Texas Liberal

All People Matter

Be Safe & Tip Well Over Labor Day—A Brief Blogging Break

I’m going to take a brief Labor Day weekend blogging break.

I hope everybody has a safe Labor Day weekend.

As the parents of a co-worker of mine wrote last year after the death of their daughter in a car accident—Please slow down and be careful on all the highways of life.  

As for blogging—Senator Obama, Senator McCain, Senator Biden and Governor Palin will all still be around two days from now. 

And please remember, tip workers who help you on Labor Day at the same time-and-a-half rate you would expect to be paid for working a holiday. If you normally leave 20 %, then tip 30%.

It may seem like a lot, but Labor Day is about respecting working people.

Have a great holiday.

August 29, 2008 Posted by | Blogging, Tip Your Waiter Time-And-A-Half On Holidays | , , , | 4 Comments

A Great Week For Progress, Freedom & Hope!

A Great Week For Progress, Freedom & Hope!

These important moments came on the anniversary of The March on Washington, and the anniversary of ratification of a woman’s right to vote.

We’re ready to move forward now to even greater victories for all Americans.       

Martin Luther King

Barack Obama

 Susan B. Anthony

Hillary Clinton

Senator Hillary Clinton smiles on stage at the 2008 Democratic ...

August 29, 2008 Posted by | History, Politics | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Galveston County Democrats Club Working Hard For Victory

The Galveston County Democrats Club has a very good web page. Go to this site and you will find a lot of information. This is the oldest such club in the State of Texas 

Below are the stated values of the Galveston County Democrats—

We believe in Democratic Values

 A Strong America
 Social Justice
 Fiscal Responsibility
 Civil Rights
 A Big Tent
 A Healthy Environment
 Social Security
 Labor Rights                    
Religious Freedom
 A Strong Military
Public Education
 Health Care for All

You can see that these are good folks.

The Galveston Democratic Club is holding a Campaign kick-off on Saturday August 30 between noon and two. This excellent event will be held at 1124 25th Street in Galveston.

Galveston is a great Texas community with a strong Democratic Party. With the Galveston County Democrats Club hard at work, it will be a great year for Democrats both on the Island and on the mainland.

Below are the locations of Democrat offices in Galveston County

Galveston, 1124 Rosenberg (25th St) at Ave L, (409) 763-6866; Noon-5:00 PM
Texas City
(Mainland South), 825 25th St. (Logan), (409) 945-571; 10:00 AM-6:00 PM
(Mainland North), 2404 FM 517 E, (832) 415-4490; 10:00 AM-4:00 PM

August 28, 2008 Posted by | Galveston, Politics, Texas | , , , , , | Leave a comment

If Democrats Can’t Unify After 8 Years Of Bush, Then They Do Not Deserve To Govern

Senator Hillary Clinton made her convention speech yesterday. Many say it was a very strong speech. Maybe they are right. It was very gracious at many points. 

For my very small part in this process, I never supported Senator Clinton. But I made clear as long ago as last October that I would support her strongly if she were the nominee.

All I can say this morning is that if Democrats can’t unify after 8 years of George Bush and threat of four more wasted years under John McCain, then they do not deserve to govern. This is the election year we have and this is the chance we have to move forward in this country.

August 27, 2008 Posted by | Campaign 2008, Politics | , , , , | 5 Comments

Dolphin Teaches Other Dolphins How To “Tail-Walk” on Water

Tail-walking dolphin
The BBC reports that a dolphin in Australia is teaching other dolphins how to “tail-walk” on water.
Above is a picture of one one of the tail walking dolphins. This behavior may have been learned from a brief time the dolphin doing the teaching spent in a marine park.
I’d sure like to see that in Galveston Bay some day.
Do you think the dolphin teaching the other dolphins is a show-off. Or do you think it is some sort of power grab in the dolphin hierarchy?
It could though be an act of kindess or just good fun.
Don’t you wish sometimes that people could pick up stuff so easily? The real trick though would be if dolphins could teach people this stunt.
From the BBC story–

A wild dolphin is apparently teaching other members of her group to walk on their tails, a behaviour usually seen only after training in captivity. The tail-walking group lives along the south Australian coast near Adelaide.  One of them spent a short time after illness in a dolphinarium 20 years ago and may have picked up the trick there.

