I am very much at home when I am in motion.
Here is a picture I took a few days ago on the commuter train from the Chicago suburbs into Downtown Chicago.
On a train such as the one I was on when I took this picture , or when I am driving, or when I am taking a walk—-I have many productive thoughts.
The place where we return each day after our work—or where we return after a vacation—has many virtues.
Being in motion also has many virtues.
When in motion we see new things and we are energized.
The Earth is constant motion around the sun.
Without neglecting the fact of the underlying brutality of this wicked society— everyday and every place has great value.
Above is a train car I saw a few days ago in Houston that has Yogi Bear and Boo Boo graffiti.
At the extreme left of the train car you also see a bear hand stealing a picnic basket.
I enjoyed this train car a great deal.
A few days ago, I took a walk along some railroad tracks here in Houston. Not wanting to be on the wrong side of the tracks, I walked in-between the tracks.
I wager though that if you live this close to the tracks, any side of the tracks is the wrong side.
On my walk, I encountered this rat skeleton.
The trains must run right over the skeleton.
Here are facts about rats from the Illinois Department of Public Health. Apparently they often live in the vicinity of railroad tracks.
Turning around to head back home–and staying noncommittal in-between the tracks– I could see at a distance the skyline of Houston.
Just about everyplace can be an interesting place.
Everything we need to see and think about the world around us is accessible with effort and imagination.
This is the case of the physical world of railroad tracks and rat skeletons, and the metaphorical world of being on the right or wrong side of the tracks.
The solid and the abstract give substance to one another.
(All photos copyright 2011 Neil Aquino.)
(Blogger’s Note 2/22-11—Welcome Blog Houston readers. Blog Houston has linked to this spot in a post about Metro and a lunch that Metro held for local bloggers. I have not yet written about this lunch beyond this one post which I tossed up because I was having technical problems with the blog that day. This being the case, suggesting I’ve fallen sway to a PR push it not correct . Conservative bloggers, including at least one person from Blog Houston, were invited to the Metro blogger lunch. At that lunch, high-ranking Metro officials were available and open for any questions. Blog Houston decided not to attend. Blog Houston could have covered any subject matter they wanted with Metro at that lunch. It seems to be that rather then being a serious part of any debate, what Blog Houston wants to do is reflexively complain.)
I had another post planned for today, but the WordPress on my computer at home has been glitchy.
I’m writing this post on my phone from a lunch being held for Houston bloggers by Metro. Metro is the public transit agency in Houston.
The lunch is at a big Metro train facility. With this post is a picture of some light rail trains.
These trains run on a set route of tracks each day. You might require a greater measure of metaphoric flexibility in your life.
While this is not the post I had planned for the blog reading public, please know that I am indeed working for you.
And I’m getting lunch out of it.
I’ll have more on my trip to Metro in upcoming posts.
Here is a “which of these is less like the other” game from Texas Liberal.
Today’s game focuses on the race for Harris County Judge Executive.
We’ll warm up for the main act with a test question featuring the train cars you see above. I took this picture a few hours ago in the area of Navigation Blvd. in Houston.
Which of these three train cars is less like the other two?
We can see that the one in the middle is the only one of the three train cars that is not cylindrical in shape. It is also the only one that is blue.
The one in the middle is also the only one covered in graffiti.
Okay. I think we get the idea. Let’s try another picture connected to the race for Harris County Judge Executive. This picture is also one that I took today.
Above we see three campaign signs on prominent display at the building of International Longshoreman‘s Association Local No. 24.
Which of these three signs is less like the other two?
Well…All three of the signs are for candidates on the ballot in 2010. And I’ll bet that all three have been endorsed by International Longshoreman’s Association Local No.24.
It seems that the Longshoreman don’t think much of Democrat Gordon Quan’s chances of beating Mr. Emmett.
Mr. Emmett has the support of unions and of the so-called Tea Party. That is very skillful of him.
It is rough out there. Where is the love for Mr. Quan?
I’m voting for Mr. Quan in this race. Harris County would be better served with Democratic control of our Commissioner’s Court.
Don’t give up before the votes are counted!
Kristi Thibaut Set To Win Again In Texas House District 133—Brilliant Harvard Gov. Graduate & Annie’s List Provide Top Analysis For Texas Liberal Readers
(Blogger’s Note–Brilliant Harvard Kennedy School of Government graduate and Burnt Orange Report blogger Phillip Martin has teamed up with Annie’s List to compile a number of profiles of competitive Texas State House of Representatives races in 2010. Republicans control the Texas House by only a 76-74 margin. Phillip has been nice enough to offer up these legislative race profiles for Texas Liberal readers. Here at Texas Liberal, I never shy from giving my readership the best in political blogging. My commitment to this type of quality is only enhanced when somebody else is doing the work and all I have to do is cut and paste onto the blog.
