This Bridge To Nowhere Is Simply In A State Of Becoming—Spaces Around Houston’s Bayous Being Improved All Across The City
I was walking along Buffalo Bayou in Houston a few days ago and I came across this bridge to nowhere that you see above.
(The more famous Bridge to Nowhere was in Alaska. It was said to be federal spending project that was quite wasteful. Though the project at the time was supported by Alaska Republicans such as Senator Ted Stevens and Governor Sarah Palin.)
This bridge is part of improvements along Buffalo Bayou for the benefit of the people of Houston and whoever else might be in town.
Here are some of the specifics for the area where I saw the bridge-in-waiting. This is an area not far from Downtown.
Improvements and the construction of new park space along the Houston’s Bayous is taking place all over Houston. This is something that is not just taking place proximate to Downtown.
There are things that do get better even in hard times. I’d ask Houstonians to check out some of the links above and to make use of the new parks.
I’ve walked along a number of the new spaces and they are very well-done.
Government often does make a positive and hopeful difference in people’s lives.
The bridge above in a state of becoming—Just as we all are.
Due to recent comments by Sarah Palin, Paul Revere’s Ride is in the news.
When important events in American history find their way back into the news, that is a good time to take your own initiative to learn the real facts.
Above is John Singleton Copley’s 1768 painting of Paul Revere.
Revere, a silversmith, is seen here as both a working person and as a thinker.
Every working person has the ability to understand complex things if he or she is willing to make the effort.
An excellent book about Paul Revere and the Boston he knew is Paul Revere And The World He Lived In by Esther Forbes.
A book about the famous ride that got strong reviews is Paul Revere’s Ride by David Hackett Fischer. I have not read this title.
If you have the good fortune to be able to visit Boston, you can tour the home where Paul Revere and his family lived.
Below is a picture of the Revere home that I took in 2008.
In Boston you can also visit the famous Old North Church.
This is the church where the lanterns were hung on the night of Paul Revere’s ride.
Below is a picture I took from inside the Old North Church in 2008.
Please allow me to be clear—You don’t need to go to Boston to learn about Paul Revere and his ride. All the information you need is at the library, the bookstore, and on the internet.
The things you need to learn about yourself and your world are all around you. These things are accessible with effort and imagination.
You are crazy if you allow other people to tell you about your past.
If you allow other people define your past—and by extension to define the person you are—you will lose control of your future.
Events Of American Revolution Do Not Offer Clear Answers For Today’s Issues—Everybody Is Welcome At Our Great Historical Sites
With the Fourth of July just over a month away, it’s time we take back our history from the right-wing Tea Party extremists who have been allowed to commandeer some portion of our past. The so-called Tea Party wants to use our shared American history in the service of the very un-American ideals of exclusion, and of benefiting the rich over the working man and woman.
One such Tea Party cell here in Texas is called the King Street Patriots. This Houston-based Tea Party outfit takes its name from the street in Boston where the Boston Massacre took place.
King Street is now known as State Street in Boston.
The effort to define our past is about finding justification for political positions in today’s debates. If we can prove that our viewpoints and actions in the present day match the intent of the folks who led the American Revolution, then we can claim that these viewpoints and actions have a special validity and are true to our founding ideals.
The picture above is of the Old Massachusetts State House on the former King Street. I took this picture while visiting Boston in 2008. The Boston Massacre occurred pretty much at the location from where I took the picture. The yellow balcony is the place where the Declaration of Independence was first proclaimed in Boston in 1776.
All people are free to visit this historic location. You can stand at the spot where the Massacre took place. You can tour the Old State House. People of all political beliefs are welcome. People of all nationalities are welcome. There are no immigration checkpoints to see if people have the proper papers. People of all religions are welcomed. Nobody feels compelled to offer a prayer at this great and important site that favors one religion over other religions.
Over the next few weeks I’m going to be writing about some aspects of early American history, and suggesting books and websites for people who would like to learn more.
