The Houston Chronicle has another story today about safety violations in apartment buildings. There have been a been a number of apartment complex related issues around the city that have spurred this focus.
A big spur to public attention on this issue were slum-condition apartments owned by Houston-area Democratic Texas State Representative Hubert Vo.
Mr. Vo has now, after the attention, brought the buildings to code.
Houston City Government is taking steps to address the poor conditions in many area apartment buildings.
This is happening because of press attention. You might think the Democrats we elect to municipal office would have focused on this issue at some point, but it was never a priority.
Republicans? I ask, and expect, nothing of them.
Maybe the way to get problems addressed is to have public servants commit misdeeds.
For example, restaurant health code violations could be exposed by secret camera footage of an elected official reusing a plate at a buffet.
If an elected official were to write a check that came back for insufficient funds, maybe public discussion would turn to budget deficits and budget shortfalls.
The song lyrics go—“You’ve got to be cruel to be kind, in the right measure”
Mr. Vo, a reformer in his way, could play on this logic and say you’ve got to be in violation to get others in compliance.
A new TV ad by John McCain flashes images of Paris Hilton and Britney Spears and suggests Senator Obama is a celebrity and little more.
But that’s not really the story.
The story here is about linking a black man to blonde white women. This is just what Tennessee Republicans did with black U.S. Senate nominee Harold Ford in 2006.
The people who make these ads know what they are doing.
Senator McCain has already said Senator Obama would lose a war in order to win an election. Mr. McCain will say and do anything.
Senator McCain voted against the Martin Luther King holiday. He now says he is sorry.
The McCain campaign could only find two blonde white women to put in that ad?
Here is a photo I took a few months ago of the well-known Union Terminal in Cincinnati.
At one time many trains arrived at Union Terminal.
Now it is a museum center with four museums inside.
While I voted no on the absurd sales tax increase to fund a stadium for the bullying and greedy Cincinnati Bengals football team, a team that loses week after week and year after year, I voted yes on the levy to fund the conversion of Union Terminal to a museum center.
Union Terminal is worth a visit should life take you to Cincinnati.
Here is a very good web page on Union Terminal. It takes a moment to load, but it is worth the wait.
Each week the Texas Progressive Alliance weekly blog round-up points out misdeeds by Republicans, conservatives, and large corporations.
Are people listening?
I’ve read differing interpretations of the life of abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison (above.) Some say his lifelong labors against slavery did little for the cause and that only the course of events and history ended slavery.
Others assert Mr. Garrison and others like him laid the groundwork for the end of slavery. And in any case, better a difficult life spent in the service of a meritorious cause, than a life of ease in the service of wickedness.
Given the brevity of life, any use of your time is a roll of the dice. Are TPA bloggers, such as myself, using the time they have in life well by blogging, or will events proceed regardless of their actions?
As I said, it’s a roll of the dice.
Here is the weekly round-up—
TxSharon challenges you to view these pictures of domestic drilling Armageddon in the Barnett Shale and still support the Drill and Burn domestic drilling agenda.
U.S. Rep. Ciro Rodriguez’ Republican challenger for the 23rd Congressional seat is taken to task by Mike Thomas of Rhetoric & Rhythm for shirking his responsibility on a critical hospital expansion vote before the Bexar County Commissioner’s Court.
Neil at Texas Liberal asks what would be the impact if polar bears could vote.
Life is like a harbor where ships come and go
Some ships come early in the day.
Others arrive late.
Some ships stay just a brief time.
A few are looking for a port to call home.
Some come and go many times.
Some harbors are serene.
Others are more busy.
As the day progresses, traffic may diminish.
Though a sense that a harbor is safe, or in some other sense good and useful, may mean that traffic and activity never fully cease until the day is over at last.
If what is left for the most part are good memories, the voyage has reached a successful end.
In these regards, I would say life is like a harbor where ships come and go.
Who have been the oldest candidates for President?
Senator John McCain will be 72 on Election Day 2008. This makes him the second oldest first-time major party nominee in Presidential election history. Here are first-time major party Presidential nominees nominated at age 65 or older. Listed after the name is the candidate’s age on Election Day and the year of the election. At the end of each listing is the lifespan of the candidate.
