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The Things I Have Done With Time Alone—Time Alone Is Excellent

I’ve got a 47 hour stretch with no work and with nobody else at home.

Here is how I have spent the first six hours of this time alone.

First—I got a can of clam chowder for dinner at Walgreens as I drove home from work.

Below you see the food aisle from where I got the chowder at a local Walgreens. They got everything you need in that aisle so long as you don’t need very much.

I also stopped at Memorial Park here in Houston on the way home and took a 3 mile walk on the jogging trail.

While walking I read Mayflower by Nathaniel Philbrick. I’ve been walking and reading on the Memorial Park trail for 14 years so far and have not bumped into anything yet.

There certainly is wickedness at the core of our national history when you read how we double-dealt the native population at every turn in the 17th century.

I’m reading Mayflower to study up for Thanksgiving.

I’m sure that Thanksgiving is not all about food and then rushing out to buy stuff as soon as your meal is over.

Once home I fell asleep for 2 hours and had a dream that I was walking along the ocean in Corpus Christi, TX, and that I saw a seal.

I suppose I had the dream about Corpus Christi because I was recently looking at some pictures of a trip I took to Corpus in 2008.

Visit Corpus Christi for a good time. All the Texas coast has interesting things to see.

Below is the picture I took four years ago that formed the central image of my dream.

There was once a Caribbean Monk Seal that had a range just south of Texas. But people killed them all. There are no seals in the Gulf of Mexico.

Click here to read about this seal and where it lived before they were all killed.

After waking up from my dreamy nap, I busted open the clam chowder for a fine dinner and have now moved on to writing a blog post.

With six hours down and 41 hours to go, who knows what more will happen with my excellent time alone.

November 20, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

An Uncertain Landfall—It Is In Everyday Things That We Best See Life

I’ve got a creative project I’m working on, and I take a lot of pictures when I go out and about in the Houston-Galveston area as part of this project.

I’ll have more to say about this project in the days and weeks ahead.

Above you see a picture I took last week in Galveston.

In this picture you see the ocean shoreline, and, also, a shoreline of seaweed.

This reminded me of something I recently read in a book called The Americans–A Social History of the United States, 1587-1914 by J.C. Furnas.

Discussing the Mayflower arriving in Plymouth in 1620, Furnas said that this was an “uncertain landfall.”

Furnas was referring to the prospects faced by the new settlers.

I thought of the “uncertain landfall” line when seeing these competing shorelines.

While we conventionally think of the shoreline as being oceanfront, here is a rival shoreline just a few feet from the ocean.

There are many ways to look at everyday things.  It is in everyday things that we will best see life.

We will see these things with hard work and imagination.

April 2, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

A Fourth Of July Reading List—It Is Up To You To Learn Your Past

The Fourth of July will be here soon.

(Above–Black Americans observing the Fourth in 1939 in St. Helena Island, South Carolina.)

What books would be helpful to learn more about the American Revolution and about America?

As I’ve said before, I don’t believe the Revolution was a liberal or conservative event in the sense we think about such things today.

Some of the Founding Fathers were religious. Others were not.  The Revolution had some aspects of a tax revolt. But who can know if folks in the early days of the nation would not have paid more taxes to get all the garbage out of the street or to prevent so many women from dying in childbirth?  Some of the founders believed in government being run from state capitols. Others supported a stronger national government.

Anybody who asserts that the American Revolution was a liberal or conservative victory in the modern sense is more concerned with today’s politics than with historical facts.

At the bottom line, it is up to you to know and understand our shared history. If you allow others to define your past, they will likely use that power to help bring about a future you don’t want.

(Below–1887 Fourth of July picnic in Custer County, Nebraska.)

Here are six book suggestions and a history blog suggestion that are strong sources to learn about the life in North America before colonization, after colonization, at the time of the Revolution, and to learn about the full history of our nation.

* 1491–New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus by Charles C. Mann

There was a whole world here before 1492. 1492 is one marker in history. There is little understanding of who lived in the Americas before Columbus. American history did not begin in 1492 or  in 1620 when the Mayflower arrived.

* Mayflower–A Story of Courage, Community, and War by Nathaniel Philbrick

There are starting points in American history other than the landing of the Mayflower. Yet learning the story of the Mayflower is basic to knowing our history.

Before The Mayflower—A History of Black America by Lerone Bennett.

In many ways, nothing is more central to the American experience than the history of black Americans. So much has turned on the decision to bring black people to America, and on how those unwilling immigrants responded to life in North America.

