Texas Liberal

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One Year Until Bush Is Gone!—With A Cartoon & Links To Grant And Jefferson


 Excellent news—It’s just one year until George W. Bush is out of office. January 20, 2009 is the day.

To mark the relative proximity of the next inauguration, please note the cartoon above from the Ulysses S. Grant Inauguration of 1869. The point of the cartoon is to mock the ornate Grant ceremony in contrast to the alleged republican simplicity of Thomas Jefferson’s Inauguration in 1801.

Jefferson’s Inauguration is portrayed by the lone man on horseback–Jefferson—in the upper left of the cartoon.  

Ulysses Grant was President from 1869 until 1877.

Thomas Jefferson was President 1801 until 1809.   

Click the links above to Grant and Jefferson and you’ll get the first-rate Presidents pages at the Miller Center of Public Affairs at the University of Virginia.

Thomas Jefferson founded the University of Virgina.    

Ulysses Grant smashed the Confederacy.

Mr. Jefferson’s first inaugural address is a famous speech.

Here is a well-known passage—But every difference of opinion is not a difference of principle. We have called by different names brethren of the same principle. We are all Republicans, we are all Federalists. If there be any among us who would wish to dissolve this Union or to change its republican form, let them stand undisturbed as monuments of the safety with which error of opinion may be tolerated where reason is left free to combat it. I know, indeed, that some honest men fear that a republican government can not be strong, that this Government is not strong enough; but would the honest patriot, in the full tide of successful experiment, abandon a government which has so far kept us free and firm on the theoretic and visionary fear that this Government, the world’s best hope, may by possibility want energy to preserve itself? I trust not. I believe this, on the contrary, the strongest Government on earth. I believe it the only one where every man, at the call of the law, would fly to the standard of the law, and would meet invasions of the public order as his own personal concern. Sometimes it is said that man can not be trusted with the government of himself. Can he, then, be trusted with the government of others? Or have we found angels in the forms of kings to govern him? Let history answer this question.”

Here is the full speech.

To come back to the cartoon, while General Grant may have held the more elaborate swearing-in, he was also born in this quite modest house. It is in Point Pleasant , Ohio which is just up the road from Cincinnati and along the Ohio River. I’ve been lucky enough to visit this home.   

 Below is Monticello where Jefferson lived—

 It is easy to be seen as virtuous when you can act as you have nothing to prove.

January 20, 2008 Posted by | Cincinnati, Political History | , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Thanks & Links


Thanks to everyone who linked to this blog or placed Texas Liberal on their blogrolls in the past week. Here is a list–

Panic In Year Zero is written by “the man who was never born.” He says he is the college professor who gave you a D last semester. Good—Grade inflation is a menace.

Stephen C. Rose has a very eclectic bio including some reporting from the Civil Rights Era. He’s also a published author. 

My good friend The Field Negro linked to my Martin Luther King Reading & Reference List. Thank you!  

Jen.Bor.3d.net/WP writes her blog to keep her sane at work at a call center.

After I mentioned her last week Nita at the first-rate A Wide Angle View Of India placed me on her blogroll. Thanks Nita! 

Blogging Elsewhere is a new shop from a thoughtful blogger.

I’d also like to extend greetings to my friend at Left Edge North in the Puget Sound area. 

Here is a link to the Green Party of the United States.  I’ve been agitated of late about how I vote for Democrats at the city level year after year, and yet the cities I have lived in , three so far, just seem to get worse and have problems nobody will address.  

I added Pambazuka News to my blogroll this week. It’s an overview of social justice issues in Africa.

Please don’t forget Brendan Halpin’s blog. You can check out the books he has written.

A post I thought came out well in this blog a few days ago was Who In Our Lives Merits Loyalty? 

Coming up on the blog this week, among other things, will be a report from a 2008 Houston Martin Luther King Day parade, a post about the newly discovered self-destructing palm tree, and some thoughts on Claire Messud’s The Emperor’s Children and Niall Ferguson’s The War Of The World.

