Normally smart and aggressive Texas bloggers seem quite excited at the prospect that one Republican may replace another Republican as Speaker of the Texas House in Austin.
Yet I know that once the dust settles and Republicans have firmly established their control over the House, my blogger friends will return to their senses. Republican control of the House is just what Texas voters intended when they elected a Republican majority last month.
I’m not sure why often astute observers think that some magical back door will open and Democrats will have new-found powers.
I’m not for this minority mentality of relying on Republican votes for power. Let’s win power for ourselves at the ballot box.
If you eat out on New Year’s Day, tip your server at a time-and-a-half rate. The same is true if you take a taxi on New Year’s Day or use any type of service that normally involves a tip.
By New Year’s Day I mean all 24 hours of the day. The cabbie driving you home at 2 AM because you are drunk is working on New Year’s Day.
Pay people the same money you would expect for working a holiday. It’s the good liberal thing to do. It’s the decent human thing to do.
A Republican Texas House member from Plano named Brian McCall is challenging incumbent Tom Craddick for the post of Speaker of the Texas House. The coalition McCall hopes to put together would involve House Democrats.
This bid should not involve Democrats. Republicans won a majority in the election last month. The election of the Speaker should be an internal matter of the Republican caucus. If Democrats want to elect a Speaker they should win a majority for themselves.
So-called bipartisanship in the Texas legislature was a big way Governor George Bush established the phony image of someone who worked across party lines.
This bipartisanship rewards sycophantic and double-dealing House Democratic members with various committee chairs and committee assignments for working with the no-good Republican majority.
This so-called bipartisanship will handicap a future Democratic legislative majority from enacting its policies.
Most importantly, this bipartisanship thwarts the will of voters who elected one party to govern and placed another party in the minority.
It is one thing for state legislators to work with members of the other party on specific bills. Cross-aisle cooperation has some virtues as long as it does not get out of hand. However, institutional posts such as the Speaker and committee chairs should be held only by members of the majority. The electorate has given Republicans that right.
For 2007, Democrats should nominate a candidate for Speaker and stick with that candidate win or lose. At whatever point Democrats re-take the House, they should leave Republicans out in the cold.
The Artist de Kooning Would Have Had A Different View Of The Sea If He Had Grown Up In Galveston, Texas
I’m reading de Kooning—An American Master by Mark Stevens and Annalyn Swan. This book has told me things relevant to life in the Houston and Galveston area and has told me things relevant to the human experience.
Willem de Kooning was an artist who lived between 1904 and 1997. I’m up to about 1935 in de Kooning’s life.
Here are some things of note from the book so far—-
Growing up in Rotterdam, de Kooning saw the sea as a symbol of change and modernity. This was because of the ships at the port and the sailors from exotic places.
This is in sharp contrast to the sea I know at Galveston, Texas. Galveston is a place that has seen its best days. The main change the ocean would bring to Galveston at this point is destruction in a hurricane.
The authors report that “de Kooning remembered his childhood as one of great loneliness.”
A lonely childhood is a time when a strong creative imagination can be formed. I bet the time alone helped de Kooning in the long haul.
In 1919 de Kooning’s sister lived in a part of Amsterdam called the Jordaan. This area was known as “… a center of activism and social change in Holland.” I wish every big city in America had such a district. No such area exists in the two cities I know best—Cincinnati and Houston. Houston has many areas dedicated to consumption.
Here is a description of life in New York before air-conditioning—“In the 1920’s and 30’s, when virtually no buildings were air-conditioned, artists and craftsmen in New York often took off much of the summer. Even the regularly employed even took off much of the summer.”
If it was that way in New York City in the summer, I can imagine how hot it must’ve been in Houston before air-conditioning. I wonder how anything got done in Houston in the summer.
Any good book has many things to tell us.
It’s been a few weeks since the November election and the holidays are here. However, none of this is any reason to forget about the cruddy campaign run by Democratic Houston-area Congressman-elect Nick Lampson.
Lampson seemed intent on campaigning to the right of the awful Shelley Sekula-Gibbs in Texas U.S. House district 22. He talked about how super-tough he would be on immigration. He criticized Gibbs for routine votes on water and sewer rate hikes while she served on Houston City Council. It was terrible to watch.
During the election I asked what Lampson would do after he won. Would he just turn off the rhetoric or would he continue in his nasty ways? We’ve not heard much from Lampson since Election Day. Just as well I suppose.