Scientists studying the group say tail-walk tuition has not been seen before, and suggest the habit may emerge as a form of “culture” among this group.  “We can’t for the life of us work out why they do it,” said Mike Bossley from the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society (WDCS), one of the scientists who have been monitoring the group on the Port River estuary. “We’re doing systematic observations now to determine if there’s something that may trigger it, but so far we haven’t found anything,” he told BBC News.

In the 1980s, Billie, one of the females in the group, spent a few weeks in a local dolphinarium recovering from malnutrition and sickness, a consequence of having been trapped in a marina lock. She received no training there, but may have seen others tail-walking.

Now, other females in the group have picked up the habit. It is seen rarely in the wild, and the obvious inference is that they have learned it from Billie.  “This indicates that they do learn from each other, which is not a surprise really, but it does also seem that they exhibit elements of what in humans we would call ‘cultural’ behaviour,” said Dr Bossley.

“These are things that groups develop and are passed between individuals and that come to define those groups, such as language or dancing; and it would seem that among the Port River dolphins we may have an incipient tail-walking culture.” The “cultural” transmission of ideas and skills has been documented in apes, while dolphins off the coast of Western Australia are known to teach their young to use sponges as an aid when gathering food.

August 27, 2008 Posted by | Sea Life | , , , , | Leave a comment

Race, Obama & Progress

Many wonder what effect racism will have on the campaign of Barack Obama. A feeling is that some will not vote for Mr. Obama because he is black.

I see this question somewhat differently.

People have the feelings they have. There are racist people in the United States. But it is one thing to have racist feelings, and another thing to act upon those feelings. It’s possible to have negative impressions of another group of people, and at the same time to realize what you feel may not be the best course to follow in life.

I think there are people who have the chance to do the right thing in 2008 and who will do the right thing. What I mean by this are Democrats, or others willing to consider Barack Obama, but who are disinclined to vote for Mr. Obama because of his race.

There will be some number of people such as I describe above, who will examine their hearts and minds and make the call for Mr. Obama. This even while race is something that matters to them.

I think Harry Truman is an example of a man who knew his own limits, and then gave thought to what his values and actions should be despite those limits. President Truman’s desegregation of the Army is one of the great acts of American Presidential leadership. Who would have thought that this man who formed his identity in late 19th century and early 20th century Missouri, would strike such a strong blow for freedom?   

Maybe you know somebody in your own life who thought out a tough question and decided to move past old feelings.

Whether the issue is race or some other concern, is their anybody, including myself, who could not stand to examine their own limits and see where further thought and personal progress is possible?

I don’t know how it will all turn out in November, but I am glad to know that some of our fellow Americans will examine their hearts and minds on Election Day and decide to move forward.

August 26, 2008 Posted by | Campaign 2008, Politics | , , , , | Leave a comment

Excellent Remarks By Former Republican Rep. Leach At Convention Last Night

While speechs by Senator Ted Kennedy and Michelle Obama were, correctly, the headlining events from yesterday’s session of the Democratic National Convention, remarks by former Republican U.S. Representative Jim Leach of Iowa ( painting above) also merit attention.

Mr. Leach discussed why he was endorsing the Democratic candidate in 2008 and provided something of a history lesson as well. From Mr. Leach you got sense of someone truly concerned for his country rather than the personal anger and score-settling that drives Joe Lieberman away from the Democratic Party.  

Mr. Leach speaks here of a Republican Party that lost its way with the reckless invasion of Iraq, and the prospect of a strong new direction for America at home and abroad offered by Barack Obama. 

Mr. Leach served in Congress between 1977 and 2007. He was defeated for reelection in 2006. Mr. Leach represented Cedar Rapids, Iowa City and much of Southeastern Iowa.

Here is some further information about Mr. Leach.

Here is the full transcript of what Mr. Leach said at the convention last night—

As a Republican, I stand before you with deep respect for the history and traditions of my political party. But it is clear to all Americans that something is out of kilter in our great republic. In less than a decade America’s political and economic standing in the world has been diminished. Our nation’s extraordinary leadership in so many areas is simply not reflected in the partisan bickering and ideological politics of Washington. Seldom has the case for an inspiring new political ethic been more compelling. And seldom has an emerging leader so matched the needs of the moment.
The platform of this transformative figure is a call for change. The change Barack Obama is advocating is far more than a break with today’s politics. It is a clarion call for renewal rooted in time-tested American values that tap Republican, as well as Democratic traditions.
Perspective is difficult to bring to events of the day, but in sweeping terms, there have been four great debates in our history to which both parties have contributed. The first debate, led by Thomas Jefferson, the first Democrat to be elected president, centered on the question of whether a country could be established, based on The Rights of Man.