Please have a great week ahead.

January 19, 2008 Posted by | Blogging | | 2 Comments

Man Has Places In His Heart Which Do Not Yet Exist…

Last night I began reading Graham Greene’s The End Of The Affair. On the title page is the following written by a French author named Leon Bloy

“Man has places in his heart which do not yet exist, and into them enters suffering in order that they may have existence.”

This reminded me of Robert Kennedy’s words after the assassination of Martin Luther King—

“My favorite poet was Aeschylus. He once wrote: “Even in our sleep, pain which cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart, until, in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom through the awful grace of God.”

January 18, 2008 Posted by | Books | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Borris Miles & Al Edwards—Democrats Way Of Telling Texas Urban Voters To Drop Dead

I’d be remiss not to comment on the terrible choice faced here in Houston by the loyal Democrats in strongly-Democratic Texas State House District 146.

Here is some helpful information about Democratic incumbent Borris Miles from the Houston Chronicle of January 12—

“The Harris County District Attorney’s Office is investigating a complaint that state Rep. Borris Miles, D-Houston, made threats and brandished a gun at a holiday party last month.

According to witnesses, Miles entered a St. Regis Hotel ballroom uninvited, confronting guests, displaying a pistol and forcibly kissing another man’s wife.

David Harris, who threw the party for his property management company, said he believes Miles, an insurance agent, was angry at him for investing in a rival business….

Rumors about the incident have swirled for weeks in both Houston and Austin. Harris agreed to speak publicly about it last month only after being contacted by the Houston Chronicle. 

Miles is being challenged in the March 4 Democratic primary for District 146 by former Rep. Al Edwards, whom Miles unseated in 2006….

Miles also gained some notoriety last spring when he personally removed two pieces of art on display at the Capitol that he said were objectionable. The art in an exhibit placed by the Texas Moratorium Network included a depiction of a black man hanging from a rope and an illustration of a man tied to an electric chair with the inscription “Doing God’s Work.”

According to witnesses to the December incident, Miles walked into the ballroom carrying a wine bottle and a glass…..

Rido said Miles also kissed his wife, Krysynthia, before leaving….”

Mr. Miles was elected, in essence, in the 2006 Democratic Primary when he defeated long-term incumbent Al Edwards

Mr. Edwards is also a disturbing figure.

Mr. Edwards, running again as the above article noted, is somewhere between no better and worse than Mr. Miles.

 In the Texas House, Mr. Edwards was an ally of the deeply conservative and autocratic House Speaker Tom Craddick. This fact  in no way represented the interests of Mr. Edwards’ majority-minority and very Democratic  district.

This is the best our Democratic Party can do for loyal supporters who need effective representation in Austin?

All this makes me ask again why city residents vote Democratic over and over while getting so little in return? Our cities just get worse and worse and worse. It’s the same way Republicans use rural voters. 

I’m not going to pretend I have a solution. It’s not voting Republican. I’ll just say that when you are used time and time again, it becomes at some point up to you to work for change.

If that change involves abstaining from certain races on the ballot, voting for Greens if the option is there, or demanding more effective leadership from take-us-for-granted Democrats, I simply refuse to believe I have to accept this stuff forever.  

In this specific case, Texas House 146 voters have two lousy candidates. They deserve better. While all people should vote in all elections, this is a race I’d leave blank on my ballot on Primary Day if I lived in 146.

Which brings us to the absurd way we select a House Speaker in Texas. Instead of by party line vote, as is done in places where democracy exists, Texas House Speaker votes cross party lines.

In this way, the politics of personality, secret deal-cutting, and everyone for themselves, replaces the voters of Texas. Instead of a majority party and a minority party reflecting the will of Texas voters, what you get is a closed-door scramble that reflects who-knows-what.

A concern is that Mr. Miles is a reliable vote for a Democratic Speaker, while Mr. Edwards might support Mr. Craddick in a closely divided House.    