Still, we can’t forget how Lampson campaigned and he should not get a free pass when Congress is back in session next month. We expect Republicans to be lousy. We expect more from Democrats.
TexasLiberal Encourages All Texas Bloggers To Go On Holiday Schedule—I Promise The Legislature Will Be Just As Horrible When You Return
TexasLiberal, America’s leading blog, will go on a Holiday Schedule for the next two or three weeks. Doing so will allow me to enjoy my holiday season here in Houston. I might bake some cookies.
I encourage all Texas bloggers to post less over the holidays. Either you rule the blog or the blog rules you.
I promise my fellow Texas bloggers that if you step away from the blog just a little bit, that the Texas legislature will just as tedious and malignant when you come back.
I’m hoping Santa will come to Houston even if there is an ozone alert on Christmas Eve and that his reindeer aren’t spooked by pit bulls. I’m hoping that lighting the household menorah doesn’t worsen regional air quality.
I’ll be posting two or three times a week instead of my normal five. I think that will give me time to lie down in the settling tar of the I-10 expansion and make a tar angel.
A new 100-unit townhome development is planned for the West End of Galveston Island. The western end is the less-populated side of the island. However, this area has been growing.
It’s growing in good part because real estate prices are relatively low for ocean front property. One reason prices are low is that the ocean at Galveston is often brown instead of blue. (The brown is natural. Not from pollution.) Another reason is the prospect of hurricanes.
Will government be asked to pick-up the tab when this new project is blown down by a hurricane?
Galveston is a poor place. Yet we know it is unlikely that new wealthier residents will feel any obligation to share the wealth. You’d have to believe in trickle down to think that the people of Galveston will see any real gain from this new project.
I don’t have all the answers to what will help Galveston. One thing I’m sure of though is that city and county government must look out for the public as Galveston grows and changes.
I bet that oversight is not so likely. Galveston is just the type of place where the developers will get their way and make their profits before the next storm hits.
A Harris County, Texas deputy sheriff changed lanes four times without using a turn signal. I saw this while driving behind the deputy and listening to Bjork on my car stereo.
The incident took place just before noon, yesterday, December 13, 2006. The first three illegal lane changes took place on Highway 290 westbound near the Highway 6 exit. The last illegal lane change took occurred on Highway 6 southbound just past the Highway 290 overpass.
The deputy was driving a big white SUV. The Harris County Sheriff uses SUV’s to assist oil-revenue sponsored terror. The Houston area is considered a leading potential terror target. The stronger the terrorist threat, the more money the Sheriff Department gets and the more SUV’s they can buy. It works out for everybody.
The same logic is at work in terms of the repeated law-breaking I witnessed. When the sheriff’s office commits violations in broad daylight, it is a clear public signal that crime is okay. Criminals are encouraged by this signal and commit more crime. More crime in Harris County leads to more funds for the Sheriff’s office.
As for Bjork—I enjoy Bjork.
At the same time a new study said suburban poverty is up in the Cincinnati region, the greedy Cincinnati Bengals football team billed Hamilton County, Ohio $900,000 for new turf for Paul Brown Stadium. The county must pay this money due to a taxpayer-fleecing contract it signed with the Bengals.
Hamilton County is where Cincinnati is located and is the largest county in the Cincinnati area.
Already Hamilton County taxpayers have given the Bengals hundreds of millions of dollars for construction and upkeep of Paul Brown Stadium. Now the Bengals want nearly a million dollars more.
The Bengals are never called to account for this money. The promise was that Cincinnati and the Cincinnati region would benefit from having an NFL team. The fact of increasing poverty in the region would appear to tell a different story.
The fault for this terrible waste of money rests in the end with the people of Cincinnati & Hamilton County. It is a given that the Bengals will take every dollar they can get and that their political allies will make sure the team is protected. No reasonable person expects the Bengals to do anything but cheat the public. That is what they do.
It is the people of Hamilton County who have acquiesced to this scam. It is the very same people who must work and fight to take back control of local government from the Bengals and their political henchmen.
Congressman William Jefferson from New Orleans has been reelected despite an ongoing investigation into his conduct and despite the fact $ 90,000 was found in his freezer.
Though his Democratic opponent in the run-off election was also black, Mr. Jefferson won along racial lines. Black voters strongly supported Mr. Jefferson. Part of Mr. Jefferson’s campaign pitch was that the investigation of him is racially motivated.
