Texas Liberal

All People Matter

Winning Elections Is Up To You

This afternoon I walked into the headquarters of a local candidate for Congress, donated $20 and took a bumper sticker for my car. I made these small contributions to the campaign of Jim Henley for Congress here in Houston.

Winning elections happens when average people do things to help win them.

September 30, 2006 Posted by | Elections, Houston, Politics, Things I've Done | 1 Comment

Killing Of Houston Police Officer By Illegal Should Spur Kindness And Good Public Policy

A Houston police officer was shot and killed by an illegal immigrant last week. The officer, Rodney Johnson, seems have been an exceptionally caring and decent person.

Right Wing commentators and politicians have treated the killing of Officer Johnson as if it were a gift. Xenophobe Lou Dobbs made a point to discuss it on his nightly hatefest on CNN. Houston City Councilwoman Shelley Sekula-Gibbs tried to take advantage of the shooting on the council floor by engaging in immigrant bashing.  

Sekula-Gibbs is a Republican running to replace Tom Delay in Congress. She certainly has the nastiness down right to replace DeLay. Sekula-Gibbs’ remarks were so offensive that some members of the Houston Council walked out while she was speaking.

While I disagree strongly with how some are using Officer Johnson’s death, I don’t agree with the claim that has been made that the killing is a subject outside the bounds of politics. Officer Johnson was a public employee and the circumstances of his death merit discussion. 

Demonizing mostly hard-working people who crossed a desert full of rattlesnakes to get a job washing dishes serves no purpose. It is up to liberals and other decent souls to move the immigration debate forward to the right mix of human kindness and solid public policy. That would be the right path towards honoring Officer Johnson’s life and service. 

September 29, 2006 Posted by | Houston, Immigration, Politics | 1 Comment

Neither Left Or Right In Germany Have Solutions For Global Economy Losers

Some recent election results in Germany are disturbing. A far-right party gained seats in a German state that had previously been part of East Germany.  7% of voters in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania voted for the National Democratic Party for the state parliament in elections held earlier in September. The National Democratic Party has neo-Nazi beliefs according to reports in The New York Times and BBC.com. 

While 7% is not a large number of voters—It is from such modest beginnings that bad things start.  Neither the defeated Socialist government of former Chancellor Gerhard Schroder, or the current center-right government of Angela Merkel have found the way to bring prosperity to former East German areas.

People in economic distress will sometimes take that stress out on others at the ballot box. With both the left and the right unable to find the solutions to help the East, one wonders if either side has any real idea of what to do.  More than that, one wonders if the inability, or unwillingness, of the German political class to address the effects of globalization is a problem mirrored throughout Europe and in United States. 

Will solutions be found? Or will losers in the global economy be left to fail and fend for themselves?   

September 28, 2006 Posted by | Elections, Politics | Leave a comment

Red Light Cameras Are Nifty & Cities Have A Right To Raise Revenue

Based on search-engine traffic to this blog, one thing that excites people are red light cameras. The City of Houston recently installed red light cameras and intends to add more.

I support red light cameras in Houston. I support them because people often drive badly here in Houston. I also support them because they raise revenue. 

We have no income tax in Texas. People can pay one way or another. Houston is strapped for cash all the time. People say the cameras are there to make money for Houston like it is some kind of secret or a bad thing. I say the more money the better. If we had more money maybe we could have more parks and more police.      

People often have a reflexive reaction to things like this. They want to drive like jerks and they don’t like traffic tickets. When a city tries to address bad driving, it is the city itself that gets the abuse instead of the bad drivers. 

I’m all for our new Houston red light cameras.      

September 27, 2006 Posted by | Houston, Taxes---Yes! | 5 Comments

Will 9/11 Impact Elections For Many Years Or Can Democrats Rebound?

As mid-term elections approach, Republicans are again accusing Democrats of being weak on national security issues. This strategy worked for Republicans in 2002 and 2004. 