2. John McCain, 72, 2008—Republican running against man who would be one of our youngest Presidents. (1936-)
Staute of William Henry Harrison in Downtown Cincinnati
4. William Henry Harrison, 67, 1840–Harrison ran as regional nominee of Whigs as part of a failed plan to defeat Martin Van Buren in 1836. In 1840 Harrison was nominee of entire party. He was elected but died one month into his term. Beat Mr. Van Buren. (1773-1841)
Others have reached age 65 in the years between a first nomination and a subsequent nomination.
These men are—
Today I had an errand to run in Downtown Houston. I parked on the street and walked up to the solar powered parking meter. I hit the button on the meter that makes the screen come on. But the screen did not come on. Without the screen, you can’t pay the meter.
( Above is picture of a solar powered Houston parking meter. You can see that this meter is well-protected from possible public abuse. My question is who is protecting the public from the meters?)
Today is a 95 degree mostly sunny day In Houston. If there is any day a solar parking meter should work, it is today.
There was a man standing behind me also waiting to use this meter. He worked for a courier service and was delivering a letter. I told him the meter did not work.
The courier walked around the corner to another meter. The meters give you a little slip of paper when you pay. You get the paper and put it on your dashboard. It does not matter what meter you use as long as you have the slip.
The courier put money in the other meter, since in this case the screen did light up, but after paying he got no paper. It was out of paper.
I’ll be honest with you—I was in a bit of a hurry and after all this I did not pay any meter. I did though call Houston’s 311 number for municipal services and repairs. Hopefully this is being fixed today.
I’m not by any means a reflexive basher of city services. But I don’t understand why simple stuff like this is allowed to happen. It makes people frustrated with the entire city government.
Bottom line: If the city of Houston offers you on a spot a city-sponsored solar powered spaceflight to Jupiter—Don’t go. You’ll just stop moving and spend the rest of your life drifting in space.
Above is a photo of an ocean front cemetery in San Juan Puerto Rico.
This picture was taken by a loyal reader of this blog and sent to me via the miracle of e-mail.
I don’t have details about the cemetery, but I enjoy the picture and I would like to visit San Juan someday.
A Texas Liberal reader named Scott Fleming has asked the following excellent question regarding the campaign of Michael Skelly—-
“I would like a yard sign. I live in the 7th district. Please advise where/how I can get one. Thanks.”
Mr. Skelly is running as the Democratic nominee in the 7th Congressional District of Texas. Blog reader Fleming asked this question in the comment space of my post about why you should volunteer for Michael Skelly.
Mr. Fleming, here is your answer—You can click here for the Skelly for Congress web page and send an e-mail with your request. Or you can call 713-522-7535 and ask for one. Or you can visit the Skelly HQ 3200 Kirby Drive and see if they have a sign for you to take.
Texas Liberal is a blog that endeavors to be of help to others. I’ll take any and all questions from readers and do my best to find the right answer.
It is good to be a blogger and it is good to have fellow bloggers. Here are a few blogs for you to review—
Texas Education is posting consistently about a variety of issues related to schools in Texas. It’s a subject worthy of attention and this blogger is working hard.
Castle Hills Democrats is the blog of Precinct 224 in Denton County, Texas. The precinct chair, a Ms. Ford, has been nice enough to visit this blog and to add my shop to her blogroll.
I’d be more than happy to add any Texas or elsewhere precinct blog to my blogroll and give them a plug.
A blog I’ve mentioned before but merits another link is Left of College Station. The young man who writes this blog is doing good work in a tough part of the state for his views. He merits support.
There are three other blogs I’d like to link to here as well.
Black Political Analysis is written by a political science professor at the University of Mississippi. He has been nice enough to link to one of my postr. I’d adding him to my blogroll today and I won’t stop him if he’d like to return the favor.
From My Brown Eyed View is written by a kind woman in Columbus, Ohio. She touches on many subjects and does so well.
Thanks to all these good blogs for the effort they give and for their kindness.
The 2008 political campaign has been going on forever, yet it still has many months to go.
Following the campaign can be a big waste of time. So-called “horse race” coverage is often stale within hours of dissemination. Can you imagine anything less relevant than an assessment from July 2004 about the John Kerry-George Bush race?
( Above is some real horse race coverage. The great Native Dancer on the cover of Time in 1954.)
I find that cable TV coverage is the biggest waste. It goes on and on. Yet rarely does it discuss anything other than the Presidential race. The “analysts” say nothing that any regular follower of politics does not already grasp.