My feeling is that the party that wins a majority should elect a Speaker. That’s the democratic thing to do. And that’s the kind of change and reform folks should be demanding.

Failing that, maybe urban representatives in Texas should talk with rural representatives in Texas and barter the Speakers’s chair for whoever will give the best terms. Maybe raw political power is the only way to get the attention of people and interests that at heart don’t seem to really care if voters who can be taken for granted live or die.

Update—Here is a column by Rick Casey at the Houston Chroniclesaying that Mr. Craddick is at the heart of why Democrats have been silent on this issue and also suggesting that Mr. Miles may have talents to offer in the legislature. Also, Mr. Miles has been in the hospital this week with pneumonia. He is reported to be on the upswing. Good luck to Mr. Miles in his recovery. 

January 18, 2008 Posted by | Campaign 2008, Houston, Politics, Texas | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Maybe We’re Afraid Hispanic Immigrants Will Treat Us The Way We Treated Native Americans & Others

I’ve been reading A Different Mirror—A History Of Multicultural America by Ronald Takaki.

This book is an account of the different races and ethnic groups that have lived in America.

In detaling grievous British abuse of the Irish in the 15th and 16th centuries, portrayed in Different Mirror as a precursor for the mistreatment of blacks and native Americans by British colonists , Takaki uses the following poem from the period written by Angus O’Daly

O body which I see without a head,

It is the sight of thee which has withered up my strength.

Divided and impaled in Ath-cliath,

The learned of Banba will feel its loss.

Who will relive the wants of the poor?

Who will bestow cattle on the learned?

O body, since thou are without a head,

It is not life we care to choose after thee.

Takaki also uses the following quote from a Sioux tribesman named Luther Standing Bear—

The white man does not understand the Indian for the same reason he does not understand America…Continuing to troubled with primitive fears (he has) in his consciousness the perils of this frontier continent…The man from Europe is still a foreigner and an alien. And he still hates the man who questioned his path across the continent.”

Maybe the hostility some feel towards rising numbers of immigrants in the United States, reflects an awareness of the brutality of our forefathers. We know what we did to conquer the United States and we know that this violence has a history that goes back even before the settlement of the Americas.

Maybe what some are afraid of is being treated the same way.

Or maybe the fear is  we will somehow over the years be erased from the collective memory, just as was attempted with Native Americans.

In any case, many new people are coming to the United States. Nothing is going to stop that process.

We can find ways to live with these new folks. Or we can operate from fear and anger.

The choice is ours collectively. 

January 16, 2008 Posted by | Books, History, Immigration, Poetry | , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Republicans Won After Civil War Was Over—Can Modern Republicans Win Without 9/11?


I recently read the following in Congressional Quarterly’s Guide To U.S. Elections. It is about the 1868 election of Republican Ulysses Grant over Democrat Horatio Seymour of New York–  

With Grant’s ascension to the presidency in 1869, the Republican Party entered a new era—what the German sociologist Max Weber would have called a shift from “charismatic” to “rational” institutional authority. In other words, the party shifted its devotion from a great moral cause to its own survival as an organization. It had begun as a coalition of activists fervently opposed to the expansion of slavery (many opposed slavery itself) and to the rebellion of Southern states from the Union, The Republicans 1868 victory under Grant was the first not dominated wholly by crisis conditions. 

Reading this got me thinking about Republican success in the elections of 2002 and 2004. Those elections, especially 2002 when Republicans won back the Senate, seemed to be run under the shadow of the events of September 11, 2001.  

In 2006, with 9/11 five years past and the War in Iraq going badly, Democrats made strong gains in both Houses of Congress. The crisis atmosphere from 9/11 was gone and with it , so it appears, was the Republican advantage President Bush gained after the attacks.    

President Grant won reelection in 1872 and Republicans held the electoral upper-hand for much of time until the Great Depression. Republicans had the electoral base to withstand the passing of the crisis.