It’s difficult for Democrats not to wonder if they might now control the White House and at least one chamber of Congress if not for the attacks of September 11, 2001. Political leaders must, of course, deal with the world as it is. Still, it is frustrating that so much has been lost because of the Republican political advantage so far on issues relating to terrorism. (An advantage they don’t merit I might add.) 

History shows big events often dictate the course of elections and that Democrats have often come out on the winning side. The Great Crash of 1929 was a huge factor in nearly a half-century of Democratic domination of politics. After Watergate Democrats made big gains in the 1974 mid-term elections. 

Watergate was a scandal of a Republican White House. Congress had very little to do with Watergate. Yet many Republicans were swept out in the tide.

While the effects of Watergate passed quickly, Republican domination after the Civil War and Democratic strength resulting from the Depression lasted many years.  The upcoming mid-term election will provide evidence of the long-term impact on politics of 9/11. 

September 26, 2006 Posted by | Elections, Political History, Politics | Leave a comment

To Gain Power Hispanics In Houston & In America Must Back Up Protests With Votes

Large protests earlier this year by Hispanics concerned over immigration legislation have not led to increased Hispanic voter registration.   

The lack of strong Hispanic political participation is evident here in HoustonHouston has never sent a Hispanic to Washington to serve in Congress. This despite the fact Houston-area U.S. House District 29 is 66% Hispanic.  

The 29th is represented by Anglo Democrat Gene Green. It may be that the people of the 29th district are happy with Mr. Green and see no need to replace him. It may also be true that Hispanic political leaders and average voters can’t get their acts together.

Black Houston long ago produced national figures such as Rep. Barbara Jordan and Rep. Mickey Leland. 

Marching grabs headlines for a few days. Marching can start or spur a movement. So far, however, Hispanics have not backed up the talk and the marching with action. Until they do they will be shut out from power. 

(Please excuse the different font from what I normally use. I’ll hopefully have that worked out soon.) 

September 25, 2006 Posted by | Houston, Immigration, Politics | Leave a comment

White Sox Collapse After Manager Makes Gay Slur

When Chicago White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen made an anti-gay slur last June, the White Sox were playing well and seemingly headed towards the playoffs.  

Guillen should’ve been suspended. The White Sox refused.   

At least the next best thing happened—-The White Sox have sucked since Guillen made his comments. They’ll be eliminated from contention any day now.  

I don’t believe in karma. Yet in this case my theory is that the White Sox collapsed because they have a gay-baiting manager who got away with saying lousy things.

September 23, 2006 Posted by | Lousy People | 1 Comment

Big Bully Kinky Friedman—Mean To The Core

Big bully Kinky Friedman is the subject of a documentary being filmed as he campaigns to be
Texas governor.

While Friedman knocks so-called professional politicians as sleazy, he won’t say how much he’s being paid for the documentary.  

Friedman’s a real tough guy. He’s shown he can bash illegal immigrants and Hurricane Katrina victims with the best of them.  

Freidman knows picking fights with people who can’t fight back is often a winning strategy. At least it is when your goal is to appeal to the worst in people.  

But Kinky is more than just your run-of-the-mill bully—Kinky has figured out how to pick up a check on the side as a reward for kicking the little guy while he is down.

September 22, 2006 Posted by | Lousy People, Politics, Texas | Leave a comment

One Path To Spinach That Won’t Make You Sick Is To Support Regulation & Pay All Your Taxes

The ongoing spinach scare is yet another reason to support government regulation of food. It’s also another reason to support paying all your taxes so the government can afford to enforce the regulations. 

Outbreaks of E.coli tainted spinach and lettuce from California have happened time and time again. How many times will be enough? Does anyone really believe private industry will protect the food supply to the detriment of their profits? 