The second debate, led by Abraham Lincoln, the first Republican to be elected president, was about definitions—whether The Rights of Man applied to individuals who were neither pale nor male. It took almost two centuries of struggle, hallmarked by a civil war, the suffrage and abolitionist movements, the Harlem renaissance and a courageous civil rights leadership to bring meaning to the values embedded in the Declaration of Independence.
Continue reading

August 26, 2008 Posted by | Campaign 2008, Politics | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Obama Harvesting Texas For Volunteers—I’m All For It

The Obama Campaign has held a Camp Obama in Houston to train volunteers for the Obama campaign. Here is the Houston for Obama web page. The Houston Obama people say in the post about Camp Obama that they will hold more such training sessions. 

As Texas is not likely to be a contested state in November, it seems that some number of these volunteers will go to so-called battleground states. 

Some don’t approve. Some say that volunteers are being harvested from Houston and Harris County when we have important work to do to win Harris County back from the Republicans. 

Though I don’t agree, this is a view many might reasonably hold.

Below is a scene from the Tom Cruise version of War of the Worlds. The aliens are harvesting human beings and fertilizing alien crops with human blood. That’s why everything is red in the picture. 


However, I see a far more benign picture of Camp Obama. They are not people from a distant world. They share much the same goals as all Democrats in Harris County and Texas. 

The Obama people are bringing new people into the political process and sharing the bounty with the rest of the country. That’s how I see it. These people will remain in Harris County after the election and be a renewable source of political talent that will rise up each campaign season to help the cause. 

The Harris County Democratic Coordinated Campaign is making a strong effort and there is room enough for all.

The goal of electing Barack Obama President is Job One for Democrats in 2008. 

Here is the link for Texans For Obama. Check out the link and see how you can help Barack Obama any place that help is needed.

August 25, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

As Ford Did Not Offer VP Spot To Reagan in ’76, Obama Had No Obligation To Any Defeated Candidate

Taken as a general matter, since the current primary-heavy process of selecting nominees began in 1972, victorious Presidential nominees have not selected their nearest rival in contested nomination fights as the Vice Presidential nominee. 

Only twice in contested nomination battles beginning with 1972 has the Vice Presidential nominee been the second place finisher in total primary votes. The Democratic ticket in 2004 and the Republican slate in 1980 are the two.

The 2008 Democratic race was the closest in vote totals, but the ideological fight for the Republican nomination in 1976 (Convention photo above) may have been the more intense struggle.  

In 2008, Barack Obama of Illinois and Hillary Clinton of New York each won just over 48% of the popular vote in the primaries with Mr. Obama winning a few more votes than Mrs. Clinton. For Republicans, John McCain of Arizona took around 45% of the total with Mitt Romney of Massachusetts and Mike Huckabee of Arkansas each in the low 20’s.  

In going with Joe Biden of Delaware, Senator Obama has made his call. Senator McCain will do the same next week.

Here is some history on this matter—

John Kerry of Massachusetts won 61% of Democratic primary voters in 2004. His closest competitor, John Edwards of North Carolina, won 19% of all such voters and got a spot on the ticket. 

In 2000 Al Gore of Tennessee (76% of Democratic primary voters) did not pick Bill Bradley of New Jersey (20%). Nor did George W. Bush of Texas (63% of Republican primary voters) select Mr. McCain (30%). 

In 1996, Bob Dole of Kansas (61%) left Pat Buchanan of Virginia (24%) off the ticket.

In 1992, Bill Clinton  of Arkansas (52%) selected neither Jerry Brown of California (20%) or Paul Tsongas of Massachusetts (18%).

In 1988, George H.W. Bush  of Texas (68%) did not make Mr. Dole (19%) his running mate. Mike Dukakis of Massachusetts (43%) did not offer the spot to Jesse Jackson of Illinois (29%).

The 1984 Democratic race was hard fought. Still Walter Mondale of Minnesota (38%) denied Gary Hart of Colorado (36%) a place on the ticket. This was a race almost as close as 2008.

In 1980, incumbent Vice President Mondale stayed on the slate after President Jimmy Carter of Georgia (51%) beat Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts (37%) for the nomination.