* American Colonies–The Settlement of North America by Alan Taylor

This book is a good way to learn about the British colonies. It includes chapters about not just the 13 colonies we all know and love, but also has chapters on British Canada and about colonies in the Caribbean.

History of American Women–A blog.

This blog is a useful resource to know more about women of early American history.

* Patriots–The Men Who Started The American Revolution by A.J. Langguth

This book reads like a novel. It is an enjoyable and informative way to learn about the events and personalities of the Revolution.

The Penguin History Of  The United States by Hugh Brogan

The Penguin History is a one-volume non-ideological account of our nation that discusses the events of the Revolution and then goes on to provide the full context of American history. While I do sometimes read history books written from the left or the right, I find I’d rather have a balanced account that leaves ideological judgements up to the reader.

As a liberal, I’m confident that an examination of the facts–In a way both comprehensive, and sympathetic to the strengths and weaknesses of our fellow men and women— will lead to a view that America is best when it is welcoming of people of all kinds, and that government has, in tandem with the hard-work of a free people, a role to play in providing a basic social safety net for its people.

In any case, it is your responsibility to learn your history and to consider what this history means in terms of your beliefs and actions in the world.

Learn the past so you can be a hopeful and relevant part of the future.

(Below–How some see the Fourth of July. It is fine as far is it goes. But there is so much more. The painting–called The Spirit of ’76– is by Archibald Willard.)  

June 25, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Reenactment Of The First Halloween

Halloween commemorates the arrival of the first pumpkin off the Mayflower in 1620.

Right?

I suppose I don’t really know where Halloween comes from.

Here is the Wikipedia entry on the origins of Halloween.

That’s as likely a source as any other on the matter.

If you enjoy Halloween, I hope you have a good time today.

Don’t take any apples with razor blades in them.

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October 31, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | 2 Comments

In Texas, Kids Are Denied The Right To Arm Themselves With Knowledge—Blogger Round-Up

Here is the weekly posting of the Texas Progressive Alliance Round-Up. The TPA is a confederation of the best political bloggers in Texas. You’ll find the round-up at the end of this post.

Some of the big news in Texas in this past week has been meetings of the Texas State Board of Education to determine what can be taught  to school kids in our Texas schools.

Far right-wingers, in control of the board, are purging textbooks of facts that disagree with their world view.

While Texas conservatives very much want you to have the right to bear arms no matter where you go, they are less open to the right to arm yourself with knowledge.

( In the picture above, I illustrate how history is now being taught in Texas. In the picture you see that the Samuel Slater bobble head has just walked off the Mayflower in West Texas–that is why there is a cactus–-and is being greeted by a Care Bear. You can teach any crazy thing in our schools now as long as it is false.)

This idiocy has attracted worldwide attention.

These folks want to take Thomas Jefferson out of our schools. Please click here to learn about Thomas Jefferson. The good news is that the federal protection of the First Amendment allows me to tell you about Thomas Jefferson no matter how much some of individual states of our Federal Union want to lie about our shared history.

Some of the best blogging about this issue has been done by leading Houston-area blogger Martha Griffin at her blog Musings. Martha was at the hearings and is an expert on education in Texas and about education issues nationally.

Here is a history of education in Texas from the excellent Handbook of Texas Online.

From this history—”During the latter half of the nineteenth century the educational system in Texas still operated on a sporadic and localized basis. Some Texans regarded education as a private matter and resented any state involvement. Private and church schools continued to play key roles in the educational development of Texas and in some areas offered the only choice of formal schooling. Schools short of funds often faced problems of low supplies, inadequate facilities, and poorly trained teachers. Since the days before the republic some government officials had called for guidelines specifying the qualifications of teachers.”

I suppose we have made some progress since that time. Maybe. Sort of.

Here is the round-up—

This week at Left of College Station, the spring semester ends and Teddy has made it through another twelve hours of classes. He wasn’t too busy to take a look at the developments in the campaign for TX-17, and how the Republicans are attempting to nationalize the midterm elections.
TXsharon of BLUEDAZE: Drilling Reform for Texas took some EPA officials from D.C. on a Barnett Shale tour last week.

Bay Area Houston says Arizona’s Governor Brewer is the new Face of the GOP.

Off the Kuff interviewed Democratic candidate for Lt. Gov. Linda Chavez-Thompson about Arizona’s immigration law and what comprehensive immigration reform would look like.