76 million Americans are said to get a food-borne illness each year. 5,000 people die from such illnesses. How many people need to get sick before we get the regulation and oversight we need?  Not surprisingly, many top regulatory positions in Washington are currently unfilled. Food safety is not a big priority under George Bush and the Republican Congress.    

Want safer food? Then demand that government take the needed steps to ensure safer food.

September 21, 2006 Posted by | Taxes---Yes! | Leave a comment

Many Liberals Enjoy Chicken Noodle Soup

I get an e-mail newsletter each week of the top 300 search engine terms. (The more explicit terms are weeded out.) Last week the term “chicken noodle soup” was ranked # 221. At first I thought this was people searching how to make chicken noodle soup.

With some research, I see the term is so big right now because of people looking for recipes, and also because chicken noodle soup is the name of a popular dance at the moment.

As for the soup— I enjoy it. I’m certain many other liberals and Democrats do as well. While I don’t know any chicken noodle soup recipes, I do have chicken noodle soup in my kitchen cabinet right now.   

We’ve got an election coming up in a few weeks. As it stands right now, plain-speaking, hardworking, chicken noodle soup eating Americans are taking it on the chin. Wages are stagnant. Health care for all is a pipe dream. A college education is becoming ever more difficult to afford. In Iraq, the President and his team are clearly not capable of running the war correctly. We’ve created a new haven for terrorists in Iraq while not doing enough to secure our ports and our own people at home. 

Liberals have been demonized in recent years. That is how politics goes. The truth is, however, that liberals eat chicken noodle soup just like everybody else. 

As for the Chicken Noodle Soup dance—I’m sorry but I don’t know much about that. What I am aware of is that no matter if you came here looking for soup or a dance, you should consider voting for Democratic candidates for Congress this November. It is time for change. Thank you.

September 21, 2006 Posted by | Good People, Politics | Leave a comment

Lockheed Martin Gets Corporate Welfare From State Of Texas On Orion Rocket Project

This is a letter I’ve written to Jerry Kircher. Mr. Kircher is Vice-President for Investor Relations at Lockheed Martin. Lockheed is getting even more government money for the Orion rocket project. The State of Texas is giving Lockheed $7.5 million. This money is more corporate welfare.   

Dear Mr. Kircher: 

My name is Neil Aquino. I am a taxpayer in Texas. As such, I appear to be an investor in Lockheed Martin. 

The Houston Chronicle reported this morning that the State of Texas is giving Lockheed $7.5 million. This is because Lockheed is locating jobs connected with the Orion space rocket in the Houston area. This money comes from a so-called “Texas Enterprise Fund.” 

The Chronicle also reports Lockheed is already receiving $8 billion from the federal government for Orion. Just how much government money does Lockheed need?  I can’t imagine $7.5 million is very much money to Lockheed. I’m sure Lockheed is locating jobs in Houston because it serves the needs of the Orion project—not because of a giveaway of $7.5 million. 

Texas is poor. List nearly any social or economic indicator of how people live, and you will find Texas near the bottom of the rankings. I’m asking Lockheed to please give the money back to the State of Texas. Or that Lockheed donate all the state money to some worthy program in Houston or elsewhere in Texas that will help people.

You and I both know Lockheed does not need this money. I’m sure you’re a fine human being. Won’t you please try to persuade your employer do the right thing in this situation?

Thank you. 

September 20, 2006 Posted by | Best Posts 2006, Politics, Texas, Things I've Done | 1 Comment

I Took Small Steps Today To Help Texas Democrats In The November Election

Today I visited the headquarters of the Harris County Democratic Party here in Houston. I made a small donation of my hard-earned money, took some bumper stickers for myself and a friend and agreed to work as an election judge if needed.  

Elections are won because people do things to help win them. It’s that simple.

September 19, 2006 Posted by | Houston, Politics, Texas, Things I've Done | Leave a comment

The Swedish Election Shows The Ups And Downs Of Democracy

A center-right coalition has kicked out the left in the Swedish election. While Sweden was not facing any type of real crisis, the left had held power for 12 years.  