While it’s early in this campaign season and a national security type issue –either real or contrived by the Bush administration—might help Republicans, the 2006 election, and the early indicators for 2008, suggest that Republicans may struggle for a time without the ability to run on 9/11.

January 16, 2008 Posted by | Books, Campaign 2008, Elections, History, Political History, Politics | , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Martin Luther King Reading & Reference List

1/14/2010–This list has been updated for 2010.

Martin Luther King Day is January 21, 2008.

If your town or city has a parade, you should consider going to the parade.

It is always instructive to watch a rebroadcast or listen to a recording of the I Have A Dream speech.

Yet there is a next level for someone who wants to better understand Dr. King. It wasn’t all “I Have A Dream” and brotherhood.

Reverend King asked serious questions about America as a war criminal nation in Vietnam and he asked if America  merited divine judgement as a wicked nation of racism and social inequality.

Here is an admittedly incomplete, but still useful, Martin Luther King viewing, visiting, listening, and reading list.

An excellent book is Martin & Malcolm & America—A Dream Or A Nightmare by James H. Cone. This book follows the words and the careers of both these men. The premise, which holds up, is that Dr. King and Malcolm X (photo below) were not as far apart as sometimes portrayed. Malcolm was a man with a broader vision than one of simple racial solidarity, and King was in many respects a fierce and almost apocalyptic critic of America.

I’m glad to say I bought my copy of Cone’s book at the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site in Atlanta, Georgia.  This site is operated by the National Park Service. You can tour Martin Luther King’s boyhood home at this location. You’ll also want to tour the Auburn Avenue Historic District around the King home.

Regretfully, the nearby Ebenezer Baptist Church (photo below) , King’s home church, is currently under renovation. Still, it is all worth a visit.

In Washington, when you visit the Lincoln Memorial (photo below), you can find a small marker indicating the exact spot where Rev. King made the “Dream” speech. It is a good place to stand.

The best one volume work on King’s life is David Garrow’s Bearing The Cross—Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

Bearing The Cross was the 1987 Pulitzer Prize winner for biography.  You can’t help but feel the almost deep-sea like pressure on Dr. King in the final years of his life. I wondered if towards the end of his life King felt that death was going to be the only escape from the exhaustion, the misunderstandings and the conflicts.

An interesting DVD is King–Man Of Peace In A Time Of War. Much of the hour long presentation is a rehash of King biography. What makes this special is a roughly 15 minute interview Dr. King did with afternoon television host Mike Douglas.  Mr. Douglas asks tough questions about Dr. King’s stance against the Vietnam War and about the effect of that opposition on the Civil Rights movement. Dr. King is calm, cool and collected. You could see how King was a leader who could speak anywhere and to anyone.

A solid explanation of Reverend King’s theology and a good analysis on the failure of Southern segregationists to mount an even more aggressive opposition to the Civil Rights Movement, can be found in A Stone Of Hope—Prophetic Religion And The Death Of Jim Crow by David L. Chappell.

A Testament Of Hope—The Essential Writings And Speeches Of Martin Luther King, Jr is needed for a complete King library. In honesty though, I’ve always found this book to be somewhat sprawling and without a clear focus. It consists of King sermons, some interviews and excerpts from his books. You need to have it on your shelf, but there are more concise ways to get at the “essential” King.  ( Photo below is Rev. King with Coretta Scott King.)

There are three reference sources on Dr. King that in my view stand out as best.

Strength To Love is the best collection King sermons. It is a concise manageable book. You can cram it in your back pocket or in your purse. ( A larger purse at least.) I think you could read nothing else but this one 158 page book, and know everything you need to know about Martin Luther King.

The audio collection of King’s sermons called  A Knock At Midnight might change your life. Stick the CD’s in your car stereo or turn it on at home and you’ll  hear Dr. King just as he was—Mighty and frail at the same time. I’ve listened to the sermons on Knock many times and they never get old. You can’t help but learn something or see an old question a new way each time you listen.