The first book I’m recommending is Patriots–The Men Who Started the American Revolution by A.J. Langguth. Patriots is an accessible and detailed account of events leading up to the Declaration of Independence and the Revolutionary War.
Good luck in finding a clear ideological lesson for today in the events describes in Patriots or in any serious account of our independence.
Yes–In many ways the American Revolution was a tax revolt. At the same time, the streets of colonial Boston were covered with garbage and animal waste. Women were always pregnant and many died in childbirth. Many children died before reaching adulthood. Folks drank rum and beer all day long in part because clean water could be hard to find.
Would people back in colonial times have paid more taxes for better sanitation, better public health, and for clean water?
Who knows? Those folks are long dead and we live in a very different nation and world.
There is plenty to learn and understand from studying our past. We’ve got to know who we are and where we come from. But nobody can take events from more than 200 years ago, and feel that they now have all the answers to today’s public policy debates.
At least nobody who has any idea what they are talking about has this ability.
Don’t learn your history from this blog. And be certain that you don’t learn your history from far-right fanatics who glorify states rights and who want to return to the injustices of the past.
A clear example of why not to listen to representatives the far-right when they attempt to define our history can be found in this video clip of Sarah Palin talking about Paul Revere’s Ride. She simply has no idea what she is talking about.
Figure stuff out for yourself.
Don’t let other people define your past, and then seek to shape your future while you stand idly by.
You can laugh or think you know more than people like Donald Trump…..
(Below–Donald Trump. Picture by David Shankbone.)
(Below–Sarah Palin. Photo by T Toes.)
(Below–Ron Paul. Photo by Gage Skidmore.)
And Michele Bachmann.
( Below–Michele Bachmann.)
Just be sure you don’t end up in a concentration camp or living in a dictatorship of some kind.
(The best political history I am aware of Nazi Germany is the three-volume history of Nazi governance of Germany by Richard J. Evans.)
If you think these things can’t happen here, review the history of Native Americans who were almost wiped out by the genocidal policies and actions of the American government and the American people.
Think of Black Americans who have been forced to confront hundreds of years of slavery and Jim Crow.
Nazi Germany was a place you would recognize. There were newspapers, radio, cars, movies, and a politics of left and right in the years leading up to Nazi Germany. These things can happen in the most modern and up-to-date societies.
You are mistaken to give any benefit of the doubt at all to people in our nation who would eliminate the social safety net, deny the facts on where the President was born, establish propaganda channels like Fox News, blame immigrants for our troubles, and slash education funding to the bone so we are all ignorant.
You can laugh at people who believe crazy things. You can think you are smarter than Sarah Palin. You can see Donald Trump as a clown.
History tells us time after time that nothing is so horrible it can’t come true.
It is up to each of us as individuals to make the decision to work together to be certain that people we see as ”stupid, or “ignorant” or as “clowns” don’t end up with the power to dictate our futures and ruin our lives.
What should to get this Christmas for the people in your life that you don’t like?
The Texas Liberal Panel of Experts has some suggestions of books that you can give such persons.
Extinct recommends Fed Up! by Texas Governor Rick Perry as a literary lump of coal for that unspecial someone.
Fed Up! talks about how to get the federal government out of your life while you collect social security and as your Congressperson asks for earmarks to build yet more roads in Texas.
Hamburger Wearing An Astros’ Hat says Decision Points by George W. Bush would be a real Christmas downer.
Decision Points is about offering excuses and rationalizations for things gone wrong, while at the same time putting forth a worldview of being responsible for your actions in life.
Cactus says a gift Going Rogue by Sarah Palin will ruin not only Christmas for the recipient, but it ruin New Year’s Day and Valentine’s Day as well.
Going Rogue is a book by a person who does not read very much. The book tells about how rugged individualism shapes Alaskans even though Ted Stevens spent years in the Senate making sure Alaska got every federal dollar possible.