As for issues, 90% of the public knows full well how they will vote. And candidates gear positions to the political needs of the moment. I know a great deal of where they stand from simple party ID.
These things said, I do keep up with events.
The Chronicle tells me as much as I want to know about local and state politics. I get the idea that politics are not very important to people in Harris County and that Texas is a mess. In the Times, I read international news first, and may or may not read the political stories. They run five or six stories a day on the Presidential race. It’s just overload. USA Today sometimes gets a bad rap, but I’ve seen days where they do a better job than the Times.
Online, I read Electoral-Vote.com every morning. It is succinct and they discuss races down the ticket from the Presidential contest. You can read EV for the five minutes it takes and you’re set for the day. I’ll admit to also reading the poll-focused FiveThirtyEight daily. But that’s an indulgence.
On TV, I have CNN on as background sometimes when I’m eating dinner or cleaning.
One thing I’d suggest would be to take some of the time you may spend following the campaign, and read a book of political history instead. A good book of this kind will tell you plenty about the 2008 race. Without context we have nothing.
A title I can recommend is America’s Three Regimes–A New Political History by Morton Keller. It does a good job with American political history in less than three hundred pages.
Both the Olympics in Beijing and the Democratic National Convention in Denver will have limited areas segregated for protests.
“Security” is cited.
Restrictions in China will be tighter than in Denver. Still, why are Democrats, yet again, accepting limiting protests to a certain area when people in America are supposed to have a right of free assembly? The restrictions in Boston four years ago were odious.
So-called “security” reasons are easily used by both dictatorships and more open nations, to curtail the inherent right of individuals to express their grievances.
This is the upshot of court rulings in France, Germany, and the U.S.
Courts in Germany and France have ruled that eBay must make strong efforts to be sure that when a Tiffany or Rolex product is sold on eBay, it is the real thing. A court in the United States ruled the opposite.
It is luxury brands that are in the fight with eBay in Europe, but eBay has been the middleman in more downmarket theft as well.
eBay knows people are selling knock-off goods and stolen goods.
Here is an an article from The Financial Times that suggests a middle course as a solution to to disputes between eBay and trademark holders.
Only strong regulation by government can make eBay a reputable business.
( Blogger’s Note—This is the second of my series “If Animals Could Vote.” Please click here for a discussion of Crayfish voting.)
What if Polar Bears were allowed to vote? What would they ask for? How would they organize? Would they care for others or would they be selfish?
If Polar Bears were allowed to vote, the first thing they might do is insist on quick action regarding climate change. Many scientists fear that the ongoing melting of the polar ice caps will erode the Polar Bear’s habitat.
Polar Bears would also demand an end to Polar Bear hunting. Some whack jobs hunt Polar Bears for fun. Others for food and skins. With only 25,000 polar bears left in the wild, it would seem that all Polar Bear hunting should be banned.
The Polar Bears below have captured a submarine. This should even the odds with hunters.
Enfranchised Polar Bears living within the United States might well demand inclusion in the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA). The National Audubon Society’s Guide To Marine Mammals Of The World defines Polar Bears as marine mammals. However, the MMPA does not currently list Polar Bears.
The Polar Bear’s Latin name is Ursus Maritimus. This means “sea bear.”
The MMPA extends a variety of protections to included species. (Though not full protection from hunting by native groups.) It is possible that if listed in the act, Polar Bears would then be granted “Majority-Bear” electoral districts to ensure Polar Bear representation.
Below you see a Polar Bear flag. This flag is from a majority-bear district in Russia where Polar Bear rights are strongly advanced.
Polar Bears have also been known to practice so-called identity politics. Below is the flag of gay Polar Bears.
It is good that Polar Bear diversity is acknowledged, but a more cohesive “pan-Arctic” view by Polar Bears might lead to faster and more complete rights gains for all Polar Bears. The recent move to a Polar Bear postal system as illustrated by the stamp below, can be seen as an attempt to join Polar Bears more firmly into one large community.
Polar Bears have a lot to think about as they move towards the vote. One thing is certain though–No Polar Bear has ever been so misguided as to vote for Ronald Reagan or George W. Bush. Here’s hoping Polar Bears will get it right and vote not just their own best interests, but vote in the best interests of others as well.