In the 1980 Republican race, the second place finisher did get the second spot. Ronald Reagan of California (61%) picked Mr. Bush (23%) as his number two.  

In 1976, Mr. Carter (39%) did not offer the job to Mr. Brown (15%), George Wallace of Alabama (12%) or Morris Udall of Arizona (10%),

In the fiercely fought Republican race in 1976 , President Gerald Ford of Michigan (53%) did not offer the Vice Presidency to Mr. Reagan (46%). Senator Dole was President Ford’s choice.

1972 was the last time the nominee was not the top vote getter in the primaries. Hubert Humphrey of Minnesota won 26% of the vote against 25% for George McGovern of South Dakota and 24% for George Wallace. The nominee, Mr. McGovern did not offer the VP spot to either gentleman.

( Governor George Wallace stands in the schoolhouse door blocking integration in Alabama. Neither George McGovern or Jimmy Carter thought it best to run with Mr. Wallace in a Presidential election.)

August 24, 2008 Posted by | Campaign 2008, Political History, Politics | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

It Might Be Best If Travis & Alabama Democratic HQ. Had Noriega Bumper Stickers

I visited the midtown headquarters for our Harris County Democratic campaign this morning. This office is located at 3710 Travis at the corner of Alabama & Travis.

I got a couple of Obama bumper stickers.  I asked if they had a Rick Noriega for Senate bumper sticker. They did not. The only other bumper sticker was for State Senate candidate Chris Bell. They did have yard signs for many candidates on the county ticket. 

While at the HQ, I heard another man ask for a Noriega sticker.  

I feel it might be best if this busy campaign office had bumper stickers for all Democrats running in Harris County and Texas. And that it might be best if all candidates on the Democratic ticket in Harris County had bumper stickers in the first place so voters could show support in this easy and accessible way.  

These are my views on this subject.

August 23, 2008 Posted by | Campaign 2008, Houston, Politics, Texas | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Wife Out Of Town For Five Days—I’ll Do Whatever I Want

My wife is going out of town for five days and I’m going to do whatever I want.

My wife has suggested one thing I might want to do is clean the toilet. You see that we have this hand-painted sea life toilet.


But what I had in mind was more along the lines of bringing home a few Singapore Airlines flight attendants–


For a toga party.

Or, maybe I’ll contact my priestess and we can finish that ritual we’ve been working on.

With the wife away, I can eat whatever I want.

Of course, my wife and friends know me well. They know I’ll most likely spend a lot of time reading while she’s gone.

Reading—And keeping a tally of the days she’s gone to see what time I have to get away with stuff. And how much longer I’ll have to lumber around without the wife. 

Tally marks.svg

Lastly, I hope she won’t mind that I traded our Accord to this guy selling his Dodge Dart in front of the Petco. He and I have been talking about the trade for a few weeks now and I think it’s the right way to go. I can’t wait to show her our “new” car.

August 23, 2008 Posted by | My Wife Is The Best Person Ever | , , , , | 4 Comments

Harris County District Clerk Chang Befouls Public Park With Campaign Signs

Campaign yard signs for Harris County, Texas District Clerk Theresa Chang, a Republican, were placed on the grounds of Memorial Park and near the entrance of the Houston Arboretum and Nature Center. I saw a bunch of these signs yesterday morning and a few remained this morning.  

( Above is a visual representation of the Chang for Clerk campaign.) 

Incredibly, the District Clerk’s job involves working within our county “justice” system. The clerk collects fees and keeps records for the courts. The clerk is also also responsible for summoning jurors.

What example is Ms. Chang setting for people who ignore a jury summons?  

Maybe Ms. Chang is getting political tips from Harris County “Judge” Linda Storey. Citizens of our community may well recall the appalling number of Storey campaign signs in the public right-of-way back in 2006. Now Ms. Storey judges others. It’s remarkable.

I think campaign yard signs on public property, or in vacant lots, should be nailed to the side of the candidate’s home.

The Democrat running for District Clerk is Loren Jackson. I strongly support Mr. Jackson. That is until I see one of his signs in a right-of-way. Then I will write a post such as this about Mr. Jackson. Though I have faith such a day will never come.

August 23, 2008 Posted by | Houston, Politics | , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Gilgamesh On Grief

The following is about the grief of Gilgamesh after the death of his friend Enkidu in the ancient poem Gilgamesh—  

All that is left to one who grieves

Is convalescence. No change of heart or spiritual

Conversion, for the heart has changed

And the soul has been converted

To a thing that sees

How much it costs to lose a friend it loved.

It has grown past conversion to a world

Few enter without tasting loss

In which one spends a long time waiting

For something to move one to proceed.

It is that inner atmosphere that has

An unfamiliar gravity or none at all

Where words are flung out in the air but stay

Motionless without an answer,

Hovering about one’s lips

Or arguing back to haunt

The memory with what one failed to say,

Until one learns the acceptance of the silence

Amidst the new debris

Or turns again to grief

As the only source of privacy,

Alone with someone loved.

It could go for years and years,

And has, for centuries,

For being human holds a special grief

Of privacy within the universe

That yearns and waits to be untouched

By someone who can take away

The memory of death.

August 22, 2008 Posted by | Books, Poetry | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Why Get Mad Over Campaign When Obama Does Not Fight Back Or Fight For Working People?

The Presidential campaign is not so much interesting to me as it is a source of frustration. The idea of 12 years of Bush-McCain when in my 40 years the only Democratic Presidents I have ever known are Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton, is very frustrating.   

The campaign distorts my personality in some small measure. It makes me more angry than I normally am. It hardens me towards people I don’t want to be around. I was this way four years ago and I feel this way today. The campaign is an irritating background noise. A ringing in your ears you can’t shake.

Today I found myself wondering why I’m getting so mad when Barack Obama seemingly refuses to fight back against a series of smears from John McCain about Senator Obama’s patriotism.

I wondered why I’m so mad when he refuses, so far, to fight hard for working people. Why isn’t Mr. Obama out on the trail advocating for universal health care and better wages? Why isn’t he telling the truth about the global economy means for American workers and about possible solutions to these new conditions.

The following is from a New York Times story about a new Times/CBS poll that has Mr. Obama three points ahead of Mr. McCain—    

Slim majorities said neither candidate had made clear what he would do as president, suggesting that both need to use their conventions to provide voters with a better sense of their plans for addressing the deteriorating economy, high energy prices, access to health care and national security. Mr. McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee, is still closely associated with the deeply unpopular President Bush. Nearly half of those surveyed said that they expected him to continue the Bush administration’s policies if he were elected president.

Mr. Obama, the presumptive Democratic nominee, was trusted more by voters to handle their top concern, the economy. Sixty-five percent of those surveyed said they were confident that Mr. Obama would make the right decisions on the economy, compared with 54 percent who expressed confidence that Mr. McCain would. When it came to foreign policy, the image was inverted: 66 percent expressed confidence in Mr. McCain to make the right decisions, and 55 percent in Mr. Obama.

But the economy — not national security — is shaping up as the far greater concern this year. Four in 10 voters called it their top concern; only 15 percent cited the Iraq war. Taken together, a series of pocketbook issues — including the economy, jobs, gas prices and energy policy — were the leading concerns of more than half of those surveyed. Terrorism and national security, along with the war, were cited as most important by just under a quarter.

Why isn’t Senator Obama known already as a fighter for working people on these economic issues?

I assume Mr. Obama has a plan for winning this campaign. I’m looking forward to this plan showing some progress in the days to come. I sure hope this is what happens.

August 21, 2008 Posted by | Campaign 2008, Politics | , , , | 4 Comments

Photo From 1908 Democratic Convention In Denver

original negative

The 1908 Democratic National Convention was held in Denver, Colorado and nominated William Jennings Bryan of Nebraska for President. Mr. Bryan, nominated for a third unsuccessful run, lost to William Howard Taft of Ohio.

The 1908 convention was the first major party convention held in a western state.

The theme of the convention’s platform was “Shall the people rule?”

From the platform— The conscience of the nation is now aroused to free the government from the grip of those who have made it a business asset of the favor-seeking corporations. It must become again a people’s government and be administered in all its departments according to the Jeffersonian maxim, “equal rights to all; special privilege to none.

“Shall the people rule? is the overshadowing issue which manifests itself in all the questions now under discussion.”

On Election Day 1908, the people decided it would be best if Mr. Taft ruled.

Here are detailed results of the 1908 election.

Here is information about the 1908 campaign. 

August 21, 2008 Posted by | Political History, Politics | , , , , , , | Leave a comment