Now if on the odd chance you want to do something productive for the holiday, don’t forget you can give the gift to yourself and others, of your greater involvement in civic affairs. In this way you’ll be able to fight the likes of Rick Perry, George W. Bush, and Sarah Palin.
My good friend Hamburger Wearing An Astros’ Hat has purchased a copy of Going Rogue by Sarah Palin.
Hamburger wants to read what Mrs. Palin has to say.
The title Going Rogue comes from a description of Mrs. Palin’s actions from the John McCain campaign in 2008.
I think Going Rogue could be said to be a secular version of Romans 12:2. Here is a New King James translation of Romans 12:2–
“And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”
Sarah Palin lives the Word of God by not conforming to any message of caring for the poor or providing meaningful stewardship of the Earth.
She’s a rebel.
Hamburger and I will be reading this book over the next few weeks and we’ll offering up our observations on the blog.
When Will The So-Called Tea Party Stick Up For Coal Miners In W. Virginia Who Die From Greed And No Effective Regulation Of The Mines?
A few days ago I made a post about the coal mine disaster in West Virginia.
(Above—A vigil in West Virginia for the miners killed last week.)
Two causes of the tragedy may be greedy mine ownership from Massey Energy that put safety before profits and, also, poor federal safety oversight of the mine.
This is an excellent question. Where is Mrs. Palin and all the alleged working class champions of the so-called Tea Party movement?
You’d think these champions of working people would be demanding that greedy mine owners and lax regulation be addressed right now for the safety of blue-collar Americans.
Instead, these so-called Tea Party people are out trying to get average working people to fight against finally getting some health insurance.
Let’s be clear—These so-called Tea Party folks are sick with self-revlusion and with anger at anyone they feel has a better life than they do. They also don’t seem to like people that they see as different from themselves.
They are blinded by this self-hate and by this anger.
I Would Use Membership On Obama Care Death Panel To Alter Political Balance Of Swing States To Favor Democrats And Liberals
If I were to be appointed to an Obama Care Death Panel such as Sarah Palin is suggesting the President wishes to establish, I would use my membership on the Death Panel to alter the political balance in swing states to favor Democrats and liberals.
Mrs. Palin supports the current system of killing people by denying them health insurance.
It sure is something that folks who support public policy that really does kill people can make up such stories.
Republican Congressman Ron Paul of Texas is the second elected Republican in the Lone Star State to talk treason in recent days. (Photo of Rep. Paul, in front of our flag, above.) (Here is a map of the areas represented by Rep. Paul.)
“[Perry] really stirred some of the liberal media, where they started screaming about: ‘what is going on here, this is un-American.’ I heard one individual say ‘this is treasonous to even talk about it.’ Well, they don’t know their history very well, because when you think about it… it is very American to talk about secession. That’s how we came in being. Thirteen colonies seceded from the British and established a new country. So secession is a very much American principle….”
Rep. Paul terms himself a libertarian, even as he asks for $398 million in earmarks from the most recent federal budget, but he is an elected Republican in our Congress.
Last week Republican Texas Governor Rick Perry said Texas could consider leaving the union if it felt oppressed by the federal government. The federal government has of late been oppressing Texas with hundreds of millions of dollars in stimulus funds
Is the Republican Party of Texas loyal to our union or is it not? What do they think Ronald Reagan would have thought about this disloyal talk?
A recent Rasmussen poll reports that 18% of Texans would vote to leave the union if they had the chance. Another 7% are not sure. That is 25% of folks in Texas would would support or consider supporting leaving the union.
What share of Texas rank-and-file Republicans hold this view? It seems that at least 40% or so of Texas Republicans must hold this view. I doubt it is Democrats that support this position of treason and blind anger.
It’s not just Texas. National Republicans had little problem with putting secessionist Sarah Palin within close reach of the White House.
If Republicans and conservatives want to equate our elected President Obama and our elected Democratic Congress to taxation without representation, they are free to do so.
What I will do, as will liberals and Democrats across the nation, is salute the flag of the United States of America.