The definitive books on Martin Luther King’s life and the Civil Rights era are found in Taylor Branch’s three volume America In The King Years series.

These three books are the Pulitizer Prize winning Parting The Waters 1954-1963, Pillar Of Fire 1963-1965, and At Canaans Edge, 1965-1968. (Photo below is of Rosa Parks being booked during the Montgomery Bus Boycott.)

These books stand not only at the top of King biography, they stand as great examples of American biography. The picture of Dr. King is complete. You get the good and the bad. There will be times you’ll shake your head and ask yourself how Rev. King could have said that or done that.

You’ll also see how brave King was and how brave the Civil Rights marchers and protesters were. You’ll get a clear sense of the obstacles faced not just from whites, but from status quo blacks as well.  Mr. Branch offers a great deal of context for King’s life and experiences. He provides full portraits of other great Civil Rights leaders.

I can’t recommend all three volumes strongly enough. Read them and you’ll be an expert.

Please click here for a Texas Liberal post on King’s sermon Unfulfilled Dreams

January 15, 2008 Posted by | Books, History, Martin & Malcolm | , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

History Of The South Carolina Primary

Republicans and Democrats are campaigning hard in South Carolina.

Republicans vote in that state on January 19. Democrats vote on January 26.

Above is the state seal of South Carolina. In the first circle the words mean–“Ready in soul and resource.” In the second circle the words mean–“While I breathe I hope.”

Here is a link to some basic facts about South Carolina. The population of South Carolina is roughly 4.4 million.

Beginning with 1980, South Carolina’s Presidential nominating primary has played an important role in selecting Republican nominees.

Every winner of the Republican primary in South Carolina since 1980 has gone on to win the nomination of his party. In a number of these instances, the South Carolina win played a direct role in the nomination victory.

In 2008, this primary is important for both parties.

The origin of South Carolina as a force in Republican Presidential politics can be traced back to the political consultant Lee Atwater. In 1980, Mr. Atwater helped get the South Carolina primary scheduled early in the campaign season to help Ronald Reagan. (Photo below.)

Mr. Atwater was an architect of the first George Bush’s “Willie Horton” strategy against Mike Dukakis.

Governor Reagan won the 1980 primary with 55% of the vote in a test against former Texas Governor John Connally. Mr. Connally ran a distant second at 30%.

In 1988, Mr. Atwater again used South Carolina to aid his candidate.

This time it was Mr. Reagan’s Vice President, George H.W. Bush.

South Carolina voted three days before much of the rest of the South did on so-called “Super Tuesday” March 8.  Bush scored a convincing win in South Carolina over his main Republican challenger, Robert Dole of Kansas. (Photo below) This helped set the tone for a Bush sweep of the South on the big primary day 72 hours later.

The timing of the South Carolina primary has been critical to it’s influence. Scheduled as the first primary in the South and conducted a few days before Super Tuesday, candidates have seen the state as a springboard to subsequent primary tests.

In these years, Democrats were holding a South Carolina caucus instead of a primary. Intended or not, this fact denied Jesse Jackson likely primary victories in 1984 and 1988. Reverend Jackson was South Carolina caucus winner in 1988.

Jesse Jackson grew up in Greenville, South Carolina.

South Carolina has a substantial black population and a majority of South Carolina’s Democrats are black.

In 1992, a strong showing by President Bush over Pat Buchanan (photo below) helped dash Mr. Buchanan’s hope of winning strong Southern support for his White House bid.

For 1996, while the slightly more moderate Mr. Dole might not seem a total fit for South Carolina Republicans, two former GOP governors of  South Carolina helped orchestrate a convincing Dole win over, again, Pat Buchanan. This win helped solidify Mr. Dole’s status as the frontrunner.

By 2000, Karl Rove (photo below), was running the Republican dirty tricks operation. Mr. Atwater died in 1991.