WhosPlayin has the final results from the Texas DSHS investigation of blood and urine for residents of Dish, TX; the conclusions are not by any means an exoneration for the industry because of significant limitations to the investigation. Continue reading

May 23, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

When The Mayflower Landed In West Texas—In Texas You Can Teach Schoolchildren Nearly Anything At All

As many know from following the news about the Texas State Board of Education, it is okay to teach Texas schoolchildren nearly any type of wrong information.

Evolution is a crock and Thomas Jefferson was not a significant participant in U.S. history–This is what you can learn in our Texas public schools under the new standards.

Far right-wing ideologues have taken control of the Texas Board.  As a result, kids in Texas are not getting a clear view of the facts as they really are in the world.

Why would employers want to hire people educated in such a way?

Above is a picture illustrating how the landing of the Mayflower is taught here in Texas.

Here is the lesson as I am nearly sure it is being instructed—

“When the Mayflower landed in West Texas (See the cactus?), the Samuel Slater bobble head got out of the ship and was greeted by a Care Bear.”

In Texas, you can teach our kids anything at all. It’s like a Wild West of education.

You can teach anything you want so as long as you don’t get to close to what is actually the truth.

May 4, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Recreation Of Pilgrim Ready To Voyage On Mayflower—The Mayflower Compact

With Thanksgiving Day almost here, it is time to consider the voyage of the Mayflower and the impact of that voyage on history.

In the picture above, I have sought to recreate what it must have been like for a Puritan ready to board the Mayflower.

Such a person would have packed a bag, put on his Pilgrim hat, left home and headed over to the port for the long voyage ahead.

I feel the picture above shows exactly what that departure must have looked like back in the 17th century.

It is as if you were there.

A book I’ve not yet read but that is on my reading list, is Nathaniel Philbrick’s Mayflower. It was very well-reviewed. The link is to an interview with the author.

When the Pilgrims reached Cape Cod, the Mayflower Compact was signed to provide a framework and guidelines for the task ahead.

At the bottom of this post is the text of the Mayflower Compact.

As is well-known, the arrival of the Mayflower was not good news for the native population.

As well-known as this fact is, it always merits repeating. Where we live today was quite possible land once occupied by someone who did not wish to leave.

As our day-to-day lives go on, it easy to forget the larger context in which we exist.

Here is the link the excellent C-Span broadcasts about Mayflower Compact author William Bradford. If you click the video archives link on the left of the screen, you’ll be able to learn about Mr. Bradford and what it was like to live in Plymouth after the arrival of the Mayflower.

Here is an essay from the Memorial Hall Museum in Deerfield, Massachusetts about relations between Europeans and the native population of New England.

If you know history, you will have a better understanding of who you are and why the world is as it is.

The Mayflower Compact—-

In the name of God, Amen. We whose names are underwritten, the loyal subjects of our dread Sovereign Lord King James, by the Grace of God of Great Britain, France and Ireland, King,Defender of the Faith, etc.
Having undertaken, for the Glory of God and advancement of the Christian Faith and Honour of our King and Country, a Voyage to plant the First Colony in the Northern Parts of Virginia, do by these presents solemnly and mutually in the presence of God and one of another, Covenant and Combine ourselves together into a Civil Body Politic, for our better ordering and preservation and furtherance of the ends aforesaid; and by virtue hereof to enact, constitute and frame such just and equal Laws, Ordinances, Acts, Constitutions and Offices, from time to time, as shall be thought most meet and convenient for the general good of the Colony, unto which we promise all due submission and obedience. In witness whereof we have hereunder subscribed our names at Cape Cod, the 11th of November, in the year of the reign of our Sovereign Lord King James, of England, France and Ireland the eighteenth, and of Scotland the fifty-fourth. Anno Domini 1620

November 23, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Top Vermont Art Teacher Sets Up Blog

Top Vermont art teacher, and maybe the leading art teacher in the United States, Kim Corey of Montpelier, Vermont, has set up a blog. It is called ArtTechie. Art Techie was recently linked to by the blog of the Vermont Art Teacher’s Association.

( Above is the painting Indian Summer, Vermont. This is a work by Willard Leroy Metcalf . Mr. Metcalf lived 1858-1925.)  

Ms. Corey teaches art for K through Grade 8 students in Montpelier. 

Good work, Ms. Corey.

Ms. Corey, a cousin of this blogger, is, as is this blogger, descended from those who stepped off the Mayflower. Also, it has been claimed that we are descended from Sir Isaac Newton.

Don’t tell the rabble, but Ms. Corey and I know we are Blue Bloods at core.

September 24, 2008 Posted by | Art, Blogging | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

   

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