The first electoral profile I’m running is of Texas House district 133 which covers portions of Houston and the Houston area. In this district, incumbent Democrat Kristi Thibaut will be winning a second term over a Republican challenger.
While I have no words to add to these posts beyond a brief introduction, I will be adding pictures. Above you see a woman waiting at a train station in Alief back in 1902. A person waiting for a train is metaphoric of the fact that so many of us are waiting for the train of hope, the train of common sense, and train of prosperity to pick us up from the station of despair represented by years of Republican control of Texas. Sadly, this train is long overdue. I’m not suggesting that Alief is the station of despair. It’s just a metaphor and you don’t have to be so literal. A book you can read to learn about the railroad history of Houston is Rails Around Houston by Douglas Weiskopf.)
Here is the first profile—
District Overview: The Numbers, The Issues, and the Candidates
District 133 is situated in the west side of Houston, outside the 610 Loop. The district has two distinct communities. The southern half is centered in the Alief area, with significant Latino, African-American, and Vietnamese populations. The northern half contains the wealthier, Anglo Memorial community. A majority minority district, Rep. Thibaut and Jim Murphy have been battling back and forth to represent it since 2006, when Murphy won against Thibaut. In 2008, Thibaut claimed victory by just 497 votes. This decidedly middle-of-the-road district split 51.9% for Obama in 2008 and many analysts say it has a small “undecided” swing voter population, meaning elections often rely on who can get the most voters to the polls.
In the Legislature, Rep. Thibaut has proven herself as one of the most effective and aggressive members of the Texas House. She was named ‘Freshman of the Year’ by her peers in the House Democratic Caucus and served in key roles on two conference committees that tackled foreclosure rules for struggling homeowners and university entrance requirements. Meanwhile, Jim Murphy has moved farther to the right in what appears to be an attempt to sweep up surge voters in an tough year for Democrats, but a fire destroying all the Harris County voting machines has brought attention to the election, and that, coupled with Bill White’s popularity in the county should spin turnout for both sides.
Why Rep. Kristi Thibaut Will Return Next Year
Rep. Kristi Thibaut has a strong record in her first term in the legislature going into Round Three with Murphy, and she knows her opponent. She has the mixed blessing of incumbency, a great team, and a strong field plan. She has used the office to help her district in concrete ways, including hosting job fairs, school supply drives, a Veterans Benefits District Fair and more. Rep. Thibaut is running an aggressive grassroots voter contact program and we should look for a healthy amount of advertising on cable TV as well. A Harris County district, where Bill White took more than 85% of the vote for mayor – twice – Thibaut could also be helped out by turnout for the governor’s race. This race will be a close one to watch all the way until Election Day, as — along with Rep. Diana Maldonado in HD 52 — Thibaut is one of the top targets for Republicans this November.
June 30 Campaign Finance Report:
|HD 133: Thibaut vs. Murphy||Contributions
||Cash on Hand
|Rep. Kristi Thibaut (D)
|Jim Murphy (R)
Ghost Of Cesar Chavez Demands Proper Train Crossing Signal At Ave. B & Cesar Chavez—Flowers Framed By Passing Train
This afternoon I stopped at Munoz’s Flowers at the intersection of Avenue B and Cesar Chavez here in Houston.
I bought some flowers for my wife.
After I bought the flowers and as I was getting in my car, I heard a loud train whistle.
Above you see the train that came and the flowers I bought.
As they train passed by, kids in a school bus stopped for the train yelled out the window of the bus asking who was getting the flowers.
I told them they were for my wife.
That seemed to meet the approval of the kids.
There is no gate and flashing lights to warn people about oncoming trains at the intersection of Avenue B and Cesar Chavez.
If this railroad crossing was in a more wealthy area—Which I understand it would not likely be—there would have been a gate and flashing lights.
One man driving a pick-up truck cut it very close driving across the tracks as the train approached.
If the ghost of Cesar Chavez had been at that intersection, he would have pleaded with the man in the pick-up to wait for the train. Also, I’m certain that the ghost of Cesar Chavez would be working hard to get a proper signal at that location.
Some lives have more value than others. At least in the eyes of some.