George W. Bush’s campaign questioned the sanity of rival John McCain. False rumors were spread about Senator McCain’s health. Leaflets were distributed calling McCain the “fag candidate.” This apparently because Senator McCain had met with the gay Log Cabin Republican group. (logo below)

Democrats have held a South Carolina primary in 1992 and 2004.

Bill Clinton was the easy winner in 1992.

John Edwards, who was born in South Carolina, was the 2004 winner. The win did little to help Senator Edwards take the nomination.

Al Sharpton (photo below) had hoped that black voters would rally to his candidacy.

They did not.

Below is a picture of the Sabel Palmetto tree. This is the state tree of South Carolina.

Texas Liberal is going to be your leading source for political history blogging in 2008. Please click here for a variety of political history posts including a history of the upcoming Florida primary.

January 14, 2008 Posted by | Campaign 2008, Elections, Political History, Politics | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Painting From Brazil

The painting above is from Brazil. I found it online. It’s copyright okay. But I could not figure out the title or the artist.

Give it your own title.

Though please don’t claim to be the artist unless you really are.

Coming up on Texas Liberal this week will be a history of the South Carolina primary and a Martin Luther King reading list.

Thanks for reading the blog.

January 13, 2008 Posted by | Art | | 3 Comments

Pictures Of Three Finger Brown’s Pitching Hand

Three Finger Brown was a major league baseball pitcher between 1903 and 1916. 

He is know even by some who do not care about baseball because his nickname was “three finger.”

The picture above suggests the origin of the name.

His given name was Mordecai Peter Centennial Brown.

Mr. Brown lived from 1876 until 1948.

He mangled his hand in a corn chopper as a child.

That was his lucky break.

The injured hand helped him pitch in a way that was hard for batters to hit.

Mr. Brown is a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame. While not all members of the Hall of Fame truly merit inclusion, Mr. Brown did in fact earn his spot.

Here is a brief profile of Mr. Brown from Baseball Library. com 

Here is his full record as a pitcher from Baseball-Reference. com.

Mr. Brown pitched most of his career for the Chicago Cubs.

My candidate for President, Barack Obama, is from Chicago.

Please click here for Mr. Obama’s web page. 

Below is a picture of Mr. Brown in his prime. 

January 13, 2008 Posted by | Campaign 2008, Uncategorized | , , , , | Leave a comment

Many Thanks And Links To Some Great Blogs


I’d like to thank some fellow bloggers who have recently linked to me or added me to their blogrolls.

Pho’s Akron Pages is written by a self-described “militant pragmatist.” We’ll forgive him for that since he is a fellow Ohioan and because his blog provides readers with a full roundup of the politics of Akron and environs.

The Bayou  is a well-done blog run by the Beaumont Enterprise newspaper. It was nice to be mentioned by those folks.  

skippy the bush kangaroo added me to his blogroll and then soon after linked to a post I had written. skippy is friendly.

Plucky Punk’s Happy Land is out of Albuquerque. This blogger wants to know when Kenya and Sudan will be discussed in our Presidential campaign.

Blue Mass Group did not exactly link to me, but someone making a comment on the blog did add a link. I’ll take it. I was born in Massachusetts and it’s good to be noted back in New England.

My comrade Errington Thompson was nice enough to note my contributions to his blog, Where’s The Outrage?, which operates out of Asheville, North Carolina. WTO? is going strong in the new year.  

The Brazosport News is often quite clever and covers a part of the world I would have never imagined I would come to know when growing up in New England.

Also, I can be found as one of five featured political bloggers on the Houston Chronicle readers blogger page

A blog I’d like to link to is A Wide Angle View Of India. Check it out and you can learn about something about India.

They’ve got a billion people in India!

Thanks to everyone who links to and who reads Texas Liberal.