National Republican Party leader and conservative leader Rush Limbaugh has defended Governor Perry’s views on treason. Given Mr. Limbaugh’s wide following with conservatives, one would be fair to conclude that the option of tearing the nation apart is a mainstream Republican view.
Ideally in our democracy, competing political parties would offer differing views on the issues before the nation and the people would decide which views they feel are best.
But if Americans have cause to question the loyalty of one the two main parties, and have reason to question the loyalty of the conservative movement, then we may reach the point where Republicans and conservatives can no longer be seen as legitimate participants in the national political debate.
Texas Governor Rick Perry has said Texas has the option of leaving the Union if it does not like what the federal government is doing.
He said this despite the blood shed in our Civil War to preserve the Union and to free the slaves.
( 4/20/09 Update–Now a second Republican is talking treason.)
( 4/24/09 Update –Half of Texas Republicans share this disloyal view.)
“Texas is a unique place. When we came into the union in 1845, one of the issues was that we would be able to leave if we decided to do that,” Perry said. “My hope is that America and Washington in particular pays attention. We’ve got a great union. There’s absolutely no reason to dissolve it. But if Washington continues to thumb their nose at the American people, who knows what may come of that.”
According to the Handbook of Texas Online, Governor Perry is wrong that Texas can leave the Union. What it can do is divide into five states. Also, an 1869 Supreme Court case denied Texas the right to secede.
At the same time, this Voice of America story discusses Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano’s report that right-wing terror groups in the United States may be on the rise.
With leading Republicans talking the hateful language of disunion, right-wing fringe groups need only look to the news of the day to find ideas and support for their actions.
With his refusal of federal stimulus dollars to help unemployed folks in Texas, far right-wing Governor Rick Perry has found his schoolhouse door to stand in and block.
Governor Perry and other Republican Southern governors, along with disloyal secessionist Sarah Palin, now have an updated interposition and nullification stance to rally around. They don’t want that mean old Federal government coming in and telling them what to do!
Some things are very slow to change in at least some quarters of the South.
There is our Governor below. Big tough guy Rick Perry laying down the law as he runs scared from Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson’s 2010 primary challenge.
One thing I never call people is stupid. I don’t think people are stupid or dumb. They might be ignorant, but they are not stupid. In a democracy we assume that the average person has the ability to understand what is taking place.
If ignorant, the chance always exists that uninformed people can be brought up to speed. Hope remains. Think of all the people who voted for George Bush in 2004 and then voted for Barack Obama in 2008. These are people who caught on.
The other thing is that when you insult somebody you had better be sure they will not get the last laugh.
A lot of people seem to think Sarah Palin is dumb or stupid. The people who seemed most sure of that fact were in the John McCain campaign. She did a few bad interviews at the beginning of the campaign, and they put a muzzle on her the rest of the way. They did so even after she did well in her debate with Joe Biden.
The McCain campaign should have taken her off the trail for a few days and treated her with respect. I’m glad they did not, but that is what would’ve been best for the McCain effort. She could have been coached on issues. Her talents as a communicator would have taken care of the rest.
Instead, they just wanted her to be a woman who did the heavy lifting of motivating the base while the man-in-charge went around looking for the main prize. She was a trophy candidate.
I wish Sarah Palin was dumb. Then I would not worry about her anymore. She may be ignorant and mean-spirited, but she is not dumb. People often said that Ronald Reagan was clueless, but most times Mr. Reagan got the best his foes.
Sarah Palin is a disciplined quick-learner. She calculates her next move every step of the way and knows just what she needs to know to advance on the next level. It might flatter liberals to think that folks who believe that people and dinosaurs lived at the same time are stupid. Sure–They are so stupid they kicked our asses at the polls for years.
Sarah Palin is smart and dangerous. Her abilities merit nothing but our respect and close watching.
You might win a fight by being better informed than your foe. Or by laying better plans or by working harder. But if you think that you are simply smarter than the other man or woman, you are likely in for a surprise.
