages as an essential element in the fight for full human rights. It should not be forgotten that King died in Memphis fighting for striking sanitation workers.    

A web resource to learn about King is the Martin Luther King, Jr, Research and Education Institute that is run by Stanford University. There are King sermons and addresses you can read and a link to a King Online Encyclopedia.  (These things said, there is nothing as good as having you own printed collection of King sermons that you can take anywhere and make notes and underline key passages as it suits you.)

 There are three reference sources on Dr. King that in my view stand out.

Strength To Love is the best collection King sermons. It is a concise manageable book. You can cram it in your back pocket or in your purse. ( A larger purse at least.) I think you could read nothing but this one 158 page book, and know everything you need to know about Martin Luther King.

The audio collection of King’s sermons called  A Knock At Midnight might change your life. Stick the CD’s in your car stereo or turn it on at home and you’ll  hear Dr. King just as he was—Mighty and frail at the same time. I’ve listened to the sermons on Knock many times and they never get old. You can’t help but learn something or see an old question a new way each time you listen.   

The definitive books on Martin Luther King’s life and the Civil Rights era are found in Taylor Branch’s three volume America In The King Years series.

These three books are the Pulitizer Prize winning  Parting The Waters 1954-1963, Pillar Of Fire 1963-1965, and At Canaans Edge, 1965-1968.  (Photo below is of Rosa Parks being booked during the Montgomery Bus Boycott.)

These books stand not only at the top of King biography, they stand as great examples of American biography. The picture of Dr. King is complete. You get the good and the bad. There will be times you’ll shake your head and ask yourself how Rev. King could have said that or done that.    

You’ll also see how brave King was and how brave the Civil Rights marchers and protesters were. You’ll get a clear sense of the obstacles faced not just from whites, but from status quo blacks as well.  Mr. Branch offers a great deal of context for King’s life and experiences. He provides full portraits of other great Civil Rights leaders.

I can’t recommend all three volumes strongly enough. Read them and you’ll be an expert.        

Please click here for a Texas Liberal post on King’s sermon Unfulfilled Dreams

   

December 26, 2008 Posted by | Barack Obama, History, Politics | , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Please Have A Good And Safe Holiday

I used this picture last year on Christmas. The scene in much the same this year as well.

Please have a good and safe holiday. If it is not quite the holiday you have hoped for, find some definition by which it will still be a good holiday.  Please enjoy the day that you have. There will be plenty of time for trouble and worrying after Christmas.

December 25, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | 3 Comments

Photo Of Christmas Tree With Menorah—All People Matter

Happy whatever it is you observe from the Texas Liberal home to your home.

As it says at the top of this blog—All People Matter.

December 25, 2007 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | 3 Comments

   

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