January 12, 2008 Posted by | Blogging | | 3 Comments

Senator Clinton’s Comments Seek To Diminish M.L. King & The Civil Rights Movement

Senator Hillary Clinton made comments in New Hampshire last week that sought to diminish the role of Martin Luther King and the Civil Rights movement.

(Please click here for a Texas Liberal Martin Luther King Reading and Reference List. It is the best list of its kind on the web.)

Mrs Clinton said—“Dr. King’s dream began to be realized when President Lyndon Johnson passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964. It took a President to get it done.” 

Mrs. Clinton’s comments were part of her effort since the Iowa caucus to belittle the optimism felt by many over the campaign of Senator Barack Obama.    

Along these lines, former President Bill Clinton described the Obama theme of hope as a “fairy tale.

It’s no surprise that the Clintons would play down the work done by the Civil Rights movement and the idea that we can do more than settle for the least bad option.

Clintonism has always been about settling for the least bad option in a conservative era.

Now that the conservative era may be coming to an end, what strategy is left but to ridicule the idea that people believing in anything more than the imagination-killing pragmatism of centrist politics can make America better?  

For the record, Mrs. Clinton’s reading of history is simply wrong. As well-detailed in Carol Polsgrove’s Divided Minds–Intellectuals and the Civil Rights Movement and David L. Chappell’s excellent  A Stone of Hope—Prophetic Religion and the Death of Jim Crow, many white liberals and white intellectuals were  slow to embrace the cause of Civil Rights.

From Stone of Hope—“It is hard to sort out whether liberals cared a great deal about racism, but lacked the power to challenge it, or simply cared too little about racism, until black voters and protesters forced their hand…in the 1960’s.”  

While many whites did take personal and political risks to aid the cause of Civil Rights, if Martin Luther King and the Civil Rights movement had waited for someone other than themselves to bring about freedom, they might well still be waiting.  

And if in 2008 we look to Hillary Clinton to inspire us beyond the mess we find ourselves in today, we will also have a very long wait.

January 11, 2008 Posted by | Campaign 2008, History, Martin & Malcolm, Politics | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 17 Comments

A Reason I’m For Obama As Shown With Art

I’m for Barack Obama  for President because I want to move from the George W. Bush America as represented by Frederick Remington’s Dismounted: The Fourth Trooper Moving The Led Horses …….


To this concept of America shown in Jacob Lawrence’s The Migrants Cast Their Ballots.  ( You can see this painting at the Corcoran Gallery.)



Anyone who tells you that a race for President does not involve a great deal of symbolism and emotion is telling you a story.

There is nothing wrong with basing some of your political views on you are and where that perception of who you are places you in the world.

The key is to not automatically exclude others from consideration because they are different from you.

It’s relevant that Barack Obama is black and of mixed-race parents, that Hillary Clinton is a woman and that George W. Bush is from Texas.

Biography tells a story. ( Even in the case of the phony Bush tough lone Texan story.)

It matters to people that someone like themselves can rise to the highest levels in society. 

I know that based on my experiences in life, I feel most comfortable with Barack Obama. I also believe he would make a good President. 

Others will have a different mix of subjective interpretations of who they are, and what they see as more fact-based views on the issues before the nation.  

You add it all up and hash it out—It’s all that can be expected of anybody.

January 10, 2008 Posted by | Art, Campaign 2008, History, Politics | , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Is Houston A Sanctuary City For Immigrants?—I Sure Hope So

Is Houston, Texas a so-called sanctuary city for illegal or undocumented immigrants?

This is an ongoing subject of debate in Houston.

The core of the matter is do police and other officials ask people they come in contact with, if they are legally in the United States.

It seems that on the whole, whatever city officials might claim, the basic policy of Houston and much of the surrounding area conforms with the idea of a sanctuary city.

Though here is a conflicting view from the Houston Catholic Worker.

From the Catholic Worker article, here are some proposed immigration policy guidelines from the Catholic Bishops of California.