It is not surprising Mr. Jefferson won. Earlier this year black voters in New Orleans, with the support of white conservatives who thought Mayor Ray Nagin’s white opponent too liberal, made the bone-headed decision to reelect the incompetent Mayor Nagin.
Reluctance by blacks to elect a white mayor in what had been a majority-black city before Katrina is understandable. However, it is clear that Mayor Nagin is not the man to get things done.
Conservative whites in New Orleans are pretty much irredeemable as voters. Liberal whites are hard to find. It is up to blacks to get it right. Black folks in New Orleans have got make a choice.
They can vote based mostly on race or they can elect the right people of whatever color to help fix New Orleans. If New Orleans blacks mess up they will get screwed time and time again. Conservatives see a “New” New Orleans with as many poor people and black people gone as possible.
So far, black voters in New Orleans are getting it wrong every time.
It is hard to imagine, but Texas A & M has done a good thing. A & M will now automatically accept transfers who meet academic standards from nine community colleges in Texas.
In the Houston area, one of the nine schools in the program will be San Jacinto College in Pasadena.
This move will allow for a wider range of students to attend A & M. It will likely broaden the A & M student body both racially and economically. It also avoids a race-based admissions policy. Race-based admissions always generate a nasty court fight.
The Aggies need help in finding a student body that looks like Texas and community college students need help in finding the path to a four-year degree.
While my dislike of everything Aggie and a failure of self-discipline prevent me from making this post without expressing my negative view of A & M, this new admissions policy is a winner.
I was listening to the song “Here Comes Santa Claus” on the radio yesterday here in chilly Houston. Listening closely I learned that Santa Claus is a liberal.
Read these lyrics from “Here Comes Santa Claus”—- Here comes Santa Claus, here comes Santa Claus/ Right down Santa Claus lane/ He doesn’t care if you’re rich or poor/ He loves you just the same/ Santa Claus knows we’re all God’s children/ That makes everything right……
What a fine song. Santa is a good liberal. Santa is so good a liberal that he even leaves presents for mean little right-wing kids.
A federal judge has ordered the payment of owed housing benefits to evacuees of Hurricane Katrina. Many eligible for this money live here in Houston.
FEMA promised these payments, but has not delivered. The judge said FEMA has offered no good reason why the benefits had been curtailed.
I once read a book called Regulating The Poor by Frances Fox Piven and Richard Cloward. The book is a history of poor assistance and government benefits to the needy. It is a long-term story of government not publicizing available payments and of people denied resources they were eligible to receive.
Hurricane Katrina evacuees are mostly powerless. As such, they are easy to cheat. It is good to know that at least this small victory has been won.
Katrina victims, while bearing responsibility for their future, are survivors of both a horrible storm and of a horrible city. Their plight must be at the top of the national agenda.
A new report says that because of climate change, North America’s “Breadbasket” of wheat growing areas could move from the United States to Canada by 2050.
At current, the breadbasket extends from Texas up to the Canadian border.
This potential shift is good reason to invade Canada to protect our “food security.”
Some scientists suggest another option. They believe climate resistant crops and other modifications can solve the problem of different and often shorter growing seasons caused by climate change.
We know better.
As Americans, we know we must invade Canada and get “our wheat” back. In fact, we may need a preemptive invasion of Canada to stop the threat before it starts.
That’s not all. Melting ice around Greenland may be opening up that area to energy exploration. Do you think we’ll let those walrus-huggers take “our oil?”
How about a new Monroe Doctrine updated for global warming? We’ll claim rights to all newly-thawed resources in our hemisphere.
Whatever the effects of climate change, you can be sure we’ll update our “principles” to reflect that most cherished American ideal of getting what we want when we want it.
All U.S. Citizens Should Reapply For Citizenship Based On Passing Test Of American Ideals And History
A new citizenship test to be given of prospective citizens will require additional knowledge of American history and American ideals. We have many immigrants down here in Texas and I support this idea.
In fact, I support this excellent idea so much that I think all current American citizens should be made to reapply for citizenship. Successful readmission to citizenship would be based upon passing a test of American history and American ideals.
More Americans need to understand the basic principles of this country as demonstrated by great figures such as Thomas Paine, William Lloyd Garrison, Susan B. Anthony, Eugene V. Debs and Martin Luther King.
Or, if the people can’t muster that, they should at least be able to find California on a map and know who was President during the Civil War. Our basic knowledge of America and of American history is so poor that one sometimes wonders if citizenship has real meaning to many of our fellow Americans.