While false charges are being made by a desperate campaign that Barack Obama has had questionable associations in his past, the facts are far more clear that John McCain has been, and still is, linked to dangerous extremists.
The picture above is part of the evidence.
Voting 95% of the time with George W. Bush, John McCain has linked himself to man who has done more harm to this nation than anybody in recent years.
These are the facts of the matter.
And while we are at it, why has the issue of Sarah and Todd Palin’s association with the secessionist and disloyal Alaskan Independence Party gone away?
Governor Palin’s basic loyalty to this country remains at issue.
Due to other obligations, I was not home for the debate last night between Joe Biden and Sarah Palin. I have it recorded, but I don’t think I’ll watch it. That would be 90 minutes of my life I’d be unable to get back.
I got home last night around midnight and saw some headlines online suggesting the debate had been pretty much a draw. Though some focus groups felt Senator Biden had done better. The two print newspapers I get each morning also said both candidates had done well enough and that no knock-out punch had been delivered.
That tells me pretty much what I need to know. A great thing about live TV is that you can’t be sure one of the candidates won’t walk over the other and unload a kick in the shin. Once you realize that nothing like that took place, it all seems a bit less interesting.
I’ve written before that I make a point to spend only so much time following the Presidential campaign. It is not an edifying process. You’d be better off reading a good book of American political history such as America’s Three Regimes–A New Political History by Morton Keller. Reading a book of political history provides more context about what is taking place now in politics than yet another tracking poll or debates over lipstick.
If the debate between Vice Presidential candidates has made you wonder about the history of the office and the people who have served as Vice President, the U.S. Senate has an excellent web home for the Vice Presidency. There is a history of the office and strong profiles of each of our Vice Presidents.
Above is Vice President Thomas Marshall of Indiana who served as Vice President under Woodrow Wilson between 1913 and 1921. Vice President Marshall was kept out of the loop after President Wilson had his stroke.
When a President has died in office, it has often been quite early in his term. This has often made a big difference in American history.
This is the Texas Liberal Election Fact of the Day.
The first President to die in office, William Henry Harrison, expired just a month into his term. Harrison died in 1841. President Harrison, at 68 the oldest President to that point, was a Whig. His Vice President, John Tyler, was a representative of the Southern planter class picked to help balance the ticket and not in full agreement with the Whig mainstream. As President, Tyler pursued policies, such a veto of a national bank, that greatly distressed Whig leaders such as Henry Clay.
Abe Lincoln’s (above)1865 assassination occurred just a month into his second term. His Vice President, Andrew Johnson (below), who had not been Lincoln’s first term VP, had very different views than Lincoln on Reconstruction, and how the South and Southerners should be handled after the Civil War.
Here is a stark difference between the person elected President and the person elected Vice President. The United States got one month of a great President and just under four years of a terrible President. And black folks got a century of Jim Crow.
James Garfield was shot in the first year of his term in 1881. He died a few months later. Garfield’s successor, Chester Arthur, might well have been an improvement. President Arthur sought Civil Service reform and was surprisingly independeant despite a reputation as a machine politician.
William McKinley was shot and killed in the first year of his second term in 1901. McKinley’s Vice President, Theodore Roosevelt, who like Andrew Johnson had not been the first term VP, was a very different man than McKinley.
Franklin Roosevelt was shot at in 1933 in the time between his election and inauguration. Roosevelt’s Vice President-elect, John Nance Garner was far more conservative than F.D.R. You might never of had a New Deal if Garner had become President instead of Roosevelt.
Roosevelt would later die in the first weeks of his fourth term. Vice President Harry Truman who had not been VP in the first three F.D.R terms, took the White House and did a pretty good job.
Also, Ronald Reagan was shot and seriously wounded in his first year as President in 1981.
Let’s say you are less than a hardcore Republican, yet are still considering voting for 72 year old John McCain. American history shows us that you may feel you’re voting for Mr. McCain, but that what you really may get is President Sarah Palin.