It is never the right time to lose an election. But even a liberal partisan can admit that democracy is often well-served by a change in power.  For example, as much as the 1994 Republican takeover still hurts, it’s also true that some Democrats had become arrogant and complacent after so many years of control of Congress. 

Still—Here’s to hoping the new right-leaning government in Sweden does poorly and that the left is restored as soon as possible. 

September 18, 2006 Posted by | Elections, Politics | 1 Comment

Texas Longhorn Cheerleaders, Wild College Football Cheerleaders, NFL Cheerleaders and All Cheerleaders Love Democracy

When I made a post last August about how lousy the Cincinnati Reds’ treat their cheerleaders, I didn’t know I’d be getting search engine hits for “cheerleaders” for months after. I’ll take that traffic and all traffic to this blog. I appreciate everyone who visits TexasLiberal.

My message to all people is to give the new Democratic Congress a chance. The policies of the previous Republican Congress stunk for working Americans. The Bush tax cuts are unfair and have helped only the wealthy. No progress was made towards universal health care. They refused to raise the minimum wage.

In foreign affairs, the War in Iraq is a failure. Hundreds of billions of dollars that could have been used to help Americans at home have been wasted. That money  also could have been used to secure our ports against terror threats.

You came here looking for cheerleaders. I’m not sure I’ll convince you a new Congress is better than cheerleaders. However, I think you can agree that the new Congress deserves a chance. Thank you.

UPDATE OCTOBER 25, 2008—This silly post gets hits two years after it was written. We have our Democratic Congress. Now let’s elect Barack Obama and try something new after 8 years of the failed President Bush. Thank you.

September 16, 2006 Posted by | Cheerleaders, Politics | 4 Comments

Lyndon Johnson Helped Make Me A Better Person

In 1964 Lyndon Johnson ran for election to a full-term as President. He sought ratification as the first Southern President since the Civil War.  His opponent was far-right Arizona Senator Barry Goldwater.

Goldwater was running strong in the South. Many white Southerners were angry at Johnson’s support of Civil Rights. Despite the anger, Johnson insisted that he and Lady Bird campaign in the South.

While reasons of ego and campaign strategy were involved, Johnson also had a deeper motivation. Johnson said his support for Civil Rights didn’t diminish his understanding and concern for white Southerners who saw the basic assumptions of their society under challenge. 

Here’s what Johnson said— “We didn’t want them to think they were left out. When a child feels he’s hurt and mistreated he goes on home and don’t come back and we don’t want that to happen. We love those people and we thought the only thing we could do was go tell ‘em we loved ‘em.” 

When I read this passage in LBJ—Architect of American Ambition, I had to stop. I read it many times. I felt it had meaning in how I approach politics. I felt that it might even have meaning in how I approach my personal life.

Johnson wasn’t saying to love everybody. He made no effort to love the extreme-conservative base of Goldwater’s support. LBJ’s idea was that as a white Southerner himself, he understood what people were feeling. Johnson had no sympathy for people who bombed churches. The people Johnson felt for were average whites who had little in life but a feeling of superiority over blacks.

We all have to find the way to sympathy and understanding for people who have problems. We have to do this sometimes for people we may find frustrating. 

Liberals often underestimate the pain of change. When you challenge people’s assumptions and beliefs, you’ll encounter anger and confusion. Surely the years since Ronald Reagan have shown us the pain and frustration of change and defeat.  

Liberals must always work for needed change. We know that politics and issues  must often have a winner and a loser. We want to win. We have no obligation to identify with people who are outright rotten. We don’t have act totally outside our natural individual personalities. 

Yet we should never forget that most people—including ourselves— live in a world not of our own making. A major starting point of political liberalism, and of personal kindness, is the effort to seek out and act upon the things we have in common.    

September 15, 2006 Posted by | Best Posts 2006, Books, Politics, Texas | 5 Comments