–Easily available temporary visas for those willing to work

– Improved border security and enhanced humanitarian training for border guards

– Fair and equitable rules and reasonable time frames for processing applications to become legal permanent residents

– Compassionate rules and practical time frames for family reunification for legal resident aliens and naturalized citizens

– Reasonable requirements for legal residents to become citizens.

– Recognition of the impact of globalization and free trade on patterns of migration.

I support the idea of  Houston being a sanctuary city for the following reasons—

1. It is the job of the federal government to police immigration. The federal government can’t come up with a coherent policy.

2. Allowing immigrants to go about their affairs reflects the fact that much of our local economy turns of the work these people do, and that Houston residents don’t complain about cheap prices brought about by cheap labor.

3. It would inject a measure of humanity into a city that has, justifiably, pollution, massive freeways lined with billboards, and longstanding poverty, as a large part of what it is know for across the country.

Of course the promise of sanctuary is only as good as the people making the promise.

Here is an example of a pledge of sanctuary in 19th-century American history from a book called Sitting Bull and the Paradox of Lakota Nationhood by Gary Anderson.

From the book—

“Several hundred Cheyennes and Arapahos had settled at Sand Creek in southeastern Colorado after the army had assured them of the regions’ safety. Unfortunately, a vengeful colonel in the Colorado militia, John Chivington had no intention of honoring this sanctuary. He attacked the village and killed several hundred people.”

I’m not suggesting city officials in Houston or elsewhere in America will shoot undocumented people. You don’t have to shoot them when they die crossing the desert or sink while coming to America on a leaky boat.

Who cares how they got here as long as we can get cheap labor when needed, or have a ready made political issue when that is what is required?

Promises of sanctuary are as good as the political needs of the politicians, and as good as the morality of the electorate when they feel under economic stress.

Which in short means that Hispanic folks and other immigrants from across the world had better start registering to vote and taking part in the political process.

January 10, 2008 Posted by | Houston, Immigration, Politics | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Mitt Romney Not First Mormon Running For President To Rack Up Second Place Finishes

Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney finished second in the Republican New Hampshire primary yesterday. This comes after his second place finish in the Iowa caucus last week.

Governor Romney had invested a great deal of money in both states, but was unable to win. The people did not want him.

Governor Romney is not the first Mormon candidate for President to run up a string of second place finishes in the Presidential nominating process.

In 1976, Democratic Representative Morris K. Udall (photo above) of Arizona finished second in six primaries without winning a single one. He finished third in seven primaries.

Rep. Udall was a Mormon.   

In New Hampshire, Rep. Udall lost to Jimmy Carter 28% to 23%. Birch Bayh of Indiana ran third with 15%.

Morris K. Udall was a great liberal.  

However, running second does not get the job done—As Governor Romney is finding out.

As far as I can recall or read, Udall’s Mormonism was not an issue in 1976.

This may have been because religion was not the same kind of issue it is today, and because the Democratic primary electorate in 1976 did not have a religious litmus test for candidates the way the Republican electorate does in 2008.

Udall’s brother Stewart was Secretary of the Interior for President Kennedy.

Two Udalls serve in the House of Representatives today.

Democrat Mark Udall, son of Mo, represents the second district of Colorado. This district is focused on western suburbs of Denver and on Boulder.

Mark Udall is running for Senate to win the seat of retiring Republican Senator Wayne Allard.   

Stewart’s son, Democrat Tom Udall, represents New Mexico’s third district in the U.S. House. This district includes Santa Fe, Clovis and much of the top one-third of New Mexico.  

This Udall is also running for the U.S. Senate. He is running for the seat being vacated by Republican Pete Domenici.

A Udall cousin is Republican Senator Gordon Smith of Oregon. Senator Smith will hopefully be defeated for reelection in 2008.

1/16/08—Update—Romney has broken the Udall/Mormon curse and won the Michgan primary.

January 9, 2008 Posted by | Campaign 2008, Political History, Politics | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments