Texas Liberal

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I Asked St. Jude, Saint Of Lost Causes, To Bless Idea Of Mass Transit In Houston

I’ve called upon St. Jude, the Patron Saint of Lost Causes, to offer blessings to the idea of an extensive mass transit system in Houston and the Houston area. When I reached St. Jude, he told me he was busy working on the idea of a first-rate recycling program in Houston.

( Above is St. Jude as painted by Georges de La Tour. The painting was completed at some point between 1615 and 1620. Here is information about St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Young Natalie Turner is patient of the month at St. Jude.  Here is information on St. Jude himself from Catholic.org.)   

The Houston Chronicle ran a story today about prospects for a more comprehensive mass transit system in Houston and the suburbs. (To the extent suburb can be distinguished from city around here.) The story gives a clue why Houston and this area as a whole are so often such a backwards-looking mess.

A Republican County Commissioner from Fort Bend County named James Patterson, who in fairness appears to be in favor of more mass transit, had this to contribute on the idea of a regional transit authority —

“Patterson said he believes most residents of Fort Bend and other suburban counties “are pretty much an independent lot, and they are going to say, ‘We would love to work with Metro … but if there is going to be a Park & Ride lot in Rosenberg, we need our elected officials to be in control of that”

Yeah…those are rugged independent types out in Fort Bend County. I’ll tell you what—why not just give those folks horses and they can ride into work like John Wayne. That will reduce our dependence on foreign oil.

The Duke here is saying “Don’t mess with my park n’ride.”

Metro itself is not yet on board with the idea of a regional transit authority either. Why think big when millions of cars are on the road, gas prices are up, the air is horrible, and people are wasting hours of their lives on the highway?

Metro seems to be playing it coy. They are waiting for the day suburban residents are ready to be taxed to help pay for an expanded public transportation system.

I wonder how long a wait that will be.

The next total solar eclipse visible over the United States is projected for 2017. The one after that will be in 2024. Based on what I read today, I would bet “no” on a regional transit authority in the Houston-area by these dates. 

In the meantime, Metro pushes a light rail system that costs billions and offers service to a small number of people. I voted for it not because I believe anything Metro says, but because it irritated conservatives to such a great degree. And at least it’s a job creation program.

St. Jude got back to me on this issue. He said that he was all for desperate cases, and that he feels no person is beyond hope, but that this was more than even he could handle. St. Jude referred me to an acquaintance of his to handle the foreseeable future of a top-flight public transportation system in Houston—  

September 2, 2008 Posted by | Houston, Politics, Texas | , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Why Bristol Palin’s Pregnancy Is A Fair Issue In This Campaign

The fact that Bristol Palin is having a baby has nothing to do with Governor Sarah Palin’s ability, or inability, to be Vice President. Bristol Palin herself is entitled to privacy.

But the fact is that the issue in and of itself has relevance to the campaign. Part of Governor Palin’s supposed appeal is her family of five children and her “hockey mom” status. This all fits in with so-called family values issues that have been a Republican staple for many years now.   

If you campaign on what people’s values should be in their own homes, and in their personal relationships, then your home and your relationships are fair game as well.

A good blog post on this subject can be found at The Texas Cloverleaf. Texas Cloverleaf says this would be a fine time to discuss birth control and sex education as a solution to teen pregnancy. 

Above is a picture of Bristol, Rhode Island. Looks like a nice place to get away from all the trouble politics brings.

September 2, 2008 Posted by | Campaign 2008, Politics, Relationships | , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Person I Don’t Know Asks Me To Back Candidate I’ve Never Heard Of—I Do So Out Of Trust And Party ID

A few weeks ago I was asked to be a friend on Facebook by a person I don’t know. She’d noticed we had some friends in common on Facebook. She messaged me something along the lines of that if I knew such people, I was likely to share her political values.

The people we have in common on Facebook are liberal Texas political bloggers and a few others connected with Democratic politics in the Houston-area.

The conclusion this woman reached based on our mutual friends was solid. I accepted her friend request.

A few weeks later this woman asked me to join a Facebook group in support of a Laura Ewing for the Texas State Board of Education, District 7. I had never heard of Ms. Ewing. You can click the link to learn about Ms. Ewing, where in Texas District 7 is, ( It includes a good chunk of the Houston metro-area) and what the Texas State Board of Education does.

Since I had established trust for the person asking me to back Ms. Ewing, it was not much of a leap to join Ms. Ewing’s Facebook group. I’ve also listed her as a campaign I support as noted under my blogroll.

It was not just that I trust the person who made the suggestion I support Ms. Ewing. It’s also so that since Ms. Ewing is a Democrat, I can be reasonably certain she holds at least some views not so different from my own. Party identification is a shorthand to help voters navigate the complex set of issues that are at stake in any election.

The fact is that only so many voters are going to study what the Texas Board of Education is all about. Just tell me who the Democrat is, and I can move on to something else.

This does not mean I won’t vote for a third-party candidate—if one exists—or leave the spot on the ballot for this office blank if I find the Democrat running to be offensive. But for the most part, I just need to know who the Democrat is. I’m not going to be voting for any Republican in this age of a far-right Republican party.

Personal trust and party ID–These are good enough reasons for me to support Laura Ewing for the Texas State Board of Education.

September 2, 2008 Posted by | Campaign 2008, Houston, Politics, Relationships, Texas | , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments